Wednesday, October 29, 2008

In search of .. Times Square

Yet another album that has fallen through the cracks and gone unnoticed and still unreleased on CD is the Original Motion Picture Soundtrack of Times Square. It's a bit ironic that music fans, specially CD collectors, have lamented the non-CD release of a soundtrack to a movie that, more so than not, they have not watched.. ever.

This Various Artists double album was released also in 1980, and locally released on vinyl under the then-high profile mostly-Bee Gees label RSO Records (which stood for its owner's organization, Robert Stigwood). Though for those who have actually seen the film, which is not exactly the kind of movie worth any real sales at the tills nor something to e-mail your Mom about, it is the song selection that astounds. For 1980, this was a pretty eclectic music mix you could buy locally. Here's the tracklisting:

Rock Hard - Suzi Quatro
Pretenders - Talk Of The Town
Roxy Music - Same Old Scene
Gary Numan - Down In The Park
Marcy Levy & Robin Gibb - Help Me!
Talking Heads - Life During Wartime
Joe Jackson - Pretty Boys
XTC - Take This Town
Ramones - I Wanna Be Sedated
Robin Johnson - Damn Dog
Robin Johnson & Trini Alvarado - Your Daughter Is One
The Ruts - Babylon's Burning
D.L.Byron - You Can't Hurry Love
Lou Reed - Walk On The Wild Side
Desmond Child & Rouge - The Night Was Not
Garland Jeffreys - Innocent, Not Guilty
The Cure - Grinding Halt
Patti Smith Group - Pissing In The River
David Johansen & Robin Johnson - Flowers In The City
Robin Johnson - Damn Dog (Reprise - The Cleo Club)

For a local 1980 release from Dyna Products, Inc., this is a pretty astounding soundtrack! At that time, where in the world would you be able to purchase local releases of The Cure (whose "Grinding Halt" appears here, from Three Imaginary Boys, an album that was never released here) and Ramones (their Road To Ruin also dealt a similar fate)? Not to mention Patti Smith's "Pissing In The River" from her 1976 album Radio Ethiopia, another unreleased gem. Or D.L. Byron's quirky take of The Supremes' "You Can't Hurry Love," which makes us ponder, who the hell is D.L. Byron? Here lies the essentiality of Times Square.

Back in the day, you'd be hard-pressed to send away for these imported record albums through your Balikbayan Aunt coming home for a visit, or maybe that steward/ess friend of yours who can easily handcarry them in overnight, no sweat. Now, with the readily available access of torrents and peer-to-peer filesharing programs, these once locally unreleased albums are now a few search strokes and mouseclicks away.

As for the fate of unreleased-on-CD record album gems such as Times Square, our hopes lie in some savvy Japanese label manager or executive who has the sharp foresight and chutzpah to release it on Japan-only CD. It would surely set us back a few bucks (it being a double album and all), but it's all in the essentiality. Or is it the novelty? Or both?


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