Monday, 8 October 2018

Tryouts - On the Outside Bog (1983) C30+

I'm not sure why it's taken me a full year to post this second Tryouts tape, but better late than never. You'll possibly remember them from last September when I posted the first tape, except as I've found Jon Sykes' letters in the meantime, I realise the first tape I heard was actually their third, and this is their fourth.

Tryouts' fifteen seconds of fame came when The Look on Their Faces was mentioned in Sounds, wherein it was written...

At a time when Cassette Pets seems full of either grim dabblers or brainless would-be pop stars it comes as almost refreshing to be confronted by the Tryouts' complete daftness (and they don't even try to turn this natural trait into a selling point). On their new tape, The Look on Their Faces, they occasionally slip into vulgarity - He Wears Underpants (titter) and Sitting on the Bog (giggles) - but are able to redeem themselves with the splendid minimalist pop of Damn Her.

Anyway, what I can piece together of the whole story is that Tryouts comprised Jon Sykes, Rob Blackburn, Grant Hodgson, and Chris Hugill - although I believe this last guy left before they recorded On the Outside Bog. The Look on Their Faces was their first cassette to feature real musical instruments. Previously we used pots and pans and all that stuff, as Jon wrote in one of his letters, in which we also find...


Jon Sykes' Brain is in the Lost Property Office (April 1981) C90 - 29 copies sold as of February 1984. No musical ability, all pots and pans and stuff. Nothing like the next cassette.
Rigamortis - never released. It was that rubbish, we put it in the bin!
The Look on Their Faces (1982) C30 - 20 copies sold as of February 1984.
On the Outside Bog (December 1983) C30 - 18 copies sold as of February 1984.
In Front of a Crowd (August 1984) C30 - a proposed recording of our first ever live performance at Staxton Village Hall in the not too distant future. All the songs except one will not have been released before. Jon gives the date 20/8/84 for the performance. The next letter states Tryouts have had an up and down career since I last wrote. We did a successful gig at a place near Whitby and at the Totley site of the Sheffield City Polytechnic. The Whitby gig was released as our fourth cassette album. It's quite good. However at Easter we played at the same place near Whitby again. This time the crowd was awful. Only a handful of people enjoyed our set, but the rest sat there with depressed faces longing for us to get off. Anyhow they got some abuse thrown at them by yours truly. The thing that really annoyed me was that those people never even gave us a chance. They had already made their minds up that we were shit.

So there you go. They sent me this C30 on side one of a C60 with a couple of extra tracks on the other side, both of which I used on a Do Easy compilation, and those are also included here. Funnily enough, I've only just now noticed that the album version of Superior Human Beings omits some disgruntled mumbling utilising the F-word. This stuff still surprises me. A lot of it is like the most awful teenage poetry set to music, and yet it has a sort of disarmingly awkward honesty which you just never got with the likes of Morrissey or any of those other studiously dispossessed types, habitually moaning about loneliness whilst posing on the front cover of some shitty music rag, week after week after week.

Wherever you are now, Tryouts, I raise my glass to you.

1 - The Outside Bog
2 - In the Cage
3 - You're Turning Into Someone I Hate
4 - Those Bloody Questions
5 - Those People
6 - Stop Feeling Sorry for Yourself
7 - One Short Word
8 - End of Side One
9 - We Must Always Help
10 - Drink My Blood
11 - Ignored
12 - Superior Human Beings
13 - Walls of Queniboro
14 - Pornographic John
15 - If You Take Advantage of Me
16 - Superior Human Beings [uncensored version]

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