Back to the Future – 1988, actually – with the c88 Box Set

Raise your hand if you are hoping for the Cud revival to kick in as a result of the release. Meanwhile, listen to the lead track by the eternally brilliant Pooh Sticks, below.

By Uncle Blurt

While veterans of the indie indie wars are likely to tout with pride their owning an original copy of the legendary c86 cassette that the New Musical Express gave away to its readership in, you guessed it, 1986 — yes, I still have mine, safely tucked away in the vault, a guard standing outside 24/7 — a lot of punters don’t think 1988 was so bad, either. Among them, the archivally-minded Cherry Red label is putting its muscle where its mouth is with c88. Instead of a 90 minute cassette, however, it’s a three-CD box set boasting a whopping 72 songs, due in stores June 30.

Artists on c88 include the Stone Roses (but of course!), Pooh Sticks (whose timeless track “On Tape,” above, kicks off the collection), Sea Urchins, Kitchens of Distinction, Darling Buds, Pale Saints, and, er, Cud, among others. The full tracklisting is below, and luckily the twee-to-psych factor is relatively low. Worth noting: this is the followup to the label’s c87 box from last year, which of course was a sequel to Cherry Red’s expanded take on c86. Here’s hoping that by the time they get to the early ’90s the series will taper off before we get to Britpop, as that’s when all things British began to jump the shark.

The Cherry Red product description reads thusly:

C88 is another celebration of the Eighties Indie scene, documenting a golden era when tuneful guitar-based bands made records on shoestring budgets, often issued on small labels with hand-made artwork, with little hope of mainstream exposure. This 3-CD box set follows previous best-selling collections C86 (2014) and C87 (2016). C86 expanded the NME’s genre-defining compilation (initially a cassette, later a vinyl LP on Rough Trade) with 50 extra tracks from the period. C87 was an imaginary sequel, picking up the story a year later. Disc 1 is devoted to artists who haven’t previously graced this series, who – for the most part – first made an impact in 1988. The Stone Roses, Carter USM, Pale Saints and The Mock Turtles would all enjoy mainstream success. Others like The Pooh Sticks, The Man From Delmonte, Bridewell Taxis were cult indie favourites. Sarah Records – which came to epitomise a certain type of Indie Pop – are represented by The Orchids, Another Sunny Day, The Sea Urchins and The Poppyheads (whose ‘Cremation Town’ debuts on CD here). Other key indie labels also figure, such as Creation (Apple Boutique, Pacific, The House Of Love, Emily), 53rd & 3rd (The Groovy Little Numbers, The Vaselines) and The Subway Organization (The Clouds, Rodney Allen, The Flatmates, Bubblegum Splash, etc. ). Disc 2 revisits many of the bands who appeared on C87 with later singles or B-sides, such as the likes of Bob, Cud, The Darling Buds, Kitchens Of Distinction, The Shamen, The Heart Throbs, The Bachelor Pad and other staples of the late 80s Indie scene. New names to the series who appear on C88 include Choo Choo Train, Moss Poles, The Snapdragons, The Wilderness Children, Fat Tulips, Annie & The Aeroplanes, Thrilled Skinny, Murrumbidgee Whalers and many others. Numerous tracks have never been on CD before. The deluxe clamshell package includes a weighty booklet full of illustrations, with an 9,000-word sleeve-note and band-by-band biographies by C86 co-compiler Neil Taylor.


 Disc: 1

  1. On Tape – the Pooh Sticks
  2. Elephant Stone (7″ Version) – the Stone Roses
  3. Where Do You Go (Flexi Version) – the Popguns
  4. (Will Nobody Save) Louise – the Man from Delmonte
  5. Are You Happy Now? (Molesworth Version) – the Charlottes
  6. The Things You Want – the Snapdragons
  7. A Sheltered Life – Carter the Unstoppable Sex Machine
  8. One Summer – Moss Poles
  9. Lies – Bridewell Taxis
  10. Defy the Law – the Orchids
  11. Happy Like Yesterday
  12. The Groovy Little Numbers
  13. Julie Christie – the Driscolls
  14. High – Choo Choo Train
  15. Cremation Town – the Poppyheads
  16. Tattered, Tangled and Torn -Bradford
  17. So Happy to Be Alive-Thrilled Skinny
  18. Sister Goodbye – the Prayers
  19. Anorak City – Another Sunny Day
  20. She’s Gone – the Train Set
  21. Barnoon Hill – Pacific
  22. Forever Holiday (Ediesta Version) – Blow-Up
  23. Mary’s Garden – the Mock Turtles
  24. The Pennine Spitter – King of the Slums
  25. Colours and Shapes (Demo) -Pale Saints
  26. The Ballad of Jet Harris -Apple Boutique


Disc: 2

  1. The Hill – the House of Love
  2. Dying for It – the Vaselines
  3. Kirsty – Bob
  4. Slack Time – Cud
  5. Please Rain Fall – the Sea Urchins
  6. Shame on You – the Darling Buds
  7. Prize – Kitchens of Distinction
  8. Too Many Shadows – the Heart Throbs
  9. Do It for Fun – the Bachelor Pad
  10. They Fell for Words Like Love – Hangman’s Beautiful Daughters
  11. Giving Way to Trains – Murrumbidgee Whalers
  12. What’s Going Down – the Shamen
  13. Heaven Knows – the Flatmates
  14. Spell It Out – the Waltones
  15. Mrs Susan Spence – the Wilderness Children
  16. Yesterday – the Nivens
  17. Real World – Baby Lemonade
  18. Village Green – the Clouds
  19. Fire Escape – Rote Kapelle
  20. Mad Dogs – Emily
  21. The 18:10 to Yeovil Junction – Bubblegum Splash
  22. Michael Furey – Metro Trinity
  23. Theme from Cow – Inspiral Carpets


Disc: 3

  1. Sun, Sea, Sand – the Revolving Paint Dream
  2. Surfaround – the Fizzbombs
  3. Plaster Saint – the Church Grims
  4. Crush the Flowers (Demo) -The Wake
  5. Sunshine Thuggery – the Siddeleys
  6. Clear – Whirl
  7. A Million Zillion Miles -Annie & the Aeroplanes
  8. You Opened Up My Eyes – Fat Tulips
  9. Cincinnati – Holidaymakers
  10. The Camera Loves Me-Would-Be-Goods
  11. Anywhere But Home – the Caretaker Race
  12. Who Works the Weather
  13. The Great Leap Forward
  14. Cubans in the Bluefields-East Village
  15. Bythesea Road – the Haywains
  16. The Old Road Out of Town (12″ Mix) – the Wishing Stones
  17. Shake – the Corn Dollies
  18. Land of Gold – Bluetrain
  19. The Sun Slid Down Behind the Tower – Reserve
  20. Apple of My Eye-Remember Fun
  21. Morning O’Grady – Yeah Jazz
  22. Don’t Bury Me Yet – the Raw Herbs
  23. Curry Crazy – Bad Dream Fancy Dress
  24. On My Way – the Claim
  25. Glastonbury – Rodney Allen

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