emilyretroFebruary 5th sees Firestation Records’ release of A retrospective by Emily, on both double CD and vinyl. I was asked to pen the sleeve notes, and happily obliged, what with ‘Stumble’ being among my favourite ever singles, and Rub al Khali one of my favourite ever LPs. It’s the first time on CD for both the single and the album.

Expertly transferred from vinyl (as opposed to inexpertly by me, which had initially threatened to be the case) owing to the master tapes being lost, the three songs from the ‘Stumble’ single sound fantastic, better than I could possibly have hoped. Rub al Khali also benefits from the absence of snap, crackle and pop, and remains a thing of wonder, as timeless and out of time now as it was when it was released 25 years ago.

If that weren’t enough, A retrospective additionally includes a selection of demos of varying sound quality and excellence, ranging from the group’s earliest recordings through to ‘You don’t say you need that’, a song which dates from long after Rub al Khali and gives a sense of what might have been had the album – not to mention singer-songwriter Ollie Jackson’s talent – garnered the attention it deserved. A number of otherwise unrecorded live favourites also grace the compilation, including ‘Merri-go-round’ in both its early and mature forms, the latter version having been scheduled as Esurient’s follow-up to ‘Stumble’. The track which closes the second CD is another highlight – a beautiful acoustic version of ‘Rachel’, one of the ‘Stumble’ B sides.

rubalkhaliWhat the compilation sadly lacks is the Irony EP which Emily recorded for Creation Records in 1988, but ‘Mad dogs’ at the foot of this post stands in part to remedy that absence. To further whet your appetite, you’ll also find an outtake version of ‘Foxy’, the majestic opening song from Rub al Khali.

I’m proud to have been involved with the putting together of this release, but even if I had not been, I would still be wholeheartedly recommending it to you. Every (Pantry-reading) home should have one.

11 responses

  1. That’s great news been waiting for this for a long time. Any idea why the Creation stuff was left out, would have also been nice to hear Stumble right through from its evolution as Mermaid . I believe there are 3 in total plus a couple of live recordings

    1. Richard, good to hear from you. I don’t know for sure about the Creation stuff, but I’ve been presuming it was a licensing issue, though possibly it’s that the Irony EP remains something of a disappointment to Ollie. Another version of ‘Stumble’ would have been icing on the cake, but as much as possible has been squeezed in, and there are at least the two versions of ‘Rachel’ and ‘Merri-go-round’.

      1. I thought I had most of the recordings but great to see another 6 to 7 songs on there that I haven’t heard of. My favourite recording of all time other than Stumble is Purist so would be great to hopefully here a better quality version. One oddity that would have been great on there would have been the kind of dance upbeat version of Mad Dogs which I think was on Something Burning In Paradise or Corupt Postman, will have to see if I can dig it out now

        1. If you manage to track that version of ‘Mad dogs’ down, let me know (you can email me via the ‘About…’ link at the top of the page), and I’ll share it here.

          1. mp3 emailed

            1. Cheers Richard, posted above.

            2. Hi, not sure if you can help but would you happen to have the lyrics to Stumble, such a beautiful song?

            3. Hi Richard, I’m afraid it would only be a transcription on my part. I’m guessing you’ve listened to the song as much as I have, so I’m not sure I’d do any better with that than you could.

  2. Hi Tony here from Everlasting. Great to hear such positive comments about Rub Al Khali, a couple of things… A long, long time ago Emily sent me a track called ‘Sandboy’, from the same sessions as ‘Ram’ and ‘Duet’ I believe, it was great, does anyone have a copy??? Also, Ollie has a band camp page which features 3 great new recordings … I have been trying to contact him without success… Partly because Everlasting has returned with a new roster/logo etc…

    1. Sorry, Tony, I’m not sure whether or not I have ‘Sandboy’ – titles often seemed to go astray from demos of Emily songs! Good luck with the resurrected label!

    2. Hi Tony,
      Firstly congratulations on the return of Everlasting, are you still based in Cambridge? I do have an unofficial CDR (Resurgence of Spirit) of Emily that was compiled and sent to me by an avid fan in America. It has a number of early demo’s on it which include Duet and Ram but I can’t remember a song called Sandboy. Maybe the title of the song changed, similar to how Mermaid became Stumble? I’ll see if I can dig the CDR out tonight and come back to you with a tracklisting

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