Peter Godwin: Torch Songs + Heroics 2xCD 
- America In My Head [7″]
- Torch Songs For The Heroine [7″]
- Cruel Heart
- America In My Head [12″]
- Torch Songs For The Heroine [ballad]
- Cruel Heart [inst.]
- America in My Head [dance mix]
- Torch Songs For The Heroine [dance mix]
- Emotional Disguise [12″]
- Luxury [extended ver.]
- Images Of Heaven [7″]
- Emotional Disguise [inst.]
- Spoken Images
- Emotions Francaises/inst. [segue mix]
- Images Of Heaven [12″]
- Baby’s In The Mountains [new york remix]
- Images Of Heaven [razormaid ver.]
- The Art Of Love [new york remix]
- The Art of Love [new york dubmix]
- Rendezvous [french ver.]
- The Art Of Love [UK remix]
- Another World
- Rendezvous [english remix]
- Naked Smile
- Rendezvous [french remix]
I first heard of Peter Godwin when an MTV news spot said that Midge Ure was producing some work for him. This certainly pricked up my ears. A bit later, the video for “Images Of Heaven” made it to MTV and was a stellar song. I looked and looked for the “Images Of Heaven” EP but never found a copy at the time. Instead, I managed to pick up the UK 12” of “Torch Songs For The Heroine” in the late, lamented Record City import cutout bin and found a US Polydor 12” of “Emotional Disguise”, which had “Emotional Disguise/Emotional Disguise Inst.” on the A-side and “Images Of Heaven” on the B-side. Given that this was 3/4 of the contents of the “Images Of Heaven” EP, it didn’t make much sense to me as a release at the time. I was just happy to have all of the songs on the EP on these two records. But who is this Peter Godwin, and where did he come from? What are his powers? Would he save the universe… or destroy it?
For a start he was the lead singer for the group Metro. Their debut album came out in 1976 as part of the tail end of the Roxy-glam curve. It got picked up domestically in 1977 by Sire and got a release in The States. I have that as well as a copy of a 21st century Japanese kami sleeved CD of it. It is in print currently and contains the best known Metro song, “Criminal World.” You may have heard David Bowie’s cover of it on his “Let’s Dance” album; a fact that has [hopefully] kept Mr. Godwin’s cup full, if not runneth over, ever since. There even exists a Hot Gossip cover of it, though this evades my grasp!
The core of Metro was Godwin and Duncan Browne, but after the first album, Browne left for greener pastures. The 2nd-gen Metro released their second album, “New Love” in 1979 as produced by Mike Thorne for EMI. We remastered that album from within the REVO vaults in 2010. A third Metro album, “Future Imperfect” was released the following year in Germany only yet it still managed to find its way into my Record Cell. Martin Lawrence produced it and the single “America In My Head” managed to get a UK release the next year as it turned a lot of heads during the UK’s “New Romantic” movement. A cursory glance at back issues of the seminal New Sounds/New Styles newro magazine of Kasper DeGraff and Malcolm Garrett revealed a lot of love for Metro at this time. And why not? The 3rd Metro album was a dazzling confection of post-punk pop driven not primarily by keyboards, but instead by minty fresh guitar synthesizers!
Had I been aware of it at the time, it would have been in heavy rotation in my personal playlist. Amazingly, this only got a release outside of the initial German-only LP in 1980 a decade ago when the minds at Oglio Records released it as Peter Godwin’s “America In My Head” album on CD! Ten years later and it’s woefully OOP. It was after the UK release of the single “America In My Head” in 1981 that the bulk of this collection concerns itself. For the next 18 months Godwin released a brace of sparkling singles but no album. That would wait until 1983, but his first new single for Polydor was the Midge Ure produced “Torch Songs For The Heroine.” There were 7” and 12” versions of the Anton Karras influenced track with each having the alternate “ballad” version as the B-side. If the A-side versions were heavily pregnant with New Romantic sturm und drang, then the Ballad mix heightened the drama to ridiculous “Old World” levels [complete with cymbalom].
Next up was the Latin influenced “Emotional Disguise” single, which reminded me a lot of the rhythm programming on Pete Shelley’s fantastic “Witness The Change” B-side. The B-side to the 7” was “French Emotions” which recast the tune in a very different mix en Francais. The 12” version was slightly extended to a curt 4:12 and also includes an instrumental version. Since I do not have the 7”, all pressings that I have of “Emotional Disguise” are the 4 minute version. The US “Emotional Disguise” 12” has the instrumental virtually segued together with the A-side, but I have chosen not to include that because I much prefer the unique segue of “French Emotions/Emotional Disguise Instrumental” that exists only on the Canadian “Images Of Heaven” 6-track EP. This single was the first of his to be produced by Dutch technologist Georg Kajanus, of the group DATA, who would go on to produce all of his material for the next 4 years.
The next single was the luxuriantly opulent “Images Of Heaven.” This is a song that can make me feel honored every time I hear it, as if it’s simply hard to believe that pop music was ever this richly magnificent! The succinct 7” is bested by the more luxuriant extended twelve inch version. Both singles had “Spoken Images” on the B-side. There also exists a deluxe Razormaid remix that unites the extended and spoken versions for maximum effect, thought the EQ variations between the two mixes are apparent in the resultant remix. Colin Wight plays the soaring lead on guitar synthesizer while Warren Cann of Ultravox slams the Simmons in a drum pattern very different from his motorik Ultravox style.
The last of this series of non-LP singles was “Cruel Heart.” The song had an instrumental remix as the B-side to the 7” single, but the 12” features “Luxury (extended version)” as the single’s A-side with the 7” and inst. mixes of “Cruel Heart” relegated to the B-side! Both the cover designs are the same photo and composition with the exception that the 7” says “Cruel Heart” and the 12” says “Luxury.” For the record, there is no version of “Luxury” that is not the extended version. This final non-lp single takes us through the end of 1982 in Godwin’s career. In many territories, variations of these four singles were assembled into the “Images Of Heaven” EP. In the Netherlands, it’s called “Dance Emotions” instead. I finally scored a domestic copy of this just a few years ago. For some reason, I never came across it in spite of looking for it all over at the time and wanting it pretty badly for nearly 20 years. I more recently purchased the even better Canadian copy. Godwin’s next move would be his last for a long time.
In 1983, his virtual swansong would play out when the “Correspondence” album hit the shelves. It represented nine new songs with none of his last two years of singles included in the program. The leadoff single was “The Art Of Love” which appeared in three remixes: US, UK and US dubmix. Dig that synth bassline! The final single was the tremendous “Baby’s In The Mountains” which had only an excellent extended remix (Godwin’s best – by John Luongo) on the various single variations offered. And that was that.
For 15 years, not a peep was heard from Mr. Godwin until our friends at Oglio offered the much-needed “Images Of Heaven” CD in 1998. It featured a great career overview of Godwin from the very first Metro single, “Criminal World” all the way to the present [albeit 17 years ago!] with three good new tunes unveiled for the first time. “Rendezvous” existed in French and English version; two mixes each. “Another World and “Naked Smile” stood alone but were consistent with the themes of sensual decadence that Godwin has explored for his professional (and presumably personal) life. His liner notes on this CD release were also very witty and illuminating. Not surprisingly, this disc has been OOP for years and exchanges hands at an inflated rate. Is this beginning to sound tiresome?
Thankfully, REVO has already re-issued “New Love” and “Correspondence” on CD. The 1st Metro goes in and out of print, particularly in Japan, but seems to be widely available as a download at either Amazon or iTunes. No such luck for the rest of his catalogue. Peter Godwin remains an above average talent capable of rising to the heights of greatness on some of his cuts while never quite skirting mediocrity on his others. He is a prime example of a Roxy Music-influenced stylist that more often than not, came up with the pop goods, not unlike Iva Davies and his group Icehouse. True, Peter doesn’t “rock out” like Iva but I just wish he had recorded more music over the years.
This set is among my very favorites of all of the discs I’ve remastered over the last nearly twenty years. Its title was taken from a Godwin interview I read where he revealed that the bulk of this material was to originally have been issued on an album of that name which was not to be. Listening was always a real treat and I’ve loved hearing this collection in playback in spite of the investment of time and money spent mail ordering and remastering from vinyl. The songs can stick in my head for days at a time and that’s always a good sign. I just wish that this collection were from Polygram instead of me, but that’s what REVO is here for; filling the breach where desperately needed.
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