First and foremost, it’s my job, as the Post-Punk Monk to compile boxed sets of god®. The engine that drives my music loving, record collecting, and graphic design passion is in making vast boxed sets of non-LP material by my favorite artists. I started to plan these efforts in the early 90s, even before the technology to do it was in my hands. At least, I saw where things were headed, and began acting accordingly. I recall buying sealed copies of singles I already had by bands like OMD at record shows with the notion of having a pristine copy of a single to digitize… once the ability was at hand. By 1999, it certainly was.
At the same time, favorite bands like Ultravox, have managed to evade my Monastic grasp for some very prosaic reasons; namely, almost everything by the band ever released, has seen the light of day on CD format! First came the initial wave of UK CDs on Chrysalis. I duly bought all of these immediately on release. Then, in 1993, Chrysalis went for it and released the “Rare Vol. 1” CD, wherein the Chrysalis era B-sides to the singles “Sleepwalk” through “We Came To Dance” were all nicely compiled.
Then, the next year saw Volume 2 of the “Rare” series released. This time all of the B-sides from the singles “One Small Day” to “All In One Day” got the nod, and when there was time left over, they capably filled it with two rare remixes from the band. The German only 11:06 “Heart Of The Country” extended version and the “One Small Day [final mix]” of 7:36 which had previously dropped only on the bonus 12″ remix album in the first UK pressing of “The Collection.” Then in 1998, a CD called “Extended Ultravox” was released and the 12″ A-sides got their due. With bonus tracks on the original “Lament” UK CD from 1984, that took care of almost everything by the band. The only things that never popped up on CD were the US remixes of “Dancing With Tears In My Eyes” b/w “One Small Day” probably due to either licensing issues or just plain ignorance by Chrysalis UK.
With almost everything by Ultravox MK II sewed up on CD, it remained for me to compile the MK I period on CD, so one of the first CDs I made, I cheekily called “Ultravox Rare Vol. 0.” This compiled the debut single by the band when they were known as Tiger Lily as well as rare versions and B-sides from the band’s Island Records era, including the then impossibly difficult to hear “The Man Who Dies Every Day” remix version, from the Germany-only “The Frozen Ones” single. That disc was superseded in 2006 when the first three Ultravox! albums were remastered with bonus tracks. Even then there were omissions. In 1999, when I made my CD, I did not know that there was a 12″ remix of “The Quiet Men.” and in fact owned a copy on the UK “Three Into One” album at the time!! Even these editions had the bonus tracks splayed across all three albums in a haphazard fashion, making me bristle. Fortunately, this has been rendered moot this year with the “Island Years” Ultravox! boxed set.
This featured the three discrete albums as complete entities with all of the rarities issued on a separate fourth disc. Aaaaah. Now that’s how The Monk rolls! I like best to have albums as issued with everything else jammed into a bonus release. The fourth disc was called “Rare Retro” after the “Live Retro” EP issued by Island once it was all over.
Ultravox: Rare Retr0 UK CD [disc 4/4 in “Island Years” box] 
- Young Savage
- Slip Away (Live)
- The Man Who Dies Everyday (Live At Huddersfield Polytechnic)
- Young Savage (Live At The Marquee, London)
- The Wild, The Beautiful And The Damned (Live At The Rainbow, London)
- My Sex (Live At Huddersfield Polytechnic)
- Young Savage (John Peel Session 28/11/77)
- The Man Who Dies Everyday (John Peel Session 28/11/77)
- My Sex (John Peel Session 28/11/77)
- Artificial Life (John Peel Session 28/11/77)
- Rockwrok (7″ Version)
- Hiroshima Mon Amour (Alternate Version)
- Modern Love (Live)
- The Man Who Dies Everyday (Remix)
- Slow Motion (OGWT 5/12/78)
- Hiroshima Mon Amour (OGWT 5/12/78)
- Quiet Men (7″ Version)
- Cross Fade
- Quiet Men (12″ Version)
That is canonically perfect. Even the 7″ mix of “Rockwrok” figured there and then they move out beyond actual releases with the wonderful live versions of songs played on Old Grey Whistle test live [albeit in mono]. Now that it is all in front of me, I need to get a copy of this as I’m sure it will only be more expensive in the future than the $15 going rate right now. Even so, there is a sprawling aspect to the rare cuts of Ultravox that slightly gnaws at me. But does it gnaw at me enough to try the near impossible and make the definitive Ultravox BSOG® that would probably have 5-6 CDs of everything not part of the initial albums? Hmm.
That would be some work, though only a scant few vinyl sides need to be digitized/cleaned up. And the cost of archival printable media is prohibitive enough to make me think twice about it. Maybe the time and effort would be better spent bringing music that never crossed the digital divide to CD? And then there’s Icehouse. So much [but not all – not by a long shot] of their canon is accounted for on CD, but after buying the 12″ remix German CDs this week, the notion of the ultimate “Ice Box” BSOG® is nipping at my heels like a feisty Chihuahua! Hmm. I’ll have to look into that… later.
– 30 –