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The Fugitive Kind (Bonus Tracks Edition)
 
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The Fugitive Kind (Bonus Tracks Edition)

15 Oct. 2012 | Format: MP3

£6.99 (VAT included if applicable)
Also available in CD Format
Song Title
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3:55
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2:59
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5:28
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3:59
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6:31
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6:37
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3:26
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6:13
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3:21
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3:32
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6:40
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7:16
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6:09
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5:31
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15
5:34
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Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
Many will have come across Swans Way on the plethora of 80s compilation CDs released over the last ten years, but for most 'Soul Train' is where it begins and ends.

Certainly, that's a superb track to act as a souvenir of the group, and the main reason I rushed out to buy both the 12" single and, in 1985, the album on vinyl. But as great as 'Soul Train' is with it's mix of swing jazz and driving classicality, it doesn't do this trio the justice they deserve, as 'The Fugitive Kind', is without doubt one of the most impressive debuts ever, and one of the most welcome re-releases of recent years.

Whilst further singles from the album explored a range of musical styles - 'The Anchor' conjures up Russian folk, "When the Wild Calls" is classical pop with a great chorus and rousing coda, and "Illuminations" is a sexy, sultry, soul ballad for lovers everywhere - it's in the album-only tracks that you can really immerse yourself in the loose jazz that the group where famous for, especially in their live performances.

"Club Secrets" is a personal favourite as Rob's playful vocal takes us deep into the world of cocktails and cool-cut suits to re-live the jazz bar culture of the 1960's, and 'Stay' is a mercilessly stripped down piece of anguished yet perfectly controlled vocal against an admirably accomplished bass melody that leaves all the right spaces for those vocals to gain their power.

"Je Joue" is a companion piece to 'Soul Train' with it's highly dramatic and relentless cello beat that melts into a sublimely hypnotic acapella-driven chorus, whilst "Keeping it Strong' is a three-minute piece of insistent dance music that leaves you reeling and begging for more.
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Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
Swans Way burned very brightly for a short time from 1982-84. They produced some fabulous tunes over one album and a clutch of singles. They are one of the few groups that still sound timeless to me and I keep revisiting this album more often than many bigger names. If you like soul, jazz and blues mixed with a dash of pop then you will like Swans Way.

This is an essential purchase which also sounds great with credit (hidden away) to 360 Mastering. It also has good sleeve notes - including recent write up by Maggie and a Melody Maker article from 1984 - however there is no mention of the reason that they split up after one album. Listening to Scarlet Fantastic (next band for two of Swans Way) demonstrates 'musical differences'.

If like me you have the 1997 `Best of Swans Way' then this is still well worth your investment. Factors to consider for this version include:
* Sympathetic remastering that brings out the bottom-end - particularly the double bass. File sizes are 10-15% larger which backs up the verdict from my ears.
* Added the extended versions of `The Hangover' `Illuminations' and `The Anchor'.
* Added their first single `Theme From the Balcony'
* Good sleeve notes - including credits for the support musicians who included Annie Whitehead and Larry Stabbins.
* Lost`The Hangover' (edited version) and `Fires Were Started'.
* Running time of 77 minutes - 17 minutes more than previously.
* CD label is embossed with the cover of `When the Wild Calls' - a nice touch.

Credit to Cherry Red Pop for a great reissue.

P.S.
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Maggie De Monde, Swans Way's percussionist and backing vocalist, said in an interview in Smash Hits back in `84 to promote the original release of 'The Fugitive Kind', "It would be nice if the album sold a million". Unfortunately it didn't, peaking at a paltry number 88 - but THAT was nothing to do with it's contents. Maybe it was just too damned classy amidst the likes of Wham and Duran Duran to grip public taste. But to those who DID buy the album, it became part of their lives. Soulful, jazzy, sometimes verging on disco, there isn't one duff track; from the pulsating shimmer of 'Soul Train' and 'Keeping It Strong' and 'Hangover' which have shades of 'Manifesto'-era Roxy Music, to the stripped-back Carmel-esque 'Club Secrets and 'Stay', to 'The Blade''s 'West Side Story' theatrics or the dreamy euphoria of 'Illuminations' this album never takes a wrong step. The orchestral arrangements are superb, Maggie De Monde's multi-tracked harmonies sublime, and Robert Shaw's lead vocals impassioned, underpinned by double bassist Rick P Jones' insistent playing. There are so many highlights on 'The Fugitive Kind' but if I had to pick one, I would single out 'Je Joue' which swings seemlessly from verses to dance to to choruses to swoon to. Swans Way were a class act, and after twenty eight years of listening to this album I can assure you it never grows old. I cannot recommend this cd enough; once you have got aboard the 'Soul Train' you will NEVER want the journey to end!
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Swans Way were formed in Birmingham (UK) in 1982 and lasted until 1984 (two of their members went on to form Scarlet Fantastic). The reason you're reading this review is because you've probably stumbled across their devilishly catchy single 'Soul Train' on one of those 1980s compilations or even (perish the thought) a one-hit-wonder compilation from the same decade, and you're wondering whether the group made anything else worth hearing. Well, 'Soul Train' - which reached a creditable number 20 in the UK charts - was certainly one of the trio's highpoints, but they were certainly not a one-hit wonder. Their only album THE FUGITIVE KIND - which reached a somewhat disappointing number 84 in the UK album charts - is very interesting for a number of reasons, not least because it's one of the most accomplished pop albums of the 1980s, as well as being one of the most overlooked. In concert the trio was Robert Shaw (vocals), Rick P. Jones (double bass) and Maggie De Monde (vocals & percussion). I had the pleasure of seeing them in Birmingham and they were top-notch performers: energetic and totally committed.

The studio album is quite a bit different from their live performances. It was recorded in London, New York and (wait for it) Eastbourne. Three producers were involved in its production and about 30 musicians, including some of the cream of British jazz: Alan Skidmore, Annie Whitehead, Larry Stabbins and Alan Wakeman, plus an assortment of string players playing violins, violas and cellos. So, yes, this was a grand production for a not very well known band making its debut album; and what could have been a fragmentary affair or an overblown disaster, turned out to be a spectacular showcase for the talents of the trio and all the other members of the cast.
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