Release Date: February 1982
Catalogue No: POLS 1057
In 1982 I had to go to Kuantan to take the TOEFL in order to go study in America. For the uninitiated, TOEFL means Test of English as a Foreign Language. It is the lowest means of entry requirement into any tertiary institution stateside.
I traveled in a friend’s mom’s Toyota Corolla to the test venue with 3 other friends. Upon completion of said test, we went to Komplek Teruntum in Kuantan town to check out the place. It was Pahang state’s first ever shopping complex back then.
There, sitting on the shelf of a cassette shop, was the album above. Yes, Orange Juice’s first, full fledge LP, all the way from Glasgow, presented to me by local music pirates, at a mere RM3.50. I bought it without even asking the shop assistant to test it (which by the way was quite an unheard of and slightly macho thing to do).
We went off to the beach at Telok Chempedak and while enjoying a smoke, I put on the cassette and listened to the whole thing while looking out at the South China sea. At that exact moment, I sort of understood how life, in general, was going to pan out henceforth…
I’d only heard of Orange Juice through a tape that was recorded off a tape that was recorded off a BBC program in the UK called The John Peel Session. The tape was left behind one fine day in 1981 by my younger brother who was doing his studies in Singapore.
The song was quite intriguing as it was being sung by a guy with a toad stuck in the throat. Well not actually a toad but maybe a piece of bubblegum. I found out later that the guy’s name was Edwyn Collins and he and his bandmates came from Glasgow.
Orange Juice’s music was, and still is, glorious. To listen to them you would probably have been listening to 5 different artistes from 5 different genres at the same time. There’s a bit of Velvet Underground lyric here, a disco bass line from Chic there, a smattering of some jangly Byrds and maybe a middle eight from Roy Orbison. Oh, you can also sprinkle some romance and high drama from Shirley Bassey too.
After the life changing (for me anyway) first LP You Can’t Hide Your Love Forever (what a brilliant title), Orange Juice released a follow-up called Rip It Up in November 1982. It produced a UK Top 10 in the title track of the LP and Orange Juice made an appearance on Top of The Pops. At last, fame and fortune…
Title: Rip It Up
Release Date: November 1982
Catalogue No: POLS 1073
But it was not to be as Edwyn got separated from his bandmates later on and he took the solo route. Orange Juice was disbanded and then in 1996, he scored a global hit with the song ’A Girl Like You” and fame came calling yet again.
One day in 1996, I got a call from a friend who was working with a local indie record label.
‘Hey JK! Edwyn Collins is coming to KL to promote his big hit. Would you like to meet him?”
Edwyn came to KL with his son and I was asked by the record label to assist Edwyn wiith the interview. It seems that the invited media, magazines and radio stations didn’t have a clue who he was. I sort of made a fool of myself in front of the media trying to explain who Orange Juice and Edwyn Collins were. Edwyn was just glad he didn’t have to answer another barrage of idiotic questions.
Well, the rehearsal and brief performance that night was great but as Edwyn went through some old Orange Juice songs, the crowd showed their displeasure by loudly asking for the hit song ‘A Girl Like You’. After giving the crowd what they wanted, he stormed off the stage and that was that.
In 2003 Edwyn suffered a brain stroke and became a paraplegic. He lost his speech and needed help to walk. But he got help from the wife and fellow band friends like The Charlatans’ Tim Burgess, Aztec Camera’s Roddy Frame and others to perform again. You can watch him on Youtube and be amazed at his recovery.