Those of you who remember the previous long-running looking at the singles by James will hopefully recall the story of this single, released in November 1989. ‘Madchester’ was in full swing and James had just recorded an album for intended release on Rough Trade, with the hope that after some six years of near-misses that this would be the one to provide the commercial breakthrough, especially as the latest single had made the all-important BBC Radio 1 daytime playlist.
mp3: James – Come Home (Rough Trade version)
James, however, was a band for whom everything had seemingly gone wrong ever since their formation. In this instance, Rough Trade messed up spectacularly, failing to get enough copies of Come Home into the shops. The 45, on which so many hopes were pinned, crawled into the charts at a shockingly low #85. The band were, understandably, angry with the label and the subsequent row led to them demanding to be released from their contract and to be allowed to buy the rights to the recorded album which they would then take to other labels.
There were a number of options on the table, and the choice became Fontana Records where, as the cliché goes, the rest is history. How Was It For You?, their first release for the new label, cracked the singles charts. The band played a blistering set at Glastonbury in June 1990 following which Fontana decided to re-release a remixed version of Come Home as the follow-up.
It was the era of multi-formatting, and in this instance there was a 7″, two 12″, a CD and cassette version. There were four versions of Come Home spread over the releases – the single remix, the extended single mix, a live radio session from April 1990 and a fairly radical re-working by Andrew Weatherall, which extends out beyond eight minutes:-
mp3: James – Come Home (Weatherall Remix)
This was placed on the b-side of the 12″ with the Green sleeve. The a-side had the radio version of Come Home along with a terrific remix of the title track from the new album:-
mp3: James – Goldmother (Warp Remix)
Despite all this, the single stalled at #32. It would be another year, and the remix and new version of Sit Down, an earlier Rough Trade single, before James went truly mega.