Year of Release: 1979
Year of Release: 1979
"Marguerite" is probably best known to most people as being the music which (for a period) accompanied the gallery section of the children's TV programme "Vision On" in the seventies. Tony Hart's hushed and delicate tones would introduce a selection of children's drawings from around the UK, and then the slow reggae beat of this track would kick in, as we were given the treat of observing a young Billy Childish's drawing of his Dad reprimanding the family dog with a stern gesture (or something - I'd like to think that some future major artists sent their work into the programme. The images this conjures up in my mind are pleasing).
"Marguerite" has worked its way on to numerous chill out compilations and DJ mixes in the last five years, where it sounds completely at home - in fact, elements of it sound not dis-similar to the KLF's more reggae tinged output on "The White Room", which is shocking considering the date this was released (I could mention at this point that both Morgan and Bill Drummond have worked with Ken Campbell on his theatre productions, but I can't find any evidence that the pair worked on them simultaenously, unfortunately).
Some may attach romantic nostalgia to this track - I just happen to think it's a beautiful piece of work. Apparently recorded as the sun rose in the sky, it's a gentle, blissful track which loops its way around a central theme, slowly bringing in new elements as the song progresses. It is equal parts reggae and muzak, but because that's such a rare concept in the first place it causes the song to exist in a rather unique world of its own. I doubt Lee "Scratch" Perry incorporated many clarinets into his work, for example, but hearing this makes you wish he had.
The B-side "Steppin' Out" is rather less interesting, and sounds as if it might have been meant for use on something like an ITV drama - once again, I've included it for the sake of interest, but don't expect to be bowled over.
Around about this time, Bob Morgan also seemingly completed a large commission of "reggae library music", which eventually found its way into the offices of KPM and ended up on the Channel Four Testcard. I've already done a blog post about this, and to be honest, I consider it to be amongst the finest library material of the period, irrespective of where it ended up being used, or whether it was commercially released. You certainly should expect wonders from the cheeky bonus MP3 I've included from those sessions, a dub version of a piece of library music entitled "Fool in Love", which I still find gobsmacking, and possibly even superior to "Marguerite". Early synthesisers burble, bubble and screech to reggae rhythms, a voice crying "Oh!" comes out of nowhere, and a threatening, sinister riff underpins the entire thing. It's unsettling and utterly brilliant - somewhere in Scotland, the ears of Boards of Canada must have pricked up to this one (especially as it was, unbelievably, a testcard feature for some of the eighties). Mine certainly did. I'd be genuinely curious to see if I'm the only person who thinks "Fool in Love" has been wrongly ignored over the years.
(This blog entry was originally uploaded in May 2008 - not much has changed since then, except to say that "Marguerite" has finally become commercially available through iTunes here, hence the edited version below. I have also chanced upon another Bob Morgan recording since which I will probably upload soon. Hopefully this reupload will act as a spur to my crappy memory.)