Friday, August 14, 2009

friday fizz: The Charlatans (UK) 89-91 rarities

Twenty years ago this year a small Northwich, UK band plied a 3-song demo tape in hopes of gathering a following in the UK North West. Riding the coattails of the big Manchester triumvirate Stone Roses / Happy Mondays / Inspiral Carpets, this band really sounded like none (well, perhaps the Roses a bit) and endeavored to separate itself from the pack.

Twenty years on and this band - despite hardship, ugliness and sad stories that would break up most other bands - carries on.

The Charlatans (UK), of course, is this band.

Well before the success, well before winning the Madchester Survivor game (hehe), they had some wilderness years and in fact looked set to not last much beyond the first quarter of the 1990's.

Starting in 1989 with a three-song demo, the band ended up doing a couple John Peel sessions (March 1990 and January 1991) and ultimately saw its guitarist leave due to - in essence - realizing he had pretty much exhausted his limited skill set.

I'm at this time leaving the albums and singles out of the discussion. Instead I'm using this spot to pass on some really unheralded rarities, performances, and classic tracks that haven't much been seen or discussed.

First off we have the aformentioned 3-song demo featuring (rather) polished takes on "Indian Rope", "You Can Talk To Me" and "White Shirt". "White Shirt" is the surprise here in that it's much more jaunty, bouncy than the take they'd do on the debut LP Some Friendly - and in fact I like this version much better.

Then we get the first Peel session, recorded in March 1990 and featuring the first of the "lost" Charlatans tracks, "Always In Mind", among three others.

Then, they returned to Peely's show with a session recorded in January 1991 featuring the next "lost" track "Between 10th And 11th" - a track as good as any released from this period - along with two others.

And finally we have an embryonic take on "(No One) Not Even The Rain" recorded for Mark Goodier in October 1991.

I used the best sources I could locate to make this post. I do apologize in advance for the relative lo-fi of "Then" / "Can't Even Be Bothered" / "Opportunity Three" as I do not have *any* other sources of these besides lo-fi transfers and/or original 128kbps MP3. I cleaned them up the best I could but I have to use this opportunity to ask my readers - do they have *any* of this material lossless and/or high quality?

Regardless.... it's all good.

THE CHARLATANS / Rarities 1989-1991
a Power of Independent Trucking special

01 Indian Rope
02 You Can Talk To Me
03 White Shirt
-- Demo cassette, 1989

04 Always In Mind
05 You Can Talk To Me
06 Polar Bear
07 Then
-- John Peel session 20 March 1990

08 Between 10th and 11th
09 Can't Even Be Bothered
10 Opportunity Three
-- John Peel session 22 January 1991

11 (No One) Not Even The Rain
-- Mark Goodier session 5 October 1991

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1-3 / 192kpbs MP3's I found on some blog, remastered by your humble blogger

4, 6, 8, 11 / officially-released "Forever" 2xCD compilation

5 / B-side on "Indian Rope" CD single

7 / VBR MP3 found on the intarwebs, cleaned up by your humble blogger

9, 10 / 128kbps MP3's found on the intarwebs, cleaned up by your humble blogger

The note that came with the 89 Demo tracks imply these exist as lossless SHN files somewhere in the world - help me locate them!

Also... what else was broadcast on that Goodier session? That's an interesting one to track down because the date implies it was just around the time the "Me. In Time" single was released - guitarist Mark Collins' first record with the band.

Are their any other radio sessions pre-1992?

- - - -

Part I / Part II (split RAR files, as usual, have to grab both!)


  1. According to "In Session Tonight", a wonderful book that came out in 1993 that details all BBC 1 radio sessions, that Goodier session (which did indeed feature Mark Collins)also included Weirdo, End of Everything, and Me in Time. There is also a previous Goodier session from May 19, 1990 which had Some Friendly, Indian Rope, The Only One I Know, and White Shirt. Sadly, I can only provide you the info, not the music.

  2. I hope someone out there has tapes of these and can upload them somewhere.... Would love to hear a pre-Flood "Weirdo" and what's this from 5/90 "Some Friendly" - another soon-to-be-abandoned track that gave its title to an LP? This too I'd love to hear!

  3. I had Weirdo from the Goodier session on an old TDK tape years ago - taped directly off the radio. As I recall it was a magnificent version with Jon Brookes playing a furious tom-tom drum pattern at the start before the organ kicked in - I'd love to hear that again...

  4. I think that you will be hard pushed to find anymore pre 92 radio sessions. Thanks for providing such a comprehensive compilation.

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  6. I am probably the biggest charlies fan going. I have the mark goodier Weirdo sessions and they're great

    I also have loads of rare stuff by this band - if you want anything else rare/interesting then please let me know! :)

    My email is

  7. Does anyone have the original Charlatans 1989 Demo Tape in their possession? If so, I would urge that person to add that release to It's not currently there, which is a minor tragedy. :)

  8. Super stuff, thanks for posting. You might find this interesting as well:

    The Smoking Cupcake