Just A Trick Of The Light

Orange Juice have such an embarrassment of riches in their back catalogue, all skewiff and untutored and out of kilter. It’s their rough edges that make them so loveable I think. From their early days, this is the magnificent, frenetic Felicity (written by Malcolm Ross). This version was from a flexi disc given away free with the first 1000 copies of Falling And Laughing, recorded live in Edinburgh in 1979.

Felicity (Flexi Version)

From the later days, the brilliant What Presence?!, shown here live on the Whistle Test in ’84 with a squealing guitar solo (along with Out For The Count).

When He Spoke She Smiled In All The Right Places

It’s a small skip and jump from Roddy’s Aztec Camera to Edwyn Collins and Orange Juice. Their Postcard single Blue Boy is a hyper-excited rush of trebly guitars and fresh faced enthusiasm that sounds almost too good three decades later. They’d never make it to bootcamp. Tulisa would criticise Edwyn’s singing. The whole thing could fall apart at any moment. Gary would do that smirk thing, shaking his head slowly. Louis would say he couldn’t see the wow factor. They’d have to be re-styled to look exactly the same as everyone else. And to sound the same as everyone else. Lord help us.

Blue Boy

Edit; I’ve just remembered that Blue Boy was a B-side. A B-side!

Consolation Prize For The Vinyl Villain

The Vinyl Villain has had a well deserved break over the last month and is due back at the blogdesk today so various blogs are welcoming him back today and I’m happy to join in. I first discovered his standard setting blog looking for some Orange Juice many years ago so it seems appropriate to post what might be Edwyn Collins’ finest moment, with its line about wearing his fringe like Roger McGuinn’s and anti-macho coda- ‘I’ll never be man enough for you’. This one’s for you JC.

Consolation Prize

Box Set Go

The box set has got a bit more out of control this year (and somewhere there is a pedant waiting to point out it’s boxed set). Box sets are nice, expensive, official product, beautifully put together, and designed to appeal to the obsessive collector. People like me I suppose.

David Bowie’s Station To Station, released this year in a deluxe edition with five cds (full album, full live show, different mixes, versions etc), a lovely booklet, and with all kinds of memorabilia (facsimile back stage passes, tickets, badges and whatnot). Does anyone need five cds of Station To Station? Will anyone ever play the whole thing?

Neu! released a box this year with all three studio albums, some stuff they did in the 80s, a lovely booklet, and a Neu! stencil. For stencilling the Neu! logo wherever you might want to.

Screamadelica, soon to be released, with five cds (full album, all the remixes, live show, Dixie narco e.p., dvd of The Making Of…, T-shirt, and Screamadelica slipmat. For a penny under one hundred quid. Initial quantities signed by the band. Actually I quite fancy a Screamadelica slipmat. And the dvd will have interviews with Weatherall, with moving pictures and everything. But every remix has been released before, there’s no new ones, and no new material. (While I’m here, I have a memory of being in a nightclub and hearing Moving On Up played but with Denise Johnson singing not Bobby. Does this version exist or was it my slightly addled 3am brain?)

Orange Juice’s Coals To Newcastle- contains pretty much everything they did across five cds and dvd of tv shows. Lovely.

I’m sure there’s loads of others I haven’t mentioned. I’m sure they’re all lovely too. I love the attention to detail. I like nice booklets and photos and interviews. I like the gimmicks- the slipmat, the stencil. I’m looking forward to the Nick Cave and The Bad Seeds action figures and New Order playmobil set. I like the having-everything-in-one-place feeling. But we are being suckered here. They know we want it. They know some people (middle aged men mainly) will part with increasing sums of money for this stuff, despite already owning most or all of the material, and having ‘upgraded’ before, lp to cd, single cd to ‘legacy’ edition. Are we being catered for or exploited? I suppose it depends how much you want the slipmat, the t-shirt, the booklet, the photos, the remastered album (and why wasn’t the original album mastered very well then?).

This is Fuer Immer off Neu!2, the opening track, ten minutes of aural bliss that doesn’t change very much but leaves you feeling better than when it started. I’m off to covet box sets on the internet.

Fuer Immer (forever).mp3

Orange Juice ‘A Sad Lament’

My favourite pair of Levi’s jeans are about to die. I’m fussy about jeans so it’s a real wrench when they wear out. I’ve had this pair several years, bought them as dark indigo, the right cut, perfect length, and since then they’ve faded brilliantly, in all the right places. A while back they started to fray a little around the pockets, but I could live with it. Recently the left knee has thinned, and looking at them now I reckon the next time I kneel down they’ll go through. Maybe I should give them a Viking burial, head down to the canal and send them burning on a pallet, floating towards town or Altrincham depending on the wind direction.

This is one of the best tracks from Orange Juice’s 1984 e.p. Texas Fever. A sad lament indeed.

05 A Sad Lament.wma

Orange Juice ‘Felicity’

We break up, we break up, we don’t care if school blows up….

I’ve finished work for Easter which makes it a good day. But any day couldn’t be entirely bad for hearing the sheer joy and exuberance of Felicity, my favourite Orange Juice song- from the opening ‘woaaah woah, woaaah woah, woaaah woah!!’, this song sums up the Chic meets The Velvets style, as Edwyn described it. Written by James Kirk, lovely ramshackle, chiming guitars, great all-over-the-shop singing, brilliant break- ‘let’s take it to the bridge now!’.

Apparently all OJ’s albums are about to be re-issued and a box-set is coming too. ‘Happiness, oh-oh-oh happiness, oh-oh-oh, happiness, this is the sound of happiness’.

And don’t their fringes look great?