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on 14 September 2013
Enranged by what Edsel has been doing with some of my favourite music (Aztec Camera, Robert Palmer) I have decided to re-post a "review" for this Cherry Red re-issue of one of my favourite albums from the 80s.

In short: bad sound, one chopped song and at least two tracks sourced from mp3. This is how Cherry Red operates. No quality control.

I wish they had simply reprinted the previous Japanese edition which is now quite hard to find.

In the last couple of years it has been really painful to see these re-issue labels go from one disaster to the next. Salvo, Cherry Red, Edsel: please go away. Soon.
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on 26 March 2010
Sadly, not many people will be looking at this re-issue on spec without existing interest, but for those of us that love this fantastic album, just my view.

The music and performance is sublime, as we know.

And if you want to listen on MP3, pc, iPod or in the car it sounds great.

But if you want to listen through a decent cd player et al don't buy it. It's been mastered for radio/download/pc and, sad to say, it's horrible. I know this album note for note beacause I've been listening to it since it was released on the original vinyl. Which I will keep playing, as this is very poor on cd players.

As Neil Young says, "sound matters". And the sound on this is nowhere near what this treasure deserves on conventional cd players.
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on 2 February 2010
Originally released in 1985, Virgins And Philistines was the first vinyl album from The Colour Field. They had formed from the wreckage of two bands signed to 2Tone Records, namely The Specials and The Swinging Cats. The line up was Terry Hall (who had recently left his first post-Specials group Fun Boy Three), Toby Lyons (The Swinging Cats) and Karl Shale, a musician friend of Lyons.

I specify vinyl album because this has never previously been released on CD in the UK. This issue with bonus tracks will be released roughly one month before the original album's 25th anniversary.

Subsequently released on CD in America in the 80s and Japan in the late 90s, both CDs have sold for incredibly high amounts, but neither have ever quite captured the wonder of Virgins And Philistines. The American CD was mainly based on tracks from singles and single mixes and had a very different track order. Yes it has sufficed for years, but only for those few of us lucky enough to own it.

So onto the music: Take is regarded as one of Terry Hall's finest songs, with a bitter lyric delivered with the perfect level of spite. Castles In The Air is another one many thought was destined for greatness when released as a single, but despite a majestic arrangement it remains largely unknown. The one real breakthrough hit was Thinking Of You. Terry's infamous duet with Katrina Phillips struck the right note with pop fans and record buyers and propelled the band into the top 20. I say infamous because it is hard to this day to tell if the couple are together or apart. The duplicity in the lyric meant it just had to be a duet.

Elsewhere you'll find a stunning cover of The Hammond Song (originally by The Roches), which kicked off side two in the old days. It also introduced a whole new side to Terry's career and talent. Listen once and you'll know what I mean. The remainder of the album is a fantastic spin through 4 songs: the title track, Yours Sincerely, Armchair Theatre and Sorry (the last 3 were omitted from the American version). The album reaches a climax of Latin flavoured brass, drums and castanets for the final section of Armchair Theatre before fading away into the distance, hinting it is the final track. It's not, though, as Sorry follows. One of Terry's more emotive songs at this stage in his career. Yet again we're in double-edged lyric territory here. It's another of The Colour Field songs that has remained a firm favourite amongst Terry Hall fans.

Thereafter the album is packed with bonus tracks, many hard to find on CD, some on CD for the first time ever. This album is a real gift to those who already know and love it, and will be a real joy to those who have tried in vain to get one of the previous issues.

I should point out that the booklet includes sleeve notes co-written by me and a very extensive exclusive interview carried out purely for this reissue with one of the studio participants. Their second album Deception is also available again, along with bonus tracks.

Buy this album, you'll love it and begin to understand why Terry Hall has such a cult following, so many years since he last had a proper hit record.
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on 9 June 2010
After the demise of The Fun Boy Thee in 1983, Terry Hall formed the The Colourfield. After two singles (`The Colour Field' and `Take') failed to make any impact, the release of `Thinking of You' in 1985 took them into the UK Top 20 and the debut album appeared, to critical acclaim from the music press. There was a lot of acoustic, jazz influenced stuff around at the time (Eden by Everything But The Girl, Style Council etc.) and this was among the best. Its typically personal and political stuff from Mr Hall, with CASTLES IN THE AIR and TAKE mourning broken relationships while CRUEL CIRCUS has a (flawed) pop at meat eaters. The title track is particularly jazzy with a clarinet solo featuring a glissando straight out of Gershwin. A long lost gem.
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on 25 April 2016
The sound quality of this remaster is not as awful as some reviewers have asserted, the original album tracks are fine and the Hammond Song may even be better. The bonus tracks are a mixed bunch but worth it for the unexpected sound of Terry laughing on Little Things.For the price of less than a tenner it is well worth it.
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on 23 March 2012
It is great that this is now on CD. Quality tunes from my youth without the grainy cassette niose in background.
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on 1 January 2016
Very nostalgic and it shows how much some of the more recent music is so mundane.
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on 11 April 2010
Yes there is about twenty seconds of faint hearts missing but otherwise this is a fine reissue.
It is good to see both The Colourfield albums available again.
This album should be embraced as a long lost friend.
My advice would be to ignore the negative reviews and buy yourself one of the great overlooked albums of the 80's.
Great packaging and fine informitive sleeve notes, not to mention some fantastic extra tracks.
All i can say is that it sounds great to me.
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on 25 January 2013
great film too, is it too late to wish a happy 2013? I think not :)
all the best, cheers
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