04 November 2006

Rose McDowall - Don't Fear The Reaper & Crystal Days

Rio digital

Rose McDowall - Don't Fear The Reaper cover

Sorry I've been away for so long. I'll get back to more frequent postings soon. Meantime, here's an oddity for you.

Blessed with a distinctive, pure captivating singing voice, Rose McDowall first made records with Glasgow Punk band The Poems, releasing a couple of indie singles in the early 80s. A brief pop stardom beckoned with her next band, the duo Strawberry Switchblade. I run their foremost fan site - do check out its downloads page for the version of the Velvet Underground's Sunday Morning. It's quite simply one of the most beautiful things ever recorded.

Strawberry Switchblade split after just one album, and Rose had an album's worth of bright Switchbladey songs which she demoed. These only saw the light of day a couple of years ago as the limited edition Cut With The Cake Knife CD (available here).

I believe this single was culled from those sessions. There's a story that Rose really didn't want it released but failed to stop it. Certainly, while the A-side's an interesting take on the Blue Oyster Cult classic with rolling bass and some wonderful flamenco guitar, it does sound a bit thin, weedy and, well, like a demo.

The B-side, the Rose-penned Crystal Days, is another matter. Bright, shining pop with a big chorus, a darker melancholic undertow somewhere in there, festooned with Rose's trademark harmonies, it's a delight of a track.

A re-recording was issued as Crystal Nights under the name Ornamental.

Rose has continued to make beautiful pagan music ever since. Check out her site for more info.

[Sorry! MP3s deleted to make room for new ones]


Neil B said...

The B-side of this is so much better than the A-side. I suppose that was down to the record company's lack of imagination. They always seem to think a hit is more likely with a cover than an original song. Fools!

Anonymous said...

Terrific!!! I'm a huge fan of Rose McDowall and I didn't knew this one! YOU RULE!!! I saw her live two years ago in Avignon. Well... She changed a lot... but her heavenly voice is still the same!


Josef said...

Possible to re-up this one? would be awesome!

merrick said...

josef, I don't repost (my server space and bandwidth issues don't allow it), but for deleted MP3s just leave you email address in the Comments and I'll email you the file.

I send them via transferbigfiles.com, so you get an email with a link to download from so it doesn't crash your inbox.

markf said...

please could you send me mp3 of these tracks,thank you.

merrick said...

Markf, I'll gladly send them, but the process will be a lot smoother if you give me an address to send them to.

Anonymous said...

please send to kes26sel@yandex.ru

thank you so much!! hope its not worse than Lydia Lunch cover

Anonymous said...

I would like to find Break the black ice by Rose . Could you please help me? Thanks. :)

merrick said...

Hi Persephone, I'm not certain but I think it's on the Death In June album 'The Corn Years'.