24 October 2009

Chocolate Soup for Diabetics Vols 4 & 5

Chcolate Soup for Diabetics Volume 4

Chocolate Soup for Diabetics Volume 5

Label: none given

Year of Release: 2002

Sorry kids - I've had to remove the download links for these, as they're commercially available again (even on iTunes, of all places). But you did have over two years to download these CDs, and if you haven't done it by now...

"Chocolate Soup for Diabetics" was widely regarded to be one of the major "gateway" albums for British garage and psychedelic nuts in the eighties, issuing some of the finest obscure cuts around. The influence the series had was such that almost all of the singles chosen for inclusion now command three figure sums both on e-bay and in collector's stores, and some of the bigger flops presented have been ripped off or sampled by larger acts since. If you think that it's a coincidence that Sebadoh's "Flame" sounds exactly like The Hush's "Grey", then you're a very generous soul. Lou Barlow clearly had ample supplies of Chocolate Soup at home.

A major fault with the original vinyl issues, however, is that the mastering was frequently shocking and of a bootleg quality (indeed, the legitimacy of the series has frequently been called into question). Some tracks play at faster speeds than they should do, a fact which became startlingly apparent when I first got to hear official reissues of Apple's "Buffalo Billy Can" and The Tickle's "Subway" much later on. Also, whilst mastering compilations straight from the original vinyl isn't that unusual a practice in this particular world, seldom has it been handled with as little clarity as the first three volumes in this series.

Volumes 4 and 5 appeared on CD rather unannounced in the early part of this decade, nearly twenty years after their younger brothers and sisters, presumably emerging from the same source. From memory, they were on the CD racks of independent music stores for about three months before disappearing again, presumably only ever having been pressed up in extremely limited runs. The first thing that's noticeable about both is that the sound quality is a huge improvement, and whilst most tracks still appear to be mastered from vinyl, the compiler has obviously learned a thing or two about effective noise reduction. The second thing, unfortunately, is that there's a sense of the bottom of the barrel being scraped. There are some fantastic little tracks buried away on these albums, but they're snuggling up alongside some very ordinary beat band fare which will only be of interest to completists of that ilk.

On the plus side, any album which includes Family's "Scene Through The Eye of A Lens", The Darwin's Theory's "Hosanna", or Mike Rabin's "Head Over Heels" is worth a sniff, but steel yourselves - neither of these CDs are up to the lofty standards the first few outings set, although at least you can enjoy them without muddy sound.

Volume 4 tracklisting:

1. Chords Five - Universal Vagrant (1967)
2. The Anteeks - I Don't Want You (1966)
3. The Perishers - How Does It Feel (1966)
4. The Exceptions - The Eagle Flies on Friday (1966)
5. The Rebel Rousers - As I Look (1968)
6. Alan Avon & The Toyshop - Night To Remember (1970)
7. The Dodos - Make Up My Mind (1968)
8. Roger Young - It's Been Nice (1966)
9. The Answers - Just A Fear (1966)
10. Force Five - Don't Know Which Way To Turn (1966)
11. The Darwin's Theory - Hosanna (1966)
12. The Transatlantics - Look Before You Leap (1966)
13. The Longboatmen - Take Her Any Time (1966)
14. Linda Van Dyck with Boo & The Boo Boos - Stengun (1966)
15. Gary Walker - You Don't Love Me (1966)
16. Caleb - Woman of Distinction (1967)
17. The Trend - Shot on Sight (1966)
18. The Family - Scene Through The Eye of A Lens (1967)
19. Steve Aldo - You're Absolutely Right (1966)
20. The Peasants - Let's Get Together (1965)
21. The Original Road Runners - Waterloo Man (1966)

Volume 5 tracklisting:

1. The Quotations - Cool It (1968)
2. The Transatlantics - Don't Fight It (1966)
3. The Longboatmen - Only In Her Home Town (1966)
4. The Ways & Means - Breaking Up A Dream (1968)
5. Chords Five - I Am Only Dreaming (1967)
6. The Moving Finger - Shake and Finger Pop (1969)
7. The Authentics - Climbing Through (1964)
8. The Mickey Finn - Garden Of My Mind (1967)
9. Force Five - Baby Let Your Hair Down (1966)
10. St. Louis Union - English Tea (1966)
11. The Magic Lanterns - I Stumbled (1966)
12. The Bad Boys - She's A Breakaway (1966)
13. The Sons Of Fred - Baby What You Want Me To Do (1966)
14. Boo & The Boo Boos - Oriental Boo (1966)
15. Mike Rabin & The Demons - Head Over Heels (1964)
16. Caleb - Baby Your Phrasing Is Bad (1967)
17. Wayne Gibson & The Dynamics - Baby Baby Baby Pity Me (1965)
18. The Petards - Tartarex (1969)
19. The J&B - Wow! Wow! Wow! (1966)
20. King-Size Taylor - Thinkin' (1966)
21. The Four Squares - Don't You Know I Love You (1964)


roger cossey said...

OK you got me here under false pretences, I thought this blog was about chocolate. I wanted to find out what chocolate soup was!

Anonymous said...

then yer lucky, you stumbled upon some of the greatest music in rock and roll history!