"Do you want to hear the best Pastels song now?" Yvonne asked as were winding down the Hungry Beat! clean up last week. She might have been asking this to Mabern, but she was probably asking it rhetorically to no one in particular since she was already in the process of cuing the record. I knew which song she was going to play since she had already played it earlier causing me to run into the room almost in complete disbelief over the fact that I would finally learn the name of this song.
You see, a few months ago a friend gave me a CD that contained a Pastels demo, and a Peel session. The Peel session sounded great of course,, so did the second song on that demo. However, that first song on the demo just really stopped me in my tracks. It sounded like the Pastels paying more of an homage to the Television Personalities than I'd ever heard in any of their other songs, even though I had certainly often heard an undercurrent of TVPs appreciation in their music. This song though opens with a bass line that would have been right at home on And Don't the Kids Just Love It, and there is a really interesting echo effect on the vocals. I listened to it over and over again wishing that I knew what this song was called. Then about a week ago, I heard that familiar intro drift into Pehrspace's entry way. I immediately ran into the main room to finally learn the name of this song. The friend that had given me the demo in the first place beat me to the inquiry, and was already holding the record sleeve. "What is the name of this song?" I asked eagerly. Yvonne told me that it was called "Oh! Happy Place." She also said that she thought that it was one of their best songs and wished that it was one of the ones that they eventually brought back to the studio to clean up a bit as the recording quality of "Oh! Happy Place" does leave a bit to be desired. I agree with her wholeheartedly on both counts. Production value aside, you really should hear "Oh! Happy Place." It's magnetic, you won't be able to tear yourself away until you've listened to it so very many times.
Research to attempt to track down the song online led me to this post on the incomparable blog Fire Escape Talking. His post includes a good deal of valuable information about both the demo, and the Peel Session including the line-up of the band for the Peel Session. Interestingly that line-up included Joe Foster who was also in the line-up of the Television Personalities that existed at that time. I can only hope that the link to download both of these recordings is still active because you really will want to own them. I don't have my external drive with me at the moment, so I can't test it for you. I was, however, able to listen to the songs by following the link so at least you have that if nothing else.
Also, for a bit of additional fun since we were chatting about the Pastels and the Television Personalities anyway...
Here is link to an interview that Stephen Pastel conducted with Dan Treacy for his and Aggi's former 'zine Juniper Beri-Beri.