Back in the 90’s, soundtracks used to really mean something. Usually half of the songs on the CD weren’t even in the movie but there was an effort made to complement the film with a collection of tracks which kept the tone and spirit strong after the credits rolled.
I would frequently buy soundtracks as a way to sample new bands. As I’ve said before, I was a very loyal Columbia House music club customer so when their catalog of $3.99 CDs came out, I’d order a bunch of new stuff. Hey, music still had value back then so if I didn’t like the album enough, I could trade it in for a $3 credit toward something else.
In 2001, one of the many discounted selections I ordered was the soundtrack to So I Married An Axe Murderer, the 1993 Mike Myers vehicle which I enjoyed despite its uneven silliness. There may have been half a dozen versions of “There She Goes” on the CD but I was intrigued anyway because I knew bands like Spin Doctors and Soul Asylum…but who the hell were Sun 60 and Ned’s Atomic Dustbin? Finding out was the goal.
I ended up liking very few of the songs on the album but one particular tune made the price of the CD plus USPS shipping worth it: “Long Day In The Universe (Remix)” by The Darling Buds. I’ve always had an affection for female-fronted rock bands and here was one where a catchy song was sung by this songbird I’d never heard before. Luckily, I found a fan site which detailed the history of the band and featured a pretty comprehensive discography. They only recorded three albums before disbanding and all of them seemed to be out of print by 2001. I scored a brand new copy of their final album Erotica at Vintage Vinyl completely by chance. This was the one I’d been looking for since the original version of “Long Day” was on there (it’s worth noting that the remix pushed the lead guitar up front and made the song sound more crisp overall, but the arrangement was the same). Crawdaddy was a lucky find at a used CD shop I only visited once, and Pop Said… was acquired on eBay after my lengthy search for a sealed copy (even though it ended up being a cut-out). Loads of sellers in the band’s UK homeland also sold their singles, which I scooped up bit by bit over time. Another great perk to the 90’s was how CD singles had three extra tracks on them so after four singles were released from one album, the B-sides added up an extra album’s worth of material. The Darling Buds had now become my obsession in between binges on Cheap Trick.
All in all, their sophomore album Crawdaddy is my favorite because it sounds like a cross between the albums which came before and after it, but “Long Day In The Universe” is my absolute favorite song of theirs. I even include it as part of my ultimate hour of music. As I type this, there are still several Darling Buds songs I have yet to hear because they’re trapped on vinyl singles which I can’t play without first getting my hands on a record player. I guess I’m not as obsessive as I thought.
I embrace my never ending search for new music and new bands to enjoy, and I’ll still grab the odd soundtrack if I’m a fan of the movie. The investment doesn’t always pay off but my love for The Darling Buds all started because I took a chance on a cheap soundtrack. The reward was well worth the risk.