Jul 11, 2007

Wavetrain, Wire

Hello, my wavetrain's 14th and last wagon has a bunch of friends that currently have regrouped for the third time in 30 years, overtime they released 9 studio albums aswell as a lot of live albums and meanwhile dvd's. All this between their solo / duo works under a number of monikers, that easily double their musical output. They never had a hit or sold a lot and yet they rank as one of the most influential bands of the past decades. They generated the impetus for a number of very dedicated websites. So who am i talking about, well it's .....

Wire, they formed in London in 1976, after some early line-up changes which resulted in the departure of the hot-headed George Gill (the band's original frontman), a final line-up emerged which consisted of Colin Newman (vocals, guitar), Graham Lewis (bass), Bruce Gilbert (guitar) and Robert Gotobed (drums). Although the members of the group have emphasised the necessity constantly to take on new creative roles, this division of musical labour persisted with only minor variations throughout the band's life. A gig at the Roxy in early 1977 proved auspicious, they met EMI's Mike Thorne, who was recording groups for a live punk album, The Roxy, London WC2. Thorne included two Wire tracks and was then instrumental in bringing the band to EMI in September. By then, with Newman writing most of the music, they were eager to record before they lost interest in material, abandoned it, and moved on; a pattern that would define the group.

Wire's debut, Pink Flag (1977) was a landmark of early punk rock. The songs are very diverse in mood and style, but most use a very minimalistic punk approach, unorthodox structures, and several songs under a minute in length; "Field Day For The Sundays" clocks in at only 28 seconds.Chairs Missing followed in 1978, and found Wire stepping back a bit from the stark minimalism of Pink Flag, with longer, more atmospheric songs and innovative synthesizer parts by producer Mike Thorne. The experimentation was even more prominent on 154 (1979) which found a clear division within the direction of the group. There were some of Wire's poppiest moments in "Map Ref." & "The 15th", but the band started to show an experimental and darker side on tracks such as "A Touching Display" & "The Other Window". Many of the songs also showcased bassist Graham Lewis in a much more prominent role on lead vocals.

In 1979, however, creative differences pulled the band in various directions, culminating in the Document & Eyewitness LP (1981), a recording of a performance that featured almost exclusively new material. The material was much more loose and experimental than before. The LP also came packaged with an EP of a different performance that was also new material, but this was presumably material intended for Wire's never-recorded 4th album. Some of this material ended up being included on Colin Newman's post-Wire solo albums.

There followed a period of suspension (1981-1985) in favour of solo and non-Wire collaborative projects, including Dome, Cupol, Duet Emmo, and several Colin Newman solo efforts. In 1985, the group reformed to renewed critical acclaim, but without carving quite the same niche as in the earlier decade. Reforming as a "beat combo" (a joking reference to early 60's beat music or even possibly beatnicks), the group became increasingly immersed in electronics. The band released It's Beginning To And Back Again, in 1989 as a "live" album of mostly reworked versions of songs from The Ideal Copy and A Bell Is a Cup...Until It Is Struck. Ostensibly a live album IBTABA was in fact based on live recordings, but they were so heavily re-arranged, edited and remixed in the studio that it is doubtful whether IBTABA would qualify as a live album in the most common sense. One of the few new songs on the album, "Eardrum Buzz", became the band's biggest charting single.The increased use of electronics on the album Manscape caused Gotobed to famously fire himself in 1990 when he realised a drummer was unnecessary, even at the band's live gigs. In response to his departure, Wire dropped one letter in their name to become "Wir" (still pronounced "wire"). Wir released The First Letter in 1991, which received a mixed reception, but whose electronics-heavy sound was arguably ahead of its time.
The demise of the group in 1993 was barely noticed by the music press. Around this time there was a brief revival of interest in Wire among British independent bands, some of whom closely mimicked the sounds and structures of the early records. Recent rock critics, however, have often dismissed the group as art-school elitists who disappeared up their own backsides during the 1980s. Yet the public interest in Wire (and their numerous current projects) remains strong for many. Their enduring appeal for other musicians is attested by the release, in 1996, of the deliciously diverse tribute album Whore. As the contributions on that record suggest, Wire are still influential and inspiring. And they remain, in the opinion of many enthusiasts, the most underrated musical and poetic artists of their time.

With Gotobed back in the line-up (now using his birth name, Robert Grey), the group initially reworked a substantial chunk of its back catalogue for a performance at Royal Festival Hall. Great receptions during a short tour of the U.S. and a number of UK gigs convinced the band to continue. The band's sound changed again, to one largely based around clockwork guitar hooks and very fast drum beats. Two EPs and an album Send (2003) followed, as well as live collaborations with stage designer Es Devlin and artists Jake and Dinos Chapman.

Two books about Wire exist: Kevin S. Eden's "Everybody Loves a History" and Alessandro Libutti's "Exploded Views"(written in Italian) . Kevin Eden's illuminating biography (mainly comprising interview material) appeared in Serious Art Form publications in 1991.

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Wire - 154 Pink Chairs (78-79)
Wire - Document And Eyewitness (81)
P'o - Whilst Climbing Thieves Vie For Attention (80)
Gilbert & Lewis - 3R4 (80)
He Said (Lewis)- Take Care (88)
Colin Newman - A-Z (80)
Cupol (Gilbert & Lewis) - Like This For Ages (80)
Wire - A Bell Is A Cup Until It Is Struck (88)

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Pink Flags hurried tracks lack verses or choruses and are often the order of the day (Field Day for the Sundays clocks in at a diminutive 28 seconds), aggressive, grim, unhurried efforts such as Reuters and Strange break up the frenetic nature of the album with a jolt, bringing to mind a punk band marching through treacle. One of Pink Flag's shining stars, however, is the glorious pop of Mannequin. Who would have thought that a band that fashioned the 'aggro' of 12XU could create something so sweet?

Chairs Missing is a quantum leap from Pink Flag. Although the vestiges of Wire's punk roots remain, they are forced into new shapes: Another the Letter largely replaces guitars with arpeggio keyboard loops, while Too Late's dense atmosphere makes most of Pink Flag's punkier numbers seem lightweight by comparison. Elsewhere, Mike Thorne's electronics provide new paths for Wire, enabling the band to produce the chilling, bleak Marooned—one of the most beautiful pieces by the quartet.

154 completed Wire's initial run of albums, before the band spectacularly self-destructed during the live shows that birthed Document and Eyewitness. The cracks were already showing by this point: the coherence so evident in Chairs Missing had been replaced by a schism, with the two sides of the band—the experimental (Gilbert and Lewis) and the pop/rock (Newman and Gotobed)—threatening to tear the album to shreds. The result is an uncomfortable album where a beautiful pop ode to a field rubs shoulders with harrowing experimental compositions.The brutal way in which the album lurches from one end of the music spectrum to the other is fascinating, 154 remains a classic album. In 92 Play it Again Sam released a compilation of Wire's first 3 albums, well here it is.

Wire - Pink Flag (95 Japanese Extended Remaster in Flac  417mb)

01 Reuters 3:03
02 Field Day For The Sundays 0:28
03 Three Girl Rhumba 1:23
04 Ex Lion Tamer 2:19
05 Lowdown 2:26
06 Start To Move 1:13
07 Brazil 0:41
08 It's So Obvious 0:53
09 Surgeon's Girl 1:15
10 Pink Flag 3:47
11 The Commercial 0:49
12 Straight Line 0:44
13 106 Beats That 1:12
14 Mr. Suit 1:24
15 Strange 3:57
16 Fragile 1:18
17 Mannequin 2:37
18 Different To Me 0:43
19 Champs 1:45
20 Feeling Called Love 1:22
21 12 X U 1:55
22 Dot Dash 2:25
23 Options R 1:35
24 Love Ain't Polite 1:07
25 Oh No Not So 1:36
26 It's The Motive 1:22
27 Practice Makes Perfect 3:48
28 Sand In My Joints 1:49
29 Stablemate 2:16
30 I Feel Mysterious Today 1:40
31 Underwater Experiences 3:15
32 Mary Is A Dyke 1:06
33 Too True 1:05
34 Just Don't Care 1:22
35 TV 1:25
36 New York City 1:12
37 After Midnight 1:28
38 Pink Flag 2:35

Tracks 1 to 21 recorded at Advision Studios. Originally released in 1977.
Tracks 22 and 23 originally released 1978.
Tracks 24 to 31 recorded 14th May 1977.
Tracks 32 to 37 recorded 1st April 1977.
Track 38 recorded 4th April 1977.


Wire - Chairs Missing (94 Remaster in Flac 290mb)

01 Practice Makes Perfect 4:06
02 French Film Blurred 2:34
03 Another The Letter 1:07
04 Men 2nd 1:42
05 Marooned 2:21
06 Sand In My Joints 1:50
07 Being Sucked In Again 3:13
08 Heartbeat 3:15
09 Mercy 5:46
10 Outdoor Miner 1:44
11 I Am The Fly 3:07
12 I Feel Mysterious Today 1:56
13 From The Nursery 2:58
14 Used To 2:20
15 Too Late 4:13
16 Outdoor Miner (Long Version) 2:54
17 A Question Of Degree 3:09
18 Former Airline 3:20


Wire - 154 (95 Japanese Extended Remaster in Flac 454mb)

01 I Should Have Known Better3:52
02 Two People In A Room2:10
03 The 15th3:04
04 The Other Window2:08
05 Single K.O.2:23
06 A Touching Display6:55
07 On Returning2:05
08 A Mutual Friend4:27
09 Blessed State3:27
10 Once Is Enough3:23
11 Map Ref. 41ºN 93ºW3:37
12 Indirect Enquiries3:34
13 40 Versions3:27
14 Song 13:02
15 Get Down (Parts I & II)4:27
16 Let's Panic Later3:20
17 Small Electric Piece3:32
18 Go Ahead4:00
19 Stepping Off Too Quick1:22
20 Indirect Inquiries3:18
21 Map Ref 41º N 93ºW3:49
22 A Question Of Degree2:56
23 Two People In A Room2:02
24 Former Airline1:12

Tracks 1-13 original 1979 album
Tracks 14-18 bonus tracks
Tracks 19-24 demo versions compiled from Wire 'Behind The Curtain' released 1995, recorded 11th December 1978

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By 1980 Wire's contract with EMI had broken down and the band decided to 'challenge' the audience at what was to be their final gig in five years. What ensued was a set of chaotic, partially improvised pieces alongside rather dubious performance art. Although it's quite interesting to read about this part of Wire's history, it's not quite the same thing to actually listen to it.

The songs from Notre Dame Hall possess an astonishing raw energy. Ally in Exile is as tense as its title and Witness to the Fact thrills with its weird chord progression. Go Ahead gives the unvarnished truth about Wire's increasingly strained relationship with EMI. "We thought of ourselves as geniuses", recalls Newman. Unfortunately, Wire were considered eccentric untouchables by their paymasters. This belief gap between band and label is most apparent in Electric Ballroom tracks such as the protracted, patience-testing 5/10—not without charm to die-hard Wire fans, but a decidedly uncommercial sprawl to unsympathetic ears. The hostility of the Electric Ballroom audience was matched only by the revulsion of the record executives. Perhaps these reactions were justified: the lack of discipline and structure in the Electric Ballroom tracks explains why few of these songs impress like those on Newman's contemporaneous solo effort A-Z. Nevertheless, Wire, in typical style, had done their own thing, regardless of the consequences.

Wire - Document And Eyewitness  ( 81  91cd issue Flac 406mb)

Notre Dame Hall - Live
01 Go Ahead 4:01
02 Ally In Exile 4:20
03 Relationship 1:22
04 Underwater Experiences 2:47
05 Witness To The Fact 2:46
06 2 People In A Room 1:58
07 Our Swimmer 3:01
Montreux - Live
08 Heartbeat 3:12
Electric Ballroom - Live
09 5/10 6:00
10 12XU (Fragment) 1:47
11 Underwater Experiences 2:38
12 Everythings Going To Be Nice 1:04
13 Piano Tuner (Keep Strumming Those Guitars) 5:19
14 We Meet Under Tables 3:05
15 Zegk Hoqp 5:28
16 Eastern Standard 3:03
17 Instrumental (Thrown Bottle) 2:12
18 Eels Sang Lino 3:04
19 Revealing Trade Secrets 2:33
20 And Then ... Coda 9:00
Magritte Studio
21 Our Swimmer 3:34
22 Midnight Bahnhof Cafe 4:33

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P'o - Whilst Climbing Thieves Vie For Attention (80 ^ 69mb)

Originally formed with the intention of being a live band by A.C. Marias, Bruce Gilbert, David Tidball, Graham Lewis and Peter Price, P'o hastily recorded this album when Peter Price announced plans to emigrate. It begins with the laid back Time and Time. If it were not for the industrial noises that appear, this might pass for a pop track. The simple lyric from Graham, coupled with Angela Conway's ghostly vocal textures create an effective 'voice', something of a contrast to the previous Dome release . Back to Back is less melodic but more energetic, highlighting Price's ethnic drumming style which appears in several other tracks. The bulk of this collection is very listenable but too many tracks rely on mangling a pop riff and playing ethnic drumming over it. The album's vague pop leaning (at least in the fact that there's no out and out abstraction) may also tempt more conventional listeners to another side of the 'greater Wire' story.

01 - Time And Time (3:26)
02 - Back To Back (2:57)
03 - Holy Joe (4:00)
04 - Earl (3:38)
05 - Vanite (3:15)
06 - Today's Version (3:09)
07 - I Will (1:07)
08 - Mhona (3:36)
09 - Blind Tim (4:23)
10 - Crystal Streams (2:32)

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During their frighteningly productive period in the early 1980s, Bruce Gilbert and Graham Lewis recorded a shop's worth of albums, staged art exhibitions, and produced Desmond Simmons, A.C. Marias and Michael O'Shea. In the midst of this flurry of activity the duo somehow found the time to make the album 3R4 and release two singles for 4AD

The pick of the bunch is undoubtedly R, which opens with clanking percussive noises before giving way to an extended choral sample. Heavily Eno-influenced, it continues to drift while various fragmentary elements appear and disappear. The effect is languid and beautifully mesmerising.

01 - Barge Calm (1:07)
02 - 3. 4... (16:41)
03 - Barge Calm (1:08)
04 - R (19:47)


Instead of 3R4 and Cupol, 8 Time which compiles both vinyls and adds another single Ends with The Sea, now in digital format. 

Gilbert and G Lewis - 8 Time (80 Flac 284mb)

01 Like This For Ages 4:31
02 Kluba Cupol 20:28
03 Barge Calm (1:11)
04 3. 4... (17:03)
05 Barge Calm (1:08)
06 R (20:02)
07 Ends with The Sea 4:48
08 Hung Up To Dry Whilst Building An Arch 2:25

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He Said - Take Care (88 now in flac 405mb)

Take Care is very much a late ' 80s album , both the sound and programming of the drum machines, along with much of the instrumentation, is a product of that age and, as such, Take Care sounds dated. However, if you can get over this you will find a number of great songs that would challenge anything Lewis was involved in until embarking on the He Said Omala and Hox outings. Musically, much of the album, is seemingly fairly standard , but with Lewis' usual skew adding layers of texture and odd rhythms in the background. F.i. , Tongue Ties is a classic that contains a whole selection of great rhythms, riffs, and an utterly fantastic chorus. Experimentation also exists with two instrumental pieces, Half Way House and Get Out of that Rain (both commissioned for the Michael Clark performance). Because we Must is a brooding piece and contains a beautifully rendered guitar line. Production-wise, it ends up sounding rather like what New Order would attempt a few years later with Republic's slower tracks.

01 - Watch-Take-Care (8:30)
02 - A.B.C. Dicks Love (5:25)
03 - Could You? (5:45)
04 - Tongue Ties (6:09)
05 - Screen (2:04)
06 - Not A Soul (5:20)
07 - Halfway House (5:25)
08 - Get Out Of That Rain (3:13)
09 - Hole In The Sky (2:28)
10 - He Said: She Said (4:09)
11 - A.B.C. Dicks Love (Soft) (5:25)
12 - Suzanne (6:06)
13 - Could You? (Too-edit) (5:01)

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Colin Newman - A-Z (80  now in Flac 353mb)

After Wire split in two after parting company with EMI in 1980, Colin Newman took with him drummer Robert Gotobed and producer Mike Thorne to follow his pop-oriented leanings. The result was A-Z.

A-Z continually shifts between utterly sublime and vaguely irritating. The album is full of energy, but it sounds somewhat over-dramatic and unsophisticated compared to the late '70s Wire albums and Newman's later work. Thorne's production ensures that keyboards often drown out everything else thereby offering a somewhat one-dimensional sound. Had all of the tracks been as satisfying as Alone or Image then this would fare much better.

01 - I've Waited Ages (5:04)
02 - & Jury (2:46)
03 - Alone (3:56)
04 - Order For Order (2:41)
05 - Image (4:14)
06 - Life On Deck (3:08)
07 - Troisieme (4:08)
08 - S-S-S-Star Eyes (2:09)
09 - Seconds To Last (7:04)
10 - Inventory (2:10)
11 - But No (3:04)
12 - B (2:54)
13 - The Classic Remains 3:52
14 - Alone On Piano 1:56
15 - This Picture 3:31
16 - Not Me 2:39
17 - Don't Bring Reminders 2:22

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Wire - A Bell Is A Cup Until It Is Struck (88 now in Flac 452mb)

A Bell is a Cup Until it is Struck continues the 'beat combo' concept which began with The Ideal Copy , but this release is less aggressive. Most tracks build on Gotobed's metronome drumbeats with meshes of glittery guitars, droning basslines and keyboard textures. Newman's delivery throughout is softly spoken, in stark contrast to that on The Ideal Copy, but this only serves to create an album sometimes devoid of emotion and energy.Although the material on this album struggles against lethargic playing and overly-slick production, there are some gems waiting to be discovered. The swimmingly melodic Kidney Bingos is a case in point, juxtaposing a jaunty 'pop' number with a number of tabloid headlines. It highlight the absurdity of mass media via Newman's softly sung vocals over a combination of hypnotic, melodic patterns and impenetrable yet catchy lyrics . It makes for surreal, brainy pop.

01 - Silk Skin Paws (4:53)
02 - The Finest Drops (5:01)
03 - The Queen Of Ur And The King Of Um (4:03)
04 - Free Falling Divisions (3:39)
05 - It's A Boy (4:26)
06 - Boiling Boy (6:22)
07 - Kidney Bingos (4:12)
08 - Come Back In Two Halves (2:43)
09 - Follow The Locust (4:22)
10 - A Public Place (4:30)
11 - The Queen Of Ur And The King Of Um (Alternative Version) (4:02)
12 - Pieta (7:29)
13 - Over Theirs (Live) (6:36)

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Wire on You Tube (dedicated)
Wire @ Base
Wire @ MySpace
Wire video's and mp3's via Brainwashed.com

Colin Newman @ Base

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All downloads are in * ogg-7 (224k) or ^ ogg-9(320k), artwork is included , if in need get the nifty ogg encoder/decoder here !


Anonymous said...

Thanks, some great stuff here. I'm only downloading a couple items because I've bought most of this already. The review of A-Z (from Wireviews?) must not be allowed to stand unchallenged, though. I bought it on vinyl back in 1981/82 (the same day I bought New Order's Movement) and it's always been one of my favourite Wire-related albums. I was glad to buy it again on CD when the expanded version came out. For that matter, I disagree with the Bell is a Cup review, too; that's another Wire fave of mine. (154 was my introduction to Wire and it remains my favourite.)

Anonymous said...

Yeah!! Thanx a lot!! Kooool & Great music.

Anonymous said...

Great post! I downloaded both parts of Document and Eyewitness but couldn't unzip, winrar said there was an unexpected break - am I doing something wrong?

Anonymous said...

Just came across this, btw: http://sheerinertia.blogspot.com/2007/06/wire-drill.html

Any chance at all of Hail by He Said showing up?

Anonymous said...

Hello, first to the 1st commenter, yes it was too negative, i guess it came because of the two tracks ending side a and b (6 & 12)thatrattled me a little, but i agree that A _ Z is a great album thats why i picked it ( could have chosen singing fish or not to) As for The Bell, i have to admit it got kinds lost between the rest and at the time (88) i was into much more up tempo/harder stuff.
As for unzipping problems i'll point to wavetrain 11th wagon comments, that maybe of help, or else redownload.
He Said's Hail, if i had it i would have included it,but..alas.

best of luck, Rho

Anonymous said...

Sorry, me again! Re-downloaded Doc & Eye, used 7zip and still a problem.?

Anonymous said...

154 big THANX. I'm a Wire fan i haven`t got the P'o record (i have the rest on vinyl) so this reay made my day.

Anonymous said...

Great listening to He Said: Take Care again for the first time in many years. I still have that and Hail on vinyl, but don't listen to oldfashioned records any longer; too lazy, I guess. Also, A Bell is a Cup... is one seriously great album, love the subversiveness of the lyrics.

Anonymous said...

Hey, I only knew "He Said" yet, but the WIRE stuff is great as well, I have to say! Thanks for the trip back in time, I should get a record player again to listen to my ol' favs' again!

...and finally (as half question, half request): Any chance to see "Hail" by "He Said"?

Peter Tron said...

Excellent stuff, Rho'!

I keep coming back to Wire again & again.
'Send' is one the heaviest and leeriest Lp's that manages to overpower a lot of younger and more 'modern' bands I can think of.

I have 'Dome's' 'yclept' & 'Wire's' 'The Ideal Copy' CD's if you would like them Rho'?

Anonymous said...

This is brilliant. I'm going to try all of the non-Wire stuff, seeing as I've got all the band's material I could get my hands on. Many thanks.

Anonymous said...

Great post! Rho'!

Anonymous said...

So You are GREAT! Thank You for those Rarities! Those Records are almost nowhere to be found or purchasable only at stratospheric prices. Thanks You again and again and again.... ∞

august242 said...

September 4th, 2009

Hello Rho-X ...

I was wondering if you could possibly check the link for He Said "Take Care" on your blogspot. I attempted to download this hard-to-find album via the link to Megaupload, but it appears to be invalid.

Would you be so kind as to possibly reupload it? I sincerely thank you for taking the time to read my comment. Take care. ;-)


august242 [ a t ] gmail [ dot ] com

Anonymous said...

Nice post and this enter helped me alot in my college assignement. Thanks you for your information.

kamagra said...

Wire is a great album since you gave us that information I ran to get that album because the songs are incredible, I got crazy when I listened "Being Sucked In Again"m10m

Bodhi Amol said...

Hello,is there a chance to reup Document and Eyewitness?I can't find aworking link anywhere...
Than's in advance

Rho said...

Sure Bodhi this is even a re rip now, best of luck

Anonymous said...

if you could re-up this lot as flac would be amazing...

Rho said...

Hello Anon, i suppose I could but then it would be rather obscure in a 6 year old post. That said i reckon i will get back to Wire next year under the Aetix banner. Until then you'll have to make do


Anonymous said...

Rho, this was a sensational post, highlighting some less appreciated works by arguably the most restless creatives of the last 40 years. Just to echo the comment from November 2013, if you were ever able to FLAC these, a lot of us out here would be rapt.

Very best from G from Australia

Peter Tron said...

cheers for the re-ups, rho!

i'm glad you mentioned the chorus to 'tongue ties' by he said, as that also blew me away.
possibly one of my most favourite choruses of all time?


Lance said...

Thanks for the downloads!

Anonymous said...

Hi - Any chance for a re-up? It would be very appreciate. Thanks in advance.


Philemon said...

I would be grateful for flac re-ups of any or all of these albums as well.

Philemon said...

Thanks so much, Rho!

GianniZ said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous said...

thanks so much.


Anonymous said...

Could you please reup the extended Wire albums once more? Thank you very much in advance.

Anonymous said...

A reup of Wire and related would be highly appreciated. Thank you very much.

Anonymous said...

Great post! Wire a personal fave. Any plans for featuring some of the later stuff?

Anonymous said...

Please could you re-upload the Wire albums - the links don't work. Many thanks and best wishes. Mal

Anonymous said...

Thank you so much for re-upping the above. Made my day!