Song of the Day: Orange Juice “Blue Boy”
A pre-commercial breakthrough 1980 single on Obscure Glasgow-based Postcard Records, Orange Juice‘s “Blue Boy” is none-the-less one of the most exhilarating tracks of the post-punk era. The song is a masterpiece of slightly askew pop songwriting and does a wonderful job of previewing the the type of bouncy, jaunty alt-pop that Orange Juice would eventually breakthrough into the UK mainstream. The seeds for the band’s success were all there from the very beginning, even if at the time, the Scottish band was more an equal partnership in 1980 between singer/ guitarist Edwyn Collins and guitarist James Kirk. The alliance between the two was always an uneasy one, and Kirk would eventually depart the band citing the classic “creative differences”. It is a shame that the Collins/Kirk line-up did not last long, because the pair certainly had a knack for bringing out the best in each other artistically.
The song is a jaunty attack on the senses, featuring Collins‘ charmingly off-key vocals, highly literate lyrics, plenty of high speed guitar riffing (not to mention a great, slight avant-garde solo) and the whole package delivered with a certain undeniable cheeky charm. You can chart the influence of the group and in particular “Blue Boy” as a major influence on later fellow-Glaswegian group, Franz Ferdinand. “Blue Boy” makes you lament the demise of the initial line-up of the group, even if it would subsequently go on to bigger things.
Orange Juice was founded in the Glasgow suburb of Bearsden. The group was founded by Edwyn Collins and bassist Alan Duncan, and was subsequently joined by James Kirk and Steven Daly. Initially called the Nu-Sonics, the band changed its name to Orange Juice in 1979. The band initially found regional support in their native Scotland (and a deal with Alan Horne‘s independent Postcard Records), where they were contemporaries of the groups Josef K and Aztec Camer. They would eventually sign to Polydor for their debut LP, You Can’t Hide Your Love Forever. After internal tensions saw Kirk and Daly leave in early 1982 the band brought in some new members and recorded their breakthrough and still best-known single “Rip It Up”.