Record Review: China Crisis – Autumn In The Neighbourhood [part 3]

Gary + Eddie today

[…continued from previous post]

“Because My Heart” began deceptively, with a series of descending, rather jazzy piano triplets before the surprising inclusion of a pedal steel guitar brought the melody to the table for this “after the affair” breakup song of quiet resigned anguish. The piano kept the rhythm throughout the song ending it exactly as it had begun it. This was the first track on the album to feature much of the classic China Crisis lineup, suggesting that it had been begun nearly 20 years ago. This must be fact because the drummer here was the first of several posthumously released Kevin Wilkinson mandolin/drum performances on this album. Long-time fans might remember that Wilkinson [League Of Gentlemen, China Crisis] had tragically committed suicide in 1999.

A passing of a decidedly different kind fueled the wistful and warmly affectionate elegy to a dying father in “Bernard.” The music here was gentle and muted; even moreso than the normally mild-mannered China Crisis sound. Gary Daly was dry and up front as he celebrated a life and its love in a clear-eyed and tender manner that I found rather stunning. It would be too easy to get bogged down in maudlin over emoting, but Daly had not time for that here. He offered instead a haiku-like series of warm observances and non-possessive love that almost managed to make me regret not having offspring to say such things on my deathbed.

“Phillipa misses you, she is sad
She is spending time, looking back
Nothing changes, nothing real
Nothing changes how we feel

Say goodbye
We are all here by your side
Surrender to the blinding light
One last time
We are all here by your side
Surrender to the blinding light” – “Bernard”

This one also featured Wilkinson on guitar/drums and one of the most wonderful things about this track were the airy, expression backing vocals of Nina Jones and Molly Daly [Gary’s daughter] which evoked the great Wendy Smith of Prefab Sprout as they gorgeously mirrored the piano and horn lines. Piano played, incidentally by one “Howie Jones,” Possibly better known as Howard Jones? Could very well be.

After such a beautiful elegy, the energy level amped up a tad for the gorgeous “Joy And The Spark,” the third consecutive song with Wilkinson drums. The rhythm here from Wilkinson was motorik, albeit at such a low bpm it barely registered as such. Daly’s synth got the sunny hook fluttering through this song concurrent with his piano. China Crisis exist to create warmly yearning songs like this one. Hearing a track like this only served to remind me how much I’m lacking when China Crisis are inactive.

Most of the classic band lineup all contributed to “Being In Love” and while most of the songs here were solitary Daly or Lundon tracks, this one doesn’t hurt for involving the whole band in writing. In fact, it sounded like a victory lap at successfully revisiting the “Flaunt The Imperfection” sound, albeit with even better writing. The mellifluous music here was coupled with a chorus packed with contrapuntal melodies via multiple backing harmonies and synths offsetting Stuart Nisbet’s richly sustained lead guitar solo.

Next: …More than words can say

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Record Review: China Crisis – Autumn In The Neighbourhood [part 2]

Gary Daly + Eddie Lundon

[…continued from post before last]

It opened with China Crisis’s equivalent of an all-gunsblazing track. I will come right out and declare that I don’t think they have ever cut as fine a song as “Smile [What Kind of Love Is This].” It opened deceptively with the sound of a brass chamber ensemble from the 18th century before all of the other instruments rejoined the mix in a gentle, but slightly rollicking groove. As always, this band were so unassuming and diffident in their external appearance that it sometimes meant that their hard work and deep consideration managed to lie below the surface of their deceptively laid back songs.

“Smile and shake the hand of the good for nothing
Work the head of those best forgotten” – “Smile”

“Smile” opened with a rare archly wry lyric [above] while the arrangement managed to evoke past glories with near-Mariachi horns straight out of the B-side “Orange Mutt-Mutt Dance.” But the delicate balancing act of the arrangement here was the real feat. It was a busy arrangement, with synths, brass section, guitars, synth bass, and even bazouki! With a pennywhistle on top as the icing on the cake. This one track managed to distill the essence of China Crisis into a delicate soufflé of a song that was both robust and filled with delight. And it sounded as accomplished as the day was long. In lesser hands, it would have all collapsed, yet China Crisis made it sound like it was their stock-in-trade; because it was. If ever a single song could sum up the appeal of China Crisis, this was the one!

The dreamy “Down Here On Earth” was another Gary Daly-led slice of jazzpop sophistication that played like a long-lost top track off of “What Price Paradise,” or “Diary Of A Hollow Horse.” It’s joyous to hear this band [on this track with Brian McNeil on keys] reveling in their sound yet the effect transcends self-pastiche. In every way, the band sound laid-back [China Crisis could never be otherwise] yet the quiet professionalism of the group eschew any showboating even as they are clearly a more mature unit in every sense of the word. The song superficially recalls something from “Flaunt The imperfection,” yet that work seems rightly callow next to this. Daly’s lyrics sum up the band’s appeal with references to “joyful pain and sorrow” that hint at underlying melancholy while delivering joy with the fantastic melodies.

The title track took a new tact for the band; back to the late 70s with a sound heavy with Fender Rhodes electric piano and wah-wah effects. Mellow, yet downbeat with a jazz chaser. It sounded very much like something that CTI might have had their name on. This one was beguiling and the 12 musicians on it hardly came close to upsetting the apple cart. This was simply accomplished, songwriting given the full benefit of a seemingly unlimited number of sympathetic musicians. That was clearly one of the most delightful things about this album thus far. It was far from being Gary and Eddie with a harmonica rack and acoustic guitar. In fact, this was some of the most complex and ornate music they’d ever crafted thus far. Yet there was no threat of it bloating on the seashore like a beached whale. This was too musically captivating. In a world where less is more, the bands that can successfully pull off this conceit are few.

Conversely, their other strength was that they achieved this with music that superficially sounded easy. I think this came down to the clear vision for the songwriting that kept things simple and direct, thematically, while the music was building in complexity underneath it all. The emotional tenor of this album was straightforward and even simple, while the music was full of careful filigree and tightly balanced arrangements that supported the direct and easy emotional tone of the album with melodic and rhythmic invention that sounded easier than it really was. Not every band can achieve this.

Next: …The Finest Elegy

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STOP PRESSES: Heaven 17 In USA For Two Shows Next Month!

Martyn Ware and Glenn Gregory of Heaven 17 pray their American tour will sell out, but how could it not? Demand is pent up, gents!

I know we just started rambling about the latest China Crisis album, but today I’ll have to post this breaking news instead! Possibly the one band I now want to see live more than any other are Heaven 17. I always loved their music, but they never toured in their heyday. Not until they reformed in the late 90s did they entertain the notion. And they never played in America. Oh, they were pencilled in on a retro package that would have seen them bundled together with fellow Sheffielders ABC back in 2009 on the Regeneration Tour, so I was hot to attend, but they bailed out of it, thankfully, before I bought tickets. In retrospect, I should have gone to see ABC, even if Belinda Carlisle and Cutting Crew were on the bill…maybe. Losing H17 definitely made it a deal killer for me.

But in 2009, I was not quite the Heaven 17 fan that I am today. Their killer live album, “Live At Metropolis Studios,” from 2013, was a revelation to these ears; featuring an immense live lineup that fully and powerfully took their songbook live for the first time ever. I’d seen and heard previous tours that were albums or DVDs and they were adequate, but no more. After seeing the Metropolis show, this band shot to the top of my live wish list.

Now they will be playing in New York City at the Highline Ballroom on September 27th!

Then on Saturday, September 30th, they will be playing the Music Tastes Good Festival in Long Beach, California.

This was just released out into the world this morning, and I really have no idea about the how or why of these shows, sandwiched as they are into their normal touring schedule in a highly awkward fashion, as seen below:

Heaven 17 | Summer-Winter World Tour | 2017

Fri, Aug 18 | The Picturedrome | Holmfirth, GB
Sun, Aug 20 | Temple Island Meadows | Henley On Thames, GB
Sat, Sep 23 | The Exchange | Sturminster Newton, GB
Wed, Sep 27 | Highline Ballroorm | New York City, NY
Sat, Sep 30 | The Music Tastes Good Festival | Long Beach, CA
Fri, Nov 10 | Foundry | Sheffield , GB
Sat, Nov 11 | Hangar 34 | Liverpool, GB
Fri, Nov 17 | The Welly | Kingston Upon Hull, GB
Sat, Nov 18 | Academy | Manchester, GB
Fri, Nov 24 | Copper Rooms | Warwick, GB
Sat, Nov 25 | Waterfront | Norwich, GB
Sat, Dec 2 | ULU | London, GB
Fri, Dec 15 | Dobbie Hall | Falkirk , GB
Sat, Dec 16 | Grand Hall | Kilmarnock, GB
Sun, Dec 17 | Assembly | Aberdeen, GB

I’d really love to attend, but there’s just no way, outside of going into debt, that it could happen right now. There are lots of trips for us happening this year. Lots of shows. Heck, I’ll be seeing The Church the night before where I live. My angst is tempered somewhat by the suspicion that this will not be the “full monty” killa seven piece lineup of my dreams, but a trimmed down variation with Berenice Scott on computer/keys with the core duo of Ware and Gregory. If I knew for a fact that this would e the same band as on Metropolis, I would be selling off some “family jewels” from the Record Cell to finance going. But don’t let my budget stop you, if you’ve an inclination!

Tickets go on sale this Friday the 18th at noon for the Highline show here. $30-$55 but my advice is, don’t scrimp. Treat yourself. The tickets for the Music Tastes Good Festival in Long Beach are already on sale here. At the very least, I’m hopeful that some North American fans who frequent the pages here can make it for me and report back with their findings.

– 30 –

Posted in Core Collection, Live Music, Organ Auction Live Event | Tagged , , | 14 Comments

Record Review: China Crisis – Autumn In The Neighbourhood [part 1]

PledgeMusic | UK | CD | 2015

China Crisis: Autumn In The Neighbourhood UK CD [2015]

  1. Smile [What Kind Of Love Is This]
  2. Down Here On Earth
  3. Autumn In The Neighbourhood
  4. Because My Heart
  5. Bernard
  6. Joy + The Spark
  7. Being In Love
  8. Fool
  9. My Sweet Delight
  10. Tell tale Signs
  11. Wonderful New World

When we last checked, China Crisis had begun a Pledge Music campaign for their first album since 1994 back in 2013. Between Moogfest ticket$ for the Spring of 2014, and a longer than two week vacation encompassing California [and all three Amoeba stores] later that year, and another planned two week vacation in 2015, I was in squirrel-like saving mode. I cut my music purchases down severely in that period to store up funds. I imagined, that once the new album was out, China Crisis would sell the rights to it to small boutique labels far and sundry. After all, their excellent 1995 live album “Acoustically Yours” can be bought in a brain-melting array of different titles and packages the world over. That’s what I thought, any way.

2014 came and went with no China Crisis album delivered yet, so I could have pledged… had I not been saving for another, atypically long vacation in the Fall of 2015! I had pledged for the CD as a birthday gift to a friend in December of 2013 and I had to give her a mea culpa since the pledge delivery target was missed by the band that entire year. I was busy saving through 2015 for that vacation when all of a sudden in the Summer of 2015, China Crisis shipped the CD out to the pledgers! And then that was it. The campaign was closed, and I was unable to get a CD from Pledge Music after that time. Not to worry, I thought. They have a master now, so they’ll probably license it to those aforementioned, small, boutique labels. Except that never happened. If one didn’t pledge during the 18 month period between the start of the campaign and the delivery, one was simply out of luck.

It was not even possible to buy the album at the band’s own merch tables! A friend of mine who attended the Retro Futura tour got to see China Crisis sing five songs and hand out at the merch table with fans, but there was not a single copy of “Autumn In the Neighbourhood” to be found for sale. Eventually, scant copies filtered onto the gray market at the $40-$50 price point. Ouch! I put it on my Discogs want list and hoped that when one surfaced that I could scare up the funds in time. But that never happened. I stewed in my juices for two years until a chance came my way on the New Wave Outpost message board.

Of course, that’s the kind of place where I would frequent, but in a thread about the new China Crisis DLX RMs, I managed to grouse about the extreme scarcity of this album. One fellow who had multiple copies came to my aid, and a week later it’s in my hands. And wouldn’t you know it? we’re out of time to move further than the “convoluted backstory” portion of the review today. Join us tomorrow for a closer look at this album.

Next: …Smile

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Record Review: Wang Chung – Points On The Curve [part 2]

<…continued from previous post>

With “Dance Hall Days” breaking into the US Billboard Top 20 at #16, I expected better things from the follow up single, “Don’t Let Go.” I liked it more than the first hit. This was a taut stormer of a tune, with a galloping rhythm track courtesy of Darren Costin, who added surgically precise drum fills to the drum machine that moved this one along at a rapid clip. Speaking of clip, the tight, sixteenth notes of sax interjection from Mel Collins gave this one real punch, right where it did the most good. It’s hard not to think that this one would have easily waltzed right in to the Top 10 in America, but it stalled at the outset of the charts at 38. Shocking! There’s no accounting for taste, I suppose.

We next got a fascinating deep cut that seemed for all the world like a holdover from the Huang Chung days. I say that because “Even If You Dream” was co-written between Hues and David Burnand, a.k.a. “Hogg Robinson.” Burnand had departed from the band following their time with Arista, but not before co-writing this one. Nick Feldman’s bass was again channeling the current FGTH sound, so I suspect he was using the exact same gear and setup. Naturally, the results were a bit funky in that 1984 way of doing it. The one thing that really leapt out at my ears here, was a surprise stab at Oriental sounds that manifested in the brief middle eight that sounded like a one bar excerpt from a Chinese opera before the pulsating rhythms came back into the foreground. Intriguingly enough, the middle eight was simply the bass line, slowed to half speed and played for a quarter measure. It worked like a charm.

The final single here was the clattering electrofunk of “Don’t Be My Enemy.” The album version seemed a little unsure of itself, so the decision to remix the album track for a single release made a lot of sense.  What stood out royally on this track was the expansive solo they let sax player Mel Collins have on the middle eight. I’d swear he got 20 bars here to really sink his teeth into by far the longest solo of any instrument on the album. The album ran a respectable 43:11, so it’s not like the 1:15 of sax soloing gave the album the illusion of more meat on its bones.

As it was heading toward the finish line, obviously, a slow tempo ballad was called for next. “Devoted Friends” was just that; a slightly embittered look at a love affair gone up in smoke. The rhythm here was a techno heartbeat pulse ripped straight from Ultravox’s “Just For A Moment” albeit re-set into a more jazzlike setting driven by melodramatic piano chords. The closing “Talk It Out” seemed to be cut from a similar rhythmic cloth, even if the tempo was slightly faster there. Any other album would have faded out the song at the 3:30 point but instead, the band built up a head of steam with over a minute of repetition. Just when things began to get intense, the album ended with an all time best cold ending; abrupt and jarring.

Back when the Huang Chung album was released, it got compared in the scant press I saw on it as being in the Ultravox vein. Frankly, I don’t hear that on that particular album. It was just somewhat high-tech rock music and the press may have been grasping at straws. This one came a little closer to that standard. It’s not as steeped in tech as Ultravox were at this time, and Wang Chung, preferred a lighter, jazzier touch, but on a song like “Don’t Let Go” it comes pretty close to that mark. Sophisticated, high-tech New Wave rock with a Krautrock foundation. Like Billy Currie in Ultravox, Jack Hues had a University background in music, so he was cut from a similar cloth.

The interesting thing about Wang Chung was that they did not have a dedicated keyboard player. For “Points On The Curve,” all three members have keyboard credit. Moreover, Feldman and Hues both play guitar. This maybe makes the band on this album more fluid with producers Chris Hughes and Ross Cullum undoubtedly picked for their sensitive work on Tears For Fears’ debut, “The Hurting.” The production team clicked here as well, resulting in an album that was on the tech side of things for 1984 without being musically stiff. The sophistication that Hues brought to the game meant that the results here were several steps away from garden variety synthpop of the time. Also, dance aesthetics were given equal footing with rock here, with neither genre dominant. The Wang Chung restraint that defined this band all but assured that. The one fiery guitar solo here on “Wait” that might have been this albums Eddie Van Halen moment was mixed and muted so far downwind that you might have missed it had you not been searching for it.

This album represents for me, the one moment in the sun where Wang Chung were standing in their spotlight. The first album was tentative. The next one was too far into the crass pop zone for my tastes. After that I heard nothing until their surprising 2012 return with the “Tazer Up” album, which I’d call my second favorite overall of their output. I have never heard the “Warmer Side Of Cool” album., but this album is the one with a comfortable berth in my Record Cell. It’s my favorite example of what Wang Chung had to offer these ears: dryly reserved techno rock sophistication with a chaser of dance funk DNA.

– 30 –

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Record Review: Wang Chung – Points On The Curve [part 1]

Geffen Records ‎| US | CD | 1984 | 4004-2

Wang Chung: Points On The Curve US CD [1984]

  1. Dance Hall Days
  2. Wait
  3. True Love
  4. The Waves
  5. Look At Me Now
  6. Don’t Let Go
  7. Even If You Dream
  8. Don’t Be My Enemy
  9. Devoted Friends
  10. Talk It Out

My first exposure to Wang Chung came a year earlier, when they were called Huang Chung. I was aware of US Arista dipping their toes into the synthpop waters with signings of Heaven 17, Pete Shelley, and…Huang Chung. I was all over the first two artists. They were a major part of the 1981 vibe that I was still riding even in 1982, when the Huang Chung album happened. For whatever reason, probably down to the fact that I never heard a note from it anywhere, I ignored the Huang Chung experience.

We moved along, when in 1983, the now signed to Geffen and renamed Wang Chung, managed to get their heads above water enough to have a clip for “Dance Hall Days” get some real traction on MTV. In fact, it got played enough to make a sizable hit out of it. While I didn’t hate it, it got played enough on MTV to wear out its welcome with me. I remember shopping at Murmur in late 1983 with my friend Tom and his curiosity was piqued by the excellent Barney Bubbles cover to the “Points On The Curve” album. I told him they sounded okay, but were nothing too special. In that time period, we were still far more interested in Ultravox/Simple Minds/OMD records.

It remained untilI met my friend Mr. Ware in 1985, and we enthusiastically had large swaths of our record collections crossing over in a venn diagram of sound. When he revealed an interest in Wang Chung that I had not picked up on, the thought occurred that maybe I should check them out occurred to me. I bought a used CD of “Points On The Curve” soon afterward and it’s been in the Record Cell ever since. I also sprang for their follow up album, “Mosaic,” but that one was too saccharine to my ears. Mr. Ware and his rock-steady-cru® [namely myself and his friend/bandmate Ray] trekked to Tampa one night in 1986 to see The Chung at the London Victory Club on their “Mosaic” tour. A decent show, and the “Mosaic” material live had more allure than on the album. Even so, it got sold off along the way, leaving the more ideal second album as my go-to Wang Chung album.

“Dance Hall Days” was built around a tribal/shuffle beat from Darrin Costin and ringing guitar chords from singer Jack Hues, who had the subtlest “punk name” I’d ever come across this side of Eugene Reynolds. Born Jeremy Ryder, he’d adopted the French phonetic moniker of “Jack Hues” [j’accuse… geddit?] like any musician refined in the fires of the punk rock movement in time for the emergence of Huang Chung. Hues’ clipped, veddy British delivery was probably an acquired taste for many, but I had little problem with it. His vocals, mirrored the restrained passion that this band was putting down. It was not for nothing that canny graphic designer Barney Bubbles listened to this music and devised an identity for it based on precise graphics built upon a graph paper grid motif.

It was never an A-side in America, but the next song, “Wait,” was one of my favorites here. It had a brilliant vibe with a long, almost proggy intro that coalesced into a shimmering cut diamond arrangement. Nick Feldman was playing bass that sounded like the same samples that were taking Frankie Goes To Holywood to the top of the charts at the same time. They had a very tasteful use of the infamous 8-bit Orchestra Hit® on this one that managed to survive the time span of its initial usage to wear well on my ears to this day, and few can make that claim. The harp and xylophone hooks were pretty exotic for what was actually a driving, almost motorik synthpop number. This one still sounds pretty powerful half a lifetime later. I love the vocal syncopation on lyrics like “evidently…there’s a difficulty.”

“True Love” had sort of a glamrock throwback beat, which I wonder how much that producer Chris [“Merrick”] Hughes of Adam’s Ants fame had to do with it. I loved how the next song, “The Waves” managed to quote the chorus of the preceding “True Love” as its middle eight! The laid back, jazzy vibe of this number also revealed Hues’ roots as a jazzer; something he’s pursuing at this stage of his life again. This was a pretty sophisticated arrangement and featured very slick but tasteful tenor sax work by Mel [King Crimson] Collins.

Side one closed with a bang with the sparkling “Look At Me Now,” a seemingly autobiographical song from Hues pen [no co-writing credits here]. The effervescent groove of the intro suggested an elegant whitefunk of the Roxy/Avalon persuasion. Think “The Main Thing.” Of course, Hues managed to stay to this side of the fiery line with his powerful but controlled delivery. I think he simply had too much education to allow himself to give in to sloppiness in his delivery. The machine rhythms matched his delivery as they simmered throughout the length of the track. I have to say that in retrospect, the touch of vocoders used here were almost shocking in their juxtaposition. They added fiery ice to a to what was a heartfelt, yet reserved number. Almost the Wang Chung ethos in a microcosm.

Next: …Side Two Awaits

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Seven CDs Of China Crisis For All

The DLX RMs I gave up on are finally scheduled

Gloryoski! It’s taken the patience of a saint, but next month Caroline International are gifting us with DLX RMs of the sacred first three China Crisis albums. I had given up hope on this notion many years ago. So much so that I made my own BSOG of China Crisis a decade ago…since I felt the likelihood of it happening for real was slim to none! When their fifth and last album for the Virgin label made its debut as their first DLX RM four years ago, I thought to myself, “that’s it… game over!” I stuck to listening to my bespoke BSOG and that, as they say, was that.

All of that changes next month. There are 2xCD copies of the delightfully demure “Difficult Shapes And Passive Rhythms [Some People Think Its Fun To Entertain]” and the best selling “Flaunt The Imperfection.” Three shiny discs are scheduled for my personal favorite of their albums, “Working With Fire + Steel [Possible Pop Songs Vol. 2].” Does it get any better than that? What, prithee, are the contents of these august discs?

Caroline International | UK | 2xCD | 2017

China Crisis: Difficult Shapes + Passive Rhythms [Some People Think Its Fun To Entertain] UK 2xCD [2017]

CD 1 [Album]

  1. Seven Sports for All
  2. No More Blue Horizons (Fool, Fool, Fool)
  3. Feel to Be Driven Away
  4. Some People I Know to Lead Fantastic Lives
  5. Christian
  6. African And White
  7. Are We a Worker
  8. Red Sails
  9. You Never See It
  10. Temptations Big Blue Eyes
  11. Jean Walks in Freshfields

CD 2 [Bonus Tracks]

  1. Paula and Patricia [Demo]
  2. Lowlands – [Demo]
  3. African And White [Demo]
  4. African And White [12]
  5. No More Blue Horizons (Fool, Fool, Fool) [12]
  6. No Ordinary Lover [B-Side]
  7. Watching Over Burning Fields [B-Side]
  8. Scream Down at Me [A-Side]
  9. Greenacre Bay [B-Side]
  10. Performing Seals [B-Side]
  11. Cucumber Garden [B-Side]
  12. Seven Sports for All [Peel Session]
  13. This Occupation [Peel Session]
  14. Be Suspicious [Peel Session]
  15. Some People I Know to Lead Fantastic Lives [Peel Session]

Going over the contents with a fine toothed comb reveals that only one track is missing that should be here. “Be Suspicious,” the B-side to the “African + White” single. “Cucumber Garden” exists in a regular and extended version, so I’m not sure which one we’ll get. I’m assuming that the “African + White” and “No More Blue Horizons” versions included here [and originally called B-sides] are in fact the 12″ extended remixes of these tracks. Everything in monksblood red is a previously unreleased track, be they demos or BBC sessions! I asked after discussing their last DLX RM where the rest of their BBS sessions were and they finally reach our ears here.

Caroline International | UK | 3xCD | 2017

China Crisis: Working With Fire + Steel [Possible Pop Songs Vol. 2] UK 3xCD [2017]

CD 1 [Album]

  1. Working with Fire and Steel
  2. When the Piper Calls
  3. Hanna Hanna
  4. Animals in Jungles
  5. Here Comes a Raincloud
  6. Wishful Thinking
  7. Tragedy and Mystery
  8. Papua
  9. The Gates of Door To Door
  10. The Soul Awakening

CD 2 [Bonus tracks]

  1. Jon and Van [Demo]
  2. Tragedy and Mystery [Demo]
  3. When the Piper Calls [Demo]
  4. Fire and Steel [Mix]
  5. Dockland [B-Side]
  6. Forever I and I [B-Side]
  7. Tragedy and Mystery [Extended Mix]
  8. A Golden Handshake for Every Daughter [B-Side]
  9. Wishful Thinking [7]
  10. Some People I Know to Lead Fantastic Lives [B-Side]
  11. This Occupation [Extended Mix]
  12. Some People I Know to Lead Fantastic Lives [Extended Mix]
  13. Hanna Hanna [Extended Mix]
  14. Here Come a Raincloud [Live]
  15. African And White [Live]

CD 3 [BBC Sessions]

  1. Hanna Hanna – Kid Jensen Session
  2. You Never See It – Kid Jensen Session
  3. Animals and Jungles – Kid Jensen Session
  4. Reflections – Kid Jensen Session
  5. A Golden Handshake for Every Daughter – John Peel Session
  6. Wishful Thinking – John Peel Session
  7. Here Comes a Raincloud – John Peel Session
  8. Greenacre Day – John Peel Session
  9. Papua – Kid Jensen Session
  10. No Ordinary Lover – Kid Jensen Session
  11. When the Piper Calls – Kid Jensen Session
  12. The Soul Awakening – Kid Jensen Session

The biggest achilles heel of this whole program, as far as I’m concerned, was the omission of the 7″ version of the “Wishful Thinking” B-side, “This Occupation.” The extended version of the track is far more common; and one of my favorite B-side ever by anyone, but the 7″ mix is so completely different to the Cab Volt gone dub of the 12″ mix, that it seems like a different song entirely. Everything else from this period of singles is accounted for. Another omission, though less annoying, was the live BBC recording I have on a BBC Rock Hour transcription disc. It featured the band recorded live in concert playing “Hanna  Hanna,” “Wishful Thinking,” “Christian,” “African + White,” “Working With Fire + Steel.” Two of the tracks surfaced as the B-sides on the “Hanna Hanna” 12″ single, included at the end of CD2, but the other three tracks are m.i.a.

Caroline International | UK | 2xCD | 2017

China Crisis: Flaunt The Imperfection UK 2xCD [2017]

CD 1 [Album]

  1. The Highest High
  2. Strength of Character
  3. You Did Cut Me
  4. Black Man Ray
  5. Wall of God
  6. Gift of Freedom
  7. King in a Catholic Style
  8. Bigger the Punch I’m Feeling
  9. The World Spins, I’m Part of It
  10. Blue Sea

CD 2 [Bonus Tracks]

  1. Wall of God [Demo]
  2. Black Man Ray [Demo]
  3. Bigger the Punch I’m Feeling [Demo]
  4. Animalistic [B-side]
  5. Christian [live]
  6. You Did Cut Me [live]
  7. Seven Sports for All [live]
  8. King in A Catholic Style (Wake Up) [Extended Mix]
  9. Animalistic [B-Side]
  10. It’s Never Too Late [B-Side]
  11. 96-8 [B-Side]
  12. Orange Mutt – Mutt Dance [B-side]
  13. Gift of Freedom [Janice Long Session]
  14. Strength of Character [Janice Long Session]
  15. Wall of God [Janice Long Session]
  16. King in A Catholic Style (Wake Up) [Janice Long Session]

The only grievous omission here, and I can’t really carp, was the inclusion of the 7″ version of the “Black Man Ray” B-side “Animalistic.” That’s because the “Day At The Zoo Mix” from the 12″ of “Black Man Ray” is far more common. The 7″ version [which is just the front end of the 12″ mix] has not ever made it to CD, so this is fine. However, the “Day At the Zoo” mix is one of the finest and most ahead of its time 12″ mixes of the mid-80s in that it prefigured the entire ambient/chillout/dub genre as spearheaded by Future Sound Of London’s “Papua New Guinea” five years later! In fact, given that the second China Crisis album has a track called “Papua,” I think it’s safe to assume that if you cut members of Future Sound of London, they might just bleed China Crisis. Just saying. These are available currently for pre-order in foreign editions of the “you-know-who” store, and to date I have not found any US outlets selling these, but hopefully, they will not be long in coming to my Record Cell.

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