The Dick Bros Record Company, released June 1995
All Tracks are preceded by an introduction from Fish.
01. Introduction to Kayleigh (02:10)
02. Kayleigh (04:11, 1995 Studio Re-recording) [Dick/Rothery/Kelly/Mosley/Trewavas] Charisma Music Publishing.
03. Introduction to Lucky (01:08)
04. Lucky (03:30, 1995 Studio Re-recording) [Dick/Boult/Simmonds] Fishy Music Ltd./Hit & Run (Publishing) Ltd.
05. Introduction to Boston Tea Party (01:11)
06. Boston Tea Party (03:56, 1995 Studio Re-recording) [Harvey/McKenna/Cleminson] Polygram Music Publishing Ltd.
07. Introduction to Lavender (00:58)
08. Lavender (04:17, 1995 Studio Re-recording) [Dick/Rothery/Kelly/Mosley/Trewavas] Charisma Music Publishing.
09. Introduction to Somebody Special (00:45)
10. Somebody Special (03:59, 1995 Studio Re-recording) [Dick/Boult/Paton] Fishy Music Ltd./Copyright Control.
11. Introduction to Just Good Friends (01:16)
12. Just Good Friends (04:11, 1995 Studio Re-recording) [Dick/Boult/Simmonds] Fishy Music Ltd./Hit & Run (Publishing) Ltd.
13. Introduction to Lady Let It Lie (01:08)
14. Lady Let It Lie (04:06, 1995 Studio Remix) [Dick/Paton/Cassidy] Fishy Music Ltd./Copyright Control.
15. Introduction to Punch And Judy (00:57)
16. Punch And Judy (03:29, 1995 Studio Re-recording) [Dick/Rothery/Kelly/Mosley/Trewavas] Charisma Music Publishing.
Total Time (41:25)
A selection of edited tracks with personal introductions taken from Yin & Yang, two ‘Best Of’ albums to be simultaneously released in Summer 1995 which together contain 26 tracks including 14 new studio recordings, various remixes and previously unavailable versions of songs featuring special guest appearances.
Boston Tea Party features the ‘Sensational Alex Harvey Band’.
Just Good Friends features a duet with Sam Brown.
All tracks recorded at Funny Farm Studios, Nr. Haddington, East Lothian, Scotland.
Produced by James Cassidy for James Cassidy Productions
Engineered by Avril Mackintosh & James Cassidy.
Mixed by James Cassidy except Lady Let It Lie mixed by Avril Mackintosh, Label Manager Rob Ayling.
Cover artwork Mark Wilkinson from a Fishy concept. Sleeve design Neil Dalglish.
p & c Dick Brothers Record Company Ltd. 1995.
The first thing you notice about the Radio Edits CD is how it plays more like a radio show. Listening to it all at once is like recreating one of the old ‘Saturday Sequence’ programmes on Radio 1, and, if played as such, would entice the wavering public to buy, as Fish generates interest in the songs by explaining their origin and meaning. Some of this would be new even to hardened Company members with introductions that are revealing and amusing with Fish directly leading into each track in true DJ style.
Of course, the first worry with 7 re-recordings is: just what has he done to our favourite songs? Up first is Kayleigh, the song Fish credits with changing his life. It opens sounding amazingly like its Marillion counterpart with ‘that’ chord riff, however after that it gains more of the feel it acquired acoustically on tour. Fish has changed around his timing and emphasis to make it a less bitter and a much more retrospective and sad song. Even without Rothery the solo shines and there is some nice layering of guitars which gives the song a warmth that Marillion producer Chris Kimsey lost with his aim for a ‘live’ feel. Overall the song is given new life, the diamond still shines.
Lucky was one of those songs I loved live but sounded a little geriatric and over produced on the Internal Exile album, especially the chorus with too many backing vocals. This version puts the record straight and, from the opening with its pacey guitar and whirling organ, sets out to ignite the original. The overall feel is fuller and more urgent, giving the social slant of the lyrics much more bite. As with many of the new versions, Fish aims for a more ‘live’ vocal that hangs on a vibe and stops the studio suffocating the energy of the songs, especially noticeable here towards the end with Fish belting out ‘L..U..C..K..Y’ as Frank and Robin rock things up. The only complaint must be that with this edit we lose verse 3 and the solos, so the whole thing feels like it’s over just after it has begun. Anything for playlisters ….
Boston Tea Party was not one of my favourites on the Songs From The Mirror album but is always a ton of fun live. The version here seems an improvement on the original just because it’s a more honest rocker, and the SAHB succeed in adding extra studio gusto and getting rid of all those silly sound effects on the Songs version – another goal for the good guys.
Before Lavender, Fish points out something that many of us felt, that being that the 7″ version that hijacked the charts in 1985 was not a song but bits and pieces plastered together in the studio. Never a track I loved apart from when it reprises as Brief Encounter, Fish has done the impossible and produced the renaissance version. When I heard this on the acoustic tour at Christmas I was blown away by the vibe developed, built on the bluesy direction found on the Toile Tour. This version has the lot and makes Lavender into a real song full of passion that gently builds to its full stature, before it closes with a repeat of the opening lines to tie the ends up properly, definitely my favourite on the CD. I can imagine this being played on the radio whilst on a beach in this summer drought – it could be the Summer smash. A possible re-release, Fish?
Somebody Special. We’ve all read Bill’s account of the band’s journey round the B roads and into the duck pond until they finally got the M! version of this and, thankfully, it was worth it all. Yet again the acoustic tour seems the main culprit for the change around with a better vibe created which is apparent from the new opening, and thankfully gone is all that wailing at the end by the backing vocalist as appeared on the Suits version which seemed to go on for half an hour. This is more disciplined, all that it misses is the lyrics on the bridge, ‘She put her mind to the classroom’ and so on, which I thought were spot on, I hope there in the full version.
Just Good Friends provides the new single and Fish’s first duet on a solo album. This is what Fish wanted in the first place, and you can see why. Sam Brown has a beautiful voice which effortlessly soars during the second verse giving the ‘father confessor’ line new life and the overall song more character. The strength of the lyrics stop this all sounding over sentimental or mushy, and the radio edit makes a compact pacey version of the song which works well as a single and almost stops you noticing all the bits that have been jettisoned.
With Lady Let It Lie, there’s not much to report, but the remix has got rid of the waves of reverb that seemed to swamp the song and so has allowed more space in the mix. The result is Fish’s voice sounds clearer and overall the sound is sharper. Fish’s introduction mentions the difficulties he observed that spawned this song, difficulties that only get worse as the much discussed recovery never appears. A lot of people would love this song, let’s hope Yin & Yang provides that vehicle.
Punch And Judy finishes off proceedings, yet again it could be an old favourite ruined but thankfully not. With the original now 11 years old, no one can argue with having a fresh interpretation, which is just what Fish provides. Fish sounds a little embarrassed of the lyrics, passing it off as ‘dark comedy’, but the music benefits from years of the solo band playing it and sounds more alive and rocky than the original. Fish’s voice benefits from not straining in falsetto and the song benefits from the band’s extreme tightness and ability to belt the song out.
This CD is a strange experience for the Fish fan. it reminds us of all Fish has done and how time has passed on. I was just 11 when Kayleigh hit the charts ten years ago and now it seems right to update this and other songs to provide a definitive record. What the CD reinforces is how varied Fish’s talents are and how good songs never really age or lose relevance. More than that, favourite songs lock up memories and they’ll remind you all of things you did and people you knew, even ones you loved. Take the trip down memory lane – it’s surprising how things have changed down there recently. Andy Grossett, August 1995