Monday, February 8, 2010

fields of gold

As the music biz crashes all around us, the labels seem to be happy to plunder their vaults, either themselves or through third party licenses. This is a good thing since it allows the availability of some albums that had long been unavailable on CD or were never released digitally.

For instance, when I worked at EMI, smack in the middle of the Britpop explosion, I was desperate to reissue the two albums by Terry Hall's third, pop incarnation - The Colourfield. They are two, criminally overlooked, magnificently crafted albums that deserve a place on your shelf or among the zeroes and ones in your iPod. Let's face it. Bands like Blur and The Verve owe a mountain of gratitude to the groundwork laid by Terry Hall's many, pop incarnations.

Finally, someone had the good sense to remaster and reissue "Virgins And Philistines" and "Deception". The closest I got was "The Terry Hall Collection" which I produced in the early 90s. It featured all The Colourfield's singles plus a few, key covers alongside TH's work with The Specials, The Fun Boy Three, Terry, Blair And Anouchka and Vegas. A labor of love!

After the demise of The Fun Boy Three, Terry Hall reconfigured his talents and launched The Colourfield in 1984 with their slightly altered, self titled, debut single, "The Colour Field".

After three singles, The Colourfield released "Virgins And Philistines". Their debut album, all Burt Bacharach inspirations worn firmly on a flower print sleeve, continued to showcase Terry's impressive songwriting acumen. His lyrical bite and wit never once faltering.

The reissue of "Virgins And Philistines" features the original, ten track longplayer with an additional ten bonus tracks rounding out the set. The bonus material includes all the b-sides from the singles, non-album a-sides and extended versions which appeared on the 12" singles.

"Virgins And Philistines"

1. Thinking Of You
2. Faint Hearts
3. Castles In The Air
4. Take
5. Cruel Circus
6. Hammond Song
7. Virgins And Philistines
8. Yours Sincerely
9. Armchair Theatre
10. Sorry

Bonus tracks:

11. The Colour Field
12. My Wild Flame
13. Pushing Up The Daises
14. Windmills Of Your Mind
15. Sorry (Single Version)
16. Little Things
17. You Love Was Smashing
18. Can't Get Enough Of You Baby
19. My Wild Flame (Extended Version)
20. The Colour Field (Extended Version)

For some reason, the extended version of "Castles In The Air" doesn't seem to make an appearance. Hopefully, this is just an oversight. Although, at a gut busting 20 tracks, I have a feeling it has been left off.

Kudos to the hair stylist. You gotta love Terry rocking his best Liza Minnelli look.

I'd love to put up a clip of the rare video for "Thinking Of You". Unfortunately, EMI has disabled the embed code. Not terribly smart for a label that just found itself nearly £2 billion in debt. Instead, here's a lovely performance from "The Old Grey Whistle Test".

Makes me think that is the blueprint for The Beautiful South? Thoughts on a cocktail napkin, please. If you want to check out the original video, click here for joy.

A couple of years later, The Colourfield trimmed down to a duo from a trio. Karl Shale left and Toby Lyons' contributions dwindled. Although, looking at the sleeve, you'd be forgiven for mistaking "Deception", the second and final album from the group, as a Terry Hall solo album.

The two singles lifted from the album were not original compositions. "Running Away" was a daring cover of a Sly And The Family Stone song from their 1971 album, "There's A Riot Goin' On". It features Roland Orzabal from Tears For Fears on guitar. The second single was "She", written by Tommy Boyce and Bobby Hart which was originally recorded by The Monkees and featured as the lead track on their 1967 album, "More Of The Monkees".

The reissued version of "Deception" matches the same treatment given to their debut. It features the original, ten track longplayer with the inclusion of non-album single, "Things Could Be Beautiful" - which was released between full length releases - as well as the rare, single mix of "She" and all the b-sides of which one, "Monkey In Winter", is the earliest Chrysalis recording to feature Sinéad O'Connor prior to the release of her debut album, "The Lion And The Cobra". It's a magnificently produced reissue with only the radio edit of "Running Away" seemingly omitted from the tracklisting.


1. Badlands
2. Running Away
3. From Dawn To Distraction
4. Confession
5. Miss Texas 1967
6. She
7. Heart Of America
8. Digging It Deep
9. Monkey In Winter
10. Goodbye Sun Valley

Bonus recordings:

11. Things Could Be Beautiful
12. Frosty Mornings
13. Pushing Up Daisies (Live)
14. Yours Sincerely (Live)
15. She (Single Mix)
16. Monkey In Winter (with Sinead O'Connor)
17. Running Away (Arthur Baker Dub Version)

Although Terry Hall has often voiced his disappointment with the finished product, "Deception" is still a magnificent album which only suffers slightly when one considers the dated production.

Again, EMI has lovingly disabled the embedding ability on YouTube. Can you imagine THAT job? Scouring the interwebs all day disrupting your own company's promotion abilities. Anyway, YouTube is the repository for nearly every lost video in the universe. So check out the clips for "Running Away" and "She" on the links provided.

Both albums from The Colourfield will be available from all fine "shops" on March 22.


  1. Wow Vinny, thanks for the info! I loved these albums (especially the first), and will make sure to get them. (When you say "shops", do you mean actual physical copies? I must have that.)

    Cool to know you worked on that Terry Hall collection! I think I still have it in my racks somewhere!

  2. @countpopula - Yes! Physical CDs will be available. Huzzah!

  3. I have to admit, I cannot for the life of me think of a good reason why labels, which provide their wares to YouTube, disable embed codes for the clips... unless they resent monetized blogs using their goods for free to attract eyes. Yeah. That must be the reason, otherwise those clips should be spread like dandelion seeds since the music industry isn't getting any healthier. Perhaps this broken industry can work out a submission/approval process whereby you provide your site/blog for review and if it's not monetized, then they dole out the embed code to you directly (not YouTube). Would that placate them?

  4. Terry Hall is one of the great songwriters in British pop! His first proper solo album, Home is a classic. His work with Lightning Seeds is brilliant as well. I am also a firm believer that if his work with Dave Stewart as Vegas were released today it would be a smash!
    As for EMI's disablement tirade, I think that the era of the pop vid as promo is no longer...EVERYTHING IS PRODUCT...imagine what the "label" would want to charge if MTV ever decided to actually show videos again!