XTC – ‘Ball and Chain’ UK 12″ EP (Virgin, VS 482-12, 1982)

The second single to be lifted from XTC’s 1982 mammoth opus, ‘English Settlement’. Despite being of equal merit, ‘Ball and Chain’ failed to repeat the success of the preceding ‘Senses Working Overtime’ single, much to my bemusement at the time, as this release came packed with XTC goodness in its EP form. As it turns out, the various tracks have a very rich version crazy history to delve into…

XTC 'Ball and Chain' UK 12" EP front cover
^ XTC ‘Ball and Chain’ UK 12″ EP front cover

No major changes to the A side, culled from the album, a solid piece of Colin Moulding’s craft – the remaining tracks on the EP were from the pen of Andy Partridge and included two new tracks in the shape of ‘Punch and Judy’ and ‘Heaven Is Paved With Broken Glass’ on the 7″, while the 12″ release squeezed in an additional dub mix of an ‘English Settlement’ album track (‘Down In The Cockpit’) suitably retitled as ‘Cockpit Dance Mixture’. Continue reading “XTC – ‘Ball and Chain’ UK 12″ EP (Virgin, VS 482-12, 1982)”

Nash The Slash – ‘Novel Romance’ UK 7″ (DinDisc, DIN33, 1981)

A non-album single from Nash The Slash’s brief period signed to the UK DinDisc label in 1981, this record brings together a few of my favourites for its one-off collaborative nature, namely Nash The Slash himself, Bill Nelson in the producers chair and Peter Saville on sleeve design work, under his ‘Dessin Controlee’ nom-de-plume.

Nash The Slash - 'Novel Romance' UK 7" front cover design
^ Nash The Slash – ‘Novel Romance’ UK 7″ front cover design

Continue reading “Nash The Slash – ‘Novel Romance’ UK 7″ (DinDisc, DIN33, 1981)”

Side by side: 1988 Japan 3” CD singles

These two small objects of desire were 1988 era 3” CD format singles from a range of releases by Virgin that ostensibly looked to mimic original vinyl releases from back in the day. But the devil is in the detail…

Side by side: 1988 Japan 3” CD singles - 'Gentlemen Take Polaroids' and Ghosts' front cover designs
^ Side by side: 1988 Japan 3” CD singles – ‘Gentlemen Take Polaroids’ and Ghosts’ front cover designs

First up was ‘Ghosts’ (Virgin, CDT 11, 1988) and it is the more interesting of the two releases by way of its inclusion on CD of the 3’55” single remix of ‘Ghosts’ as well as the 1981 live ‘version’ of ‘The Art Of Parties’ that was the B side of the original 1982 UK 7” and 12” singles. The live take is an interesting alternative as this was the tour that saw Steve Jansen play a Simmons electronic drum kit (as briefly mentioned on Steve’s excellent Sleepyard blog and on stereoklang.se) while the scorching lead guitar duties are from the wonderful David Rhodes on a short-lived stint as live guitarist with Japan on the 1981 ‘Visions of China’ tour, his distinctive tones more familiar from his work with Peter Gabriel, Talk Talk and Kate Bush amongst others. There is a third track this CD by way of ‘Visions Of China’ (in its familiar 3’38” album mix) – it bears no relation to the original ‘Ghosts’ single and seems an odd inclusion here. Continue reading “Side by side: 1988 Japan 3” CD singles”

Scritti Politti ‘Cupid & Psyche 85’ Japanese re-issue CD [Rough Trade / Beat Records, RTRAD695CDJP, 2022]

It’s a particular favourite of mine, this album, what with its high-tech, high-sheen finish of meticulously crafted pop – it got a vinyl re-release last year on Rough Trade and for some reason the CD issue was delayed… and now there is a Japanese issue too with one extra track…

Scritti Politti 'Cupid & Psyche 85' 2022 Japanese re-issue CD - front cover design and some of the additional inserts/disc
^ Scritti Politti ‘Cupid & Psyche 85’ 2022 Japanese re-issue CD – front cover design and some of the additional inserts/disc

It was going to be just a straight re-release of the existing CD incarnation, which featured the original album tracks plus four additional bonus tracks of some of the ‘Versions’ from the contemporary single B sides. As it turns out, it is not just a straight re-issue and there are differences… and to add to that, there is this, the Japanese CD re-release which comes with an extra bonus track for Japan only. Continue reading “Scritti Politti ‘Cupid & Psyche 85’ Japanese re-issue CD [Rough Trade / Beat Records, RTRAD695CDJP, 2022]”

Side by side: XTC ‘King For A Day’ CD singles UK/US

When looking out these CDs to photograph for this post, and looking back on previous VersionCrazy posts for XTC… I was surprised to find nothing other than a passing mention in the ‘Machines’ 1980 compilation album on Virgin! How could I have managed not to feature this wonderful band in any detail in the 14 years of the blog so far? Anyway, what was exercising me was the various versions of a later period single, from when the band’s star was much higher stateside than in their native UK – ‘King For A Day’.

XTC 'King For A Day' UK and US CD singles front cover designs
^ XTC ‘King For A Day’ UK and US CD singles front cover designs

Lifted from 1989’s glossy album production, ‘Oranges and Lemons’, it seemed a fairly surefire selection from the album’s tracks as a radio-pleasing drive-time number in much the same style as Tears For Fears has scored a few years earlier with ‘Everybody Wants To Rule The World’ – it has quite a resemblance to that track. What’s interesting here is that there were major differences between the UK and US releases – the American release also saw fit to procure some radically changed remixes of the song for its outing. Continue reading “Side by side: XTC ‘King For A Day’ CD singles UK/US”