Reason #418 Why The ’80’s Didn’t Suck: A Walk Across The Rooftops

blue nilePart of the joy of being a music fanatic is the discovery of old music that passed you by the first time ’round. Sometimes even before you were born. In every possible way I was a child of the ’80’s. That decade represented ages 12-22 for me, and I took with me my undying love of, in my opinion, the best stuff. One of the bands that I really only recently discovered and that has joined the ranks of “The Best Stuff” is The Blue Nile.

Hailing from Scotland, releasing on average one new album every 5 years (the last one had 8 years of space in between) and being labeled an ambient-folk band, well it’s no wonder this band enjoys cult status and has never really broken through. The Cult Of The Nile is a rabid one, however, and quite vocal, and I think it is for this reason I chose to ignore these guys for as long as I did. I was lucky enough to pick this up in a thrift shop for a buck a few months back and loved every second of it, but the sound of it was kind of muddy. This is important, because the Blue Nile, and this record in particular, was designed to sound incredible. According to allmusic:

“Scotland’s Linn Electronics wanted a demo track to demonstrate the fidelity and versatility of their new recording console and tapped a struggling local trio, The Blue Nile, to provide it. Their effort was a deliberately disjunctive song called “A Walk Across the Rooftops.” To demonstrate the recording equipment’s dynamic range and clarity, the song was arranged most peculiarly, with vocals, guitar, bass, keyboards, drums, and full string and horn sections all appearing, but never at the same time. Linn liked the song so much that they formed a record label and bankrolled the recording of this full album.”

Singer Paul Buchanan has a terrifically wounded sounded voice, and while the music does sound simple the first few listens it soon reveals its complicated nature. I’m reminded of Prefab Sprout, a little Thomas Dolby (in the production quality), but there is a definite uniqueness about these guys that fascinates me. Enough, in fact, that I just recently bought the deluxe reissue of Hats, the follow up to AWATR. Here’s Tinseltown IN The Rain, as performed on Later…With Jools Holland: