Friday, August 31, 2012

Red Lorry Yellow Lorry - BBC Radio Sessions 1983-84

In 1984, while you were listening to Michael Jackson and Def Leppard, I was rocking Michael Jackson and Def Leppard.  Ok, there, I admitted it.  It wasn't until the latter half of that decade that I wised up and very rapidly began immersing myself in this thing of ours called alternative rock/post-punk/indie/punk, etc.  One of the single most seismic forces that lured me over to the "proper" side of the fence was the Leeds, UK outfit Red Lorry Yellow Lorry (or "Lorries" for shorthand).  My first exposure to them was the video for the Nothing Wrong era track "Only Dreaming," which I believe aired sometime in 1989 on 120 Minutes.  Soon thereafter I purchased Nothing Wrong and was completely bowled over to the point where I was calling up record stores out of the pages of Goldmine magazine in search of whatever albums and singles (mostly pricey imports mind you) I had yet to lay ears on.  It occurred to me back then, just as much as it does today - if Joy Division and Killing Joke copulated, the Lorries would have been the not-so-bouncy love child.  They never asked for the "goth" tag that dogged them throughout their career, but it persisted, which I'm sure led to a decent quotient of RLYL record and ticket sales.

With a gale force rhythm section, SG guitars plowed through stacks of distortion-ravaged Marshalls, and Chris Reeds deep, world-weary golden throat, they offered everything I was looking for in a rock band.  Of course, it didn't last, and by the early nineties the original lineup: Reed/Wolfie/Leon Phillips/Chris Oldroyd parted ways.

In 2008 I posted the aforementioned Nothing Wrong and you responded with several hundred downloads.  Haven't offered anything by then since (save for a couple comparisons) as much of their catalog has been reissued.  The cluster of BBC sessions (two Peel, one Janice Long) I'm sharing has never been commercially available however.  All three are contemporary to nearly a dozen singles the Lorries churned out in the mid '80s, which preceded their first two albums, Talk About the Weather (1985) and Paint Your Wagon (1986).  Included is a take of the pivotal "Monkeys On Juice" single, and the track "Conscious Decision," which was never recorded for official release.  Audio quality varies.

John Peel session 1/13/83
01. Conscious Decision
02. Happy
03. Sometimes
04. Silence

John Peel session 11/16/83
05. Strange Dream
06. Monkey's On Juice
07. See the Fire
08. This Today

Janice Long session - January 1984
09. Feel a Piece
10. Hand on Heart
11. This Today
12. Sometimes


Ten Thousand Eyes said...

Hello! This is a great post. The Lorries were a great and decent band. You are absolutely right about discovering the new wave/post punk and all the alternative good stuff after having to deal with all the pop-ish crap...

-The Psychopomp

ELXOSE80 said...

Thanks for sharing these Post-Punk Gems.
Sometimes you are so coold !

eric said...

That's funny about MJ & DL. I suppose I was into "the alternative" near the beginning of things, having bought the second and third albums from the Ramones, along with "Never Mind The Bollocks," in 1977. I remember also buying Kiss, Fleetwood Mac, Steely Dan and umpteen dozen Top 40 singles that year, all of which I loved equally. The only distinction I made between "that punk shit" (as one sneering asshole at my high school called it a few years later on) and the mainstream stuff was that you couldn't hear punk on the radio. Had to read about it first in Rock Scene or Creem or the occasional freebie zine that came along, then take a chance on buying an unheard record. In my teens, all great rock and pop music excited the living' daylights out of me. I'm too old and cranky to get excited about much of anything these days, but I'm still as interested as ever in hearing a great new song, regardless of genre. If I'm remembering 1984 correctly, Van Halen and Duran Duran hit my turntable nearly as often as "The Smiths" and "Double Nickels On The Dime," though probably not as often as "Cypress" or "Zen Arcade" did. While I appreciated each of those records differently, and certainly found some more "meaningful" to my life than others, they all thrilled me just the same. Even today, despite the many icky, truthful-sounding child molestation rumors that surrounded the guy, I still manage to enjoy the music of MJ's early solo career as much as I did back when the stuff was new. And with enough alcohol in me, I doubt I'd be all that much opposed to hearing a few of the better cuts from "High 'N' Dry" or "Pyromania" cranked up really high. With music, as with sex, I think it's probably best to just go with whatever turns you on and not get too hung up on labels. More fun and less frustration! Unless you're a guy like MJ, that is, in which case you seriously need to be a little more discerning regarding the hanky panky. All that understood, I do think that alt music and the fandom surrounding it probably had more to do with making me the person I am today than any other cultural influence in my early life. But I still can't say that my love of punk rock is any greater than my love of disco music. I'm always going to need a whole lot of both in my life.

The Lorries were great, and for some reason I’m unable to see their name mentioned without immediately thinking of Killing Joke. Must be the mental residue from some old mix tape from way back when. Thanks for the music.

Benj said...

Funny, I started out with Nothing Wrong too, also sometime around 1989. I was about two years into discovering "alternative" music, also called college rock and post-modern rock back then, and I leaned slightly towards the goth side of things - Sisters of Mercy, The Mission, etc. I also skated heavily, so Thrasher was my bible and also the first place I read about RLYL. Haven't listened to them in decades at this point, but I am ready to pay them a revisit for sure. Thanks for the post.

spavid said...

Thanks for your comments everyone. I like to think that my five years of Top 40 schoolin' (1984-88) allowed me to appreciate the indie stuff more. U2 and REM definitely helped segue the transition, and even in the early '90s I was still partial to some of the more cerebral metal bands like Voivod and King's X. For the first time in a long time I'm ready to hear the likes of Van Halen or Metallica again - wedged in between Interpol and Pains of Being Pure at Heart, of course.

RLYL in Thrasher mag, eh? I would've loved to have seen that. Better in there than nowhere.

Benj said...

Believe it or not, Thrasher went through a brief period of featuring "alternative" bands as an interim between the mid-80's thrash/crossover scene and the early-90's hip-hop wave. In '88/'89 you could easily read an interview with The Sugarcubes or PIL right next to an interview with Slayer, and the record reviews section followed suit.

Ja'faar Donutz said...

could you repost this please? it's been deleted. Thank you so much! love this band!!