June 17, 2012

I always was your girl...

One of my all-time favorite bands, Everything But The Girl, have lovingly remastered and repackaged their first four albums for re-release on the Edsel label. If you have the records already, pony up for them again: the remastered sound is superb, as are the bonus tracks and packaging. Not a surprise given that Ben and Tracey participated so heavily in the process of archiving their early history. They discussed the project, which actually was not their idea, in The Guardian this weekend.

These albums are, of course, very different sonically from their last two albums (the mega Amplified Heart was somewhere in between). For me, the remasters capture an amazing period in British pop: one in which vulnerability, intelligence, wit and DIY spunk were celebrated. With that, here are a few album cuts and rarities worth getting if you decide to pick and choose tracks online. For a far more comprehensive review, read Joe Marchese's at Second Disc.


Ben and Tracey launched their band with some utterly perfect songs, especially the single, Each And Every One. No drunken party jams for EBTG, these tracks are as smart as anything they've done in their 40's.

Each And Every One
Flawless. Why this song, about a woman plagued by insecurity as she ponders her boyfriend's ex, has not been covered a thousand times, I don't know. Adele, are you listening?
Tender Blue
Gun Cupboard Love
Great b-side

Love Not Money

When All's Well
Something so utterly British about this. Or maybe it's just the line "my love is like cathedral bells."
This Love Not For Sale
Yes! A cover of The Pretenders song
Charmless Callous Ways
The recording of Tracey's voice with a nice bit of airy reverb is lovely. 1:55 gem.
Easy As Sin
B-side that appears in two versions on the remasters: this is the rare Ben Watt vocal.

Baby The Stars Shine Bright

Come On Home
Appears in multiple versions, all great. Big strings launch a much grander sound for the group. And a new retro bob haircut for Tracey.
Don't Leave Me Behind
Cross My Heart
B-side of Bacharach classic. Tracey's voice changed over the course of their first 4 records. On this she sounds much as she does today.


My favorite of the early albums is Idlewild, the one which inaugurated my love the for the band when I was in college. This jazz-folk-pop hybrid is solid all the way through, but if forced to pick some of the best, I'd choose:

Love Is Here Where I Live
The first song I ever loved by EBTG, about not quite tempted to cheat on her lover
These Early Days
There's also a subtle remix of this on the album as well
The Night I Heard Caruso Sing
Ben Watt's finest moment and one of the EBTG's most moving ballads
Lonesome For A Place I Know
Tears All Over Town
Living On Honeycomb
A b-side that's in my top ten fave EBTG songs.
How About Me
forlorn b-side
Dyed In The Grain
How did this not make the album?
Hang Out The Flags
Sleek jazz precursor to their follow-up LP, Language of Love.

These re-masters set a standard for a slew of upcoming remasters by the likes of Jimmy Somerville/Bronksi Beat, Breathe and Kirsty MacColl. Tracey's next project comes this fall: A Christmas album.

Image source


Michael said...

I may have to get at least the Idlewild reissue. The original is perfect, and I am not familiar with most of the bonus material. Does it have the soundtrack version of Apron Strings?

I love Sugar Finny off of Baby The Stars Shine Bright.

xolondon said...

Yes, re Apron!!

John said...

I must have these, if for no other reason than to hear the alternate versions of "Come On Home." Any word on the remaining albums being re-released? I would love to hear some of alternate output from the Language of Love era.

xolondon said...

There are no plans for it. They have been asked and seem to feel there may not be a lot of worthy bonus tracks for LofL in particular. I'd at least like a nice remaster for sound quality.

Pranav said...

It is a damned shame they are no remastering "The Language Of Life". That is their best album in my humble opinion.

xolondon said...

Pranav, your comment has compelled me to add the rest of that album to my ipod! I only had a few songs on there (like Meet Me In The Morning, one of my all time EBTG faves)

John said...

I think Baby the Stars is my favorite, but I LOVE Language of Love.

leesa said...

Thanx for the great post!

My Two Cents: Language Of Life is my fave-rave EBTG! Its one of the most Romantic (and romantically-Twisted) albums of all time.