Tuesday, October 12, 2004

somewhere in the world there's a cowboy dancing

No, its not a Leonard Cohen cover, and though it sounds like it at first, its not Ministry's 'Work For Love', either. Its Blue Zoo, from 1982. I picked this up along w/ yesterday's post, Jona Lewie, in a big pile of 12"s that were 3 for $1 in Indianapolis. Which came first, the band or the largest walk-through aquarium of its type in Asia? Answer: the band.

Blue Zoo were an English pop wave/synth-pop/dance-funk outfit on Magnet Records, and no doubt an inspiration to Kajagoogoo.

Throughout their brief existence, the quirky British combo Blue Zoo juggled various musical styles with gleeful abandon. Formed in England in 1980, Blue Zoo released their first single, "I Shoot Sheep," under the moniker Modern Jazz. Featuring Andy O (vocals), Tim Parry (guitar), Mike Ansell (bass), and Micky Sparrow (drums), Blue Zoo shifted from post-punk gloom to jubilant synth-pop to offbeat funk on their 1983 debut album Two by Two, with only O's flamboyant, high-pitched vocals linking the tracks together. The vigorous dance song "Cry Boy Cry" catapulted Blue Zoo onto BBC TV, but tracks like "Open Up" and "Love Moves in Strange Ways" revealed the group's versatility. The mechanical rhythms and robotic singing of "Open Up" suggests the influence of early Wire, while "Love Moves in Strange Ways," a breakup tale told with ghostly keyboards, brittle acoustic guitars, and O's plaintive wailing, unearthed the band's darker side. Elements of the Associates, XTC, and New Order are tossed into Blue Zoo's stylistic soup on their lone album, Two by Two. The masses, though, were either largely unimpressed or deeply perplexed by Blue Zoo's schizophrenic mood swings. The group produced a final single, the relentlessly upbeat "Somewhere in the World There's a Cowboy Dancing," and then entered the obscurity file after splitting apart in 1985.

Blue Zoo - I'm Your Man


At 9:14 PM, Blogger Michael said...

Brilliant post - I owned this 45 for a while, and can't remember what ever happened to it. It wasn't until I came across this post that my memory was triggered. I love this tune - thank you!

I noticed you linked to Magnet Records' Discogs page. Are you a regular user of the site? I'm an editor and moderator there - user djrez1. I've been working on Discogs for almost 4 years now and the growth has been huge. It always makes me smile when I see links to a page. Cheers!

At 6:35 AM, Blogger Eric said...

Beat me to it again! I'll be posting "Somewhere in the World There's a Cowboy Smiling" someday...


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