Saturday, 13 February 2010

Heart of Glass

Aaaah.... Valentine's Day is nearly upon us! True Love Always? Shattered Dreams? Broken Hearts? What better day to do a wee post about the second most multi-formatted Associates record of all time. Back in 1988 I astonished myself by purchasing five versions of "Heart Of Glass" when it came out. Normally a bit of a tightwad, I simply couldn't resist splurging out time and again for the various versions of what was the first Associates record in nearly three years. Perhaps I thought that my Uber purchasing would catapult the single to the top of the charts? Nope. Truth be told, I wasn't very keen on the track. I'd heard it performed live a few years before and had a version they did for a Radio One session (which is still the version I prefer to this day). I mean there was nothing wrong with the track... it just seemed a bit... well... pedestrian. However, the slew of different formats meant a treasure trove of remixes, otherwise unavailable B-sides, demos and alternate versions of other songs.

The seven inch had the regular single edit of "Heart of Glass" and a very dark piece of work on the B-side called "Her Only Wish" which never made it onto the Perhaps/ Glamour Chase re-issue set. A pity because it is a rather bitter, snarling bite of a wee song produced by Billy MacKenzie.

The 3" CD Single had a clutch of goodies. The regular single edit of "Heart Of Glass", "Her Only Wish", the original demo of "Breakfast" (produced by Martin Rushent) and a new version of "Those First Impressions" with a Linndrum intro and some quite sparkling production from Martyn Ware. Associates on CD for the first time too!

Three 12" versions of "Heart Of Glass" appear in my collection.

The Auchterhouse Mix (5.11) 12" (remixed by Robert Gordon from Sheffield's Fon Force) also had an "Auchterhouse Instrumental" version (4.46) of "Heart Of Glass" plus "Her Only Wish".

The Temperament Mix 12" was extended (6.46), remixed by Francois Kevorkian and Goh Hotoda, had lots of extra drummy bits and a weirded out ending (the track stops abruptly with a crash of breaking glass). Kevorkian had previously remixed tracks such as PSB's "Rent", U2's "Two Hearts Beat As One", The Smiths "This Charming Man" and Yazoo's "Situation" and was resident deejay at the likes of Studio 54 in NYC. He remains to this day a house and electronic music legend. This 12" version had its sleeve remixed into a 3D sleeve and came with a pair of Associates 3D glasses to look at it through while you listened to the record. On the B-side lurked "Her Only Wish" and another track "Heaven's Blue" - a fragile minute long piano piece which did make it onto the Perhaps/Glamour Chase reissue (so you wont find it in my batch of goodies here).
I also got my hands on a white label promo of The Auchterhouse Mix 12". It doesn't say what the song is on the label. My copy is mis-labelled with the actual tracks being the opposite of what the labels say.

I've also tossed in the "Heart Of Glass" (Dub Mix) which appeared on the "Country Boy" promo only 12" and CDEP.

All the best

Sid Law

Wednesday, 3 February 2010

bloggers and writers

Steve Aungle has been writing a Billy Mackenzie blog for a few weeks now. Very interesting, well-written and entertaining. Well what else would you expect from the musician behind the exquisite "Eurocentric" CD release? His blog is here.

Another writer, fellow Dundonian, wordsmith, poet and visionary W N Herbert has his own unique vision of Billy at his all encompassing site here.
"Billy MacKenzie
Dundonian angel, therefore intensely eccentric and depressive. Whippet boy possessed of the most gorgeous voice of the Leighties. Flinger of nude spoons deep into the silvery Tay. Nearly forgotten fallen icon: Billy was everything that grotesque Laughtonesque Herbert wanted to be but could never even dream of becoming. He was certainly everything that Herbert thought iconic: localised yet international, transgenderic (and therefore worthy of a neologism), Catholic, large-familied, stand-up-and-entertain-us-with-a-songabilly. His early work had a deranged synthetic loveliness; his later material failed commercially; his last, posthumous releases redeemed utterly."
WN Herbert has (in my own ever so 'umble opinion) a superb piece of poetry on his site here called "A Lament For Billy MacKenzie".
All the best
Sid Law