Echo + The Bunnymen: New Live + Rare Japan CD 
- People Are Strange
- The Killing Moon [All Night Version]
- All You Need Is Love
- Paint It Black [Live]
- Run, Run, Run [Live]
- Friction [Live]
- Do It Clean [Live]
Amazingly enough, this is the sole Echo + The Bunnymen release in the Record Cell! I actually own twice as many Electrafixion releases! It seems a little surprising in retrospect. Looking back, I tended to focus on the electronic groups at the expense of the guitars bands of this era. Having not really heard anything from the first two Bunnymen albums, it remained until I heard “The Cutter” before the E+TB receptors in my brain got the required stimulation. Even so, this is the one title I bought, and it was hardly cheap at the time, being a Japanese import CD. So why did I buy it?
Easy enough. It had the 12″ mix of the stellar single “The Killing Moon” on it, and that was enough for me. I may be dull, and a bit thick, but I know genius when I hear it! The crepuscular melodrama of the familiar 7″ mix has been injected with healthy doses of a real orchestra and Will Sargeant’s gypsy guitar adds barrelfulls of old world filigree to the warm, dark sound. When this song crosses the nine minute mark and leaves me wanting more, it can be said that the effort was well worth it! But what of the rest of this quasi album? From whence did it come?
The 1984 single from “Ocean Rain” featured a long [6:40] cover version of The Beatles’ “All You Need Is Love.” That seemed like a lot to cram onto the B-side of a 7″ single, but the song’s origins as part of Channel 4’s “Play At Home” music documentary series hint as to why it happened. I swear that the track is a straight mono dub from the broadcast videotape. All of the narration that was originally on the video production remains here, still. It sure sounds monophonic with headphone monitoring, but the long, shambolic cover incorporates Ian McCulloch riffing on songs as disparate as Dylan’s “Like A Rolling Stone” and James Brown’s “Sex Machine” over the familiar loping groove.
The “Killing Moon” 12″ was represented here by the extended A-side and the live B-side featuring the band on an extended version of “Do It Clean” that like with their Beatles cover, Mac saw fit to incorporate bits of everything from The Cramps’ “Garbage Man” to Nat ‘King’ Cole’s “When I Fall In Love!” The only track left off from the 12″ version was the LP version of “The Killing Moon,” which was no big loss. After all, this was titled “New, Live + Rare.”
The previous two singles pilfered for this compilation were hardly new, though, by 1988. But this 12″ single was. A marketing genius at WEA saw fit to have the most Doors-influended Post-Punk band team up with Ray ‘Paycheck’ Manzarek to cover “People Are Strange” for the soundtrack of “The Lost Boys,” the Brat Pack vampire flick. The brief Doors tune has been inflated from a tight 2:10 to a relatively sprawling 3:58 on this single, and Mac sounds only a hair’s breadth apart from Jim Morrison on the final product. Manzarek got to call the shots in the studio, so he told himself to run with a nice organ solo in the middle eight that was certainly not in the brief original. I always liked Manzarek’s keyboard skills, so I cut him some slack here.
The rest of this 12″ are the Rolling Stones, Television and Velvet Underground covers, that together with the A-side by The Doors, comprise an incredibly succinct look at four powerful influences that came to bear on E+TB’s development. I really can’t think of any group not represented on these four cuts that might have also left a mark on Liverpool’s moodiest band. I always enjoy “New Live + Rare” when I spin it. I saw Echo + The Bunnymen live in 1988 when they were touring on their eponymous fifth album but apart from this release, never bit on any releases. I
chastise flagellate myself for not having even a straight copy of “Ocean Rain” but I would probably require “Porcupine” as well at the very least. In a perfect world, I would have DLX RMs of the first four, just to give “Crocodiles” and “Heaven Up here” a proper airing and see what I’ve missed.
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