Sunday, September 4, 2016

ABCs of My Vinyl Collection (Letter C, Part 19)

We now return you to our regularly scheduled program. It's great to be reunited with my turntable, and we will celebrate with a blowout featuring the Colour Field. I have both albums, the EP and every single that was released in either the UK or America. Rather than try to choose a favorite, let's give a listen to everything from the first four singles. With the versions I have, that will be 14 songs in all. Terry Hall is a huge hero of mine, and you can count on him making a few more appearances during this series.

In 1983, after a dreadful time touring America, Hall dissolved the Fun Boy Three. He wanted a fresh start with a new sound. No more ska. Hall was going highbrow. After playing with a couple of lads from Coventry, the Colour Field was born. Hall was still under contract with Chrysalis, and by January 1984 the first of the four singles that preceded debut album 'Virgins and Philistines' was released. Here is the 12". If you bought the first run of this single, you got a poster too. "The Colour Field" peaked at No. 43 in the UK. The song that would be remembered, though, was B-side "Sorry." Hall had never shown such a tender side. It is a fan favorite to this day.

"The Colour Field" (Extended Version)
"The Colour Field"

The next single would come in the summer of '84. Producer Hugh Jones was on board by now, and the album was started in earnest. There would be one other interesting addition for "Take." Jones' old pal Pete de Freitas of Echo and the Bunnymen was on drums. Hall's bitter delivery makes this one of my personal favorites, but the public wasn't much interested. The song died at No. 70.

"Windmills of Your Mind"
"Pushing Up the Daisies"

At the beginning of 1985, Hall finally hit pay dirt. Third single "Thinking of You" is a beautiful back-and-forth duet with Katrina Phillips, full of strings and high-end production. Given the period, it sounds like the formula for a dated piece of schlock, but the song is absolutely timeless. "Thinking of You" is as wonderful today as it was three decades ago, and it will remain that way forevermore. It deserved an even better fate than No. 12, but I'm sure Hall was happy to have it. Although many greats have followed, Hall has never had a song with his lead vocal inside the top 20 since this one. My single is the double 7" with gatefold sleeve. All four songs are worth a listen, although I do wish we could have had a serious take of the cover "Little Things."

"Thinking of You"
"My Wild Flame"
"Little Things"
"Thinking of You" (singalong version)

As a walk up to the release of 'Virgins and Philistines,' the label released the single "Castles in the Air" in April of '85. Uh-oh. Indeed, the air had been let out, making it only to a paltry No. 51. It's another beauty, as most on the album would turn out to be, and I especially like the B-side instrumental mix of the song. It's quite a bit different than its vocal counterpart. Again, I have the double 7" with gatefold sleeve. The cover "I Can't get Enough of You Baby" was included on the American version of the album (track one even!), but I have always felt like that was a poor decision. It doesn't quite belong in much the same way "Sloop John B" isn't quite as good as the rest of a flawless 'Pet Sounds.' Tracklist differences between the American and UK versions of 'Virgins and Philistines' is worth a separate post at some point.

"Castles in the Air"
"Your Love is Smashing"
"I Can't Get Enough of You Baby"
"Castles in the Air" (Instrumental Mix)

These physical singles have lost their luster a bit because Cherry Red reissued 'Virgins and Philistines' in 2010 with almost all of these B-sides. Having said that, I highly recommend it. I'll wrap this up by adding 'Virgins and Philistines' is Hall's best moment outside of the Specials. Let's see if that gets you typing.


The Swede said...

I have a massive amount of affection for 'Waiting' by The Fun Boy Three, though on re-listening to these Colour Field tunes, I find it very hard to argue with your assessment that this is some of Hall's finest work outside The Specials. 'Take' is a particular favourite of mine too.

JC said...

You're not wrong as this was a very fine combo.

Re his tender moments, I've always been fond of the cover of 'The Hammond Song' from the debut LP.

Echorich said...

There certainly is something very special about The Colourfield. Hammond Song, Castles In The Air, Pushing Up Daisies and Thinking Of You alone make for a memorable career for any band, but Hall had quite a bit left in the tank artistically, even if the charts would be behind him.

friend of rachel worth said...

Love V and P. The 2nd LPs production has dated a tad but still has some top songs . Recent rerelease worth getting for the soconnor version of monkey in heaven alone. Hammond song is my fav , just gorgeous.

Brian said...

Thanks for remembering the Colourfield, fellas. I'm with you guys on Hammond Song. There were some other great covers from the band too. I think She from Deception is especially good.

FORW, I remember your passionate post on V and P when you were counting down your favorite albums. Wonderful to have this one in common.

Rol said...

I'd go along with hat final statement... I may even go further. The Colourfield were the perfect 80s pop band. Thanks for sharing some b-sides I'd never heard before.

Anonymous said...

I remember having 'thinking of you' on a vinyl compilation as a young lad. Teriffic stuff. Badger