Monday, April 11, 2016

The Dream Academy - Selftitled (1985) plus Bonus Tracks

(U.K 1983–1991, 2014).
The Dream Academy are an English folk rock, dream pop and sophisti-pop band, comprising singer/guitarist Nick Laird-Clowes, multi-instrumentalist Kate St John, and keyboardist Gilbert Gabriel.

In America and Australia, The Dream Academy tends to be best known for one song: “Life in a Northern Town.” Thankfully, this is an instance where one can safely say that if you're going to be known for one song, that's a pretty great one to be known for, but it in no way comes close to telling you who the group really was, how they came about, or what sort of legacy they've left behind beyond that one song. For example, did you know they actually had two top-40 hits? True story. History tends to forget that “The Love Parade” actually hit #37.

Nick Laird-Clowes and Gilbert Gabriel wrote "Life In A Northern Town", and was dedicated to the singer Nick Drake, who was 26 years old in 1974 when he died of an antidepressant overdose which may have been suicide. His work was very influential to many British musicians and songwriters, and his legend grew after his death.

The song was not specifically about Nick Drake, as some suppose, but merely dedicated to his memory. Laird-Clowes recalled to Mojo magazine in a 2011 interview: "The song was created in a Southgate bedsit where Gilbert Gabriel had a room. We wrote it while sitting on a floor. Just two guitars - one nylon strung with just three strings on it, while the other was the same guitar that was on the cover of Nick Drake's Bryter Layter. We had the idea, even before we sat down, to write a folk song with an African-style chorus. We started it and when we got to the verse melody, there was something about it that reminded me of Nick Drake, who I had been turned on to in 1972 by Roundhouse DJ Jeff Dexter. It was Jeff who first informed me what a brilliant record Bryter Layter was. He claimed, 'I know where that guitar is and one day we'll get hold of it.'

I was working at the RCA record factory in Ladbroke Grove at the time and bought Nick Drake's guitar for £100. When the single was completed I dedicated it to Nick."
"Northern Town" started life with a different title. Laird-Clowes told Mojo that he had befriended Paul Simon at one point and the two stayed in touch. He recalled: "I played him the song and he asked, 'What are you going to call it - 'Ah Hey Ma Ma Ma?' I told him that we intended to name it 'Morning Lasted All Day.' 'That's no good,' he said and so I came up with 'Life In A Northern Town.' which he thought was a great title."
The song's subject matter was inspired by the time Laird-Clowes spent working on a music TV program that was produced in the north east England city of Newcastle. He recalled to Mojo: "The lyric emerged because I was an early presenter on The Tube and Geoff Wonfor, who went on to shoot The Beatles Anthology series, showed me the long lines of people unemployed and the shipyards that were closed down. That's what 'Life in Northern Town' is really all about."

David Gilmour (aka Pink Floyd) helped produce The Dream Academy selftitled album with Nick Laird-Clowes. Initially, Dream Academy's record label - Warner Brothers - didn't want to release this song, as they felt it needed more drums. The band refused and it became a worldwide hit. [extracts from]

.This post consists of MP3's (320kps) ripped from my vinyl and is accompanied with artwork for LP only. As an added bonus, I have included two additional tracks, both taken from my prized 12" Single featuring the extended version of "Life In A Northern Town" and the non-album track "Test Tape No3".   If you liked their big hit single, then you won't be disappointed with this album release.
Track Listing
01 - Life In A Northern Town
02 - (Poised On) The Edge Of Forever
03 - (Johnny) New Light
04 - In Places On The Run
05 - This World
06 - Bound To Be
07 - Moving On
08 - The Love Parade
09 - The Party
10 - One Dream
11 - Test Tape No3 (Bonus Single)
12 - Life In A Northern Town (Bonus Single Extended Version)

Nick Laird-Clowes - Guitar / Vocals / Harmonica
Gilbert Gabriel - Keyboards / Vocals
Kate St. John - Oboe / Piano Accordion, Tenor Saxophone / Vocals
The Dream Academy (125Mb)


  1. Awesome band and album, a distinctive highlight in the 80's. Thanks so much for sharing. Cheers from Chile.