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Ghost Canyon

Title - Exile on Twee Street: Songs From Glasgow, 1980-82
Artist - The Bluebells

The Bluebells performed jangly guitar based pop not dissimilar to their Scottish contemporaries Aztec Camera and Orange Juice. Although their success came later in their career, they did manage to have three (3) Top 40 hit singles in the UK. All written by guitarist and founder member Bobby Bluebell (real name Robert Hodgens) they were 'I'm Falling,' the delightful 'Cath,' and their biggest success, the vibrant sing-along 'Young at Heart.'

The latter was co-written with Siobhan Fahey of Bananarama (originally recorded on the Bananarama album Deep Sea Skiving) and violinist Bobby Valentino, and made it to #8 on the UK Singles Chart on its original release in 1984. The band also released one EP, The Bluebells, and one full-length album, Sisters.

Before signing to London Records and scoring those hits mentioned above, the band recorded an albums worth of independent recordings and demos; most of which remained unreleased. Compiled by Bobby Bluebell (Hodgens) with the involvement of the rest of the band, Exile On Twee Street finally reveals the bands roots in the indie scene of early 80's Glasgow.

Up first is the wonderful 60's flashback vibe of the Dave Clark Five on 'Everybody's Somebody's Fool,' and that's backed by 'Some Sweet Day,' the tinny 'Happy Birthday'(only ever issued before on a rare flexi disc in the UK!), and both the more-like-we-would-expect 'No One Ever Waves Goodbye' and the Morrisseyesque 'One Last Love Song.'

Both 'Wishful Thinking' and the early, raw demo 'Oh Dear' are along next and go a long way to show why this new collection of original versions and demos is such a fantastic release for all their fans. The brilliant harmonica-driven 'You're Gonna Miss Me' is next and is followed by 'East Green,' the melodic upbeat vibe of 'Red Guitar,' and then both the fuzzy demo 'Sugar Bridge' (7" Single, reached #72 in 1983) and 'Forevermore' (7" Single, didn't chart in 1982).

The beyond raw 'Holland' is next and is backed by the bouncy 'Honest John,' the wonderful 'Stand up Cowboy,' and then the harmonica and drum-led sounds of 'Small Town Martyr.' The album then comes to a close with the tuneful trumpets of 'Learn to Love,' the laid back feel to 'All the King's Horses,' and the both 'Tender Mercy' and then finally, 'I'm Set Free.'

Reviewed by: Russell A. Trunk

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