Side by side: Brian Eno and John Cale – ‘One Word’ CD singles

What news it was at the time of the ‘Wrong Way Up’ album release that Brian Eno had returned to vocal duties and was actually to be heard singing on record once more. As big a thing as his continual questioning in interviews in those first few years of why wasn’t he singing anymore… Of course, he had still been singing, just not centre-stage on his own albums. Just listen to Talking Heads for example and even closer to this period he had sung on his take of ‘You Don’t Miss Your Water’ included on the soundtrack of the movie ‘Married To The Mob’ in 1988.

Brian Eno and John Cale - 'One Word' UK CD single front cover design

^ Brian Eno and John Cale – ‘One Word’ UK CD single front cover design

‘One Word’ was the chosen single release from the album in the UK and US but as you can see, the CD single editions vary a good bit…

Brian Eno and John Cale - 'One Word' UK CD single rear cover design

^ Brian Eno and John Cale – ‘One Word’ UK CD single rear cover design

The UK edition kept things relatively simple with a single edit for ‘One Word’ (with the editing scissors deftly pruning the instrumental passages first and foremost) and two otherwise unreleased tracks, ‘Grandfather’s House’ (in a similar muted, storytelling vein to the album track ‘Cordoba’, perhaps) and ‘Palanquin’ (a more minimal instrumental track) from the album sessions.

Brian Eno and John Cale - 'One Word' UK CD single disc label

^ Brian Eno and John Cale – ‘One Word’ UK CD single disc label

Despite working together on various releases dating back to 1974, this album was the one and only time the duo agreed on a joint collaborative album and by most accounts the sessions became somewhat strained on occasions, as time passed. Nevertheless, it’s a good album and one that we should thank John Cale for convincing Eno to get behind the microphone for lead vocal duties once more! Their voices work well together, not least on ‘One Word’, which was a surprisingly pop-oriented track and not the left-field excursions that reputations might have predicted.

Brian Eno and John Cale - 'One Word' USA CD single front cover design

^ Brian Eno and John Cale – ‘One Word’ USA CD single front cover design

As for the US CD single edition… you would have imagined that it would be easy enough to keep the two non-LP tracks like the UK single, but turns out here was no space for ‘Palanquin’, for whatever reason.

This release did find space for the Brian Eno and Daniel Lanois version of ‘You Don’t Miss Your Water’ from the soundtrack mentioned earlier, somewhat incongruous with the Eno/Cale album. (Not that that stopped it from being included as a bonus track on the 2005 era CD reissues of the album.) Meanwhile, an exclusive to this release was a remix by Eno of ‘One Word’, the ‘Woodbridge Mix’. It’s hardly too much different – the rhythm constructs itself at the start with something of a steamhammer kick drum slam, the vocal mix sounds boosted in the mix revealing more detail. Not sure the mix is bringing much new to the party overall though compared to the already pretty immaculate original mix.

Brian Eno and John Cale - 'One Word' USA CD single rear cover design

^ Brian Eno and John Cale – ‘One Word’ USA CD single rear cover design

Brian Eno and John Cale - 'One Word' USA CD single inner cover design

^ Brian Eno and John Cale – ‘One Word’ USA CD single inner cover design

The most recent re-issue of the ‘Wrong Way Up’ album in August 2020 missed a chance to gather together some of the waifs and strays that appeared across the various regional single releases and promo items. It included ‘Grandfather’s House’ and ‘Palanquin’ from the UK single. But it missed the chance to include the following;

  • ‘One Word’ (Single Edit)
  • ‘One Word’ (The Woodbridge Mix)
  • ‘Slipping Away’ (Edited Version by Kevin Laffey) – issued as a single in European territories
  • ‘You Don’t Miss Your Water’
  • ‘Ring Of Fire’ (Brian Eno)
  • ‘Shuffle Down To Woodbridge’ (John Cale)

The last two tracks were both featured on one side of a ‘Soil X Samples‘ series promo 7” single. The label states ‘recorded Summer 1990 in Woodbridge’, so presumably recorded during the album sessions despite being credited separately on the label.

For completeness, worth noting too that there was also a promo-only interview CD, ‘Words & Music From Wrong Way Up’ issued, with one long track mixing thoughts from Eno with a selection of album tracks, including ‘One Word’.

Brian Eno and John Cale - 'One Word' USA CD single disc label design

^ Brian Eno and John Cale – ‘One Word’ USA CD single disc label design

One Response to “Side by side: Brian Eno and John Cale – ‘One Word’ CD singles”

  1. Ga Fo says:

    Spinning Away was the chosen single in mainland Europe

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