Tuesday 28 November 2017

James To Reissue Five Albums On Vinyl

James have announced the reissue of five of their albums on vinyl, two for the first time and the other three for the first time in over twenty years. Following on from 2015's Laid / Wah Wah deluxe, super deluxe and vinyl packages, Gold Mother, Seven, Whiplash, Millionaires and Pleased To Meet You all get the double heavy 180g vinyl plus download card treatment for a December 15th release.

The reissues cover the period that they were signed to Fontana / Mercury between 1990 and 2001. They start with 1990's Gold Mother, first issued in June 1990 when it reached number 16 in the UK charts and featured the singles How Was It For You? and Come Home, although the latter was remixed by Flood for the single version. They released two further singles after the album that didn't feature on the original version - Lose Control in December 1990 and then a re-recorded version of Sit Down in March 1991. The success of the latter, hitting number 2 in the single charts and hanging on for weeks, meant that the label were keen to reissue Gold Mother with the two songs on it. A compromise was reached where Lose Control and Sit Down replaced Hang On and Crescendo and the Flood Mix of Come Home replaced the original album version, but any disgruntled punters could swap an old version for the new one at Our Price. The album hit number 2 in the charts. For this vinyl reissue, the 1991 version covers the first three sides of the record (it was originally only a single album) whilst Hang On, Crescendo and the original album version of Come Home appear on side four.

The expectations were high for the following album and they took their toll on the recording process for what was to become Seven. The success of Sit Down meant that sessions were delayed and disrupted and the deadline to release the album ahead of the band's massive 30-plus date UK tour that ran through September to November 1991 was missed. They therefore previewed all the songs at some point during the tour, using their usual method of airing new songs ahead of release. The album received mixed reviews, some lauding James' attempts at a bigger bolder sound, whilst others lamented the loss of the James they'd come to know and love in the 1980s. There were four singles released from the record - Sound and Born Of Frustration preceded it and dented the top ten and twenty respectively, whilst Ring The Bells and a remixed version of the title track Seven followed. This reissued version includes Next Lover on vinyl for the first time as this only featured on the CD and cassette versions.

Fast forward five years (past Laid and Wah Wah that were reissued in 2015) to Whiplash. Larry Gott had left the band, Tim had recorded his Booth And The Bad Angel album with Angelo Badalamenti and the band came close to implosion after a tax bill nearly broken. They regrouped and Whiplash was the fruits of a three year writing and recording period. The album had a much more electronic feel than its predecessors, although the three singles She's A Star, Tomorrow and Waltzing Along still possessed all the qualities that had seen James hit the singles charts regularly. The album hit number nine on its release and of the singles the former hit the top 10, whilst the other two managed top 20 and top 30 respectively and all remain part of the live set. A fourth single Lost A Friend was scrapped on the basis that the band were preparing for the Best Of album that was to give them a number one record in 1998.

The last two records in the set will be the ones for the diehard James completist though as Millionaires and Pleased To Meet You were never released on vinyl. When the much-delayed Millionaires finally hit the stores in October 1999, almost a year later than the original plan, it went to number two in the album charts, which was seen as a bit of disappointment given the momentum they had gathered with The Best Of and the two huge tours that supported it. Inter-band relations were at an all-time low though and they'd moved away from their traditional jamming approach to writing songs and it was the first album where they didn't have Larry Gott in the writing sessions too. The album still contained big singles I Know What I'm Here For and Just Like Fred Astaire as well as We're Going To Miss You, all of which have appeared in live sets since the band reformed as well as the album's closing track Vervaceous.

To try and resolve the band relationship issues, they went back to basics for Pleased To Meet You. Jamming songs at Ridge Farm Studios with Brian Eno, they wrote the basis of the album and then went out on the road and toured it in late 2000, playing up to ten new songs a night. When the album came out in July 2001, James were on the last album of their deal and Mercury decided not to renew the contract which meant the album only had one single released in advance of it, Getting Away With It (All Messed Up), and promotion was limited. As a result the album limped to number eleven in the charts and shortly after Tim announced he was leaving the band after their December tour which became a farewell. Strangely the album broke them in Greece and was also successful in Portugal. Songs like English Beefcake and Senorita have found their way into the setlists since the band reformed and Alaskan Pipeline was a highlight of the 2011 orchestra tour.

James' official website can be found here.   They are on Facebook and Twitter.  Some of the band - TimAndy and Dave - are also on Twitter.

We also run the One Of The Three James archive, the most detailed resource for information about the band, and the site also has a Facebook and Twitter page.

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