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The long-overdue reissue of a New Wave classic PLUS bonus tracks. AND some excellent sleeve notes as well. Deep Breath. Deep Joy.

With such an abundance of great songs, however, it will always remain a mystery as to why ENGLISH GARDEN was never afforded the attention it so clearly deserved first time around.

Including VIDEO KILLED THE RADIO STAR and CLEAN CLEAN - both hits for BUGGLES but co-written by BRUCE WOOLLEY - the album delivers it's New Wave pop music with a light yet distinctive edge. A seriously gifted songwriter, Woolley is also possessed of a superbly flexible voice and injects every song with a mixture of his delightfully giddy, falsetto-imbued, vocals. He's also ably backed up by the impressively tight nucleus of CAMERA CLUB members MATTHEW SELIGMAN, DAVID BIRCH, ROD JOHNSON and THOMAS DOLBY.

Now close your eyes and listen carefully to DANCING WITH THE SPORTING BOYS, NO SURRENDER, FLYING MAN, GET AWAY WILLIAM, GOODBYE TO YESTERDAY, YOU'RE THE CIRCUS (I'M THE CLOWN) and the superb title track...memorable songs, all of them, and not remotely disposable. The same goes for Dolby's haunting keyboard instrumental, WW9 - a jolt in tempo, perhaps, but certainly not in quality.

The bonus tracks all deserve repeated listens, especially BLUE BLUE (VICTORIA). Fast, punchy, and very much belonging to the (then) new decade, it's a beautiful song and Woolley's vocals are simply outstanding - had this featured on the unreleased second album, alongside HOUSE OF WAX and GHOST TRAIN, it would have foreshadowed something very special indeed. Maybe one day 'SHADOWS' will see the light of day - if it does, I'll certainly be there. For keen-eared trivia buffs, there's a very familiar-sounding keyboard motif in BOBBY BAD...could it perhaps have anything to do with Dolby's future association with Lene Lovich?

I must also mention Matthew Seligman's fascinating personal insights, he has contributed a very human piece which puts The Camera Club's relatively short lifespan into some kind of context. Time and outright fame notwithstanding, they burned brightly. So get this CD and say hello to yesterday by immersing yourself in ENGLISH GARDEN's perfectly tended, happy landscapes. Released in 1979 - the (original) year of The Winter of Discontent - this hidden gem will make you feel anything but.

Thank you Bruce and thank you Cherry Red Records, together you've provided us with a superb package which, thirty-three years down the line, remains essential listening.

UNRESERVEDLY RECOMMENDED
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VINE VOICEon 22 August 2011
I recall a friend lending me this album soon after it came out, by which time Buggles had had hits with two of the songs from it. It was a jarring experience hearing Bruce Woolley's version of 'Video Killed The Radio Star', even though he was more in step with current musical fashions than his old writing partner, Trevor Horn. The album, made in 1979, reveals Woolley to have been a talented songwriter, but is heavily derivative of the Elvis Costello school of snappy, incisive pop that so many other bands were also treading, right down to the big glasses. Horn, in truth, was into a glossier sound which helped usher in the digital, synth-dominated 1980s.

There are several gems on this album. The title track sets the tone, with Woolley's breathless vocals giving the recording a sense of urgency. His version of 'Video' too is alluring, once you get used to its rough edges. 'Dancing With The Sporting Boys' is perhaps the most careful performance on the album, full of hooks and elegant with it. 'Get Away William', about a sex change, has a gorgeous, light-headed feel to it, and the climax, 'You're The Circus' is a showstopper. The remaining tracks are average to above average.

The bonuses are worth the inclusion, though mostly recorded with different line-ups and production values. Definitely a product of its time, but an endearing one.
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VINE VOICEon 7 December 2010
The long-overdue reissue of a New Wave classic PLUS bonus tracks. AND some excellent sleeve notes as well. Deep Breath. Deep Joy.

For the benefit of anyone who may be interested, below is my review of the original album. I think it's worth repeating.

..............................................

FIRST PUBLISHED ON AMAZON IN FEBRUARY 2008

With such an abundance of great songs, it will always remain a mystery as to why ENGLISH GARDEN was never afforded the attention it so clearly deserved.

Including VIDEO KILLED THE RADIO STAR and CLEAN CLEAN - both hits for BUGGLES but co-written by BRUCE WOOLLEY - the album delivers it's New Wave pop music with a light yet distinctive edge. A seriously gifted songwriter, Woolley is also possessed of a superbly flexible voice and injects every song with a mixture of his delightfully giddy, falsetto-imbued, vocals. He's also ably backed up by the impressively tight nucleus of CAMERA CLUB members MATTHEW SELIGMAN, DAVID BIRCH, ROD JOHNSON and THOMAS DOLBY. (Yes, THAT Thomas Dolby; the man who would go on to create the wonderful GOLDEN AGE OF WIRELESS, then lose the plot completely after a duet with Dr. Magnus Pike.)

Close your eyes and listen carefully to DANCING WITH THE SPORTING BOYS, NO SURRENDER, FLYING MAN, GET AWAY WILLIAM, GOODBYE TO YESTERDAY, YOU'RE THE CIRCUS (I'M THE CLOWN) and the superb title track...memorable songs, all of them, and not remotely disposable. The same goes for Dolby's haunting keyboard instrumental, WW9 - a jolt in tempo, perhaps, but not in quality. So, what on earth went wrong...? A perfect candidate for the not exactly Mysterious Worlds of Arthur C. Clarke.

If you have a copy on vinyl then you're very lucky, hang on to it for dear life. If not, then try and get the CD and immerse yourself in ENGLISH GARDEN's perfectly tended, happy landscapes. Released in 1979 - the (original) year of The Winter of Discontent - this hidden gem will make you feel anything but.

VERY HIGHLY RECOMMENDED

................................................

A few more words about the special edition: The bonus tracks all deserve repeated listens, but there's absolute paydirt amongst them in the form of BLUE BLUE (VICTORIA). Fast, punchy, and very much belonging to the (then) new decade, it's a beautiful song and Woolley's vocals are simply outstanding - had this featured on the unreleased second album, alongside HOUSE OF WAX and GHOST TRAIN, it would have foreshadowed something very special indeed. Maybe one day 'SHADOWS' will see the light of day - if it does, I'll certainly be there.

I must also mention Matthew Seligman's fascinating personal insights, he has contributed a very human piece which puts The Camera Club's relatively short lifespan into some kind of context. Time and outright fame notwithstanding, they burned brightly.

So, thank you Bruce and thank you Cherry Red Records, together you've provided us with a superb package. Now, the only alteration I'd like to make to the above is but a simple thing: the rating...

UNRESERVEDLY RECOMMENDED
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on 24 February 2014
I had only a limited expectation of what to expect. I was surprised by how diverse it was. I was only familiar with a remixed version of Video Killed The Radio Star. The album version was both lyrically & sonically different from the remix and the version from The Buggles. Still a wonderful album.
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what a fantastic album the for runners of the buggles and a very young thomas dolby pre fallout club
what a great album it is in reality thebuggles first album with out trevor hornes production but boy its class
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on 21 July 2015
😊
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