Posts Tagged ‘Charlie Burchill’

Simple Minds / Street Fighting Years 4CD box set

On 6th March Simple Minds will release a brand new deluxe version of the classic album ‘Street Fighting Years’ as a 4-CD box set, including the original album remastered at Abbey Road plus a host of B-sides, edits and 12″ remixes. “Street Fighting Years” is the eighth studio album by Scottish rock band Simple Minds, released in May 1989. It was notably the last of the band’s albums to feature keyboard player/composer/founder member Mick MacNeil. MacNeil has subsequently mentioned that “Jim (Kerr) had already started talking about making changes” and the credits for the album suggested that Simple Minds had officially become a trio of the only three remaining founder members, It also includes a previously unissued Verona live show from 1989 plus brand new book including a new interview with Trevor Horn. Also available as 2-LP, 2-CD or remastered single CD.

Produced by Trevor Horn and Stephen Lipson (fresh from their work on Paul McCartney’s Flowers in the Dirt) the record ended up sounding very different from the previous album (1985’s Once Upon A Time).

The band were initially expecting the producing duo to deliver what Charlie Burchill describes as  “their thing” (meaning synths, sequencers etc.) but Horn and Lipson didn’t think that was the right approach, with Trevor saying (in the excellent Daryl Easlea sleeve note interviews) that “I don’t think the Frankie thing would have suited them. I wouldn’t impose something on someone”. Jim Kerr says “We thought Trevor and Steve would be the answer to everything. We thought we’d hitch our wagon to them. It turned out that they likewise thought they had taken their whole thing to a max and thought it would be great to work with a band who could just knock it out.”

They ended up exploring atmospheric soundscapes and incorporating slide guitars, accordions and in general exuding a more celtic/folk rock vibe (the album was recorded in the Highlands of Scotland). Street Fighting Years delivered the band’s first and only UK number one single ‘Belfast Child’ (which was the lead track on the ‘Ballad of the Streets EP). Three further singles were all top 20 UK hits.

The four-CD box is packaged like the previous Simple Minds super deluxe sets and comes with a hardcover book with photos and interviews with the band and Trevor Horn and a Simple Minds poster. It offers a remastered version of the original album on the first disc (by Andrew Walter), a selection of 15 edits, B-sides and remixes on disc two and then two CDs featuring a previously unissued live concert from L’Arena in Verona, Italy (recorded on 15 September 1989). Sadly, there are no demos and or a surround sound mix of the album as part of this offering.

Simple Minds / Street Fighting Years 2LP vinyl reissue

Simple Minds Acoustic

On the 11th of November Simple Minds will release SIMPLE MINDS ACOUSTIC, a one-off album release of stripped down and re-imagined songs spanning their eclectic and illustrious career.

On SIMPLE MINDS ACOUSTIC the band have found a way of doing the acoustic thing without losing their essence, and a dozen Simple Minds songs loved by millions now sound more organic and even more likely to leave a lasting imprint. The synths are no more – but the Celtic soul remains.On the lead single Promised You A Miracle, the band are joined by fellow Scot KT Tunstall, whose distinctive vocals, acoustic strumming and rolling bass groove transform a piece of music that was the band’s first ‘pure pop song’ when it arrived in 1982.

Simple Minds“Promised You A Miracle”. Taken from the new album SIMPLE MINDS ACOUSTIC. Featuring KT Tunstall.

Recorded in December 2014, includes performances of ‘Honest Town’, ‘Alive & Kicking’, ‘Let The Day Begin’, ‘Don’t You’ and Bowie cover ‘The Man Who Sold The World’.


New Gold Dream Box Set Exploded Pack Shot 530

On July 29th ‘New Gold Dream (81-82-83-84)’ will be released as a new 5CD / 1 DVD super deluxe box set including a newly remastered version of the classic album, plus a further four discs of B-sides, edits, extended versions and previously unreleased BBC sessions.

The 1982 album was the Scottish band’s second on the Virgin label and the first to feature drummer Mel Gaynor (recruited after producer Peter Walsh declared himself unsatisfied with Mike Ogletree’s playing). New Gold Dream launched Simple Minds’ career worldwide and delivered the hit singles Promised You A Miracle, Glittering Prize and Someone Somewhere In Summertime.

The new super deluxe edition of New Gold Dream boasts an abundance of material. Disc one features a 2016 remaster (by Andrew Walter at Abbey Road) approved by Charlie Burchill and the second disc gathers 12-inch remixes and instrumentals of the singles, a few of which enjoy their CD debut.

Various edits and B-sides can be found on the third CD in the set while disc four features previously unreleased BBC John Peel and Kid Jensen radio sessions, recorded in February and August 1982.

All ten tracks on disc five are previously unreleased; made up of alternative mixes and demos and the icing on the cake is the sixth and final disc which is a DVD, featuring Charlie Burchill and Ronald Prent’s 5.1 surround sound mix, first released on the now long out-of-print DVD-Audio in 2005. This mix of the album is a unique ‘full duration’ mix which is different to the standard version. DVD also includes promo videos and a few Top of the Pops performances. Note, this is a DVD-V unlike the DVD-A/V disc from previous Simple Minds box sets.

The super deluxe includes a 36-page booklet with sleeve notes by journalist and broadcaster, Billy Sloan including new interviews with Jim Kerr and Charlie Burchill.

The reissue is being issued on two-CD deluxe and vinyl LP. The DVD content is also put out as a blu-ray audio.

New Gold Dream is reissued on 29 July 2016.

The DVD contains the famed 2005 ‘5.1 surround sound’ mix of the album, plus promo videos and BBC appearances, not to mention a stunning booklet with new interviews and rare photos.

The release will also be available in various versions: CD, 2CD set, 180gm LP and Blu-ray.

CD #1: Original Album

  1. Someone Somewhere In Summertime
  2. Colours Fly And Catherine Wheel
  3. Promised You A Miracle
  4. Big Sleep
  5. Somebody Up There Likes You
  6. NewGoldDream (81,82,83,84)
  7. Glittering Prize
  8. Hunter And The Hunted
  9. King Is White And In The Crowd

CD #2: Extended Versions

  1. Promised You A Miracle [Extended] (from Promised You A Miracle 12″ single)
  2. Seeing Out The Angel [Instrumental Remix] (from Promised You A Miracle 12″ single)
  3. Promised You A Miracle [US Remix] (from Promised You A Miracle American 12″ single)
  4. Promised You A Miracle [US Dub] (from Promised You A Miracle American 12″ single) First time on CD.
  5. Promised You A Miracle [US Special Extended Remix] (from Promised You A Miracle American Promo 12″ single) First time on CD.
  6. Glittering Prize [Club Mix] (from Glittering Prize 12″ single)
  7. Glittering Prize [Extended Theme] (from Glittering Prize 12″ single)
  8. Someone Somewhere In Summertime [Extended] (from Someone Somewhere In Summertime 12″ single)
  9. NewGoldDream (81,82,83,84) [German 12″ Remix] (from NewGoldDream German CD issue of album. Later released on 12″ singles.)
  10. King Is White And In The Crowd [Instrumental] (unedited and restored mix originally released with a Touch Tape magazine). First time on CD.
  11. NewGoldDream (81,82,83,84) [German 12″ Remix With Drums] (from X5 compilation)
  12. In Every Heaven (from X5 compilation)

CD #3: Edits And B-Sides

  1. Promised You A Miracle [Edit] (from Promised You A Miracle 7″ single)
  2. Theme For Great Cities (from Promised You A Miracle 7″ single)
  3. Glittering Prize [Edit] (from Glittering Prize 7″ single)
  4. Glittering Prize [Theme] (from Glittering Prize 7″ single) First time on CD.
  5. Someone Somewhere In Summertime [Edit] (from Someone Somewhere In Summertime Promo 7″ single) First time on CD.
  6. Soundtrack For Every Heaven (from Someone Somewhere In Summertime 12″ single)
  7. NewGoldDream (81,82,83,84) [7″ Mix] (from NewGoldDream Italian 7″ single)

CD #4: Radio Sessions

  1. Promised You A Miracle [Kid Jensen Session]
  2. In Trance As Mission [Kid Jensen Session]
  3. King Is White and In The Crowd [Kid Jensen Session] (from Someone Somewhere In Summertime 12″ single)
  4. Promised You A Miracle [John Peel Session] First time on CD
  5. Love Song [John Peel Session] First time on CD
  6. Sons And Fascination [John Peel Session] First time on CD
  7. King Is White And In The Crowd [John Peel Session] First time on CD
  8. Someone Somewhere In Summertime [Kid Jensen Session]
  9. Glittering Prize [Kid Jensen Session]
  10. Hunter And The Hunted [Kid Jensen Session]

CD #5: Alternative Mixes, Roughs And Demos

  1. Someone Somewhere In Summertime [Full Duration] Previously unreleased. First time on CD.
  2. Colours Fly And Catherine Wheel [Full Duration Instrumental] Previously unreleased. First time on CD.
  3. Promised You A Miracle [Remix For Album: Long] Previously unreleased. First time on CD.
  4. Big Sleep [Instrumental] Previously unreleased. First time on CD.
  5. In Every Heaven [Full Duration] Previously unreleased. First time on CD.
  6. Somebody Up There Likes You [Full Duration Instrumental] Previously unreleased. First time on CD.
  7. NewGoldDream (81,82,83,84) [Full Duration] Previously unreleased. First time on CD.
  8. Hunter And The Hunted [Alternative Take] Previously unreleased. First time on CD.
  9. King Is White And In The Crowd [Monitor Mix] Previously unreleased. First time on CD.
  10. In Every Heaven [Early Version] Previously unreleased. First time on CD.

DVD: 5:1 Mix And Videos

  1. Someone Somewhere In Summertime [5:1 Mixes]
  2. Colours Fly And Catherine Wheel [5:1 Mixes]
  3. Promised You A Miracle [5:1 Mixes]
  4. Big Sleep [5:1 Mixes]
  5. Somebody Up There Likes You [5:1 Mixes]
  6. NewGoldDream (81,82,83,84) [5:1 Mixes]
  7. Glittering Prize [5:1 Mixes]
  8. Hunter And The Hunted [5:1 Mixes]
  9. King Is White And In The Crowd [5:1 Mixes]
  10. In Every Heaven [5:1 Mixes]
  11. Promised You A Miracle [Promo Video]
  12. Glittering Prize [Promo Video]
  13. Promised You A Miracle [Top Of The Pops] First time commercially released.
  14. Glittering Prize [Top Of The Pops] First time commercially released.

Released this week, watch our unboxing of the new ‘Sparkle In The Rain’ box set (Super Deluxe Edition) from Simple Minds. “Sparkle in the Rain” is the sixth studio album released by Simple Minds,  originally on 6th February 1984. A breakthrough commercial success for the band, the record peaked at number one in the UK Albums Chart on 18th February 1984, and reached the top 20 in numerous other countries around the world, including New Zealand, Netherlands, Sweden, Canada,Switzerland, Germany,Norway, and Australia. Receiving mostly positive reviews in the United Kingdom and the United States, Sparkle in the Rain was ultimately certified double platinum in the UK by the British Phonographic Industry, and significantly increased media interest in the band.

Signs of a possible change to a musical direction into a more stadium-oriented sound first became apparent during a series of live performances in the summer months of 1983 by Simple Minds to huge European crowds. Lead singer Jim Kerr returned to a natural, style, as “whatever they would have to say would be in the music. “Those gigs brought us back to the rawest kind of state, I think,” Kerr said. “In places like that, 50,000 people, there’s just no room for subtlety,  This saw the band coming into direct contact with U2 for the first time at the Belgian rock festival Torhout-Werchter; upon meeting the two bands immediately developed a strong liking for each other. Jim Kerr remarked, “we saw a lot of ourselves in them and vice versa,” and refuted the accusation that Simple Minds were merely joining the “new rock” led by U2. We get this thing levelled at us of being influenced by them, but they’re equally influenced by us. It might be in a much subtler sense, in dynamics or some of the sounds.

A new song, Waterfront, was performed by the band when selected as “special guests” of headline acts U2 at Dublin‘s Phoenix Park in August 1983. “The song’s throbbing pulse and enormous sense of space suggested the way the band were thinking,” Adam Sweeting commented, “the elaborate, almost ornate arrangements of New Gold Dream (81/82/83/84) were receding into the distance. Simple Minds were making bigger music for bigger occasions. Shortly afterwards, the band were looking for a producer for their forthcoming sixth album; initially Alex Sadkin, of the Compass Point All Stars, was sought after due to his work with Grace Jones, but his schedule was incompatible with that of Simple Minds.  Steve Lillywhite however, had wanted to produce for the band for a long time, and ultimately Simple Minds completed a three-way Celtic grouping along with U2’s War and Big Country‘s The Crossing under Lillywhite

In September 1983, Simple Minds travelled to Monnow Valley Studio in Rockfield, near Monmouth in Wales, for three weeks to work on some new material; Steve Lillywhite accompanied them for the last two weeks to meet the musicians and suggest some modifications to their music. This material consisted of around six tracks developed during a session the band had spent at a recording studio called The Chapel in Lincolnshire in January, and other initial samples recorded in London‘s Nomis Studios before their performance at Phoenix Park. At Rockfield, most of the tracks were dramatically changed, as they had begun as demos consisting only of work by Mick MacNeil and Charlie Burchill, with some drum and bass machine sounds overlapping. With drummer Mel Gaynor now having fully integrated himself into the band, the songwriting was beginning to be influenced consistently from all group members.

The group relocated to Townhouse Studios in London by October, by which time their updated material retained “only a bassline or keyboard melody from the original four-track demo”. As a producer, Lillywhite differed from Peter Walsh on the previous album by going with “the feel of the moment” rather than following “any preconceptions about he wanted the album to turn out”. He tried to emphasize musical unity between the band members; for instance, he pressed Jim Kerr to write lyrics for songs as soon as he could, such that his vocal melodies were influenced by the instrumentation. “On their earlier records, everyone’s parts didn’t really bear much resemblance to everyone else’s,” discussed Lillywhite. “Mick would be fiddling away like this, Charlie would be going like this, then Jim would come in and sing something completely different to what the other two were doing. Whereas I now think Jim is taking some of the melodies from the guitar and the keyboards, which he didn’t use to, which makes it more like a song. Burchill likened Lillywhite’s producing style and manner to that of the film director Werner HerzogGenerally starting studio work at eleven o’clock in the morning, the band found the recording process repetitive, as each track was meticulously refined and sharpened through multiple iterations. With this leading to the group becoming tense and distracted, Lillywhite occasionally asked the band members to vacate the studio while he worked on mixing. The album’s working title was Quiet Night of the White Hot Day, which eventually survived as a lyric in the complete album’s seventh track “White Hot Day”. The recording process drew to a completion with Lillywhite and the band adding some finishing touches to Up on the Catwalk“; Jim Kerr sang some additional lines that had been stored in his notebook instead of name-dropping some extra famous people towards the song’s end. Minor imperfections in phasing and pitch were then corrected to complete the album.

Sparkle in the Rain is a generally rock-oriented album, a departure from the new wave aesthetic of its critically acclaimed predecessor New Gold Dream (81/82/83/84).  Jim Kerr, before its release, described the forthcoming Sparkle in the Rain as an “art record . without tears with masses of muscle”. The band’s new drummer Mel Gaynor, who had contributed for some tracks on the previous record, agreed on the album’s aggressiveness: “On this album I’m getting a few of my ideas across, not only in the drumming field but in other fields as well. It’s a lot different from New Gold Dream, both sound-wise and material-wise. The last one was very smooth, very polished. This album’s got a bit more dirt in it.” Regarding the role of producer Steve Lillywhite, Brian Hogg wrote that Sparkle in the Rain “captured the bravura of their in-concert sound” and Lillywhite “introduced a dynamic, often contrasting, perspective quite unlike the panoramic standpoint of its predecessor, but there was no denying the resultant brash excitement.”The recording process of “Up on the Catwalk”, “Forbes and Gaynor had combined to create a steamrolling rhythm track which came hammering out of the opening chorus like a runaway train.

The album’s musical style thus: “Synth-beats throb over Charlie Burchill’s new wave third-chord guitars and swooning basslines…Piano vibes are pinch-hitting and Kerr’s songwriting thrives on celebrity and the falling grace that coincides that.” The overall effect of the instrumentation is a “densely packed juggernaut of an LP”, the “big, spacey feel” of “Waterfront” and Other slower tracks include the instrumental “Shake Off the Ghosts” and the “pensive” “‘C’ Moon Cry Like a Baby”, while the punk-revivalist “The Kick Inside of Me”, “straining vocal and stinging guitar” of “Speed Your Love to Me“, and “pounding percussion and keyboards” of “Up on the Catwalk” and “Book of Brilliant Things” emphasize the album’s more intense sound. the guitar now having won the battle of dominant instrument.

Due to a desire to release the album worldwide simultaneously, Simple Minds decided not to put the record out for sale before Christmas 1983, releasing Sparkle in the Rain on 6th February 1984. The first UK pressing was issued on white vinyl;  Sparkle in the Rain produced three UK Top 40 singles. The first was “Waterfront”,  It remains one of the band’s signature songs to this day. The album was also preceded by the release of “Speed Your Love to Me”  and  “Up on the Catwalk” .

Virgin Records reissued Sparkle in the Rain as a remastered edition on 21st October 2002; this edition features improved sound quality and faithfully reproduced artwork and packaging from the original record. Around 2006, a set of eight demos for the album from 1983 were leaked to the internet. The drumming for “Speed Your Love To Me” is less dramatic, while “Book of Brilliant Things” is driven by a much stronger bass line than the album version. “White Hot Day” is at a slower tempo, and “Shake Off the Ghosts” sounds more related to the instrumental B-side “Brass Band in Africa” at this stage.

On 16th March 2015, a new 4CD/DVD deluxe remastered boxset of Sparkle In the Rain is to be released, containing B-sides and remixes on Disc 2, and live performances and radio sessions on Disc 3 and 4. The DVD will contain a 5.1 DTS Surround Sound Mix of the album, a 5.1 Dolby Surround Sound mix, and a stereo mix, as well as the promotional videos for the singles and various live performances. The album was remastered in 2014 at Abbey Road Studios by Steve Wilson.