16 March 2009

"Jungle Line" by Low Noise

Throughout 1979 and 1980 Thomas Dolby had gained experience touring with a number of bands doing sound, had recorded with Bruce Woolley & the Camera Club and even recorded his own single, "Urges"/"Leipzig", with the help of Andy Partridge. Following on a spell with the short-lived Fallout Club, he decided, at the start of 1981, to put together his own band.

First up was his friend and bassist Matt Seligman, who had played alongside Dolby in both the Fallout Club and Camera Club. (What's up with all these clubs anyway?) Dolby went along to a gig at the Hope & Anchor to see his pal play with Robyn Hitchcock and noticed drummer J.J. as part of the band.

J.J., otherwise known as John Johnson, had been a member of The Electric Chairs and released a couple of well-received singles with The Mystere Five (for whom he also sang and produced). He'd recently come off the recording sessions for the second Flying Lizards album.

These three went into the studio and recorded some tracks Dolby had been sketching out on Portastudio. The a-side was to be a cover version of a compellingly strange track by Dolby's hero Joni Mitchell. All Burundi rhythms and imagistic lyrics, "Jungle Line" bore up well to an electro treatment. Together with the b-side, "Urban Tribal", it was featured in the live performance and subsequent video Live Wireless we posted recently.

Despite the fact that Dolby saw this as a recurring project and despite its positive reception (Betty Page gave it single of the week in Melody Maker), Low Noise was to never see another outing. The single is a sought-after item. For some reason I have two copies, so we are able to bring you a rather excellent rip using the best maintained version.

-- Second Chameleon


Low Noise - Jungle Line

01 Jungle Line
02 Urban Tribal
03 Jungle Line (instrumental)
7"/12" France: Happy Birthday [UR 5] August 1981

Both versions feature all three tracks and have the same catalogue number. Odd, that.


  1. Thank you for sharing this rarity! The Flat Earth is one of my top 10 favorite albums and Dolby's production with Prefab Sprout is also quite excellent.

  2. Had this a while back with snake on the sleeve! I think there was about 5 of these together at 10 pence each! Brilliant

  3. Thank you for sharing this gem!!!