Various Artists - C89 (Cherry Red Records)

Various Artists – C89 (Cherry Red Records)

‘Adam’s Song’ by The Sun and The Moon is one of the most life-affirming, joyful songs you could ever wish to hear. The track, sung by Mark Burgess, (this is his post-The Chameleons band), is a lyrical masterclass, featuring lines such as “I ride the wind collecting stars / All the jewels that litter the heavens / I will number them and place them at your feet / Reforge them in your splendid heat”. 

If you fancy a copy on CD, you could head to Discogs where the CD single is currently available for £40…or you could invest £18 or so in C89, the latest extension of the excellent series which started with an expanded CD reissue of the famous NME cassette compilation C86, and get ANOTHER 71 SONGS as well! Yes, the ever-wonderful Cherry Red have gathered together a formidable collection of six dozen mostly hard-to-find, mostly brilliant indie tracks from 1989 into an attractive 3CD set, with extensive liner notes by the original co-compiler of C86, Neil Taylor.

Resisting the temptation to go for the obvious big-hitters (you won’t find Happy Mondays, Inspiral Carpets or New Order here, though The Stone Roses do appear, albeit with a B-side, ‘Going Down’), the compilation collects some inspired choices and was clearly a labour of love for those involved. Two bands who could have easily crossed over, but didn’t quite, were Milltown Brothers, here with probably their best-known song, the highly commercial, R.E.M.-like ‘Which Way Should I Jump’ and The Family Cat, whose debut single ‘Tom Verlaine’ is a lo-fi treat, pitched somewhere between The Velvet Underground and The Teardrop Explodes.

Sarah Records, known for its tuneful, usually gentle jangle-pop feature four times across the set, Brighter‘s lovely ‘Inside Out’ being a welcome inclusion, with Another Sunny Day (and the very un-Sarah title of ‘You Should All Be Murdered’) and The Orchids (‘What Will We Do Next?) being positively megastars in comparison with Christine’s Cat (the band released one single, ‘Your Love Is…’ on 5″ flexi disc only). That fuzz-pop nugget would set you back £40-£140 today (plus postage).

The Pooh Sticks‘ legendary, sardonic ode to Creation Records boss ‘I Know Someone Who Knows Someone Who Knows Alan McGee Quite Well’, which also namechecks Rough Trade’s Geoff Travis and rivals Half Man Half Biscuit in the lyrics department is another winner, and another very hard to locate record. Creation Records itself is represented by the wonderful, 60s Northern Soul stylings of The Revolving Paint Dream, while the brilliant Bristol-based label The Subway Organisation contribute Choo Choo Train with ‘Briar Rose’ and Korova Milk Bar‘s ‘Do It Again’ (neither a Beach Boys or Royksopp & Robyn cover, but a punchy powerpop tune).

With the absolute feast of indie pop on offer here, it would probably be churlish to complain about the inclusion of the ever-odious Carter The Unstoppable Sex Machine with their ‘never ever need to hear it again’ single ‘Sheriff Fatman’ or the fact that the (admittedly wonderful) ‘Come In Come Out’ was the B-side of The La’s 1988 single ‘There She Goes’ rather than a 1989 tune, so instead it is worth stating that there are a phenomenal number of little-known classics here; you may wonder what you did before you heard Men Of Westenesse‘s splendid ‘The Coldest Water’ or Peruvian Hipsters ode to Spandau Ballet‘s frontman (‘Tony Hadley’).

There’s something for everyone on C89. Roll on C90!

C89 is out now on Cherry Red Records.


God is in the TV is an online music and culture fanzine founded in Cardiff by the editor Bill Cummings in 2003. GIITTV Bill has developed the site with the aid of a team of sub-editors and writers from across Britain, covering a wide range of music from unsigned and independent artists to major releases.