Great Rock Albums of 1988: Fairground Attraction- First of a Million Kisses

I’ve discovered an interesting point about 1988. Between the heavy metal and synth pop, if there was music that was new and a bit different, people would listen to it. It could be a reason behind the success of such acts as Tracy Chapman, Tanita Tikarim and the Proclaimers, although the fact that they all made some good music had a lot to do with it as well. Thus, the same could be said for London based band, Fairground Attraction, who made their mark on the UK music scene with their number one hit, “Perfect,” from their debut album, “First of a Million Kisses.”

The big single, “Perfect,” which the band is most remembered for, is indicative of what the album is. There is an almost 1930s or 40s jazz sound to many of the songs. Many of which has that ‘make you snap your fingers along to the beat’ vibe to them. Other tracks have more of a folk flavour, especially the more mellower songs like “Moon on the Rain.” Researching the album, Wikipedia describes the genre as skiffle, which is said to be a mix of jazz, country, blue grass and the blues, a very interesting combination indeed but it’s probably the best way to categorize the album if one feels the need to do so. Before now, I didn’t know such a genre existed. I guess you learn something new everyday.

What I find very amusing is the contrast in the lyrics between the two biggest singles, (four were released), the fore-mentioned “Perfect” and “Find My Love.” On “Perfect,” vocalist Eddi Reader, sings that she is looking for someone who is perfect and she won’t settle for second best. However, on “Find My Love,” she is desperately seeking a boy out there who wants this girl. A bit of a contradiction don’t you think? But that’s my weird mind for you.

Speaking of Eddi, it’s her vocals that are the biggest element on the album. She has an amazing voice and unlike some singers at the time, she could change her vocal style to fit the song. She can sing the ballads with as much convincing conviction as she does the more jazzy songs. On “Fairground Attraction,” she stretches her voice way out there. Another brilliant example comes in the form of the hidden gem. Come on, there has to be a hidden gem and on this album, it’s “Clare.” She does that jazz vocals really well and of course, the rest of the band backs her up very nicely. I definitely like the clarinet in the song. However, I am still not surprised that she would eventually pursue a solo career.

Track Listing:

  1. A Smile in a Whisper
  2. Perfect
  3. Moon on the Rain
  4. Find My Love
  5. Fairground Attraction
  6. The Wind Knows My Name
  7. Clare
  8. Comedy Waltz
  9. The Moon is Mine
  10. Station Street
  11. Whispers
  12. Allelujah
  13. Falling Backwards
  14. Mythology

The last two tracks were only on the CD

Fairground Attraction

Eddi Reader- vocals

Mark E. Nevin- guitar

Simon Edwards- guitarron

Ray Dodds- drums, percussion

Guest Musicians:

Kim Burton- accordion, harp, piano

Robert Beaujolais- vibes, glockenspiel

Anthony Thistlewaite- mandolin

Steve Forster- mandolin

Ian Shaw- backing vocals

Will Hasty- clarinet

Fairground Attraction did bring something unique to the UK music scene in 1988 as their album, “First of a Million Kisses” proves. Many people really dug their brand of skiffle and while they weren’t metal, I found the album rather enjoyable, even back then.

Next post: Night Ranger- Man in Motion

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10 Responses to “Great Rock Albums of 1988: Fairground Attraction- First of a Million Kisses”

  1. I enjoyed Perfect and Find My Love very much! Why have I never heard of these people before? Thanks for sharing, Mike. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I had the album but dont think i was able to quite appreciate it at the time…my loss really…

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I don’t think I’ve heard of this band or any of the members!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. That’s one I’m not at all familiar with. Pretty cool stuff.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I think I’ve always conflated them with Simply Red’s Fairground, from a similar era.

    Liked by 1 person

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