“SHARON SIGNS TO CHERRY RED” COMPILATION – REVIEW

‘SHARON SIGNS TO CHERRY RED’ compilation (School Daze)

A while back, good friend to Velvet Sheep fanzine, Julie Cafritz of Pussy Galore chose as her “song for ewe” a tune i’d never heard before – “Launderette” by Vivien Goldman. It was one of the best choices we’ve had on these pages, I bought it and played it loads. Here’s a reminder of how Julie described it…

JULIE CAFRITZ of PUSSY GALORE & FREE KITTEN

Since that it has rocked up on a compilation which I also can’t stop listening to. “Sharon Signs To Cherry Red” collects together “Independent Women 1979 – 1985” for the first time on vinyl, and there’s some absolute peaches on here from a largely British group of bands that I am newly discovering. Picking up where The Slits & The Raincoats left off this album fills in a lot of the blanks in my musical knowledge between them and riot grrrl when I started writing Velvet Sheep in earnest.

The variety is immense, the quality impeccable, the spirit intense. The song of the same name “Sharon Signs To Cherry Red” by The Kamikaze Pilots is C86 style fey kookiness, with a story like one of those old Jackie photo stories festooned with speech-bubbles, yet it’s not boy meets girl, it’s indie girl tentatively sharing her poetry with a boy so wet he’s put off at the first hurdle…but never mind the angst helps our hero get signed to the Brit indie punk label so all works out well in the end.

But it’s not all meta indie jingle jangle. As well as this, and the ESG meets Slits of the aforementioned Goldman, there’s a plethora of post-punk and DIY disco treats…including the one band I’d heard of Strawberry Switchblade with a pre-“Since Yesterday” nugget.

The Petticoats do a song called “Normal”, a sub two minute-r which sounds like a prescient Huggy Bear. There’s a cracking cover of “Teenage Chorus” by the excellently titled The Dawn Chorus & The Tits, which is up there with The Raincoats take on “Lola”. If Sleater-Kinney haven’t heard “Debbie Harry” the song by Family Fodder, i’d be surprised, as it’s definite kissing cousins with anything on “No Cities To Love” and has the killer cross-gender line “baby is AC/DC”. There’s Soft Cell style theatrical yet lo-fi bedsit drama in the enjoyably aloof “A Splash Of Red” by Trixie’s Big Red Motorbike (perhaps the atmosphere is because it was recorded in Melanie Litten’s brother’s IoW bedroom) and the mood is furthered by the Laurie Anderson-like apposite annunciations of “Don’t Turn Me Away” by Rexy, topped out by insistent anger from the punk tirade “I Hate Being In Love” by Amy Angel.

Another out and out favourite is the deliciously titled “How Come You’re Such A Hit With The Boys Jane?” by Dolly Mixture

To say this album is an education is an understatement, but I want to listen so much that I get straight A’s.

This article by the ever excellent Pete Paphides on The Guardian is also essential reading on the album…

https://www.theguardian.com/music/2016/jun/30/how-women-shaped-indie-rock-the-lyrics-could-never-have-come-from-a-male-perspective

Most of these bands did not get the attention they deserved, but if by listening to them now, any start the seeds of new bands I’ll be chuffed, cos now of all times, women need an SM-57 amplified voice.

THANKS TO LIV WILLARS. CHECK OUT A SAMPLER ON THE ALBUM BELOW…

AND BUY IT HERE, PLEASE…WELL WORTH BUCKETS OF DUCATS!

Sharon Signs To Cherry Red – Independent Women 1979-1985

 

 

Author: Nick Hutchings

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