Fierce 1991. Fright 047
By the time this came out I’d got very bored of the Pooh Sticks, but this was in a bargain bin, and against my better judgement, I bought it. It’s actually an expanded re-issue of Orgasm, with a bunch of studio tracks appended to the original release.
Side 1, supposedly recorded live includes most of their early tracks. Surprisingly they’re the most proficient and well recorded versions of these songs, so my purchase wasn’t quite as ill advised as I thought. Of course when I say proficient, I mean proficient by Pooh Sticks standards, so don’t expect too much.
Side 2’s studio recordings are a bit of a mess, and follow Fierce’s weird penchant for mono recordings.
Cheree 1989. CHEREE3F
I’m not much into flexis for obvious reasons, but these tracks only appear here, and as flexis go it doesn’t sound too bad.
Go Go Girl is a pretty straight cover of a Marc Bolan song. Simon E apparently worked for Rough Trade and I guess they didn’t like him.
For me, the Pooh Sticks had rather lost their way at this point. They’d left behind the joyful wind-ups of their early records, but hadn’t yet turned into a band that could make music which stood up without the humour. All credit to them for pulling that transformation off, but they hadn’t quite got there in 1989.
Fierce Records 1989. FRIGHT 034
Another rare indie 7″, but a good one this time. The Pooh Sticks had moved on by 1989 from being a terrible band with a great sense of humour into an outfit who could actually make decent records. This is a cover of a Vaselines song (Nirvana also had a strange penchant for this obscure Scottish band which gave them some infamy). OK, so Hugh still can’t sing, but they’ve either learnt to play or have hired someone who can because this single really rocks with loads of distortion and wah-wah. Actually, the only person who can play is the lead guitarist – the rest is as bad as ever, but the overall effect works for me. It’s not much of a hi-fi experience though….
Fierce were keen on selling records for a lot of money with very little music on them – this one didn’t cost too much but is one sided, so only 1 track.
I found a delightful letter from Hugh inside. Fierce were mainly mail order, so some sort of correspondence was inevitable:
Google analytics means I can do scary e-stalking of people who come here. Well, that’s a bit of an exaggeration, but I did discover that the band have linked to this blog from their facebook page. I guess that means they’re not hacked off with me posting their deleted material which is good to know.
Fierce Records 1988. FRIGHT 026
Andy left a comment linking to a London gig of a load of 80s Indie bands I used to listen to back in the day. I can’t go, and I’m not sure I’d want to, but it did remind me of this lot.
The Pooh Sticks were a particularly shambolic Indie band from Swansea who recorded, at least initially for the somewhat subversive Fierce Records. Their first single On Tape (1988) was a stupidly limited pressing, 100 as I recall, so I never managed to get a copy but I did hear it on Peel and thought it was hilarious. It takes the piss out of geeky Indie kids of the time – you probably had to be one to get all the in jokes. They followed it up with an even more limited box of 5 one sided 7″ singles (50 copies I think, also in 1988) which I have. I guess it must be worth something but I’ve never seen one for sale. It contained more Indiepop in-jokes – I Know Someone Who Knows Someone Who Knows Alan McGee Quite Well and Indiepop Ain’t Noise Pollution together with some less memorable ditties.
Actually to call them a band at all, at least in the early days was pushing it a bit. The whole thing was more an elaborate practical joke – with their bizarre and effectively unobtainable releases, Hugh’s tuneless singing and rock star fantasies, and a lack of musical proficiency which had to be heard to be believed. The line-up was also fictitious; it was actually just Steve Gregory who owned Fierce Records and Huw Williams the singer. But to criticise them for those things is to miss the point. They were about parody, and they achieved that very well and the joke rolled on for a surprisingly long time. They were properly funny.
This CD, long deleted, gathers together those 6 tracks and a couple of skits recorded in New York, one of which is a spoof of a TV ad that was around at the time. On one level it is of course dreadful, but On Tape still works I think.
By 1991 they’d changed direction and had a bit of success, but I’d lost interest by then. I did exchange a few letters with Huw Poohstick (Williams), the lead singer and he even did me a compilation tape. It was full of frighteningly cool stuff which I was very impressed by at the time, but it turns out his dad was the drummer in Man and Dire Straits and had a cool record collection. I had to buy my own records….