Sunday, 29 January 2017

"Fog On The Tyne" by LINDISFARNE (2004 EMI/Virgin/Charisma 'Expanded Edition' CD Remaster) - A Review by Mark Barry...

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"...We Can Have A Wee-Wee...
We Can Have A Wet On The Wall..."

Before we get into the review - a point of order should you order from any Amazon site. 

Even if you use the right Barcode in the Amazon search bar for the original No. 1 UK LP from 1971 - you're directed to some CD of re-makes with different artwork and 'not' the original band or LP (the usurper artwork has the five of them stood by railings – the original album artwork and CD you need is shown in the pictures provided below). 

The CD Remaster you do want is the official May 2004 CD Reissue on Virgin/Charisma CASCDR 1050 - Barcode 724357990325 only - an 'Expanded Edition' of Lindisfarne's second album "Fog On The Tyne" with two Bonus Tracks added on. You may need to search for it and ask you're online seller to sell you the right issue. 

That said - here are the unclouded technical details for the 2004 Version...

UK released May 2004 - "Fog On The Tyne" by LINDISFARNE on Virgin/Charisma CASCDR 1050 (Barcode 724357990325) is an 'Expanded Edition' CD Remaster with Two Bonus Tracks that plays out as follows (36:31 minutes):

1. Meet Me On The Corner
2. Alright On The Night
3. Uncle Sam
4. Together Forever
5. January Song
6. Peter Brophy Doesn't Care [Side 2]
7. City Song
8. Passing Ghosts
9. Train In G Major
10. Fog On The Tyne
Tracks 1 to 10 are their 2nd studio album "Fog On The Tyne" - released October 1971 in the UK on Charisma Records CAS 1050 and February 1972 in the USA on Elektra EKS-75021. Produced by BOB JOHNSTON - the album peaked at No. 1 in the UK – didn’t chart USA. "Meet Me On The Corner" and "Train In G Major" written by Rod Clements - "Alright On The Night", "January Song", "Peter Brophy Don't Care" [co-write with Terry Morgan], "City Song", "Passing Ghosts" and "Fog On The Tyne" written by Alan Hull - "Uncle Sam" written by Simon Cowe and "Together Forever" is a Rab Noakes cover version.

11. Scotch Mist
12. No Time To Lose
Tracks 11 and 12 are both non-album UK B-sides (B1 and B2) to the February 1972 3-Track 7” Maxi Single for "Meet Me On The Corner" on Charisma CB 173 (peaked at No. 5 on the UK charts). "Scotch Mist" is written by all five band-members - "No Time To Lose" by Alan Hull.

RAY JACKSON - Lead Vocals, Mandolin and Harmonica
ALAN HULL - Lead Vocals, Acoustic, 12-String and Electric Guitars and Keyboards
SIMON COWE - Acoustic, 12-String and Electric Guitars, Mandolin and Backing Vocals
ROD CLEMENTS - Bass, Acoustic, 12-String and Electric Guitars and Violin
RAY LAIDLAW - Drums and Percussion

The gatefold slip of paper that acts as an inlay goes no further than offering the original LP artwork - inside and out. The colour photos of our Newcastle heroes lollygagging on a bench outside the salubrious 'Britannia Lodging' are still there - as well as them taking a cuppa inside their 'Tea Rooms'. It's a damn shame Virgin did no more - this was a Number One album fro god's sake and a hugely popular one at that - some hindsight would have been nice - foreign picture sleeves for "Meet Me On The Corner" maybe - but alas. This Virgin/Charisma CD reissue has used the 'Pink Scroll Label' variant of 'The Famous Charisma Label' on the CD aping the appearance of the rare 1st pressing British LP (most copies were represses on the Mad Hatter label variant). Beneath the see-through CD tray is an advert for their debut "Nicely Out Of Tune" from November 1970 and their 3rd album "Dingly Dell" from September 1972 (that CD unfortunately uses different artwork). It's nice to look at but you wish there was more...

By way of compensation however we do get a new KATHY BRYAN CD Remaster done at Abbey Road from real tapes - and man does this thing sound good. Being essentially a Folk-Rock act based around 12-string guitars, mandolins and the occasional sweet Harmonica solo - the music is a dead-ringer for decent remastering and that's indeed what we get. Lindisfarne's sound has echoes of Matthews Southern Comfort, Brinsley Schwarz, Cochise, Fotheringay and even traces of John Martyn and the transfer here is lovely.

As you can see from the detailed credits above - Alan Hull takes the lion's share of songwriting credits - but two of my fave-raves are actually Rod Clements songs - the hugely popular hit single "Meet Me On The Corner" and the Bluesy LP gem "Train In G Major" (he also penned the fabulous "Road To Kingdom Come" on the "Nicely Out Of Tune" LP from 1970). On both tracks Ray Jackson takes lead vocals - Hull laying into stunning piano fills on "Train In G Major" before the band all converge on a boozy barroom rock out. Hull, Jackson and Cowe all share leads on "Alright On The Night" - a take-me-as-I-am Acoustic romp that leads very nicely into Simon Cowe's superb "Uncle Sam" - a strangely pretty song about soldiers press-ganged into fighting. Devious little bugger starts out all strumming sweet - but then jumps into a fantastic band effort anchored by cool piano and harmonica. Their country-comfort-cover of Rab Noakes' "Together Forever" (sung by Jackson) and Hull's own "January Song" (sung by Hull) both feature something that's not praised enough - the England's CSNY sound their harmony vocals added to every track.

Side 2 opens with "Peter Brophy Doesn't Care" - a Hull co-write with Terry Morgan about a monocle-faced man with disdain for all ordinary life. "...I've been too long travelling on your train..." - Hull complains on "City Song" - sick of cold metropolis indifference - longing for the warmth of a garden and children and a lady watching over it all (magical harmonies in this forgotten gem of a song). A huge sound emanates from the walls of acoustics on "Passing Ghosts" – a you-don't-have-to-talk song that finishes with a Bass line that threatens to do for your speaker cones. I'm amazed no one has thought to cover the brill Acoustic Blues of "Train In G Major" – perhaps Marc Cohn when he gets round to his 1971 album of cover version (want a man like me – yes you do Marc with a C). It finishes on the brilliance of Hull's wit where our heroes are sitting in some cafĂ© 'sucking sickly sausage rolls' contemplating the Dole queue while crooked coffin-makers are trying to be their friend. All this and its time for a slash (adapted lyrics from this song title this review).

As if the album isn't enough – we get two genuinely great Bonus Tracks – the rare non-album B-sides to the "Meet Me On The Corner" single. "Scotch Mist" turns out to be a Mandolin instrumental rave-up where Lindisfarne sounds like Fairport Convention or Horslips having a laugh (the Audio is amazing). But better is the 'time is half-past nine' outtake "No Time To Lose" where you can't help but think this song could easily have made the album.

The equally excellent (and way more political) "Dingly Dell" album followed in September 1972 with their fourth "Roll On, Ruby" in December 1973 – but by such time – few were listening. Charisma issued a Best Of vinyl compilation called "Lindisfarne's Finest Hour" in October 1975 (Charisma CAS 1108) that featured four cuts from the popular "Fog On The Tyne" - while on quitting the band Alan Hull released a couple of quality solo albums - the overlooked "Pipedream" in July 1973 on Charisma CAS 1069 and "Squire" in May 1975 on Warner Brothers K 56121.

But when people think of Lindisfarne – they will inevitably grin from ear-to-ear at the thought of 1971's "Fog On The Tyne" that like The Faces "Ooh La La " album in 1973 and Dr. Feelgood's live set "Stupidity" in 1976 – was an unlikely but entirely justified Number 1 chart topper on the British LP charts.

Despite the passing years and the mist closing in - "Fog On The Tyne" is indeed all yours - still there - tugging on your heart strings again. Now if you can only nail down the right friggin CD reissue...elusive little bleeder...wee-weeing on walls somewhere...

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