cupid & psyche 85

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On this day in music history: June 10, 1985 - “Cupid And Psyche ‘85”, the second album by Scritti Politti is released. Produced by Scritti Politti and Arif Mardin, it is recorded at Minot Sound in White Plains, NY, The Power Station, Atlantic Studios in New York City, Eden Studios, Wessex Sound, Sarm West and Sarm East Studios in London from December 1983 - February 1985. Originally formed as a post-punk/new wave band in the late 70’s in their hometown of Leeds, Yorkshire, UK, Scritti Politti undergoes a dramatic change in their sound from their first album “Songs To Remember” released in 1982. With the previous line up of the group having disbanded in 1983, lead singer Green Gartside visits his parents, now living in Florida. While there, he is turned on by the sounds he hears on American R&B radio, specifically funk and dance artists like Zapp and The System. The music inspires Green to take Scritti Politti in a whole different musical direction after he leaves the UK and moves to New York. Signing with Virgin Records (in the UK and Warner Bros in the US), Green reforms the band with American keyboardist and programmer David Gamson and drummer Fred Maher. Scritti Politti work with veteran producer Arif Mardin on the new songs written by Green and Gamson. Mardin augments the band with top notch session players including former AWB drummer Steve Ferrone, keyboardists David Frank (of The System), Robbie Buchanan, Ned Ebn (of Ebn-Ozn), guitarist Paul Jackson, Jr., and background vocalists Tawatha Agee, Fonzi Thornton, and B.J. Nelson The first product of their work together is the single “Wood Beez (Pray Like Aretha Franklin)” (#10 UK, #91 US Pop). The songs lean, high tech R&B sound is an immediate hit in US club dance floors and in their native UK. Mardin also produces the track “Absolute” (#17 UK), before he has to leave the project to work with Chaka Khan on “I Feel For You”. Continuing on their own, Green, Gamson and Maher take almost a year to finish recording the album. A critical and commercial success upon its release, it also spin off two more singles including “Perfect Way” (#11 US Pop, #6 US Club Play, #48 UK), giving Scritti Politti their biggest hit in the US, and “The Word Girl” (#6 UK). Miles Davis covers “Perfect Way” on his 1986 album “Tutu”, leading to the jazz icon to collaborating with Scritti Politti on the song “Oh Patti (Don’t Feel Sorry for Loverboy)” on their follow up album “Provision” in 1988. “Cupid And Psyche '85” peaks at number five on the UK album chart, number fifty on the Top 200.

My forty favourite albums

No particular order, no artist allowed more than once or in solo form where solo artist and band are virtually indistinguishable.

1 ALL SHOOK DOWN - The Replacements
2 MADE IN USA - Pizzicato 5
3 WHATEVER - Aimee Mann
4 COURT & SPARK - Joni Mitchell
5 WILD HONEY - The Beach Boys
6 SWOON - Prefab Sprout
7 SEA FROM SHORE - School Of Language
8 FINN BROTHERS - Finn Brothers
9 THE GLOW PT 2 - The Microphones
10 NOTORIOUS BYRD BROTHERS - The Byrds

11 LOLITA NATION - Game Theory
12 SEVEN SWANS - Sufjan Stevens
13 PUBLIC STRAIN - Women
14 THE NIGHTFLY - Donald Fagen
15 A SERIES OF SNEAKS - Spoon
16 CUPID & PSYCHE 85 - Scritti Politti
17 A WIZARD, A TRUE STAR - Todd Rundgren
18 BEFORE TODAY - Ariel Pink’s Haunted Graffiti
19 TUSK - Fleetwood Mac
20 NIXON - Lambchop

21 WORKBOOK - Bob Mould
22 DOCUMENT - R.E.M.
23 (MUSIC FROM THE UNREALISED FILM SCRIPT) DUSK AT CUBIST CASTLE - Olivia Tremor Control
24 A CHARLIE BROWN CHRISTMAS - Vince Guaraldi
25 THE MEADOWLANDS - The Wrens
26 FAITHLESS STREET - Whiskeytown
27 STANDS FOR DECIBELS/REPERCUSSION - The dBs
28 THIRTEEN - Teenage Fanclub
29 CLEAR SPOT - Captain Beefheart & His Magic Band
30 PETER GABRIEL 2 (SCRATCH) - Peter Gabriel

31 GIDEON GAYE - High Llamas
32 ZAZU - Rosie Vela
33 KID A - Radiohead
34 SPILT MILK - Jellyfish
35 #1 RECORD/RADIO CITY - Big Star
36 EXILE IN GUYVILLE - Liz Phair
37 HEAVEN OR LAS VEGAS - Cocteau Twins
38 JUMP - Van Dyke Parks
39 LULU - Trip Shakespeare
40 IT’S A SHAME ABOUT RAY - The Lemonheads