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June 21, 2013

40th_smallSWW fan Steve Thorpe, who was a major driving force behind the box set project, approached Dave Bartram who found a number of tapes in his collection, and after listening to them for the first time in many years, it was deemed they were of good enough quality to put on the CD – ie the quality of actual tapes had not deteriorated.

After being put through the remastering process by Alchemy they came out sounding as good as new.

There was one discovered recording that unfortunately did not find its way onto the box set, an early version (mid-80s) of “Out On The Town”, this was due to it not being considered of good enough quality to be put out on the set.

But we are lucky to have included “Mona Lisa”, a 1981 version with Dave on lead vocals, never heard by the public until 2013. This track was released by Showaddywaddy in 1983 on the “Living Legends” LP, with Buddy Gask on lead vocals, and without the drum intro by Romeo. In fact, Malcolm Allured played drums on the 1983 release.

“Pretty Little One”, also a 1981 demo, is included, and eagle-eared listeners will notice its similarity to the ‘Living Legends’ track “Hey Little Girl”. (Incidentally, “Hey Little Girl” has got to be one of the worst SWW tracks!)

“Under The Moon of Love” (Try Your Hand Version) was retrieved form the original Genie vinyl 12″ single – many thanks to Keith Hudson for that!

“Old Habits Die Hard” was a 1988 track, and first released a few years ago as a bonus track on a ‘best of’ compilation, however the sound quality was absolutely awful – something clearly going wrong with the mastering for this release. But those problems are sorted here and it’s great to finally hear this song in the quality it deserves. How it was never a single at the time is sad – I think listening to the song in the context of the time (ie the late 80s) then it would have suited the music tastes around that period. An opportunity missed that would have surely seen the band improve on their comeback a year earlier with the release of the single “Why?”

Finally, three other tracks which were true bonuses to have on this disc were the instrumental versions of “Pretty Little Angel Eyes” and “When”. Listening to these without the vocals gives the listener a whole new angle, and it is interesting to bear in mind that these tracks were part of the recording process, ie Dave’s vocals to be added later, rather than being recorded as karaoke tracks.

  1. gary lockton permalink

    The whole collection is amazing. Old habits remix is fantastic. My fave track on whole colletion.

  2. Jason Reed permalink

    I agree! But where were “three good reasons”, “dot dot dot” and “behind a painted smile”???

    • Good point Jason! I wonder if they are now lost? I’ll ask Dave. I suspect that if they thought they weren’t good enough for release in 1984/85 then the band’s thoughts haven’t changed. Paul F.

  3. Richard Spencer permalink

    I wondered if the Jock Swon & The Metres single would have been included also?

  4. Gents, I’ve found out from Dave about Three Good Reasons and Dot Dot Dot.
    Basically the master tapes have been lost. He has them on cassette but they are not of sufficient quality to be mastered.

    I’ve asked if there is a possibility of releasing them online (eg Soundcloud) for the die hards! Let’s see…..

    • Jason Reed permalink

      That would be great if he’s prepared to do that πŸ™‚

  5. Hi, How is the version of ‘Heartbeat’ on the rarities disc different from the 1976 version on ‘Trocadero’? I cant tell any difference. Thanks.

    • Colin,

      The Heartbeat on the Rarities CD is just a slightly different mix. I must admit I can see little difference, but think the backing vocals on the actual release have a bit more depth.


  6. Extremely impressed with Dave’s version of Mona Lisa! One of the best tracks for years I think.

  7. Steve Thorpe permalink

    Yes – the version of Mona Lisa with Dave singing is superb; as is the new rockabilly version of Pretty Little One. It was fab to discover these on a Utopia master tape, recorded with Phil Wainman at the same time as Multiplication and Ally-Oop!

    • Mark Woods permalink

      Steve I just want to say what a great job you did with this. I’m always a bit dubious at buying box sets because sometimes you don’t always get value for money but this set is excellent.
      Were all the albums remastered again because they sound great especially the first 2 albums which to me they sounded muffled on the 7T’s releases?
      The DB version of Mona Lisa is great. Perhaps they should have put it on the album instead of BG’s version although that is a good version as well.
      Back in 1983 I ordered ‘Living Legends’ from WH Smiths in Carlisle. I put a Β£1 deposit on it and 30 years later I’m still waiting for the album! To this day I’ve never seen it on LP. First time I heard it was when the cd came out. Personally I think if they re recorded some of the dated keyboards/drum machine parts with proper instruments and changed the running order I think it would be a excellent record!

  8. Sandy B permalink

    Just to say ive got a copy of Living Legends on LP , as well as cd

  9. Steve Thorpe permalink

    Hi Mark! Thanks for the comments you left – it’s just great to hear that fans are enjoying the boxset so much. We tried really hard to make it value for money, which wasn’t easy to pull off but I think we got the balance right on the final release. Yes all tracks in the set were remastered from scratch, and this set is the very first time that the original quarter inch production masters have been made available for any SWW CD mastering since 1999 at least! I don’t know where Cherry Red got the masters from for the 7Ts releases specifically, but there are a lot of vinyl rips included on those CDs for sure. I think The Yellow Album / Trocadero / Crepes & Drapes and Living Legends have the most noticeable improvement overall. Living Legends isn’t that bad an album IMHO but you’re right that a less dated set of arrangements and production could make a major difference to the final record. I have it on vinyl from July 1983 when it was released – bought from Our Price in Guildford High Street! Enjoy the set and the summer sun πŸ™‚

    • Simon Tordoff permalink

      Nobody seems to have mentioned that the box set version of Rollercoaster (Yellow album) is missing the second verse and is around a minute shorter than the originally released version as a result! Can anyone shed any light on this?

      • Steve Thorpe permalink

        Thanks for mentioning! This is a huge mystery as we used the original Music Centre Wembley 1974 production masters for the Yellow Album!! Also when I was auditioning the reference discs before manufacture I certainly didn’t notice the track was any shorter. I’ll see if Dave B can shed any light on the two different versions πŸ™‚

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