Archive for the ‘Compilation albums’ Category

Year by Year: The Durutti Column – 1979

Thursday, October 21st, 2021

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

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Year by Year: Cocteau Twins – 1984

Tuesday, September 28th, 2021

1984 was the year that Cocteau Twins popularity would rise enough to make the top 30 of the UK singles chart and to skirt the edges of the mainstream, first with the release of the ‘Pearly-Dewdrops’ Drops’ single and amplified by year’s end with ‘Treasure’, a third album from the band that contains many a fan favourite to this day and arguably the emerging dreampop sound. They were also filling concert venues the size and likes of The Royal Festival Hall in London and The Usher Hall in Edinburgh – a mere two years on from their debut album. Along the way, the independent spirit was retained with exclusive tracks on some more obscure cassette compilations. Starting with…


Cassette compilation: ‘State Of Affairs’ (Pleasantly Surprised, 003)

A various artists compilation from a period where sturm und drang was very much in fashion and is reflected in many of the tracks found herethe Cocteau Twins connection here is an exclusive remix of ‘In Our Angelhood’ that has never been reissued anywhere else. It appears that there were plans to issue this track as a single from the ‘Head Over Heels’ album, but it never came to pass. The intended single release is mentioned on the text in the booklet that accompanies this cassette, but I don’t know for sure if this remix was the planned single mix or not. Its a good bit different from the album mix for sure, though the sound quality here is not the best, it must be said. The arrangement on the version recorded for the October 1983 BBC Radio 1 David ‘Kid’ Jensen session is quite similar.

Various artists - 'State Of Affairs' compilation cassette front cover and cassette side one

^ Various artists – ‘State Of Affairs’ compilation cassette front cover and cassette side one

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John Foxx video compilation (Virgin Music Vault, VVC582 1989)

Tuesday, September 14th, 2021

This odd little release was one in a series of short video compilations of Virgin label catalogue artists issued in 1989, while VHS was still the format of choice. Amongst other acts of interest in the series (at least for me…) were Skids and Magazine. This video was the first time I was able to view again some promo videos I had seen only a handful of times anyway back in the very early ’80s, and some I had never seen before, so it was a welcome purchase, despite the brevity (clocking in around 25 minutes). Being a UK based Top Of The Pops viewer, the videos were less common sights due to the frequent and memorable John Foxx appearances in the TOTP studio, not least for ‘Underpass’, ‘No One Driving’ (the latter with no less than four Yamaha CS80’s for the backing band!) and ‘Europe, After The Rain’.

John Foxx 1989 UK VHS video EP

^ John Foxx 1989 UK VHS video EP

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Year by Year: Cocteau Twins – 1983

Tuesday, September 7th, 2021

7″ Flexidisc: ‘Vinyl’ Magazine (‘Speak No Evil’)

‘Speak No Evil’ was intended to be one of the tracks on a planned debut 7″ single for 4AD by the band. That ended up being dropped when the recording of ‘Garlands’ was judged to be a stronger opening release on its own, so ‘Speak No Evil’ was instead given away as a flexidisc with the Dutch music magazine ‘Vinyl’. Obviously somewhat crackly in this flexidisc form, it was a welcome addition as a bonus track on the 1986 CD release of ‘Garlands’, but was removed on subsequent re-releases which opted to feature only the original eight track album running order. It has however recently been included on the four disc various artists compilation, ‘Make More Noise! Women In Independent UK Music 1977 – 1987’ released on Cherry Red in 2020. It has a downbeat, proto-‘Garlands’ type sound – the nearest comparison on ‘Garlands’ would likely be ‘Shallow Then Halo’, I feel. The flip side features the wonderful Thomas Leer with ‘Who’s Foolin’ Who’ – stylistically a good way away from the Cocteau Twins sound, originally also exclusive to this flexidisc, in recent years it found a home on his ‘1982’ compilation.

'Vinyl' Magazine flexidisc - Cocteau Twins 'Speak No Evil' label side

^ ‘Vinyl’ Magazine flexidisc – Cocteau Twins ‘Speak No Evil’ label side

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Wire – ‘It’s All In The Brochure’ CD (Pink Flag, PF2, 2000)

Saturday, August 28th, 2021

The accompanying live document to the ‘Third Day’ rehearsal recordings CD as featured in the previous post‘It’s All In The Brochure’ captures a selection of not only Wire’s performance but also the various other supporting acts from the occasion of their concert at the Royal Festival Hall, 26th February 2000.

Wire - ‘It's All In The Brochure’ CD EP front cover design

^ Wire – ‘It’s All In The Brochure’ CD EP front cover design

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