15.3.09

EPIC SOUNDTRACKS : Popular Classical 7"

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I'm very, very pleased to be able to share this one with you. I finally discovered it, after many l-o-n-g years of wanting to hear it (I've never seen a copy & don't know anybody who ever has), at the Pukekos page, where it's been posted it with little-to-no info. It's sufficiently important to warrant further explanation, I think?

At a loss as how to occupy himself when Swell Maps broke up in early 1980, Epic (aka Kevin Godfrey) began playing drums for Mayo Thompson's unforgivingly exasperating Red Krayola, while toying with the idea of pursuing a solo career with the Maps' old label, Rough Trade. Around the same time, R.T. founder Geoff Travis had successfully managed to lure ex-Soft Machine drummer Robert Wyatt out of self-imposed early retirement to record a sporadic series of 7"s (most of which were anthologised as the Nothing Can Stop Us LP), culminating in the landmark "Shipbuilding". Inspired by the label's hands-on spirit of anything goes collaboration, Wyatt simultaneously embarked on a series of lowkey collaborations with other Rough Trade (or associated) artists: The Raincoats, Scritti Politti, Vivien Goldman, Ben Watt & finally, in 1981, Epic himself. These being his first official solo recordings, Epic - apparently not having sufficient confidence in his own voice at this point - asked Wyatt to provide the lead vocal instead. The results were breathtaking.
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30 years on, I'm genuinely nonplussed as to why this lovely e.p. continues to be completely overlooked. Possibly it's because people simply do not know about it. Wyatt's contribution only came to my attention comparatively recently while purusing this excellent discography - even dedicated fansites like Strong Comet somehow manage to omit it. And no doubt Wyatt's pseudonymous billing as "Robert Ellidge - (muddy) mouth" is a contributing factor? Musically, "Jelly Babies" falteringly begins to map out Epic's future, gentler musical direction & has very little in common with his former band, though the two Wyatt-free b-side tracks ("A 3-Acre Floor" & "Pop In Packets") were both considered suitably Maps-compatible to be included on their Train Out Of It retrospective. Obsessives will be keen to learn that the barking dog you might hear (if you listen very carefully) is in fact Wyatt's own pet, Flossie!

One final interesting aside: Epic's vast, constantly expanding record collection (much of it accumulated during protracted stints behind the counter at Rough Trade & the Notting Hill branch of Record & Tape Exchange) was apparently cited by Alan McGee as "the cornerstone upon which Creation Records was based". Crikey.

9 comments:

  1. Didn't know about this one.
    Thanks for bringing it to my attention.
    Great stuff.

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  2. Yeah, it's a good 'un...!

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  3. very nice indeed a lovely little single
    i wonder when the 'maps' reunion will happen ... who d'ya reckon would get nikki & epics spots ???
    oh & thanks for putting up a link to my blog i'll return the favor . cheers .

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  4. SMaps reunion? I'm sure Thurtson Moore'd be for it at the drop of a fiver!

    Oh yeah, you can find the Phones Sportsman 7" over at Pukekos too if you have a dig about - another uber-rare SMaps artefact for yr stash...

    Has ANYBODY got the 3rd Peel session though?

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  5. ha ! thurston moore thats exactly what i though when i wrote that ... pretty obvious really , but pretty funny too ha !
    yeah i'll definitely be searching out that p.sportsman 7" thanks for the tip . cheers

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  6. I'm sure J Mascis would be drumming in the reunited SMaps

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  7. I like the sound of that!

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  8. hey thanks for sharing. i just found your blog searching for Thee Headcoats. but i have no bookmarked it as i need to sift through. love all these 7"s you post.

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  9. Thanks! I've lost a few posts in the Megaupload collapse, so let me know if there's anything you'd ike me to re-up.

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