Sunday, 6 December 2009

“Trailer Park” by BETH ORTON. A Review of the 2009 2CD “Legacy Edition” Reissue of her 1996 Debut Album.

"…Sometimes I Wonder…Do You Ever Think Of Me…"

This 9 March 2009 2CD remaster (HVNLP17CD-LE) of Beth Orton’s lovely 1996 debut album is a clever choice for a Legacy Edition. But with the original CD of “Trailer Park” languishing on many internet retailer sites for under eighty pence and the 5 CD singles that effectively make up Disc 2 costing as little as two pounds, then a person honestly has to be asking – why buy this? The answer for fans is the superlative remaster on Disc 1 - and for newcomers, the musical revelations on Disc 2.

But here’s a detailed breakdown first…

Disc 1 (59:41 minutes):
Tracks 1 to 11 are her debut album “Trailer Park” issued October 1996 on Heavenly Recordings on LP, Cassette and CD (HVNLP 17, HMVMC 17 and HVNCD 17).

Disc 2 (57:49 minutes):
1. Safety
2. It’s Not The Spotlight
1 and 2 are on the CD single of “She Calls Your Name” issued May 1977 on Heavenly HVN60CD. 1 is an Orton original, while 2 is a cover version of a song written by BARRY GOLDBERG with lyrics by GERRY GOFFIN (of Goffin & King fame). It turned up as a cover on Bobby Bland’s 1973 album “Dreamer” and then two years later Rod Stewart more famously covered it on his “Atlantic Crossing” album.
3. Galaxy Of Emptiness [Live at the Sheppard’s Bush Empire, 26 Nov 1996]
4. Pedestal
5. Touch Me With Your Love [Instrumental]
3 to 5 are non-album tracks on the CD single of “Touch Me With Your Love” issued January 1997 on Heaven HVN64CD.
6. It’s This I Am Find
6 is a non-album track on the CD single of “Someone’s Daughter” issued March 1997 on Heaven HVN65CD.
7. Bullet
8. Best Bit (Early Version)
7 and 8 are non-album tracks on the reissued CD single of “She Calls Your Name” issued June 1997 on Heavenly HVN68CD.
9. Best Bit
10. Skimming Stone
11. Dolphins
12. Lean On Me
Tracks 9 to 12 are the “Best Bit EP” issued in December 1997 on Heavenly HVN72CD. All songs were non-album. “Dolphins” is a FRED NEIL cover (lyrics above), while “Lean On Me” first appeared on an album called “Occasional Rain” from 1972 on Cadet Records. 11 and 12 features American soul icon TERRY CALLIER on duet vocals - 12 is Callier doing his own song.
13. I Love How You Love Me
13 is a cover version of a PARIS SISTERS song from 1961 written by BARRY MANN and LARRY KOLBER (produced by Phil Spector).

MILES SHOWELL at METROPOLIS did the remaster in August 2008 and it’s a beautiful job. If I was to say what’s better – it’s the rhythm section – suddenly the bass and drums are there – and with more muscle than before. This isn’t a loud remaster for the sake of it because when I play the old version against this, the difference is much more subtle than that – but it is better. Highlights for me are “Don’t Need A Reason” and the wonderful clarity of “Sugar Boy”.

But the real shock is the quality of Disc 2. Putting all the non-album sides and EP tracks together on one disc is an obvious approach for a reissue, but man - the results! Played all the way through, the coherence of the tracks makes it sound some long lost beautiful album – it just so works. The “Best Bit EP” with the two Terry Callier duets have long been fan favourites – “Lean On Me" is more soul-bliss than an average soul can stand – it still floors me as to how good their two beautiful voices matched. And while I might risk an assassination attempt on my life here (such is the affection the album is held in), I’m tempted to say that Disc 2 is arguably far better than Disc 1? Whatever way you look at it, the listener is on a musical winner here.

So there you have it - for fans there’s the beautiful new sound quality, and for newcomers there’s a superb debut on Disc 1 with a fantastically complimentary album’s worth on Disc 2.

A great little reissue - and at under seven coins from most online retailers - this is stunning value for money.

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Spines of Exceptional CD Remasters

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