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Archive for the ‘The Blue Nile’ Category

Love Came Down Again: The Blue Nile’s Third Album Expanded in March

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Blue Nile Peace At LastA pleasant surprise for fans of The Blue Nile today: following the expansion of the band’s first two albums in 2012, Virgin/UMC will expand The Blue Nile’s third LP, 1996’s Peace At Last, in March with a disc of unreleased material.

Having released their last album, Hats, in 1989, the eclectic trio of Paul Buchanan (vocals/guitar/synthesizers), Robert Bell (bass) and Paul Joseph Moore (synthesizers) were finding themselves as in-demand musicians, despite the modest commercial reception of the band’s discography. Julian Lennon, Michael McDonald and Annie Lennox were all close collaborators at this time; the band co-wrote “The Gift,” the closing track to Lennox’s smash debut album Diva (1992).

Signing a new deal with Warner Bros. in 1992, Peace At Last was recorded in the band’s mobile studio over the U.S. and Europe after quite some time scouting locations. What set this album apart from its predecessors was the prominence of an acoustic guitar, rather than synthesizers, throughout the tracks. (The guitar had quite the significance to the band: in a recent interview, Buchanan said he bought in on a whim in New York not long after Bell had travelled to the same store and told him about it.)

“The idea, for better or worse, was to make an earthier record,” the band said in a statement for the new reissue. “On reflection maybe this was the most autobiographical record too. We didn’t set the personal against the city backdrop…we wanted hands, and the lines on hands and on faces. We wanted it to be human, and to reflect the doubtful ‘Peace At Last’ gained through tribulation and work and love.”

The album, newly remastered by original engineer and frequent Blue Nile collaborator Calum Malcolm, comes with a set of six unreleased tracks, including new mixes of key tracks, two outtakes and an unreleased demo, “A Certain Kind of Angel.” “On the remixes, we have gone back and treated the songs as we might previously have done – so they are a hybrid, a look at that source material but with a different perspective, and a different goal: we reintroduced another dimension or skyline,” the band’s statement read. “The same goes for the unreleased songs: they are halfway between what we were doing then and what we did before and after.”

The expanded Peace At Last is due in the U.K. on March 25. Full specs and Amazon U.K. link are after the jump. (A humongous hat tip to Stephen Sears for letting us know about this one!)

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Written by Mike Duquette

January 22, 2014 at 08:53

Release Round-Up: Week of January 22

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Billy Joel - Love SongsBilly Joel, She’s Got a Way: Love Songs (Columbia/Legacy)

The romantic side of the Piano Man is featured on this new compilation. (Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.)

Searching for Sugar Man Blu-RayRodriguez, Searching for Sugar Man (Sony Pictures Home Entertainment)

One of the most captivating catalogue music documentaries of 2012 is now available on DVD  (Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.) and Blu-Ray (Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.)!

Blue Nile HatsThe Blue Nile, A Walk Across the Rooftops / Hats: Deluxe Editions (Virgin/EMI)

Slated for release in the U.K. late last year, these two double-disc expansions of The Blue Nile’s first two LPs, featuring many rare and unreleased recordings, are on the schedule today, as well. (A Walk Across the RooftopsAmazon U.S. / Amazon U.K. – Hats: Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.)

Buck Owens - Honky TonkBuck Owens, Honky Tonk Man: Buck Sings Country Classics / Don Rich, Don Rich Sings George Jones (Omnivore)

Two never-before-released sets from two legends of Bakersfield are coming from Omnivore! (Buck Owens: Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K. – Don Rich: Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.)

The Very Best of The PoguesThe Pogues, The Very Best of The Pogues (Shout! Factory)

A new Pogues compilation – according to the label, the only one in print in the U.S. right now. (Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.)

Four Seasons - Gold Vault of HitsFrankie Valli and The 4 Seasons, Gold Vault of Hits 2nd Vault of Golden Hits (Rhino)

Two original 4 Seasons compilations, released by Philips in 1965 and 1966, work their way to CD from Rhino. (Gold VaultAmazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.2nd Vault: Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.)

Say Anything All My Friends Are EnemiesSay Anything, All My Friends Are Enemies: Early Rarities (Equal Vision)

A three-disc set featuring Max Bemis and his emo ensemble’s first self-released albums. (Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.)

“Hats” Off (Sort of) to Two Expansions of Blue Nile LPs

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If you’ve been waiting for expanded remasters from Scottish alternative band The Blue Nile, congratulations! Also, sorry to bear some bad news.

The Blue Nile, a trio consisting of non-traditional musicians Paul Buchanan (vocals/guitar/synthesizers), Robert Bell (bass) and Paul Joseph Moore (synthesizers), have an origin story almost as unusual as their musical direction. The group formed their own label, Peppermint Records, to distribute debut single “I Love This Life” in 1981; eventually, RSO Records picked up distribution but subsequent absorption into the PolyGram conglomerate virtually rendered the single nonexistent.

Years later, the band was picked up by another unusual label: Linn Records, owned by the European electronics manufacturer of the same name. The Blue Nile’s cutting-edge sound seemed like the perfect sonic formula for a brand-new hi-fi, and debut LP A Walk Across the Rooftops (1984) and single “Tinseltown in the Rain” dented the lower reaches of the U.K. charts.

After scrapping sessions for a second album, 1989 saw the group release Hats, a lush and layered effort that earned huge critical raves in England and peaked just outside the U.K. Top 10. (In the U.S., the album was aided by a much more direct push: A&M Records sent a copy free to anyone who called a toll-free number on a Billboard advertisement.) Two increasingly acoustic albums have followed since, 1996’s Peace at Last on the Warner Bros. label and 2004’s High, released by Sanctuary Records; unfortunately, the group has been inactive since 2008, with only Buchanan self-releasing a solo LP (with input from Bell) earlier this year.

To the delight of fans, EMI is planning deluxe two-disc editions of A Walk Across the Rooftops and Hats, each featuring bonus discs of non-LP content. Less exciting for hardcore fans is, while there appear to be a nice amount of unreleased content, very few of the original non-LP content from either of these two albums appears on the sets. Rooftops features remixes of “Tinseltown,” “Heatwave” and “Stay,” one original B-side (“Regret,” which backed “Tinseltown”), the band’s original RSO single and one unreleased track. Hats, meanwhile, only features one original B-side (“The Wires Are Down,” which backed “The Downtown Lights”), two alternate takes, two live cuts and another unreleased song, “Christmas.” Missing are non-LP tracks like “Saddle the Horses,” the B-side to “Stay,” and a Hats-era duet version of the band’s “Easter Parade” with Rickie Lee Jones, an early champion of the group in America.

All praise and/or blame for the bonus track situation goes to Buchanan and Bell themselves, who selected those tracks for inclusion on these new expansions, as well as overseeing the remastering done by Calum Malcolm, who engineered the original albums (not to mention the rest of The Blue Nile discography). Both expansions will be available November 11 in the United Kingdom. Hit the jump for the full track lists, courtesy of SpinCDs.

Thanks to super readers Len Lumbers and Richard for bringing these to our attention!

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Written by Mike Duquette

October 2, 2012 at 13:55