Kirkcaldy Bands
The Kirkcaldy Bands of the '80s

Because music like ours shouldn't die


Stupified Casssette Front Cover

This page is not about a band, rather about a cassette! There had been a proud tradition in Kirkcaldy of doing music for Charities. The first big gig I saw in Kirkcaldy and the first gig I played were charity shows.

The above cassette was a compilation of local bands that was put out for charity around the spring of 1988.  I don't know what it took in those days to put a cassette out and I can't remember where I got hold of one. They were probably sold at gigs and maybe Sleeves record store. I'd be great to find out what we each paid for a copy, but it was probably something like two pound fifty.

Stupified cassette

For your money you got a C60 (yes the actual C60 pictured above) full of recordings of local bands. Some were recorded live, some may have been from demo tapes, some were recorded for vinyl releases that didn't come out, and at least one was recorded specially for the Stupefied. I think this cassette release was the brainchild of Treez Watson, who was the person who got Who Cares? together. Indeed  the timing was good, as this cassette was released in the brief period of time that Who Cares? were together and features one of their best songs and their only "studio" recording.

Stupified back cover

The little story above from the cassette insert captures some of the spirit of the days. I don't know if there was ever a "next issue", be great if there was more, a second Stupefied cassette with more or different bands on it.

Some songs from this cassette have been featured on this website since it was created in early 2000. In fact, as the website was originally created from Ian and I's personal collections, it was the source of the only material from some of the bands (and unless we get hold of any more, it is still the only source of Receiving End and Silent Falls material). One of the issues with the original tape, was it showed the limitations of '80's analogue technology. The only way to reproduce these tape at the time would have to a manual process of using a twin drive cassette deck (remember them). As those of us who remember those days will know, as soon as you took a copy of a cassette, the quality reduced fairly drastically and the hiss increased a lot. Worse, if the source material, was already a second generation recording, then you ended up with third generation analogue copies of some songs on the cassette you distributed - and third generation cassette copies were not good.

Stupified Track Listing

Having had a bit of time on my hands in the past few days, I've been learning to do some audio editing and restoration. We recorded a "Wav file" (an uncompressed music file format) from Ian's copy of Stupefied, when I was back in Scotland in April 2007, and I've been using a free opensource audio editor called Audacity, to try to improve on the versions we have that were taken directly from the original cassette. This was my first attempt at audio restoration, but I've been very impressed with the results. But, of course, you can't change an original source file too much without making it sound artificial, so  the results below are a bit of a compromise between having a perfect version of the song and putting up with hiss being left in.

Side 1:

The Ghost Train  - Waiting for Madness

One of my favorite Ghost Train songs, Scotty's -  "it's morning in your kingdom" line always gives me chills, I wondered if he was thinking of the Kingdom of Fife. This was recorded by the band in their third line up (Scotty - vocals and keyboards, Ewan Slorach - drums, Davie "Chas" Brown - guitar, Mark Nicol - guitar and John Lessells - bass). This was recorded in Dick G's 16 track studio in Carnoustie in June of 1987, and was the bands third studio session (the second having produced the single "Killing Time" / "Hope and Glory").  I think the songs from the Carnoustie sessions were the only ones the band didn't release in any form (apart from on this cassette), the other songs that were recored in those session were Wicked Wicked/Waiting For Madness/Barricade/Being There and Dusty Bedrooms. Wicked Wicked is also on the Stupefied cassette, the rest I think was never released in any way. Unfortunately, despite being a highlight of the cassette, the audio quality of "Waiting for Madness" was always very dodgy. It sounded like the version distributed on Stupefied was from a second generation original and that the tape machine that had recorded the second generation copy from the original master had suffered from "flutter" (recording variations in higher frequencies due to mechanical irregularities in the drive of the cassette recorder). Also, being third generation analogue it was very hissy and sounded "compressed". I was quite pleased with the audio work I did on the track, but listening to it again with all the others, it still sounds quite bad. Happily I believe the original master tapes of this session do exist in Scotty's vault, so we may hear this version of the song in all it's glory again one day. There was a second version of "Waiting for Madness" recorded by the band in their fourth line up (with Jeremy Flynn on guitar), and this was released on vinyl, but only in the US I believe. You can hear this version on the Ghost Train page.

The Receiving End - He's the Man

The line up of the band on the above song are, Danny Holland - bass and vocals, Jeremy Pullar - guitar, Steve Kennedy  - guitar and Alan Bernard  - drums. One of the songs I didn't listen too much too on the original cassette, but a good example of how much you can improve the quality of an analogue cassette recording with some very simple work in Audacity. It sounds like the version on Stupefied was made from a first generation original, so the quality of this song is really rather good now. I love Danny Holland's bass playing.

All Days Fade - ADF

  Despite knowing Cameron and Clark from the band, I have no idea where this came from. It sounds like it was recorded at a rehearsal - they used to rehearse up at Balwerie High School. Imagine they rented out classrooms at the weekend for bands to rehearse in, I remember watching the band rehearse in the same room I struggled to understand maths in the late '70's! The sound of this recording has a bit of the same acoustics you got in these classrooms, but that could be my imagination. My little Marantz cassette recorder that I used a lot to record bands was getting loaned out a bit to Cameron at the time, so it's possible that it was used to record this. Certainly there is no distortion caused by using automatic record level to record a live band, so it possible this was the Marantz on it's manual setting.

Silent Falls - You Go Bye

Like the Receiving End material, this came up well when it went through Audacity.

Elephants and Weasels - I Saw You

I doubt if many people have heard this in twenty years, this was one of the songs that has not been up on the site before. I don't know a huge amount about this, but I think this was a little side project with Cameron from All Days Fade and Colin from the Twist. This is the first of six songs on Stupefied that Colin is on (he is, of course, on vocals with The Twist and on drums with Who Cares). I think this is Cameron on guitar and vocals and Colin on bass and drums. Was probably recorded in Colin's small studio in his attic, the same place where The Twist material and "Family Man" by Who Cares? was recorded.

The Twist - If Ye Like

This is an early incarnation of the band, before Derek joined on bass. So it's Colin Livingston - bass and vocals, Colin Usher  - drums, Ian Cummings and Stewart McCreddie on guitars. This (and "Ask a Rhetorical Question") was also released on the band's first demo tape, the "Strangefruit" tape, which you can hear in it's entirety on the Twist page. I realised this morning that I have screwed up here and, having spent ages trying to restore these songs from Stupefied, I now realise that there are already versions of the same songs on the Twist page that Ian restored from the Strangefruit tape. Really, the song above didn't need too much restoration and sounded pretty good with a few tweaks. The version Ian restored from Strangefruit has been left on the Twist page.

Who Cares?! - Thank Crunchie it's Friday

This is the line up of the band that played most of the gigs: Coln Burns - vocals, Derek Anderson - bass, Ian Cargill - guitar and Colin Livingston - drums. This was actually recorded on my little Marantz portable cassette recorder at a gig in the Abbosthall. The Marantz's big, big benefit (despite being mono!) was that it had manual record level, so the record level was able to be set real low to avoid the inevitable distortion that resulted in recording a live band with a cassette machine with automatic record level (you can hear that a few of the recordings of early Ghost Train gigs suffer from that problem). The cassette recorder was sitting on our table at gig and it manages to capture a lot of our side conversations, as well as the band. There were only two Who Cares? gig's that were recorded, I recorded them both. This is the only surviving part of the better of the two recordings. I have no idea what happened to the original cassette as it was Ian's and I think it was loaned out shortly after being used for Stupefied and it was never seen again. Nice at least to have this fragment. This was the only song on Stupefied that I didn't have a original WAV file to work with, the audio restoration work was done from an MP3 copy, so it's possible with an uncompressed copy taken from the Stupefied cassette that this could be improved further. I don't think this sounds too bad too, and the band are in cracking form and there is loads of atmosphere from the gig itself captured on the recording.

Side 2:

The Twist - Ask a Rhetorical Question

One of my favorite songs on Stupefied. The lyric is a little bit of social commentary and is so redolent of those times from the late 1980's. The "girl in the ball gown", mentioned in the lyric I think refers to a real incident at a party, but I have long forgotten who was involved and what it was all about and I probably wouldn't repeat it all here anyway. It does bring back so many memories though of going  endless house parties (usually after the pub), seeing mostly the same people all the time, and there often being young girls, not really able to handle their drink. A good time, but when you are young there is often a lot of emotion around. "Are we ever happy with what we've got", is also a young person's hang up, that I remember so well from the time. This song, like "If Ye Like" was also on "Strangefruit" and this is a restored version from Stupefied, Ian's restored version from "Strangefruit" is on the Twist page. For some reason I've yet to figure out, the hiss was more difficult to remove from the WAV file of side two of the tape, than side one, so this restoration is not perfect, especially at the beginning. The one Ian did from Strangefruit has less hiss, but it has one or two "pops" that were probably caused by minor creases on the original tape.

All Days Fade - Angel (Live)

I think this was recorded on my little Marantz portable cassette recorder at a gig in the Abbosthall. I have no memory of the gig, but it's possible that I wasn't there as Ian borrowed that Marantz machine a few times to record gigs for Cameron.  The band sound to be on good form at this gig.

Silent Falls - On My Own

The Ghost Train - Wicked Wicked

The Receiving End  - Castles in the Sand

Elephants and Weasels - Mr. Sentimental

Was probably recorded at the same time as "I Saw You" on side one, but really I don't know much about this. Cameron sounds like he is trying to sing in the style of Bob Calvert here.

Who Cares?! - Family Man

This was the only "studio" recording Who Cares? did. It may have been recorded especially for Stupefied. The line up here is Coln Burns - vocals and guitar, Derek Anderson - bass and Colin Livingston - drums. Ian remembers that he was not present at the recording as he was with me at a Peter Hammill gig in London, so I can date the recording of this fairly accurately as the gig was February 14th 1988. This is the only track that I did any editing on. There was a very clunky analogue edit (you could hear the tape desk being turned on) between the sound sample and the song, so I took the liberty of taking that out.

Download whole Stuplified Cassette (Zip File, 63MB)

Follow this link to download other audio formats (FLAC and OGG)

I heard this again pretty much all the way through the other day and was pretty happy with the restoration. It is really worth downloading it all and listening to it in it's original running order, as the songs were sequenced very well on the original cassette. It has certainly breathed new life into an over 20 year old tape and I'm glad I took the time to do it, as the tape very nicely captures the "Kirkcaldy sound" at a particular point in time. Would have been nice to had a tape like this from every year in the 1980's.