Western Promise – Star Of Bethlehem – Vinyl Album
Brand new, never played, unsealed
Midnight Records / DONG 42
Midnight Records History
The Midnight Music label operated for about ten years from the early 1980s to its untimely demise at the hands of its bankers in the early 1990s – the men in suits wanted it to make money (which it didnt), but all we wanted to make was music (which we did, lots of it). They killed the company but couldnt kill the music, which lives on – juiced by regular Cherry Red and Anagram best of compilation releases of individual artists.
However, this collection paints a broader picture, with contributions from artists across the Midnight Music spectrum, eclectic but accessible and (save for a handful of notable omissions for contractual reasons) representative of what the label was about.
Appropriately, Nocturnal is introduced by Sad Lovers And Giants, the labels first signing. They came to our attention via two singles released on their own Last Movement label, cle and Colourless Dream; Things We Never Did was the b-side of the latter. After two albums, the original SLAGs (the name was devised to give the acronym SLAG) disintegrated and guitarist Tristan Garel-Funk formed The Snake Corps, represented here by Science Kills, their first single.
Another early signing was The Essence, from Rotterdam. The moody Like Christ is my favourite track of theirs, but A Mirage was probably the most successful, especially in Spain, where a Spanish version was also released.
Many of the labels bands toured extensively in Europe, especially in France, Spain and Holland, often sharing the same bill. When Sad Lovers And Giants and The Essence were scheduled for two weeks in France and were both in the studio a few months before, they couldnt resist the idea of re-working one of each of their songs together for a special single -Sleep is included here.
When fellow-independent September Records ran into difficulties, it was absorbed into Midnight Music and the label acquired the talents of McCarthy and The Wolfhounds – Keep An Open Mind Or Else and Rent Act are among their strongest tracks respectively.
At around the same time, Midnight Music opened an office in Paris and began to license from other labels for releases in France, including albums by The Wedding Present, Billy Bragg and The Corn Dollies; the latter from the Medium Cool label, which became part of Midnight Music soon after. Along with The Corn Dollies, whose Nothing Of You was originally a Medium Cool single (on Midnight in France) came The Waltones and Brightons Popguns. Someone You Love was the Guns second single for Midnight and Gesture is taken from the later Crazy single. The Waltones changed their name to Candlestick Park (anyone know the significance of the name?), recorded a superb, as yet unreleased album, and the All The Time In The World single.
The Midnight French connection also brought Sun And The Moon the label. Originally intending only to license the Alive, Not Dead EP(which included Adams Song) for France, the deal was extended and worldwide rights were acquired with Mark Burgess starting work on a solo album.
Shortly before this, the indefatigable Blyth Power had come to the label, bringing their brand of very electric modern folk-rock with them, distinguished by Josef Portas unique lyrics and vocal harmonies to die for. Better To Bat was a single culled from their very fine Alnwick & Tyne album. Also in the folk-rock genre, but, growing out of the pub-rock tradition, a million miles away from the style of Blyth Power was earlier signing Hackney Five-O, whose Catalogue is a modern tale of woe in the blues tradition.
Other earlier signings were Western Promise, Sheriff Jack, The Invisible and Sudden Afternoon. Promised Land was recorded by the original Western Promise line-up on their first release, the Justice EP and Sheriff Jacks Everybody Twist is the saner side of his very quirky output. The Invisible, a pure pop group featuring lush harmonies put together by Lester Square from The Monochrome Set, recorded just the Dystopia album which Love St. was taken from. Sudden Afternoon, one-time favorites of DJ Andy Kershaw, managed an EP as well as the Dancing Shadows album and the Acid Rain single which was taken from it.
Two of the last artists to record for the label were Ever and Fuel, both of whom completed albums, although only the Virginize and Songs In The Key Of E EPs (which included Virgin Eyes and Honey Comes Softly respectively) were released before the labels demise.
Star Of Bethlehem
Letters From Abroad