The Compact and Mercurial Bill Nelson Part 2: The Love That Whirls (Diary Of A Thinking Heart)

May 14th, 2019

Welcome back to the second part of our look at the wonderful world of Bill Nelson on CD, a small number of CD variants that played fast and loose with running orders, which may either leave you smacking your lips in anticipation of the otherwise unavailable obscurities to be found, or bamboozled at the wrecking ball taken to otherwise fine original tracklists. We already looked at Bill’s first solo release on Mercury records, ‘Quit Dreaming And Get On The Beam’ – now, we move on to his second, ‘The Love That Whirls (Diary of a Thinking Heart)’.

Bill Nelson 'The Love That Whirls' CDs

^ Bill Nelson ‘The Love That Whirls’ CDs


Cocteau Records, JC CD 16 (1986)

The first UK release on CD for ‘The Love That Whirls (Diary of a Thinking Heart)’, released 25th July 1986 (along with ‘Quit Dreaming And Get On The Beam’) four years on from the original release date, under the ‘Cocteau Collectors’ imprint/series. From the off, this edition played around with the original running order by landing two period B sides in the middle of the running order. ‘Flesh’ and ‘He and Sleep Were Brothers’ (both originally hailing from the ‘Eros Arriving’ double-pack 7″ single) were placed in the space between the original side 1 and side 2 of the vinyl album. On top of this a further change was made by swapping in a remix of ‘Hope for the Heartbeat’ in place of the original vinyl LP version of the song. The remix adds in an additional oriental sounding synth melody as well as a prominent additional layer of electronic percussion not a million miles away from that used by Gary Numan on ‘Cars’ – and the harmony vocals toward the end of the track seem to be boosted in volume too.

The sleeve design on the front remained faithful to the to the original, though the thin, standard-issue gloss paper came nowhere near to reproducing the deluxe feel of the original LP’s textured high-gloss finish. The remainder of the layout preserved elements from the original and also introduced a whole new Bill Nelson photo from the same photo shoot as used for the front cover, this time on the rear of the insert. The photo of Bill fetchingly signing his name writ large, originally from the LP’s inner sleeve, was used for the rear case design. CD label was a standard-issue of the period plain silver affair.

Bill Nelson 'The Love That Whirls' Cocteau Records CD front cover

^ Bill Nelson ‘The Love That Whirls’ Cocteau Records CD front cover

Bill Nelson 'The Love That Whirls' Cocteau Records rear cover and CD label design

^ Bill Nelson ‘The Love That Whirls’ Cocteau Records rear cover and CD label design

Bill Nelson 'The Love That Whirls' Cocteau Records inner spread

^ Bill Nelson ‘The Love That Whirls’ Cocteau Records inner spread

Bill Nelson 'The Love That Whirls' Cocteau Records rear case design

^ Bill Nelson ‘The Love That Whirls’ Cocteau Records rear case design


Enigma/Cocteau, 7 73386-2 (1989)

By 1989, the US label Enigma had embarked on a Bill Nelson re-issue programme of some breadth and naturally ‘The Love That Whirls’ was principle amongst the releases, but not before a good deal of refitting had taken place, markedly altering the make-up of the album from its original form.

My article on ‘Quit Dreaming And Get On The Beam’ speculated on why the 1989 Enigma CD running orders for that album and this one left off some fairly important original tracks – namely, that they had already been released in the US on the ‘Vistamix’ compilation on Portrait records and therefore, not wanting to duplicate previous releases, some substitutions took place. On this CD, that mean that ‘Empire Of The Senses’ and ‘Flaming Desire’ were dropped, to make way for ‘When The Birds Return’ (originally part of a 1982 Cocteau ‘Acquitted By Mirrors’ fan club 7″ EP, later on the ‘The Two-fold Aspect Of Everything’ compilation) and ‘Dancing On A Knife’s Edge’ (only ever otherwise released as the lead track on a 1983 ‘Acquitted by Mirrors’ fan club 7″ EP). The other major change should have been the remix version of ‘Hope For The Heartbeat’ – the packaging lists it as being the remix but the CD itself contains the regular album mix.

The packaging followed the path set by the 1986 Cocteau re-issue, though a unique picture label design was used focussing on the statue from the front cover photo, while a marketing card listing the other Bill Nelson reissues in Enigma, ‘The History Of an Alchemist’, was also included.

Bill Nelson 'The Love That Whirls' US Enigma/Cocteau Records CD front cover

^ Bill Nelson ‘The Love That Whirls’ US Enigma/Cocteau Records CD front cover

Bill Nelson 'The Love That Whirls' US Enigma/Cocteau Records insert front

^ Bill Nelson ‘The Love That Whirls’ US Enigma/Cocteau Records insert front

Bill Nelson 'The Love That Whirls' US Enigma/Cocteau Records insert rear

^ Bill Nelson ‘The Love That Whirls’ US Enigma/Cocteau Records insert rear

Bill Nelson 'The Love That Whirls' US Enigma/ Cocteau Records CD label design

^ Bill Nelson ‘The Love That Whirls’ US Enigma/ Cocteau Records CD label design

Bill Nelson 'The Love That Whirls' US Enigma/Cocteau Records rear case design

^ Bill Nelson ‘The Love That Whirls’ US Enigma/Cocteau Records rear case design

Enigma Records Bill Nelson 'History of an Alchemist' marketing card that accompanied the Enigma release of 'The Love That Whirls'

^ Enigma Records Bill Nelson ‘History of an Alchemist’ marketing card that accompanied the Enigma release of ‘The Love That Whirls’


Mercury Records, 9831026 (2005)

Having been out of print for many years after the demise of both Cocteau records and Enigma, the album became sought after on CD in either variant, commanding high prices at times on the second-hand market (quite common for Bill Nelson releases). 2005 finally brought forward a re-issue of the album on CD in the UK, from Universal, under the Mercury label imprint, as per the original UK release, with several extra tracks added bringing the total number of tracks included up to 17. In some attempt to keep things happy for those raised on the original CD releases, ‘Flesh’ and ‘He and Sleep Were Brothers’ were left placed bang in the middle of the original LP running order, while three extra tracks also appeared at the end. The first of these was ‘Haunting In My Head’, the B side of ‘Eros Arriving’, while ‘Hope For The Heartbeat (Remix)’ was included here at the end, since the original LP mix had been restored earlier in the running order. The CD ends with one of the B sides from the ‘Flaming Desire’ single, ‘The Passion’, a fabulous instrumental coming across in some kind of electronic spaghetti western vein.

Sadly, that meant there were some obvious candidates missing in action and unaccounted for on this release, chief amongst these being the other B side from ‘Flaming Desire’ the wonderfully noir and mysteriously hypnotic ‘The Burning Question’ and also the single version of ‘Eros Arriving’, with its radically wider-screen sound palette boosted by the drums of Merrick, aka Chris Hughes, who co-produced this glorious version alongside Bill Nelson. Other contenders for inclusion would surely be the extended 12″ mix of ‘Flaming Desire’ (and also the DJ-only promo edit of the song too, for the sake of completeness), plus the tracks that had featured on the US Enigma CD, namely ‘When The Birds Return’ and ‘Dancing On A Knife’s Edge’. This might depend on how purist you are on whether they should have been there or not I suppose, since their sound is very much of the home studio variety by comparison to the original albums high-gloss fine lines. ‘When The Birds Return’ clearly has much in common with the overall sound of the album, though very much more aligned to much of what can be heard across the ‘Trial By Intimacy’ box set. ‘Dancing On A Knife’s Edge’ is a far lighter, oriental-tinged almost soulful pop affair that is less of a fit with the album. More in keeping with ‘Chimera’/‘Getting The Holy Ghost’ pieces perhaps. In plundering the archives a much better fit might have been to choose ‘Love Without Fear’, its drum machine foundations from the same universe as ‘Flaming Desire’, ‘The Burning Question’, et al. This way at least we got to hear ‘Dancing On A Knife’s Edge’ digitally though.

Just like the accompanying ‘Quit Dreaming And Get On The Beam’ in the same series, much attention was lavished on restoring and enhancing the packaging, with themed artwork complementary to the original release alongside extensive sleeve notes and lyrics. The ‘Guitar’ illustration by Bill Nelson that first appeared on the inner spread of the ‘Eros Arriving’ 7″ double-pack was now added as the rear of the inner booklet (and a portion of the photo from the front of that single sleeve made it along too), while the photo that had featured on the rear cover of the original LP was now restored, inside the booklet – along with some non-era photos of Bill that had first saw light of day inside the ‘Youth Of Nation On Fire’ double-pack 7″ single back in 1981. The label is a high-gloss white finish with type arrangement in keeping with the elegance of the rest of the original sleeve.

Bill Nelson 'The Love That Whirls' UK Mercury Records CD front cover

^ Bill Nelson ‘The Love That Whirls’ UK Mercury Records CD front cover

Bill Nelson 'The Love That Whirls' UK Mercury Records CD label design

^ Bill Nelson ‘The Love That Whirls’ UK Mercury Records CD label design

Bill Nelson 'The Love That Whirls' UK Mercury Records CD inner spread 1

^ Bill Nelson ‘The Love That Whirls’ UK Mercury Records CD inner spread 1

Bill Nelson 'The Love That Whirls' UK Mercury Records CD inner spread 2

^ Bill Nelson ‘The Love That Whirls’ UK Mercury Records CD inner spread 2

Bill Nelson 'The Love That Whirls' UK Mercury Records CD inner spread 3

^ Bill Nelson ‘The Love That Whirls’ UK Mercury Records CD inner spread 3

Bill Nelson 'The Love That Whirls' UK Mercury Records CD inner spread 4

^ Bill Nelson ‘The Love That Whirls’ UK Mercury Records CD inner spread 4

Bill Nelson 'The Love That Whirls' UK Mercury Records CD inner spread 5

^ Bill Nelson ‘The Love That Whirls’ UK Mercury Records CD inner spread 5

Bill Nelson 'The Love That Whirls' UK Mercury Records rear case design

^ Bill Nelson ‘The Love That Whirls’ UK Mercury Records rear case design

Danielle Dax – ‘Fizzing Human Bomb’ / ‘Yummer Yummer Man’ / ‘Bad Miss ‘M” [Awesome AOR3 / AOR3T]

April 28th, 2019

Dating from late 1985, this single originally came in two variants which swapped around the running order depending on whether you went for 7″ or the more luxurious 12″ versions. Perhaps it was down to budget, but the 12″ version seemed to get the better deal – as well as the extra track, for the packaging it came with full colour print on the cover and gold ink on the record labels, whereas the 7″ came with black and white print on the edited cover (though metallic ink for the type) and yellow ink for the type on the labels. It even found space to include the lyrics for all three tracks, whereas the 7″ could only make do with the musician credits.

Danielle Dax 'Fizzing Human Bomb'/'Yummer Yummer Man'/'Bad Miss M' double A side 12 inch single - front cover

^ Danielle Dax ‘Fizzing Human Bomb’/ ‘Yummer Yummer Man’/’Bad Miss ‘M” double A side 12 inch single – front cover

Danielle Dax 'Fizzing Human Bomb'/'Yummer Yummer Man'/'Bad Miss M' double A side 12 inch single - rear cover

^ Danielle Dax ‘Fizzing Human Bomb’/ ‘Yummer Yummer Man’/’Bad Miss ‘M” double A side 12 inch single – rear cover

The 12″ extra track, ‘Fizzing Human Bomb’, occupied side A exclusively. Meanwhile, side AA featured the two tracks that formed the 7″ single, ‘Yummer Yummer Man’ and ‘Bad Miss ‘M”. Does that make this a trip-A side single then?! Read the rest of this entry »

Tones On Tail – Burning Skies/OK, This Is The Pops versions

April 14th, 2019

Burning Skies [12″ Version] (6’20”)

Burning Skies [7″ Edit] (4’13”)

Burning Skies [Gothic Rock compilation Edit] (5’15”)

Burning Skies [‘Something!’ promo CD ‘Single Edit’] (4’34”)

OK, This Is The Pops (7″ / 12″ version)

OK, This Is The Pops (fade-in start)

OK, This Is The Pops (‘phased’ version)

NB: All timings are approximate and intended as a guide for differentiation only

Tones On Tail - Burning Skies / OK This is The Pops 7 inch single front cover

^ Tones On Tail – Burning Skies / OK This is The Pops 7 inch single front cover

I never imagined there was going to be quite so much version craziness when I sat down to listen to these original vinyl releases and compare them against what has subsequently emerged across various compilations LPs and CDs. First off, it was a surprise to realise that the 7″ edit of ‘Burning Skies’ had never appeared on CD at any point – and in the end, no less than four different variants of ‘Burning Skies’ came to light when I dug the vinyl out for a spin. Similarly, ‘OK, This Is The Pops’ as was released on vinyl back in 1983 (the versions on 7″ and 12″ are the same) hasn’t quite made it to CD unscathed either. I would love to know how these things come to be – can there be so many different tape boxes at Beggars Arkive that it is so easy to confuse? Or are these accidents that happen during remastering? Read the rest of this entry »

Button badge goodness: Cocteau Twins

March 28th, 2019

These badges all date from 10 December 1984, which – no coincidence – is when I saw Cocteau Twins play live at Edinburgh Playhouse. These were all on sale at the merchandise stall, along with a T-shirt design I bought but has long ago passed on to T-shirt heaven, through wear and tear.

Cocteau Twins 1984 badge set 1

^ Cocteau Twins 1984 badge set 1

There were two separate sets of 1″ button badges available, along with a more expensive enamel/metal badge, which was particularly beautiful.

Cocteau Twins 1984 enamel/metal badge

^ Cocteau Twins 1984 enamel/metal badge

I used to have the accompanying paper merchandise stall flyer that documented all the available merch along with prices, but it seems to have disappeared over the years. If I come across it again I’ll scan it and post it here for reference. Read the rest of this entry »

Bauhaus – ‘Archive’ UK video cassette (Beggars Banquet, BB 002, 1984)

March 14th, 2019

We looked at the first of the Bauhaus home video releases, ‘Shadow of Light’ in a previous post. Its companion video of the era is ‘Archive’, which came along late 1984 and gathered together the remainder of the live material filmed at the Old Vic Theatre that had first appeared on ‘Shadow of Light’, bookended by a couple of newly created pieces originally exclusive to this video.

Bauhaus 'Archive' video cassette front cover design

^ Bauhaus ‘Archive’ video cassette front cover design

Proceedings open with ‘Lagartija Nick’, one of the newly filmed pieces. The single didn’t have a promo video at the time of its original release, but here we have a dramatised film without any involvement from the band on screen. Shot in a Victoriana sepia theme, a gentleman thief, if you will, is seen exiting the Thornhill Arms tavern, having left one of a group of three punters lighter of wallet. They give chase to the gent through cobbled streets, he eventually find himself in a deserted warehouse with an old film projector… showing Bauhaus live in concert. Read the rest of this entry »