A Number Of Names


One of the most time-evocative tracks to have been rediscovered in recent years is ‘Sharevari’ by A Number Of Names. The track takes you on a gigolo ride to the hottest of clubs and would have struck a chord with many of the young affluence-aspiring scenesters in early 80s Detroit. Although recently claimed to be the first techno track, it’s not really a techno track at all (it’s far too hot for a start!) but the track’s success must have helped techno to come through.

When ‘Sharevari’ was originally released on Capriccio in 1981 it came with just its vocal and instrumental versions. But the re-release the following year on Canadian label Quality also included the track ‘Skitso’. This track didn’t follow the pattern they had set with ‘Sharevari’ (in fact, I’m not sure if ‘Skitso’ was written after or before) and was much more in a new wave punk style, akin to The B-52s.

A Number Of Names would have been influenced by everything from European disco to Prince to the emerging Detroit punk scene, and ‘Skitso’ shows that Paul Lesley, Roderick Simpson and Sterling Jones were accomplished songwriters and just as comfortable with conventional instruments as they were with electronic ones. The track is a lot of fun and it’s a shame not more of their material from this time was released. I wonder how much they even recorded.

A Number Of Names co-produced ‘Skitso’ with Tom Conner and Rob Martens. Martens went on to engineer Cybotron’s ‘Enter’. (Conner is also credited as producer for Mitch Ryder; there’s an obscure French compilation album of Ryder’s called ‘All The Real Rockers Come From Detroit’ with a great sleeve.)

Posted by Manny Z

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‘Wheel Me Out’


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