Saturday, June 28, 2008

Cathy La Creme & The Cro-Tones

Cathy La Creme & The Cro-Tones - I Married A Cult Figure From Salford 7", 1980

I almost hesitate to post this one before first attempting to introduce folks to John Cooper Clarke, because this is totally a piss-take record about JCC, and he even can be heard on the A-side. Unless you're familiar with John Cooper Clarke, or care about records produced by Martin Hannett, you probably aren't going to get the joke or see the value in this. I got this record because it was listed on the Martin Hannett website as possibly being produced by Hannett (or he might have even played on it). It's really not clear whether he did or not. The third photo you see here is the insert. It says "produced by Smudgeboy". There is a guy in the photo at the bottom that sortof looks like Hannett. Considering the time frame and the nature of this disc, there really isn't any reason to believe he wasn't involved. But who the hell knows?

In any case I seem to be petering out now with my Dining Out label options for this blog (though I may have a few more of those) and will probably turn my attention towards some more rare Martin Hannett related records like this one. I am very passionate about Martin Hannett. Joy Division records wouldn't sound like they do if it weren't for him. I love his production sound, though I do think he did some flawed things in his career. He was also a fantastic bassist and synthesizer musician and for those who don't know these things, he played in John Cooper Clarke's backing band for JCC's first three albums. I only thought of JCC as a spoken-word poetry artist for many years, not realizing that he actually had some fantastic musicians backing him on his first three albums. Here is an example called "Sleepwalk" from JCC's "Snap Crackle & Bop" album, 1980. That's Hannett on bass!


Capa Nostra said...

Very interesting! Thanks for these rare albums. You have an incredible collection.


Bimble said...

Thanks capa nostra!

rob said...

Now this is a great single (not an album). And if you change the playing speed from 45 to 33 rpm you will immediately notice that Cathy's voice belongs to no other than .....

The Time-traveller and His Dog said...

there has been a lot of speculation about the record over the years. But the truth is out there, and after almost 30 year I feel compelled to reveal it:
Indie filmmaker John Crumpton and myself made the record as promotional material for our film "The Tea Machine" (Open Eye Films, 1980)
The film's theme music "Tea Machine Dub" was composed and played by Steve Hopkins, who also produced the record (Smudgeboy), and Wayne Sedgeman of The Worms did the "They're muggin' us" vocals.

As to the flip side: as well as screenwriting I also did an occasional stand-up routine at Manchester jazz/folk clubs where John Cooper Clarke also started out. I wrote "I married a cult figure from Salford" in 1979, after JCC got heavily into heroin and his act went all flakey, and performed it several times in my act as I could do a reasonable JCC impersonation.
John suggested that we should record "cult figure", so we roped in Cathy La Creme of the Rhum Ba-bas to do the vocals, got in a buch of session musos, and I did the JCC bits.

Sorry if I've spoiled the Martin Hannet myth, and hope you didn't pay too much for the single - the gatefold sleeve issue is rare though, we only put out a couple of hundred on Rock Steady before licensing it to a subsidary of Pye records.

Shien on brightly

Bimble said...

My goodness! This is a lot of precious information you've given us. No trouble about the Hannett myth - knowing the truth is better, I think, and it's not the only record on the Hannett site I know of that turned out not to be produced by him.

I'm also quite surprised that it wasn't JCC's vocals on this after all!

Thanks very much for your comment. Is it possible to see this Tea Machine film somehow?

The Time-traveller and His Dog said...

Hi Bimble,
Just called around to see Mike Rowe who has clearly put you straight on the production credits. Incidentally Steve Hopkins is one of the great unsung heroes of the Manchester music scene. He worked extensively with Martin Hannett on a soundtrack for an animation film 'All sorts of Heroes' (1976) and with MH was half of The Invisible Girls JCC's CBS backing band. A genius on keyboards and arrangements he recorded his own album-The Mercurian at the Arcadian Research Authority. The Tea Machine film may well appear on You Tube at some point in the near future. Just need to get my head around realmacsoftware.
Best wishes
John Crumpton

Bimble said...

Nice to hear from you! Yes, I knew about Steve Hopkins' involvement with The Invisible Girls and I greatly admire his work on those records. I didn't know he'd recorded his own album, though. Thanks for posting here!