Jonathan Bernstein and Beatrice Colin together formed April Showers – a fleetingly brilliant Glaswegian pop duo who released just one single “Abandon Ship” on Big Star, a subsidiary of Chrysalis in 1984. It quickly gained a cult following due to its sparkling production from Anne Dudley (Art of Noise) and string-heavy arrangements. This quality was echoed on B-side “Everytime We Say Goodbye” with the 12-inch featuring an instrumental of Abandon Ship “Abandon Ship Sing-A-Long-A-Wonder Mix”. Due to its rarity and the presence of Anne Dudley this record is now highly sought after – good job I recognised its quality back in 1984! Both vocal version and instrumental are included in the compilation below.
In converting some rare Eighties vinyl to CD I thought it would be churlish of me not to share some of this hidden treasure. Where tracks are easily obtained via download sites or on CD compilations I haven’t included them. Hence Nick Neyward’s ‘instrumental version of ‘Whistle down the wind’ is included here because the vocal version is easy to obtain.
The instrumental 96.8 is on the B side of ‘The Highest High’ by China Crisis (1985), the year that I launched a Saturday afternoon sports show on Worthing Hospital radio and used this piece of music as its theme. It still sounds great to my ears – and is absolutely unavailable anywhere else.
The Secret Seven are so obscure that they do not have an entry on Last FM – but the 12″ mix of ‘Hold onto Love’ is an eighties favourite of mine – all glorious 7 minutes of it with sumptuous string arrangements and the signature programmed drum sound of the time.
Another favourite of mine was Virgin Dance – part of the thriving Liverpool scene that produced The Teardrop Explodes and others. The quintet consisted of Edwin Hind (vocals & guitar), Kenny Dougan (guitar), Lorraine Gardner (keyboards), Graham McMaster (bass) and Cliff Hewitt (drums, previously in Modern Eon). Led by vocalist Edwin Hind, the band released one album, “Against the Tide”, and scored one indie hit, “Are You Ready (For That Feeling)?” which is included here in both its 7″ and 12″ guises.
‘Weak in the presence of Beauty’ by Floy Joy was later covered by Alison Moyet but this version has the thrill and the passion of its writers in full flow.
Blow Up despite the name were nothing to do with the 60s film of the same name although they derived their name from it. The title of the track suggests they had Brighton roots and that was where I was living at the time, which is how Norman Cook who was working in Rounder Records in The Lanes, Brighton at the time managed to convince me to buy it. I have never regretted it. Norman (Quentin in those days) always did have great taste.
White & Torch were a Walker Brothers for the Eighties and ‘Parade’ is simply superb, both in vocal performance and arrangement – majestic sounding even now.
1. April Showers – Abandon Ship (12″)
2. April Showers – Abandon Ship (12″ instr)
3. Blow Up – Pool Valley
4. China Crisis – 96.8
5. Floy Joy – Weak in the presence of beauty
6. Mondo Kane – New York Afternoon
7. Nick Heyward – Whistle down the wind (12″ instr)
8. Sivuca – Ain’t no sunshine (12″)
9. Sophie & Peter Johnston – Happy Together
10. The Beautiful Americans – Beautiful Americans (12″)
11. The Secret Seven – Hold onto love (12″)
12. Two People – This is the shirt (12″)
13. Virgin Dance – Are you ready for that feeling? (7″)
14. Virgin Dance – Are you ready for that feeling? (12″)
15. White and Torch – Parade (12″)
Here they are:
thanks so much for the instrumental version of abandon ship!
Great isn’t it? Too good to leave unavailable and Ann Dudley’s orchestration makes it an undiscovered classic.
Glad you enjoyed it.
…googling april shower’s instrumental version of abandon ship has been a habit of mine for years already and I have been very patient about it…now my patience have paid off.
…mr. roy stannard sir, you have not the slightest idea how heavenly happy you have made me, and I’m not even finished with the download yet! thank you very much indeed…
I know what you mean. It’s irritating when you want to listen to something that good and can’t find it. As a former radio station boss (and owner) I used to love bringing stuff in for the guys to put on the playlist. Sadly, the days of the individual in radio have passed. Let me know if there is anything else you are looking for and I will see whether I have it.
I have also posted a second collection of rareties. There is also a set of deleted 70s and 80s 7″ vinyl classics waiting to be uploaded..
Hey Roy. Thanks for upload this. I was looking for Happy Together for years !!!
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Would you happen to have a 320kbps version of April Showers – Abandon Ship ?
We would love to have it on our radio station RAM FM Eighties Hit Radio at http://ramfm.org
Yes I have. Send me an email to firstname.lastname@example.org and I’ll attach it in the reply. I often play rare tracks from the Eighties and other decades as part of my ‘The Whole Nine Yards’ show on Thursday evenings 7-9pm on http://www.seahavenfm.com Thursdays 7-9pm (Community Radio station in Seaford, Newhaven, Peacehaven and Lewes East Sussex).
Hi, can you upload flac version of April Showers EP? Because I cann’t find it anywhere.
I have just written a Blog post about it. I don’t own the Vinyl 12″ anymore so I have put up on this Blog the best quality versions I have (A side vocal 320, B side Instr 192, Everytime we say goodbye 192). I hope this is OK.
Thanks Roy, I think your version is the best quality available so far on the net.
thanks very much.
hi, sir! you have this in version lossless wav or flac? i very grateful with you