Wednesday, 7 November 2012

“When The World Knows Your Name” by DEACON BLUE. A Review Of Their 2nd Album From 1989 – Now Remastered And Expanded Into A 3CD/1DVD Deluxe Reissue By EDSEL Of The UK For 2012.

This link will bring you the right issue (CD+DVD) to buy on Amazon UK:

"...This Train Is Full Of Songs..."

Named after the last track on Side 1 of Steely Dan's 1977 masterpiece "Aja" - 1989 was a breakthrough year for the Scottish Soul-Rock band Deacon Blue. Following on from the promise and songwriting sophistication of their 1987 major-label debut "Raintown" - their bombastic 2nd album "When The World Knows Your Name" delivered them a deserved Number 1 slot in the UK album charts in the Spring of that explosive year.

Featuring a truckload of hit singles (5) and a flashy gatefold sleeve with a lavish inner - this was CBS telling the world they believed in their boys and girl. And they were right too. Even now on this superb 2012 comprehensive Edsel reissue - the album still sounds incredibly confident (if not a little dated production-wise). 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 9003 breaks down as follows:

Disc 1 (78:04 minutes)
Tracks 1 to 13 are the album "When The World Knows Your Name" released April 1989 on CBS 463321 (1, 4 and 2 after the catalogue number for LP, MC and CD).
Tracks 14 to 20 are BONUS TRACKS - non-album sides from the "Real Gone Kid" and "Wages Day" 7", 12" and CD single formats on DEAC 7 [tracks 14 to 17] and DEAC 8 [tracks 18 to 20]

Disc 2 (62:42 minutes):
Tracks 1 to 13 are more BONUS TRACKS - non-album sides from all formats for "Wages Day", "Fergus Sings The Blues" and "Love And Regret" on DEAC 8 [track 1], DEAC 9 [tracks 2 to 5] and DEAC 10 [tracks 6 to 13]

Disc 3 (69:26 minutes):
Tracks 1 to 9 are more BONUS TRACKS - non-album sides from "Queen Of The New Year" [tracks 1 to 9]
Tracks 10 to 16 first appeared on the 2LP/2CD compilation album "Ooh Las Vegas" in September 1990 [reached Number 2 on the UK LP charts] which featured "When The World..." outtakes

DVD contains 6 Promo Videos - "Real Gone Kid" Version 1 and 2", "Wages Day", "Fergus Sings The Blues", "Love And Regret" and "Queen Of The New Year".

The album opens strongly with "Queen Of The New Year" and just never lets up - hit and after hit. But I particularly like the lesser-heard "Joshua Tree" feel to "Circus Lights" and the Talking Heads jaunt of "Silhouette" combining so well with the unexpected loveliness of "Sad Loved Girl" and "Orphans" (lyrics from it title this review) showing the band actually had real soul amidst all the pop. Mark Feltham of Nine Below Zero adds great harmonica backing to "Love And Regret" and while RICKY ROSS seems to grab the lion's share of the songwriting limelight - keyboardist JAMES PRIME is due an honorary mention too - especially for "Fergus Sings The Blues" and the truly gorgeous "Sad Loved Girl". The PHIL KINRADE remaster doesn't seem to have messed with the original that much - it's just punchier. Superb B-sides "Little Lincoln" and the happy vibe of "Born Again" have benefitted from that sonic upgrade. In fact "Born Again" could easily have been another hit single - "...Feel like a new man...with the whole world in my hand...ooh babe...I'm born again..." Those lyrics must have felt true to Ricky Ross and Lorraine McIntosh back in 1989 - as the songs flowed like wine.

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 (with all its need to be commercial). Listening to Disc 2 and 3 - it's easy to hear why. There is some amazing stuff on here - "London A to Z" and "Back Here In Beanoland" while the 'Long Version' of "Sad Loved Girl" running to 3:17 is truly gorgeous stuff - as opposed to the album cut which is a snippet at 1:11 minutes. The only real dogs on here are the extended 12" mixes which all sport the usual Eighties excesses that now sound so unlistenable.

Another downer for me is the uber-polished Eighties production which drenches everything is super-slick sound and huge drums. Tracks like "The World Is Hit By Lightning" seems to want to hit you with instrument pop-ups every few seconds instead of concentrating on getting an actual song out. In fact I've found that many remastered 1980's albums are like this - there's something about the way they were recorded that gives a subsequent remaster a slightly disjointed feel to the whole sound stage. A personal opinion but one worth mentioning...

But 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.

In "Fergus Sings The Blues" Ricky Ross sings "...Can this white man sing the blues?"

Hell yes is the answer. And his band played a blinder too...

PS: the DEACON BLUE titles is this 2012 series are
1. "Raintown" (1987) - Deluxe 3CD/1DVD Edition on Edsel EDSJ 9002 [see REVIEW]
2. "When The World Knows Your Name" (1989) - Deluxe 3CD/1DVD Edition on Edsel EDSJ 9003
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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