Side by side: Skids ‘The Absolute Game’ on CD in the UK

  • Captain Oi! records (AHOY CD304), 2008
    • + Re-pressing to correct errors, 2009
  • Track records (TRK1006CD), 2001

Well, another issue of Skids’ ‘The Absolute Game’ album has appeared on CD in recent months – bit of a botched route though. On Captain Oi! records (AHOY CD304), it first appeared on 17 November 2008, only to be withdrawn due to some errors and sleeve notes controversy, detailed below. This Captain Oi! issue is the second time the album has appeared on CD in the UK, it first appeared in the shiny silver disc format in 2001 courtesy of Track records.

Skids 'The Absolute Game' UK CD issues - Track records issue (left) and second Captain Oi! issue (right)

^ Side by side – Skids ‘The Absolute Game’ UK CD issues – Track records issue (left) and second Captain Oi! issue (right)

As well as the original album it also has a number of bonus tracks from singles of the period (‘Circus Games’ (7″ Single Version), ‘Goodbye Civilian’ (7″ Single Version), ‘Monkey McGuire Meets Specky Potter Behind Lochore Institute’) plus bonus tracks from the free album, ‘Strength Through Joy’ that originally came with the initial 20,000 copies of the vinyl album release (‘An Incident In Algiers’, ‘Grievance’, ‘Strength Through Joy’, ‘Filming Africa’, ‘A Man For All Seasons’, ‘Snakes And Ladders’, ‘Surgical Triumph’, ‘The Bell Jar’).

^ Side by side again – Skids ‘The Absolute Game’ UK CD issues – Track records issue rear case (left) and second Captain Oi! issue rear case (right)

Unfortunately, there were errors on the first pressing of the Captain Oi! issue. For starters, ‘An Incident In Algiers’ had its start lopped off and slowly sped up to the correct speed, like someone had suddenly flicked on the on-switch on the tape-deck – ouch! – someone was asleep at the controls there when re-mastering. Also, the channels were reversed from the original too. On top of this, there was some controversy about the sleeve notes in the accompanying booklet, authored by Alex Ogg, specifically some quotes from Russell Webb – plus some typos – ‘Strength Thru Joy’?!

Skids 'The Absolute Game' UK CD issues - Track records issue label and inner tray (left) and second Captain Oi! issue label and inner tray (right)

^ Skids ‘The Absolute Game’ UK CD issues – Track records issue label and inner tray (left) and second Captain Oi! issue label and inner tray (right)

The upshot of all this is that the release was withdrawn and has now been repressed and re-released earlier in January – same catalogue number though. The errors on ‘An Incident In Algiers’ and the channels have been fixed and the booklet now comes with completely different sleeve notes, authored by Tim Barr. Unfortunately, some of the original pressings are still available in shops – you can spot the differences though – on the new pressings the title on the back case is the correct ‘Strength Through Joy’ and is in red ink, instead of grey.

Detail of second pressing Captain Oi! rear case - showing red print and correct spelling ('Strength Through Joy')

^ Detail of second pressing Captain Oi! rear case – showing red print and correct spelling

Detail of first, mispressing Captain Oi! rear case - showing GREY print and incorrect spelling ('Strength Thru Joy')

^ Detail of first, mis-pressing Captain Oi! rear case – showing GREY print and incorrect spelling

Detail showing the different sleeves notes between the two Captain Oi! pressings

^ Detail showing the different sleeves notes between the two Captain Oi! pressings

There has been one other CD issue of ‘The Absolute Game’ in the past in the UK, released via Track records (TRK1006CD), from 2001. This issue featured the original album tracks only, no bonus tracks at all. The sleeve design was pretty faithful to the original vinyl, including the lyric insert (though the text shrunk down to CD size makes it difficult to read) – but for some reason part of the front is resized to now include some ugly black space – no idea why. In that respect, the Captain Oi! issue is more faithful to the original sleeve. One vital difference between this issue and the later Captain Oi! releases is that the single edit of ‘A Woman In Winter’ (clocking in at 4′.02″) is featured on the Track issue, for some reason – it is the full length original album version on the Captain Oi! releases.

Original Track records CD issue - insert and label

^ Original Track records CD issue – insert and label

In a future post I’ll put up some pictures of the original vinyl edition sleeves, label designs and merchandising for comparison.

Funnily enough, dwelling on the Captain Oi! problems that have necessitated a re-pressing… when I first bought this album at the time of its original release in 1980 I had to return it twice before I got a copy that didn’t jump all over the place, third time lucky – there must have been a faulty pressing as the record shop had had lots of returns – I eventually got it after they got a fresh batch in.

5 Responses to “Side by side: Skids ‘The Absolute Game’ on CD in the UK”

  1. stuart says:

    thanks for this info on the withdrawn cd as i found it very interesting & wondered what all the fuss was about… now i know!
    just a further thing on the original “TRACK” issue of the lp on cd, wasnt it the single edited version of “woman in winter” rather than the original lp track so the new “oi” release is definately the more true to the original lp release.?
    thanks again
    stuart

  2. admin says:

    Good point Stuart – I missed that it is the single edit of ‘A Woman In Winter’ – I’ll update the post – well spotted!

  3. Steve says:

    Hi
    Im a nosey and curious type and wondered if you could include a legible photo of the ‘controversial’ sleevenotes!! with maybe a comparison of the new sleevenotes
    Id love to see what all the fuss was about

    Cheers
    Steve

  4. admin says:

    Hi Steve, I’ll try and sort that out soon, as they are quite different from the final ones.

  5. Doug says:

    Another minor difference between the two Captain Oi! pressings: Alex Ogg, who wrote the controversial original liner notes, was one of the people explicitly thanked in the small text at the bottom of the first pressing’s back-cover insert. On the newer pressing, his name is replaced with that of Michael Jobson. Perhaps he’s fallen out of favour?

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