Head, Michael & Strands: Magical World of the Strands (Vinyl LP)
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Head, Michael & Strands: Magical World of the Strands (Vinyl LP)

Megaphone

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2015 is a busy year for Michael Head. His second single as Michael Head & The Red Elastic Band was released in March 2015 on his Violette Records. I Know You Well, a 1990 single by Head's band Shack, leads off Jon Savage's 2015 Perfect Motion double LP compilation, described as a musical return-trip to these fondly remembered years spanning 1988-93. And now, his classic 1997 album The Magical World of The Strands is available as a deluxe reissue. This reissue of this all-time classic also appears alongside The Olde World (MEGAUK 023CD/LP), a collection previously unreleased tracks and remixes from the album sessions. Finally, both the reissue and The Olde World arrive in advance of Head's first gigs as Michael Head & The Strands, where they will play The Magical World of the Strands in full. In 1993, Head teamed up with his brother John, his longtimedrummer Iain Templeton, and two new recruits, Michelle Brown on bass and Les Roberts on flute, and began two years of recording sessions. The sessions came to a halt when Head was offered a major label deal, not for his current work, but for him to record as Shack again. Weaving rough mixes and sketches - by engineer Steve Powell, made in Liverpool - with completed mixes by producer Mark Coyle, Stephane Bismuth, the French promoter who initiated the Strands sessions, finally released The Magical World of The Strands on Megaphone in 1997. This work-in-progress garnered great critical acclaim and is rated by many as the rarest jewel of the 90s (Q). The CD version of this reissue includes two bonus tracks, the B-sides to the 1998 NME and Melody Maker Single of the Week Somethin' Like You. Green Velvet Jacket is an acoustic solo piece by Head, and Queen Matilda (Demo) was recorded in early 1993 and produced by the band's friend and live engineer Ian Eastwood on a four-track Tascam cassette recorder. The CD and LP both include a 20-page booklet containing new liner notes by Head himself and photographs testifying to album sleeve's work-in-progress. 01. Queen Matilda, 02. Something Like You, 03. And Luna, 04. X Hits the Spot, 05. the Prize, 06. Undecided (Reprise), 07. Glynys and Jaqui, 08. It's Harvest Time, 09. Loaded Man, 10. Hocken's Hay, 11. Fontilan