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Friday Tunes: '80s London Sessions
Music & Sound
London, UK
Yellow Boat Music’s Paul Cartledge celebrates amazing times with legendary producer Tony Visconti

Step back into 1980s London with Yellow Boat Music's Paul Cartledge as he remembers the sessions that made up the beginning of his career, working with legendary producer Tony Visconti. 

For the last two years of the 1980s I worked at Good Earth Studios in Soho. The studio was owned by the legendary producer Tony Visconti.

While I was there I worked on lots of sessions as a ‘tape-op’ or ‘assistant engineer’. This playlist celebrates some of the sessions I was lucky enough to be involved with and gives a taste of London’s music culture at that time. Hope you enjoy it!

Check out the playlist below or by clicking here.

See below the playlist for Paul's story to accompany each track. 

1) 'Rock Non Stop' Big Audio Dynamite. These were crazy sessions with an awesome band, Mick Jones is a totally wonderful bloke and I still love this record.

2) ‘Toys Take Over’ Captain Sensible. The Captain managed to outlast everyone else involved on this session, as they all eventually fell asleep! - which left him and me. He looked at me and asked ‘have you ever engineered before?’ I replied ‘not really, but I can probably do it’. ‘Ok, you can record me singing a vocal then’, and that was it, what a magic experience recording Captain Sensible at 5am in the heart of Soho! My next session started at 8.30am, but I wasn’t unhappy to miss out on a kip!

3) ‘Kill Surf City’ The Jesus And Mary Chain. These guys were the spirit of rock’n’roll personified. What a fabulous noise.

4) 'I Wanna Be Your Hoover’ Phillip Boa and the Voodoo Club. Tony Visconti was running the ship with this band. I enjoyed this track in particular!

5) 'Sold Me Down The River' The Alarm. I remember being in awe of these chaps when they turned up and the album they made with Tony only increased the feeling. Dave Sharp let me have a go on his guitar rig and as I smacked a chord I think the whole building shook! The compression waves in the air almost knocked me over. Definitely a band with volume set to 11…

6) 'I Know You’re Out There Somewhere’ The Moody Blues. It was great to work on an album by a band that (a) my parents had heard of and liked, and (b) my old schoolteachers had heard of and liked. It saved me a lot of explaining that BAD, Captain Sensible and co were credible outfits and that I was actually getting somewhere! It also helped that the band were brilliant blokes who took me under their wing and gave me such a great opportunity.

7) 'Turn Around And Count 2 Ten’ Dead Or Alive. The band wanted a cup of tea four times an hour, every hour, and they worked 15 hour days. I made a lot of tea! Pete Burns wasn’t on the same tea schedule as the rest of the band, but he was a great performer and would arrive dressed in amazing designer outfits ready to really go for his vocals.

8) ‘When Will I Be Famous’ Bros. They weren’t famous when they came into the studio - they were really sweet, and when they did become famous shortly afterwards I was very happy for them.

9) ‘Kilamenjaro’ Happy Mondays. I never met the band, but I did assist Paul Oakenfold & Steve Osbourn on the remix. The first, and last, time I’ve witnessed sampling technology being appropriated to ‘chop’ the ‘Pe’ off penis to make the lyrics ‘'enis, 'enis you should be in eeeeeaaaarrr’. I later heard it in Tower Records as I was shopping in Whiteley’s and I did smile to myself!

10) ‘Alabama Song’ David Bowie. I didn’t work on this, but there was a copy of it in the tape-store and as it was recorded at the studio, and ‘cos I love it, it’s on ‘ere! 

I eventually became the Studio Manager of Good Earth, and sold it to Joe & Co for whom I worked until I formed Yellow Boat Music along with Philip Jewson in 2007.

Work from Yellow Boat Music