Sunday, 9 February 2014

“Waking Hours” by DEL AMITRI. A Review Of The January 2014 “Re-Presents” 2CD Reissue Of Their 1989 2nd Album On A&M Records - Remastered and Expanded.

This link will bring you the right issue of "Waking Hours" on Amazon UK to buy:

“...Sweet Memory In Your Mind...”

Hailing out of Scotland as a sort of Soulful yet Indie version of the Faces - like so many I never noticed del Amitri’s self-titled debut album on Chrysalis which came and went in May 1985. It wasn’t until I heard “Kiss This Thing Goodbye” in the Summer of 1989 that the love affair started. I’ve subsequently bought maybe twenty CD singles by them over the years - because like Love and Money, The Bible, The Fat Lady Sings, Deacon Blue, The Big Dish and The Silencers - their B-sides were often as good as (if not better than) the album tracks. Now fans are being treated to a “Re-Presents” reissue series of their three albums on A&M Records - “Waking Hours” (1989 and 1990), “Change Everything” (1992) and “Twisted” (1995). Here’s the beer-stained details...

UK Released 20 January 2014 - “Waking Hours” on Universal/Mercury 3753354 (Barcode 602537533541) is a 2CD reissue in a jewel case of their 2nd album first issued on A&M Records 9006 in July 1989. On the success of the “Nothing Ever Happens” single in January 1990 - 
the album was re-released in February 1990 with the sleeve used on this reissue (45:50 minutes).
Disc 2 (51: 02 minutes) gathers up 16 non-album studio tracks from 5 single releases - 2 of which are from 10” and 12” singles - so are new to CD. The remaster has been done by GEOFF PESCHE at Abbey Road and the 16-page liner notes (which feature interviews with Currie and Harvey along with press clippings) are expertly handled by TERRY STAUNTON.

Having had 4 whole years to craft his song-writing skills, lead singer, bassist and principal writer JUSTIN CURRIE has recruited new band members IAIN HARVEY (guitarist) and ANDY ALSTON (Keyboards) and after returning from a small US tour that rejuvenated them - they signed to A&M with an album full of great melodies that were far more radio-friendly than their well-received but commercially flaccid debut. It’s a sign of "Waking Hours" strength that 4 of its 10 tracks became singles - “Kiss This Thing Goodbye”, “Stone Cold Sober”, “Move Away Jimmy Blue” and “Nothing Ever Happens” with a further stand alone single in 1990 - “Spit In The Rain”. 

The original album was beautifully produced with an almost live-in-the studio feel to every track - real songs sung with real feeling. The remaster barely changes that (its nine seconds longer than my old CD) and is truthfully only ever-so-slightly better. However, album sleepers like the rocking “Opposite View” and the upbeat “When I Want You” now sound gorgeous. “This Side Of The Morning” sounds so like Rod Stewart circa “Every Picture Tells A Story” - a massive compliment in my book. And the whole album still stands up as a total listening experience. 

Disc 2 is extraordinary in many ways - there’s at least three meisterwerks on here - the unbelievably rock-soulful and lyrically brilliant “So Many Souls To Change” which focuses on corporate greed screwing our world up - the wistful "we gave away our innocence...” song “Don’t I Look Like The Kind Of Guy You Used To Hate” and the lovely yet distinctly Scottish melancholy of “Spit In The Rain” released as a stand-alone single in October 1990 after the album (lyrics from it title this review). Fans will especially enjoy the acoustic strum of “Fred Partington’s Daughter” which was exclusive to the 10” vinyl single of “Kiss This Thing Goodbye” and the ramshackle but fun version of “This Side Of The Morning” which we are assured was recorded live at 2 a.m. in a car-park somewhere (exclusive to the 12” vinyl single of “Move Away Jimmy Blue”). Both of these rare tracks make their first CD appearance here and are very welcome additions. 

Never hip and somehow derided in some circles as a poor-man’s Faces - I loved del Amitri with a passion. They produced a corker in this album - it deserves major reappraisal and a ten-spot of your hard-earned. This cheap double CD and warm remaster of “Waking Hours” is a reminder of their brilliance. 

I’m off to grow some sideburns...

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Spines of Exceptional CD Remasters

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