The last two days have seen me nearly obsessed with the synth bass solo from the coda in John Foxx’s “You Were There.” A killer deep cut from his 1981 opus, “The Garden.” My instincts were obviously working overtime since I returned home yesterday from a short trip away to find that I had received an email from Rob Harris; John Foxx’s webmaster, alerting me to the coming reissues of “The Garden” on translucent green and fluorescent yellow vinyl for the album’s 40th anniversary.
“The Garden” was a very major album of 1981 for me in a year filled with major albums. It was in January of 1981 that I had jumped on the Foxx caravan and have ridden it hard for the last 40 years. “The Garden” was the first new Foxx album I bought on the time of its release and it was one of the three albums I bought as a birthday gift to myself in 1981 at the same time that I also bought “Gary Numan’s “Dance” and “Ultravox’s “Rage In Eden.” Heady times indeed!
Each one of those albums sits near the top of their respective artists’ shortlist of finest accomplishments. For Foxx, it was evidence of the big thaw that could only follow the cold wave blizzard that was “Metamatic” the year prior. This is one of those albums that I have many, many copies of. I always buy the UK LP with the “Church” booklet the first pressing came with when I see one. I have at three of these, with my original 1981 purchase being the prime edition.
Then I have the Canadian album with the rejigged sequence and alternate cover. I also have a Spanish pressing [possibly with “Church” booklet as well…I can’t recall right now. Then I also have several CD editions. The first UK CD from 1993. Then I got the 2001 remaster with better bonus tracks. And finally there’s the edition in the John Foxx “Virgin Years 1980-1985” boxed set. So that’s eight copies.
Now we’ve got these colored vinyl copies which are issued in editions of 600 in green and yellow editions. The green LP actually reminded me of the 1993 UK CD art, which also picked up on the whole “garden green” groove thang with minimal art and a very similar shade of green.
The LPs will sell for £21.99/€29.99/$31.99 each or in a special SĀV-R™ bundle for £39.99/€46.99/$56.99. But I can’t follow the whole “collect the colors” trend. As much as I love the idea of having every Metamatic Records stock number in house, I have to pick and choose my battles. Heck, I still never got the white vinyl “Metamatic” gatefold cover for RSD 2014 and I genuinely wanted to buy a copy of that one! But not so much that I was willing to pay for the overseas shipping as I never saw a copy on sale in America. And now that LP is a high two to three figures and outside of my reach. So if you need a colored vinyl copy of “The Garden” to enhance your own personal Record Cell, then preorders are in the Official Foxx store at the begin now at the touch of the button below.
I’d love to say that I will buy yet another copy of my favorite John Foxx album, but I won’t be. Colored vinyl is FAR from an enticement for me. I agree that The Garden sits alongside Dance and Rage In Eden as albums that represent what Synth Forward Rock/Pop could achieve. All three albums were shifts in style and musical point of view for the artists.
Echorich – I suppose that a 40 th DLX RM is out of the question as they probably would have done that, but the “Virgin Years” box must have soaked every loose track up. Which makes me happy. It’s easy to avoid colored vinyl. I do try to get the new vinyl as it comes out. “Concrete And Organised Noise” was a must buy for its newness and beauty.
So much good stuff from 1981, and still sounding good today. No colours for me thanks, will stick to my black one and the edsel cd reissue, the one with 12 tracks on cd 2. I always think fusion/fission is a hidden gem .
Ade.W – Interesting! I think of “Fusion/Fission” as a B-side that managed to insinuate itself on the album against all odds. I think it really belongs with tracks Foxx recorded with ShakeShake like “Long Time.” And yes, 1981 was a n abundance of fantastic music, wasn’t it? I really felt the drop off in both quantity and quality the next year. After three years of strong movement the Post-Punk trend was running out of gas.
B-sides ! give me “This jungle” anytime over “Europe after the rain”.
Ade.W – Just listening to “This Jungle” yesterday in playing “The Garden” and it was a long distant outlier to “Tarzan + Jane Regained,” wasn’t it? It even sports his own variation of a Tarzan Yell!
I absolutely adore this album,it has a timeless,pastoral and quintessentially English sound and feel.
My vinyl copy is an Australian one,complete with Church booklet.I have the mid-90s cd issue on Virgin with 6 extra tracks.Wont be getting the new vinyl copies.
Gavin – Now that you mention it I may also have an NZ copy on LP with “Church.” I might point out that ALL of my LP copies of this exciting album might have cost me $31.99 over the 40 years. Just noting that.
The Garden is an incredible record, but in particular the fact that it came so quickly after the bible of Cold Wave gave it even more cachet! And yes, 1981 was a heck of a great year — indeed, I regard 77-82 as a ridiculously high-quality explosion of new tech meeting new mindsets about music that resulted in an incredibly productive and satisfying array of sounds.
All that said, I’m a bit disappointed that a significant anniversary like this is being celebrated only in vinyl. Fad-ish and gimmicky are not attributes I associate with John Foxx. As mentioned earlier, I guess that “Virgin Years” really did have everything on it for The Garden, so making a vinyl version is fair enough, but as we’ve discussed before the resurgence of vinyl now finds many artists with very limited choices about what other formats they dare put their music on (apart from streaming) to get any attention. A sad situation IMO.
That said, the amusing fellows at They Might Be Giants are going to be offering their forthcoming album Book in a variety of mainstream and completely obsolete formats. In addition to the CD (TMBG are a very pro-CD band, bless ’em!), they naturally went for “Book” on (cassette) tape (HAR HAR), and recently announced they will also be offering it on 8-track (!!), spinning hard drive (!!!), Betamax (!!!!) and other nonsensical mediums. Stick it to the man, TMBG!!
Pingback: 40 Years Later, John Foxx Releases Companion Album to “The Garden” with “Church” | Post-Punk Monk