Tuesday, 30 November 2010

And Finally... rebooted !

Been a case of Life getting in the way a bit recently, hence the lack of posts.

First up there is a version of “Heart of Glass” which I overlooked in my Valentine’s Day post earlier this year. It is of course the "Orchestral Accapella" Mix from the promo only version of The Temperament Mix 12” and the info and photo comes courtesy of Dom T. Many thanks.

Another Associates/ MacKenzie enthusiast, Jim D, passed on some great info regarding the Jih tracks “Take Me To The Girl” and “Come Summer Come Winter”. Mr McKenzie co-produced these for Grant McNally’s Dundee group back in 1988 and Billy provides backing vocals too. Thanks again Jim.

There is also the issue of Peach (or Peach Union if you are in the US). Pascal Gabriel formed Peach after his success with S’Express and Bomb The Bass, recruiting Paul Stratham and Lisa Lamb (she’d just had a hit with a version of The Isley Brother’s “Summer Breeze”). Pascal had worked as a producer, remixer and general knob twiddler with Billy on “Outernational” and its resulting singles. The CD “Audiopeach” was released in late 1997 and featured Billy's backing vocals on two tracks - “Deep Down Together” and “Give Me Tomorrow” (which was released as a single in Japan). The whole “Audiopeach” CD is a fine blast of techno-pop with a kind of St Etienne/ Dubstar shiny grooviness. Worth tracking a copy down.
In 1998 Paul Haig released “Listen To Me” as a limited edition 7” single (100 copies). Although the track turned up on the “Memory Palace” CD the following year, the 7” version is different and clocks in at 4.04 rather than the Memory Palace’s shorter 3.42 version.
Two demos Billy worked on shortly before his death - “Deamanda” and “Put It Right” (also known as “Let’s Rise”) are worth tracking down. I had originally written of a version of "Return To Love" which is different to that on the "Eurocentric" CD and has been circulated for fifteen years amongst Billy's fans. Someone has kindly pointed out that Destination Pop has now released this alternate version of "Return To Love" as a "single" over in Germany. The B-side track of the German single is "The Soul That Sighs" and is the same version that's on "Eurocentric". So if you want to spend nine quid getting the different version of "Return To Love" posted out on vinyl from Berlin you can contact the Destination Pop label. Or contact me here if (for comparison purposes) you want a copy of the 320 mp3 I ripped from the audio CDR I received thirteen years ago... (I actually think my CDR version is sharper sounding than the German single version, but mine suffers from a tiny sound dropout 50 seconds in which I must get in and fix).
The Billy MacKenzie of "Perhaps" was a little undecided as to which lucky lady should spar with him on "The Best Of You". Although we all know that the fairground attraction Eddie Reader finally got the gig... but Billy had a few others waiting in the queue... none other than Annie Lennox (whose contribution is a bit tentative IMHO) and the very strict Gina X. The Gina X version gets my vote every time!
There is also the unbelievably 28 year old (5.33) extended "Party Fears Two" 12” which remains uncollected as does the 30 year old original (4.30) 12” of “Tell Me Easter’s On Friday” (the version on Fourth Drawer Down is a different version to the original 12"). Makes you feel your age!

Billy’s wondrous collaboration with Barry Adamson on “Achieved In The Valley Of Dolls” (4.27) was one of the last collaborations released during Billy's lifetime. The track was universally praised as was the album it came from. The version of the track which was released posthumously on Auchtermatic (4.23) has had some of the white noise on the intro edited out - hence the different running time, but is exactly the same mix. Adamson’s album “Oedipus Schmoedipus” is a musical tour-de-force and everyone who doesn't have a copy should get themselves one. Right now! Fourteen years on from its release it still sparkles and sounds very hip. It features cameo vocal appearances from Nick Cave, Billy McKenzie, Jarvis Cocker, Miranda Sex Garden and other guests - who are all guided through a maze of great tunes, hip musical references and funky samples (plus the usual cinematic jokes) by the Godlike Mr Adamson. The entire CD is a real tour-de-force brimming with Mr Adamson's utterly groovy wit, stunning musicianship and classy production.
Jarvis Cocker’s contribution to "Eodipus Schmeodipus" is the track “Set The Controls For The Heart Of The Pelvis". The song features many layered voices on its Bowie-ish “Lets Dance” style intro. And to little old me it sounds very much like Billy’s voice is one of those singing "save me from my own hand" on the song. Ironically it remains an uncredited vocal appearance but that does very much sound like Mr McKenzie in there. There is also the “Radio Friendly Mix” of Jarvis-the-Onanist's plea from the ultra-rare Eodipus Scheodipus Promo 3 12”. Anyone else figure that is Mr McKenzie's voice taking the third harmony in on the intro? Answers on a postcard please.

All the best

Happy St Andrew's Day!

Sid Law