Happy Friday everyone. And what better way to celebrate the start of a lovely, sunny weekend than with a brace of recordings from one of my very favourite song-poem companies, Columbine?
Columbine produced an almost endless series of albums in the 70s and early 80s, as well as hundreds of singles and EPs. If their catalogue is to be believed there could be as many as 300 or more albums in their Now Sounds of Today series alone. Each of their albums contained anything up to 20 different tracks, all from aspiring hit makers who really should have known better, and all packaged in generic sleeves - often with different catalogue numbers used for the sleeve and disc.
Because song poem outfits rely entirely on the material submitted, and because so many of their customers are obsessed with the big man in the sky, there are an inordinate number of song-poems about God. However, for some odd reason – it could be simply because of the publications Columbine chose to advertise in - Columbine seem to have produced more religious dreck than the rest of them put together. They certainly knew their audience: several of their singers (including Kay Weaver and John Fluker) have gone on to carve out careers in Christian music.
The two songs presented here barely scratch the surface, but give a good indication of the type of material the company pumped out.
There’s not a lot to say about Kay Weaver’s Hell Express, from the 281st volume in the Now Sounds of Today series. This is Columbine’s contribution to the war on drugs. At least I think that’s the idea; it could just as easily be an advert for a local pusher. Kay’s voice is totally unsuited to the material and the arrangement; she sounds to me as if she’s doing a voice-over for a Film Board of Canada public information film. It’s ridiculous, as is the 'name' of the composer - Cracked Eyes.
Next up is John-Boy Perkins (maybe Columbine were trying to attract fans of The Waltons) with the stupid He First Loved Me from one of the company’s many, many EPs (HV 168, fact fans). This is much more typical of Columbine’s religious output: dull, insipid arrangements, flat vocals and about as engaging as cold sick. Just the thing for a sunny Friday morning.