25 September 2010
Second Hand Record Dip Part 61 - Tempest - We'll Find A Way/ Jimmy Cricket - Harvey the Turkey
Who: Vic Andrews and The Challenge (Tempest)/ Jimmy Cricket
What: "We'll Find A Way"/ "Harvey The Turkey"
Where: Music and Video Exchange, Camden High Street, London
Charity singles are a perplexing concept at the best of times. After all, if it's a choice between donating money directly to charity or buying an all-star ensemble sing-a-long version of some bygone hit with tenuous links to the cause in question, why do so many people feel the need to take the vinyl or CD souvenir? When you factor in the fact that somewhere along the line the record usually has some cash either going to the label, the pressing plant or the distributors, the question becomes more pertinent. I'm not crying "rip off!" in all cases here (and certainly not this one, which as we'll establish I know nothing about) but it's a phenomenon that's never made much sense to me.
This is probably one of the most bizarre examples I've ever found nestling in the shelves of the second hand record store. The profits are split between two unrelated charities (World Aids Day and The Training Trust), and efforts divided between two different artists - serious rockers "Tempest" and old school comedian Jimmy Cricket. Whilst information about both worthy causes is available on the rear of the sleeve for all to see and appreciate, it contains no information about how the project came to be, what year it was released in (most online sources suggest it's a nineteen eighty-something effort) and what on earth Jimmy Cricket has to do with the world of rawk. My intention is not necessarily to mock somebody else's hard labour for a good cause here, but wonder about the back-story. Was this some lowly music industry executive doing their best to do their bit? Was it some local kid's little venture into fundraising? Was it the work of several individuals who couldn't quite decide what charity to throw their entire weight behind? There's probably a whole biopic to be produced about this record, but the contents themselves and the spartan black and white sleeve give very little away.
As for the music, on the one hand Tempest sound like a mean eighties stadium rock band, growling their way in a determined fashion through a mini-anthem about finding a way to succeed. It's not clear who they are, and they don't seem to be any of the bands called Tempest a simple Google search throws in my direction. For his part, Jimmy Cricket donates a slightly strange and oddly unfunny tale about a pet turkey, which almost sounds like an attempt to crack the long-dormant novelty country record market. Presumably the two efforts were supposed to pull in as broad an audience as possible - Cricket for the oldsters, and Tempest for the mean rockers whiffing of grease and Breaker beer. Sadly, both parties seemed to look the other way, as it didn't chart, and thus it becomes the latest in a long line of "Left and to the Back" enigmas. If you know more, you know what to do.
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