Life Can Be Sweet And Sour

Sweet and Sour - The Takeaways

Still image from Sweet and Sour by The Takeaways, as featured on ABC-TV Australia

I’ve had a wonderfully nostalgic night listening to the soundtrack of the “cult” 1980s ABC-TV series, “Sweet and Sour”, released this week on CD. Somewhere in the garage I’m sure I have the original album on vinyl, which I used to listen to regularly, though this is probably the first time in over twenty years since I’ve heard the album in full.

I got a copy of the CD earlier in the week, and for a few days I’ve been walking around singing a few short phrases over and over again. Phrases like “life can be sweet and sour, but I am in control…” and “from glam to wham, they let me fall I can’t believe I’m here at all…” The songs are so well embedded in my consciousness, I don’t think remembering these lines in particular is necessarily Freudian nor reflective of my state of mind :)

To be honest, I don’t remember too much of the TV’s show’s plotline, except that it concerned an up and coming rock band, and I’m sure – as things do – there was drama along the way. But I do remember loving the show, and when news went around this week about the CD release, including my tweets, there was much affection for the show from the 30 and 40-somethings I know.

In the last couple of years I’ve also met the actor Tracey Mann on a couple of occasions over a glass of wine at theatre opening nights – she’s a friend of a friend – which caused me much personal excitement. “Oh my God, she’s the lead singer from ‘Sweet and Sour'” I thought to myself when we met. “Be calm, be cool. Don’t appear too much like a groupie, crazy fan…” I kept saying to myself :)

How does it sound 26 years later? Remarkably good actually. Although there’s a few songs which now sound dated due to 80s production values, most of the songs stand the test of time, especially the title track with vocals by Deborah Conway.

Sharon O'Neill

Still from video for How Do You Talk To Boys by Sharon O'Neill

The title track was written by one of my favourite early 80s singer-songwriters, Sharon O’Neill who I’ve also been remembering this week.

For the last few days, as well as singing lines from Sweet and Sour, I’ve also been remebering and singing… “How do you talk to boys, how do you get to take them home”… an early hit by Sharon. As with the songs from Sweet and Sour, I wouldn’t read too much into it, I just think it’s the association of “Sweet And Sour” with Sharon who composed some of the songs for the album. The kinda interesting bit of trivia about this song is the opening line… “I’m on a computer date… the result of my request the perfect mate”. It was 1980! She was ahead of her time.

Sharon O’Neill was a favourite of mine for a number of years. She wrote and sang songs with wonderful melodies and heartfelt lyrics which were both well-sung and produced. Favourites included, “Words”, “Asian Paradise” and, of course, “Maxine”… “Case 1352 a red and green tatoo…” (she was singing about tatoos long before Stieg Larsson was writing about them). I saw her sing that at the Countdown Spectacular a few years ago and was mightily impressed.

There are worse ways to spend your Friday night than listening to CDs and searching for clips on Youtube.

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