Monday, 3 August 2015

Cowboys International - The Original Sin, Virgin records, c.1979

I have neglected this blog for far too long. 2015 has seen me buy a brand new turntable, a Denon DP 200 USB, for anyone who's interested. Not the highest spec by a long way, but it does the job nicely and has reignited my passion for vinyl. Most of 2015 has seen me ferreting around in second hand record shops looking for records I used to have as a spotty teenager, along with ones I missed out on. A few have not stood the test of time very well, but many still sound wonderful today, and it's those ones that I plan to start writing mini reviews of in this blog.

So, to get things going I have decided to start with Cowboys International, or more precisely, their album The Original Sin. The version of this I picked up recently is the beautifully packaged, UK release on Virgin Records, from 1979, that came in a thin black inner sleeve with orange plastic outer sleeve, which when the inner was inserted into the outer, obscured the blue coloured lettering. The version of this on amazon.co.uk has a completely different cover to the one I picked up, which I've pasted in a few pictures of below, but the tracks are the same.

Cowboys International - The Original Sin, outer sleeve
Cowboys International - The Original Sin, outer sleeve

Cowboys International - The Original Sin, inner sleeve
Cowboys International - The Original Sin, inner sleeve

Side one opens up with Pointy Shoes. Featuring harmonica, guitar, drums and piano, this is probably the album's most new wave track. Something about it reminded me of another artist. I want to say Robyn Hitchcock, but not quite sure that's it. The next track is the very catchy Thrash, is more synth based and reminiscent of one of the early, new romantic bands, before they got famous, and is probably my favourite track on the album. Track 3, Part of Steel, mixes new wave and synth to great effect. Next up is Here Comes A Saturday which to my ears has shades of David Bowie, and yet again I'm hearing Robyn Hitchcock. Side one ends with the title track, The Original Sin, which is another catchy synth-pop track.

Side two opens up with Aftermath, which was the first of the band's two singles from the album, on orange vinyl, the other being Thrash, which appeared later with the non-album track, Nothing Doing, being released in between. I remember this one being played on various Radio One night time shows but remembered it as being slower. Track two is Hands which again has hints of David Bowie in Ken Lockie's vocals, layered on top of a guitar and piano backing track. Next up is the synth-laden M(emorie)62 which again fits more into the synth-pop arena that strictly new wave. Track four is another synth pop, catchy number, Lonely Boy. Nearing the end of the album now, track five, The No Tune, is more of a ballad, and if I'm honest doesn't really sit well on the album, spoiling the flow somewhat. Overall I'd say that side one is the stronger of the two sides, with the album petering out slightly towards the end, with a bit of a recovery in the final track Wish.

Obviously a bit of a cliche but definitely one of the groups that fits the "best band you've never heard of "category. Often cited as a supergroup as the band, amongst others, consisted of Public Image's Keith Levene, Terry Chimes formerly of The Clash, Marco Pironi from Adam and the Ants fame, and Jimmy Hughes from The Banned. Although they were short-lived, only running from 1979 to 1980, quite how this band were overlooked at the time is a mystery.

    

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