Andrew Norman Replies

Date: Thu, 27 Jun 1996 09:33:49 +0100
From: Andrew Norman (nja@LEICESTER.AC.UK)
Subject: Re: Felt

Dewdrops Records wrote on Wed, 26 Jun 1996
> That's a tough one. the majority of it is "must have", but I'd say
> either Forever Breathes The Lonely Word or The Splendour Of Fear
> with follow-up choices being The Strange Idols Pattern and Ignite
> The Seven Cannons. The stuff that isn't all that good includes The
> Pictorial Jackson Review, Poem Of The River, and Me And A Monkey On
> The Moon.

"Poem" is my favourite! In chronological order, with marks out of ten:

Cherry Red records:
Crumbling the Antiseptic Beauty (6)
The Splendour of Fear (7)
The Strange Idol's Pattern and other Short Stories (7)
Ignite the Seven Cannons (9)

The first three are twin guitar, bass (sometimes), drums. Martin
Duffy joined on keyboards for the fourth one, produced by Robin
Guthrie and with Liz Fraser on "Primitive Painters" (one of the most
perfect songs ever recorded). She's supposedly on one of the other
songs on the album, too, but I can't hear her. It has a typical
lush, full-sounding Guthrie production, very different to the
flatter, more straightforward sound of the first three. Lawrence
claims he wasn't very happy with the sound, though he did get Robin
in to produce a couple of later singles. All these were released on
CD with two albums on each disc - a Spanish guitar instrumental was
dropped from TSIP for some reason (probably Lawrence's insistence
that albums should have an even number of tracks). There's an
excellent compilation called "Absolute Classic Masterpieces", which
compiles tracks from these albums with an assortment of singles,
B-sides etc. "Gold Mine Trash" was an earlier, less complete
compilation. There's also a box set with the four albums, ACM, and a
bonus disc with five extra B-sides (not essential).

Creation records:
Let the Snakes Crinkle their Heads to Death (4)

<20 minutes of instrumentals. For obsessive fans only.

Forever Breathes the Lonely Word (9)
Poem of the River (10)

"Forever" was Alan McGee's favourite Creation album at one time
(before he discovered yob-rock). These two are splendid - Martin
Duffy's swirling organ, great songs, Lawrence comes closer to singing
in tune than he ever has, some fine guitar work especially on "Poem".
Maurice Deebank, Felt's main guitarist, had left, and on "Poem" and
"Monkey" session players were brought in to compensate, to good
effect. There was a German (I think) CD with both of these on one
disc, Creation issued all the albums in generic white (ugly) sleeves
recently - the older CDs have the original sleeves.

The Pictorial Jackson Review (7)
Train above the City (7, but depends on your taste)

TPJR is a collection of songs recorded with minimal production, with
two long Duffy instrumentals on the B-side. "Train" is an album of
jazz instrumentals recorded by Duffy and Ainge (the drummer) alone, on
piano, vibraphone and drums. Both on one CD.

Me and a Monkey on the Moon (8)

Released on el records, because Creation couldn't get it out fast
enough for Lawrence's "ten albums in ten years" plan. Moog, lots of
extra musicians, some very poignant and melancholy songs.

Compilations: "Bubble Gum Perfume", which collects songs from the
five Creation albums and singles (including a couple produced by Robin
Guthrie). Since superseded by "Absolute Classic Masterpieces 2",
which rather pointlessly adds a few more album tracks and splits album
tracks and singles over two CDs.

If I had to pick one, I'd go for "Poem of the River" or "Absolute
Classic Masterpieces".

Andrew Norman, Leicester, England 27/06/96,
Acetone - If You Only Knew


Date: Wed, 10 Sep 1997 07:54:32 +0000
From: Andrew Norman <riverrun@POP3.DEMON.CO.UK>
Subject: Re: Ride and Felt

Felt: Can't go wrong with anything on Cherry Red, the Creation albums
"Let the Snakes..." and "Train Above the City" are instrumental
albums best avoided until you have the others ("Let the Snakes..." is
also very short, less than twenty minutes long). My favourites are
"Poem of the River", "Forever Breathes the Lonely Word" and "Ignite
the Seven Cannons" - the latter has the epic single with Liz Fraser
"Primitive Painters" and was produced by Robin Guthrie. There are a
couple of compilations (one Creation, one Cherry Red), both called
"Absolute Classic Masterpieces", both have a lot of non-album singles
and B-sides which are otherwise impossible to find these days. There
was a final album on el called "Me and a Monkey on the Moon" which
isn't represented on either compilation and is excellent. If you can
find the Cherry Red box set, that's worth getting - the first four
albums back-to-back on two CDs, the first "Absolute Classic
Masterpieces" (about half of which isn't on the other albums) and a
bonus disc with five otherwise unavailable singles/b-sides.
Andrew Norman, Leicester, England (updated 9/9/97)

Date: Sun, 19 Oct 1997 09:20:15 +0000
From: Andrew Norman <riverrun@POP3.DEMON.CO.UK>
Subject: Re: felt, toopure.comm

On 18 Oct 97 at 21:27, wrongeye wrote:

> hmm
> so inn my record buying binge today (17 records. 1 cd.. i was bad),
> i came across a record that i had never seen before. i didnt know
> what i was, but it was produced by robin guthrie, and vocals by
> elizabeth frazer. naturally i swiped it up. its on cherry red
> records and i thinkthe band is called felt. never heard of em.
> someone tell me all about it. i think the single is called
> primitive painters.

Ah yes, the bi-monthly "anyone tell me about Felt?" thread.

Robin Guthrie produced "Ignite the Seven Cannons" (from which this
single was taken, only track on which Liz sings) and "Ballad of the
Band" (another single, their first on Creation). Felt started off as
an indie guitar band (but always with a twist to the sound - no mere
Byrds copyists, they sounded more like a quiet Television), and
across the ten albums encompassed the lush grandiose "Primitive
Painters" (Robin's finest non-Cocteaus production), jazz ("Train
above the City, instrumental album), moog pop ("Space Blues"), and
all sorts of other wonderful music. Albums (all are fairly short):

Crumbling the Antiseptic Beauty
The Splendour of Fear
The Strange Idol's Pattern and Other Short Stories
(Cherry Red, all guitar/bass/drums with poetic lyrics)
Ignite the Seven Cannons
(Still Cherry Red, the addition of Martin Duffy on Hammond gave a
more ornate sound)
Let the Snakes Crinkle their Heads to Death
(Moved to Creation, this is less than 20 minutes of strange and
beautiful instrumentals in various styles)
Forever Breathes the Lonely Word
Poem of the River
(The second has some great instrumental work, as one of the
original guitarists had left when they signed to Creation they
started to use extra musicians)
The Pictorial Jackson Review
(Simple songs on one side, two Martin Duffy piano instrumentals on
the other)
Train Above the City
(Duffy and drummer Gary Ainge make a vibes/piano/drums jazz
instrumental album, the only contributions from singer/songwriter
Lawrence are the song titles)
Me and a Monkey on the Moon
(El records, as Creation couldn't get it out quick enough to
fulfill Lawrence's "ten albums in ten years" plan, back to songs)

There are a couple of compilations called "Absolute Classic
Masterpieces" which cover the Cherry Red and Creation years, both
have a lot of non-album singles added to them (ten singles were
released alongside the ten albums, most of them weren't on any of the
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Date: Wed, 10 Sep 1997 20:27:04 +0000
From: Andrew Norman <riverrun@POP3.DEMON.CO.UK>
Subject: Re: Ride and non-Ride

James P. Crimm:
> Felt has 2 best of compilations on Cherry Red and I have a domestic
> release called "Goldmine Trash". Are the Cherry Red ones called Abstract
> Masterpieces?

There are four Felt "best of" compilations:

Gold Mine Trash - Cherry Red, cassette version had a lot of
instrumentals (some B-sides) as a bonus.

Absolute Classic Masterpieces - Cherry Red, contains all of GMT (with
the exception of two demo versions) plus a lot of extra stuff. The
two missing demos (which are not hugely different from the album
versions) were on a CD-single of "Primitive Painters".

Bubblegum Perfume - Creation, good mixture of album and single

Absolute Classic Masterpieces II - Creation, contains all of BP with
some extra album tracks. This is a double CD, with all the tracks
from albums on one CD, all the tracks from singles on the other. It
*doesn't* have any of the Cherry Red stuff on it.

Both GMT and BP are now deleted - and I haven't seen any of the
Cherry Red albums in the shops for ages.
Andrew Norman, Leicester, England (updated 9/9/97)