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Not bad budget introduction to great solo artist
on 7 April 2002
This budget compilation covers Julian Cope's initial forays into solo-dom- captured in 'Repossessed' to the excellent 'Jehovahkill' album-which saw him get dropped by a clueless Island...His debut solo single, 'Sunshine Playroom' is a rather strange casio/drum-machine driven track- rather great but not as great as should-have been singles like 'Strasbourg' & 'Quizmaster'. We do get the moribund 'Head Hang Low'- the missing link between 'The Culture Bunker' & 'Laughing Boy' & the divine 'Greatness & Perfection'- surely one of the finest acoustic popsongs ever recorded?...Sadly we get just two songs from the seminal 'Fried': the acoustic shimmer that is 'Bill Drummond Said' & the epic 'Sunspots' which sounds like early The The covering a track from XTC's 'Skylarking'. Pity that 'Reynard the Fox' & 'Holy Love' are passed over- same for b-sides like 'Mik Mak Mok' & 'Land of Fear'...Next up is his brief outwardly commercial period, 1986-1988- this would involve showing Sarah Green on 'Going Live!' his toys!!. We get 'World Shut Yr Mouth' twice- which is a waste- the 'Troublefunk' mix is cool- but a b-side like 'Disaster' would have been better. 'World Shut Yr Mouth' is one of those classic songs like 'Smells Like Teen Spirit', 'Bullet the Blue Sky' or 'Supersonic' that you can't not think is one of the greatest rock songs ever. Follow-up 'Trampolene' is even better- Hives fans should see how it's done properly; ditto for 'Spacehopper'- a Stooges-thrash whose catchy line ("I've got a spacehopper baby/but it's strictly one-seater") was coined by Ian McCulloch- who was then too embarrassed to use it! Pity the best song on 'St Julian' is passed-over ('Shot Down')...We get just two songs from the severely mediocre 'My Nation Underground'- the not bad title track & lovely overproduced 'Charlotte Anne'. Again a great song is left off- the gorgeous 'I'm Not Losing Sleep'...The 'Peggy Suicide'-era is represented fairly well- we get 'Pristeen' & 'East Easy Rider' from 'Phase One', 'If You Loved Me At All' from 'Phase Two' & 'Beautiful Love' from 'Phase Four'. This is such a classic album it is hard to pick the best songs to represent it. The absence of 'Safesurfer' is inexplicable; same for b-side 'Port of Saints'. And why nothing from 'Droolian' or 'Skellington'?-'Robert Mitchum', 'Jellypop Perky Jean' & 'Unisex Cathedral' would have made the transition from Nation to Peggy more understandable...Finally we have some songs from the almost as great as 'Peggy'-album, 'Jehovahkill'. 'Upwards at 45' is a clear choice- though Copey would write a better version of this at a later date ('Highway to the Sun' from '20 Mothers'). 'Mystery Trend' & 'Soul Desert' are strange choices, both from 'Phase One' (as 'Upwards'). Why not include the hilarious 'Julian H Cope', the strange dancesong 'Poet is Priest' or sublime single 'Fear Loves this Place'? And what about the great cover of Roky Erikson's 'I Have Always Been Here Before'??
So, not a bad sample of Copey solo from 'World Shut Your Mouth' (1983) to 'Jehovahkill' (1992). But how can you ignore early classics like 'Camera Camera', 'Treason', 'Like Leila Khaled Said' & 'Suffocate'? Or post-'Jehovahkill' classics like 'Don't Call me Mark Chapman', 'Try Try Try', 'Wheelbarrow Man' or 'Dust'??
Sadly Mr Cope remains poorly treated by record companies & seems better off writing books & doing TV. Let's hope that all those people who are buying stuff like Pink Floyd, SFA, Spiritualized & Radiohead discover his works and his obvious godlike genius! This is not a bad place to start...