On the Flip Side
IMAGE CREDIT: Getty Images/Fish People
Kate Bush: The Other Sides
HOW often do we get to hear unreleased...
Kate Bush material at all?! She has been remastering her back catalogue recently and, last year, committed everything to these box-sets of vinyl. I am a massive fan of hers and have already got quite a few of her records. You check the details out from the Fish People website but there is this treasure chest of Bush material that is essential for any music lover! It is worth investing in as many box-sets as possible because they are sought-after and I feel like these sets are really valuable. Among the collection were these B-sides and rarities; remixes and unheard songs that have not been released so far – now they are out into the world. You can buy is swiftly here - and there is a bounty of these rare tracks. Videos have been coming out and the most-recent one is Kate Bush performing The Man I Love – originally by George Gershwin. It features Larry Adler and is a sumptuous, charged and gorgeous performance that shows some of her non-album tracks are as powerful as those that are standalone. A few of the covers we find are not that essential. There are takes of Elton John’s Rocket Man and Candle in the Wind and, whilst she does not quite hit the right notes on the latter, the former is interesting if inessential.
The first disc/quarter of the collection are remixes of existing songs. We get to hear a Meteorological Mix of The Big Sky (from Hounds of Love) and an extended mix of Experiment IV – a non-album track that was included on her sort-of-greatest-hits, The Whole Story, in 1986. It is interesting hearing this already-extraordinary songs being given these new elements and seeing them take on new forms. I am not always a fan of remixes and find they can be a little bit weary and hit-and-miss. In this case, I would recommend any Kate Bush fans to seek them out and have a listen. Lesser-heard songs like Walk Straight Down the Middle (included as an extra track on some releases of The Red Shoes) and Lyra are beautiful and, whilst not her strongest songs, it is fantastic to hear them together. I already mentioned Experiment IV and it is almost like The Beatles releasing Strawberry Fields or Penny Lane: not tracks you find on any studio albums of their but just as mighty as their best work. The track (with the video directed by Bush herself) has this sort of chilling sound but it is one of her most complete and nuanced tracks. I keep listening to and trying to unravel its secrets! Under the Ivy (a B-side of Hounds of Love’s Running Up That Hill (A Deal with God) is often cited as one of her best tracks; worthy of album inclusion and a truly remarkable piece. It is indeed and deserves to be heard in full.
Be Kind to My Mistakes and Un Baiser D’Enfant are great tracks but not as strong as a lot of stuff on The Other Sides. I have already mentioned the cover versions – comprising the final disc/quarter – and there is a mixed-bag regarding interpretation and quality. The Elton John songs mean a lot to her but I think Candle in the Wind better suites John’s voice. One would not expect a song famed by Marvin Gaye, Sexual Healing, would sound as sweaty and electric coming out of Kate Bush but it does indeed! Some have given her version a bit of a bashing but I really like it and she brings a new perspective to the song. As you’d expect from Kate Bush, the choice of cover versions are not obvious and there is not a lot of mainstream stuff in there. This is good because it allows listeners the chance almost to discover these songs fresh. Mná na hÉireann is an Irish poem written by Peadar Ó Doirnín - Kate Bush is half-Irish – and it sound perfect and natural coming out of her mouth. In terms of other slightly odd choices, My Lagan Love and The Handsome Cabin Boy can be discovered. It is a beautiful mix of the lesser-known and some bigger songs. She brings her own voice and spirit to them all and, for many, these recordings are fresh. It is the third disc/quarter of the collection that is really interesting.
IN THIS PHOTO: Kate Bush/PHOTO CREDIT: Trinity Mirror/Mirrorpix/Alamy
Included are some Christmas numbers. Home for Christmas and December Will Be Magic Again are wonderfully evocative and delightful and there is the feeling you can play these songs at any time of the year and they would work. Elsewhere, there is a remix of Wuthering Heights and the incredible Passing Through Air (a B-side on Army Dreamers). Ran Tan Waltz (a B-side on her single, Babooshka) is, perhaps, not an essential inclusion but still a curious track. I love the fact that artists like Kate Bush can bring out B-sides and, given the quality of her A-sides, you know there are some treats in there. The Other Sides is a fabulous collection of rarer cuts and some remixes that should be in everyone’s collections. There have been some hearty reviews but Rolling Stone, here, drill down to the essence of the multi-disc album:
“There’s plenty more to (re-) discover. The French version of Never For Ever’s “The Infant Kiss” (“Un Baiser D’Enfant”), based on the 1961 film The Innocents, and the French original “Ne T’Enfuis Pas,” make a diptych suggesting Bush might’ve had a nifty collaboration with Serge Gainsbourg. With its hollered declaration “it’s you and me babe, against the world!,” “Burning Bridge” is one of her most dizzying vocals; at point she sounds like she’s making herself seasick. “You Want Alchemy” is a fairly jaw-dropping Prince channeling with strings, r&b brass, feral orgasmic squealing and gospel-infused backing vocals...
The 12” versions, more extensions than reinventions, include the unhinged “meterological mix” of the Hounds Of Love single “Big Sky,” pumped up with machine-gun handclaps and didgeridoo drones. Completists will notice some omissions, like the 1979 live EP On Stage, which documents the only tour of her career, and her sole live shows before the Hammersmith Apollo residency 35 years later (check the glam-tastically proggy, partly shrieked 6-minute version of “James & The Cold Gun”).
Nevertheless, the motherlode is here. Bush’s oeuvre is singular, and has stood alone for decades. But lately its brilliance feels especially prescient, reflected variously in the sound and approach of (among others) Robyn, Florence Welch, and Annie St. Vincent Clark, whose confession of tipsy karaoke-ing “Wuthering Heights” is one of the highlights of that delicious 2014 Bush documentary. So the timing of this deep-cuts set couldn’t be better. Most of the tracks feel as contemporary as they ever did; maybe more so”.
Kate Bush still inspires artists around the world, over forty years on from her debut album, The Kick inside (1978). Even though nobody can match her incredible heights, you can aspects of various songs in some of the artists we hear at the moment. I advise everyone to get hold of the latest release from Kate Bush: a wonderful combination of her lesser-exposed material through the years shows how varied her music was and how special she is. I would keep writing but I need to play Bush’s version of The Man I Love...
ONE more time.