So here we have it. The Last Post. A few years on from what I thought would be a fairly straightforward highlighting of the good stuff left outta the Associates/ Billy MacKenzie re-issues... and I realise it was far from that simple.
Stuff gets lost. Time gets in the way. Life gets in the way. Illness gets in the way. Parents die. Redundancy. New Jobs. Children grow. Family life.... But I am sure you are all as much in the thick of it as I am. Lets all just keep swimming and breathing.
This will be the last post for Whippetatthewheel. There are also many bootlegs of live shows and you can seek that stuff out easily enough...
There are still a few shiny gems uncollected in any of the re-issues. The Dennis Wheatley Mix of "Give Me Time" did re-appear on the Haig/MacKenzie Memory Palace remaster but it was edited down to 7.26 from its original 9.00 minute moody, semi-ambient electronic excursion on the very limited "Wild Is The Wind" CDEP.
There is another version of "Give Me Time" which some of you might not be aware of. It is known as the "Electro" version and was circulated between some fans in the 90's. It is a great sounding mix and the quality is excellent. A collaboration between Billy and Paul Haig and a worthy addition to any Billy or Paul Haig collection. I really like the instrumentation and arrangement.
Billy's cover of Randy Newman's "Baltimore" never popped up on any of the re-issue CDs. There were a couple of versions circulating amongst Billy fans for a number of years in the 90's. Both were in remarkably good quality, one is a string laden version (7.26) and the other is a beat driven version which clocks in at 7.35. A very similar version also turned up on the limited edition "Wild Is The Wind" CDEP in 2001.
Steve Aungle has also been working hard on his "Stolen Voices" Project for White Label. Check out his work on Soundcloud, it is remarkable. Billy, John, David, Marc, Jimmy and Jean feature amongst many others. It is a stunning project. I'd had the John acoustic number from the Beatles Escher Demos Boot years back. What Steve is doing is groundbreaking work. I love it.
One of the most stunning things I have heard over the last few years has been Steve Aungle's re-working of "The Mountains That You Climb". This beautiful song had only ever really circulated among Billy fans in a rough studio out-take form which hinted at greatness but was forever trapped in a basic monitor mix with fluctuating vocal levels. It was a great treat to even have that. However, Steve has worked on a different version and elevated the song to a new level. A thing of beauty indeed and is now one of my favourite Billy MacKenzie/ Steve Aungle tracks. It is available to download for free from this link.
Do have a listen to what is going on with the rest of the tracks in the whitelabelstolenvoices project. It is simply beautiful. Thank you Steve. A generous touch from a musician who worked with Billy for many years. The Aungle/ MacKenzie "Eurocentric" CD (the release of which was stiffed in a bit of a shabby way IMHO) I think ranks among the best work Billy and any of his multitude of Associates ever produced. Steve's archive of Billy stories at Wordpress is a funny, enlightening and honest description of his times with Billy. It is also darkened by the sadness of losing a friend and collaborator. Steve tells of some of the mountains he had to climb during the re-issue years following Billy's death. Read 'em and weep (and laugh too!).
By the way. I came across this charming photo of Billy and Nick Cave some years back. I'm sure I recognise the young lady in the between the two gentleman... but for the life of me I cannot remember her name. Can anyone help?
Of course back at the start of everything young Billy and Alan were so unbelievably hip they were Double Hip.
And when MCA re-issued Boys Keep Swinging it was given a bit of a remix. So in the interests of completeness and putting things to bed properly it seems only fair to draw attention to both versions... both the the Double Hip and the MCA releases... from original vinyl of course...
The blog posts will remain as an information source only. If there are any people looking over this blog who are looking for a particular rare, commercially unavailable track or mix or whatever, I suggest they make their way to the Associates Yahoo Group, sign up and ask nicely. They are a great bunch there and I'm sure people will be glad to help.
It only remains for me to say "Goodbye" and "Thank You" all, for the kind comments, encouragement and contributions. I loved the music.... Billy, Alan and all the other Associates and collaborators were a soundtrack to much of my growing up... through my teens, twenties, thirties and forties. I just struck my half century. This blog has always been about the music that got left behind from the re-issues. I didn't want to see some of those great curiosities, rarities, weird mixes and bizarre collaborations relegated to some forgotten Past. But as we all know... the Past doesn't go anywhere... we carry it along with us. Into our future.
William MacArthur MacKenzie would have been 56 today. Happy Birthday Billy.
All the best everyone, be kind when you can...
Love on ya!
Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn
At the going down of the sun and in the morning
We will remember them.
As the stars that shall be bright when we are dust,
Move in marches on the heavenly plain;
As the stars that are starry in the time of our darkness,
To the end, to the end, they remain.
from "To The Fallen" by Laurence Binyon.
"The light that burns twice as bright, burns half as long..."
Lao Tzu, Chinese Philosopher 6th Century BC.