It was 1984. I was a secondary school teacher living in Brighton, unmarried and draining most of my spare cash into Rounder Records in the Lanes where, until he joined the Housemartins, my pal Norman Cook would put a stack of 12″ singles on the counter every Saturday morning ready for me to collect.
Anne Dudley had make something of a name for herself scoring the orchestral parts on ABC’s Lexicon of Love and was planning something exciting in pop-electronic-chamber crossover called the Art of Noise.
April Showers were a Glaswegian band – a duo consisting of Jonathan Bernstein and Beatrice Colin (who was previously in Operation Twilight label band the French Impressionists and nowadays an author) and were subsequently signed to the major offshoot Big Star.
‘Abandon Ship’ emerged from all the stars colliding in 1984. Jonathan and Beatrice writing a romantic, panoramically lush pop song and asking Anne Dudley before she was famous to score and orchestrate it. Chrysalis records put it out on its Big Star offshoot as a 12″ with the vocal A side, instrumental B side and the third track ‘Everytime we say goodbye’ to complete this perfect pop confection.
Nowadays you will know Beatrice Colin as the author of four novels for adults including The Luminous Life of Lilly Aphrodite (published as The Glimmer Palace in the US) and The Songwriter. She has been shortlisted for a British Book Award, a Saltire Award and a Scottish Arts Council Book of the Year Award. She also writes short stories, screen and radio plays and for children.
One of her children’s novels, My Invisible Sister (with Sara Pinto) has been optioned by Disney in the US. Her novel for children, Pyrate’s Boy is written under the name E.B. Colin and is published by Floris Books.
She can be found plying her trade as a Lecturer in Creative Writing at Strathclyde University in Glasgow.
April Showers started life as 3 piece in 1981 – with Jonathan Bernstein, Hubble, and Bobby Caldwell – who worked with a variety of instrumentalists and singers and submitted demo songs for the Operation Twilight Record Label on which they had an unreleased 7″ single entitled “While The City Sleeps”. Most of their demos didn’t get released. Beatrice joined after The French Impressionists let her go.
In the meantime, in a bemused fog of Indie vinyl acquisition in Brighton I bought the 12″ took it home and thought at the time that it was a bit fairycake for my taste. Later, however, as Anne Dudley star rose and she became an essential soundtracker to the Eighties I found myself playing the record more often.
Three years ago I sold my entire record collection and this record was amongst the treasures and gems doubtless making van loads of money for dealers. I included it in a Blog post a few years ago and this track has been more commented on and requested than other.
I thought it was time to devote a blog to this one record and to upload all three tracks together for the first time.
Why it has not been reissued I don’t know. Sometimes the greatest treasures are the ones that remain undiscovered
Track Line Up: Chrysalis – chs 2787 12″ 1984
A1: Abandon Ship
B1: Abandon Ship (Instrumental)
B2: Everytime We Say Goodbye