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2023/4 Albums Thing 302 - Secret Affair “Business As Usual”

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Drummer Seb Shelton had taken his sticks, sold all his socks, bought some dungarees and joined Dexy’s Midnight Runners. Secret Affair filled the drum stool with Paul Bultitude, formerly of Cambridge New Wavers Advertising (where he had played with his cousin, Secret Affair bass player Dennis Smith). A few years later we’d come to know Paul, or Balti as he was re-christened by us, when he was working for Polydor Europe with The Wonder Stuff. But back to the matter in hand.

Released almost 18 months after “Behind Closed Doors” this one elicited no hit singles and peaked at #84 in the UK album chart. Honestly it’s something of a musical regression after the advances (as I heard them) made on “Behind Closed Doors”. “Business As Usual” could be by any one of myriad guitar based New Wave bands of the late 70’s and early 80’s. Instead of following up on more adventurous songs like “Life's A Movie Too” and “When The Show's Over” they seemed to shrink back toward the uptempo soul/dance band style of “Glory Boys”. None of the songs are bad, just, maybe, underwhelming.

Secret Affair reconvened in 2012 for a 4th album, “Soho Dreams”, which was released on Red vinyl in 2013 but I only ever bought on CD. They still play occasional live dates, well, a band featuring Page, Cairns and some other blokes did some dates in 2023 anyways. Alongside the Purple Hearts, The Chords and of course The Jam, Secret Affair were really important to me and my old mate Micky back in 1979/80. They helped open a door into a world that at the time we didn’t know about, called Mod (see here https://www.whiterabbitrecords.co.uk/blog/read_204711/2023-albums-thing-188-the-jam-all-mod-cons.html). They were an important step in my journey into 60’s music, be that British R&B, black American Soul music or ultimately a 20+ year dalliance with the rare/Northern soul scene. These Mod revivalists kicked something off in me which still influences all sorts of things in my life even now, from what type of jeans I wear to the music I prefer and even which are acceptable forms of transport ! We are the Mods…

Lost In The Night - https://youtu.be/dBKmkCbrI70?si=Tx7vkFChHeRqid2T

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