Here’s a find of mine from the bottom of a pile of charity shop records – the album Whispering Winds by Steve Burns. When I came across this platter it meant nothing to me. I didn’t recognise the record label either; BGS of Lethame Road, Strathhaven, Scotland. It was the sleeve notes that convinced me I should part with 50p for this particular 12 inches of vinyl pleasure:
“As a disc jockey, I have to listen to a lot of alleged singers, which is, I suppose, as good a way as any of getting your ears pierced in an era when the average pop singer sounds like a Rice Crispy calling to its mate, and a pop song seems to be anything that isn’t worth saying made into a song. How we’ve allowed ourselves to be conned in paying ridiculous sums to senile young men who look like armpits with eyes and whose sole contribution to the arts is to scratch themselves in public is a question for the psychiatrists. But the inevitable effect on the adult recorder presenter, weary of performers with all the charm of a temporary filling and the entertainment value of one wrestler, is that he ends up depressingly conscious that trying to find real talent these days is like looking for eggs in a cuckoo clock. Yet it does still exist, which is why I heartily welcome Steve Burn’s first LP, not just because it makes a very pleasant change from music that sounds like labour pains with a beat, but because Steve made it the hard way in to-day’s show business – he’s got talent. Frank Skerret.”
As you’d expect after such a build up, the music is cheesy easy listening. The backing musicians are the Bill Garden Orchestra & Chorus, and that ensemble’s band leader also provides the musical arrangements. The highlight is a very limp cover of Blueberry Hill, while the cod Celtic romanticism of Isle of Innisfree and Mary Of Argyle are almost as much of a thrill. Obviously, cult records are valued as much – if not more – for their obscurity as the quality of their grooves, and Steve Burns is definitely a complete unknown. The day I got my copy of Whispering Winds I did a web search for it, and found nothing at all about the release. Since you can now get information about almost any drongo punk release online, something that comes up blank has got to be better! To fill me with even greater joy, my copy is signed by both Steve Burns and the man who wrote the sleeve notes ‘the legendary’ Frank Skerret!
Of course, I’ve rather blown the credibility of this obscurity by blogging about it, but it grooves me to bring 1977 independent unknowns to the attention of record collector scum! You can forget Son Of Sam by Chain Gang, or anything issued by The Motors (especially Airport but even You Beat The Hell Outta Me), Steve Burns is the authentic sound of the punk era! “1977′s got a hold on me!” Full track listing for Whispering Winds:
1. Whispering Winds.
2. Ramblin’ Rose.
3. I Think Of You.
4. Brush The Tears From My Eyes.
5. Carolina Moon.
6. Isle Of Innisfree.
7. Beautiful Lies.
8. I Really Don’t Want To Know.
9. Before I Met You.
10. Why Did You Make Me Care.
11. Blueberry Hill.
12. Mary Of Argyle.
13. Little Man You’ve Had A Busy Day.
And while you’re at it don’t forget to check – www.stewarthomesociety.org – you know it makes (no) sense!
Tags: Airport, Beautiful Lies, Before I Met You, BGS, Bill Garden, Bill Garden Orchestra, Bluebury Hiill, Brush The Tears From My Eyes, Carolina Moon, Chain Gang, Frank Skerret, I Really Don't Want To Know, I Think Of You, Isle of Innisfree, Lethame Road, Mary Of Argyle, Ramblin Rose, Scotland, Son of Sam, Steve Burns, Strathhaven, The Motors, Whispering Winds, Why Did You Make Me Care, You Beat The Hell Outta Me