Another Forgotten Classic

Band: Orange Juice
Album: Texas Fever EP
Release Date: 1984

In a mere six years the Glasgow band Orange Juice, led by Edwyn Collins, greatly expanded the palette of independent music at the start of the ‘80s with their brand of literate pop songwriting that presaged the coming of The Smiths, Aztec Camera, Jazz Butcher and Robyn Hitchcock, in addition to a huge host of other likeminded indie singer songwriters and groups. After an auspicious start as the Nu-Sonics, Orange Juice proper was born in 1979 and was influenced by such disparate bands as The Byrds, Chic, and The Velvet Underground.

The original lineup abruptly fell apart shortly after the release of the debut album, You Can’t Hide Your Love Forever, and although they quickly became the british critics indie darlings commercial success eluded them. However, with the addition of Malcolm Ross, formerly of Postcard label mates Josef K, and supreme skin-man Zeke Manyika, the group proceeded to make their commercial mark with the timeless soul-inflected Rip It Up, whose title track was to be the group’s biggest UK hit, peaking at #8 in February of 1983.

During the recording of a follow-up, the group fell apart during the recording sessions from which the wonderful Texas Fever mini-LP was culled. Texas Fever contains my personal favorite OJ song, A Sad Lament, and all the others on this little EP are only slightly lesser morsels. It is extremely hard to find, but thankfully it’s on theall inclusive box set “Coals To Newcastle”.

Only Collins and Manyika persevered to make their swan song album, The Orange Juice, a collection that signposted the group’s impending demise. Although the album contained some of their finest recordings, the album was the weakest of the three and Collins soon announced that Orange Juice was no more.

Manyika went on to play with Matt Johnson in his band The THE while Edwyn wallowed in semi obscurity, jumping from label to label, until he hit the mother lode with the Austin Powers flavored “A Girl Like You”, which became a huge success on both sides of the Atlantic.

Texas Fever, IMO, remains their artistic high point, although you cannot go wrong in purchasing anything by these guys.