Fairground Attraction returns

One of the great benefits to working in a music store is all the free tunes and imports you get to pick up. You get exposed to a lot of music that you might not otherwise have listened to and although it causes fights between you and your coworkers, it’s worth the trouble. That is, if you love music. And that is, if you can afford to pay your bills with the meager wages you’ll be paid.

One of my first “real” full-time retail jobs was at Camelot Music in Orlando back in 1988 through 1989. Camelot Music is no more, having been renamed (or bought out or something) to FYE which is supposed to stand for “For Your Entertainment”. Very lame. A corporate sheep thought of that one I’ll bet. The idea behind the name FYE is that they didn’t want to be “pigeon-holed” into just music. They wanted to communicate that they also carry videos and other sundry items. I suppose Camelot Entertainment would have been just too non-creative.

Anyway, Fairground Attraction was one of those bands that we got a demo for in the store. This was in I was in the height of my love for metal and hard rock. But the beautiful voice of Edie Reader stunned me in a way that hadn’t happened since I was a boy listening to my parent’s Carpenter’s albums falling in love with Karen’s voice.

Unfortunately, Fairground Attraction had a short-lived hoorah and I never heard about them again. During a retarded phase I went through, purging myself of much of my music, I ended up selling their CD, along with about 400 other CD’s, to a local used CD store. Shameful. I wish I had about 100 of those CD’s back.

Time went by. I left Orlando, moved back to Brevard, eventually got married, started having kids, and so on.

Every so often, one of those great folk songs of Fairground Attraction would sort of hit me. And I’d try - real hard - to remember the name of the group. Or the album. And I couldn’t.

The internet boom happened and more than fifty times found me trying to find the name of the group with AltaVista. Then Yahoo. Then Google. Then AllMusic.

I kept thinking the group started with Fair… something… but because they weren’t popular, I was constantly led to more popular groups like Fair Warning (metal), The Fairfield Four (Christian), and a whole bunch of other dead ends.

A few months ago, I walked into a Camelot, er, FYE store in Merritt Island and used their little computers on the racks. They had a feature that you could specify groups that begin with a series of letters. I typed in Fair and scrolled down and instantly saw that great album cover: The First of a Million Kisses. I wrote down the album, came home, jumped on the net, and caught all up on what had happened to the group which, as it turned out, wasn’t a whole lot. Wikipedia gives a decent overview here.

Singer Edie Reader has been doing a lot of stuff, and has her own website, so I’ll be able to start adding more to my collection. I ordered the CD from Amazon and it arrived today. I’m a happy boy today. What great music to listen to, to absorb, to have in the background while you work, or cranking out in the foreground.

Looks like guitarist Mark Nevin has been keeping busy too, so I’ll have to see what he’s up to as well. Some great projects, I’ll bet.

I have no idea how an old metal head like me has gotten so into folk. But Fairground Attraction was the biggest influence on me early on. I highly recommend you buy their album and leave it on. Great rainy day music or just “thinking about life” music.

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