Skids – ‘Fields’ UK 7″ and 12″ (Virgin VS401 and VS401-12, 1981)

September 28th, 2019

When first released in the summer of 1981, ‘Fields’ was quite a challenging release for Skids fans to get used to and it never really gained the success the new vision that the remaining band members, Richard Jobson and Russell Webb, had in mind for the band. The departure of Stewart Adamson was obvious, his familiar sonic hallmark missing from the A side, replaced by a somewhat more twangy guitar and a more pastoral scene fashioned from acoustic guitar, flute, traditional drums and layered, choral vocals. In retrospect it is not nearly the radical departure it was made out to be, though much of the subsequent ‘Joy’ album certainly would be.

Skids - 'Fields' 7" - Richard Jobson sleeve design, front

^ Skids – ‘Fields’ 7″ variation 1 – Richard Jobson sleeve design, front

Skids - 'Fields' 7" - Richard Jobson sleeve design, rear

^ Skids – ‘Fields’ 7″ variation 1, rear

To help it on its way and tempt fans to buy more than one copy, Virgin came up with some sleeve options. The 7″ came in two differing variations, with each of the two remaining members gracing the front and rear covers flipped either side, with a total of four pen and ink drawings on show across the two cover designs. The 12″ version had just the one sleeve version, but gathered together all four of the drawings onto the front cover and included the lyric to the A side on the rear cover.

Skids - 'Fields' 7" - Russell Webb sleeve design, front

^ Skids – ‘Fields’ 7″ variation 2 – Russell Webb sleeve design, front

Skids - 'Fields' 7" - Russell Webb sleeve design, rear

^ Skids – ‘Fields’ 7″ variation 2, rear

The versions of the tracks are unique to the singles, with a different version of ‘Fields’ (compared to both the 7″ and 12″ versions) eventually appearing on the ‘Joy’ album, while ‘Brave Man’ remained only as a B side… originally.

Neither the 12″ single sleeve nor labels make any mention of the fact that versions contained are extended other than simply noting the track durations on the label, which are listed as follows;

  • Fields (7″): 3 min 50 secs
  • Brave Man (7″): 3 min 37 secs
  • Fields (12″): 4 min 26 secs
  • Brave Man (12″): 6 min 43 secs

The 12″ mix of ‘Fields’ is relatively similar in structure to the eventual LP version, though it is easy to spot from the off as it does not include the heavy kick drum intro that the album version sports. The 7″ mix edits out the quiet ‘breakdown’ drumming interlude altogether. The original vinyl 12″ mix of ‘Brave Man’ is something of a mish-mash of effects, seriously twisting and turning the material from the relatively straightforward 7″ mix a good deal. Verging on the dub styling perhaps, there’s a lot more space, where the full complement of instruments drop out leaving particular elements in the spotlight. It rather outstays its welcome by the end compared to the more economical 7″ mix. ‘Brave Man’ is a curious one, hailing from a brief period after ‘The Absolute Game’ LP where Kenny Hyslop occupied the drum stool (presumably from the previous connection with Russell Webb) and Stewart Adamson was still on board.

Skids - 'Fields' 7" label, side A

^ Skids – ‘Fields’ 7″ label, side A

Skids - 'Fields' 7" label, side B

^ Skids – ‘Fields’ 7″ label, side B

The tracks from the singles would eventually be released digitally as bonus tracks to the ‘Joy’ album – initially as a download-only digital release in 2009 (this was via iTunes for me) and then some years later in 2015 on a CD as part of the boxed CD set ‘The Virgin Years’. These releases of ‘Joy’ are not identical, however. The initial digital download version managed to include the 12″ mix of ‘Fields’, but the later CD edition missed this off in favour of prioritising an alternative 7″ mix of ‘Iona’ instead. It also gets complicated with the 12″ mix of ‘Brave Man’ too…

Skids - 'Fields' 12" front cover

^ Skids – ‘Fields’ 12″ front cover

Skids - 'Fields' 12" rear cover

^ Skids – ‘Fields’ 12″ rear cover

The 12″ mix of ‘Brave Man’ that has been released on both the 2009 digital download and 2015 CD edition of ‘Joy’ is not the same mix as originally released in 1981. While it has much of the same effects and in general shape follows the same rather unusual, dub effected stylings, it is not the same, though both versions are near enough the same duration. To be honest, neither really do it for me, so it is a difficult call to say which is preferable – best take a listen yourself if possible.

Skids - 'Fields' 12" label side A

^ Skids – ‘Fields’ 12″ label side A

Skids - 'Fields' 12" label side B

^ Skids – ‘Fields’ 12″ label side B

Finally, just to finish off, a scan of the original advert of the time, this from the UK ‘Smash Hits’ magazine, issue dated 20th August to 2nd September 1981, noting the two different sleeves available and limited quantities on 12″.

Skids 'Fields' Smash Hits magazine advert

^ Skids ‘Fields’ Smash Hits magazine advert

Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark – ‘Maid of Orleans (The Waltz Joan of Arc)’ (Dindisc DIN40-12), 1982 – ‘Coin’ sleeve version

September 14th, 2019

Back in January 2013 I first posted about the Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark ‘Maid of Orleans (The Waltz Joan of Arc)’ 12″ single with the foil finish ‘stained glass’ artwork version, with the note that I would follow-up with the foil-finish ‘coin’ artwork version at a later date. Well, some years later on than I had imaged, here we are!

'Maid of Orleans' front cover design 2 - 'coin' sleeve version - detail

^ ‘Maid of Orleans’ front cover design 2 – ‘coin’ sleeve version

Read the rest of this entry »

Gary Numan – ‘Remember I Was Vapour’ (Live) West German 12″ (Beggars Banquet INT 126.600, 1980)

August 28th, 2019

An odd choice of single perhaps, not the most immediate song to shout ‘single’ release from ‘Telekon’ – but then, neither was ‘This Wreckage’, was it? This 12″ single was only released in the then West Germany and was immediately of appeal to collectors worldwide due to its attractive sleeve design and unique pairing of tracks. Remember, for me anyway, this was the era of interesting import releases that would be listed in the back pages of music papers such as Sounds, NME, etc with excitingly brief descriptions as ‘diff pic bag’ indicating some (variable) picture sleeve design from the familiar UK versions.

Gary Numan - 'Remember I Was Vapour' (Live) West German 12" front cover design

^ Gary Numan – ‘Remember I Was Vapour’ (Live) West German 12″ front cover design

Read the rest of this entry »

Bill Nelson – ‘7″ Bill Nelson Singles’ Box Set (Cocteau Records, JEAN 6)

August 14th, 2019

Just when you thought there could be no more Bill Nelson box sets, here is this little curio, ‘7″ Bill Nelson Singles’ (aka ‘Assorted Nelsons’, as it was described on the merchandise sheet of the time. Released in the latter period of the ‘Acquitted by Mirrors’ fan club period, this box set gathers together a few stray singles and packages them up in a unique box. I would bet that this may well have been a way to bundle together bought back overstock of earlier Cocteau, Mercury and Portrait records era singles.

Bill Nelson - '7" Bill Nelson Singles' Box Set (Cocteau Records, JEAN 6) box front

^ Bill Nelson – ‘7″ Bill Nelson Singles’ Box Set (Cocteau Records, JEAN 6) box front

Whatever the reason, it was nice to get a couple of them again in minty mint condition, or which were otherwise different in some way. For example, I had the double-pack version of ‘Youth of Nation on Fire’. The box set cost the small sum of £4.75 plus 75p post and packing back in the day.

The singles included in the set are; Read the rest of this entry »

Bauhaus – ‘Kick In The Eye’ UK 7″ and 12″ (Beggars Banquet, BEG54 and BEG54(T), 1981)

July 28th, 2019

The first release of this song dating from early 1981 features a mix that has rarely resurfaced on CD re-issues since – on the myriad Bauhaus compilations that have been released over the years, the 1982 ‘Searching For Satori’ EP remix version has been by far the go-to version. The only releases of the original mix to be found on CD appear to be on 1995’s various artists compilation CD ‘Gothic Rock 2 – 80’s Into 90’s’ and 2009’s ‘Omnibus’ boxed set re-issue of ‘Mask’, where it is listed as ‘Kick In The Eye (Original Single Version A Side)’. (I believe this mix may also be on the Canadian ‘The Sky’s Gone Out’ CD too, but have never come by a copy of this to verify – anyone?)

Bauhaus - 'Kick In The Eye' 1981 UK 7" front cover design

^ Bauhaus – ‘Kick In The Eye’ 1981 UK 7″ front cover design

Read the rest of this entry »