As far as I can work out, it was as far back as 1995 that Bernard Butler and Edwyn Collins started collaborating, with the initial fruits being the co-writing of some songs which would find their way onto Edwyn’s singles as extra tracks, together with Bernard taking on production duties. This would be just a year or so after he had left Suede and immediately after work had been completed on promoting the McAlmont & Butler early singles and debut album.
I recall seeing the two of them appearing on The White Room, a music programme on Channel 4 which was hosted by Mark Radcliffe in which they covered a Python Lee Jackson number, one which had been recorded in the late 60s but only became a hit in 1972 thanks to the fact that the unknown session singer they had used, Rod Stewart, was riding very high both as a solo star and the frontman of The Faces
Edwyn would put his version of In A Broken Dream on CD1 of If You Could Love Me, his follow-up single to A Girl Like You.
Fast-forward to 2001. And the release of this single on Setanta Records, the label which to which Edwyn had been signed since the early 90s:-
mp3: Bernard & Edwyn – Message For Jojo
It didn’t get anywhere near the charts….I’m not sure how many folk in addition to myself bought it (the sticker on the front of the CD case tells me I paid £2.99 from Tower Records). It’s a pleasant enough single without being ground-breaking…..the lead vocal is taken by Bernard when it undoubtedly would have been better handled by Edwyn. But believe me, it is a song that gets better with repeated listens…..and the chorus does become quite infectious after a while.
There were two other tracks on the CD single:-
mp3 : Bernard & Edwyn – Can’t Do That (The Hoover)
mp3 : Bernard & Edwyn – Clean
The former is a very bizarre but immensely likeable five and a bit minutes. There’s a hint of the sort of dance music played by Air about it. I reckon if it was played to you for the first time with no hint who was involved, you would have got long odds on guessing it was a collaboration between the former guitarist in Suede and the former frontman of Orange Juice.
The latter is a bit disappointing after what has gone before. It’s a bit of a nondescript ballad if truth be told…..but you may have a different viewpoint. Again, I feel it might have benefited from Edwyn taking lead vocal…….