It’s been mentioned before on the pages of Sonic Breakfast but I was a pretty intense, obsessive teenager. Goodness knows what that would have meant if I’d have been growing up now. Back then in the 1980’s I had to depend upon late night radio to pick up on new music that I liked. I’d scour the pages of music magazines to find recommendations that I might enjoy – and I’d spend most of my paper round money collecting my ordered stock from the ‘Our Price’ in my provincial town. Despite being ridiculously well-stocked, those record stores would never have what I wanted and so I’d have to place an order and wait weeks for the delivery.
The world was such a different place. For all of its downsides, I’m much more of a fan of the readily-accessible music we now have. I’m not sure I’d have the patience anymore for the old models of retail.
I’m a little surprised that I didn’t pick up on ‘Dolly Mixture’ when reading those magazines. I’d been in love with the Shangri-La’s since my pre-teen years and so would tend to gravitate towards acts that cited them as influences. If I was in a pub quiz nowadays (online of course) and a question came up about ‘Happy Talk’, I’d know it was a Rodgers and Hammerstein cover by Captain Sensible but would have no clue that ‘Dolly Mixture’ was the backing band for that song.
Rachel Love, today’s featured artist on Sonic Breakfast, was guitarist and singer in Dolly Mixture. We need to fast forward to now.
2021 has seen two singles being released by Rachel. Both sweet, almost pastoral lilts, they shimmer and meander in gentle fashion grabbing the attention of any indie-pop fan as they proceed. On Primrose Hill, we find Rachel in melancholic mood, reflective and looking back to roads previously travelled. On Down The Line, a song that was previously part of the ‘Dolly Mixture’ catalogue, we take a short train ride to more glamorous places, casually observing our surrounds as we travel. On both,the music is breezy, calming, romantic and full of yearning.
I exchange E-mails with Steve Lovell, Rachel’s partner, about the journey they’ve both been on. “We set CowChow Records up so that as musicians/producers we could pool together resources, information, skills etc.“, says Steve. “Both Rachel and I have a pretty extensive experience from working in the music business in the past but most of these experiences have little relevance to a vastly changed industry. It has been a sharp learning curve but also at the same time a great experience. The biggest challenge for me as the main administrator has been producing, mixing, creating videos and promoting the various musicians much of it from a hospital bed. Again something that wouldn’t have been possible in the past.”
At Sonic Breakfast, we look forward to more from CowChow Records and more from Rachel. Her album is due for release in the summer. For now, we take a moment to be grateful that we’re no longer lurking around record shops in provincial towns like a misfit in a Nick Hornby novel.