When a friend recently sent me discs of the early Vice Versa records from ’79-’80 it was an event to trigger one of my increasingly infrequent BSOGs, or “boxed sets of god.” This time handling the career breadth of Sheffield’s magnificent ABC. I had completing my collection of ABC rarities to compile and remaster a BSOG for this band for the last dozen years or so. With their scarcity, I never imagined that the Vice Versa records would just fall into my lap as they did, but having them, it made all of the sense in the world to start the ABC project since the group morphed dramatically into ABC by 1981.
But this box will differ from other projects in one respect; my lack of interest in ABC’s house music period, corresponding to albums “Up” and “Abracadabra,” means that this collection of nooks and crannies, not on the original albums, will not be canonically complete. Hence the BSOG Jr. appellation. Other than that, every single mix/remix/variation/loose track from ’79-’87, and ’97-current will be accounted for. But what does that track list look like?
ABC: BSOG, Jr. – The Contents [1st draft]
- Vice Versa: New Girls Neutrons
- Vice Versa: Science Fact
- Vice Versa: Riot Squad
- Vice Versa: Camille
- Vice Versa: Genetic Warfare
- Vice Versa: Stilyagi
- Vice Versa: Eyes Of Christ
- Tears Are Not Enough [demo]
- Show Me [demo]
- Surrender [demo]
- Alphabet Soup [swap shop version]
- Tears Are Not Enough 7″ ver.
- Alphabet Soup 7″ ver.
- Tears Are Not Enough 12″ ver.
- Alphabet Soup 12″ ver.
- Into The Valley Of The Heathen Go
- Poison Arrow [jazz mix]
- Theme From Mantrap
- Theme From Mantrap [lounge sequence]
- The Look Of Love [part 2]
- The Look Of Love [part 3]
- The Look Of Love [USA remix edit from remix collection]
- The Look Of Love [USA remix – dub ver. 7:37]
- Selections From The Magnificent New ABC Long Player “Beauty Stab”
- That Was Then But This Is Now [unedited]
- How To Be A Millionaire [UK 7″ ver.]
- How To Be A Billionaire
- How To Be A Millionaire [wall street mix]
- How To Be A Millionaire [acappella]
- How To Be A Millionaire [bond street mix]
- How To Be A Zillionaire [harajuku mix]
- Be Near Me [Munich Disco Mix]
- What’s Your Destination?
- Vanity Kills [Mendelsohn Mix]
- Judy’s Jewels
- Be Near Me [Ecstasy Mix]
- Vanity Kills [Abagail’s Party Mix]
- Vanity Kills [USA Remix]
- ABC Megamix
- Ocean Blue [Pacific Mix]
- Ocean Blue [Atlantic Mix]
- How To Be A Zillionaire [nickel + dime mix]
- Tower Of London [ext. ver.]
- Tower Of London [inst.]
- Fear Of The World [in cinemascope]
- When Smokey Sings [7″ mix]
- Chicago [CD5 edit]
- When Smokey Sings [the miami mix]
- All Of My Heart [live from Boston Metro]
- When Smokey Sings [the detroit mix]
- When Somkey Sings [bonus beats]
- Chicago [part s 1 + 2]
- When Smokey Sings [alt. 7″ mix from NTXR 111]
- The Night You Murdered Love [the whole story]
- The Night You Murdered Love [the reply]
- The Night You Murdered Love [alt. 7″ mix from NTX 112]
- The Night You Murdered Love [the sheer-chic remix]
- King Without A Crown [7″ ver.]
- The Look Of Love [live from Boston Metro]
- Poison Arrow [live from Boston Metro]
- King Without A Crown [monarchy mix abridged]
- King Without A Crown [monarchy mix]
- King Without A Crown [Mendelsohn mix]
- The Look Of Love [1990 remix]
- Skyscraping [alt. ver.]
- Stranger Things [live ver.]
- The Look Of Love [live ver.]
- All Of My Heart [live ver.]
- Stranger Things [acoustic]
- The World Spins On
- All We Need
- Peace + Tranquility
- Viva Love [brothers in rhythm edit]
- Viva Love [brothers in rhythm remix]
- Martin Fry/Arthur Baker: Mythical Girl
- Martin Fry/M People: Life
- Martin Fry/King Britt: One And Only
- Martin Fry/David Arnold: Thunderball
- Martin Fry/Sonic Hub: New Man
Now that is a list of the contents, just not in the final sequence. Sequencing the final product will take more time than the lunch hour I’ve just spent compiling the contents from various disparate parts of my collection. Discographical research at Discogs.com has revealed that I still need the following records for their unique edits/versions.
How To Be A Millionaire UK 7″ [NT 107]
This single has a reputed unique A-side that was an early mix of the song, many months in advance of the “Zillionaire” album. And the B-side is an alternate mix that somehow missed all of the 12″ singles of this title. Since it is my very favorite ABC sing, which I never tire of hearing in any incarnation, this 7″ [which I’ve never seen a copy of] is a must for mail order. Once I get two nickels to scrape together. I’m in the future… I can’t afford it.
When Smokey Sings UK 12″ #2 [NTXR 111]
What this single offers is a 4:21 mix on the B-side of the titular song. This is the same track length of the common 7″ mix, but once again, Discogs.com commenters have dropped the bait by declaring this mix a “different, untitled” version. Every time I try to get out… they keep pulling me back in!! So now I won’t be able to rest until I buy a copy and compare it myself. Again, I’m not sure when this will happen. Money’s too tight to mention since this Monk’s seemingly taken a vow of poverty.
The Night You Murdered Love UK 12″ [NTX 112]
Finally, this 12″ single has an instrumental remix of the A-side that has never surfaced elsewhere, so add that to the shortlist of ABC records that against all odds, are still missing from the Record Cell. Of course, if you know any different, please let me know what I’m still missing in the comment fields below. I’d hoped to get this whipped into a desirable box during the end of year break but I don’t know if that’s possible. I’ve only just recorded the vinyl that needs to be given some careful remastering and that proceeds at a 10:1 pace even during the best of times. Check the space later for further elaboration as the BSOG Jr. approaches liftoff some time in 2013.
– 30 –
I am intrigued by a few of the tracks on the list. In particular is the Harajuku mix of Millionaire. I understand you distain for Martin and Mark’s House Period. I am a fan of this period but will agree it is lyrically Martin’s least impressive. Up has not aged well for me, but Abracadabra is a really wonderful pop album with a House Music flair. I have to search through the 7″ singles because I’m sure I have Millionaire on 7″ vinyl. I never got around to buying Ocean Blue on 12″ vinyl and it is conspicuous for not being in my collection.
Echorich – The Harajuku Zillionaire mix is a great dub version. The printing on the “Ocean Blue” is sumptuous 5-color with the band photos printed over metallic gold ink. It’s a must to have just to admire the printing. At least “Up” gave us the great song “North,” well worth salvaging from that period in my opinion.
I think I have the Millionaire 7″ .. I’ll check if I can locate it in my collection and perhaps make you an offer if you are interested. Nice box set!
Mark – Welcome to the comments. I can mail order the single for about US $8, postage included, from dealers in The States. That’s not too costly, just out if my budget right now. But thanks for the kind offer.
Maybe you or one of the ABC crowd here can help me. I jumped on the UK single of the Look of Love (1990 mix). I’ve read on discogs that the mix on the vinyl release of the same is longer. Anyone know if it is a longer version of the housey 1990 mix of is it the recycled Part 5 that showed up on US pressings labeled as a 1990 mix?
The 1990 mix is allegedly on the 1996 remaster of “Lexicon” but it is in fact a 5:47 edit of “The Look Of Love Part V” unique to this CD:
Is that what you are speaking of? I never bought the 1990 mix of that track since even ABC were telling their fans it was a rip off. Which is was. ABC had just left Phonogram for BMG and the old label cashed in with the 1990 mix, which I never heard until I bought this compilation:
It is the actual 1990 4:41 7″/CD5 remix, but I see what you mean. The 12″ is a 5:05 version. Am I worried about not having it? Not really. I usually hate these things and may in fact leave off the 7″ 1990 mix if I ever finally buy the “When Smokey Sings” second 12″ for that alt. mix!
But holy cats! I just went to itunes to see if I could hear that 1990 mix without getting up and walking six feet to the racks, and there is an ABC “Greatest Hits” EP from Cleopatra © 2000 with four of ABC’s best selling singles in re-recorded versions. Curious! Usually this is done when a band want to own a master variant of one of their hits [for licensing purposes – such as films or ads] and the label still owns the “hit master.” I’m guessing this is exactly the impetus behind this. The new versions have good singing from Mr. Fry on them, and if they sound a little digital and bloodless, his ca. 2000 performance makes up for the simulacrum of the original backing tracks. Worth it for fanatics, especially at the price asked. I think I’ll purchase come payday.
I forgot…..I think that the instrumental mix of The Night You Murdered Love is out there elsewhere, I have it and I am not sure where I have it from. I am 99.9% sure that I didn’t snag it from a blog somewhen, I used to have a ton of ABC and at one point ripped and reduced the collection.
I’ve done my own deluxe editions for HTBAZ and Alphabet City – maybe sometime this weekend I can post some screencaps of the tracklistings. I made my own extended mixes of Be Near Me, TNYML, When Smokey Sings and Fear of the World for the project.
Tim – One of these days, I’m going to dive in to remixing. I have various stems by favorite performers [OMD, John Foxx, Gery Numan, Peter Gabriel] to work with once I can delve into the finer points of Garage Band, which I’ve barely used in my restoration schemes. It remains to be seen if I would ever cross over to working from a commercial master, but people do it every day.
To add to your list – there is a Blank & Jones Relax edition with a very chilled take of “Love Conquers All.” I am not certain if it is a straight up remix or if Martin Fry re-recorded the vocals for it It is one of the better takes on that song, one of my favorites from Abracadabra.
Tim – I would not be surprised if Fry re-voiced it for the new version. But since it came from “Abracadabra,” an album I bought for a dollar and still sold off, I probably won’t bite.
Love those B+J mixes of Love Conquers All!! Not sure they sound like new vocals though. Abracadabra is a highly under appreciated album in ABC’s catalogue raisonné.
Echorich – Well, the line to under appreciate “Abracadabra” starts behind me, obviously!
I believe that there was an acapella mix of “Love Conquers All” that doesn’t have a lot else going on (sometimes pellas really aren’t just that) which they may have used as a source. I find that I like the B&J covers/remakes on those Relax disc more than a lot of their original work. I can easily do without most of the Hi NRG tracks, the laid back ones on the other hand are right up my alley.
Was there a Videotheque demo recorded by ABC or Fry?
Timothy Schoonover – The Dollar tune?? I don’t remember hearing about that. Maybe it’s in David Richard’s ABC discography. I’ll look tonight.
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