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Friday, 9 November 2012
“Raintown” by DEACON BLUE. A Review Of Their 1987 Debut Album – Now Remastered And Expanded Into A 3CD/1DVD 2012 Reissue on Edsel Of The UK.
This link will bring you to the right issue to buy on Amazon UK:
Named after the last track on Side 1 of Steely Dan's 1977
masterpiece "Aja" – Scottish Soul-Rock band DEACON BLUE signed to CBS
Records and released their superlatively melodic debut album
"Raintown" in the Spring of 1987 – and it's now part of a massive
full catalogue reissue campaign by Edsel Records of the UK (see list below).
Here are the finite details...
Released 22 Oct 2012 in the UK (16 Oct 2012 in the USA) as a
3CD/1DVD mini hardback book set - Edsel EDSJ 9002 breaks down as follows:
Disc 1 (76:58 minutes)
Tracks 1 to 11 are the album "Raintown" released
May 1987 on CBS 450549 (1, 4 and 2 after the catalogue number for LP, MC and
Tracks 12 to 21 are BONUS TRACKS. The "Raintown"
album was re-released in August 1988 on CBS 450549 0 with a BONUS LP inside
called "Riches" (XPR 1361). "Riches" contained non-album
sides from their first four releases - "Dignity" on CBS DEAC 1 (Track
17), "Loaded" on CBS DEAC 2 (Tracks 12 and 13), "When Will You
(Make My Telephone Ring)?" on CBS DEAC 3 (Tracks 14 and 18) and
"Dignity – A Brand New Recording" - a 2nd issue on CBS DEAC 4 (Tracks
15, 16, 19 and 20).
Disc 2 (63:38 minutes):
Tracks 1 to 15 are non-album sides from all formats for
"Loaded" (CBS DEAC 2 - Track 2), "When Will You (Make My
Telephone Ring)?" (1st issue on CBS DEAC 3 – Tracks 3 and 4),
"Dignity – A Brand New Recording" (CBS DEAC 4 – Tracks 1, 5 and 6),
"When Will You (Make My Telephone Ring)?" (2nd issue on CBS DEAC 5 –
Tracks 7, 8 and 9) and "Chocolate Girl" (CBS DEAC 6 – Tracks 10 to
Disc 3 (47:02 minutes):
Tracks 1 to 13 are all of the Bonus Tracks that came with
the 2CD Legacy issue of "Raintown" in 2005 (Disc 2) – they're mostly
live versions and demos
DVD contains 6 Promo Videos - "Dignity – Version
1", "Loaded", "Dignity – Version 2", "When Will
You (Make My Telephone Ring)", "Dignity – US Version" and
The PHIL KINRADE remaster doesn't seem to have messed with
the original that much - it's just punchier – lovely clarity on each track -
and thankfully the whole thing is devoid of the bombastic Eighties production
that accompanied 1989's more commercial "When The World Knows Your
Name" (see separate review). The album opens slowly with the mournful
"Born In A Storm" followed by the uptempo synths of
"Raintown". Songs like "Ragman", "Dignity" and
the longing of "Love's Great Fears" are all good too - but for me the
real magic begins with "He Looks Like Spencer Tracy Now" – a gorgeous
floating melody that still sounds contemporary to this day. "Loaded"
was the 2nd single off the album in June 1987 – a superbly soulful song. Its
followed by two more singles - the pleading "When Will You (Make My
Telephone Ring)?" (lyrics from it title this review) and the so pretty
"Chocolate Girl". And one of my other favourites ends the album on a
high note with great vocal work from principal songwriter and lead singer Ricky
Ross – "Town To Be Blamed". A smouldering debut album that defined
their sound - and one that fans love…
There was a time when DEACON BLUE 12" and CD singles
used to go for real money precisely because their non-album sides were
considered to be so good - and in some cases - better than what was on the
album. Listening to "Riches" and Disc 2 especially - it's easy to
hear why. There are fantastic tracks on here in upgraded sound quality – the
mournful "Shifting Sands", their live cover of Van Morrison's sublime
"Angeliou", the guitar jaunt of "Suffering", the wallop of
"Ronnie Spector" and the superb uptempo spelling song
"S.H.A.R.O.N." which could easily have another album A-side.
Downsides - as fans felt in 2005 – the bonus disc of the
Legacy Edition (Disc 3 essentially) lets the side down terribly – unremarkable
live versions and dismissible demos. But as with the "When The World Knows
Your Name" reissue (their 2nd LP from 1989 that saw them go to Number 1 in
the UK - see separate review) - these are minor quibbles in what is an
astonishing overview of a great album.
As you can see in the list provided below, Edsel have done
Deluxe Editions on their whole catalogue and more - and they're to be praised
for these superb presentations pitched at a more than reasonable price. Coming
after the questionable and hugely disappointing reissue of Peter Gabriel's
"So" which offers bugger all to long-suffering fans - this is one of
those rare occasions where quality and quantity make good bedfellows.
There’s a newspaper clipping on Page 17 of the booklet that
reviews a dual concert in Aldwych King's College shared by THE BIBLE and DEACON
BLUE (just reviewed The Bible's fab "Eureka" from 1988). Now there's
a gig I would have sold my 'dinghy' and my 'dignity' for…
PS: the DEACON BLUE titles is this 2012 series are