talks about the latest releases in the music world

Chart Chat 803 – Record Store Day Special Edition

Chart Chat Edition 803 – Record Store Day Special Edition


For those reading this for the first time, Chart Chat has been in existence for over 15 years. We completed eight hundred editions reviewing the weekly charts and new releases before deciding it was time for a change of format.  Now we will be looking at new music ahead of its release, and it won’t always feature tracks released as singles. I have learned in recent years that the best music does not always make the charts, and to renew my love of music I have had to look to broader horizons.

Saturday 18th April marked Record Store Day, and in celebration this week we have chosen our favourite vinyl releases from this years bunch.  Sadly some of these might now be restricted to over inflated prices on eBay but hopefully there are still a handful of copies left around for genuine fans to purchase.  Record Store Day started as a great idea but now is often exploited by record companies and collectors who see fans charged huge prices for limited edition productions.

David Bowie – ‘Changes’

Fans of the great David Bowie (myself included) will know that he has been releasing a series of picture discs to commemorate 40 years since the original release of his singles. Sometimes the Record Store Day releases have proved harder to get hold of, and his 2012 reissue of ‘Starman’ is going at over £100 per copy on the internet.  Sadly that is the only reissue that I don’t own so was glad to be able to secure a copy of this one. It was never a hit in the UK although it remains one of his best known songs. This release features GEM promo version of ‘Eight Line Poem’ on the flip side which fans will no doubt be keen to hear. Next in the series would be ‘Fame’, a track which peaked at no.17 in 1975 but returned to the top thirty in 1990 albeit in a remixed form. That release remains to be confirmed but for now this is a great addition to my existing David Bowie collection.

Dire Straits – ‘Honky Tonk Demos’

This is a double 7″ single release which features four tracks recorded as part of the bands original 1977 demo tape.  They originated from the Pathway Studios in London and were responsible for getting the legendary DJ Charlie Gillett to give ‘Sultans Of Swings’ its first radio play on his Honky Tonk radio show in July of that year. It eventually gave the band their first hit single, peaking at no.8 in 1979 and becoming a minor no.62 hit on its reissue in 1988. Alongside that are three other tracks; ‘Water Of Love’, ‘Down To The Waterline’ and ‘Wild West End’. The band achieved twelve top forty hits but never made the top spot though both ‘Walk Of Life’ and ‘Private Investigations’ peaked at no.2. There is little likelyhood of the band reforming, particularly given the recent top three success of Mark Knopfler’s solo album ‘Tracker’, so fans will have to be content with picking up nuggets such as this.

Johnny Cash – ‘The Man Comes Around / Personal Jesus’

Johnny Cash was even more prolific in his final years, recording enough material to complete six albums in his ‘American’ series which saw him work with legendary producer Rick Rubin. He recorded sixty songs in the four months after the death of his wife June, and songs from those sessions appeared on the ‘Unearthed’ box set while it is believed that there are more unreleased songs in the vaults which may get future releases. Both of these tracks have appeared before, and so this is strictly for collectors only. As a double a-side with ‘Hurt’, his cover of Depeche Mode’s ‘Personal Jesus’ gave him only his sixth top forty hit and came twenty seven years after his previous chart appearance with ‘One Piece At A Time’. If this release leads anyone to his ‘American’ series there are plenty of delights to be found in there, with some poignant covers of already classic tracks such as ‘We’ll Meet Again’, ‘One’ and ‘The Mercy Seat’.

Kristin Hersh – ‘Sundrops / The Cuckoo’

Both ‘Sundrops’ and ‘The Cuckoo’ originally featured on Kristin’s ‘Hips & Makers’ album but these versions were recorded for a BBC radio session in 1994. The tracks were uncovered by Jaz Long who found the tapes following a clearout by BBC Leeds. It is released on his Heliospheric label and comes on a stunning blue coloured vinyl record. He has waited several years to gain permission from the BBC and Kristin herself to release these tracks but many will feel that it has been worth the wait. It seems hard to believe that it has been over twenty years since Kristin recorded these tracks, but as our column has recently noted there is plenty of brand new material due from her both in her solo capacity and as part of bands 50 Foot Wave and the Outros. This release is limited to just a pressing of 1,000 and so fans of Kristin (myself included) will be keen to try and secure themselves a copy.

Orchestral Manouvres In The Dark – ‘Julias Song’

Earlier this year saw Orchestral Manouvres In The Dark reissue their classic ‘Junk Culture’ album.  It featured the singles ‘Locomotion’, ‘Tesla Girls’ and ‘Talking Loud And Clear’ but for their Record Store Day single they have opted to go with a Dub version of ‘Julias Song’ and ’10 to 1′, a track which appeared on the reissued format of the album. This new single is released on 10″ vinyl, and features the Weir brothers on bass. Personally I prefer ’10 to 1′ which reminds us of just how great the band were during the 1980’s. More recent albums such as ‘History Of Modern’ and ‘English Electric’ have also provided some high points with ‘Dresden’ being every bit as good as their hit singles. It’s great to see the band continuing through live performances, repackages, reissues and more importanly new material. Fingers crossed we will get to hear some new songs from them before too much longer.

Sarah Jane Morris – ‘I Shall Be Released’

Sarah Jane’s career started out in the early 1980’s with the band The Republic before progressing to The Happy End. Although The Republic generated considerable publicity for her it was as part of The Communards that she had the most success. Since then she has continued to record as a solo artist and last year saw the release of her ‘Bloody Rain’ album which saw her team up with an impressive array of musicians including Zimbabwe born singer Eska, English saxophonist Courtney Pine, Sting sideman Dominic Miller and former James Brown arranger Pee Wee Ellis. Her Record Store Day single is her cover of Bob Dylans ‘I Shall Be Released’ and it comes released on red vinyl with ‘Men Just Want To Have Fun’ featuring on the b side. Both tracks feature on ‘Bloody Rain’, an album which Sarah Jane believes to be the best of her career. This single is limited to a pressing of just 500 but it will have given fans lucky enough to snap up a copy a great deal of pleasure.

Simple Minds – ‘Waterfront’

Earlier this year Simple Minds re-released their classic album ‘Sparkle In The Rain’ on both vinyl and CD.  Now they have decided to issue a 7″ picture disc version of ‘Waterfront’ for Record Store Day which comes with the original b side ‘Hunter & The Hunted’. It is limited to just 1,000 copies worldwide but for me it will always hold a place in my heart as the first single I bought by the band. It originally reached no.13 back 1983 and sounds even better today in its remastered format. Vinyl fans may also want to look for a copy of their ‘Celebrate – Live at the SSE Hydro Glasgow’ album which has also been released this week as a limited edition pressing of just 1,500. The band are still writing and recording new music with their 2014 album ‘Big Music’ peaking at no.12. They are out on tour this year and it is now thirty six years since they first charted with their ‘A Life In A Day’ album. Where does the time go!

Supergrass – ‘Sofa (Of My Lethargy)’

This track by Supergrass was originally intended to be the fifth single to be lifted from their 1995 debut album ‘I Should Coco’ but never made it any further than a radio promo CD. Now in 2015 it does get a release in its own right on green 7″ vinyl, and it comes with ‘I Believe In Love’ on the b side. That track was recorded as part of the same album sessions but the lyrics were never finished and it sat undisturbed on a DAT tape (remember those?) for twenty years. ‘Sofa (Of My Lethargy)’ is a fine track, very different to the urgency of ‘Caught By The Fuzz’, building nicely with a piano and acoustic backing set across distorted vocals. I personally loved their 2008 outing ‘Diamond Hoo Ha Man’ even if it did beceme their first album not to reach the top ten. It would be great to hear some new material from the band but for now this will have to be enough to keep us going.

Wedding Present – ‘Meet Cute / Journey Into Space’

Still going strong, Wedding Present release a limited edition 7″ containing Welsh versions of ‘Meet Cute’ and ‘Journey Into Space’.  Released on the This Will Be Our Summer Records label. The original version of ‘Meet Cute’ featured on their ‘Valentina’ album while ‘Journey Into Space’ originated from the same recording sessions. The Welsh versions came from last years ‘EP 4 Can’ release which also contained Welsh versions of ‘1000 Farenheit’ and ‘Can You Keep A Secret’. They continue in a tradition of foreign language Record Store Day releases which have included ‘4 Lieder EP’ (sung in German) and ‘4 Chansons EP’ (sung in French). The bands next scheduled live date is in Norwich in July but David Gedge’s other band Cinerama are due to appear in London in June complete with a thirteen piece band. The band are going to be releasing a few additional copies of ‘Meet Cute / Journey Into Space’ through their website so if you are a fan keep an eye out.

Next time…

As usual there is no shortage of new releases coming up and we will be bringing you a selection of those over the coming weeks. For now please do keep in touch and follow us on Twitter (@ChartChatUK) and we look forward to seeing you again soon.

Ian Anderson

19 April, 2015 - Posted by | ChartChat

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