The Ron Kane Files

Writing About Music

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

One Offs

11-4-08 Reader request: “One-off singles? Great efforts by bands / artists that only managed a single 7” or 12” single”

There are several bands that only have singles – the first one that comes to mind is the Leisure Process – two guys better known for making / designing record sleeves, than for their music. And some of their music is ‘Grade A goods’ – “Cashflow”, “A Way You’ll Never Be”, “Love Cascade”, “Anxiety” – all on CBS / Epic UK. I think this managed only about a total of 8 or 9 songs, spread over 4 x 12” singles. They were assisted by some of the Level 42 guys, apparently. But in nearly 25 years – there has not been an LP / CD forthcoming – that I am aware of.

I was always rather fond of NZ musician Dick Driver, his band being Hip Singles. One amazing 12” single: “Typewriter” b/w “So Strange”, Hit Singles NZ ’83; and a sole 7” 45, “This Is Goodbye”, Hit Singles NZ ’82 – and their only ‘full-length’ title isn’t even a full-length, it’s a live EP (“Play Up”, Hit Singles NZ ’83). Mr. Driver was also a TV host in New Zealand – but I guess he never took his music career seriously enough to do the world the favor of making a proper album. Some of the members of Hip Singles (but not Driver) formed a band that only ever made a sole 7” 45: You’re A Movie “Charlene” (Epic NZ ’84).

How about Pat Wilson – “Bop Girl”? Was there ever a full-length album to go with that? All I ever saw was a WEA Australia 12” with a couple of cuts…

French band A Caus Des Garcons have 3 singles, but no album. I am extremely fond of “Faire Les Voyous” (I also have “Pas Envie D’Expliquer”, but not their debut single, titled “A Caus Des Garcons”). Despite working with Alain Chamfort, there is no album for these girls. Were there just too many ‘girl groups’ in France in ’88 / ’89?

How about the ‘punk’ 45 “I Could Puke” b/w “Sagittarius Bumpersticker” by White Boy? I don’t know of another release by White Boy. Or the Appollonaires “The Feeling’s Gone” on 2-Tone UK? Did they have another release? That was a great single! Another good NZ group without an album is Daggy & The Dickheads – their “Afternoon TV” 7” is a masterpiece! But only album, just a 12” EP to go with it. For years, all I had was one 12” by The Fire Engines (“Big Gold Dream”)…I never saw any other releases by them until the recent Domino Records collection!

There is one “one-offs” for which we can be thankful that there was only one: The Firm “Star Trekkin’” – a song so insidious, once heard, you…can’t think clearly for at least an hour or two! It is inanity (i.e. Star Trek) personified. And I only ever saw one record by Furious Pig, the British punk accapella group (“I Don’t Like You Face”) – well, I didn’t like your record – I kept it as an example of one of the worst records ever to come from the United Kingdom!

The Gurlz (another NZ band, one 12” single only), Helden (a Hans Zimmer / Zaine Griff group, one 12” single only), IQU (“Witchcraft”, another NZ band, one 12” single only), the famous M/A/R/R/S “Pump Up The Volume”, The Suburban Reptiles had 2 singles and nothing else! Bardi Blaise “Trans Siberian Express” (on Dindisc UK). The Brain “Kick The Donkey” b/w “Nightmare In Red” (Parlophone UK – the Giles & Giles of Giles, Giles & Fripp). Tuff Monks (“After The Fireworks”, with some Birthday Party guys), it barely even has a B-Side! Tanz Der Youth “I’m Sorry, I’m Sorry”, Radar UK 45 with Brian James of The Damned). Bon Marche (with “So This Is Love”, a Phil Judd song, no less). Eli “Never Mind” (’67 Parlophone UK 45, with Finesilver & Ker – probably the best record on this whole list!). Judy Nylon’s group Snatch only ever had 2 45’s and a 12”. Shrink “Valid or Void” on A&M UK – did her ever manage a 2nd 45? (I even have a video clip for that one). John Foster & The Black Dyke Mills Band had the distinction of being a) the debut 45 on Apple and b) the only appearance of a Lennon-McCartney song “Thingumybob”! Hedgehoppers Anonymous “It’s Good News Week” (a Jonathan King effort – one single, even issued twice!). Isn’t there only one Pee Wee Herman 45, “Surfin’ Bird”? Terry Randall “S.O.S. (Save Our Strip)” an L.A. 45 about the Sunset Blvd. teenage / under-age riots. Pink Military “Did You See Her?” on Eric’s Records, a Liverpool band. I am very fond of The Pharmaceuticals “Joe’s Gass House”, who I have written about before, one of my fav garage 45’s! Who were the Hi-Shots (“Here Come The Three Bears”) on Track Record UK? Virgine Icard “Kalas”, produced by an old friend of mine, Roland Bocquet. There is but one Bas Muys 45, he of Smyle and Stars On 45 (the Dutch guy with the voice of John Lennon). The years I have been mystified by the sole 45 by Santos Morados, on Island Records UK “Tonopah” b/w “Anything” – who is he? Man, he sounds like Joe Cocker! Oh, the Monomen from Holland – I believe “The Come In Handies” is their sole vinyl –I got their cassette-only afterthought, “Hystery”, but…no other records (I even got to see them live in Amsterdam, opening for Peter Hammill!). Mainframe “Five Minutes” is pretty much unto itself, apart from their obscure LP “The Tenants Of The Latticework”. Oh, “Kinky Boots” by Patrick McNee and Honor Blackman – the sole record for either? Nope – she had a whole LP on Decca, but for Mr. Steed? How many Little Nell 45’s were there? I have two… Did Philip Jap ever release anything after (or before) “Save Us” on A&M UK?

See? There are all kinds of “one-offs” lurking. I confess I consulted my singles list when composing this blog, at the request of Jim D.

C’mon readers! Use the comments section to name some of your favorite one-offs. They’re harder to remember than you might think!

Get out and vote! I want a Suzuki SX-4 Crossover!


Anonymous Jim Donato said...

Helden Ha-HA! I trump thee, Sir Ron! Helden also had a 2nd 7"; crafty though they were in issuing it. It was a free 7" twinned with an issue of "In The City" magazine! "Stranded" was another track from the never released "Spies" album.

the proofiness of it all:

8:00 AM  
Blogger Ron Kane said...

I think I've got one of those! I was in England to find the In The City mags that I have.

5:47 AM  
Blogger chas_m said...

I have a 7", 33RPM (!!) 4-song EP from Atlanta band "The Basics," whom even my old WRAS mates don't recall.

The "single" from this outing was "Beggin' for Beer," a very bass-driven number, musically (and ONLY musically) similar to what Joe Jackson was doing at the time. This was probably 1981 or so.

The "Propaganda!" A&M compilation from 79 that I picked up a fresh copy of in Portland has a great pop-punk ditty called "Valid or Void" by Shrink -- never heard of them again, that's for sure ...

And though I'm sure I have lots more in this vein, I might as well ask the collective mind: other than the Comsat Angels, did ANYONE on the 1980 "Made in Britain" Polydor compilation actually release a full album??

5:55 AM  
Anonymous Jim Donato said...


After searching for about 9 years, I finally have The Invader's great "Test Card" LP! I got it in the budget vinyl bins in the late 80s when some big music store opened up on Colonial near the Herndon Airport. What was the name of that place?

1:25 PM  
Blogger fiftypercent said...

Ron can you tell me more about the Mainframe LP you mentioned? I've never heard of it before. Thanks.

11:12 AM  

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