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Tuesday, July 16, 2013

The Associates - "Double Hipness" 2 X CD

The Associates – Double Hipness
2 x CD Compilation

Even material that was left on the bottom of the barrow that was left for the dead turns out to be a good Associates album. Billy, Alan and others never fail. Even throw-a-way tunes & recordings are gold nuggets among the landscape of trash. Billy Mackenzie just had the 'it' quality in spades. He could write, make superb recordings, and god of course what a voice. Some compare him to Bowie or Russell Mael, and for sure those two are a major influence on him. But Billy was also a great admirer of various pop and jazz girl singers. Everytime he opened his mouth to sing, it comes out as blues with a strong European tinge added to it. One can imagine that there are singers like Mackenzie out there, but he was really one of a kind. Like Bowie and Mael, they can be imitated but can't surpass the masters. And Billy is up there with those two geniuses.

There are a lot of collectable recordings in this package, including The Associates' take on Bowie's “Boys Keep Swinging” which was unique because it was recorded hours after Bowie released the single. It was put out on their own label, and rushed to indie stores around the U.K. Almost Situationist like type of action, that was subversive but as well as honoring the artist that's Bowie. I believe that was their first record.

The package covers all eras of The Associates, and what is of interest is that there are recordings that he did with Alan, a come-back for the original two. Sadly it didn't last long. But Billy Mackenzie is not about lasting forever, but just making those moments special and memorable.