A Young Person’s Guide To “No Man’s Land”

Lene Lovich released her third album in 1982

We previously mentioned the only 1981 release by Lene Lovich was the “New Toy” single/EP. It was a single in some territories and an EP in others. Some having four more songs that Stiff Records passed on for the UK. That meant that her “real” third album was finally released in 1982 as “No Man’s Land.” The time spent was mostly down to Lene and her husband/guitarist Les Chappel [where is he now?] building their home studio do be able to work at their own pace. They were doing this when it was still expensive to do such things. But when “No Man’s Land” was released in 1982, I jumped right on that one! Such was my ardor for all things Lene Lovich.

Stiff-Epic ‎| US | LP | 1982 | ARE 38399

Lene Lovich: No Man’s Land US LP [1982]

  1. It’s You, Only You (Mein Schmerz)
  2. Blue Hotel
  3. Faces
  4. Walking Low
  5. Special Star
  6. Sister Video
  7. Maria
  8. Savages
  9. Rocky Road

We can be thankful that as far as I can see, all of the various territories released the same version of the album with the same versions of the songs in the same order on all of them! Possibly for the first time in Lene’s career. I bought the US LP first on its release. For many years, there was not a CD of this title. But in 1990, I finally ran across a pair of Lene Lovich CDs in Tower Records Atlanta.

Great Expectations ‎| UK | D | 1990 | PIPCD 008,

Lene Lovich: The Stiff Years, Vol. 2 UK CD [1990]

  1. New Toy
  2. Cats Away
  3. Egghead
  4. Wonderful One
  5. Monkey Talk
  6. Joan
  7. The Freeze
  8. Never Never Land
  9. Details
  10. Blue
  11. It’s You, Only You (Mein Schmerz)
  12. Blue Hotel
  13. Faces
  14. Walking Low
  15. Special Star
  16. Sister Video
  17. Maria
  18. Savages
  19. Rocky Road
  20. O Seasons, O Castles
  21. Blue Hotel (Version)

As we can see, this CD was jam packed with the “New Toy” UK 7″ A/B-side, side two of “Flex,” The two tracks from the US “New Toy” EP that were not re-recorded for “No Man’s Land,” and three B-sides from the “No Man’s Land” era. This is still how I listen to “No Man’s Land” today. As was my wont,, back then, I stupidly got rid of my US LP of this title upon buying it on CD. But I managed to get something much nicer in the mid 1990s during another trip to Atlanta and Fantasyland Records.

Stiff Records | UK | clear vinyl LP | 1982 | D SEEZ 44

Lene Lovich: No Man’s Land UK Clear Vinyl LP [1982]

  1. It’s You, Only You (Mein Schmerz)
  2. Blue Hotel
  3. Faces
  4. Walking Low
  5. Special Star
  6. Sister Video
  7. Maria
  8. Savages
  9. Rocky Road

This was a much better cover than the US edition which did its best to minimize Lene; hardly optimal! She was a proud portrait on this DMM clear vinyl edition that looks and probably sounds [I’ve never spun my copy] spectacular. All of the music details were the same but here we got the benefit of gorgeous custom labels on this format.

What a spectacular shot of those braids whipping in midair

What a beautiful object that record is! Little did I know at the time I was probably buying this LP, that the first discrete “No Man’s Land” CD was issued in Germany by the detail oriented Line Records label.

Line Records | GER | CD | 1991 | LICD 9.01074 O

Lene Lovich: No Man’s Land GER CD [1991]

  1. It’s You, Only You (Mein Schmerz)
  2. Blue Hotel
  3. Faces
  4. Walking Low
  5. Special Star
  6. Sister Video
  7. Maria
  8. Savages
  9. Rocky Road
  10. New Toy
  11. Cats Away
  12. Details
  13. Blue Hotel (Version)
  14. Never Never Land

The bonus tracks were again the “New Toy” 7″ tracks, the two songs from the US “New Toy” EP that were no re-recorded for “No Man’s Land,” and the version B-side of “Blue Hotel.” I would not say no to an actual “No Man’s Land” CD if one crossed my path. I had two more chances.

Stiff Records ‎| FR | CD | 1993 | STIFFCD 22

Lene Lovich: No Man’s Land FR CD [1993]

  1. It’s You, Only You (Mein Schmerz)
  2. Blue Hotel
  3. Faces
  4. Walking Low
  5. Special Star
  6. Sister Video
  7. Maria
  8. Savages
  9. Rocky Road
  10. New Toy
  11. Cats Away
  12. Details
  13. Blue Hotel (Version)
  14. Special Star [1981 Version]
  15. Never Never Land

There was also a 1993 French CD of the album with a slight alteration to the bonus material. Instead of the “Blue Hotel [Version],” this edition sported the 1981 US EP version of “Special Star.” We finally leap forward in time 21 years for the last “No Man’s Land” edition to date on the shiny silver disc.

Hayabusa Landings ‎| JPN | CD | 2014 | HYCA-2076

Lene Lovich: No Man’s Land JPN SHMCD [2014]

  1. It’s You, Only You (Mein Schmerz)
  2. Blue Hotel
  3. Faces
  4. Walking Low
  5. Special Star
  6. Sister Video
  7. Maria
  8. Savages
  9. Rocky Road

The last version was from Japanese specialty label Hayabusa Landings which gave the nod to the first three LL albums on SHMCD, which are CDs made of “super high materials” which are allegedly higher quality CD materials for a truer digital sound [with added rainbow sprinkles]. It’s a kami sleeve with nothing in the way of bonus tracks. I’m more of a jewel box guy, so even if I saw this cheap, I’d probably pass on it. What thew world needs now is the ultimate “No Man’s Land” DLX RM. Which would look like this:


Lene Lovich: No Man’s Land DLX RM UK 2xCD [2019]

Disc 1 – The Album

  1. It’s You, Only You (Mein Schmerz)
  2. Blue Hotel
  3. Faces
  4. Walking Low
  5. Special Star
  6. Sister Video
  7. Maria
  8. Savages
  9. Rocky Road

Disc 2 – Bonus Listening

  1. New Toy [7]
  2. Savages [1981]
  3. Special Star [1981]
  4. Never Never Land
  5. Cats Away
  6. Details
  7. New Toy [12] 4:35
  8. It’s You, Only You (Mein Schmerz) (UK Remixed Extended 12″ Version) 5:31
  9. Blue
  10. It’s You, Only You (Mein Schmerz) (Version) 5:45
  11. Blue Hotel (US Dance Mix) 5:17
  12. It’s You, Only You (Mein Schmerz) (US Extended Dance Mix) 5:38
  13. O Seasons, O Castles

I have to admit that I only have the US 12″ single of “It’s You, Only You [Mein Schmerz]” and I have recently notice that the UK 12″ [which I don’t have] may be a different remix, though the timings are similar. Until I get one, I am assuming that they differ. Does anyone else know of something that thematically belongs in such an ideal edition of this album? Then pipe up in the comments.

– 30 –

About postpunkmonk

graphic design | software UI design | remastering vinyl • record collector • satire • non-fiction
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20 Responses to A Young Person’s Guide To “No Man’s Land”

  1. Mathmandan says:

    I have always loved this album, especially “Sister Video” and “Maria.” I managed to find the clear vinyl pressing in the used bins way back luckily. It is a much nicer artifact than the US pressing.

    SHMCD: Is this just total hogwash? Is there any merit to them whatsoever?

    Like

    • SimonH says:

      I have a few, more by chance than anything, I really couldn’t say whether they sound better! Most of the SHM discs I have sound pretty good anyway so it’s very hard to tell if there’s a benefit.
      However I do love he fact that the Japanese have stuck by the cd even finding ways to allegedly improve them.

      Like

      • Mathmandan says:

        Agreed. I’ve always liked their attention to quality and detail. Back in the day I would splurge on Japanese vinyl for just a few cherished albums.

        Like

        • postpunkmonk says:

          mathmandan – A Japanese pressing of any cherished album is likely to be the best one possible. Even taking into account the phonetically translated lyric where there was not one previously.

          Like

    • postpunkmonk says:

      Mathmandan – I call BS on SHMCD. But there will always be a precious hi-fi elite who can’t value something unless it has exclusivity and costs a fortune. By the same token, I myself could never value music if it just flowed out of a tap at no cost. So I’m halfway there, I guess. The beauty of the plain vanilla CD was that it overcame a lot of noise that normally got in the analog signal chain of music. Cheap CD equipment hit a much higher level of mediocrity than did the LP on a cheap BSR turntable. I have some gold CDs [that was the only way to get some things] and I can not hear any difference. But I also have some SACD hybrid discs and even the CD compatible layer of those titles sounds amazing to me due to the DSD Mastering. I do find that DSD mastering, even when played back at standard CD resolution, makes a difference.

      For those who don’t know, CDs are played back at a 16 bit/44.1 kHz sampling rate. So a 16 bit chunk of data is sampled 44,100 times per second. These days the music can be recorded at 24 bit/96 kHz sampling rate. That is a 24 bit chunk every 96,000 times per second. DSD laughs at bit depth but goes hog wild at sampling rate with 1 bit/2.8224 MHz. A very small 1-bit chunk of data 282,240,000 times per second! Crazy.

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      • SimonH says:

        In the end it’s mainly down to the mastering, agree with SACDs, with good mastering they can be amazing. They should have become the norm, but ‘progress’ intervened…

        Like

      • Mathmandan says:

        I do like my SACDs, even if they aren’t surround sound. (The original reason I started buying any in the first place was for the 5.1 mixes. Is SACD the only format that utilizes DSD?

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        • postpunkmonk says:

          Mathmandan – It’s the only format where your are hearing the most of the DSD stream, which is dithered down to 24/96 for SACD. I have DSD dithered down to 16/44 on DSD/CD hybrid discs, but the clarity still managed to make some tracks I had on conventionally mastered CDs sound like mono next to the DSD version. Even on CD. But you could in theory master everything in DSD for repurposing in lower bit rate formats.

          Like

          • Mathmandan says:

            Amazingly, they are still releasing SACDs on occasion, although it’s getting more seldom. I’m definitely holding on to the ones I have. There are a couple I wish I would have bought when new because now the can be ridiculously expensive. To wit: check the Discogs prices for the SACD of Human League / Dare.

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            • postpunkmonk says:

              Mathmandan – Yow! A solid three figures, for sure. And it’s not even 5.1. I have a few hybrids that I got used super cheap. What I don’t understand was albums like “ A Secret Wish” on SACD and it was an early digital recording made at 16/48. The height of mid-80s technology. The point being that remastering it to 24/96 on SACD is pointless upscaling because it was a 16/48 digital recording! DSD mastering for SACD only makes sense for analog recordings.

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              • Mathmandan says:

                Interesting point! My take on releasing “A Secret Wish” on SACD was just to get out a 5.1 mix. At the time there was a kind of battle between formats, SACD vs DVD-Audio, but I don’t think anyone was using regular DVDs or blu-ray to distribute surround mix audio. (I could be wrong…)

                Like

  2. SimonH says:

    I was after a couple of Talk Talk albums on SACD but prices were way beyond my league, then I realised that the vinyl reissues came with DVD-As for less than £20! I was very happy to buy vinyl on that occasion:)

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  3. SimonH says:

    Colour of Spring sounds amazing, I know it very well so any difference is very noticeable!
    Were you aware of the Japan SACDs? Not a new mastering but Polariods and Tin Drum sound excellent to my ears.

    Like

  4. Regarding your question about Les, I have a few tidbits of info. Apparently they still have a business relationship but are (maybe?) no longer together. He was still with her as late as 2007, but at some point he took an interest in drumming and went off to India, where he may or may not still be. Lene’s current drummer is a big bald guy (Morgan King) who serves as emcee and bandleader, but is not Les (very confusingly!). I can’t help but think that’s her little joke.

    Liked by 1 person

    • postpunkmonk says:

      chasinvictoria – Gott in himmel! Where did you find this factoid out? I’ve been searching for word of Les Chappell ever since LL re-emerged from the fog of obscurity years back and there’s nothing out there that I could find! Obviously, he’s all over the last album [“Shadows + Dust” – 2005], but while she’s played gigs in more recent years, no new music has happened. I sort of suspected that Les had died and the financial need may have spurred LL to return to live duty; but that was just a theory.

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  5. Thombeau says:

    I love all things Lene and “No Man’s Land” is my favorite album of hers. And one of my favorite albums in general! I originally bought it on cassette when it first came out and I seem to recall an instrumental version of “It’s You” at the end. According to Discogs it was a dub version, which makes sense as that was a thing back then. I remember having a number of cassettes that had instrumental and dub versions tacked on to fill up space. Anyway, thanks for giving this terrific album its due!

    Like

    • postpunkmonk says:

      Thombeau – Yow! I had no idea that Lene ever had any of the “cassette bonus tracks” so prevalent in the early 80s. From the timing, it looks like the same dub track on the 12″ but do you know if the mixes on the UK and US 12″ are identical or not? I’ve seen some suggestion that in spite of their similar running times, that they were not.

      Like

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