Wednesday, 16 June 2010

“Strange Kind Of Love” by LOVE and MONEY. A Review of their Classic 1988 Album Now Reissued & Remastered by Cherry Red Records in 2010.

"…It’s A Strange Kind Of Love…Keeps Me Hoping Still…”

LOVE and MONEY had popped out their debut album "All You Need Is..." on Mercury Records in the UK in 1986 to critical acclaim, but only slight public interest. All of that changed for the Scottish soul rockers with their sophisticated and smart 2nd album.

"Strange Kind Of Love" was UK released on LP, MC and CD in October 1988 on Fontana SFLP 7, SFMC 7 and 836 49-2 respectively. In keeping with the times, both the cassette and the CD carried a lone bonus track - "Scapegoat" - to entice people away from the 10-track vinyl version. It was also produced by GARY KATZ of STEELY DAN fame and carried the then desirable DDD code on the rear (a Full Digital Recording). I picked up on the title track's CD single and have loved the album ever since - even hoping it might one day get Universal's 2CD DELUXE EDITION treatment...but alas.

Which brings us to this Cherry Red April 2010 reissue on CDMRED442. It's the 11-track CD version with a further 6 bonus demos added on (79:21 minutes). This new version features involvement from two principal members of the original band - lead singer and songwriter JAMES GRANT and Keyboardist PAUL McGEECHAN. The booklet's not bad (Halleluiah has been properly spelled as Hallelujah), but disappointingly its 12-pages excludes the lyrics and a few pictures that came with the original issue and although both of the boys and Katz have provided new comments on the album, they're short and strangely uninformative.

But the really great news is the SOUND...

Paul McGeechan has handled the remaster himself using the original tapes and he's done a fabulous job. The original CD (despite being DDD) used to sound ever so slightly subdued - clinically clean even... Well now it has real muscle and on some tracks is hugely improved to a genuinely thrilling level. The punch out of the slinky "Shape Of Things To Come" is just brill, while "Axis Of Love" has huge guitars and drums now. It's a massively improved remaster and makes the aging original redundant. Guests included Jeff Pocaro of Toto on drums and Timothy B. Schmidt of The Eagles on backing vocals.

The big letdown is the extras. Ok, the six demo tracks are new, but they just sound like lesser run-throughs to me and aren't really that interesting or even different. The pick of the crop is a more brass/harmonica version of "Up Escalator", but the others sound way too much like INXS rejects. Which brings me to what could have been on here...

In the UK Fontana released 4 singles off the album - "Halleluiah Man" (September 1988), "Strange Kind Of Love" (January 1989), "Jocelyn Square" (March 1989) and finally "Up Escalator" (June 1989). As well as CD singles there were a plethora of 7" and 12" single versions - almost all of them with exclusive non-album tracks and extended remixes. Some were truly fantastic songs and have remained firm fan favourites ever since. There's the original 1988 version of "Looking For Angeline" from "Strange Kind Of Love", the lovely "Wanderlust 2" from "Halleluiah Man" and "Saint Henry" from "Jocelyn Square" - it's these that I would have preferred to see on here in upgraded remastered form. Like Deacon Blue, The Silencers, Kate Bush, Lies Damned Lies and Prefab Spout - Love And Money B-sides were always worth collecting. Pity Cherry Red chose not to use some of them here.

To sum up - a fantastic remaster then, disappointing extras and an adequate booklet.

The third member of the band Bass Player BOBBY PATERSON (ex Primal Scream) died in 2006 in Glasgow and he is recalled in the liner notes as their 'absent friend'. It's great to see both him and the album he was involved in remembered so well after all these years absent in the wilderness...

What a great little band Love And Money was - I remember them with such affection. From here, it was on to their true masterpiece - "Dogs In The Traffic" from 1991 and hopefully Cherry Red will tackle that too.

Recommended.

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Spines of Exceptional CD Remasters

Spines of Exceptional CD Remasters

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