Wednesday, 23 June 2010

Clandestine Classic IV - If I Can't Change Your Mind

The fourth post in an occasional series that is intended to highlight songs that you might not have heard that I think are excellent - clandestine classics, if you will. Maybe they'll be by bands you've never heard of. Maybe they'll be by more familiar artists, but tracks that were squirelled away on b-sides, unpopular albums, radio sessions or music magazine cover-mounted CDs. Time will, undoubtedly, tell.

Today, the UK chart highpoint from Bob Mould's other band, Sugar. Formed in 1992 by ex-Hüsker Dü frontman Bob Mould, Sugar had a slightly lighter and more commercial sound than the punky origins of its members. And this was reflected in mainstream success; their debut album Copper Blue, from which CC IV is taken, was the NME's album of the year. Who knows what might have been if subsequent material hadn't begun to move back to the darker roots of the band's sound...

As it is, we can still enjoy today's clandestine classic, If I Can't Change Your Mind. It peaked at number 30 in the UK charts, though may have done better in the US where it was used to soundtrack some show or other on MTV. For me though, this song is forever associated with the City Arms pub in Canterbury. Back then, the Arms had the best jukebox in town, even better than the Cherry Tree's, and it was a given that when myself and The Man Of Cheese called in there for a few ales (which we did most weeks) we would go pound-halves on the juke. This song, with a 12-string guitar sound so bright it should have come with sunglasses, was always one of my choices. I bought Copper Blue, hoping it would all be like this, and can remember being disappointed when it wasn't. This song made it onto countless of the compilation tapes I made back then though.

Mould called time on Sugar in 1995. This, then, was their career high watermark. Rapidsharers amongst you may be interested in this RAR file. For the rest of us, let's look to YouTube; whilst you're watching, try imagining a warm summer's evening in an excellent pub with your best mate, supping real ale and trying to chat up Swedish au pairs. Good, isn't it?

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