Wednesday, January 05, 2011

Orange Juice - Coals To Newcastle

Before I start, I just want to be 100% clear about quite how much I love this boxset.

It feels like a long wait to finally have all this wonderful stuff compiled into such a beautiful package and I truly heart it to pieces. Rest assured that none of this post is intended to criticise the remarkable work done at Domino on this set.

In fact before we go any further can I just say... BUY IT HERE!

As an Orange Juice anthology it is almost entirely exhaustive, but my anorak has been twitching for while to try and document the gaps and anomalies for posterity if nothing else. So this is a review, not of its contents, but more a review of what ISN'T included, allowing any fellow trainspotters to easily identift what remains to be collected.

The main exclusions are the 7” single edits which is totally understandable, as they rarely offered anything other than a radio-friendly abbreviation of the full version (the main exception being Flesh Of My Flesh which appears in 7” and 12” versions as both are considerably different to each other, and indeed, the original album version) - but there are a few other little bits and pieces missing.

Disc One is arguably perfect and contains all the Postcard singles, the Ostrich Churchyard album, the instrumental and French versions of Poor Old Soul from the 90’s reissue of Blue Boy and the live tracks from the “Felicity Sessions”. The only omissions therefore are the two early Nu-Sonics bedroom demos that previously appeared on Orange Juice compilation CD’s of this era. A cover of The Ramones “I Don’t Care” was on The Glasgow School and a cover of The New York Dolls “Who Are The Mystery Girls” was an unlisted track on The Heather’s On Fire.

Oh and if we're talking about things that have previously been released on Orange Juice records but aren't technically by Orange Juice, then this first disc is also missing the 10" that came free with vinyl editions of "Ostrich Churchyard" in 1992 - known as 'The World's First 10" Irritation Disc'. It was an 18 minute chat between Edwyn and Alan Horne, talking about Orange Juice with all manner of giggling and annoying oscillation effects over the top.

I also seem to remember that Simon Goddard (author of the boxset liner notes) talked on his blog back in February about a cassette of early Orange Juice demos that came from James Kirk. The blog entry has now been deleted so I can't prove it, but there's no sign of those tunes either.

Disc Two is interesting. This version of "Untitled Melody" from You Can't Hide Your Love Forever runs at a different speed to the 1998 Polydor reissue (but is the only track that does). This was apparently a mistake on the previous remaster, and has been corrected now back to the original vinyl speed.

Of the singles included on this disk the missing tracks are:

The 7" edit of "Two Hearts Together" (the 7" version is a minute shorter. The instrumental break in the middle is half as long and the outro is totally different with Edwyn singing "together" repeatedly over the fade-out)

The 7" edit of "Hokoyo" (the 7" version is a good 2 minutes shorter than the version which appears on Rip It Up and the 10" single. It loses the 3rd verse and the extended instrumental outro is replaced by a briefer ending with a completely different selection of vocal ad-libs and whooping!)

Also the 12" version of "I Can't Help Myself" is missing. I can see why they chose to include the 7" version here instead as it's a much more succinct edit than the album version. The missing 12" mix is almost identical to the album version albeit some 20 seconds longer due to an extra 4 bars in the middle section breakdown and a couple more seconds of saxophone on the fade-out. The Vinyl Villain posted this 12" mix as part of his boxset review here

Disc Three also has some missing 7" versions. These are:

The 7" edit of "Rip It Up" (the 7" version is an edit of the album version, clocking in a minute and a half shorter because it loses the start of the intro, the keyboard solo and the instrumental passage towards the end. The fade out with Paul Quinn's vocal ad-libs is also a bit shorter. Kris from Domino tells me that it's also a slightly different mix - almost mono)

The 7" edit of "A Sad Lament" from the "Rip It Up" double 7" pack (this version is the same as the one that appears on Texas Fever and the Rip It Up 12" except it fades out quickly after about 3 minutes, losing the long instrumental outro section)

The 7" edit of "Lord John White And The Bottleneck Train" from the "Flesh Of My Flesh" 7" Picture Disc (which is essentially just the 12" version faded after 3 minutes, losing about a minute and a half of insanity at the end! NB if you're sad enough to be collecting these missing versions, the regular Flesh 7" contained the same long version of "Lord John White" as the 12". Only the 7" Picture Disc has the abridged version).

Technically it is also missing the 'Intermediate Edit' of "Rip It Up" which appeared on 2002 Edwyn/Orange Juice compilation "A Casual Introduction 1981-2001". That edit is almost identical to the album version, shortened only by the removal of the keyboard solo.

Back on the subject of "Lord John White And The Bottleneck Train" this was (and still is) credited to all the OJ members except Edwyn, and it's not clear if Edwyn even played on the track. However if you reverse the music you will hear that the whole of "Flesh Of My Flesh" is being sung by Edwyn in the background. This makes for quite an interesting (and possibly unlistenable) remix if you tweak the EQ a bit and trim the start - like this:

Orange Juice - Flesh Of My Flesh [Lord John White And The Bottleneck Train Reversi Mix]

Special mention should also go to the instrumental version of "In A Nutshell" that came from the Rip It Up sessions. It wasn't included in the boxset but was sent as an exclusive mp3 to all those who pre-ordered from Domino. Edwyn is apparently quite fond of the way the Rip It Up line-up would play this old song.

Disc Four is almost perfect apart from the Summer '83 version of Bridge has strangely been truncated by a couple of seconds to remove the final "Thank you!" from Edwyn's address to the fake crowd. I was surprised that there weren't more out-takes from the Texas Fever sessions as alluded to in the 1998 Polydor reissue liner notes. The rough mixes included are only slightly less polished than the released versions, but Edwyn described a lot of funk work-outs being recorded that he found difficulty writing vocals for.

Disc Five is, at first glance, principally missing the 2nd dub version of "A Place In My Heart" which was released on the NME's "Department Of Enjoyment" cassette in 1984. The version they do include is listed as the "12" Dub Version" from the "What Presence?!" single but that label is technically incorrect as it appeared in the same form on both 7" and 12" formats and neither were labelled at the time as anything other than "Dub Version".

Again, you can understand why Domino chose to omit one as they are very similar mixes, so it's only upon closer listening I realised that what they have actually included in the Boxset is, in fact, the "Dub Mix 2" from the NME tape, leaving the "What Presence?!" dub version still unreleased on CD.

The easiest way to tell the difference between the two is in the first verse where the vocal is almost acapella. The What Presence?! Dub Version 1 drops the drums and bass back in on the "just why" line whereas the NME version Dub Version 2 drops them back in two bars earlier on the line "gonna write you a letter".

In actual fact - to split hairs, the version on the boxset is not quite the same as the NME tape version as Zeke's drum clicks at the very start have been edited out! Am I being picky or what?

According to Kris the master tapes must have been mixed up as one was clearly labelled "dub mix for NME low EQ". To make up for the error he has kindly allowed me to offer the missing What Presence?! single dub version here

Orange Juice - A Place In My Heart [Dub Version 1]

The 3 live tracks from the cassette that came with the "What Presence?!" 7" (not fully credited in the liner notes - they were recorded for Radio Clyde at the Glasgow Pavilion on 26/3/84) have also had bits of Edwyn's chat removed. On the original tape at the start of "In A Nutshell" he says "it's time for a sensitive ballad now". The tracks are continuous too - not faded in between like the boxset, and at the end of "Simply Thrilled Honey" Edwyn says "unfortunately I've broken a string" then "OK this is a song, a very emotional song, about the day my hamster died its called Dying Day"

This editing down of Edwyn's patter continues with the 2 live tracks from the Lean Period flexi. These are credited as being from the soundtrack to "Dada With Juice" and the boxset does exactly that - gives us the audio tracks from the DVD, but the original flexi has the full soundboard versions which included Edwyn's intros which weren't on the video.

For reference, on the flexi, "Rip It Up" is introduced with the words

..but on the other hand there has been a lot of oppression up in Scotland cos my social worker told me that. He did you know (in an English accent) he really did! And just to prove it here's a song called "Rip It Up"

and What Presence is introduced with the words

..despite "Rip It Up" being a hit, for some reason perhaps the most phenomenal new single so far "What Presence?!" failed abysmally. Now, we want to know..why is this? Don't we?

It seems that these small cuts were done for space reasons, in order to squeeze a further track onto the disc which was already almost full.

Finally another labelling anomaly appears with the "Lean Period" 12" mix being referred to as a dub version. The original 12" only lists it as the "Extended Version". I'm guessing that these alternate labels came from the original master tapes.

Disc Six, is by Domino's own admission (unavoidably) missing the 1983 Janice Long Session. The original BBC tapes couldn't be found, and from discussions with Ken Garner the author of "In Session Tonight" it appears that this was Janice's first Radio 1 show and was broadcast from Manchester that night, not London, which possibly explains the absent master tape. An appeal from Domino to fans who may have had an off-air tape drew a blank, and although a copy has since surfaced, it is nowhere near CD quality. A real shame as it includes great versions of Rip It Up, Flesh Of My Flesh and Love Sick. At least you can now listen and pretend you've tuned into 1980's Medium Wave radio.

Orange Juice - BBC Radio 1 Janice Long Session 1983-03

It's good to see that the previously referred to "Mike Read" session of 1981 has now been corrected to "Richard Skinner". Again through Ken Garner's help, it was established that Mike Read stopped doing the Evening Session at the end of 1980 (moving to the Breakfast slot) and so from January 1981 all Evening Sessions were presented by Richard Skinner. In all probability when the producer booked the band in for the session it would still have been Mike Read's show so it's easy to see where the confusion arose.

As for the DVD, tracking down all the original Orange Juice footage would have been a mammoth task (not to mention expensive). I suspect there would have been a fair bit more included if licensing costs, space and time allowed. For example it would have been fun to see the two manic 1983 Top Of The Pops appearances for "Rip It Up" on there in high quality

Still it's good to see that they did include the promo video on the DVD. After all these years I finally realised that this is where the free still prints that came with Flesh Of My Flesh singles were grabbed from.

Similarly Edwyn's shirt on the Whistle Test clips on the DVD (and on the front of Smash Hits in the boxset booklet) - forms the tartan basis of the same single's cover.

In addition to those TOTP appearances there is the Blue Boy promo video that was made for the 1993 re-release

An appearance on Something Else in 1981 doing "Falling & Laughing"

An appearance on Channel 4's "The Switch" in 1983 (doing 2 or 3 more songs I think)

An appearance on Kids TV show "Get Set" in 1983 doing "Flesh Of My Flesh"

Zeke and Edwyn backing Paul Quinn on the BBC's "Rock Around The Clock" in 1984 (they also backed him on "The Oxford Roadshow" in 1983 doing "I Gave You Love")

As well as these low quality clips available online, ITN Source and BBC Motion Gallery list a few other items that have yet to be unearthed:

An appearance in the 1981 Danny Baker documentary "20th Century Box" being interviewed in a London cafe.

An appearance on "The Oxford Road Show" in 1983 doing "Rip It Up"

An interview with Edwyn and Zeke on "The Saturday Picture Show" in May 1984

And finally the only other thing I can think of right now is the hilarious and bizarre Promo/Advert that Edwyn & Zeke filmed for the last album - wich was featured as an extra on Edwyn's "Phantasmagoria" video concert.

Moving on to the remaster of "Dada With Juice" - this is a little bit strange to say the least. Full marks for restoring the correct name of the disc to "Dada With The Juice" (as per the title sequence) but there seems to be some unexplainable fades between songs that weren't present on the VHS original. For example the guitar intro on "What Presence?!" is totally removed and fades in part way through the ensuing feedback. I don't understand why, unless it was done accidentally as part of the DVD chapter marking?

Also the end credits have been completely excised - not only does this mean we miss a good minute or so of the last song, but also that everyone who worked on the original release loses out on a credit as they aren't included in the booklet. It doesn't even mention the Producer & Director Mike Mansfield (whom we can presumably thank for the crazy 80's video effects!).

The truncated ending also means you miss out on the post-credits pay-off to the art gallery interludes as Edwyn (or "Edwin" as the absent credits would have it) chooses a picture that was stuck to the shop window and Zeke acquires a massive poodle.

(..and breathe..)

Congratulations if you've made it to the end of all this rambling. Sometimes I wear the anorak a little too well. As usual, all comments and corrections are more than welcome.

Many thanks to Kris at Domino for putting up with my incessant questions and allowing me to post the missing dub mix.

And finally did I mention - you can't live without this:

Orange Juice - Coals To Newcastle Boxset BUY IT HERE!

You won't regret it - I promise