Year by Year: The Durutti Column – 1979

The first post in a long-running arc that will look in some depth across one of my long-standing, enduring favourites, The Durutti Column. A fascinating discography to dig into – as well as the prime album releases there is a rich variety of quality work that first saw light of day on obscure compilations, one-off releases with a variety of friendly labels and the like. Unlike the Cocteau Twins, I wasn’t there from the off and it wasn’t until 1982 that I started to buy Durutti Column records – but been collecting from then forward, on and off. So, I am no expert – along the way I’ll likely learn much, so if the band is one you’ve never quite known, but you are curious, this may be a good beginners guide – I’m sure I’ll learn a lot of new things too as I delve back into researching some more of the weird and wonderful releases.

I expect to dip in and out and feature whichever versions of the release I may have – over the years, along the way, some of my original copies have parted company, including a lovely copy of the original sandpaper cover debut album pressing, when it could still be had for a decent price second-hand… (sighs)… But The Durutti Column have been a well loved musical obsession and there have been many re-issue programmes over the years which have brought previously difficult to find works back to the light.

An assemblage of Durutti Column releases from over the years

^ An assemblage of Durutti Column releases from over the years

Lets start then with where it began, a release that in its original format is near impossible to find in mint quality and, even if you did find it, the price would doubtless be eye-watering…


January 1979:

Double 7” single: ‘A Factory Sample’

January 1979
Songs:
No Communication
Thin Ice (Detail)

The Durutti column are found on side 2, or the ‘Beside’. Other artists featured are Joy Division and Cabaret Voltaire, with two tracks apiece, and John Dowie, with three tracks.

'A Factory Sample' EP 2019 recreation - front cover

^ ‘A Factory Sample’ EP 2019 recreation – front cover

Slightly cheating here… because the original 1979 ‘A Factory Sample’ EP is so ultra rare and collectable due to the Joy Division / Factory angle more than anything, I suppose, I have never owned a copy, nor am I likely to, I expect. But,to make do for now, here is the 2019 recreation of that release that was included in the 2019 Rhino records retrospective boxed set, ‘Use Hearing Protection: Factory Records 1978-79’.

The two Durutti Column tracks on this release are a whole different world from what would come – they date from 1978 when the act that would eventually become a Vini Reilly project were comprised of various different members (as documented on the sleeve credits) – vocals and all. At this stage, they sound nothing like any later releases under the name Durutti Column – though you can recognise Vini’s distinctive guitar style at times, at least on ‘Thin Ice’ it is evident. ‘No Communication’ and its rather loping reggae tinge is a whole different sonic world.

As far as I know there have never been any CD releases for these two tracks… so they remain quite elusive. If you want to sample them though, they can be found on YouTube: No Communication | Thin Ice (Detail).

'A Factory Sample' EP 2019 recreation - inner gatefold left side

^ ‘A Factory Sample’ EP 2019 recreation – inner gatefold left side

'A Factory Sample' EP 2019 recreation - inner gatefold left side

^ ‘A Factory Sample’ EP 2019 recreation – inner gatefold left side

'A Factory Sample' EP 2019 recreation - inner gatefold right side

^ ‘A Factory Sample’ EP 2019 recreation – inner gatefold right side

'A Factory Sample' EP 2019 recreation - rear cover

^ ‘A Factory Sample’ EP 2019 recreation – rear cover

'A Factory Sample' EP 2019 recreation - label side A

^ ‘A Factory Sample’ EP 2019 recreation – label side A

'A Factory Sample' EP 2019 recreation - label side B

^ ‘A Factory Sample’ EP 2019 recreation – label side A

'A Factory Sample' EP 2019 recreation - label side C

^ ‘A Factory Sample’ EP 2019 recreation – label side C

'A Factory Sample' EP 2019 recreation - label side D

^ ‘A Factory Sample’ EP 2019 recreation – label side D

'A Factory Sample' EP 2019 recreation - sticker sheets

^ ‘A Factory Sample’ EP 2019 recreation – sticker sheets

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