Latin Quarter – Nothing Like Velevet (1990)

FrontCover1“This is not a “Best Of…” album. Although we have included tracks like “Radio Africa”, our main aim has been to provide songs or recordings that are not already available – and to do it in a way that shows a cross-section of our life as a band: studio recordings, bedroom demo recordings and some live recordings.

There was a temptations as we compiled the album, to go back and try and change some fo the tracks, to touch them up. But with small and easy exceptions, we’ve avoided that temptation. The bedroom demos remain the bedroom demos − cheap drum machines, microphone and all − and the live tracks … well we had a little choice. “See Him” and “Snow Blind” are exactly as they went to tape in Bochum, West Germany, sometime in February or March 1986. So yes, the voice on “Snow Blind” does only come up one side of the stereo, and no, there is no need to adjust your sets.” (taken from the original liner notes)

With three studio albums to its credit and a bona fide hit with “Radio Africa” (from Latin Quarter’s debut album, Modern Times), this politically minded worldly pop band decided to call it quits, leaving behind this compilation of oddities, rarities, unreleased demos, and re-recordings. For those looking for the hit, “Radio Africa” (album version) is here in all its splendor, but most of the remaining tracks are exclusive to this release.


The ones that have been released elsewhere include the beautiful “The Colourscheme” (sung by Yona Dunsford), which was a B-side, and “The New Millionaires,” which is the same version as the one on their debut. Other songs from the debut (“Truth About John,” “America for Beginners,” “Toulouse”) are either in demo form or re-recordings, all equal to the passionate album versions. “See Him!,” “Snow Blind,” and “The Big Pool” are funky live tracks never released (or recorded?) in studio form. “February 1990,” “Pyramid Label,” and the title track are demos of songs never officially released.

“Dominion” is the German-language version of the “Swimming Against the Stream” album track. There are musical surprises around every corner, almost every one of them from the creative minds of vocalist/guitarist Steve Skaith and lyricist Mike Jones.

Packed with so much quality music unavailable elsewhere, this is the perfect introduction to Latin Quarter’s eclectic musical repertoire and the perfect rarities disc at the same time. Who woulda thunk it? (by Steve “Spaz” Schnee)

Yona Dunsford (keyboards, vocals)
Greg Harewood (bass)
Steve Skaith (vocals, guitar)
Richard Wright (guitar)
Darren Abraham (drums on 11., 15.)
Dave Charles (drums on 03., 09.)
Paulinho Da Costa (percussion on 07.)
Martin Ditcham (percussion on 13.)
Carol Douet (background vocals on 03., 08., 09., 11., 14. vocals on 06., 15., 16.,   percussion on 11.)
Steve Greetham (bass on 08.)
Steve Gregory (saxophone on 13.)
Steve Jeffries (keyboards on 06., 09., 14.)
Kate St John (saxophone on 04.)
Martin Lascelles (keyboards on 03., 09., 11., 15., 16.)
Ricky Stevens (drums on 06., 08., 14., 16.)
Paul Slowly (drums on 01.)


01. Truth About John (Recorded 1990) (Skaith) 3.41
02. Nothing Like Velvet (Demo Recording 1989) (Skaith) 3.29
03. See Him! (Live Recording 1986) (Harewood/Wright/Skaith/Dunsford) 3.56
04. February 1990 (Demo Recording 1990) (Skaith) 1.38
05. Race Me Down (Demo Recording 1988) (Skaith) 4.08
06. Toulouse (Skaith) 5.04
07. Dominion (German Lyrics) (Skaith)
08. Radio Africa (Keefe/Skaith) 3.53
09. Snow Blind (Live Recording 1986) (Keefe/Skaith) 3.41
10. The Colour Scheme (Skaith) 3.31
11. The Big Pool (Live Recording 1987) 4.24
12. It Makes My Heart Stop Speaking (Demo Recording 1988) (Skaith) 4.14
13. The New Millionaires (Jeffries/Skaith) 3.38
14. Pyramid Label (Skaith) 6.07
15. The Men Below (Skaith) 4.38
16. America For Beginners (Skaith) 8.07 (*)

All lyrics by Mike Jones
German lyrics on 07: Harry Gutowski

“See Him!” and “Snow Blind” were recorded live in Bochum, Germany 1986


(*) I dedicate this song to Ronald Trump !




Latin Quarter – Swimming Against The Stream (1989)

FrontCover1John Aizlewood (of Q Magazine) described the album as ‘Inspired’, praising “Mike Jones’ excellent and uncompromising lyrics whilst Jones himself neither plays nor sings (save for the occasional backing vocal). Steve Skaith is an ideal mouthpiece for Jones. His unique voice, earnest, pleading and yet restrained, gives a distinct pathos and credence to Jones’ heartfelt semi-pose.”

Anthony Denselow in The Sound magazine wrote: “Latin Quarter have a pop album of enduring good quality… producers David Kershenbaum and Paul McKenna have given their sound a wonderful new sheen and confidence. “Swimming Against The Stream” is full of easy swinging melodies, offbeat musical ideas and challenging lyrical suggestions. Steve Skaith’s clear, high singing voice (on great form) is played off against Yona Dunsford’s equally sweet vocals, in some truly mellow pop choruses…It’s haunting stuff.”


This album is dedicated to the eleven workers at Dunne’s stores, Dublin, who were sacked for refusing to handle South Africa goods. Their three year fight against dismissal culminated in the Irish Government’s ban on the importation of South Africa Agricultural produce. We might be Swimming Against The Stream but, with this kind of courage, we can reach the other shore.


Yona Dunsford (keyboards, vocals)
Greg Harewood (bass, background vocals, military snare drum on 05.)
Mike Jones – Lyrics
Steve Skaith (vocals)
Richard Wright (guitar, background vocals, military snare drum on 05.)
Jerk Bondy (drums, synthesizer programming on 06.)
Paulinho Da Costa (percussion)
Denny Fongheiser: Drums
Judy Gameral (concertina & hammer dulcimer)
Mike Jones (background vocals)
David Kershenbaum (background vocals)
Jane McCord (military snare drum on 05.)
David Lindley (violin, mandolin, banfo, hawaian guitar)
Steve Sidelynck (percussion on 06.)
Tony Waerea (didgeridoo)


01. Swimming Against The Stream (Skaith/Jones) 4.25
02. Blameless (Skaith/Jones) 3.49
03. Wounded In Action (Jones) 4.11
04. Model Son (Skaith/Jones) 4.06
05. After Maralinga (Skaith/Jones/Waerea) 5.30
06, Dominion (Skaith/Jones) 4.53
07. Close This Account (Skaith/Jones) 3.20
08. Something Isn’t Happening (Skaith/Jones) 3.30
09. Race Me Down (Skaith/Jones) 4.11
10. It Makes My Heart Stop Speaking (Skaith/Jones) 3.50
11. A Slow Waltz For Chile (Skaith/Jones) 3.56





Latin Quarter – Mick And Caroline (1987)

LPFrontCover1When Latin Quarter released their debut album, Modern Times, in 1986, it was so musically diverse, it seemed to be a compilation of several different bands. When Mick and Caroline was released the following year, the band was essentially the same, but their different approaches began to melt together, making this album more cohesive, if not as interesting. Late-’80s pop once again mixed with world rhythms and socially charged lyrics (courtesy of lyricist Mike Jones), creating a sound that could have made a commercial impact had it not been for the inability to pigeonhole the band into a clear musical genre. “I (Together),” “Freight Elevator,” “Burn Again,” and “Nomzamo (One People, One Cause)” are obvious standouts, but the most touching track is the closer, “The Men Below,” an eye-opening look at a miner’s life.

SinglesAs on their debut, vocalist/guitarist Steve Skaith crafted nice melodic beds for Jones’ lyrics to lie upon, sometimes resting but usually tossing and turning their way into the listener’s head. Even when Skaith hands the vocals over to Carol Douet and Yona Dunsford, the lyrics are never less than poignant and thought-provoking. Not as enjoyable as their debut, this still stands head and shoulders above most releases from 1987. (by Steve “Spaz” Schnee)

Darren Abraham (drums)
Carol Douet (vocals, percussion)
Yona Dunsford (vocals, keyboards)
Greg Harewood (bass)
Mike Jones (lyrics)
Martin Lascalles (keyboards)
Steve Skaith (vocals, guitar)
Richard Wright (guitar, vocals)
Manny Elias (percussion)
Gary Kettel (percussion)

01. I (Together) (Skaith/Jones) 3.50
02. Remember  (Skaith/Jones)    3:32
03. Freight Elevator Jeffries/Jones) 3.50
04. Nomzamo (One People, One Cause) (Skaith/Jones) 4.30
05. Negotiating With A Loaded Gun (Skaith/Jones) 4.45
06. Burn Again (Skaith/Jones) 4.54
07. Love Has Gone (Skaith/Jones) 4.49
08. The Night (Skaith/Jones) 4.06
09. Donovan’s Door Way (Skaith/Jones) 3.08
10. The Men Below (Skaith/Jones) 4.42
11. One Fell Swoop (Skaith/Jones)
12. Titles You Can´t Hire (Skaith/Jones)
13. Nomzamo (One People, One Cause) (extended mix) (Skaith/Jones)
14. Ed Murrow (Should Be Here With Us Tonight) (demo version) (Skaith/Jones)
15. Jerry Medley (demo version) (Skaith/Jones)
16. Midday (demo version) (Skaith/Jones)
17. Night School (demo version) (Skaith/Jones)
18. The Night (demo version) (Skaith/Jones)


Nine children in one family
Nine Xhosa Wars
Nomzamo in 1960
Already victim of her country’s laws
I say ‘laws’, why dignify
The Sjamboks and the slammed cell doors?
In twenty years they gave her nineteen sentences – still
One People! One Cause!
One People! One Cause!
Nomzamo! Nomzamo…

Named ‘Trial’ but how often can
You take the stand?
Nomzamo left glued in Brandfort
Twenty years for a touch of his hand
But in touch and in the face of
The Robben Islands and the bleak Pollsmoors
I see ‘separate’ – I see ‘development’ – still
One People! One Cause!
One People! One Cause!
Nomzamo! Nomzamo…
Nomzamo – you say it’s part of your soul
Nomzamo – one day you’ll paint it
Red, black, green and gold…

Told today that they release you
That you had paid your debt
Nomzamo in her own damn country
How much more boorish can these people get?
But you refuse to get the message
Of waving whips, in bloody semaphore
Where only gunfire’s indiscriminate – as always
One People! One Cause!

Latin Quarter – Modern Times (1985)

FrontCover (2)AModern Times is the first album by the British band Latin Quarter. It reached the top 20 in Germany and Sweden[1] and spent two weeks on the UK Albums Chart, peaking at Number 91. It includes the songs “Radio Africa” which reached Number 19 in the UK Singles Chart. and “America for Beginners” which was covered by Toyah on her album Minx.

Latin Quarter’s lyricist Mike Jones describes the album as “a veritable manifesto” of their left wing views as members of Big Flame. The title track takes its name from the Charlie Chaplin film as it critiques the effect of McCarthyism on Hollywood; “Radio Africa” describes the effect of Imperialism on that continent; “Toulouse” is about racism in France; “No Rope As Long As Time” is a plaintive account of Apartheid South Africa and “America for Beginners” describes the rise of the right wing in the United States. (by wikipedia)

AmericaForBeginners“… He’s [Mike Jones] also a dab hand at those snappy one liners that the likes of a Costello or a Difford get regularly feted for.” NME

“… the catchy hooks fly thick and fast.” The Hit

“You’ve got to respect an English synth band that bothers to write real songs about real issues.” Playboy

“… a really superb lyrical content throughout.” RM

“The lyric comes from a catchy exercise in light reggae called Radio Africa (included here), and any expectations it awakened that here was a band with not only a conscience but also political awareness are fulfilled by this album. The songs are literate, punchy and pertinent – this tour through the modern world takes in, for instance, South Africa, both Reagan’s and McCarthy’s America, the Falklands/Malvinas, and the Welsh coal-mining valleys. The kind of songs New Internatioanalist readers (and editors) would write if they had the chance and the skill.” Politics 5/5, Entertainment 4/5 – New Internationalist Magazine

Carol Douet (Vocals, percussion)
Yona Dunsford (vocals, piano)
Greg Harewood (bass)
Steve Jeffries (keyboards, vocals)
Mike Jones (lyrics)
Steve Skaith (vocals, guitar)
Richard Stevens (drums, percussion)
Richard Wright (guitar, vocals)
Martin Ditcham (percussion)
Steve Greetham (bass on 03.)
Steve Gregory (saxophone)

01. Modern Times (Skaith/Jones) 3:45
02. No Ordinary Return (Skaith/Jones) 3.35
03. Radio Africa (Skaith/Jones/Keefe) 3.53
04.Toulouse (Skaith/Jones) 4.20
05. America for Beginners (Skaith/Jones) 5.16
06. Eddie (Skaith/Jones(Keefe) 3.08
07. No Rope As Long As Time (Skaith) 4.28
08. Seaport September (Skaith/Jones) 3:18
09. New Millionaires (Jeffries/Jones 3.35
10. Truth About John (Skaith/Jones) 4.00
11. Cora (Skaith/Jones) 258


What’s keeping the White House white
Is it chalk, is it fog, is it fear?
Are they staying up most of the night
And sending somebody out for a beer?
Is it bed-time for Bonzo?
Is it time for a change?
Is it flavour-free TV dinners?
It’s a hard thing to take, when they make a mistake
America for Beginner.

The sound of a bell with a crack
Even the swingers are swinging right
The vigilantes are on the way back
With prime-time “fight the good fight”.
What a start to a day
It starts three times with a “K”
There’s no sponsored hour for sinners
They’II bring back the hot seat
And turn up the heat
America for Beginners.

That’s America for Beginners.

You wear designer jeans after dark
And your shirts are sharp-cut in satin
But won’t you watch out for Central Park
And apartments in uptown Manhattan.

It’s a sign of the times
Better stoy out in front
Because they’ve only got time for the winners.
Just keep living for fun, you son of a gun
America for Beginners.

Everywhere there’s stripes ond stars
Men in dark suits in unmarked cars
Sipping Jack Daniels in Third World bars
They’re close to the edge,
They’re as close as you can get.