Stephen Duffy — I Love My Friends [Expanded Edition] (10 May 2019) Stephen Duffy — I Love My Friends [Expanded Edition] (10 May 2019)
♦   Přes jeho nejlepší úsilí, Stephen Duffyova sólová práce ho nikdy neudělala superhvězdou — ovšem to ho přivedlo k jednomu z nejlepších spoluprací na koncertech v UK.
♦    Has had a long and respected career as a singer~songwrtier both solo and with the Lilac Time.
Birth name: Stephen Anthony James Duffy
Born: May 30, 1960 in Birmingham, England
Recording Location: 
↵     Maison Rouge Wansdown Place Fulham Broadway
Album release: 1998/May 17, 2019
Record Label: Cooking Vinyl/Needle Mythology
Duration:     100:01
Disc 1:
01 Tune In   0:35
02 The Deal   4:30
03 Eucharist   3:32
04 Mao Badge   4:27
05 Lovers’ Beware   3:52
06 In the Evening of Her Day   5:36
07 Holding Hands With Grace   1:14
08 The Postcard   3:17
09 Seventeen   4:33
10 Twenty Three   4:07
11 Autopsy   3:40
12 She Belongs to All   3:18
13 One Day One of These Fucks Will Change Your Life   5:32
Disc 2:
01 Night Thoughts   0:08
02 Blown Away   5:01
03 The Whole Earth Singing   4:31
04 C’est La Vie, C’est La Guerre   3:00
05 Go   3:57
06 Suburban Symphony   4:49
07 Another Golden Shot   3:32
08 The Waitresses Story   4:25
09 An Ear for Silent Voices   3:39
10 The Girl of the Year   5:31
11 Lupin   3:06
12 We Continue for Australasia   0:25
•    UK #155
Chris Brown  Engineer
Bob Clearmountain  Mixing
Caroline Dale  String Arrangements
Stephen Duffy  Bass, Composer, Guitar, Harmonica, Keyboards, Organ, Percussion, Producer, Vocals
Duke Quartet  Strings
Ryan Freeland  Mixing
Tom Girling  Assistant Engineer
Andy Green  Assistant Engineer
Barry Hammond  Engineer
Dave Heath  Flute
Kat Hencken  Speech/Speaker/Speaking Part, Spoken Word
Alex James  Bass
Rick Koster  Violin
London Metropolitan Ensemble  Strings
Aimee Mann  Drums, Guest Artist, Vocals
Dave Mattacks  Drums, Guest Artist
Ivan McCready  Cello
Ric Menck  Drums
John Metcalfe  String Arrangements, Viola
Andy Partridge  Bass, Guest Artist, Producer, String Machine, Vocals (Background)
Anna Piva  Bass
James Powell  Drums
John Smith  Engineer
Andy Strange  Engineer, Mixing
Stephen Street  Mixing, Producer
Justin Welch  Drums
Tim Young  Mastering
Tom Young  Mastering
Review by Tim Sendra; Score: ★★★★½
♦   …remastered two~CD edition of the album appends ‘You Are’ and ‘What If I Fall in Love with You’ as bonus tracks and includes “Blown Away: Selected Demos Volume 1” — a bonus CD of 12 demos — almost all of them previously unreleased.
♦   When Stephen Duffy began recording I Love My Friends, he was riding high creatively after the release of the Duffy album in 1995. Its mix of big pop tunes, hard~charging rhythms (as provided by members of Velvet Crush), and Duffy’s knack for a timeless hook made it a perfect fit with Britpop, even though it was recorded in America. The record didn’t make much of an impression on the record~buying public, but his label gave him another chance anyway. This time he recorded in England with Britpop luminaries like Alex James of Blur and Justin Welch of Elastica helping out.
♦   The first half of the album has a glittery pop sound that’s full of chiming guitars, thundering drums, and hooks big enough to hang a gold lamé jacket. “Seventeen” is a stomping rocker with serrated guitar riffs, “Eucharist” is a rolling tune lashed to a boogie beat, “You Are” is quirky cool radio pop, and “Lovers Beware” is perfect power pop, plain and simple. Most of the second half is introspective folk pop not too far from the sound of the Lilac Time, with songs that are heartbreakingly honest (“The Postcard”), warmly nostalgic (“Twenty Three”), and smoothly sophisticated (“She Belongs to All”). With simple musical backing built around Duffy’s burnished vocals, acoustic guitars, and the occasional addition of keys, strings, and flutes, it’s a side step away from the glam and laddish pop of the day and into something more pastoral and calm. What ties the record together are the sincere and revealing lyrics that find Duffy looking back at his life so far and describing all the ups and downs in detailed fashion. It gives the songs a thematic center and emotional richness that not too many Britpop albums of the day exhibit. Which could be why the record label hated it — they asked Duffy to cut two songs and replace them with tracks produced by Andy Partridge — and it barely scraped the bottom of the charts. Despite those setbacks, I Love My Friends is a fitting end to Duffy’s flirtation with Britpop and a gentle launching pad back into the Lilac Time.
♦   When Needle Mythology reissued the album in 2019, they sought out Duffy’s help to restore the album to his original vision. Along with a new cover image, the track list is radically revised and shuffles the up~tempo tracks, quiet songs, and stripped~down ballads in a more balanced fashion. Gone entirely is the jokey, knees~up “Something Good”; the two Partridge~produced songs are bumped to bonus~track status; and the two songs Duffy removed are back. The gentle sophisti~pop epic “Mao Badge” and the tender acoustic ballad “In the Evening of Her Day” are emotionally powerful, richly melodic songs that give the album a more introspective, gentle feel. It makes sense why the record label didn’t see their value during the heyday of Britpop — and the Partridge tracks are brilliant pop confections — but their restoration bumps the album up a notch from great to classic. Along with the new and improved album proper, the label includes a second disc of demos Duffy recorded around the same time as the album. The songs are typically smart and pretty pop, less produced than the usual fare but just as good as anything that saw the light of day. A few of them did see release in different versions; many of them are being heard for the first time here. It’s a treasure trove of goodies for Duffy fans and the fact that it’s titled Blown Away: Selected Demos, Vol. 1 gives hope there are more great songs in the vault waiting to be released in the future. Hopefully by Needle Mythology, because to judge by this release they know how to do reissues the right way.
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