A Young Person’s Guide To: Bryan Ferry – Limbo

video still - Limbo

video still – Limbo

1987 brought the Bryan Ferry album “Bête Noir” and at the time, I was somewhat distanced by the Patrick Leonard writing credits on most of the tracks. That meant that half of the album had the unsavory whiff of Madonna from her “Las Isla Bonita” period with Latin drum programming predominating. It sounded like something a lesser artist than Ferry would have done. The third single from the album was in fact, my favorite track. “Limbo” was a song pregnant with lush tropical mystery and whose humid sweep of guitar atmospherics, made it stand out from the album. Being of the CD persuasion at the time, I bought my first copy of the single at a record show.

Reprise Records | USP | CD5 | 1988 | PRO-CD-2910

Reprise Records | USP | CD5 | 1988 | PRO-CD-2910

Bryan Ferry: Limbo USP CD5 [1988]

  1. Limbo [Latin Version] 4:28
  2. Limbo [Brooklyn Version] 3:56
  3. Limbo [LP Version] 5:00
  4. Limbo [Latin Mix] 6:35

The Latin mixes were by Emilio Pasquez [Bomb The Bass] and Pacsal Gabriel with the Brooklyn mixes coming from Alan Meyerson. I next came upon the US 7″ with a different edit on the B-side.

Reprise Records ‎| US | 7

Reprise Records ‎| US | 7″ | 1988 | 9 28116-7

Bryan Ferry: Limbo US 7″ [1988]

  1. Limbo [Latin Version] 3:59
  2. Limbo [Brooklyn Version] 3:56

The only difference here was that 30 seconds had been trimmed from the Latin Version. It was some years later, when researching on Discogs that I discovered an anomaly on the US 12″ single.

Reprise Records ‎| US | 12

Reprise Records ‎| US | 12″ | 1988 | 0-20846

Bryan Ferry: Limbo US 12″ [1988]

  1. Limbo [Latin Mix] 6:35
  2. Bête Noir [Instrumental] 5:00
  3. Limbo [Brooklyn Mix] 8:38

While I was aware of the UK CD single [and usually bought these immediately] I saw the US promo CD5 first and having had that, skipped the UK CD5 [in DLX packaging] of “Limbo.” I can’t believe it now, but at the time, I felt that the instrumental version of the album’s title track was not worth buying a $10 import CD single for. Oh, we were young and foolish then! Years later I saw that the same instrumental track was on the US 12″, to be had for a few coins. So I bought one, and was shocked by the revelation that the US vinyl 12″ has a Brooklyn mix that was 8:38! The Brooklyn version I had on other formats was less than half that length. So this is what sits in the Record Cell currently. It’s hardly complete, though. I still need the UK 12″ as well.

Virgin | UK | 12

Virgin | UK | 12″ | 1988 | VST 1066

Bryan Ferry: Limbo UK 12″ [1988]

  1. Limbo [Latin Mix] 6:36
  2. Bête Noir [Instrumental] 5:00
  3. Limbo [Brooklyn Dub Mix] 8:18

As we see, the UK 12″ has a dub mix of the Brooklyn Mix. One of these will do to wrap up the “Limbo” saga for this Monk. But before we leave, let’s have a look at the UK CD5 format, which had some unique packaging.

Virgin ‎| UK | CD5 | 1988 | VSCD 1066

Virgin ‎| UK | CD5 | 1988 | VSCD 1066

Bryan Ferry: Limbo UK DLX CD5 [1988]

  1. Limbo [Latin Mix] 6:41
  2. Bête Noir [Instrumental] 5:00
  3. Limbo [Brooklyn Dub Mix] 8:18

This was the same as the 12″ vinyl in the UK, but the CD5 had a significant Achilles heel: It was a late 80s PDO pressing, which means that it was probably afflicted with the oxidation issue [bronzing] that befell almost everything pressed at that UK plant from 1988-1992 or so. Still, the CD5 was packaged in a slim jewel case that sat inside of a screen printed corrugated cardboard box as show above. Posh! But what else would you expect from Mr. Ferry?

Special Tory Edition of

Special Tory Edition of “Avonmore”

Speaking of posh and Bryan Ferry, I was recently saddened to see that in advance of the xmas ’15 season, Team Ferry was attempting to goose sales of his last album “Avonmore,” which is over a year old, by releasing the CEBS↑ version of the album for a scant £100.00 [$153.75]. 1500 numbered copies. 100 signed. 2xLP. 3xCD. DVD. Hardcover book…blah…blah…blah. Haven’t we gotten past this dreary trend yet? Currently on pre-sale here. Buy it if you must. I shan’t be joining you. I’m very disappointed to see this happening. At the time of “Avonmore’s” release I praised Ferry for not doing this. Premature, methinks.

– 30 –

↑ Criminally Expensive Boxed Set

About postpunkmonk

graphic design | software UI design | remastering vinyl • record collector • satire • non-fiction
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7 Responses to A Young Person’s Guide To: Bryan Ferry – Limbo

  1. JT says:

    “Haven’t we gotten past this dreary trend yet? ”

    And we won’t… not any time soon.

    Simple economics: A record that would have sold 100,000 copies in 1995 will only sell 10,000 copies in 2015. If an artists wants to keep a roof over the heads, they need to make up some of that lost revenue.

    The so-called vinyl resurgence (http://www.digitalmusicnews.com/2015/01/20/vinyl-comeback-really-looks-like/), digital downloads, and stripped down tours with higher ticket prices (less bang for the concertgoers’ buck) are some methods.

    The CEBS is another.

    Collectively, they’re still a drop in the bucket.


    • postpunkmonk says:

      JT – Not forgetting advertising and synchronization rights. But you’re only selling out if somebody’s buying. At least when Bowie pulled this trick, the DLX version of “The Next Day” was only $24, and it was packed with new songs [most good to great] with only one remix [though it was a doozy]. In every case, I am being trained not not ever buy a new album on the week of release. That’s for suckers!


  2. Echorich says:

    Point of fact Pascal Gabriel and Emilio Pasquez are one in the same…cheeky nom de remix that Gabriel was apt to use. I have the cardboard box cd single. A nice idea, but a bit on the flimsy side once it was opened or closed more than 3 times.
    I have to say that I too was worried by the predominance of Patrick Leonard on Bette Noire, but I take a different view of the outcome. I think rather than his Madonna work informing Ferry, I think his Ferry work informed Madonna – ie – Like A Prayer. Now Madonna would never have the finesse or nerve to have made a moody, dark work like Bette Noir, but I’ll give Patrick Leonard some props for giving it a go.


    • postpunkmonk says:

      Echorich – It took me a few years to warm to “Bête Noir,” but for a few years, I referred to it as Ferry’s Madonna album. It’s still the weak sister between “Boys + Girls” and “Mamouna.”


      • Tim says:

        I never noticed the Patrick Leonard connection quite honestly. Bete Noir has always been one of my favorite Bryan Ferry albums, I’ve never thought that lyrically or sonically it sounded Madonna-esque; quite to the contrary I would like to see her present an album that is as consistently good as this one is.


      • Echorich says:

        There is something to the idea that Ferry has been making the follow up to Boys + Girls for the past 30 years. I always thing of Bette Noire as a companion to Boy + Girls, different in that it is darker, a bit angrier, more straightforward compared to B+G’s flirtation with abstraction. Now Mamouna is literally tortured in comparison. The soul seems wrung out of it. How I wish Horoscope had taken a route to completion. There’s the essence of some of Ferry’s best work there and those tracks that showed up later on Mamouna just seem lifeless/sterile.


  3. ‘Limbo’ is great but the real standout on ‘Bete Noir’ is ‘New Town’. Like you, I don’t rate the rest of the album much at all.


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