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Some Kinda Wonderful: RPM Reissues Paul Young’s Retro-Flavored “Q-Tips”

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Q-TipsBefore blazing the charts on both sides of the Atlantic with songs like “Every Time You Go Away,” “Wherever I Lay My Hat (That’s My Home,” “Oh, Girl” and “Love of the Common People,” Paul Young paid his dues.  The English-born singer served his time in bands including pub-rockers Kat Kool and the Kool Kats and Streetband, but the latter group’s success with the U.K. Top 20 novelty-esque hit “Toast” (a humorous B-side which was flipped to the band’s dismay) threatened to pigeonhole them.  In late 1979, the members of Streetband decided to go their separate ways after struggling with their odd and unexpected breakthrough.  Three of its members weren’t ready to throw in the towel quite yet.  The story of Paul Young, Mick Pearl and John Gifford can finally be told in the CD era thanks to Cherry Red’s RPM label and the first reissue of the eponymous album by Q-Tips.

Paul Young’s love of classic R&B might have been evident in his solo work, but it wasn’t as clear with Streetband.  Q-Tips gave voice to that passion.  Guitarist Dave Lathwell and drummer Barry Watts joined lead vocalist Young, bassist Pearl and guitarist Gifford as Q-Tips, with a four-piece horn section adding another dimension to the group’s blue-eyed soul sound.  Though this line-up played a successful run of live gigs, picking up where Streetband left off, Lathwell and tenor saxophonist Richard Blanchard opted to depart in the group’s first few months of existence.  Ian Kewley joined to replace Lathwell, and the horn section remained with just three players: Tony Hughes on trumpet, Steve Farr on baritone sax, and Stewart Blandamer on alto sax.  A self-released single – Joe Tex’s “S.Y.S.L.J.F.M. (The Letter Song)” b/w Gifford and Young’s “The Dance” – gained the attention of Chrysalis Records, who signed the band to record its debut LP.  Garth Watt-Roy would replace Gifford during the recording of the album produced by Bob Sergeant (The Beat), but otherwise, Q-Tips was off and running.

What will you find on the deluxe, expanded reissue of Q-Tips?  Hit the jump! Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Joe Marchese

October 18, 2013 at 10:05