10 October 2011
Esprit De Corps - If (Would It Turn Out Wrong)
Year of Release: 1972
Throughout the eighties, the musical prowess of Mike Read became something of a standing joke for popular culture vultures and viewers of "Saturday Superstore". The presenter and Radio One Breakfast Show host surely had plenty on his career-shaped plate during the period, but he still managed to slip out a few singles under the name The Trainspotters, all of which were met with utter indifference by both critics and the public. "Mike Read and his bloody guitar" almost became a disdainful national catchphrase for Saturday mornings.
At the time, hardly anybody at all referenced the fact that he was also partly responsible for this little-known 1972 flop which was later deemed of a high enough quality to emerge on the "Rubble" series of psychedelic compilation albums. I can only concur, it's actually pretty bloody good. The B-side "Pictures On My Wall" can probably be safely ignored, but "If (Would It Turn Out Wrong)" is one of those psychedelically tinged ballads with an unsettling undercurrent, here provided by the positively woozy phasing on the string section. It's an eerie piece of work which deserved further attention, but clearly never got it, despite sonically encapsulating the giddy, doubtful feelings of love which may possibly be unrequited - far from attempting to be "trippy", I'd argue that the chaps were merely trying to replicate conflicting emotions with the skying effects here.
Joining Mike Read were other music industry dabblers Dave Mindel, David Ballantyne, Bill Pit and Alan Tomes. It would appear that they only managed one more single after this one, "Lonely", before knocking matters on the head. Esprit De Corps are one of a privileged number of acts who appeared on "Top of the Pops" despite not having a hit to their name, so they clearly were given a fair chance by Read's future BBC paymasters, but it obviously came to nothing. As for what became of Read, he was at one point so successful in the eighties that Strawberry Switchblade's record label tried to talk one of the girls into going on a date with him, just to increase their chances of getting one of their records played on the Breakfast Show (they did not comply). It's a far cry from that to this, and no mistake.
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