Monday, 7 April 2008

The Strange Case of Jane Aire and Others...

So, as hinted at some time ago, I finally acquired a USB turntable and have, also as predicted by some observers, spent hours closeted away with it transferring parts of my vinyl collection to MP3 to the general dissatisfaction of my family.

One album that I reached for almost immediately is simply entitled, ‘Jane Aire and the Belvederes’, was released on the Virgin label in 1979 and has never seen the light of a CD release. This is one of those albums that I creep back to on a regular basis but never quite understand why. After all, I know next to nothing about Jane Aire and even less about the Belvederes, other than one of their number was future Culture Club drummer, Jon Moss.

The reason for its purchase is that I heard it playing in a music store and bought on a whim and it turned out to be very good indeed. It comprises some sprightly covers of Motown songs and a number of variously penned rockers and ballads, all of which are sung in Jane’s rich contralto. The problem for me has been that because it has not been released on CD or as a download, I haven’t played it that often – until now.

Now that I think about it, there are several albums that have become favourites by stealth rather than by rattling the door, demanding to be let in and most of them are the sort of one-of-a-kind album epitomised by Jane Aire. Somehow, I find myself going back to them time after time rather than play something by a recognised favourite with a large representation in my collection.

Those with this peculiar mystique include ’30,000 Feet Over China’ by the Passions, ‘Metro Music’ by Martha and the Muffins and ‘Strange Boutique’ by The Monochrome Set. All of them have a fatal attraction which makes me play them but doesn’t make me want to go out and buy more from the artist involved. Weird or what?

My only explanation is that because I love the one album I already own so much, I don’t want to risk sullying the experience by buying another potentially awful example of their work. After all, these things have been known to happen (Seven and the Ragged Tiger, anyone?) and on a disconcertingly regular basis and my spider-sense tells me that this is almost inevitable in the case of these albums.

What this all boils down to is that I now have my favourite stealth albums on my trusty Creative Zen – so I’ll probably be sick of them by about the end of next week.


Anonymous said...

Jane Aire emerged from the lively, and unlikely, punk scene of Akron, OH, which was a veritable hotbed of new music in the late 70s: Devo, Chrissie Hynde, the Waitresses, etc. Stiff Records, the funky British indy label, hooked into Akron early on and signed a number of the locals, including the before-mentioned Spud Boys and new wave ingenue Rachel Sweet.... and Aire.

She only had one album in her, and you're right. It's a good one. A few Aire cuts are available on Stiff boxsets and compilations put out by Rhino. I'd like to have this lp in digital, too.

musicobsessive said...

Thanks for the info. Now that I have it digitised, I do listen to 'Jane Aire and the Belvederes more regularly - and very good it is too. But why no CD release??