The Ron Kane Files

Writing About Music

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

The Stranglers

12-11-07 The Stranglers (with Hugh Cornwell)

(re-run from Aug. ’02)

STRANGLERS, THE 10 EPIC UK 466483.2 CD 1990 10 TRKS

Very fitting – I just got the recent Hugh Cornwell book about The Stranglers (where he actually discusses what the songs are about!) when I visited Berkeley last weekend. This is the last real Stranglers release (i.e. the last one with Hugh). It’s not my favorite Stranglers release, but it is still pretty good.

I don’t remember if I knew that this was the final Stranglers album when I first got it. Even though it was released as an LP, by 1990 I was only buying compact disc versions of things. If I could find a decent UK copy of this LP, I would buy it today (’07: which I did!) The singles from this album had great B-Sides, but again, I only ever bought CD singles then. Just last weekend, I found a 12” for “96 Tears” (I love The Stranglers, but I think I still prefer ? & The Mysterions version).

I was aware of The Stranglers pretty much from the beginning, but I wasn’t really a fan until 1979’s “The Raven”, which was released during my first visit to England in September 1979. Boy, that’s a great album! (The only time I ever saw The Stranglers live was at ‘The Whisky’ in L.A., around this time – 1980, maybe?).

When “10” came out, I was actually living in England. I was working for an exporter, so it was fun ordering the CD from CBS UK, listening to it in the office etc. It sounded fine. I remember having to scramble to find all of the CD singles at the time. When “10” got re-released on CD recently, they added all of the B-sides (4 or 5 songs, I think, not counting remixes).

I suppose I really wanted to continue liking them, even if this wasn’t a great album. I don’t think I’ve ever met anyone who thought this was a fantastic record – in fact, many people thought that The Stranglers were getting a bit tired by this point – I suspect even Hugh Cornwell may be in this camp of thought!

Hugh played a solo gig at ‘The Mint’ in L.A. about 1997. It was a great show. I got some stuff (“Ladies & Gentlemen, An Evening With Hugh Cornwell”!) autographed. The show was under-promoted – I found out about it from a friend on The Doors ‘list’! (Thanks, Ida!)

I pretty much continue buying Hugh Cornwell CD’s these days, when I can find them – they’re mostly all on small labels, so availability is spotty. As long as he feels like making music, I’ll keep listening.

2007 addendum: …and have done so, getting “Wired” (1993), “Guilty (1997), “Hi Fi” (2001) and “Beyond Elysian Fields” (2005) – but I have yet to find copies of his more recent works. “10” LP label is pictured, not CD vers.


Anonymous Jim Donato said...

Re: Hugh

The last Hugh I have is Hi-Fi and I bought it new at full price when it came out just to boost his soundscan numbers! Not to readers - this almost never happens! I need to get Elysian Fields and whatever came afterward! I see from his website that he will be in Atlanta [4 hours] on 2/13 but that's a Wednesday. Bummer! All my vacation is for RonKon! I may have to think about this as I have always wanted to hear HC live.

But yeah, Ten is best viewed, rather than listened to. The cover is awesome! The music is tired.

2:08 PM  

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