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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Does pop get any more perfect than this?, 27 Aug. 2008
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This review is from: Steve McQueen (Audio CD)
I had a hard time finding good music in the 80's to enjoy, and tended to favour the likes of Orange Juice, Aztec Camera, the Waterboys, and of course Prefab Sprout, over what was happening in the mainstream world of groups like Duran Duran and Spandau Ballet - all of which was more of a triumph of style over substance, in my humble opinion.

Anyway, one of the real delights of the mid eighties was Prefab Sprout's Steve McQueen, which I played to death for about 2 years! It has to be one of the most consistent gems of pop music, and the release really brought home to anyone who had failed to notice, what a superb songwriting talent we have with Paddy MacAloon - that rare ability to write not just great lyrics, but to be able to wrap them up in hooks and melodies that get totally stuck in your head.

This re-release deserves it's 5 stars, not just for the wonderful job of re-mastering that has now been performed on the original album, but also for the true joy that the acoustic album has brought me. Others here have said that it's worth getting Legacy for the acoustic bonus CD alone, which stands up on it's own merits, and I would add my agreement to that view. Desire As brought a tear to my eye!

I just wish Paddy MacAloon would do a bit more touring. I lost touch with the Sprouts a bit over the last 15 years, but would just add that a few years ago I picked up the 2001 album The Gunman and Other Stories, after hearing the beautiful track 'Cornfield Ablaze' late one night on Radio 2's Janice Long show. It's also a lovely album, for anyone who doesn't know it. But get this first!
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars St Paddy, 26 July 2007
By 
C. Hoey (London) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Steve McQueen (Audio CD)
This is just the finest collection of pop songs ever written. They have aged beautifully and the acoustic versions are so warm and soothing. It's so great to read all the reviews below and know that other people feel so passionate about this music. Goodbye Lucille will still sends shivers down my spine on every listen.

Thomas Dolby wrote some great songs too - check out Screen Kiss (by the Umajets).
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Quite simply the best, 25 Jun. 2004
By A Customer
This review is from: Steve McQueen (Audio CD)
Steve Mcqueen is simply peerless. Paddy's song writing has always been emphatic, but throughout this album he reaches a standard that has established his reputation as one of the most outstanding song writers of our time.
I grew up to this Album, and every track represents a nostalgic moment from my youth. But I put it on the other day, and the magic of the Sprouts is as strong today as ever. I was privilaged to see them play in Manchester during the Jordan tour, and they were at thier best when playing the songs from Steve Mcqueen.
Buy this and you will have a lyrical muscial experience to treasure forever!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars "You Surely Are...A Truly Gifted Kid..." "Steve McQueen" Is Given A Beautiful Remaster And Stunning New Versions, 25 July 2007
By 
Mark Barry "Mark Barry" (London) - See all my reviews
(TOP 50 REVIEWER)    (HALL OF FAME REVIEWER)    (VINE VOICE)   
This review is from: Steve McQueen (Audio CD)
Following on from their hugely promising February 1984 debut "Swoon", England's PREFAB SPROUT took many English and Irish hearts by storm in the summer and autumn of 1985 with their stunning 2nd album "Steve McQueen". Rated by many as being in the Top 50 albums of all time, this April 2007 2CD LEGACY EDITION is a long overdue remastered celebration of that bedsit staple.

Here's the layout first - Disc 1 (45:13 minutes):
Tracks 1 to 11 are the album "Steve McQueen " issued in June 1985 on Kitchenware Records KW 3 in the UK (Vinyl, Cassette and CD). The US version was called "Two Wheels Good" for contractual reasons and was issued on Epic 40100. The US CD version contained 3 bonus tracks - "Faron Young (Truckin' Mix)", "The Yearning Loins" and "He'll Have To Go" - they were not included on the UK version - nor unfortunately included here on this reissue either. This Legacy reissue is remastered by original producer THOMAS DOLBY at The Mastering Lab in Los Angeles - he also contributes recollections to the liner notes.

Disc 2 (35:00 minutes):
Tracks 1 to 8 are brand new acoustic re-interpretations by Paddy McAloon (band's principal songwriter) of 8 tracks from the original 11 - they were recorded across the summer of 2006.

The 2CDs are housed in a card gatefold digipak (where's the Legacy Edition Protective Plastic outer wrap?), have motorbike logos on the CDs and a scant 12-page booklet with liner notes by PAUL LESTER. There are some new photos - outtakes from the album cover shoot, but bizarrely the original inner sleeve of the LP depicting the members of the band and giving recording details - is missing. But worse is the lack of musical extras. Between October 1984 and as late as February 1986, no less than 6 singles came off the album in the UK - When Love Breaks Down was put out 3 times - Faron Young, Appetite and Johnny Johnny were issued also - between them and their multiple formats, they produced as many as 12 unreleased B-sides and mixes. As you can see from the playing time on both discs, there was plenty of room for remasters of these rarities. They will probably never see the light of day now - which is maddening - especially on a supposed collector's edition. However, the other way of looking at it is this - presented as is - this reissue forces you to focus 'only' on the album proper - and the new acoustic tracks - and as they stand - they make for a truly sensational listen. So I can see why McAloon would want the album presented in this way, it's just disappointing not to see those non-album tracks that are not on CD anywhere...

Which brings us to the 1st part of the good news - THE SOUND. Like many who've loved this wonderful record, I've had the cramped vinyl LP and dull sounding original CD for over 20 years now - hoping for a good reissue of it at some point. Well this Thomas Dolby remaster is just BEAUTIFUL - clean, muscular and full of presence. Hearing the sublime "Bonny" in this sound quality is a treat no music lover should be without - and that synth solo - wow! And when you think of how awful a lot of Eighties music sounds now - so dated and over-produced - musically the whole album still holds it own. So many great tracks "Moving The River", "Desire As" and the Johnny Johnny song "Goodbye Lucille No.1" A really sweet remaster by Dolby. But the real fireworks start on Disc 2...

Few would have expected that Acoustic Reinterpretations would be this good - or even rival and better the originals - but here they do. It's hard to understate just how stunning these beautifully recorded remakes are - I've been playing them to buggery for over 18 months now and still don't tire of them. I made up a shop-play disc of 7 tracks from Ryan Adams' "Easy Tiger" album from 2007 with 7 from this - and every time I play it, it never fails to bring customers to the counter with looks of 'discovery' on theirs faces wanting to know "Who is this!!!"

To sum up - despite the ok-only packaging and lack of those b-sides - this is a 5-star reissue of a 6-star album - a must buy.

December 2009 Update: see also two reviews for "From Langley Park To Memphis" and "Jordan: The Comeback" on Japan-Only 2009 SHM-CD Remasters (Super High Materials)
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Amazing Acoustic Versions, 21 Jan. 2008
By 
O'Grady Brian "Irish Brian" (Stockholm) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Steve McQueen (Audio CD)
Wow....... let me say that again ..... wow.....
Just heard that Bobby Fischer died.... so I thought I'd play
Cue Fanfare as a tribute at home in the kitchen. An hour later
I searched for McAloon on YouTube and I was away on a Prefab bout
of reverie.

Then I heard these new acoustic versions.......OH MY GOD they are
just toe-curlingly beautiful....... differnt angles on familiar
melodies.... lyrics that were hidden that now come alive. "save your
speeches...flowers are for funerals..." just make me want to fall down
on the floor it's so good......

This is more than a gem..... I want to tell everyone who ever heard
of Prefab Sprout to hear this record now.....

Brian in Stockholm
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Songwriting genius, 1 Mar. 2009
This review is from: Steve Mcqueen (Audio CD)
This is one of the truly great albums - a slightly melancholic, hugely romantic, eighties masterpiece. And it's important to state it's from the eighties, because no other decade could have created the futuristic, slightly tacky, electro grandueur that informs the production of this album and adds to its modernist decadence.

The other key element is the songwriting, which is magnificent. As a lyricist, Paddy McAloon is the Cole Porter of Tyne and Wear. His insights into love, jealousy, adult cynicism and naive adolescence strip us all to the bone and betray how many aspects of our secret selves are not so secret after all. And he does it with beautiful melodies...
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars More than just nostalgia, 21 Jan. 2011
This review is from: Steve McQueen (Audio CD)
I moved house a few years ago and my vinyl went into what I now accept to be permenent storage. Much of it I will never miss but there are albums that I missed and Steve Mcqueen was one of them.
I finally bit the bullet and bought the remastered CD copy.
I was a bit worried that my memory of the album would be better than the reality or that the remastering would break the magic but my anxiety was misplaced.
Like a teenager I played it over and over with the lyrics spilling back into my memory.
It is still one of the finest records I ever bought and for an album that is, in some ways, lyrically downbeat it doesn't bring you down.
I didn't play the second CD for some weeks while I reaquainted myself with the originals but was stunned by how the songs came through in the stripped down versions.
I know I love the original more, but a lot of that has to do with the memories that are attached to a time 25 years ago when it had a permenent place on my turntable. If I had heard the reworked versions back then it might be harder to choose.

It is near impossible to pidgeon hole this album into a genre, a bit like Wichita Lineman it defies catagorisation
If you like indie-pop buy this album, if you appreciate a finely crafted song buy this album, if you want to find out what good stuff was kicking around in the eighties buy this album, but do buy it, it is a true gem.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Proceed with caution....., 19 Oct. 2009
By 
Mr. S. Burr (Bromley, Kent, UK) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Steve Mcqueen (Audio CD)
Please take care when buying this album, as it is like buying musical Heroin. Once the sweets sound grace your CD player or i-pod you will never look back - it really is that good - every reviewer here is telling the truth.

I had never really listened to any Prefab Sprout before getting 'Steve McQueen' - now I think i'm there biggest fan.

I have had to listen to this album every day since I bought it 2 weeks ago and still can't get enough of it - I need something else to ween myself off of it.... but what?..... I know, all there other albums!!!

Paddy, your an 80's legend. Keep up the good work.
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20 of 23 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Marginally better than London Calling, 25 Nov. 2004
This review is from: Steve McQueen (Audio CD)
If I was the sort of important person who got to go on these 'best of' talking heads programmes where F list celebs get to voice their earthshatteringly significant views on such matters - and if the topic of this programme was 'best album in the world ever', I'd know which two I'd narrow it down to: The Clash - London Calling, and Prefab Sprout - Steve McQueen. And the Sprouts would just get the nod.
Steve McQueen is just sublime. Spine chillingly, nerve tinglingly, heartbreakingly sublime. Paddy's tunes and Lyrics, aimed at a generation of thoughtful college boys, were a notch above his contemporaries Morrisey and Marr (who were very much fishing in the same pond of introspection - though at the less sophisticated end). Wendy Smith's voice was never better employed than on this album, on tracks 2-6 especially.
Appetite? Best pop song ever! When Love Breaks Down? Best love song ever! Steve McQueen album cover? Marginally less good than London Calling. Steve McQueen contents? Marginally better than London Calling.
I can't believe you philistines are selling this for less than a fiver.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A magical moment, 22 May 2007
This review is from: Steve McQueen (Audio CD)
All the preceeding reviews have called it spot on, every Sprout fan and the wider world needs to hear the accoustic versions of Bonny, Appetite and the others.

Interesting that in the sleave notes by Paul Lester he notes that Dolby thought at the time that he had maybe poured too much 1980's synthesiser gloop onto the songs and you can hear why in the accoustic versions.

Steve McQueen 10 years later is confirmed as one of the great 'rock' records of all time.

I'd join a previous reviewer in appealing for a 'Jordan' repeat performance.
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