This is a song that has haunted me since 1980. I first heard it on Virgin’s “Cash Cows” compilation and it stuck in my mind like glue. It took me until 1995 until a friend found a copy of “Cash Cows” and gave it to me, not knowing that I had been searching 15 years for my own copy. Not to mention never, ever finding a copy of the Lizards second album, “Fourth Wall!” So for the last 17 years, at least I had the version of the song on “Cash Cows.” I’ve played it a lot, making up for the many years I obsessed over this song. By the time that I bought the Cherry Red 2xCD of both Virgin Flying Lizards albums last September, you might say I had a very good grasp on this song; one of my New Wave favorites of all time and very much my favorite Flying Lizards tune.
Imagine my surprise when I found that the version on the album is quite the different kettle of fish once I bought it and began listening to it. First of all, the 7″ version has a nominal time of 3:59. The LP version one of 4:06. The version on “Cash Cows” is 4:21! It’s not like “Cash Cows” wasn’t already packed with odd mixes that took years to filter out otherwise. See the unique recording of Japan’s “Ain’t That Peculiar” that surfaced only here for a number of years. The back of “Cash Cows” also claims the Flying Lizards album is “forthcoming” so there’s all the reason in the world to believe that this was a rough mix that got nailed down considerably in the interim between this album’s release and the issuing of “Fourth Wall.”
What are the differences? Well, it’s all in the mix. Patti Palladin’s vocal performance sounds the same. The big tipoff is the intro, which is longer and more protracted. I first noticed that the LP version was much quicker to get right into the song, but the extended yowling of Palladin on the “Cash Cows” mix was so appealing to me, and I missed it right off. Other than that, the track stays similar until the song’s midpoint. On “Cash Cows,” there is no more Palladin in the rest of the song. On the LP mix, she shows up for another run at the chorus following the bridge, albeit in a higher vocal register.
On the LP mix there is a drastically different instrumental bridge using sounds simply not present on the earlier version. The bridge on the earlier version is instead a very Frippian guitar solo. As soon as the sax comes in near the end, the LP mix starts fading, but the fade starts later on the early mix. You can hear the sax there all the way to the bitter end. So after 31 years, I now have “Hands 2 Take” by The Flying Lizards in two different mixes, though none of the Flying Lizards web resources available [spartan though they are] make any reference to these different mixes at all. My curiosity is to see now what the 7″ single sounds like, but it’s so darned hard to find [after all, I’ve been looking for it since 1980] that I may never get to A/B/C compare the LP/early mix/7″ mix to ascertain their unique qualities. This is yet another reason to always remember to play your records. You can never assume anything about what’s actually on them unless you listen to them.
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