Monday, September 17, 2007

Lost Just What It Takes To Be Honest?

I'm late with this I know, but it's been bringing me so much joy since Michael posted arguably the best tracks from it and inspired me to invest in a copy that I now have to share it with you - and maybe that'll be OK if you've missed it until now too...?

Paddy McAloon's acoustic re-recording of eight tracks from Prefab Sprout's Steve McQueen (made to accompany the album's 'legacy edition' remastering by original producer Thomas Dolby).

Happy *sigh* and happy *sigh* again.

For the most part these are not 'unplugged' busking or 'solo live' versions of the originals, and I intend that as a recommendation because I don't know about you, but I always find that sort of thing a bit of a yawn...There's no puritanical refusal to overdub from Paddy, and though the only instrument is his guitar (and it is lovely) many of the new arrangements are almost as multi-layered as the originals and all of the songs are re-invented, sometimes very radically ('Desire As'). PLUS McAloon's voice is excellent - warm and strong and dark and sounding if anything better than it did 22 years ago.

Is Steve McQueen a Record Of Your Life, the 'Pet Sounds' of your 80s? Then I really can't recommend this enough.

Now please can we have a remaster of Swoon with a comparable 2nd disc treat?

Paddy McAloon - 'Bonny' (acoustic version) (2006)
Paddy McAloon - 'Faron Young' (acoustic version) (2006)


  1. I’m still not sure about this one. I applaud everyone involved for the care and effort they have put in to it instead of just chucking out another re-issue, but is it enough for me to buy it a 3rd time? Even listening to these samples I can’t decide. Lovely as these new recordings are I see them more as interesting curios that I would listen to once or twice before returning to the originals (call it the “Peel Session Principle”). Guess I’ll just wait until it’s available for under a fiver on Amazon Marketplace :)

  2. The version of Bonnie is truely gorgeous. I love it. Cheers

  3. I do know what you mean Mick -'Peel Session Principle' - very good. All I can say is this is the third copy of this I've bought too and I have been playing the 'new' tracks over and over, especially - ABSOLUTELY Marmite Boy, good to have you here! - 'Bonny', also 'Appetite' and 'Desire As'...but then I think they always were my favourite songs.

    If you really are going to wait for Amazon Marketplace DON'T! - email me (dahyhtheghost at gmail dot com) and I'll, ahem, 'sort you out'...

  4. I am realy and truly being honest rather than a pretentious arse when I say that it would be Swoon rather than Steve McQueen that fills this gap for me - it's just gorgeous. I love the description of it in Mulholland's 'This Is Uncool' - "a time when pop music expected us to be clever" (or something like that). Even the sleeve notes seem impossibly adult and sensible.

  5. That's good that Mulholland quote: how true that is.

    For the record I LOVE 'Swoon' too -and I'd find it very hard to choose between it and SM in the proverbial house fire record grab.

    Interestingly, Mr McAloon reveals in the reissue sleeve notes that most of the songs on 'Steve McQueen' were written BEFORE the ones on 'Swoon'...

  6. 'Protest Songs' does it mostly for me these days. 'Swoon' and 'Steve McQueen' both drop a bit on their second sides but that one holds up the whole way.

  7. It's a cracker indeed. In fact, given that 'Protest Songs' was meant to be the follow up to 'SM', what a great trilogy of albums. Never warmed to 'From Langley Park To Memphis' though...

  8. I didn't think it would be possible to improve on the masterpiece that was 'Steve McQueen'. But listening to these two gorgeous tracks proves that I'm again wrong.

    I've bought two copies of the LP on vinyl (one ended up 'borrowed' and never returned)and again on CD. Looks like copy number 4 will end up on the Xmas list when I eventually get back home.

    Thank you.

  9. It'll warm the cockles of your cold Christmas heart JC...


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