4 August 2011

Medicine Head - Can't Get Over You/ Tenderhooks

Label: Harvest
Year of Release: 1980

Once every so often I'll choose to upload a single on to "Left and to the Back" not because I particularly think it's good, but because I know a number of readers will have been trying to track it down. Certainly, the existence of this one completely passed me by until I saw it sitting in the record racks of a backstreet Camden Town record store, so I've no doubt there are other people out there who will be perplexed by it.

You see, it's a widely acknowledged fact that everyone's favourite minimalist rock duo (if we don't count The White Stripes) Medicine Head split up in the seventies. This record, a complete one-off released in 1980 with no follow-ups to be had, is therefore surely a good-natured reunion? Well, no. It would appear that the disc is little more than Ray Majors out of Mott The Hoople and John Fiddler out of Medicine Head using the latter band's name to try and bump up sales (I suspect both they and the record label would rather have used Mott The Hoople's name had there not been greater obstacles in the way of doing so). What you'll hear below sounds very little like the Medicine Head of yore, and much more like a slickly produced piece of eighties rock-pop, so far removed from their usual output that it's like sticking a Dansette logo on to a luxury Sony stereo system.

Whatever your moral view on the use of the band name for this project, it all came to nought anyway. The single flopped, it doesn't appear on any of the commercially released Medicine Head albums, and appears to have been airbrushed out of the band's discographies. One quick listen to either side will make it clear how this happened, although I suppose there might be the odd fan out there who sees this as a good and forgotten example of eighties AOR. Personally, it leaves me cold, although the B-side "Tenderhooks" is a reasonable enough stab at Springsteen-styled pop.

Sorry for the pops and clicks on this one, by the way - no amount of filtering could cover up the scratches without suffering significant loss of quality of sound elsewhere.

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