It wasn’t long before I went in search of more music by Slade, only to discover that my prized first album was actually the band’s fourth release. In the prehistoric pre-internet era of record hunting, their debut album as Ambrose Slade was something that fans and record store owners talked about, but no one had ever actually seen. (This musical urban legend, titled Beginnings would eventually materialize many years later thanks to the wonders of digital technology.) It turned out the band’s second album had never been released in the states and was only available as a British import.
“We don’t stock imports here,” Pimple Face informed me from behind the counter at Record Rendezvous. “You need to go down to Coventry.”
Still no fan of Slade, Pimple Face had begun to soften his demeanor toward me because I think he could tell my interest in music was genuine, albeit not to his liking.
“That’s where all the hippies hang out.”
Why do I need to go there?”
“Because there’s a great record store on Coventry called Record Revolution. They stock imports. They’ll have all the weird shit you keep asking me about that we don’t sell.”
Wow! And just like that (with the assistance of the #9 Mayfield Rd. bus) I graduated from “rendezvous” to “revolution.” In addition to black light posters; incense; t-shirts; and mysterious head shop paraphernalia, the dimly lit patchouli oil-scented Record Revolution also had bins and bins full of imports in loose-fitting 3mil polyethylene bags rather than skin-tight shrink-wrap. It was, there amongst an inventory of music I had never heard of before — but was increasingly eager to indulge in — that I found (for the moment) the holy grail I was looking for: Play it Loud, the album that preceded Slayed?
Whether the title “Play it Loud” was a suggestion or a demand, I’m not sure, but that record received the same enthusiastic repeat listening as the first one I had purchased. I soon knew every track by heart, including the Happy Medium Song of the Day which was originally performed by a fictional band called Max Frost and the Troopers in the film “Wild in the Streets.” Indeed, “The Shape of Things to Come” hinted at the signature sound that Slade was attempting to define as their own. (Please use the comments box to share your thoughts.)