Transgendered Cabin Boys, Religious Symbolism and Gay Dance Duos – Just Another Day in 80s Pop Music

Seriously, the musical landscape of the 90s didn’t have shit on the randomness of the 80s.

Kate Bush
Alternative Hounds Of Love
The Handsome Cabin Boy
I’m going to level with you,I don’t know what’s so “alternative” about this mix of “Hounds Of Love’ aside from the fact that it’s about 50 seconds longer than the original album version. It has the “do-we-do-do do-we-da-da” and those awesome drums still, so it still kicks ass.

The real star here is the B-side, “The Handsome Cabin Boy.” I had never heard of this tune before, but after some quick online research, I’m now absolutely fascinated by it. This is a traditional folk song…about a woman who tries to pass as a man on a ship, only to have an affair with the captain and his wife (and possibly some of the crew as well) before she ends up pregnant. Bisexuality, transgender issues and the prevalence of homosexuality on the seas! That’s a mighty progressive traditional folk song! Anyone out there now how old this tune is?

Bush’s treatment of the song is absolutely haunting, its nothing more than her voice and some very subtle synthesizers-as-chorus melodies. Its haunting, and it leaves the message and meaning of the song bare for your to take in. It was completely the right way to go. Any attempt at “mainstreaming” this song as a single would probably just make it come off as a joke in poor taste. Best to let the lyrics and the message speak for themselves.

Book Of Love 
Counting The Rosaries (Full Confession Mix)
Counting The Rosaries (Full Confession Dub)
Counting The Rosaries (Happiness & Love Mix)
Counting The Rosaries (Crying Angels Mix)
Sunny Day (Heal Your Positive Body Mix)
I rarely wish I was a religious person. Okay, scratch that, I almost never wish I was a religious person. The only times I do is when it could help my understand of pop culture with religious overtones. For example, I hear songs like this and am left with absolutely no clue as to what it is about due to my blissful ignorance. Anyone care to fill me in? Regardless of what this song is actually about, these remixes are pretty great. Best dance tune about…something religious(???) that I’ve heard all week.

Pet Shop Boys
Always On My Mind (12″ Verision Phil Harding Mix)
I somehow had this 12″ single in my “to record” bin for two years and never got around to it. Stupid me. Now that I have it recorded and filed, however, it brings my Pet Shop Boys singles collection to an even 40. I think that gives me an official ranking of “fabulous.”

7 Responses to “Transgendered Cabin Boys, Religious Symbolism and Gay Dance Duos – Just Another Day in 80s Pop Music”

  1. Drain says:

    thanks for the kate songs. always great to have more fantastic music by her to add to my collection. as for what’s “alternative” about the “alternative hounds of love”, i think what makes it alternative is that her vocals are completely different from the album version as i don’t remember her saying “run, run, run from the hounds of love” in the album version, also the “do-do-di-do-dow-dow”s in the background are new as she just did “do-do-do” in the album version.

  2. Ximeremix says:

    Kate Bush: to add to drains comments – it’s also cello led – BRILLIANT!

    PSB: Always loved this remix – it should have been used as the 7″ single.
    And congratulations onm your new ‘official ranking’ – FABULOUS!

  3. Fictional Queen says:

    I don’t know if that song is about something Christian but in Islam they count the rosaries and say a special prayer. People can fill their free time with that to remind themselves of God, etc. It’s usually done after saying your prayers. The number of the rosaries also means something special but I dunno what.

  4. Fictional Queen says:

    Hmmm. Each bead has a special prayer. But I’m pretty sure that’s not the religion the song is about lol

  5. Jp says:

    Hello J., tnaks for the PSB remix. By the way i sent you an e-mail ( i hope you got it ). Jp

  6. Sean says:

    Friggin in the Riggin is another traditional seafaring folk tune (the Sex Pistols didn’t even change the lyrics). The inherent lesson in these songs is to be cautious about bending over in front of a sailor.

Leave a Reply