Shivers Inside
Kit – Unshakeable Faith – LP

Once upon a time I was accused of disappearing into my world of books and films where darkness came too soon.  Total nonsense of course.  There was music too.  But the suggestion was that I was missing out.  Total nonsense too.  Products have so much to teach us.  So many stories to tell …

Okay let’s look at this logically if we are going to seriously start a reissue label – and we are going to have to think of something a bit smarter than that because I hate the word reissue.  Personally I love that salvage phrase that crops up sometimes.  That’s got class.

And talking about class if we’re going to put our money where our mouths are then let’s aim really high.  I think the Numero Group has done such a fantastic job in raising the game.  They know the people that buy their releases are music obsessives for whom the sound’s just a part of the whole special experience.  And that yeah if you’re catering for a market that drools over how an old LP sleeve and or a 7” label design on an old soul record, then the compilation or salvaged set has got to be pretty special in its own right.  And the Numero Group has got its packaging and presentation so spectacularly spot on that now I’ll religiously order on spec whatever they put out on trust, and trust is such an important word.

I absolutely adore their Eccentric Soul series.  It’s been so important in deflating the myth about independent labels linking in to punk purely, which is complete balderdash.  They are doing this fantastic job in documenting the activities of local chancers and dreamers who released such fantastic soul and funk recordings which so often benefited from tight budgets and the consequential rough edges.  The latest one, Twinight’s Lunar Rotation, is a real killer.  That track, Nevermore by Renaldo Domino, wow, it’s incredible, like Roosevelt Grier’s In My Tenement meets the Shangri-Las’ Out In The Streets but a thousand times sweeter and stranger. 

So, yeah, we’ll have the total look right, with consistency in the design, so people will instantly know it’s on our label.  That’s number one.  And number two, well, obviously it’s what we release.  I propose we have some connecting themes, but keep things nice and loose and mixed up and messed up, like our own record collections and selections.  We’ll want some connecting themes, but please please let’s not mention the dreaded eclectic word.

Now, deep breath, my strong suggestion is that we start with a salvage operation on Kit’s Unshakeable Faith, with some bonus single and session tracks hopefully.  I mean, let’s put our cards on the table.  If I’m going to put up most of the money, I think I ought to be allowed first choice.  And my fear is that if we don’t act fast one of the other imprints blunders in and makes a mess, like Cherry Red or LTM.  That would be cruel.

So, unless you have any violent objections, I’ll get the ball rolling.   I’ve got Dave Haslam’s email address somewhere, and I suppose it’s only right to make contact with him seeing as he put out their records on his Play Hard label.  And we should be able to get in touch with Lin Sangster, the Ms Kit misfit herself, via the website or MySpace page for her Bad Anorak 404 project.  I think we need to move fast.  Sooner or later the world’s going to wake up to the genius of Lin Sangster.

You know ever since I started playing my old vinyl again the Kit LP’s been my most played record – along side Makin’ Time’s No Lumps of Gristle and Laugh’s Sensation Number One.  Hmm more candidates for the future there methinks.  But that Kit record.  It sounds unstable.  Tough and brittle.  What we used to call the sound of pop dancing on the edge of a precipice with its laces left dangling undone.  Turn the treble up!  It’s more like high life than rock.

And Lin’s voice is one of the great pop things.  She’s got one of the great unheralded soul voices.  We need to start a big campaign or crusade.  Picket Lime Street until they build a statue of her on Clayton Square.  To me she’s the missing link between Pauline Murray and Le Mystere des Voiz Bulgares.  That vibrato.  The shiver, quiver, quaver.  Wonderful. 

I’m tempted to ask too about her earlier group Send No Flowers.  Perhaps we can salvage enough recordings to put together a second volume.  What annoyed me most about Morley’s North By North West collection was that he missed the glorious opportunity to include Playing For Time.  It’s maybe the best thing to come out of Liverpool, and the best thing the Au Pairs never did.  “Please don’t sell your dreams to me …”  I love that song.  I would so love to get hold of a copy of their Peel session.  And maybe there’s more from the Robert Blamire session.  It’s funny.  The only records I know produced by him are those Send No Flowers songs and the Scars LP.  Why weren’t people queuing up for his services?

I love that whole post-Crucial Three secret Mersey pop revolution.  Manchester’s had such a debilitating effect on music through Joy Division then the Smiths then Stone Roses then Oasis.  But the Liverpool thing has been so much more fascinating if frustrating.  From Pink Military to Pink Industry.  Pale Fountains to Shack.  Wild Swans through Care and the Lotus Eaters and back.  The Room to Benny Profane.  Send No Flowers to Kit.  Decemberists to the Hellfire Sermons.  You remember when we used to go to see the Hellfire Sermons, and they’d talk of being big fans of Kit but then say they’d never seen them or met them.  God they were strange lads.  They were from the same city, and despite the size of its heart it’s not the biggest city in the world.  I’d be camping on Lin’s doorstep and leaving flowers in old milk bottles. 

I was listening to Lin’s records as Bad Anorak 404 the other day.  Ironically on a train going up to Liverpool.  And they’re so good.  So simple but lovely nevertheless.  Her voice is a little less wobbly and a bit more husky.  And there’s a lovely folky or ‘60s french thing going on, with Carole King and Gal Costa thrown in.  We should be celebrating these creations.  Hey ho.  I think the only thing missing is that trademark Liverpool wonky trumpet sound which was imported via Andy Diagram and Burt Bacharach bless ‘em. 

And yes before you say it, yes we’ll make sure the next release is your dreamed about lovers rock collection.  I think we can easily make the connections there if the Numero Group can pull in that beautiful Catherine Howe record with their Eccentric Soul series.  That was such a stroke of luck you coming across that guy at work who used to go out with Pauline from Brown Sugar.  He deserves a medal for keeping all those tapes.  They’re priceless …

© 2007 John Carney