I’ve mentioned before, on many occasions, how much of a fan I am of Billy Bragg. I haven’t gone out and bought absolutely everything he’s ever issued, but I’ve all the albums, a handful of compilation CDs, the stuff with Wilco, and some officially sanctioned live CDs, there are over 400 different songs or takes on songs sitting on the hard-drive.
Browsing in a second-hand shop the other week, I picked up the 12″ release of Sexuality, a single from 1991, written in partnership with Johnny Marr on which Kirsty MacColl sang backing vocals. The single went all the way up to #27 in the UK charts and was the first to be released from the album Don’t Try This At Home. I genuinely can’t think why I didn’t buy Sexuality at the time – I certainly have long had a 12″ copy of You Woke Up My Neighbourhood, the second and final 45 from the album, dating from the time of release.
I was surprised to see that the two additional tracks on Sexuality weren’t already on the hard-drive, which made handing over the £2 a very easy decision. I did think that all his b-sides had been collated on compilations or included in the subsequent boxsets, so this felt like a bit of a find, albeit I know it’s not a particularly difficult piece of vinyl to track down on the second-hand market. I’ve since checked and picked up the info that the b-side of the 7″ has been included on compilations, but not the 12″ tracks.
I was a little bit disappointed when I got home and discovered that the vinyl wasn’t in the greatest of condition but it didn’t stop me playing and enjoying these two new bits of music:-
Yup…..Billy Bragg going down the remix route. The Manchester effort is the work of Owen Morris, who just a few years later would become one of the best-known in the business from his work with Oasis, The Verve and Ash.
The London remix is credited to Adam Peters and Vic W. I knew the name Adam Peters from a couple of things, including his work on Ocean Rain by Echo & The Bunnymen on which he played cello and arranged the orchestral parts, and also his partnership with David McComb of The Triffids, with the two of them hooking up to contribute their version of Don’t Go Home With Your Hard-On to I’m Your Fan, a rather wonderful tribute album to Leonard Cohen. What I hadn’t realised, and what becomes obvious with one listen to the London Remix, is that he was, in the early 90s, pursuing a path that involved keyboards and left-field electronica. In more recent years, he has become increasingly better-known for his work as a composer of film and documentary soundtracks.
On the other hand, I have no idea who Vic W is…..
For completeness, here’s the two songs on the 7″ (lifted NOT from poor quality vinyl):-
Billy has been known to amend the lyrics to the song when playing it live, including ‘I look like Boris Becker, I drive a big red double-decker’ and my own favourite – ‘I had an uncle who once played for Red Star Belgrade – he said some things are best left unspoken but I’ve left your auntie and ran off with the postman’