Newsletter December 2000

Our new mail order prices are in effect immediately, as you can see on the Shopping page.

Cheaper than our CDs is the free mp3 of Hilly Kristal's Mud, a single-length Christmas version of the universal birthday version that's on Hilly's CD. It's only slightly over 3 megabytes, so doesn't take long to download.

The little wiggly pig has suffered long, ever since first featured on the CBGB's holiday single of 1976. Its recording career has endured a difficult 24 years, and yet it still doesn't get the holiday present it desires. This small, earnest and dedicated animal is the spirit of struggling artists everywhere.

The original version, with assembled downtown punk alumni, is still also available for download. The new version was instigated (probably too) late one night at the club when Hilly Kristal speculated out loud about the possibility of doing Mud 'to a disco beat'. That sounded like an extraordinary combination of children's record and dance track, and formed the foundation of Hilly's only CD, Mad Mordechai. As you can read in his interviews and various commentaries, he's much more than just the owner and perpetrator of one of the world's classic rock+roll clubs.

The modern mud saga started in the mid-eighties but was not completed until the release of Mad Mordechai in 1999. A 12" vinyl issue a few years back (of the long-form Christmas version, contrasting with the birthday version on the CD) made it to college radio and club play, to our delight and astonishment. The long version is over eight minutes long, but you can download a free short-form (i.e. single-structured) version here. Happy holidays.

The words are also on our site, so you can all oink along together.

The backstage production commentary on the early days of Bronski Beat and the Communards is completed this month, with an account of the second Bronski Beat album Hundreds And Thousands. These two Jimmy Somerville-fronted groups helped change the social and pop music landscape of the UK in the eighties.

Bronski Beat's Smalltown Boy was a first-single hit for them, followed by the Age Of Consent album. Jimmy left to form the Communards with Richard Coles while the Hundreds & Thousands 'remix plus' album was being compiled. The Communards third single, Don't Leave Me This Way, with Sarah Jane Morris, was #1 in the UK singles charts for five weeks, the biggest seller of 1986.

After Jimmy's departure, Bronski Beat featured a succession of lead vocalists. An album on London Records incorporated John Jon, singing full voice, then work on Jive Records returned to the falsetto vocal with Jonathan Hellyer. Led by Steve Bronski, the group still does occasional recording and tours. Larry Steinbachek continues actively in recording and composing.

The Communards released a second CD, Red, before Jimmy finally went out on his own in 1989 with Read My Lips. He continues to record, the most recent CD being Manage The Damage in 1999. Richard Coles is now a well-known writer and media presenter in the UK. Sarah Jane Morris continues with her unusually wide range of musical and dramatic activities.

That's probably it from us at the Stereo Society until 2001. Maybe we'll get round to recording that too.

Christmas presents for the little wiggly pig can be delivered to c/o the Stereo Society. Please be sure that the packaging is watertight.

Happy holidays, and keep oinking along.

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