Side by side: Associates ‘Sulk’ UK / European / US variations

If you are a fan of the Associates then ‘Sulk’ needs no introduction, being easily a high water mark for them and their particularly unique take on pop – but the variations on this release cause some confusion and probably you have a different idea of what exactly constitutes this album depending on when or where you bought it…

^ Side by side: Outer and inner sleeves of the original UK (left-hand side) and later European issues of 'Sulk' (right-hand side) on vinyl

^ Side by side: Outer and inner sleeves of the original UK (left-hand side) and later European issues of ‘Sulk’ (right-hand side) on vinyl

For me, the definitive version is the one I bought just after it came out in Britain;

‘Sulk’ (Associates/Beggars Banquet, ASCL1, vinyl LP)
Side One:

  1. Arrogance Gave Him Up
  2. No
  3. Bap De La Bap
  4. Gloomy Sunday
  5. Nude Spoons

Side Two:

  1. Skipping
  2. It’s Better This Way
  3. Party Fears Two
  4. Club Country
  5. nothinginsomethingparticular

A few notes before moving on… prior to the album’s release, ‘Party Fears Two’, ‘It’s Better This Way’ and ‘Club Country’ had all been released on singles – the versions on this album edition are all different to any from the singles.

The packaging on this version is pretty lush, with silver ink used on all the titles – the inner sleeve and labels are all in colour too, blue one side, green the other. You can see some details in the photos that follow. The reason I mention this, apart from being a self-confessed packaging junkie, is that the release that the European-pressed vinyl edition that subsequently replaced this original UK one had plain black and white inner sleeve and white type for the titles on the outer cover. That’s far from all that was different though…

^ Tracklisting from rear of the original UK vinyl album - silver ink print

^ Tracklisting from rear of the original UK vinyl album – silver ink print

^ Tracklisting from rear of the European issue vinyl album - white print

^ Tracklisting from rear of the European issue vinyl album – white print

^ Cat. no. details from rear of the original UK vinyl album - silver ink print

^ Cat. no. details from rear of the original UK vinyl album – silver ink print

^ Cat. no. details from rear of the European issue vinyl album - white print

^ Cat. no. details from rear of the European issue vinyl album – white print

‘Sulk’ (WEA records, 24.0005-1, vinyl LP)
Side One:

  1. It’s Better This Way (Remixed by Mark Arthurworrey)
  2. Party Fears Two (Remixed by Mark Arthurworrey)
  3. Club Country
  4. Love Hangover
  5. 18 Carat Love Affair

Side Two:

  1. Arrogance Gave Him Up
  2. No
  3. Skipping
  4. White Car in Germany
  5. Gloomy Sunday
  6. The Associate

As you can see if you compare the earlier tracklisting, some pretty drastic surgery was made on this release. In fact, the release appears to replicate the tracklist that was used for the US version (Sire records, 1-23727). Main differences are completely new remixes for ‘It’s Better This Way’ and ‘Party Fears Two’, the 7″ single version of ‘Club Country’ instead of the original album mix plus several tracks dropped altogether and replaced by the ’18 Carat Love Affair’/’Love Hangover’ single and (bizarrely) a couple of tracks from ‘Fourth Drawer Down’.

So, this version became the norm and it appeared on CD in 1988 (WEA, 240 005-2). It wasn’t until 2000 and the V2 records re-release on CD (V2, VVR1012012) that the original UK issue found its way to CD, bolstered by extra tracks – though even that has its version craziness, since ‘Club Country’ is shorter than the version to be found on the original album issue by near a minute.

The story doesn’t quite finish there though – at some point (presumably in a bid to restore parity to the versions and before the CD age got into full force) a cassette edition was released which combined both the original UK tracklisting on one side and the US/European version on the other! This particular version below is on WEA, 240 005-4.

^ UK cassette issue which has both the original UK album and US (as per European issue) album

^ UK cassette issue which has both the original UK album and US (as per European issue) album

^ Inlay card and cassette of the UK/US versions cassette - click to view at larger size

^ Inlay card and cassette of the UK/US versions cassette – click to view at larger size

5 Responses to “Side by side: Associates ‘Sulk’ UK / European / US variations”

  1. REVO says:

    Thanks for pointing out the subtle differences in various import pressings of “Sulk.” I have a very large Associates collection but it is unfortunately lacking in an LP of “Sulk.” I’ll make sure to get a UK pressing. I’ll need to to get the real LP mix of “Club Country” as it were. It’s a little maddening to have every release of that album unique.

    I considered myself fortunate to have gotten the 1st German CD pressing when it was current(ish) in 1990, so at least I had heard “No” and “Skipping.” But when I finally heard “Bap De La Bap,” I was literally floored. I’d never heard anything that ****ed up before, dating back from 1982. That cut is still forward thinking and hardly dated in the slightest!

  2. admin says:

    Nods… ‘Bap De La Bap’ and ‘Nude Spoons’ in particular are quite something… I suppose I can see why a record label might be a bit freaked out and want to shunt them off to make way for something a bit more commercial. Who knows what the Associates themselves made of the tinkering with the album. Another thing… it’s interesting how long some of the songs were in the pipeline for before making their appearances – ‘Nude Spoons’ and ‘It’s Better This Way’ for example being in the John Peel session of April 1981, a year ahead of the appearance of ‘Sulk’ – while ‘Gloomy Sunday’ was in the live set in 1980, as noted from the inclusion of a live recording. Reminds me a bit of Bauhaus, another band who would resurrect tracks from much earlier in their history on later albums. But that’s another story…

  3. Ximeremix says:

    Just to say that I have JUST found your site – how could I have missed it after spending so much time trawling the net for 80’s stuff.
    Fantastic work – please keep it up – and if you need scans of anything, I have a very large (so says my partner) collection of vinyl, cd’s etc.
    Cheers

  4. admin says:

    Thanks for taking a peek, Ximeremix – I’ve been a bit lax in the updates of late, but hope to post again soon…

  5. Mario says:

    The Associates are among my all time favourite bands! I think their best efforts are “Perhaps”, “The Glamour Chase” and Billy’s posthumous “Beyond The Sun”, and their best album as a duo is the collection “Double Hipness” which showcases their unreleased demos, especially the wonderful “Not Tonight Josephine” and “Gun Talk”…very impressive!

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