Wednesday, March 8, 2017

ABCs of My Vinyl Collection (Letter E, Part 2)

At one time it would have taken days to rip all of my vinyl by Echo & the Bunnymen, but they are one of those bands deemed so vital that in 1988, when I caved and finally bought a CD player, I immediately traded in the first five albums on vinyl for the fancy format. What an idiot. At least I had the foresight to save the EPs, singles and other vinyl pieces not found on CD at the time. Of course, in 2001, the four-disc box set 'Crystal Days 1979-1999' made most of the vinyl I had left obsolete. Still, I couldn't help myself, and I bought the collection anyway. At least I learned from my mistake in '88 and kept the vinyl I had left this time.

These boys deserve more than one day in this series. I'll be back next time with a few more nuggets. In the meantime, here are some favorites from three 12" singles. "Silver (Tidal)" is a beautiful piece from the 'Ocean Rain' era. What I like most about this one and the other extended mixes from this period is there are absolutely no additional '80s bells and whistles so popular in 1984. The first two minutes of this version is so lush and full of orchestral flourishes that I don't think someone new to the band would even guess the song came from that decade.

"Bring on the Dancing Horses" was written for the film 'Pretty in Pink' and released as a new single to make the band's 1985 compilation 'Songs to Learn and Sing' a little more provocative. If you're a regular around here, you know how much I hate when a band sticks a brand-new song or two on a best-of package. The new songs often seem out of place next to the hits, and it's nothing but a cash grab to take advantage of fans that already have all the old songs. Thankfully, these were the days when you could just pick up the physical single.

Although "Lips Like Sugar" didn't chart here in America, I feel like this one got quite a bit of play on MTV and radio. The addition of the 12" mix on 'Just Say Yes,' the first volume of Sire's compilation series, also gave many kids their first listen of the band. Unlike "Silver (Tidal)," this extended mix has a few of those '80s touches, but I love it anyway. If anyone out there wants to really go back to the dance floor of your youth, there is a dub version on the flip side. Not my cup of tea, but I would be happy to send it along to anyone who wants it. "Rollercoaster" is a non-album B-side worthy of a listen. That song can also be found on the "People Are Strange" single issued a year later.

"Silver (Tidal)"
"Bring on the Dancing Horses (Extended Mix)"
"Lips Like Sugar (12" Mix)"
"Rollercoaster"

17 comments:

Rol said...

Can't argue with any of those, top tunes all... so I don't share your fondness for 12 inch mixes. In most cases (and I'm not just talking about E&TBM here), the 7" did the trick fine for me.

George said...

Like the Silver track, Brian. But as I was sitting in my local cafe, a song came on and I thought "why do like this more than everything bar Silver from Ocean Rain?" (the track was Eye Of The Tiger)

Brian said...

Once again, George, you leave me speechless.

Rol, Take a deep breath. One of the best extended versions ever coming up next. Nine-plus minutes, but will it persuade you?

Swiss Adam said...

Wrong George, deeply wrong.

Tidal is wonderful, as dancing Horses. I love Lips Like Sugar but the 7" mix is vastly superior to my ears. Rollercoaster is a good B-side. I don't remember the dub mix- will have t go and dig that out.

Rol said...

I will wait and see. There is perhaps a feature in "12 inches that were better than the 7 inch"... but I can't help but think it would be a very short feature.

The Swede said...

When it comes to E&tB, I've always been (and proudly continue to be) a massive advocate for 'What Are You Going to Do with Your Life?'. Granted it's more of a Macca solo vehicle, but it's an album that for some reason I love very dearly indeed - much to the general bewilderment of all and sundry I think.
'Tidal' is utterly glorious, but I think I'll stick with the standard version of 'Lips Like Sugar'. Looking forward to part 2 Brian.

friend of rachel worth said...

Do love their 12"s. My fav is Never Stop

JC said...

Don't you dare post The Killing Moon.......it's on my list!!!!!!!!!!

I'm with FoRW in Never Stop being a great 12". Lay down thy raincoat and grooooove.

JC said...

Just checked.....it's not due until early May!!! I think there's enough of a gap for us to get away with it......

There's again been some great stuff on this blog recently.

Brian said...

Sorry for the long layoff. I have been sick for five days. Had to go to hospital for an IV today. Back as soon as possible.

The Swede said...

Sorry to hear this Brian. Take care of yourself and feel better soon.

JC said...

Hey Brian.....you make sure you look after yourself and please forget about this little place until you're fully recovered.

Get well soon amigo.

C said...

So sorry to read that you've not been well, Brian, hope you feel tons better very soon.

charity chic said...

Sorry to hear you have not been well Brian
Get well soon sir

Dirk said...

Hope everything's turned out alright in the hospital, Brian! Best wishes from my side and a speedy recovery!

friend of rachel worth said...

Get well soon Brian

Echorich said...

Boy, a guy goes on vacation for a week and misses a lot!

Brian, I hope you are feeling better and getting better - as a bronchially challenged individual, I know those can be two very different things.

Now, Echo And The Bunnymen - what I've bee waiting for...

Silver (Tidal) manages to not lose a bit of its urgency and emotion as an orchestral tour de force. Featuring Mac's "ahhh's" as part of the musical intro is inspired! Ian McCulloch is, along with David Bowie, one of the few artists that can get away with singing "ahh and la-la" and you accept it as genius. It's the sign of a true crooner.

Bring On The Dancing Horses Extended Mix manages to increase the "Big Music" feel of the original. Giving more prominence to the inspired flute to approximate birds and fazed reverse guitar and cello during the final coda, expands the song and sets it apart from the original. It think it is also one of their best produced songs. This is saying a lot coming from me, because in general I feel producer Laurie Latham was the first of many mistakes the band made near the end of their Imperial phase.

I'm afraid the Lips Like Sugar 12" mix hasn't ever really floated my boat. Francois Kervorkian found a way to add a lot of bits and pieces to the song while making it boring. The "Dub" is a real stay away moment.

Rollercoaster is the best song to come out of the Echo And The Bunnymen sessions. It is a MASSIVE wig out song! This is the sound of The Bunnymen throwing off the heavy manners and celebrating their Rock and Roll. It's part Stooges, part Ziggy, part Gene Vincent and all Mac! Rollercoaster is Black Leather Jacket Rock And Roll!! Oh if only the Gil Norton produced album had been chosen over getting Laurie Latham in to put a chrome sheen on EATB...