Thin Red Line – Equinox

Thin Red Line
Equinox
1983 (no label)
Palmerston North, New Zealand

Karen Rush – Vocals
Dave White – Keyboards
Des Wilson – Lead guitar, acoustic solo on “River Song”, bass on “Warheads”
John O’Sullivan – Acoustic guitar
Catherine Wallace – Flute
Don Loveday – Bass
Peter Clark – Drums

Side 1:

  1. The Dominion
  2. Cousin Biko
  3. Warheads

Side 2:

  1. Equinox
  2. River Song
  3. Crossways

This appears to be one of the earliest bands from Dave White, who went on to form such bands as The Clear and Lung. However, this is far from the aggressive punk/thrash/industrial/etc music he came known for later. This is female fronted rock with slight alternative, reggae, etc leanings here and there. The songs are mostly acoustic guitar based, but with prominent keyboard and flute in many songs. Kind of a unique combination. This demo was recorded in December 1983, so I am not sure if it was released before 1984 rolled around or not. They went on to release 3-4 more demos after this one before calling it a day. The first one was either called Seclusions Paradise or Seclusion in Paradise depending on which source you read.

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Bahumutsi Theatre Company of Soweto – Umongikazi (the Nurse) / The Hungry Earth

Bahumutsi Theatre Company of Soweto
Umongikazi (the Nurse) / The Hungry Earth
1983 Plankton Records (PCN106)
South Africa

Side 1:

  1. Umongikazi Part 1
  2. Umongikazi Part 2
  3. Umongikazi Part 3
  4. Umongikazi Part 4
  5. Umongikazi Part 5
  6. Umongikazi Part 6
  7. Umongikazi Part 7
  8. Umongikazi Part 8

Side 2:

  1. The Hungry Earth part 1
  2. The Hungry Earth part 2
  3. The Hungry Earth part 3
  4. The Hungry Earth part 4
  5. The Hungry Earth part 5
  6. The Hungry Earth part 6
  7. The Hungry Earth part 7

This is one of the earliest releases by Plankton Records. The label states these are songs from the two plays listed in the title. Each song probably has a song title, but I can’t find those online. I did find a book that tells the story of the Bahumutsi Drama Group and the ways it fought apartheid in South Africa with these plays. You can read about that online. Some sources list this as a cassette single. It’s really too long for that – at just under 25 minutes, it is really even a bit long for an EP, but that is closer to what it is. The sound here is a Capella music with some claps for rhythm here and there, but mostly just the compelling voices of the Bahumutsi Drama Group.

Missing Information: Song titles

Streetlevel – Relay

Streetlevel
Relay
1983 (no label)
Wolverhampton, England, United Kingdom

Clive Davenport – Vocals, guitars
Paul Keeble – Vocals, bass
Gary Mitchell – Drum, percussion, vocals
Graham Boler – Synthesizer, coffee

Side 1:

  1. You Have to Tell Them
  2. Never Knew
  3. Fight on the Street
  4. Finish of the Bliss
  5. Pictures of You
  6. Light and Shade

Side 2:

  1. In the World’s Terms
  2. Yireh (Gen. 22 v. 14)
  3. These Days
  4. One Spare Minute
  5. I’ve Got You

If the cover of this demo screamed out at you “middle of the road rock!”… you would be correct. It’s not bad, but if you want to rock out with some air guitar you might be disappointed. Songs like “Fight on the Street” have cool bass lines and are well written. There is nothing wrong with being middle of the road as long as you can do it well. Too many bands stay in that area to be safe. This appears to be a band that is doing this style just because it is what they want to, and it shows.

Damascus – Demo

Damascus
Demo
1983(?) (no label)
Mt. Prospect, Illinois, USA

Possible band members:

Tom McKeown – Lead & background vocals, electric guitar, organ, piano, synthesizers
Marc Reich – Lead & background vocals, electric & acoustic guitars
Cliff Zweibruck – Electric bass, background vocals
Dave Coy – Drums, percussion

  1. Lead Me On
  2. Psalm Ad
  3. Reckless

This is the first demo by progressive/rock/metal band Damascus. There is little information on this demo, but I did find a lot of information about the band when transferring their next demo Will I Find You There? This demo starts off a bit deceptively – it seems a lot more mellow than the next demo, and not progressive rock at all. But pretty soon the progressive elements kick in. By the second song, there is no doubt what they are. Not as heavy as their next demo, but probably a tad more progressive. They also compared themselves to Van Halen or Bon Jovi on their next demo, but there is not much influence of those bands on this demo. No date or band members are listed. Possible band members based on the next demo are listed above, and a possible release date of 1983 is given based on an online interview that states they became Damascus in 1982 and then later recorded a demo.

Missing Information: Band members, release date

Steve Butler – Waving and Drowning

Steve Butler
Waving and Drowning
1983 Sticky Music (GUM 007)
Glasgow, Scotland, United Kingdom

Steve Butler – Lead vocals, keyboards, acoustic guitars, background vocals
Graeme Duffin – Guitars and background vocals
Stuart R. Duffin – Bass
Malcolm Duffin – Drums and percussion

Side 1:

  1. Waving and Drowning
  2. Time and Tide (A Love Lost)
  3. Sunk in London
  4. Back in France
  5. Child’s Tears

Side 2:

  1. Checkout Girls
  2. Head and Heart
  3. Seasoned with Your Love
  4. Gonna Fly
  5. Best is Still to Come

I thought I had this one, then I realized I didn’t, so I went looking for it online and found the remastered version up on BandCamp! Steve Butler has an incredibly robust background in the UK Christian Music scene, as he was/is a member of Lies Damned Lies and also one of the founders of Sticky Music label. His musical resume is pretty impressive. This album was – I think – his second solo release. I have seen this album labeled pop, soft rock, and rock – it certainly floats around that general area. To my ears, there are some slight alternative leanings as well, but not enough to be called alternative rock. Early adult alternative pop is probably more accurate. A solid release that is now available online for all to hear.

Rescue – 2000 Years Later

Rescue
2000 Years Later
1983 Maranatha Multimedia
Detroit, Michigan, USA

Rick Craven – Lead and background vocals, rhythm guitar, synthesizer
Fred Covyeau – Lead guitar
Andy Howard – Fretless bass
Mark Spaulding – Drums and percussion
Vince Covyeau – Drums and percussion

Side 1:

  1. Breathing Air and Hanging Out
  2. Kicks
  3. Time Thoughts

Side 2:

  1. Hot Night in the City
  2. No More of the World’s Plans

Another rare vinyl to cover. based on the awesomeness of the Jesus is the Truth single, I tried to find if there was anything else by Rescue. The only thing I managed to unearth was this 5 song 12-inch vinyl ep. How does it stand up to the previous single? This ep seems to lean more towards the hard rock of “Get Right” than the Misfits-inspired punk of “Jesus is the Light.” Both songs on side 2 have a distinct new wave influence while at the same time leaning more towards punk. “Time Thoughts” even gets pretty close to being heavy metal. Of course, being a Detroit band in the early 80s, I would assume they were heavily influenced by the 80s garage rock revival – maybe even the growth of the garage punk movement as well. So why two drummers? Not sure – Vince is listed but there is no picture of him. “Kicks” is a cover of the Paul Revere & The Raiders song. I can’t find any information about them online, so this may be the only spot they will ever be remembered.

Talking Drums – Demos

Talking Drums
Demos
1983 Sticky Music (GUMM 009)
Glasgow, Scotland, United Kingdom

Carol E. Moore – Lead vocals
Charlie Irvine – Guitar, vocals
Dot Irvine – Keyboards, vocals
Stewart McEwin – Bass
Derek Clark – Drums

Side 1:

  1. Warring Couple
  2. Compromise
  3. No Surprise
  4. Reassembly of the Heart
  5. In Two Minds

Side 2:

  1. What Do You Want?
  2. Why Won’t You Stay?
  3. Missing
  4. Slipping

Talking Drums were an alternative/new wave/synth pop UK band that went on to release a full length album called Reassembly in 1985. “Reassembly of the Heart” and “What Do You Want?” from this release of “demos” made it onto the full length. I put “demos” in quotes because these are well-recorded songs that really don’t sound demo quality. The tone is a bit more urgent than music typically is in the genre, but that actually works well here. Also of note is that Dot and Charlie were a part of Lies Damned Lies along with Steve Butler at this time as well. Both Talking Drums and Lies Damned Lies signed with major labels at later points. Not to mention that Sticky Music grew from a vehicle for demos and self-released music to a full-fledged label. In many different ways, it seems like this band/label/etc were a hit, but since it was in the UK… I wouldn’t know. Maybe someone from across the pond can chime in about how known or unknown Talking Drums actually was? There is a very informative story of these bands and Sticky Music for the music history buffs out there.