Play it Back GC!

Many who will read this will already know that Gary Crowley, was responsible for much of the new music a lot of us listened to in the 1980s and 90s. Back then, I was a staunch follower of Gary on his various radio and TV shows and still recall much of the music he played ( I taped loads of it,) that I either later went out and bought, or which tipped me off onto other new music to check out.

Over the past couple of years, GC, as he insists all his showbiz chums call him, has used his expertise and knowledge of the 1980s music scene, to put together a couple of very well received compilations through Demon Records and he’s now back with a new one, and this time we’re off to the 90s, with ‘Gary Crowley’s Indie 90s Playback.’  We are treated to 52 tracks over a 3 CD collection in conjunction with the company Wienerword. Each CD in the set is subtitled ‘Classics’ ‘Curveballs’ and ‘Bangers.’

Given that I’ve only got 500 words or so with these blogs, it would be impossible to list all the tracks on offer, but I  have listened through and it very nicely, put me in mind of being at a party where you bump into some old ‘friends’ you haven’t heard from in a while, but where you also meet up with  some new ‘friends’ who bring something fresh to the party, which all leads to a perfect night out (or in, in this case.)

So, instead, I’ve decided to select some of my favourite moments from the 52 slices of music that are available, to give you, my loyal reader, a flavour of what you can expect if you dip your toes in the Crowley waters and lets face it, why on earth wouldn’t you?

CD 1  – This is the Classic selection and of the 18 tracks sitting waiting for you, track 2, Here’s Where the Story Ends by The Sundays,  hits you straight between the eyes. A glorious slice of whimsical P O P, it was so lovely to make its acquaintance once again.  And on we go, and  it was interesting to hear International Bright Young Things by Jesus Jones, for the first time in a while and then meet Weed Bus  by The Stairs for the very first time. I next stopped and spent a lot of time loving You’re in a Bad Way by Saint Etienne, which I adored the first time around and I’m delighted to say, it still sounds as fresh as paint. I’ve always been a sucker for that Joe Meek ‘fuzzy Hammond organ sound’ and there’s bucket loads of that on this. 

I loved hearing the jangly guitar sound of The Gigolo Aunts and Where I find My Heaven  again after many years, which was always a cracking tune and has got better with age if that’s possible and  Jailbird by Primal Scream, dropped nicely on my ears, with that guitar riff that is so hard to ignore, A belter that. 

It’s always good to hear the voice of Beth Orton, and She Cries Your Name proved to be a lovely reminder of a song I had forgotten all about, and Radiation Vibe by Fountains of Wayne kicked in nicely, with that chorus that never fails to hit the target.

CD 2 –  Curveballs to you madam, and I was intrigued as to what I would find . Lovesville USA  by The Montgomery Clift’s was a new one on me and somehow put me in mind of The Smiths meet Haircut One Hundred and I decided there was nothing wrong  in that. I enjoyed the Katydids with Lights Out and I found my old head nodding nicely to The Drum by The Impossibles, which again was a new song to discover, as was Sunshine by Miranda Sex Garden, whose name I knew, but was always too scared to listen too before…

The band Dodgy worked very nicely in the 90s for me, as a sort of bridge from the classic 60s pop I loved , into the Britpop era and that is reflected well with Lovebirds.  Upon hearing Inelegantly Wasted in Papa’s Penthouse Pad in Belgravia for the first time, I discovered it also certainly caught all the elements of that era for me, with quite a few references popping up and in, among it . We’re not Supposed to by Supergrass was a lovely thing to be reminded of it being a long time since I’ve heard that. They were/are a band I had/have a lot of time for, always inventive and interesting at their best, and that is reflected nicely here. I couldn’t fail but to raise a smile at Mum’s Gone to Iceland  by Bennet, capturing that cheeky chappy vibe of the time, perfectly.

CD 3 – And then it’s  Bangers guv, which is straight out of the traps with Wear Your Love Like Heaven by Definition of Sound and that simply demands your attention for the whole 3.43 of its length. I certainly remember hearing this on a regular basis in some of the South East London establishments I frequented back in that there day. Next, I come over all hazy, wondering how I didn’t know, Rush by Big Audio Dynamite, them being another band , that I was well into and then lost track of I’m guessing around when this was on the  airwaves? I also loved the vibe of White Love by One Dove. I reckon by the time this was hitting the speakers , I was sitting in some jazz basement nursing a red wine, listening to some bloke on a saxophone. Different worlds that rarely mixed, then. I was certainly on more familiar ground with ‘Kosmos‘ by Paul Weller, given the Brendan Lynch Mob treatment. I was all over Paul’s first solo album when it came out and I remember being fascinated by the twists and turns of the journey, the Weller man was once again taking us on. 

Never. Come. Down. 


And to end this small selection, we have Black Steel by Tricky, which was a huge tune as I recall, and those vocals from Martina Topley Bird are still so distinctive. They demand you LISTEN, and it sits among this Bangers section very aptly. Great to hear it still so vibrant.

So there you have it. A fascinating and diverse selection of tracks, from The Sundays to Tricky,  which captures the 1990s very  nicely and without doubt, there’s certainly plenty on here to cater for all tastes.  

As I often do on these blogs, I leave the last word of  the talent. 

All yours GC, you lovely boy.

‘The Nineties were an exciting time for music. An eclectic, inspiring decade and it’s one that I’ll always have a particular affection for. I started the decade presenting the Sunday afternoon new music show on Greater London Radio and finished it presenting the mid-morning show on London’s only alternative radio station, XFM. As well as presenting the radio shows I was also fronting the late-night music TV show The Beat, where I got to introduce new and emerging talent, as well as working as an A&R consultant for Island and later Warner Brothers Records. So, I don’t think I could’ve been in a better place to soak up what was happening!’

He’s right you know. I suggest you get your feet wet here


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Foreword by Rhoda Dakar

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