James King & the Lone Wolves
Title: The Angels Know b/w I Don’t Care If You Live or Die
Catalogue Number: Swamplands SWP3
Review Format: 45
Release Year: 1985
That's the great thing about an extensive record collection - all the memories it brings back when you rummage through it. I mean, why would you carry your entire collection around with on one of those mp3 things? Your entire life fits into something the size of a matchbox? You ought to get out more. On a forage through the Bluesbunny Vinyl Vault (it fills over half a container), this song from 1985 just popped out. James King & the Lone Wolves? I remember them well.
Actually "The Angels Know" was the band's last single and it was released on Allan Horne's Swampland label that was in turn a subsidiary of London Records. Funny how playing it brought back a bundle of memories from that time period when there was a Glasgow "scene". Big label interest (and money) flooded into Glasgow. Fat A&R guys from London took up residence in the town. There was never a more profitable time to sell cocaine than in those halcyon days. Everybody remembers Orange Juice, Josef K and Postcard Records. Other luminaries like the Bluebells are pretty much forgotten and as for James King & the Lone Wolves…
At the first whiff of success, bands then (much like today) were whisked out to London to record what would surely be a hit single. With their somewhat less than spectacular sales, this particular single would mark the end of the road for James King & the Lonewolves. Not that it's a bad song. The raw edges that were prevalent in their live performances (most of which seemed to take place at the students unions at Strathclyde and Glasgow universities) are nowhere to be seen having been replaced by some proto sampled vocal loops that were probably fashionable at the time. Only the ferocity of the drumming hints at their true potential. On the flip side is the laconic and threatening "I Don't Care If You Live or Die" that to this day leaves you feeling just a bit uneasy. Oh, there's malice in there.
A bit of the old Googling found little on what happened to James King or the Lonewolves. They split - that much is historical fact - and James King went on to even less commercial success with Fun Patrol before fading into the background. There does not even appear to be any sort of compilation of their output even on a budget label.
Funnily enough, Googling the names of the people that I used to hang about with back then turned out to be more interesting. One is a sound engineer, one runs a call centre, one manages a hotel in Hong Kong, one is a published author and this one ended up putting pen to paper and started colouring the bunny blue.
June 27, 2008
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