Monday, February 12, 2007

Old Grey Whistle Test-Aztec Camera "Walk Out to Winter"

An acquaintance in the UK recognized the set of The Old Grey Whistle Test, which is not documented with this video. The Old Grey Whistle Test was a low budget BBC show that was all about the music. The name is from the "old greys," which were from the first pressings of the vinyl records. The "whistle test" is whether or not the tune was catchy enough for the audience to whistle after hearing it. The show ran from 1971 to 1987. There is a "New Grey Whistle Test," an Internet enterprise with a concept is close to my heart.


A very young Roddy Frame of the Glasweigian band, Aztec Camera, plays a unique arrangement on the single version of "Walk Out to Winter" (April 1983 Rough Trade # RT 132), using synthesizers in their predominantly acoustic sound. This was the second single from the album, High Land, Hard Rain, the first of which was the MTV-friendly "Oblivious."

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High Land, Hard Rain is #12 on the "Top 100 Scottish albums" on the Scotsman website. The album was nosed out for the #11 spot by Lloyd Cole's Rattlesnakes. A pop record in the best sense, Frame's melancholy lyrics, guitar skills equal or greater to those of Johnny Marr, and the often sunny arrangements with Dave Mulholland (bass) and Campbell Owens (drums) make it shine.
We met in the summer and walked 'til the fall
And breathless we talked, it was tongues.
Despite what they'll say, it wasn't youth, we hit the truth

Faces of Strummer that fell from your wall
And was left were they hung
So sweet and bitter, they're what we found
So drink them down and

Chorus
Walk out to winter, swear I'll be there.
Chill will wake you, high and dry
You'll wonder why.
Walk out to winter, swear I'll be there.
Chance is buried just below the blinding snow.

You burn in the breadline and ribbons and all
So walk to winter
You won't be late, you always wait
This generation, the walk to wall
But I'm not angry, get your gear
Get out of here and...
Chorus

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