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Tuesday, 3 March 2015

S4L Presents: The Best Debut Albums #10 - Secret Affair

If I had a pound for everytime I heard the words, "You shouldn't be listening to that, they hate punks!", I'd not be a rich man, but I would have quite a few quid in my pocket! My response to this was that Ian Page said in the song 'Time For Action' that he hates "the punk elite" and in many ways that's totally understandable. The "elite" were the ones who were ripping people off with expensive clothes, trying to manage what a punk rocker should look like (I'm sure they were partly responsible for all those articles in the press like 'How to dress like a Punk' etc). The "elite" were responsible for "the uniform" creeping into the Punk scene and disposing of the individualism that had been there at the beginning. So when Page says that he hates them I totally understood where he was coming from.

Two years prior to the release of the debut album by Secret Affair I had stumbled over Ian Page and Dave Cairns when they were in a band called the New Hearts. They supported The Jam on The Modern World Tour. I remember running down to the record store on the Monday morning after seeing them the night before at the Croydon Greyhound to buy their single 'Just Another Teenage Anthem'. Although they only released a couple of singles before disbanding they were the seed for what was to come for Page and Cairns

Dennis Smith came over from the power-pop band Advertising to play Bass and add vocals and Seb Shelton arrived from the Young Bucks to provide the backbeat on Drums. Dave Winthrop would join later in '79 providing the Sax sounds. Cairns was on the Guitar and vocals and Page of course was the Lead Vocalist and Trumpet player. Their debut show was supporting The Jam at Reading University in February 1979 and from there they pressed on to become one of the leading voices of the Mod Revival.

Having the trumpet and the sax gave the band a bit of a soulful edge at times as can be evidenced on the debut album with tracks like 'Shake and Shout', 'Don't Look Down', 'One Way World', 'Let Your Heart Dance' 'Sorry Wrong Number' and of course their cover of Smokey and the Miracles classic 'Going To A Go-Go'. Lyrically Page and Cairns were on the ball especially with songs like 'Glory Boys', 'I'm Not Free (But I'm Cheap)', 'Days of Change' and 'New Dance'.

It's an album that still gets an airing because of the sheer quality of the music. The albums that followed were pretty okay but none of them really measured up to the standard they set with their wonderful debut album.

Released December 1979
I-Spy Records
UK Album Chart #41

Singles on/from the album
Time For Action (UK Singles Chart #13).
Let Your Heart Dance (UK Singles Chart #32).

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