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:

“…The Wonder Of It All…”

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 CD).

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 15)

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 "Chocolate Girl".

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
1. "Raintown" (1987) - Deluxe 3CD/1DVD Edition on Edsel EDSJ 9002
2. "When The World Knows Your Name" (1989) - Deluxe 3CD/1DVD Edition on Edsel EDSJ 9003 [see REVIEW]
3. "Fellow Hoodlums" (1991) - Deluxe 2CD/1DVD Edition on Edsel EDSG 8021
4. "Whatever You Say, Say Nothing" ((1993) = Deluxe 2CD/1DVD Edition on Edsel EDSG 8022
5. "Homesick" (2001) - 1CD Expanded Edition on Edsel EDSA 5015
6. "The Rest" (2012 Compilation) - Deluxe 2CD/1DVD Edition on Edsel EDSG 8023
7. "The Hipsters" (2012 New Album) - Edsel DEACON 001

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