Various Artists (Bob Stanley presents...) 76 In The Shade

28th August 2020

Format Info


with postcard signed by Bob Stanley

Bob Stanley is not only one-third of one of our favourite groups, Saint Etienne, a talented writer, and a good egg too. He’s a great compiler, one of the very best, his speciality is the micro-moment – this was happening but what was playing, what was the music. This can sometimes take the form of opposition to the times or just be the times, the music that we think of when we think of those times. One of the best examples of this is his Three Day Week compilation, the UK’s previous attempt at self-induced misery, a dry run for Brexit. Bob’s comp is a nice slice of social history but it’s also a very nice listen. Likewise 76 In The Shade – this isn’t the 76 you think you know, for most people it wasn’t early Sex Pistols shows, sexy discos and David Bowie’s latest move.

The Summer of 1976 has remained a benchmark for long, hot summers – there may have been scorchers since, but none have seemed quite as relentless. Too hot to move, the country melted into a collective puddle. This album evokes the feel of that summer, the sweet heat and almost narcotic lethargy, the haze above melting tarmac.

The months without rain and airless days and nights might not have been something out of the ordinary in the Algarve or the south of France, but it was without precedent in Britain. The Summer of 1976 has remained a benchmark for long, hot summers – there may have been scorchers since, but none have seemed quite as relentless or enervating. The country melted into a collective puddle. 76 In The Shade probably wasn’t anyone’s real life soundtrack of the year – that could have included Bowie’s Station To Station and Abba’s Greatest Hits. Instead, Saint Etienne’s Bob Stanley has put a compilation together that sonically evokes the summer of 1976 itself, its sweet heat and almost narcotic lethargy.

Getting out of the sun, you might have sat inside with the radio on, and heard the dreamy wooziness of Liverpool Express’s You Are My Love, 10cc’s I’m Mandy Fly Me, or the Emotions’ ‘Flowers’. Or maybe you flopped out in front of the telly, where you heard an alternative summer soundtrack – the music libraries that provided the bulk of the testcard’s music gave us Simon Park’s minimal Stoned Out and John Cameron’s deeply immersive Liquid Sunshine; the Californian jazzer Spike Janson provided the wordless vocal harmonies of Walking So Free.

76 In The Shade follows in the footsteps of Bob Stanley’s hugely successful comps for Ace, including English Weather and The Tears Of Technology. It suggests bright yellow sunshine, hot plastic car seats, cats lolloping on the lawn. A few tracks (Smokey Robinson, Cliff Richard, David Ruffin, Carmen McRae) act as necessary splashes of cooling water; most of them sound like it’s just too hot to move. Luckily, you don’t need to.

Available on CD and a 2LP 180g pressing, with deluxe heavy-duty gatefold sleeve, that features a bonus track!

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