The Great 80s Project: 1980

Back in May 2017, Real Gone launched “The Great 70s Project”, a ten week exploration of a classic decade’s worth of music.  By side-stepping a couple of the obvious hits and digging deeper into back-catalogue albums, we were able to present a very broad look at the albums of the era and it became one of the site’s most popular features.

A long time in the planning, we’re pleased to present The Great 80s Project, a similar exploration of the decade that brought us a multitude of synth-pop, shiny tunes, bright colours, Live Aid and a handful of stadium giants.

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Download: WATTS – Seventeen / When The Party Ends

For a band who claimed they were “All Done With Rock N Roll” as 2017 drew to a close, Watts continued to keep themselves busy.   A digital single, ‘Queens’ followed in October 2018 and a new EP ‘Breaking Glass’ kicked off 2019 in their typically retro rock ‘n’ roll tradition.

It’s been a year since the world last heard from Boston’s underground heroes, but they’ve returned with a couple of new tracks that you can download on a “pay what you want” basis.

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JIM CAPALDI – Oh How We Danced

1972 was a particularly fruitful year for rock and pop music. That year saw The Rolling Stones release their critically acclaimed ‘Exile On Main Street’; Yes explored deep sonic textures on their indulgent ‘Close To The Edge’; Alice Cooper achieved worldwide acclaim and a massive hit single with ‘School’s Out’; Deep Purple gave us ‘Machine Head and Bowie introduced us to ‘Ziggy Stardust’. That might have been enough to make it great, but in addition, Steely Dan made their debut with the brilliant ‘Can’t Buy A Thrill’; Neil Young’s ‘Harvest’ was a massive success and Roxy Music‘s debut album sounded as if it were beamed in from another planet. The year also spawned T. Rex’s ‘The Slider’, Lou Reed’s ‘Transformer’, Stevie Wonder’s ‘Talking Book’, Joni Mitchell’s ‘For The Roses’, Elton’s ‘Honky Chateau’ and Van’s ‘Saint Dominic’s Preview’. With several dozen essential albums, 1972 had so much to give…and often feels like one of those years that keeps giving.

It was also the year that Jim Capaldi released his solo debut. It wasn’t something the Traffic multi-instrumentalist and songwriter had necessarily planned; it came about through a cruel twist of fate. Towards the end of 1971, Traffic were riding high with their fourth studio album ‘The Low Spark of High Heeled Boys’, but disaster struck when Steve Winwood suffered an appendicitis and subsequently became very ill with peritonitis, forcing the band to take a break. Rather than rest, Capaldi took the time to quickly record a selection of his own material during December, and that appeared on record shop shelves as ‘Oh How We Danced’ in March ’72. Kick starting what turned out to be a successful solo career, it had been a serendipitous twist in the Traffic saga.

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Ken Hensley 5CD set to be released March 27th

After leaving Uriah Heep in 1980, multi-instrumentalist Ken Hensley embarked upon an often overlooked solo career.  On 27th March 2020, Cherry Red Records/HNE Records will release a five disc set collecting his extensive recordings made between 2012-2013.

The new set follows Cherry Red’s previous Hensley anthology (‘The Bronze Years’) and brings together two studio album, an acoustic live set and various live recordings made with Ken’s band Live Fire.

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VARIOUS ARTISTS – Crawling Up A Hill: A Journey Through The British Blues Boom 1966-71

On the surface, it would seem that the British blues boom has been well served by compilation discs over the years. On closer inspection, that hasn’t really been the case at all: the best anthologies tend to be label specific (Blue Horizon’s ‘The Blue Horizon Story’, Decca’s ‘The Blues Scene’ and Immediate’s ‘Blues Anytime’ series, later repackaged as an excellent four CD set by Charly Records). The bulk of the rest seem too concerned with repackaging bits of ‘Blues Anytime’ with cheap, inferior packaging. There hasn’t ever really been a decent compilation covering a lot of ground from different labels, or one unafraid to dig a little deeper beyond the usual suspects.

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