Turntable Tales: Curiosity – Hang On In There Baby

I seem to find myself talking more and more about vinyl these days, either with visitors to the house or as part of music discussions on Twitter. When this site first began, it was called ‘Vinyl Junkies‘ on the basis that my enthusiasm for the format had recently returned. Despite the name change, the passion has remained and intensified and so it seems only right to focus on the superior format a little more on here. And so begins Turntable Tales, for which I will pluck titles from the shelves of several Ikea Expedits and pass comment, be it memories from the release or purchase of the item or a more conventional review of the music and sound quality. This first one is wilfully uncool, but kind of captures the point of this perfectly.

Curiosity Sleeve

Having previously been known as Curiosity Killed The Cat, this was an attempt at a Nineties rebirth with a tweak of the sound and a clearout of three words. I had absolutely no idea about their past other than the little box which appeared on screen during The Chart Show to tell me the information which I have already imparted. I thought it was great, drawn in by a cracking chorus and neat pop-soul production. Having been a top three hit for Johnny Bristol back in the Seventies, it repeated the trick for a band seeking to re-establish themselves in a different decade to that which had initially brought them success. Amusingly, I’ve just found out that Gary Barlow covered it for his debut solo album, and we all know how well that turned out.

The 7″ pictured above came from the Woolies singles bargain bin in Chepstow, way back in 1992. The massive singles wall used to have slots for CD singles, tapes and sevens, even as you sensed the now-deceased high street chain trying to push out the old format. The increasingly high turnover of the chart in that decade, as the trend for entering at Number One took off having hitherto been a tricky feat to manage, meant that the amount of stuff hitting the reductions bin picked up wonderfully. It was a game of chicken, all about holding your nerve. If you were feeling cavalier with your limited pennies than 49p might be your entry point, after a brief period at 99p if it had been retailing at full price, but I was always to be found holding out for the 10p markdown. The moment of triumph when you realised your wait had not been in vain was magical, as a good few would have escaped at the earlier stages. However, as I recall, I would spoil all of my good work by then buying several 10p titles of variable quality and then ending up with less bang for my buck than I thought. ‘Good Vibrations‘ by Marky Mark & The Funky Bunch, anyone? And it skipped. Although that meant there was technically less of it, so not all bad.

Curiosity Disc

Curiosity’s delightful ‘Hang On In There Baby‘ was one of my 10p triumphs and, rather annoyingly, it’s one of only a few of my early singles I’ve still got. Even more disturbingly, this is very nearly 20 years old – how can anything from the Nineties be twenty years old? There’s a little crackle as the stylus settles in the groove, but otherwise it still sounds as endearing today as it did back then. I played the b-side, ‘Meaning Of Dreaming’, earlier as I had no memory of it. It is, predictably, gloopy swing-pop schlock of that era and interminably shite. Oddly enough, Curiosity’s rebirth didn’t make it past the rusks stage in the end.

 

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