Title - 'Strange Men, Changed Men: Complete Recordings'
Artist - Bram Tchaikovsky
For those not in the know, Bram Tchaikovsky (born Peter Bramall) is, and not just for my money, one highly underrated British vocalist and guitarist.
He first came to prominence as a member of UK punk/pub rock band The Motors, who he joined in 1977. After he left them, he led an eponymous power pop band, with Micky Broadbent (bass, keyboards) and Keith Boyce (drums).
The group scored a US Top 40 hit single on the Billboard Hot 100 in 1979, with 'Girl of My Dreams' and in the Netherlands, 'Sarah Smiles' was a minor hit, reaching number 32 in April 1979.
Nick Garvey and Denis Forbes were also involved in later band line-up's, but after disappointing sales, the band split up in 1981 and Tchaikovsky left the music industry.
Releasing this coming April 27th, 2018, via Cherry Red Records (UK), Strange Men, Changed Men: Complete Recordings 1978-1981 is a lovingly assembled 3CD package, fully endorsed by Bram Tchaikovsky himself.
Containing all three Bram Tchaikovsky albums - Strange Man, Changed Man (1979), The Russians Are Coming (1980) and Funland (1981) - plus all of the band’s singles, b-sides and alternative versions from 1978-1981, this is, without a shadow of a doubt, the only significant musical account on the market today for the great Bram Tchaikovsky.
Including the singles ‘Sarah Smiles’, ‘Lullaby of Broadway’, ‘Girl of My Dreams’, ‘I’m The One That’s Leaving’, ‘Let’s Dance’, ‘Stand & Deliver’ and ‘Shall We Dance?’, it comes presented in a special clam shell box set, complete with individual disc wallets featuring the original albums’ artwork.
It also Includes a booklet with full sleeve notes focussing on the musical career of Bram Tchaikovsky and all material contained within has been remastered for the best sound possible.
STRANGE MAN, CHANGED MAN
2. STRANGE MAN, CHANGED MAN
3. LONELY DANCER
4. I’M THE ONE THAT’S LEAVING
5. GIRL OF MY DREAMS
7. NOBODY KNOWS
8. LADY FROM THE USA
9. I’M A BELIEVER
10. SARAH SMILES
11. TURN ON THE LIGHT
12. GOODNIGHT LADIES (LULLABY OF BROADWAY)
13. ROCK ‘N’ ROLL CABARET
14. (WHO WANTS TO BE A) CRIMINAL
15. GIRL OF MY DREAMS (US PROMO SINGLE VERSION)
16. SARAH SMILES (SINGLE VERSION)
17. TURN ON THE LIGHT (SINGLE VERSION)
18. BLOODLINE (SINGLE VERSION)
THE RUSSIANS ARE COMING
1. LET’S DANCE
2. MR. PRESIDENT
4. HOLLYWOOD NIGHTMARE
6. THE RUSSIANS ARE COMING
8. LETTER FROM THE U.S.A.
9. CAN’T GIVE YOU REASONS
10. JEUX SANS FRONTIERES
11. NEW YORK PARANOIA
12. COME BACK
14. LET’S DANCE (SINGLE VERSION)
15. ROCK AND ROLL CABARET (SINGLE VERSION)
16. MR PRESIDENT (FRENCH VERSION)
17. ROBBER (LIVE)
18. WHISKEY AND WINE (LIVE)
1. STAND AND DELIVER
2. SHALL WE DANCE?
3. HEART OF STONE
4. BREAKING DOWN THE WALLS OF HEARTACHE
5. MODEL GIRL
6. WHY DOES MY MOTHER ‘PHONE ME?
7. USED TO BE MY USED TO BE
8. SOUL SURRENDER
9. TOGETHER MY LOVE
10. MIRACLE CURE
11. EGYPTIAN MUMMIES
12. SHALL WE DANCE? (SINGLE VERSION)
13. SOLID BALL OF ROCK
The thing, and not just for my money, about Bram is that nobody can ever figure out why he wasn't a musical superstar! Straight out the cannon, his debut album Strange Man Changed Man (1979) really hits the mark for me in the vein of The Cars, The Vapors, Nick Lowe, and even early Cheap Trick.
Chock full of great melodies with a fair amount of crunch, sure most of the songs are strong0guitar led, but once you get to the second side (of the vinyl), you'll notice a more melodic groove take over.
Considered, by many, as his best album (and I can see why), the single 'Girl of my Dreams' is so flawless, so memorable, so hummable, that you just know you'll adore the rest of the tracks equally (and you do/will). 'Sarah Smiles', the Neil Diamond/Monkee's classic 'I'm A Believer' brings us power-popped up tunes, with the slashing guitars and thumping bass of 'Nobody Knows', and the hot fuss of 'Bloodline' along for the ride too.
Then in 1980 came the sophomore album The Russians Are Coming, which admittedly wasn't as punchy to the ears as his debut, but still managed to contain some memorable music moments. The kick off track alone, 'Let's Dance' is still a go-to for all Bram fans when talking about his career, and that's backed by cuts such as both 'Pressure' and the title track itself, of course.
Then, and from the man who would a decade later write 'Solid Ball Of Rock' for the heavy metal band Saxon in 1991, we get his third, and final solo albu,, and to my mind his most pop-tastic, 1981's tremendously under-rated and overlooked Funhouse.
Containing his brilliant single (man, I would have loved to have put hit in front of the word single!), 'Breaking Down The Walls of Heartache', sadly, by the time this third album came to be, and combined with constant personnel changes, the deceptively entitled Funland is definitely a toned down affair.
That said, if you don't incorporate a little hipsway of your own listening to 'Shall We Dance?' (George Gershwin / Ira Gershwin), then there's something wrong with you!
Regardless, Strange Men, Changed Men: Complete Recordings 1978-1981 out via Cherry Red Records (UK) is an incredible, and dare I say, complete collection from the great Bram Tchaikovsky. Inclusive of all of the band's singles, B-Sides and alternative versions from 1978-1981, if you ever liked/loved even just one of his singles/songs, you know you have to now own this 3cd box-set.
3CD Box-Set Purchase Link