Friday, May 26, 2006

Number 30: Dodgy

So Let Me Go Far (Bostin/ A&M 5809032)
Chart debut: 7th January 1995

Writers: Nigel Clark/Andy Miller/Mathew Priest

I always thought this should have opened the album, you know. After the minute of pre-amble the song proper starts with the harmonised lyric "So in the morning I awoke/I turned my eyes towards the road." Isn't that exactly where you want to begin an album? And the harmonies around the title line in the chorus have real power. Better still, as the song continues, the sound builds to illustrate the protagonist's journey. In the second verse we get the line "Those pills you gave me for the pain/Made my mind never feel the same" although knowing Dodgy it's not entirely clear whether they consider that a good or a bad thing. There's a bit of a sting in the tail of the chorus too: "When I reach there let me know." It's a song about a curiosity and self-discovery, it would seem.
It would also be good for my storyline if this had been their first hit single too, but in fact that honour went to the song that really does open the Homegrown album, 'Staying Out For The Summer', which managed to sneak in at 38 in September 1994 (when the record company released a new version of that song in the actual summer it did better, but that's another story). The classic record company trick of releasing this single on the 28th of December when hardly anybody's buying singles more or less guaranteed this an advancement on that, but sadly also meant that nobody really noticed it when it was in the charts, or remembered it since. I'm not even sure whether I'd heard it before I borrowed the album from a fellow sixth-former, although I did eventually see a bit of the video, complete with their ubiquitous camper van. Apparently the single version is a remix (by Hugh Jones, who produced it in the first place anyway) although a second CD is fronted by a live recording.

With hindsight, perhaps Dodgy's whole premise got a bit tiresome after a while, but I still consider the album to be a minor classic of its type, and this song has the extra benefit of not being overexposed. Dodgy went on to greater commercial success with the dreadfully-titled 1996 album Free Peace Sweet and even scored a Top 10 single in the shape of 'Good Enough'. But they splintered soon afterwards, with frontman Nigel Clark jumping ship after a desultory single and compilation album. The remaining members soldiered on with a new line-up for a few more years but interest faded away.

Unofficial website: Mighty Dodgy Vibe - the old official site seems to be long gone.
See also Adrian Denning's album review and a discography.
YouTube if you want to: live on The Word. {Now deleted!}
Where to get it: The best of collection Ace A's And Killer B's wraps up most of the singles (including this one, in its album version) alongside selected flipsides and album tracks. However, it might well be argued that all the Dodgy you really need is Homegrown, undoubtedly the best of their albums and unsurprisingly the only one still in print.

Bonus:This isn't, you'll have noticed, an MP3 blog. But we reserve the right to include tracks from long-deleted compilation albums tied in with festivals that no longer take place as and when we feel like it. Hence 'So Let Me Go Far' live at the Phoenix Festival. Note: this file is provided for information purposes only. Any legitimate owners of this material who wish for it to be removed are advised to contact us.

Thursday, May 18, 2006

Metapost - on the way to the Top 30

Hi everyone, to try and build up anticipation for the Top 30 in Mark Goodier style, we present The Hit Parade's first ever Metapost.

Anyone who checks this site regularly will have observed that we now have a new look. Also, check out our exciting new links - in particular, Joe Williams' How To Have 1000 Number Ones - The Easy Way details his quest to collect every one of the first thousand chart-topping tracks, exactly the sort of idea this blog was inspired by, though thankfully the Hit Parade version doesn't involve spending any real money. Part of the advantage of this theme is that it has a defined endpoint, of course. Of course, the Hit Parade also offers us the choice about which records to write about, but Joe isn't really writing about the music so much as the quest. And the descriptions of his internal torment when he has to buy the Gary Glitter records are fascinating. Also on a Number One subject is the more familiar Popular which really does try to write about every chart-topping track in chronological order. Currently they're up to 'Silence Is Golden', with the Glitter issue still ten virtual years away.

Coming up at 30, it's... no, that'd be telling.