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Simply Red – Picture Book (1985)

September 9, 2014

[Album 343/1001]220px-PictureBookSimplyRedalbumcover

I was once gainfully employed at a grocery store named Marilu’s Market.

Why the name Marilu you ask?  It was jointly owned by business partners Mario & Luigi, obviously.  I think my gaming enthusiast friends will agree, talk about a missed opportunity!

As was customary in Golden Horseshoe region grocery stores at the time (in an attempt to increase customer comfort –> increase time in store –> increase sales per visit), the soundtrack all day/every day at Marilu’s was provided by 102.9 K-Lite FM.

The strange thing about listening in that captive audience context is that even a decade and a half later, I probably still know most of the words to dozens of soft rock hits.  However, as this was long before Shazam & I don’t recall the station frequently announcing the artist names, I haven’t the foggiest idea who sang what!

On the second side of Picture Book, hearing Holding Back the Years was a pleasant blast from the past (though I did feel somewhat compelled to check the expiry dates on our dairy products).

The softest of soft rock ballads was a bit misleading though as the bulk of the album is relatively up-tempo.

Will I buy a Simply Red shirt to slide between the other band Ts in my dresser?  Even if not, I certainly can’t say I didn’t enjoy Picture Book.

In fact, as an exercise in juxtaposition, it was a terrific album to listen to alongside Elliott Smith (review #344 to follow).

Also, should you find yourself in need of music during a waffle-making-dance-party with a 4-year old (a common occurrence for most I trust?), the opening tracks on each side will more than get the job done.

If I ever choose to rank the 1001 (and note to future self, I advise against this), I anticipate this would end up in the neighbourhood of Tina Turner’s Private Dancer.  Both are albums that:

– I purchased on cassette for next to nothing
– I listened to on repeat for a day or two
– I didn’t get remotely sick of hearing
– Now that I’ve reviewed them, neither is likely to see much further time in the rotation.

Although I can assure you, when Tina came on at Marilu’s, no artist-identifying software was ever needed!

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From → 1980s

23 Comments
  1. Loved this: “On the second side of Picture Book, hearing Holding Back the Years was a pleasant blast from the past (though I did feel somewhat compelled to check the expiry dates on our dairy products).” Hahaha it’s so true.

    I love this album (I have the LP), and always have. Thought for sure I’d reviewed it at the KMA but apparently I have not. Oversiiiiiight!

    It’s been a little while since I gave it a spin, but I seem to recall a real push and pull between slow and fast songs, as though it’s sequenced to shake us back and forth. Is that memory accurate? I’ll have to go spin it and find out!

    Thanks for this, I’ll use it as inspiration to get in there and give ‘er!

    • Push & pull sounds about right – the uptempo ones are my preference but nothing wrong with taking it down a notch every so often as well.

      And on LP you get the side one/side two as well, a format I think works well for Picture Book.

      I eagerly await a future review – I enjoy how everything from Mastadon to Simply Red has a place at KMA!

      • Yeah, this feels like a vinyl sort of record. It’s his voice.

        I’ve got a bunch of reviews in the hopper (as Lebrain says), but I can easily give this one another spin in the very near future.

        And thanks! Yeah, we cover it all over at KMA. Slayer to Saint-Saëns, Simply Red to Sloan. And that’s just ‘S’! We like all kinds of music. What you get on the KMA (from me, anyway) is usually whatever I happened to be listening the previous day. I’m not trying to throw curveballs, or make myself look more worldly. It’s just what I’m hearing!

        And your site, too, if they can only pick 1001 records from the entire world and all recorded output, that’s gotta take you all over the genre map too! It’s good to keep horizons broad.

      • Hear hear – and the 1001 book definitely goes on a similar trip all over the genre map.
        When I get to the Ts next week, it will likely be Tricky & Thompson, Richard & Lina – I’ll see if I can find time for Thin Lizzy or Tribe Called Quest, a!

      • And Tragically Hip! Dammit they should be in the book. Le sigh.

        I’m all for the Tribr, love those guys. Interesting that they fall under T for Tribe instead of A for A Tribe…

      • I was surprised as well – I suppose ‘the’ groups always end up listed as Tragically Hip, The. I hadn’t anticipated ‘a’ groups getting similar comma treatment!

      • Also, you should talk to Mike, he just got 6 freakin’ CDs and a DVD (all new to him) of Thin Lizzy!

  2. I’m going out to dinner with my cousin Luigi tonight, as an aside.

    • Nice – I’ve sometimes wondered what Luigis think of the Mario Bros. Perhaps it was fun at first sharing a name but got old for them pretty quickly?

  3. Cassettes on repeat…that’s awesome.

  4. Ahem! Missed opportunity, indeed!

    It’s interesting what grocery stores play…the No Frills here in town plays the same songs over and over. These days it’s “Nick of Time” by Bonnie Raitt. Hey, not a bad song AT ALL. I find myself singing along unabashedly.

    • It’s funny you mention that one – I was going to add that in with Tina (Nick of Time the album is on the 1001 as well). Very middle of the road inoffensive, perfect No Frills material.
      I unfortunately didn’t purchase it on cassette though – borrowed Nick of Time from the library on a comparatively newfangled CD!

  5. Noooo!!!!

    Wanna hear Mick being cool?

    Altogether now – ‘I’m an ugly sod but it’s not my fault!’

    • I like how it feels like he’s squeezing one too many syllables into that chorus line!

      • Their version of Holding Back The Years is excellent too.

  6. “a waffle-making-dance-party with a 4-year old” – I’ve just had a great idea for a horror movie!

    • It would definitely be a change of setting from the rustic cabin in the woods!

    • So the horror part is the carnage that used to be a neat and tidy kitchen after the four year old got ahold of it, right?

      • I’m pleased to report most of the flour ended up in the bowl on the recent special breakfast party in question!

  7. I love to read the comments here!

    • haha – I’m glad you do, as I’m pleased to see the blog posts have really only become an amuse bouche for the never dull comments section!

  8. Oooft. Simply Red. Urgh. I might have a cassette in a box somewhere. The real famous one with Stars on it. Can’t remember where it came from.

    Anyhoo, this reminds me of the Faces reunion. Ronnie Wood said if he closed his eyes it was just like being in the room with Rod. Mick is that good. I dunno.

    Anyhoo, I’ve never heard this one. Maybe one for Spotify …

    • Spotify’s not a bad idea. I think I invested 50 cents – $1 for my cassette version, got my money’s worth!

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