AN IMAGINARY COMPILATION ALBUM : #129 : EVERYTHING BUT THE GIRL

A GUEST POSTING FROM ECHORICH

Much has been written around these parts recently on the music of Ben Watt and Tracey Thorn, better known and cherished as Everything But The Girl. University students already on their own paths to careers in music, once they met, a common direction of love and music opened up to them. Almost 35 or so years later their musical canon has the ability to move listeners emotionally and physically.

Ben and Tracey’s musical journey was one of exploration of many forms and styles. From Cafe Jazz (or the horrid tag of Jazz/Pop) to Indie Jangle…from heartfelt orchestrated Country and Sixties Pop to a sophisticated mix of Smooth Jazz and Soulful Balladry and eventually a successful foray into the world of House music. All through those changes in sound and style, they managed to maintain their integrity as artists and provide some very, very memorable music.

Here is an ICA which explores in 10 songs the essence of what it was to be Everything But The Girl from their debut Eden/eponymous titled in the USA album to their final long player Tempermental. It is by no means definitive. It does reflect a certain amount of personal preference in places, and I will leave the ‘elephant in the room’ off the track list only because it is a song that I believes deserves its one discussion – one which I will address at the end.

EVERYTHING BUT THE GIRL – AN ICA OF LOVE AND MUSIC

1. Laugh You Out The House – from EVERYTHING BUT THE GIRL (US release)/B-side of EACH AND EVERYONE – This was my entry song into the world of Everything But The Girl. It is 1:50 of jangling pop with a breezy approach that just pulls you right into the sunny warm world of their music. Take a moment to listen to the lyrics and you will hear the angst and amorous confusion of young adults. That it was left for a b-side everywhere outside the USA show’s how deep their songwriting was at this early stage.

2. Fascination – from EDEN – From the moment I heard Fascination, I was devastated by it’s beauty and it has remained one of my 10 favorites songs. Ben’s lone acoustic guitar and Tracey’s open/echoey vocals command your attention and caress the words and emotion of the song. As other instruments slowly enter the song, a second guitar, bass and finally sax, the song’s emotions also build to a beautifully unresolved end.

3. Trouble And Strife – from LOVE NOT MONEY – With a sense of confidence from their debut, EBTG set about making a sophomore album on their own terms. They put together a more stable band with ex-Young Marble Giant bassist Phil Moxham and ex Mo-Dette June Miles Kingston on drums. Love Not Money is a an album filled with great music – a masterful turn on The Pretenders’ Kid, the universally (well in our universe) loved When All’s Well and a beautiful cautionary ballad dedicated to tragic actress Frances Farmer – Ugly Little Dreams.

Trouble And Strife really shows off the strengths of EBTG as a band. It is one of the more aggressive tracks on Love Not Money, opening with a powerful guitar riff and some very confident vocals from Tracey. The song deals with the struggles and hardships of being a woman and looking back on what limitations a mans world provides. Personal politics would be a theme that would run through their music until the end.

4. Cross My Heart – from BABY THE STARS SHINE BRIGHT – For their third album, EBTG said farewell to their association with Robin Millar and Mike Pela on production and decamped to the studio with Mike Hedges but lost the band in favor of a more orchestrated sound.

The album reflects their growing interest in country music songwriting and showcasing the lyrics and emotions of the genre with the Sixties’ many walls of sound from Dusty to Phil. You’ll even here the ghosts of Patsy Cline and Jimmy Webb in the songs on BTSSB. But the song I feel captures everything Ben and Tracey set to do on the album is Cross My Heart. It opens with a spacious Dusty/Sandi vocal and builds into a giant, sweeping orchestral masterpiece. Tracey is mic’d in the tradition of those 60’s pop standards and it gives magnifies the singular beauty of her voice. Cross My Heart touches on such allowed ground as a song like I Don’t Want To Hear It Anymore from Dusty In Memphis – and maybe that album is the only other one I know that really captures an similar spirit.

5. Tears All Over Town – from IDLEWILD – The follow up to Baby The Stars Shine Bright was a more conventional pop album for EBTG. But there were lessons learned to this point that they brought to the album. This was the first time they attempted to produce themselves – with the help of masterful engineer Jerry Boys – and synths made a pronounced appearance replacing much of the band feel of their previous work. In fact there is no drummer credit anywhere to be found on the album.

There is a more intimate feel to many of the tracks, but not at the expense of quality or craft. Tears All Over Town reflects this new maturity best in my mind. Ben and Tracey enjoy some vocal interplay and the song hangs on a simple percussion pattern with some synth and guitar embellishment. It avoids all the obvious glossy pop devices that were everywhere in the middle 80s and still manages to be a shiny, fresh jazzy pop confection.

6. Driving – from LANGUAGE OF LIFE – There is something natural about EBTG heading into the studio for their next album with a proper Jazz producer – Tommy LiPuma – and luminaries such as Stan Getz, Joe Sample and Michael Breaker to make a real Jazz record. Tracey has called Language of Life a “fully realized…modern American soul-pop record, but it is also their most difficult album to put your finger on. It is an album that divides fans and critics and has lots of highs and lows. One thing I will admit is that it is missing its “edge.”

EBTG went from mature to adult between Idlewild and Language Of Life and in the process lost a good deal of the emotion that charged their best songs. The best example the album has to offer as an example of how a choice to create sublime pop lost that edge is in the album opener and minor U.S. radio hit Driving. I really love this song – it is a pop gem, but on first hearing I was struck by how much of a straightforward love song it was. No irony, no twist and nothing left unresolved.

7. Boxing and Pop Music – from WORLDWIDE – After the precision of Language of Life, EBTG took a trip back toward the a more intimate, reflective sound and subject matter for Worldwide. With a good deal of touring under their belt- I was able to see them 4 times in 3 years prior to Worldwide, Tracey and Ben wrote songs that reflected where their career and relationship had taken them. Worldwide certainly isn’t an immediate album, it has no obvious single in my mind, but it shows off the power of their songs.

To this point, none of the songs on this ICA featured Ben Watt in a role as lead singer. There are quite a number of songs which feature Ben that are among my very favorites by the band and I will address this over at my place in a day or two. Ben handles the verses on Boxing And Pop Music and Tracey joins in about midway through the song. But it’s the beauty of Ben’s reflective lyrics that make this song such a masterful piece of pop. He paint’s a picture filled with memories that evoke emotions of love, happiness, sorrow and regret and ultimately contentment. As the song fades and you sit taking it in, a final reprise, separately titled Feel Alright, begins to wash over you to help all those emotions really soak in and end the album.

Let’s pause here and let life “happen” to Ben Watt and Tracey Thorn. They knew they needed a break from the grind of music after Worldwide. Much has been made of the prior two albums seeming to exhaust their musical clarity – I don’t subscribe to this opinion. Most notably, Ben was diagnosed with Churg-Strauss syndrome, an auto-immune disease that attacks breathing and digestion in increasingly life-threatening stages. This was their new focus. He had a very lucky outcome from the disease and went into remission and recovery but with permanent effects to his body and lifelong treatment. For the better part of 2 years this was reality for Ben and Tracey and Everything But The Girl would have to wait. Before his illness, 2 EP’s would make an appearance in ’92 and ’93, in the UK. They were wonderful additions to my collection, but neither gave any indication that more music would follow. But then….

8. Two Star – from AMPLIFIED HEART – Somehow, even with a period of silence of 4 years, it felt like Everything But The Girl was a very current part of my musical fandom in the early 90’s. They were that much of a force for me that all of their catalog managed to stay current for me and always on the turntable or in the cd player. When word came that there was a new album ready for release, I remember being VERY excited. I managed to get a promo cd, meant to reintroduce the band with a few songs and interview clips with Ben and Tracey, was made available by their US label Atlantic and I was just bowled over by the two new songs included.

When the album was released and I played it over and over, I kept coming back to one song that seemed to recapture all of the beauty and fragility I heard the first time I heard Fascination on Eden. Two Star, which I would learn is a term for low rated leaded petrol – what Americans used to know as Regular Gasoline back in the days before emissions controls, just captured my ear and seemed to bring everything full circle. Back was the gentle disquiet of the lyrics, written here by Ben, with Tracey reflecting on her own disappointing lot as she judges a friend’s life choices. It’s a song that makes you want to give the singer a hug and at the same time be very self reflective. Ben’s tender arrangement with Harry Robinson, Kate St. John’s Cor Anglais and Danny Thompson’s double bass shine, framing Tracey’s performance perfectly. It is still one of those songs that I can put on repeat while driving and listen to over and over.

9. Walking Wounded – from WALKING WOUNDED – After the release of Amplified Heart something momentous happened – Missing – the second single was remixed by House Master Todd Terry and Everything But The Girl’s world would change again. This was no fluke, Ben and Tracey had their ear to the ground and had already worked with Massive Attack on Protection, Better Things and Hunter Gets Captured By The Game for Batman Forever. Their next album would show just how intent they were. Their brand of pop songwriting would sit side by side with, as well as inform, forays into Drum And Bass, Trip Hop, House and Electronica on the album.

On such a strong and varied album, the title track stood out for me as the biggest gamble and a great payoff. Walking Wounded is gorgeously orchestrated with the spot on programming of John Coxon and Ashley Wales (Spring Heeled Jack). Tracey loses none of her edgy, sometimes witheringly direct, delivery and the song seems to bounce and dance around her. Ben and Tracey harnessed DnB and shaped it to fit their needs. It’s just a perfect modern electronic song.

10. Lullaby Of Clubland – from TEMPERMENTAL – Tracey and Ben’s next album would turn out to be Everything But The Girl’s final album. It took a step or two deeper into Dance and Electronica, while never abandoning the lyrical and musical history of the band. It is full of dance floor ready tracks with a difference – the difference being a lyrical level that remains pretty much unmatched. Subjects ranging from being attacked on the street and the withering of English Cities to the solitary and sadder side of nightlife/club life. Many of the songs have a wonderful sparse singer/songwriter feel to them bathed in deep and contemporary house sounds.

The track that spoke most to me was Lullaby of Clubland and Ben’s lyrics of empty routine clubbing routine as a metaphor for modern life, rather than a panacea for a boring life. The song’s reliance of repetition drives home the futility expressed in the lyrics.

There are literally another four volumes I could come up for and Everything But The Girl ICA and that is a testament to the depth of their work and the risks, both successful and unsuccessful, that they took. I hope this goes some way to give some insight into their music.

ADDENDUM:

YES, MISSING WAS MISSING….

My reason for not including Missing is mostly because of what that amazing song became rather than what it represents on parent album Amplified Heart. Amplified Heart is seen by many, and I include myself, as a return to form for Everything But The Girl, an album that celebrates the amazing songwriting and music of Ben Watt and Tracey Thorn. It is absolutely all of that.

But by the time of its release, Ben and Tracey were beginning to move on, energized by House and Electronic music and recent collaborations with Massive Attack, it was a dynamic decision to take Missing, a track that already had a funky groove underpinning it’s love song foundation. It was already a hypnotic groove on the album, but as a single Ben and Tracey went for broke…Missing is a highlight of the album and was the song that allowed EBTG to take a new and exciting path. Overplayed in the past 22 years, sure, but that doesn’t diminish it’s greatness… Click here

The Missing Remix EP provided a Deep House expansion, a Progressive 2 am stormer, a tech/trance revisioning and an Eastern flavored trip-hop excursion.

Todd Terry laid down the Four to the Floor beat while staying true to the melody and arrangement of the song. His addition of keyboard stabs gave dimension to the beat and he very smartly kept the synth lines of the original to weave through his tougher beat. For me it is one of the best House remixes EVER. Click here

Chris And James took Missing to the land of the extended build up with a remix that kept the bones of the original track and added an arrangement full of drama. Again, the remixers knew they were working with a gem of a song and did everything they could to preserve it’s essence while still managing to bring an exciting dance floor edge. Multiple build ups, tribal drum patterns and judicious cut ups of Tracey’s vocals create some real wow moments in the remix. Click here.

I find myself waffling at times between the Todd Terry House mix and what Chris And James did.

For something entirely different we turn to Ultramarines more downtempo/tech/trance reimagining of Missing. A good deal of the original album version fits in well here and is preserved. Multiple percussion patterns are the highlight here, laying down a new bed for Tracey’s vocals to rise up from. There’s even a bit of a Laurie Anderson homage in the chorus as a snippet of Tracey’s voice is used as a counter beat, much like Anderson’s voice in O Superman, yet more subtle. Click here

Finally, Little Joey offers a Trip Hop remix that is like a nice glass of Port after a delicious and filling meal. It goes down smooth. Tracey’s voice get modified and reversed giving the song an Eastern feel. Interestingly, this is the only mix that Tracey seems to to have laid down an alternative vocal for. She seems game to purse this remake/remodel remix and it pays off because it flows so much more naturally than a cut and paste remix. Click here

ECHORICH

AN IMAGINARY COMPILATION ALBUM : #127 : EVERYTHING BUT THE GIRL

This is an ICA with a difference…and it will likely also come as a surprise to the individual who inspired it.

A few weeks ago, Brian from Linear Track Lives put up a series of great postings featuring Everything But The Girl as he had reached them in his alphabetical runthrough of singers and bands from his extensive vinyl collection.  It wasn’t the first time he’d featured the band or indeed Tracey Thorn or Ben Watt as solo artists, and it’s quite clear from the passionate and intelligent way he writes about them that he’s a real fan.

So I thought I would go into Brian’s archives, without him knowing, and, with just a small touch of judicious editing, use some of his best stuff from over the years to create an ICA.  I think it works…..

SIDE A

1. Everything But The Girl – Night and Day

It’s an old story. Girl meets boy at university. That’s about as far as you can take the “old story” label. While in Hull, during the first calendar year away from home, Tracey Thorn puts out albums with Marine Girls, Everything But the Girl and as a solo artist. There is a Peel Session and a single of the week in NME with Marine Girls. Don’t forget the cover of Melody Maker and interview after interview with all of the music mags. Then there is checking the same publications to see how all of your various entities are being reviewed and moving on the indie chart, even having two slots in the top 10 at the same time! Meanwhile, your partner in Everything But the Girl and in life, Ben Watt, is releasing an album with Robert Wyatt and having his own run with the music magazines. Oh, and there is that whole trying to earn a degree thing.

Sounds a lot like your first year of college, right?

Elvis Costello and Martin Fry reviewed this first single by Everything But the Girl for Radio 1’s “Roundtable” program. They, of course, loved it. Thorn remembers in her book ‘Bedsit Disco Queen’ that the two “threatened to steal the show’s copy afterwards.”

The shadowy cover of the single said it all, really. Guitar and voice that would work perfectly in a smoky downstairs jazz bar. The A-side is Cole Porter‘s classic. Even U2 couldn’t ruin this song (although they gave it a good run!).

2. Ben Watt – Some Things Don’t Matter

The stripped-down sophisti-pop found on Everything But the Girl’s first single was already in the shops by the time Watt’s solo album joined it on the shelves, but the same laid-back jazz-guitar that made “Night and Day” a hit also filled the slightly less appreciated ‘North Marine Drive.’ This song has been quite a fine companion on many a sleepless night.

3. Tracey Thorn – Plain Sailing

Thorn’s ‘A Distant Shore’ (1982) was reportedly recorded for a mere £138. It’s a quick listen… eight songs clocking in at 23 minutes. For me, it’s a mood piece best listened to in its entirety. In fact, I don’t ever remember spinning it for just one song. Thorn plays guitar and sings. That’s it. There is no other instrument or artist. You’ll find no studio wizardry. In a word, it’s beautiful. I love the album cover, too. It was drawn by Jane Fox of Marine Girls. I have spent quite a few hours admiring the art while listening to the record. Thorn wouldn’t record another album as a solo artist until 2007.

4. Everything But The Girl – Each And Every One
5. Everything But The Girl – Native Land
6. Everything But The Girl – Laugh You Out The House
7. Everything But The Girl – Riverbed Dry

Two singles from 1984 by Everything But the Girl and the first one is my absolute favorite from the band. Both of these singles appeared on what is my favorite album by them, the U.S. release simply known as ‘Everything But the Girl.’ Unless you were a lucky and deep digger in the import bin, debut album ‘Eden’ was nowhere to be found in these parts. What we got instead were six of the 12 songs from the UK release, plus two additional UK singles and four B-sides.

For much of my teenage years, I didn’t even know ‘Eden’ existed. By the time I did pick up a copy of the import, ‘Everything But the Girl’ was so much a part of me that I thought ‘Eden’ seemed inferior in every way. When does that ever happen? In my experience, the UK version of an album is almost always better, but the addition of five of the six songs from these UK singles below really beefed up the U.S. release. I even liked the album cover of the U.S. version better. That’s probably sacrilege to some fans since artist Jane Fox  created the cover for ‘Eden.’

SIDE B

1. Everything But The Girl – Angel

From the 1985 album ‘Love Not Money,’ this is the second of two singles from that album. Incidentally, the first was “When All’s Well,” a perfect piece of horn-driven pop that raced up the chart to… No. 77. Ridiculous.

Neither single made any noise on the big countdown, but I do think “When All’s Well” and “Angel” were fine choices for radio. They weren’t, however, the best songs on the album, and the LP managed to sell more than 100,000 copies without a hit on it.

2. Everything But The Girl – Easy As Sin (version)

There were three songs on the B-side of the 12″ of “Angel,” and none of them came from ‘Love Not Money.’ Much appreciated. There was an alternative version of “Easy as Sin,” a song that first appeared on the 1984 U.S. self-titled release. This take was much longer than the original, and Ben took the vocals this time around.

3. Everything But The Girl – Come On Home (extended)
4. Everything But The Girl – Draining The Bar

Although I didn’t keep up with the duo during the ’90s, I think I have just about all there is to have by them in the ’80s. I fell in love with Thorn’s voice when she sang “The Paris Match” for The Style Council in ’84. For much of the rest of the decade, I searched high and low for everything I could get my hands on that featured those pipes.

A four-track 12″ from 1986. “Come on Home,” as well as much of the music on ‘Baby, the Stars Shine Bright,’ was Everything But the Girl going for it. In Thorn’s memoir, she explains the music that was influencing EBTG at the time:

“Our watchwords at the time were Spector, The Shngri-La’s and the album Dusty in Memphis. Peter Walsh from The Apartments moved into our flat for a while, and introduced us to Charlie Rich records.”

Ben Watt worked tirelessly on string arrangements, and a full orchestra and choir was brought into Abbey Road with Mike Hedges producing. Thorn called it “a grand gesture of a record.” When Geoff Travis (their A&R man at the time) visited the studio and heard a finished mix of one of the songs for the first time, he said, “Well, it’s very good, but is there possibly a little too much going on in there?” Just what you want to hear after all of that labor, I’m sure.

The extended version of “Come on Home” is a minute longer than the album version and has a lovely prelude. “Draining the Bar,” written by Thorn, had to have been influenced by those Rich records. Hearing pedal steel was quite a shock in ’86, but I love the song, especially lyrically.

5. Tracey Thorn – Oh The Divorces!

Posted on Linear Track Lives at the halfway point of 2010. It was the perfect excuse to make a list, and you know how I like assembling these things. Here are the caveats: I won’t include a band more than one time (so that She & Him don’t take up 10 spots), and preview songs are acceptable even if the album won’t be out until later this year. It’s always fun to compare this list with the one done at the end of the year. Last year’s lists turned out to be quite different. For now, Tracey Thorn is at #19.

6. Everything But The Girl – I Don’t Want To Talk About It (instrumental)

In 1988, Everything But the Girl released ‘Idlewild,’ the band’s fourth long player. To coincide with the album, the duo released the cover “I Don’t Want to Talk About It.” Oddly, the single didn’t appear on the album, at least initially, but this was how I was introduced to ‘Idlewild,’ as the 12″ contained two songs from the album. The single performed its duties admirably. Based on the strength of “Oxford Street” and “Shadow on a Harvest Moon,” I bought ‘Idlewild’ immediately.

The Danny Whitten-penned tune was made somewhat famous in the mid-’70s (and again with a rerecorded version in 1989) by Rod Stewart. As a youngster, Tracey Thorn and her family were fans of Stewart’s, and I’m sure it was a warm and nostalgic moment for her when EBTG recorded it. Thanks to that last sentence, now you will get a result when searching for Rod Stewart’s name on my blog. I digress. The song was a smash and EBTG’s first UK top 10 single, peaking at No. 3.

I discovered just today that many editions of ‘Idlewild’ released after this single included “I Don’t Want to Talk About It,” even going so far as to make it the album opener. As a 25-year listener of ‘Idlewild’ and an owner of this cherished single, I cry “foul!” The lovely piano of “Love Is Here Where I Live” will always be the way ‘Idlewild’ should open. Period.

This is a version of “I Don’t Want to Talk About It” from my crackly 12″. I know what you’re thinking: “What’s the use of this song without Thorn’s engaging vocals? Just give it a listen. Ben Watt co-wrote a beautiful string arrangement for the instrumental mix, and it’s a very different experience than the single. Simply beautiful.

7. Everything But The Girl – Almost Blue

Finally, here’s a little bonus. Enjoy Tracey Thorn’s beautiful voice on a cover from Everything But the Girl. I have this one on the compilation ’82-92 Essence and Rare.’

BRIAN

A COVERS EP (x2)

Everything But The Girl enjoyed a #13 hit in 1992 with the Covers EP, four songs that, unsurprisingly, were their takes on some classic songs originally released by Mickey & Sylvia, Bruce Springsteen, Cyndi Lauper and Elvis Costello.

mp3 : Everything But The Girl – Love Is Strange
mp3 : Everything But The Girl – Tougher Than The Rest
mp3 : Everything But The Girl – Time After Time
mp3 : Everything But The Girl – Alison

I thought I’d do something similar today to commemorate the current Singles on Sunday series:-

mp3 : Joe Jackson – Statue of Liberty
mp3 : Charlotte Hatherley – This Is Pop?
mp3 : Nouvelle Vague – Making Plans For Nigel
mp3 : Erich Sellheim – Sgt Rock (der wird mir helfen)

And finally a filthy little mash up in which XTC meet Tweet (feat Missy Ellliot)

mp3 : Go Home Productions – Making Plans For Vinyl

My goodness, is that the time? Can’t believe tomorrow sees us reach June.

JC

BONUS POSTING : INSPIRED BY BRIAN FROM LINEAR TRACK LIVES

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Brian from Linear Track Lives yesterday posted a long-forgotten song from the 1980s:-

mp3 : A Craze – Wearing Your Jumper

He reminded us that it was an era for what he descibed as suave bands – the likes of Everything But The Girl, Carmel, Matt Bianco etc (I’ll throw in Blue Rondo A La Turk and Sade for good measure). He also provided a potted bio of A Craze – who were Lucy Loquette and Chris Free, among whose claims to fame were that they wrote “Give It Some Emotion,” which was the second biggest charting single in the career of Tracie Young. Just as important was the release of the single “Wearing Your Jumper” which was not only on Respond Records but was produced by the label owner – Paul Weller – whil the other two male members of The Style Council played on it. (Mick Talbot on the Wurlitzer and Steve White on percussion.)

I hadn’t heard this single for more than 30 years but the moment it came on it brought back some crazy and mostly happy memories as it was one of the tunes which featured on ‘The Hangover Tape’ in my first student flat. One side of a C90 cassette consisting of laid back tunes from female fronted bands.

It wasn’t me who put the tape together – in fact it wasn’t any of us who rented the flat who was responsible. It was the work of another mate who more or less moved in on Friday nights as our city centre location allowed him to have a great weekend and somewhere to stay without the hassle and expense of getting home to his folks’ place in the suburbs. There were lots of laughs on Sunday mornings/afternoons while this tape played and listening last night to A Craze after all such a long gap saw incidents and events I hadn’t thought about for so long come flooding back into my mind.

Here’s another two tracks that were on the tape:-

mp3 : Everything But The Girl – Each and Every One
mp3 : Carmel – Storm

Thanks Brian.

 

MY LOVE IS LIKE CATHEDRAL BELLS

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One of the things I’m enjoying about adding the ‘Categories’ section to the blog is that I can see where I’ve failed to post anything on T(n)VV about a particular song.

Back in 1985, Everything But The Girl released a real killer of a 45. It was backed by two tremendous b-sides, one of which was a cover that was every bit as memorable as the original. It was a single that deserved to be a huge hit but which stalled at #77.

mp3 : Everything But The Girl – When All’s Well  **
mp3 : Everything But The Girl – Heaven Help Me
mp3 : Everything But The Girl – Kid

I did write about this single over on the old blog and made the observation that I was amazed at the time that fans of The Smiths fans failed to be turned on to its charms in great numbers given that all the songs weren’t a million miles removed from the sort of tunes Johnny Marr was writing and recording at the time.

A real old friend of the blog, Echorich, made a very astute comment at the time:-

“AHH…and I am greatly satisfied that we concur! EBTG’s Kid ranks among my favorite covers of any song. Tracey and Ben put their sonic stamp on it without losing the depth in the lyrics…that ambiguity is still there!

And your Morrissey/Marr connection is a valid one, especially as Johnny has the odd Harmonica contribution to some early EBTG songs and the band played Smith’s songs in concert on at least 3 tours that I can remember.”

Of course, later on Moz would take the title of this great single and release a track entitled In The Future When All’s Well.….

What has always been particularly interesting about EBTG is that they were so keen to quickly move on to different genres of music rather than run the risk of remaining pigeon-holed and becoming stale. A read through Tracey Thorn’s hugely entertaining autobiography sheds some great light on this. It also illustrates just how crazy things can get when one of your songs really takes off across Europe and further afield as it did for Tracey and Ben some nine years later.

But that’s a story for another day.

** at third time of asking I now have the link to the song sorted out.  Sorry for the fuck up.

FINALLY….SOMETHING THAT WASN’T ON THE OLD BLOG!

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With apologies that it has taken five posts to have some entirely new material not ripped off from TVV.

This trio of tracks by Everything But The Girl from 1985 have a Sunday morning sort of feel to them.  The single is the closing track from the Love Not Money LP and the follow-up to what were two outstanding but flop 45s – Native Land and When All’s Well.

Unsurprisingly for a song that doesn’t have a chorus to speak of and whose main narrative has a child begging outside a church at Christmas time it didn’t get a great deal of radio play and inevitably it failed to crack the Top 75. Released at a time when many left-leaning pop stars were venting their anger about various government policies via their songs, the sentiment behind making it a single are noble but it was sadly always doomed to failure.

mp3 : Everything But The Girl – Angel

There’s a couple of lovely songs tucked away on the b-side.  It’s back to the classic, adorable early days of EBTG with just Ben Watt on guitar or piano and so giving Tracey Thorn all the room available for her wonderful voice to come over:-

mp3 : Everything But The Girl – Pigeons In The Attic Room

mp3 : Everything But The Girl – Charmless Callous Ways

The former is so tinged with the sound of sad country that it sounds like a Pasty Cline cover while the latter is a wonderful reminder of their version of The Paris Match that appeared on the debut album of The Style Council.  They really are two superb songs that are over all too quickly with a combined running time of three and half minutes.

Enjoy!!