80’s Music Rules ~ Criminally Underrated Artists/Bands ~ Blue Peter

uptoyouLong-lived yet virtually unknown outside of Canada, Toronto’s 80’s New Wave band “Blue Peter” enjoyed a couple of hits with “Don’t Walk Past” and “Radio Silence.” The band’s original line-up was comprised of Geoff McOuat, Mike Bambrick, Ron Tomlinson, Chris Wardman, Paul Humphrey, Owen Tennyson, Rick Joudrey and Jason Sniderman.
Blue Peter’s sound is basically unique, more piano-driven than synthesized, and heavy on bass riffs; however, the more I listen to tracks like “Falling,” “Take Me To War,” “All Your Time,” and “Unchained Heart” from the 1983-released album Falling, the more Bryan Ferry/Roxy Music-esque influence is apparent. Paul Humphrey’s voice is strong and descriptive, conjuring images of love, lust, heartache, and a heavy dose of reality tossed in for good measure. They may have tired of the comparisons to David Byrne, Roxy Music, and David Bowie when Blue Peter was trying to break into the music scene, but that wasn’t necessarily a bad thing. When someone new and musically exciting comes along, the tendency exists to describe them in relation to someone or something well-known.  
Blue Peter’s songs remain timeless, lacking the signature 80’s New Wave sound which shackles a lot of their contemporaries to that decade. Much of that is owed to spare use of keyboards/synthesizers and a more heavy accent on guitars and rhythm. Their popularity as a local Toronto attraction remains strong twenty years later, fueled by a hard-core group of dedicated fans. There aren’t an abundance of quality current Blue Peter videos on YouTube, but their video for their best-known 80’s hit never fails to raise a goose-bump or two.
Blue Peter ~ Don’t Walk Past from YouTube user johnmcboston:

Blue Peter ~ Video Verite from YouTube user orbitalpopdog:

Here’s an amateur video taken from a live concert in Toronto last year. The energy and talent is still there after all these years.

Blue Peter ~ Radio Silence from YouTube user FritzBacharach:

I know I sound like a broken record, reaching the same oft-repeated conclusion in all of my “Criminally Underrated” posts, but I am adamant about this: Blue Peter should have caught a hugely deserved break here in the U.S. With a musical prowess that rivaled all of the acts they were ultimately compared to, this band earned the privilege of being in heavy radio and MTV promotion, yet they were allowed to drift into oblivion. The only winners are the fans that have stood by them all these years, being paid back for their loyalty with superb live shows and first rate music.

Purchase Blue Peter while it’s still in print:

Radio Silence



allthroughthe-night All Through the Night




80’s Music Rules ~ More From Retrospect CFRC-FM ~ 01-27-09


Well, Ed-FM overcame some downright daunting obstacles to deliver the goods with style and panache last night. It seems some enterprising lowlife hacked the CFRC-FM website, giving me caniptions when 5 minutes after 8 pm, I still wasn’t able to tune in. A quick email to Ed-FM, an even quicker response (with an alternate URL), and I was hooked up. Crisis averted.

Have a look at the multi-faceted and diverse playlist and, if you see something you like, be sure to tune in next Tuesday from 8 pm until 10 pm. Treat your ears to a show that won’t disappoint fans of obscure, yet incomparably fabulous, 80’s music…that doesn’t suck.

CFRC-FM Playlist January 27, 2009


Basement of Carruthers Hall in Queens University, Kingston, Ontario

ED-FM ~ Retrospect

80’s Music That Doesn’t Suck


1.      Monty Python – Always Look On The Bright Side Of Life

2.      BB Gabor – Metropolitan Life

3.      Bow Wow Wow – Orang-Outang

4.      Luba – Stay

5.      The Mission – Severina (12” single)

6.      Chris & Cosey – October Love Song

7.      Marc Almond – Tears Run Rings

8.      Flash and the Pan – Walking In The Rain

9.      Gerry Cott – Alphabet Town

10. The Creatures – Standing There(The Andalucian Mix)

11. Ministry – I Wanted To Tell Her

12. Martha and the Muffins – By The Rivers Of Babylon

13. Blancmange – Game Above My Head (12” Single)

14. Echo and the Bunnymen – Never Stop (Discotheque Version)

15. West India Company – Ave Maria

16.  Nina Hagen – Was Es Ist

17. Kid Creole and the Coconuts – Male Curiosity

18. Information Society – Tomorrow

19. The The – Infected (12” Single)

80’s Music Rules ~ We Love You David Marsden!

Dear David,bigmars1

Please feel better soon. Your presence on Thursday and Friday nights is sorely missed. Through the wonders of technology, people like me who are far away from Ontario Canada are privileged to hear your voice, your irreverent humor, your warmth, and your exceptionally good taste in free-form broadcasting from 94.9 The Rock.

David, you are the light of so many people’s lives. And, you have been for many, many years. Everyone whose heart you have touched wishes you all the best for a speedy recovery. The world has been a little colder and a little more empty without you, but when you return, I have a feeling it will be as though you were never away. We all look forward to a trip to the Marsbar Theatre to wave, give you a hug, and line up for a turn in seat 36. 😉

Love, Hugs and *Smoochies*,


80’s Music Rules ~ More from Retrospect CFRC-FM ~ 01-20-09


Last night’s Retrospect show on CFRC-FM totally rocked the house. It was easy to see that ED-FM was chomping at the bit after being derailed last week by a frozen transmitter. The playlist was hot and chock full of obscurities.

One amazing track that Ed played was a song called “Midway” by Ohama which narrated the hardships Ohama’s parents went through as a result of internment of Japanese-Canadians in a prison camp during World War II. The United States committed similar atrocities with its Japanese-American citizens. A very sad time for so many people who had their worldly possessions and their livelihoods unjustly stripped from them.

I heard from a reliable source that Ed was bouncing off the walls at the CFRC studio, especially during his much-beloved “Yello” track. It’s OK Ed, because I was doing some heavy chair-dancing myself. And, I’m sure we were in good company.

A warm Welcome Back to Ed. Have a look at the playlist and if you see something you like, be sure to listen in next Tuesday from 8-10pm EST. Ed takes requests by phone: (613) 533-CFRC (2372) or email: retrospectcfrc at yahoo dot ca. Indulge yourself in some “80’s Music that doesn’t suck.”

CFRC-FM Playlist January 20, 2009


Basement of Carruthers Hall in Queens University, Kingston, Ontario

ED-FM ~ Retrospect

80’s Music That Doesn’t Suck


  1. Rough Trade – Deca-Dance
  2. Lene Lovich – It’s You, Only You (Mein Schmerz) – Extended Dance mix
  3. Ohama – Midway
  4. Simple Minds – Here Comes The Fool
  5. Mark Shreve – Legion
  6. Matt Bianco – Yeah Yeah
  7. Alexei Sayle – Didn’t You Kill My Brother? (Mr. Crazy Mix)
  8. Gordon Deppe and The Spoons – Theme For A City
  9. Blue Peter – Don’t Walk Past (F version 12” Mix)
  10. Yello – The Race (12” Mix)
  11. Siouxsie and the Banshees – Song From The Edge Of The World (Columbus Mix)
  12. Sigue Sigue Sputnik – Love Missile F1-11
  13. Benjamin Russell – Miracle
  14. Gary Numan/Tubeway Army – We Have A Technical J
  15. Rheingold – Triad Dimensions

80’s Music Rules ~ Criminally Underrated Artists/Bands ~ Armoury Show

as29Few 80’s musicians affect me in the way that Armoury Show does. Since I first heard “Castles in Spain” on the recommendation of my 80’s mentor several years ago, I was hooked. Sure, Richard Jobson was mercilessly criticized as being nothing more than a showman, acting out every nuance and feeling, emoting each emotionally charged lyric; but in my mind, and to my ear, it worked beautifully. Add to the mix the supreme and seasoned talents of John McGeoch (RIP), Russell Webb and John Doyle, and what you have is an unmatched combination that produced only one album of outstandingly lovely songs.


So what happened?


I wish I knew. I am fortunate to have the LP Waiting for the Floods in its entirety. No matter how often I play this collection, nas31o matter how many times I put my favorite selection, the song identically named “Waiting for the Floods” on repeat, I am overcome. Jobson had a way with wringing the sentiment out of each song that shot daggers into even the coldest and unyielding of hearts. This was a huge leap from his previous punk roots as the angry lead singer of The Skids.


John McGeoch’s pedigree included Howard Devoto’s group Magazine and contributions to Siouxsie and the Banshees. He went on to further his career with Public Image Ltd. Webb followed Jobson from the Skids and left Armoury Show to pursue a solo career. Doyle, too, came from Magazine and post-Armoury Show, went on to rejoin Devoto and play with the Buzzcocks.


There are a few offerings from YouTube that will familiarize those of you who have never heard Armoury Show with their rich music. Unfortunately, the sole and home-made video on YouTube for “Waiting for the Floods” cuts off at the end. The song is a full 5:23 in duration, yet the video clocks in at only 4:23.


From the YouTube user RNregina ~ Waiting for the Floods:


From the YouTube user GallowayHills ~ We Can Be Brave Again:


From the YouTube user godisatan ~ Casles in Spain:


From the YouTube user godisatan ~ Kyrie:



In terms of time, Armoury show, as a group, may have only been a short flash in the pan of a burgeoning era of post-punk and New Wave music. But, they left an indelible mark on the decade with a single album that remains as a testimonial to their talent. Why they were unable to take the world by storm will remain one of life’s ironic mysteries. Meanwhile, if you can find a copy of Waiting for the Floods, I urge you to buy it. Every 80’s music collection deserves to have this gem.

80’s Music Rules ~ I Want My CFRC-FM ~ 01-13-09


Sigh. I just received word that there will be no Retrospect broadcast tonight from CFRC-FM. Inclement weather (quite possibly an understatement based on the winter storms my Canadian friends have been experiencing all season) has caused a power outage at the station’s transmitter.

Tune in next Tuesday night from 8-10 pm (EST) for a delightful show from Ed-FM and “80’s Music that doesn’t suck.”

80’s Music Rules ~ Criminally Underrated Artists/Bands ~ The Waterboys

waterboys_mike-scottThe first song that would pop into my head when I heard the name The Waterboys was “Whole of the Moon.” It’s an incredible song, full of emotion, and first-rate instrumentation; but that was the extent of my knowledge of this band.

When I started listening to David Marsden’s show, I was treated to my first time hearing “Independence Day” by this wonderful band. Then soccerfan, one of the Marsden Theatre regulars, mentioned a Waterboys song named “The Pan Within.” After finding and listening to this outstanding masterpiece of a song, I began to wake up to the fact that The Waterboys had created some phenomenal music over the past 20 years.

Mike Scott formed the band in 1983, made up of musicianswaterboys_this-is-the-sea from Scotland, England and Ireland. Their style is more commonly described as a curious blend of “Celtic folk music and rock.” According to Wikipedia, the group’s “big music” sound influenced such groups as Simple Minds, The Alarm, Big Country and World Party. If that’s the case, The Waterboys should have been huge.

If you’re not familiar with this first-rate and wholly brilliant band, take the time to listen to the following samples gathered from YouTube. Then, go out and find the 1985 album This Is The Sea that contains both “The Whole of the Moon” and “The Pan Within,” in addition to a gem called “Medicine Bow.” You won’t regret it. This is not merely 80’s music — this is absolutely timeless.

From the user StuffByMe on Youtube:

From the user connacht2009 on YouTube:

From the user arcmorality on YouTube:

80’s Music Rules ~ More from Retrospect CFRC-FM ~ 01-06-09


Ed-FM kicked off the New Year with a dynamic show that left me scratching my head on several tracks. Even Googling the lyrics didn’t help and I had to wait until the songs were back-announced or clarified by email. I love the challenge and the obscure 80’s music lesson that accompanies it, so in all, it was a banner night.

Here is last night’s list. If you like what you see, be sure to tune in to CFRC-FM  out of Kingston, Ontario at 101.9 on the FM dial, or streaming over the Internet, next Tuesday night from 8-10pm EST. Ed takes requests by phone: (613) 533-CFRC (2372) or email: retrospectcfrc at yahoo dot ca. Indulge yourself in some “80’s music that doesn’t suck.”

CFRC-FM Playlist January 6, 2009

Basement of Carruthers Hall in Queens University, Kingston, Ontario
ED-FM ~ Retrospect
80’s Music That Doesn’t Suck

1. The Box – Friends
2. B-52s – 52 Girls
3. Danielle Dax – Big Hollow Man
4. Human League – Crow and a Baby
5. Blue Peter – Up to U
6. Nash the Slash – Psychotic Reaction
7. Altered Images – Happy Birthday J
8. Sex Beat – Sex Beat
9. Boys Brigade – Saigon
10. Dalek I Love You – Dad on Fire
11. Karel Fialka – Hey Matthew
12. The Jam – Precious (12 inch)
13. Peter Baumann – Time Machine
14. The Lotus Eaters – It Hurts
15. Men Without Hats – On Tuesday
16. Comsat Angels – Have You Seen (Demo)
17. Data-Bank-A – Etiquette of Travel
18. The Flower Pot Men – Beat City
19. The Cassandra Complex – Def Con One
20. Yellow Magic Orchestra – Wild Ambitions
21. Polyrock – Love Song
22. Hilary – Drop Your Pants
23. Josie Cotton – Johnny, Are You Queer?
24. The Coconuts – Naughty Boy

80’s Music Rules ~ Criminally Underrated Artists/Bands ~ Modern English

scband1One of the best things about reporting on 80’s New Wave music is that in the process, I have unearthed some well-kept “secrets.” Many bands/artists that I erroneously thought had only one or maybe two hits during the 80’s, actually produced numerous airworthy songs, both during that decade and beyond. One such band is Modern English whose one well-known and oftentimes misidentified hit called “I Melt With You” was only the tip of the proverbial iceberg.

The band started out in 1979 as The Lepers with Robbie Grey (vocals), Gary McDowell (guitar, vocals), and Michael Conroy (bass, vocals). When Richard Brown (drums) and Stephen Walker (keyboards) joined, the name was changed to Modern English. Their first album, Mesh and Lace, was released in 1981. This classic post-punk gem was a brooding blend of rhythmic and poetic selections.  After the Snow, which featured “I Melt With You” and was released in 1982, had a decidedly more upbeat tone, bringing the band into the growing New Wave genre. MTV and commercial radio played “I Melt With You” ad nauseum, not only giving the band much-deserved exposure, but also lending creedence to the belief that the group was only capable of producing one heavy-rotation worthy song.

When I discovered the song “Someone’s Calling,” also from After the Snow, I was enthralled. The combination of machine and music sounds was astounding.

Note 1/25/09: I had examples from YouTube up for this article, including my own home-made tribute. It seems that Warner Music Groups (WMG) went on a tear over the weekend and shut down videos. Their suppression of harmless music promotion by fans will hit them where it hurts. I have no sympathy for the corporate greed that is killing the music industry. My sympathies lie with the musicians who are stuck in the middle. Meanwhile, I am currently in the process of removing all of my tribute videos from YouTube, from which I have received nothing but the satisfaction of promoting good music. modern english

The songs “Life in the Gladhouse,” also from After the Snow, and “Machines” from Ricochet Days, are two songs which underscore the brilliant rhythmic signature sound that blends so well with Modern English’s unique instrumentation and vocal style. This band exhibited a wealth of talent that should have catapulted them firmly into the limelight. Instead, they were not properly promoted here in the states; allowed instead to slip off the heavy rotation radar in favor of less-talented, but corporate supported musical pablum/crap.

If you are a fan of quality 80’s New Wave/Post-punk/New Romantic, and are looking for something that has a slightly off-kilter vibe, poetic lyrics and a killer, signature rhythm section, the first three Modern English LPs,  Mesh and Lace, After the Snow, and Ricochet Days are must-haves. They are available for sale, but two out of the three come in at high, collectible prices. If that doesn’t fit your budget, start out with Life in the Gladhouse, 1980-1984: Best of Modern English. It contains some of the best tracks from the three aforementioned LPs.

80’s Music Rules ~ Spotlighting Some Fave Music Blogs

new-wave-wallpaperSo many bloggers are waxing poetic on leaving 2008 in the dust (thankfully) and hoping for a better year to come. Instead of following suit, I want to take this opportunity to only focus on the positive — by calling attention to some of my favorite music bloggers out on the Interwebs.

If not for a legion of dedicated, and in some instances downright fanatical music fans, there are so many musicians with extraordinary talent that would hardly ever get the attention they deserve. This music may be from past artists that were “criminally underrated” (the focus of a somewhat

(photo credit: http://tinyurl.com/7q8mzv)

weekly series of mine), all the way up to current bands and musicians who are struggling to have their music aired. One common theme that has refused to disappear over the past few decades is the hubris of corporate suits who feel they know what’s best for music fans. The amount of garbage the public has been force-fed over the past 4 decades would fill a thousand landfills to capacity. Thanks to a few DJs who bucked the good ol’ boy system of years gone by, and a current network of dedicated bloggers, music that should have been aired in the past and should be promoted in the present is finally getting the recognition it deserves.

My favorite Floridian, Chris, writes a noteworthy blog called The Local Vertical. In it, he features independent bands that are cutting edge and in dire need of promotion. If you want a dose of up-and-coming, along with some “kick-ass” NASA eye-candy sprinkled in for good measure, give Chris’s site a visit. I guarantee that Indie fans will find a whole treasure trove of material that will make you keep coming back for more.

My favorite New Waver, fiftypercent, runs a blog that is mostly 80’s New Wave and Post-Punk, alongside some notable 90’s and 00’s music, to boot. Mine for Life is chock full of obscure music that will have you smacking your forehead and muttering, “Where the heck was I when that came out?” Fiftypercent has a scorching satirical wit to go along with great information that outshines Wikipedia itself. Don’t miss out on listening to some exquisitely rare tunes.

Heading across the pond to England, we have DavyH and The Ghost of Electricity. Davy always spins a personal touch to each song he features, recalling sweet memories and humorous tales that the song evokes. There is a hint of eccentricity to this eclectic mix of tunes. That is just one of many reasons to hurry over and have a listen.flag_of_canada_and_the_united_kingdom

Speaking of “a little bit of everything,” that’s what you’ll find at Half-Hearted Dude’s blog, Any Major Dude With Half a Heart. In fact, he was one of the first to urge me to come over to WordPress when things heated up at Blogger. The Dude is a lover of all kinds of great music which spans multi-genres and several decades. He “tells it like it is” and relies on a vast wealth of knowledge to bolster his credibility. I can promise you’ll end up spending hours there.

Heading back over to Canada, we have Jason’s fine blog which centers on current Indie releases and is known as Get Your OJ Dot Com Version 9.0. Jason is a great journalist who keeps on top of music and news in Canada and beyond. I have listened to some fabulous musicians that I would otherwise have missed out on had I not taken the time to visit. His passion for vital Indie music is apparent and contagious. It is a must stop for all surfing audiophiles.

One more blogger I’d like to make mention of is Marilyn from A Future In Noise. This is a promising up-and-coming blog by a very knowledgable and gifted musician. I’m expecting lots of great things to turn up in Marilyn’s blog for 2009, and hope that you will stop by to check it out for yourself.

This is all that time allows me to feature, for now. I have a list of all of my favorite blogs on the right side of the page and urge you to indulge in a few clicks to see what they are all about. One thing I strongly encourage you to do — if you read something you like and/or listen to something you enjoy, please leave a note for the blog owner. It means a lot to the authors to know that their hard work is appreciated. Many of these bloggers give of themselves to promote others without recompense of any kind. All it takes is a few nice words to keep them fired up to continue promoting the music that they, and we, love.

Happy New Year to you all.