Friday, 9 November 2012

"Eureka" (1988) and "The Bible" (1989) by THE BIBLE (2012 Cherry Red 2CD Remasters) - A Review by Mark Barry...





"…Forgotten Faces…Lipstick Traces…"

Musically the Eighties is a much-derided decade (and in many cases warranted too) - but it also had its masterpieces - "Hounds Of Love" by Kate Bush, "Steve McQueen" by Prefab Sprout, "Infected" by The The, "Passion - The Last Temptation Of Christ" by Peter Gabriel, "The Colour Of Spring" by Talk Talk and "Hats" by The Blue Nile - to name but a few… 

There are many more of course - but I'd like to argue that one of those gems should be the beautifully melodic "Eureka" by Norwich's finest THE BIBLE...

UK reissued 15 Oct 2012 - "Eureka" by THE BIBLE on Cherry Red CDBRED 531 (Barcode 5013929153134 is a 2CD 'Expanded Edition' set of Remasters. Here are the finite details...


Disc 1 - "Eurkea" The Album (48:16 minutes):
1. Skywriting
2. Honey Be Good
3. Skeleton Crew
4. November Brides 
5. Cigarette Girls
6. White Feathers * CD bonus track
7. Crystal Palace 
8. The Wishing Game
9. Red Hollywood 
10. Tiny Lights 
11. Blue Shoes Stepping
12. Up In Smoke * CD bonus track
CD 1 features the LP "Eureka" - originally released January 1988 on Chrysalis CHR 1646. As was customary for the time the Cassette and CD versions carried bonus tracks - in this case 2 - "White Feathers" and "Up In Smoke". They were placed at the end of each side - Track 6 and Track 12 (this reissue uses that MC and CD configuration). But if you prefer to place both these tracks at the end (thereby not interrupting the 10-track LP run) a simple reprogramming of this CD will allow that.

However, the story doesn't stop there. After a less than ecstatic reception from the public (despite a lot of genuinely positive press) - Chrysalis tried to re-launch the album and band the following year. They rearranging the track list of "Eureka" - gave it different artwork - and simply called it "The Bible". This new LP variant was released 25 September 1989 on Chrysalis/Ensign CHEN 12. The first track "Graceland" was a 1989 'New Version' - all others were from 1988 - a mixture of "Eureka" LP tracks and 3 non-album B-sides. This 2CD set will allow fans to sequence that 12-track LP and CD as follows...

"The Bible" - the 1989 compilation
Side 1: 
1. Graceland [Disc 2/Track 7]
2. Crystal Palace [Disc 1/Track 7]
3. Honey Be Good [Disc 1/Track 2]
4. Skeleton Crew [Disc 1/Track 3]
5. Red Hollywood [Disc 1/Track 8]
6. Abraham, Martin & John [Disc 2/Track 8]

Side 2: 
1. Skywriting [Disc 1/Track 1]
2. Glory Bound [Disc 2/Track 18] 
3. Up In Smoke [Disc 1/Track 12]
4. Blue Shoes Stepping [Disc 1/Track 11]
5. Cigarette Girls [Disc 1/Track 5]
6. The Golden Mile [Disc 2/Track 4] 

NOTE: The reissued "The Bible" LP had 12-tracks as did its CD equivalent on Chrysalis CCD 1727 - but there was a limited edition of the LP which contained a FREE 4-Track 12" Single on Chrysalis CHEN D 12. The first track of the 12" was a new Bible song followed by three beautiful cover versions - all songs done in an acoustic style. They appear on CD 2 as "The Will To Love" [Track 17], "I'm So Lonesome (I Could Cry)" [Hank Williams cover - Track 14], "Motherless Child" [Traditional Blues cover - Track 15] and "On Broadway" [Drifters cover - Track 16].

DISC 2 - BONUS TRACKS (69:19 minutes): 
As was common in the 80's - each single release off an album featured as many as five formats and more (7"s, 12"s and CD Singles) - each usually with non-album songs or remixes to entice fans and collectors. And like Deacon Blue and Love And Money - The Bible's B-sides were revered as being good - and on occasion better than the A. Between the "Eureka" and "The Bible" LPs they managed five releases (with a few before that too) - so it's not surprising to see so many extras on here. They break down as follows...

Tracks 1 and 2 are "Graceland (Remix Version)" and "High Wide And Handsome" - both of which were non-album tracks on the August 1986 UK 12" single of "Graceland" on Chrysalis CHS 12 3036.
Tracks 3, 4 and 5 are "Bubblehead", "The Golden Mile" and "The Slow Drag Down" - all were non-album tracks on the UK 12" single of "Crystal Palace" released February 1987 on Chrysalis BIBX 1. 
Track 6 is "Coming Of Age" - a non-album track on the September 1988 German 12" single of "Honey Be Good" on Chrysalis 611 711.
Tracks 7, 8, 9 and 10 are "Graceland (Extended New Version)", "Abraham, Martin & John" [Marvin Gaye cover], "Eureka" and "Mayday" - all were non-album tracks on the May 1989 UK 12" single of "Graceland" on Chrysalis BIBX 4 [in Sept 1989 Track 7 also acted as the opening track for "The Bible" LP].
Tracks 11, 12 and 13 are "Skywriting (Alternate Version)", "King Chicago (New Version)" and "Electric Money" - all were non-album versions on the August 1989 12" single of "Honey Be Good" on Chrysalis BIBX 5.
Tracks 14, 15, 16 and 17 are described in the NOTE above
Track 18 is "Glorybound (New Version)" which appeared on the August 1989 UK CD single of "Honey Be Good" on Chrysalis BIBCD 5 - it also featured as a track on "The Bible" 1989 LP and CD.

WHAT'S MISSING: 
Packaging - the original album had a detailed inner sleeve with more of TONY SHEPPARD'S classy artwork and better still - the lyrics. Both are MIA when they shouldn't be. However, compensating for that are the new interviews, new photos of the band and a collage shot of various picture sleeves. 

Songs - the February 1987 issue of "Graceland" on Chrysalis BIB 1 had non-album cuts across the 7"s and 12"s like  Glory Bound (Live), Mahalia (Greg Walsh Remix), Spend Spend Spend, The Slow Drag Down (Live), Glory Bound (Live) and Walking The Ghost Back Home (Live) - all MIA. Even better would have been the sought-after Limited Edition 12" single of "Honey Be Good" on Chrysalis BIBAX 3 which featured exclusive Acoustic Versions of "Honey Be Good", "Cigarette Girls" and "King Chicago" - again MIA. None of these have ever been on CD to my knowledge - and they should have been included. Having said all that - tracks like "Coming of Age" and "Bubblehead" are superb - and for me the 4 Acoustic Tracks on "The Bible" LP FREE 12" are absolute highlights - beautifully done - so intimate. 



There's an expanded 16-page booklet with new liner notes by noted music-writer DARYL EASLEA with contributions from the band's principal songwriters BOO HEWERDINE and NEILL MacCOLL and American Country-Rock singer and Album Producer STEVE EARLE. 

THE MUSIC:
American Country-Rock giant STEVE EARLE produced the first 7 tracks of the album with the last 3 handled by England's PETE SMITH - "Red Hollywood", "Tiny Lights" and "Blue Shoes Stepping". Their combined polish served the songs well - nicely present but never overdone - the sound is classy and well proportioned. And ANDY PEARCE'S CD remaster brings that out. 

The punch of "Skywriting" opens proceedings nicely - setting up that sophisticated Bible sound. You're then hit track after track of classy songwriting - particularlty loving "Skeleton Crew" and "November Brides". Another nugget is "Cigarette Girls" which is acoustic based (one reviewer claims there's seconds missing off its beginning - but I can't for the life of me hear it - nor even see how it will even be noticed by a new listener (lyrics above)). One of my favourite sleepers on the LP is the slinky jazz feel of "Red Hollywood" - it opens with NEILL MacCOLL'S echoed guitar-work sounding not unlike David Gilmour on Pink Floyd's "Shine On You Crazy Diamond" from "Wish You Were Here". The track also features DANNY THOMPSON of PENTANGLE on Double Bass and a fantastic Trumpet break from JOHN HUCKBRIDGE half way in - absolutely superb stuff. "Tiny Lights" too is a cracker. The jaunty duo of "Crystal Palace" and "Honey Be Good" were obvious singles and I love "Blue Shoes Stepping" - ending the LP in memorable style. 

To sum up - despite my minor misgivings about presentation (sloppy spelling errors too in the text) and tracks that should have been on here - I don't want to do this superb 2CD reissue by Cherry Red an injustice. "Eureka" is the kind of album you need to rediscover - a melodic cracker and something you should investigate pronto. 

Like Roddy Frame of Aztec Camera, Gary Clark of Danny Wilson, James Grant of Love And Money and Paddy McAloon of Prefab Sprout - Boo Hewerdine is considered by many to be one of England's great songwriters  - his melodic tunes recorded in the last few years by top musicians like EDDI READER and KRIS DREVER. And on the evidence presented here - it's easy to see why his songs are so loved...

PS: And if you're listening Cherry Red - how about expanded CD remasters for these other Eighties meisterworks languishing in digital Limbo: "Life's Hard And Then You Die" by IT'S IMMATERIAL - "A Blues For Buddha" by THE SILENCERS - "Dumb Poet" by IMMACULATE FOOLS.  could go on if you ask me nicely...

THE BIBLE - DISCOGRAPHY:

7”, 12” and CD singles around the album… (Graceland was released 4 times)

“Graceland” – UK 12” single on Chrysalis CHS 12 3036 (August 1986) 
A1: Graceland (Greg Walsh Remix) 
(Original Version on the “Walking Back To The Ghost” LP/CD] [Disc 2/Track 1]
A2: Glory Bound 
B: High Wide And Handsome [Disc 2/Track 2]

“Graceland” - UK 2 x 7” single pack on Chrysalis BIBG 1 (February 1987)
A: Graceland (Greg Walsh Remix) B: Glory Bound (Live)
A: Mahalia (Greg Walsh Remix) B: Spend Spend Spend

“Graceland” – UK 12” single reissue on Chrysalis BIBX 1 (February 1987)
A1: Graceland (Greg Walsh Remix) [Disc 2/Track 1]
A2: High Wide And Handsome [Disc 2/Track 2]
B1: The Slow Drag Down (Live) 
B2: Glory Bound (Live) 
B3: Walking The Ghost Back Home (Live) 

“Crystal Palace” – UK 12” single (and CD single) on Chrysalis BIB 2 (August 1988)
A1: Crystal Palace [Disc 1/Track 7]
A2: Bubblehead [Disc 2/Track 3]
B1: The Golden Mile [Disc 2/Track 4]
B2: The Slow Drag Down [Disc 2/Track 5]

“Honey Be Good” – UK CD single on Chrysalis BIBCD 3 (Sept 1988)
Honey Be Good [Disc 1/Track 2]
White Feathers [Disc 1/Track 6]
Glorybound (New Version) [Disc 2/Track 18]
Abraham, Martin & John [Marvin Gaye cover] [Disc 2/Track 8] 

“Honey Be Good” – German 12” single on Chrysalis 611 711 (September 1988)
B3: Coming Of Age [Disc 2/Track 6]

“Graceland (New Version)” – UK 12” on Chrysalis BIBX 4 (May 1989)
A1: Graceland (Extended New Version) [Disc 2/Track 7]
A2: Abraham, Martin & John [Disc 2/Track 8]
B1: Eureka [Disc 2/Track 9]
B2: Mayday [Disc 2/Track 10]
NOTE: The 1989 remake of “Graceland” turns up twice on this 2CD set – the 7” mix of ‘New Version’ at 3: 51 minutes is on Disc 2/Track 18 and the 12” ‘Extended New Version’ at 4:17 minutes is on Disc 2/Track 7. 

“Honey Be Good” – UK 12” Single on Chrysalis BIBX 5 (August 1989)
A1: Honey Be Good
A2: Skywriting (Alternate Version) 
B1: King Chicago (New Version)
B2: Electric Money

“Honey Be Good” – UK 12” Single on Chrysalis BIBAX 5 (August 1989)
A1: Honey Be Good
A2: I’m So Lonesome (I Could Cry) [Hank Williams cover]
B1: Motherless Child [Traditional Blues cover]
B2: On Broadway [Drifters cover]

“Honey be Good” – UK CD single on Chrysalis BIBCD 5 (August 1989)
Honey Be Good
King Chicago (New Version)
Crystal Palace (Alternate Version)
On Broadway [Drifters cover]

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