tremble clef

Friday, May 26, 2006

The Colourfield, "Miss Texas 1967" (1987)

For years I thought I was alone, the only one in the world with such feelings. Really, I don't know when I started understanding this wasn't the case, that there were others like me.

Maybe it wasn't until 1997 and that episode of Seinfeld that I came to terms with myself, and saw: to numerous other people, Raquel Welch was a joke too. Such a spectacularly awful actress. I love her. When I get to recast Valley Of The Dolls, she would totally play Helen Lawson. "Get your hands off of me! Gimme back MY HAIR!!!"

Should that come to pass, she would apparently have no trouble singing "I'll Plant My Own Tree." There are many pieces of knowledge I'm sad I didn't gain earlier, but I weep most about the fact that I went thirty plus years before I found out that Raquel had a band. A band, y'all. This must mean that she had a music career? And, oh my god, she did. She covered "Age Of Aquarius," and even more amazingly, issued a disco single in 1987 called "This Girl's Back In Town" -- and there is a video to go with it, one that's, as a youtube user puts it, utterly "tranny-tastic." It is the most awesome thing in the history of the world, though I nearly put an eye out just looking at the shoulderpads. Someone needs to send me an mp3 of this, stat.

But I'm getting carried away, sidetracked, and humiliated. The way I found out about Raquel's singing career, oddly, is via The Colourfield. One of his many short-lived bands, The Colourfield was actually what got me interested in Terry Hall in the first place: I didn't have much truck with The Specials or Fun Boy Three, but I loved the Bacharachish bossa nova stylings of Colourfield singles like "Thinking Of You" and "Castles In The Air" (here extended, with extra-dramatic castanets, for your pleasure), and indeed, much of their 1985 album Virgins and Philistines.

The group put out a completely-ignored second album Deception in 1987, and here's the most interesting factoid about it: the band had lots of problems while recording, and as a result the album had to be finished with the help "of Raquel Welch's band and session players." If it's them on this song, they did a great job. "Miss Texas 1967" has a drum pattern that's very reminiscient of Cyndi Lauper's "True Colors," and is, in general, beautifully arranged: listen, for example, to the acoustic guitar and the halting wind instrument (a harmonium?) in the background. They together conjure up a deep sense of remorse and regret that absolutely fits the lyric, which seems to be about Terry looking for the son he never took responsibility for. It's as gently moving and beautiful as, well, Raquel is not.


  • Well, that Raquel Welch track certainly did get me to see "Miss Texas 1967" as a better song than it would have seemed if you'd just posted it on it's own.

    Surprising about the Raquel track -- who knew that Paul Jabara could write such dreck? (Although the "I've been through some changes" lyric makes me wonder whether the song is thematically akin to PSB's "Discoteca.") Apparently the moral of the video is "Don't answer the phone when it's covered in cobwebs." If only the person on the other end were one of the Village People in the "Sex Over The Phone" video...

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 9:16 PM  

  • HOw strange! When I did my 80's mixes (first on tape, then on CD), THIS was the Colourfield song I put on.

    Wonder Twin powers ACTIVATE!

    By Blogger xolondon, at 11:20 AM  

  • I just want you to know, Brittle, that I've been flagellating myself all day for my earlier hasty confusion of "it's" and "its." Sheesh.

    By Anonymous esque, at 12:31 PM  

  • esque, I almost didn't think that comment came from you because of the "it's." For shame.

    xo, I think it's possible that you go to sleep at night, and then your evil twin wakes up without you knowing and writes these blog entries. Some of them certainly seem possessed.

    By Blogger Brittle, at 1:02 PM  

  • Oh my god, this is trashy! I just wished that she'd kept the glasses on! Trash, trash, trash! I always liked Fun Boy Three's "Our Lips are Sealed' and "The Lunatics Have Taken Over the Asylum." I don't want to rain on anyone's parade but I think this song's just plain dreck. Fun to watch, though.

    By Blogger arcite, at 5:45 AM  

  • No! C'mon! "This Girl" is genius, and almost on the level of Pia Zadora's contributions to modern pop music!

    By Blogger Brittle, at 12:26 AM  

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