China Crisis: Diary of A Hollow Horse UK DLX RM 2xCD 
Disc 1: Original Album
- St. Saviour Square [original Walter Becker version]
- Stranger By Nature
- Sweet Charity In Adoration
- Day After Day
- Diary Of A Hollow Horse
- Red Letter Day [original Walter Becker version]
- In Northern Skies
- Singing The Praises Of Finer Things
- All My Prayers [original Walter Becker version]
- Age Old Need
- Back Home
- St. Saviour Square (Extended 12” Mike Thorne Mix)
- Diary Of A Hollow Horse (Acoustic Version)
- All My Prayers (Extended 12” Mike Thorne Mix)
- Red Letter Day (Bazilington Dj Vibe Mix)
Disc B: Bonus Tracks
- St. Saviour Square (Mike Thorne Re-recorded Version)
- Red Letter Day (Mike Thorne Re-recorded Version)
- All My Prayers (Mike Thorne Re-recorded Version)
- St. Saviour Square (Band Demo)
- Stranger By Nature (Band Demo)
- In Northern Skies (Band Demo)
- Sweet Charity And Adoration (Band Demo)
- Diary Of A Hollow Horse (Band Demo)
- Singing The Praises Of Finer Things (Band Demo)
- All My Prayers (Band Demo)
- Red Letter Day (Band Demo)
- Age Old Need (Band Demo)
- St. Saviour Square (Live Session)
- All My Prayers (Live Session)
When it came to reissuing the oeuvre of China Crisis in DLX RMs, I would have hardly believed that the program wouldn’t begin and end with the first three Virgin albums; possibly starting with “Working With Fire + Steel.” So paint me a funny color and set me on the sidewalk near the curb; the first such beast unleashed on the awaiting world is the band’s Virgin swansong; definitely their worst selling outing for the label! I liked that 1989 album quite a bit on its release. It was my favorite of theirs since “Fire + Steel.” I was never a big fan of “Flaunt The Imperfection.” I liked “What Price Paradise” moreso, but this one seemed to hit the marks much better for me.
Like the “Imperfection” album, it was produced by Walter Becker of Steely Dan, but it wasn’t as MOR as the worst of “Flaunt The Imperfection” was. The songs were less faceless and the production by Becker finally worked for me. Strangely, enough, three tracks were produced not by Becker. The two singles [“St. Saviour Square” and “Red Letter Day”] in addition to “All My Prayers,” were instead the handiwork of Mike Thorne. I didn’t think too hard about this at the time; especially since I like Mike Thorne’s production quite a bit! But it’s now been revealed that Becker had in fact produced the entire album and one can presume that A+R interference from Virgin accounted for the re-recording of the three songs by Thorne.
So what is apparently driving the re-issue of “Diary Of A Hollow Horse” instead of the band’s best sellers for Virgin is this issue! The Cherry Red version now on the market reflects the original album as recorded by Becker with healthy handfuls of bonus tracks. The two singles had a B-side each [“Back Home,” “Diary Of A Hollow Horse acoustic version”] and “St. Saviour Square” was the only extended version released. The original CD added “Back Home” as a final bonus track as it appears here. The other two mixes have been appended, but tracks 14 and 15 are previously shelved mixes that never previously got an airing; nice!
Disc two of the set begins with the three Thorne produced cuts, which have been displaced from the original album, and then adds the band demos for almost the entire album and a pair of BBC sessions that dated to the album period. Perhaps overkill, in the inclusion of the demos, but I’ve not heard them yet, so I’ll reserve judgement for when the discs sit in my Record Cell. This project gets the nod simply for its attention to detail in bringing the album as Becker and China Crisis intended to market! How many times has record label meddling resulted in this sort of tomfoolery? And how rare is it that history vindicates the band? It’s one thing for the original mix of “Let It Be” reach the public ears, but China Crisis? Color me shocked… but pleased.
– 30 –
P.S. Tracks 13 and 14 on Disc 2 remind me that they are the only China Crisis BBC sessions to reach the public ear. Will we ever get to hear the rest of these?