Sunday, 22 November 2009

The Sulk US Remixes

Back in August when I started this blog, I vented no little amount of spleen over the various attempts to issue "Sulk" in CD form. I add this little post to fill a horrid gaping void for any completeists out there. The 1988 US CD version of "Sulk" gave us, in a crisp digital format, the full horror of the US Sulk which, up until then, had only been available on vinyl and a cassette (the cassette had both the UK and US versions of "Sulk" on it).

The US Sulk CD version had removed Bapdelabap, Nude Spoons, the intro and outro instrumentals (Arrogance Gave Him Up & nothinginsomethingparticular), replaced the original 5.32 Club Country with a 4.02 edit, added the non-album single 18 Carat Love Affair/ Love Hangover, stuck on two tracks from the Fourth Drawer Down album and then completely changed the running order.

Bad enough we all say. But worse was yet to come... Warners had got Mark Arthurworrey to remix the first two tracks on the album!
It's Better This Way US remix kicks off with a really laboured attempt at funking up the catatonic rumble of the bassline which had propelled the original version. The choruses are particularly disturbing and upsetting for the listener with much exuberant popping, plucking, slapping and the kind of Level 42 Mark King bass guitar "enthusiasm" which we all know and rightly fear.
Party Fears Two US remix finds the original snappy drums relegated to the back and an irritating little snare/ high-hat taps weakly along instead. The jangle of the acoustic guitar is gone and the keyboard line is given an extra tinny setting, then pushed up to the front of the mix to ride over Billy's vocal at points. On top of this shabby watered-down pish we find that Mr Arthurworrey has taken it upon himself to sample a bit of Billy's vocal coda and drop it onto the instrumental hook from about 2.50 onwards. "Ho-ho, ho-ho, hey-ho" indeed! Let's be thankful he didn't stick a "hey nonny-nonny" on as well.

oh dear

Sid Law


  1. A note on the US version CD of Sulk. Ironically, it was only released in Germany in 1988. I was lucky enough to have gotten a copy as an import special order following my infection with Associates fever in 1990 following Popera. White it leaves much to be desired, yes, at least I got to hear "No" and "Skipping" in their original, unmolested mixes.

  2. Ha! As awful as I remembered.

  3. You might be right, but I have a certain fondness for the US Version: it was the only one commercially available in Spain when the vinyl came out - and then only as a very expensive German - and as my fisrt Associates record, it sparked a lifelong obsession with any/everything Billy MacKenzie... Only some years later I managed to get hold of a copy of the original UK album - I remember it perfectly, it was at Notting Hill Record & Video exchange - and realised what I had been missing all those years. Of course, once you listened to the original there was no going back!

  4. I also have a Geman copy of the Sulk LP.
    Just checked it,it contains the single version of Club Country (4.00 minutes),and not the 4.43 version as mentioned above.

  5. Cheers rusty cw! My German LP copy lists the running time of the Club Country edit at 4.00. My German cassette copy(with both US/UK versions) also lists the track's running time at 4.00. The 1988 German (US?) CD version has the track timed at 4.02 on the sleeve and on-disc printing (the actual running time on the disc is 4.03).
    The edited version on the Sulk V2 re-issue which is timed on the CD booklet as 4.47 actually runs to 4.50.
    Thanks for pointing the timing error out. Stir in wrongly labelled timings from 29 years ago, another 6.52 12" mix, the original 5.32 Sulk version, German CDs purporting to be US CDs and it is quite easy to lose track! I have amended posts accordingly.