Can it really be twenty years ago that The Charlatans furtively and then confidently appeared in the Stone Roses and Happy Mondays’ slipstream to carve their own distinctive, tough, psychedelic soundtrack for those brief, heady years when Manchester was the centre of the world? From that auspicious start they experienced career highs and lows, broadened their musical base and endured to become one of the era’s most respected and successful bands.
To celebrate the anniversary of their first records, The Charlatans will be performing Some Friendly in it’s entirety on selected dates, both at home and abroad. Beggars Archive are marking the occasion with exceeding large cupcakes (with smarties on top, of course) and a gloriously re-mastered re-issue on 17 May 2010 of their No.1 debut album, accompanied by a second CD of singles and sessions.
This Expanded Edition includes Some Friendly restored to it’s original vinyl sequence plus a second disc of the non-album singles and previously unreleased BBC sessions. It includes the UK top 10 single (and perennial classic) The Only One I Know, the follow-up, Then, and the Over Rising EP.
The artwork has been put together by Kim Peters, the man responsible for all the early sleeves, and it’s as sharp as a Saville Row suit.
Drawing on Blunt’s background in mod and psych outfits, Collins’ outrageously funky keyboards and Burgess’ unexpected star quality, Some Friendly is just that, a friendly and fun vibe. Some of the lyrics betray Burgess’ sharp-tongued punk background – “You’re Not Very Well,” the opener, expresses anything but sunny sentiments – but otherwise Some Friendly delivers everything from ’60s beat groove to Madchester bagginess with verve. True, the group was still following in the Roses / Mondays slipstream – “Fool’s Gold” was the blueprint for much of the album – but the individual delights of the slow trance “Opportunity,” “Polar Bear”‘s upfront rhythms and “Flower”‘s slightly ominous funk all show the band’s abilities well. “The Only One I Know” remains the best-known cut, Blunt’s crisp bass and Collins’ Deep Purple-inspired keyboards providing its charge. But Some Friendly’s hidden masterpiece comes at the very end – “Sproston Green,” a monster jam based on Collins’ supreme keyboard work, with Burgess’ soaring lyric matching the massive surge of the music. It remains the concluding number of the band’s sets to this day for good reason. – Ned Raggett : All Music Guide
Release date : 17 May 2010
Label : Beggars Banquet
Catalogue No. : BBQCD 2068
CD1 SOME FRIENDLY
You’re Not Very Well
Believe You Me
CD2 SINGLES & SESSIONS
The Only One I Know
Then (BBC Peel session)
Always In Mind (BBC Peel session)
You Can Talk To Me (BBC Peel session)
Polar Bear (BBC Peel session)
You’re Not Very Well (BBC Goodier session)
Indian Rope (BBC Goodier session)
The Only One I Know (BBC Goodier session)
White Shirt (BBC Goodier session)
Then (alternate take)
Polar Bear (12” mix)
Way Up There
Happen To Die (long version)
and a review by Ian Shirley in RECORD COLLECTOR / July 2010