Friday, 4 August 2017

Lead Shoes - Lead Up the Garden Path (1985) C46


Unlikely Records - whom I suppose might be best remembered for an early release of those Milovan Srdenovic numbers which were eventually reissued as Songs from West of the Pelvic Girdle - sent out a request for material. Put your best stuff on a C50, suggested Robert Cox - I think his name was - and if I like it we'll release it on Unlikely Records. I put together a Do Easy tape, which was rejected for obvious reasons, but I also mentioned the proposal to Steve Coots, with whom I shared a house. Like myself, Steve was on the Time Based Media course at Maidstone College of Art. To be honest, he could be fucking hard work at times, but he was often funny and I really liked the music which he recorded in the college sound studio under the name Lead Shoes.
 
Unfortunately, Unlikely Records didn't seem to like Lead Shoes any more than they had liked Do Easy, so I offered to put the thing out on my own label. Lead Up the Garden Path, was Steve's best of tape. There's a potted history of the band on the cover, included with the download, which I can't be arsed to type out here, but for what it's worth I recall Eat Your Peas as being fucking great, and I really wish I'd kept a copy, or that Steve had included it here, but never mind. Steve was into a lot of music which I couldn't stand and still can't - Pink Floyd and Genesis, but also Philip Glass, Michael Nyman and those guys, the influences of which you can probably hear on this collection. Neither the Cockney Rejects nor Sham 69 had established much of a presence in his record collection. I'm not even sure he owned a copy of Machine Gun Etiquette. Mental.
 
Lead Shoes were named after a pseudo-surrealist film by Sidney Peterson which Steve loved, although I wasn't that impressed when I saw it as part of our film course. Steve later ended up in a somewhat laboured wacky folk band with Charles Thompson called Heads on Springs. They were a sort of trying too hard hey kids, poetry isn't just for squares type operation which I prefer not to remember in detail, just as I prefer not to remember sharing a house with Steve in detail, but even with such unpleasantries in mind, it has to be said that the guy recorded some fucking great music. It also has to be said that Steve McGarrigle's wonderful trumpet playing on a few of these tracks didn't hurt.
 
This tape makes use of Brian Eno's old EMS synthesiser and the poorly quantified involvement of someone from And the Native Hipsters. There were two covers because the first one didn't photocopy very well, featuring a photograph of the head of a tailor's dummy called Norman. Steve had Norman placed at an upper floor window of an earlier house in which he'd lived so as to cause innocent passers by to shit themselves when they caught sight of him.



Tracks:
1 - Sniffing Glue
2 - My Street
3 - Baseball on Sunday
4 - Beautiful Dreamer
5 - Drowning in a Coffee Pot
6 - Submerged
7 - Blink
8 - Night Soiler
9 - Holding My Nose
10 - Four Legged Friend
11 - Waltz
12 - Happy Feet



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