Talking Drums – Courage EP

Talking Drums
Courage EP
1982 Sticky Music (GUM 005)
2018 Dark Entries Records
Glasgow, Scotland, United Kingdom

Carol Moore – Lead vocals, percussion
Charlie Irvine – Lead guitar, backing vocals
Dot Irvine – Keyboards, backing vocals, maracas
Stewart McEwan – Bass
Derek Clark – Drums
Malcolm ‘Hyper’ Duffin – Congas

Produced Steve Butler

  1. Courage
  2. Parasuicide
  3. Descartes Lives
  4. Lost in the 20th Century

This is not a tape I have, but one of the members of the band commented that this ep was recently released – so I had to track it down. I believe that at least one or more of the tracks on here were only released on this ep. I listened to this on Spotify, but Dark Entries Records have re-issued it on vinyl or digital versions elsewhere. The title track is an extended mix of “Courage” with horns and congas added. The sound here is alternative rock/new wave/indie pop from the early 80s. The bonus track is from their 1982 demo Fighting to the Finish, but I don’t know if the other tracks are or not. A cool piece of history that turned up finally – now if we could just get that 1982 demo out there as well 🙂

The Strait Tapes – Volume 3

The Strait Tapes – Volume 3
1985? (no label)
London, England, United Kingdom

Side 1:

  1. The 77s – The Lust, The Flesh, The Eyes, and The Pride of Life
    (demo version, eventually released on The 77s, 1987 Exit Records)
  2. Talking Drums – You Do Cry a Lot
    (from Reassembly, 1985 Sticky Music)
  3. Maldwyn Pope – Reunion of the Heart
  4. Bryan McGlynn – Soul Doctor
    (from The Vital Spark, 1985 Sticky Music)
  5. The Good Guys – Still a Mistake
    (from A System of Grooves, 1984 Atypical Records)
  6. Charlie Peacock – Down in the Lowlands
    (from Charlie Peacock, 1986 Exit Records)
  7. Trade Secret – With or Without You
    (from upcoming release Trade Secret, 1987 Edge Records)
  8. One A.M. – Over and Over
    (previously unreleased)
  9. Mike Starkey – I Became a Johnson’s Baby
    (from The Rhythm Method compilation, year unknown)

Side 2:

  1. Vector – America
    (from Please Stand By, 1985 Exit Records)
  2. Denice Williams – Straight Ahead
    (from So Glad I Know, 1986 Sparrow Records)
  3. The Refuseniks – Quiet Time
    (unreleased, unrecorded, and just a few seconds of silence apparently)
  4. Terry Scott Taylor – Old Time Gospel Camp Meeting Hour
    (from Knowledge and Innocence, 1986 Shadow Records)
  5. Bruce Cockburn – Wondering Where the Lions Are
    (from Dancing in the Dragons Jaw, 1979 True North)
  6. Steve Scott – Not a Pretty Picture
    (from the unreleased Emotional Tourist album, 1986 Exit Records)
  7. Jump the Nile – Proud to be a Warrior
    (unreleased demo)
  8. First Strike – Power
    (unreleased label demo version)
  9. Bryan McGlynn – Stranger at the Party
    (from The Vital Spark, 1985 Sticky Music)

From what I can tell, this is the third and final Volume of the Strait Tapes. It follows in the foot steps of Volume 1 and Volume 2, – a collection of well-known and underground Christian music artists. The date is also harder to pin down exactly here. Some songs, like the Talking Drums track, are listed as being from and “upcoming” album that ended up being released in 1985. Other tracks, like the Terry Scott Taylor track, are listed as if they are already released… but the tracks came out in 1986. I did some digging, and it seems that Taylor’s track was mixed in mid 1985, but not released until early 1986. Since there are obviously some other tracks that were included as early previews from the label (like the First Strike song), I am guessing that the 1986 tracks on here are early previews as well. Because they refer to 1985 albums as still “upcoming” in the liner notes, I will go with 1985 as the release date. Some notes on some of the tracks listed above:

  • The 77s track is listed as an unreleased demo, but it was later released on their classic self-titled album
  • The Maldwyn Pope track is listed as unreleased, but part of an untitled upcoming release. It seems that versions of this song were released much later by Pope, but it also had been recorded by other artists before this as well.
  • The Good Guys track is kind of an oldies rock sounding song with a bit of ska horns.
  • The Trade Secret track is a hard rock track that almost borders on punk here and there. It was later released on a hard to find self-titled album by the band.
  • The One A.M. track is only on this compilation as far as I can tell. It is a commercial rock track that fits pretty well with the 80s, but I have no idea who this band is.
  • The Mike Starkey song was released on a hard to find compilation – it is an experimental spoken word-ish over drums track. Or performance art? Strangely interesting.
  • The Refuseniks song isn’t actually a song – it is just a few seconds of silence. I think it was a joke about a band that didn’t get a song finished by the deadline for inclusion?
  • The Jump the Nile song is another unreleased track from this band from a former member of After the Fire. They had another track on Volume 2 of this series and a 7-inch single, but that appears to be it.
  • The First Strike song was unreleased at the time this comp was out, but was later released on their 1987 demo Crank It Up!, as well as the Heaven’s Metal Cool Tunes comp. However, this is clearly an earlier demo version with different lyrics and lower vocal range.

Missing Information: confirmation of the exact release date.

Talking Drums – Demos

Talking Drums
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.