Welcome to this special Saturday edition of the Fan Club newsletter! While our normal Saturday shopping routines are disrupted, it is a good time to reflect on the album that bought you the song of the same name!
The LP ‘Hits From 3000 Years Ago’ was originally released in early 1981 under a different cover. The album, together with the 'Walking Down The Kings Road' and 'Face Of Youth Today' singles contains the songs Squire played live during the 1979/80 period. The sound has an upbeat, almost 'beat group' sound, vocal harmonies that were key to the later intricate pop sound, and simple guitar/bass/ drums arrangements. It contains the original versions of 'My Mind Goes Round In Circles' and 'Does Stephanie Know?', later re-recorded as a single with Kirsty MacColl on angelic harmonies
At first launched as an Anthony Meynell solo album, the simple red cover and hand written back sleeve reflected the new independence. Hi-lo Records first ever release with catalogue number LO-001! LO was for the 33rpm records, HI for the 45s!
However, we soon found that the record had connected to a latent Squire fan base that were keenly writing to us via the label distributor, and that prompted the stickering of the record as The Squire Album, and later, the setting up of the Squire Fan Club. Indeed it was this album that had initially attracted attention in America, and when Squire played there in 1983 we discovered some of these songs were more famous than ‘Kings Road’! Following the release of the later album Get Smart, Hits From 3000 Years Ago was re-released in the new pop art red/white/blue sleeve, while recent re-issues include an insert that repeats the text and selected pictures in CD booklet.
The record compiles 14 numbers, and though the songs never enjoyed the full studio production they perhaps deserved at the time, it remains pop, dancy and crystal cool in its sparseness! It keeps its 60's influences and the 'understated' production is akin to early Who and Kinks albums. Maybe by avoiding the 80's studio gimmickry that makes the era sound so dated, the songs retain a timeless quality. The last three songs to be recorded were ‘I Don’t Get Satisfaction’, ‘Saturday Shopping’ and ‘I Put My Arms Around Her’, recorded in a single day session by Kevin & Anthony.
Now down to a ‘two-piece’, they returned to their now familiar local Chestnut Studios in late 1980, the studio where Squire had first recorded ‘Get Ready To Go’. These songs reflected a move away from the mod/pop towards the future sunshine pop of the Get Smart! era. ‘Satisfaction’ captured a growing interest in the sound of the mid 1960s ‘Stones’ records such as ‘Between The Buttons’ and ‘Aftermath’, simple yet effective arrangements that left space for imagined instrumentation. For instance, the horn parts on the 1999 Forum live performance perfectly embellish the song to provide an exaggerated sound.
‘Saturday Shopping’ revisits the ritual of going into town on a Saturday, first referenced in ‘Walking Down The Kings Road’. The song also reprises the same finger-snaps sound at the start! But instead of meeting with friends or being inspired to visit imagined streetscapes of a different time, the lyric focuses on being distracted by the mundanity of window-shopping. The continual downward slope of the melody tries to shrug the despair of the day’s inevitable frustrating routine by shouting Saturday! Saturday! while the narrator searches for an escape to the nearest pub! It’s remarkable how both songs now evoke a nostalgia for previously taken for granted customs such as meeting friends in town or high street shopping.
The final song of the trilogy, ‘I Put My Arms Around Her’ was recorded in the final hour of the session. Again, the intro reflects the mid 60s ‘Stones’ obsession, while deceptive harmonies in the bridge foreshadow the Get Smart! era of songs like ‘Its Too Bad’. In all, these songs find the band looking for a broader influence, while the angular relationship between Anthony’s guitar and bass, and Kevin’s drums is forefronted in the sparse arrangements, revealing the DNA of the Squire sound.
You can see Squire play ‘Saturday Shopping’ live here!
Click on the sleeve picture to go to the catalogue page!
Next week we have a very special announcement so make sure you are subscribed to the Fan Club email list!