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Tuesday 17 August 2021

Lost In The Delta Of Venus

Some songs are like planets or moons, they orbit around you and once in a while come back into your life and repeat the impact they had when you first heard them. Just as planets have longer or shorter orbits depending on their distance from the sun, so do the songs- some come back more frequently and some less so, but either way they come back. Last week a friend posted a picture on Twitter of The Wild Swans. I went straight away to their 1982 single The Revolutionary Spirit and have been playing it often ever since. It has got under my skin again. I posted it once before back in 2014 and this is what I wrote about it then...

There's something about this song, The Revolutionary Spirit by The Wild Swans, that could somehow only have been made in Liverpool in 1982, something essentially early 80s scouse about it. The Wild Swans were the baby of Paul Simpson. Paul's led three different line ups of The Wild Swans over the years but there's something really special about the first line up. Isn't it often that way? The Revolutionary Spirit was paid for, produced (in mono) and drummed on by Bunnyman Pete de Freitas and is a yearning, heart felt, uplifting, post-punk masterpiece. It was also the last record released by legendary Liverpudlian independent label Zoo.

The lyrics are a mini-epic in themselves, starting with these opening lines... 'Lost in the delta of Venus, lost in a welter of shame'... and a chorus that takes it further still... 'All is quiet where angels fear, Oh my blood relations the revolutionary spirit is here'. William Blake eat your heart out.

Label owner Bill Drummond reckoned it was the best thing Zoo put out and he might be right. Bill Drummond often is.

I can't do any better than that now other than to add that what those early 80s Liverpool bands shared was their romanticism, hopeless romantics all (in contrast to the reality of the city in front of them, abandoned by Margaret Thatcher into 'managed decline'). 

Songs like this one are special, they hit hard, burrow their way inside you and don't let go. 

The Revolutionary Spirit

Paul Simpson lost the first version of The Wild Swans in 1982, with the other two members going off to become The Lotus Eaters. The second incarnation, between 1987 and 1990 also imploded. A third was active between 2009 and 2011. Simpson sees all three as part of the same thing, a continuum. He is also scathing about time wasted playing the game for major record labels- 'major record labels suck the poetry from your bones and fill the gaps with cement made from cocaine and crushed teenagers'. 


Nick L said...

Fabulous song. Apparently there is supposed to be a new Wild Swans album in the pipeline although there's no news of the timescale. All their stuff is worth hearing but Revolutionary Spirit will always be a hard one to beat.

Charity Chic said...

Checked to see if I had this before downloading.
I did - 4 copies!

Echorich said...

Just a really special song from a really special artist.

Brian said...

All three eras are wonderful. If I’m honest, however, this is my favorite moment. Love the three singles he did with Mr. Broudie as Care too. Echoing Echorich, a very special artist.

Swiss Adam said...

I thought I had all the Care songs as mp3s but don't seem to have them any more. Unlike CC I've bene a bit careless. Will need to seek them out from somewhere.