Record Review: Simple Minds “New Gold Dream” Boxed Set Of God [part 3]

DISC 3 | Edits + B-Sides

[…continued from last post]

Disc three is the sort of excess curation that we sometimes do with our own REVO CDs to show off. Every 7″ edit [usually with about 0:30 seconds excised for time constraints of daytime radio] from the album is here. Even the 4:46 edit of the album’s title track that only got used on the US Lp and the sole Italian 7″ single of the amazing song. Since “Promised You A Miracle” was recorded first and released as a single in advance of the album, there was nothing to pair it with as a B-side. At this point in time, Simple Minds were recording everything they were writing in a creative frenzy.  Some wag at Virgin made the smart move to use a track from “Sister Feelings Call” as a B-side, and the marvelous “Theme For Great Cities” was a gift to anyone who bought the 7″ single. And a lot of people did this as it was their first UK hit single at #13.

It’s notable that the “Glittering Prize [Theme]” on this disc is the short edit of the instrumental version of the song from 7″ single. Showing the careful eye that Simon Cornwell cast on this project. The only other notable inclusions here were the last two. The original non-LP B-side of “Someone, Somewhere [In Summertime]” was the vivid “Soundtrack For Every Heaven” in its original instrumental guise. The song had been built upon a energetic rhythm from Mike Ogletree. How I wish I had more of that drummer with this band to listen to. Finally, the short 4:46 version of “New Gold Dream [81, 82, 83, 84]” capped off the brief volume for the hard core completists. I had not heard anything but the “German 12″ remix” since 1986 so memories of it were dim indeed.

DISC 4 | Radio Sessions

Now we enter “must buy” territory! Did I just say that I wish I had more recordings of the band with Mike Ogletree playing drums apart from the three tracks on the album where he was drumming: “Colours Fly + Catherine Wheel,” “Somebody Up There Likes You,” and “New Gold Dream [81, 82, 83, 84]?’ Here was where my wish was granted. And Kenny Hyslop helped make “Promised You A Miracle” so memorable. Wouldn’t we have liked to have heard more of him too? Well, it’s all here.

The first session was the band’s Kid Jensen session from Feb. 23, 1982. The band made their first recording of “Promised You A Miracle” here and I have to admit, that I’m now smitten with it as definitive. The tempo lagged ever so slightly to obtain maximum wallop and the biggest difference is the mix that situated MacNeil’s synths higher and more forcefully in the mix. Producer John Owen Williams deserved big thanks for delivering what for me, is now the ultimate version of this song. It’s slightly less nervous than the familiar recording and all the better for it. The version of “In Trance As Mission” has all of the crisp backbeat of the song we know and love and the spotlight on Forbes’ bass line can’t hurt at all, can it? The capper to this session was the familiar version of “King Is White + In The Crowd” that we’ve all heard from the “Someone, Somewhere [In Summertime]” B-side. The arid, exacting version of the song here had a frosty character very different from the later version.

Next came the infamous missing Peel Session broadcast in May of 1982. Auntie Beeb cannot find the masters for this so the compilers had to resort to the “fan community” to include this lost session. But here is where Mike Ogletree got to get some more time behind the drum kit for our ears to appreciate.The first two tracks sound of lower quality than the other two. “Promised You A Miracle” sounded like nothing more than the 7″ version played on a PA and recorded acoustically. Messy sounding, but nothing that seemed to be much different. “Love Song” was something else. The band got their live arrangement that was a slower tempo with a long percussive buildup for almost two minutes. It was immediately apparent that a drummer other than Brian McGee was behind the kit and I felt that the kinetic percussion slotted well into the music. Sound quality was slightly better than on the first song, but the remaining two tracks were from a much better source. They no longer sounded like live recordings due to broadcast noise.

The version of “Sons + Fascination” was superb! Ogletree favored more of his penchant for percussion, transforming the song in a subtle way that made it clearly different without losing the essence of the song. Finally another version of “King Is White + In The Crowd” figured here with the sound coming home close to what was on the album; only with Ogletree instead of Mel Gaynor drumming. These four tracks got their first commercial release on this disc.

The final session from Sept. 26, 1982, also had Ogletree drumming. Three songs from the “New Gold Dream” album out at the same time. By now, Charlie Burchill’s distinctive guitar intro for “Someone, Somewhere [In Summertime]” was in place thought he song kept to the 7″ length for the rest of it. The band were reaching maximum hot right about this time. Forbes’ bass was moving to the next level and Kerr’s vocals were powerful and confident. With this band behind you, you would be too! John Sparrow’s production was a little more heavy than the airy sound favored by Peter Walsh on the album. Though the album had been recorded live, these versions were less fussy and sounded amazing for it. That’s not to say I can find much fault with the album. Just that these versions crackle with a little more chaotic fire, and the live music fan in me loves the vibe.

Next: …Alternative Rock

About postpunkmonk

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