For the few of you who have a passing interest in the main theme of this blog – for new readers: all of the records I bought, posted in the order I bought them – who are wondering what’s happened to that, fear not. 1985 is proving a tad more problematic than I had anticipated, but fear not, it will be here soon.
In the meantime, more Sunday morning shenenigans.
Today’s post was a record that I must have heard on the radio of a morning when it was released in 1981; the soundtrack to my bowl of porridge and buttered toast in those days was one Terence Wogan on Radio 2, not through choice, this was what the folks used to listen to, and when you’re 11 going on 12 you can’t really insist they put 6 Music on. Mostly because it didn’t exist in those days. Back then, the word “digital” referred to watches and had nothing to do with entertainment (although I had a particularly cool Casio digital watch which hugely entertained me by playing a different alarm for each day of the week, each a classical tune (not so cool) which had the notes popping up on the screen as it played.)
Anyway, today’s post is a perfect example of the story-telling qualities of Messrs Difford & Tilbrook. Anyone who knows those names, will also know that (generally) Glenn Tilbrook writes the music and Chris Difford writes the lyrics, and the lyrics are genius, to my mind the first true story-telling lyricist since Ray Davies.
Labelled with Love paints a portrait of a lonely alcoholic woman, who met a US Airman during the 2nd World War, fell in love and married him, moved to the US and then back when he died in a drunken stupor, before seeing her days out, shuffling around the china poodles she collects in her tiny hovel.
Several of the words in that description have been directly lifted from the song – all of them words you do not encounter in pop songs on a regular basis.
And if that wasn’t enough to make it great, it was co-produced by Elvis Costello.
It’s bleak. It’s Country. It’s wonderful. It’s:
The song has particular poignancy for me, as two of my aunts married US military men who were stationed near to where they lived back in the day, and moved over to the States. Thankfully, neither turned out anything like the man in the story here. There but for the grace of God, and all that….