Felt: The Final Resting Of The Ark


Creation 1987.  CRE048T


This is an absolutely beautiful single, one of the highlights of the band’s time on Creation.  It was the ninth of the ten they released as part of Lawrence’s vision of ten albums and ten singles in ten years, and like several of his other releases is very short; five tracks clocking in at less than ten minutes.  In a way, it’s even shorter than it seems because three of the tracks are instrumental ditties, leaving only two for real songs, but what songs they are; delicate masterpieces both. The three short instrumentals were produced by the Cocteau Twins’ Robin Guthrie; his influence is very obvious. I’m not sure anyone would have paid attention to these tracks were they not by Felt, but I really like them. It’s a side to his work which is often criticised which I think is unfair, but it’s true that at first listen they are a bit like acoustic wallpaper. Their worth becomes more obvious the more you listen to them.

The title track has appeared here before, and is currently available on several Felt compilations, e.g. Absolute Classic Masterpieces Vol II and Goldmine Trash.

Various Artists: Creation, Purple Compilation


Creation Records 1988.  CRELP 032 CD


Some time ago I listed Creation’s first ever CD, a compilation of early singles. It’s been one of the most popular posts, so here’s its companion release, Purple. It covers similar ground, has similar artists and is of a similar high standard. As I recall it didn’t sell nearly as well as the first one – I guess people thought one of these compilations was enough. Anyway if you liked the first one, you’ll like this one too.

Various Artists: Flowers In The Sky


Creation Records 1988.  CRELP 028 CD


I bought this the same day I bought my first CD player.  As I left the shop I realised I had only one CD, Last Night I Dreamt That Somebody Loved Me by The Smiths – a good start but listening to one single over and over was going to drive me nuts, so I rushed out and bought this and the New Order Substance compilation.  As far as I know this was also the first CD Creation released – there are some with lower catalogue numbers, but with those the CD was issued some time after the vinyl.

Creation had a habit of putting out way too many compilation albums, usually when they were short of cash, and quality was often poor.  This one works well though.  It’s a retrospective of their early singles, although strangely the Revolving Paint Dream track it’s named after doesn’t appear.  It has the artists you’d expect – Primal Scream in their jangly phase, House Of Love & Felt, as well as forgotten gems like The Loft.  It works as a reminder of what made the label great in the first place – not that some of their later phases weren’t great too.


Felt: Box1


There’s been a resurgence of interest in Felt lately, partly because they were brilliant, but also because of the Lawrence biopic Lawrence Of Belgravia.  Lawrence, for the uninitiated was Felt’s brilliantly eccentric frontman, writer, and and svengali-like presence.  The film is well made, but because I never saw Felt live, or Lawrence in any other capacity for that matter, I found the whole experience hard to take.  It’s not just that Felt’s music is beautiful, although it is, it’s that Lawrence’s keen, even overdeveloped sense of aesthetics is stamped all over everything they did, so to see him in the film painfully emaciated, wearing a baseball cap he’s barely taken off for the last decade was difficult to take.  The man himself did a Q&A session afterwards, but his tragic presence and thick Brummy accent meant I could hardly bear to stay in the room, never mind ask him a question.

Cherry Red are doing a belated re-issue of Felt’s back catalogue; particularly welcome is the later Creation stuff which disappeared when Alan McGee closed the label down. I’m not into posting commercially available music at the best of times, much less when the musician in question is more-or-less destitute, so the 10 albums and 10 singles he delivered as promised in 10 years will remain on my hard drive, for my ears only. However Cherry Red haven’t been as thorough as they might have been with Felt – they’ve done the ten albums and a few compilations, but that misses a few bits and pieces which are well worth having. Felt justifies one of those lavish boxed sets people like me tend to buy, but no sign of that yet.

So, in the meantime, here’s a bit of a curio. In 1993 Cherry Red issued a boxed set of all Felt’s albums for the label, imaginatively titled Box. It came with a short bonus disc of non-album tracks. Box was deleted long ago and is now quite rare. As far as I can tell, none of the tracks have been re-issued, so here it is.

The tracks are:
1  Something Sends Me To Sleep (Single: Cherry26 – 3:07)
2  My Face Is On Fire (Single: Cherry45 – 3:05)
3  Sunlight Bathed The Golden Glow (Single Version – 3:13)
4  Sunlight Strings (B-2 of Single – 3:14)
5  Red Indians (Single Version – 1:50)

Further listening: well obviously you should buy everything Cherry Red have re-issued, but if you don’t want that much Felt, Ignite The Seven Cannons is a favourite, and I have a particular soft spot for Poem Of The River which is worth getting just for the wonderfully uplifting Riding On The Equator.  Felt also worked well as a singles band, so any of the compilations are worth a go, especially Stains On A Decade which is the only one covering all the labels they recorded for.