Back in the early 1980s there was a steady stream of independently released compilation albums featuring bands from the same town or region. There were a couple that I never owned myself but heard through friends, and which included tracks that I have been desperate to track down ever since.
The first was a 1984 EP from Norwich called "Music from the East Zone" which included "Baby I'm A U-Boat" by The Fire Hydrant Men (featuring the Fabulous Fezettes). Copies of it turn up on Ebay evey now and then but they invariably go for upwards of £40, which is rather more than I am willing to pay for a three-track EP. I have, however, managed to track down their 1985 album "Missed It By That Much", from which these gems are taken.
"99 Years in Sing Sing" -The Fire Hydrant Men (featuring the Fabulous Fezettes)
"Mayday in Moscow" - The Fire Hydrant Men (featuring the Fabulous Fezettes)
The other track I have been longing for is "Locked Out" by The Chefs from "WNW6 - Moonlight Radio", a 1981 compilation of mostly Brighton bands (I think, although I may be confusing it with "Vaultage 79" on which they also featured). I have never seen a copy of this for sale and, although The Chefs went on to have a decent career under the astute leadership of Helen McCookerybook (not her real name incidentally, she was born Alice McCookerybook), the song was never released on a record of their own.
So you can imagine my excitement a couple of months ago when I learnt that a compilation called "Records and Tea", billed as being the best of the Chefs, was released. And you can equally imagine my disappointment when, having dashed over to Amazon, I found that it did not include "Locked Out". Aaaarrgghh!!!
To be fair, there was a lot of good stuff on there to console me, like these next two, but it can't really be a "best of" without "Locked Out".
"Sweetie" - The Chefs
"24 Hours" - The Chefs
In the, admittedly perhaps unlikely, event that any readers have "Baby I'm A U-Boat" or "Locked Out", I would love you forever if you were able to share it with me. Until that happens, let us tide ourselves over with a rare clip of the Fire Hydrant Men (and the Fezettes) in action in 1984 - as you can see you had to make your own entertainment in Norwich in those days - and a more recent clip of the former Alice McCookerybook, prefaced by the story of how The Chefs came to be.