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This Weekend I’ll Mostly Be Listening to… Dolly Mixture May 17, 2014

Posted by WorldbyStorm in Culture, This Weekend I'll Mostly Be Listening to....
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Surely this is the very definition of lost classic hiding in plain sight, a group of women who produced near enough peerless pop in the immediate post-punk period, who had a measure of success but in a curiously oblique fashion.

Dolly Mixture were founded as early as 1978 in London by Debsey Wykes, Rachel Bor and Hester Smith.Their career was an odd one, some will recall them as providing backing vocals for Captain Sensible’s ‘Wot’ and backing ‘Happy Talk’, but their career proper was remarkable, with a string of pop gems – few over three and a half minutes long. Their influences were in a way obvious, 1960s pop, punk – particularly the Undertones who they supported (and “How Come You’re Such a Hit…” is an overt nod in the direction of the latter band). “Been Teen”, has a great chorus, uniquely of its time but also classic.

The wordless vocal line at the chorus of “Everything and More” still sends a shiver up my spine, as do the ‘Hey, Hey’s’ which predate the JAMC by three years – they did love their ‘hey hey’s’ as evidenced on Day By Day! But it would be wrong to see them through the prism of later groups because their own sound, touching on post punk, new wave, that aforementioned 1960s pop works so well on its terms and theirs. It’s a summery sound, confident and self-assured, nostalgic.

They made some curious career decisions, albeit ones which sought to see them play the sort of music they wanted to play rather than having preconceived ideas of what they should play imposed upon them by others (the wiki page is very good on outlining that dynamic). Their one album proper “Demonstration Tapes” was a double with only 1,000 copies issued and in a plain white cover. Which suggests it was either a reasonable assessment of their potential sales or a determined gesture against commercialism – or maybe both. And yet they produced huge numbers of songs, and many are near enough unobtainable at this remove. Unsurprisingly they’ve been feted by Bob Stanley, and Wiki notes that Cornelius (dealt with here in TWIMBLT quite some years ago) covered them and helped release “Dreamism!”, a single by them, in 1998, and somehow that makes sense.

The part-reformed last year (part because two of the three of them turned up). That too seems to make sense.

How Come You’re Such A Hit With The Boys, Jane

Been Teen

Everything and More

The Same Mistake

My Rainbow Valley (Cover of Love Affair)

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