Thursday, 6 August 2009

Sulk - The V2 reissue mess up

When Sulk first slipped onto my Marantz turntable some 27 years ago it flowed through my Realistic amp and out of my Wharfdale speakers in an unholy torrent like the bastard offspring of Abba, John Barry, Motown and David Bowie. Plus there was other stuff in there. Hard to hear, see or put your finger on. It didn't matter whether you were listening to the "green" side or the "blue" side, you were taken somewhere else. The sleeve showed draped park benches (one lit green, one lit blue) beneath tropical plants. Two guys looked up as if you were imposing, interrupting their conversation and kinda challenging you to pull up a park bench and shoot the breeze.
And the music? Well to me it was one of those records you just dont interrupt. You had to hear the complete side, the whole lot before you could possibly lift the needle and take it back to hear something again or turn it over. The tunes, the arrangements, the lyrics, the vocals were simply gobsmacking. Plus with all the weird noises, swooshes, murmurs and end-of-track echoey, gushing weirdness... you simply didn't want to miss anything. The whole thing had a feel. One song flowed into the next. A masterpiece.

In 1988 a really shabby CD version of Sulk slipped down onto the Armitage Shanks. It was the US version with tracks missing, awful remixes, machete-cut edited versions, everything in the wrong order and some songs dragged in from the Fourth Drawer Down album. The whole thing was a bit of a huff... but a proper Sulk it was not. Though it did mean you could have a CD version of "Skipping"...

When Sulk was finally given a UK CD release in the V2 re-issue schedule back in 2001 I rushed out and snapped it up. Of course the CD didn't have a green side or a blue side anymore but you didn't have to get out of your chair and turn a slab of vinyl over either. Plus it did have lots of extra tracks. Seven to be exact (including the non album single "Love Hangover/ 18 Carat Love Affair" and the previously unreleased songs "Australia" and "Grecian 2000"). Billy MacKenzie's biographer Tom Doyle wrote the liner notes and confidently informed us "the original ten tracks are presented in their UK released form, with none of the lumpen overdubs, tracklist shuffles or remixes that marred the US version".

This was, of course, utter pish. Tom either didn't listen to the V2 re-issue or wasn't acquainted with the original to which he was referring. Because on the 2001 reissue V2 had dumped us with a crapola 4.50 edit of "Club Country" in place of the original 1982 5.32 UK-released version. On the original UK Sulk, the 5.32 "Club Country" snaked the listener between the hysterical paranoid drive of "Party Fears Two" and the euphoric coda that was "nothinginsomethingparticular". The very idea that Michael Dempsey (Associates bassist who supervised the V2 reissue programme) would have dumped the original UK 5.32 version (with its whole minute long wriggly, sliding bass groove and teasing synthy breakdown/ buildup mid-section) and substituted a shabby, inferior edit seems bizarre. His work ("compiling, co-ordinating and digitally remastering") on the Associates reissues has been exhaustive and he has given us some scintillating extras. I mean you would think of all the albums he would have got Sulk right... yeah?

Well he didn't. So we never got the original UK Sulk on the otherwise jam-packed-with-extras V2 reissue. We got an edited version of Sulk. I recieved no response to any of my communications with V2. So if they wont put things right I will. This version has never appeared on anything but the original UK vinyl and cassette versions of Sulk back in 1982. Here is the original "Club Country" from the original UK version of "Sulk" in its original 5.32 state. I've tossed in the 6.59 otherwise unavailable, fully weirded-out, everything-but-the-kitchen-sink 12" mix too. Enjoy!

Cheers for now

Sid Law


  1. Thanks for this. I sold my vinyl album ages ago and I really wanted to hear this version of CC again.

    I think I'll be dowloading quite a bit of other stuff from here as well. Those Perhaps cassette versions might be first... Brilliant blog!

  2. The link is out of date and I only have the edited version of Club Country. I only discovered Sulk a few weeks ago and already it has become one of my favourite albums so if you re-uploaded the song I would be forever grateful!