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21.1.11

China Crisis


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China Crisis - The Best Songs - 2002 - Eagle Rock

Liverpool-based China Crisis formed in 1979. In 1982 their first single "African And White" was distributed by Virgin who signed the band. They had several Top 50 hits in the 1980s. This album from China Crisis features some of their best songs, but excludes many of their greatest songs. Eddie Lundon and Gary Daly's unique blend of songs make this a good compilation album. However, it is hard to understand why the album contains nine tracks from the 1989 "Warped by Success" album, and only two from "Flaunt the Imperfection". Of course we all know there is "method in the madness" of all record company's releases of this nature. This album has been released in many different versions including a live release. The post here contains three songs from the 1982 album "Difficult Shapes & Passive Rhythms", three songs from 1983's "Working with Fire and Steel" album, amazingly only two songs from the band's superb 1985 "Flaunt the Imperfection" album, two songs from the 1986 album "What Price Paradise", only one track from the "Diary of a Hollow Horse" album from 1989, and NINE tracks from the 1989 "Warped by Success" album which is very strange. There are better China Crisis collections available. That said, all the songs here despite the odd track ratio are top class compositions. However, if you want to hear a work of pure genius, then buy their 1985 masterpiece, "Flaunt The Imperfection" which is one of the greatest and most underrated albums ever recorded. Every track is a jewel. The beautiful cryptic lyrics are backed by magnificent melodies.The musicianship is stunning. Production by Walter Becker is perfect, and if you haven't heard it, then do yourself a favour and give this perfect album a listen. The following text written by M. Sean Fosmire, and published October 03, 2004 on http://blogcritics.org/music describes "Flaunt The Imperfection" very well - "I hate to even call this simply a pop album from mid 80's from an obscure group;It's anything but. It's a mixture of rich experimental global rhythms that not only bring to mind Steely Dan (like other reviewers noted) but also contains faint doses of General Public and Tears For Fears; you hear the music,try to pinpoint where you've heard something like this before, but just can't. This is the kind of admirable musical artistry that a lot of new groups lack today and that I miss. China Crisis is not calculated or contrived in any of their tracks;They seem to go with their gut instinct which works every time". Check out the band's fantastic live "Acoustically Yours" album @ CHICRI/ACOYRS

TRACKS / COMPOSERS / ALBUM

1. African And White - Gary Daly / Eddie Lundon [from "Difficult Shapes & Passive Rhythms, Some People Think It's Fun to Entertain" 1982]
2. No More Blue Horizons - G. Daly / Eddie Lundon / D. Reilly [from "Difficult Shapes & Passive Rhythms, Some People Think It's Fun to Entertain" 1982]
3. Without The Love - Terry Adams / G. Daly / Eddie Lundon / Mark Pythian [from "Warped by Success" 1994]
4. Wishful Thinking - Gary Daly / Eddie Lundon [from "Working with Fire and Steel: Possible Pop Songs, Vol. 2" 1983]
5. Everyday The Same - Terry Adams / G. Daly / Eddie Lundon / Mark Pythian [from "Warped by Success" 1994]
6. Its Everything - G. Daly / Garry Johnson / Eddie Lundon [from "What Price Paradise" 1986]
7. Hard To Be Around - Gary Daly / Eddie Lundon / Mark Pythian [from "Warped by Success" 1994]
8. Christian - Gary Daly / Eddie Lundon / D. Reilly [from "Difficult Shapes & Passive Rhythms, Some People Think It's Fun to Entertain" 1982]
9. Good Again - Gary Daly / Mark Pythian / Terry Adams [from "Warped by Success" 1994]
10. Wishing Time - Gary Daly / Eddie Lundon / Mark Pythian [from "Warped by Success" 1994]
11. Hands On The Wheel - Eddie Lundon [from "Warped by Success" 1994]
12. Black Man Ray - G. Daly / Garry Johnson / Eddie Lundon [from "Flaunt the Imperfection" 1985]
13. Real Tears - Gary Daly / Eddie Lundon / Mark Pythian [from "Warped by Success" 1994]
14. King In A Catholic Style - G. Daly / Garry Johnson / Eddie Lundon [from "Flaunt the Imperfection" 1985]
15. Thank You - Gary Daly / Eddie Lundon / Mark Pythian [from "Warped by Success" 1994]
16. Does It Pay - Terry Adams / G. Daly / Eddie Lundon / Mark Pythian [from "Warped by Success" 1994]
17. Diary Of A Hollow Horse - G. Daly / Gary "Gazza" Johnson / Eddie Lundon / Brian McNeill / K. Wilkinson [from "Diary of a Hollow Horse" 1989]
18. Arizona Sky (Bonus) - G. Daly / Garry Johnson / Eddie Lundon [from "What Price Paradise" 1986]
19. Tragedy And Mystery (Bonus) - G. Daly / Garry Johnson / Eddie Lundon [from "Working with Fire and Steel: Possible Pop Songs, Vol. 2" 1983]
20. Working With Fire And Steel (Bonus) - G. Daly / Garry Johnson / Eddie Lundon [from "Working with Fire and Steel: Possible Pop Songs, Vol. 2" 1983]

MAIN MUSICIANS

Eddie Lundon - acoustic & electric guitars, vocals, backing vocals
Tim Renwick - solo guitar
Gary "Gazza" Johnson - bass guitar, original bass line and bass guitar on "Without the Love"
Gary Daly - synthesizer, vocals, lead and backing vocals
Brian McNeill - synthesizer, keyboards, vocals, backing vocals, marimba
Walter Becker - synthesizer, percussion on "Black Man Ray", synthesizer on "Diary Of A Hollow Horse"
Simon Callow - electric piano on "Hands On the Wheel"
Kevin Wilkinson - drums, percussion, bouzouki RIP
Dave Reilly - drums, percussion
Kofi Kari Kari - percussion
Martin Green, Chris "Snake" Davis - saxophone, flute
Steve Levy - saxophone, oboe
John Thirkell - trumpet, flugelhorn
Damon Reece - sampled chorus kit on "Good Again"
Jenny Evans, Tracy Ackerman - backing vocals

BIO

A bit fiery for most in the new romantic camp during the early '80s, China Crisis was inspired by similar sources but injected their pop songs with occasional political commentary and bluesy, reggae rhythms. Mostly a duo of vocalist/keyboard player Gary Daly and guitarist Eddie Lundon, the group formed in 1979 near Liverpool. The first China Crisis single, "African and White," didn't appear until 1982, but it was quickly picked up by Virgin and made the British charts. Realizing they needed a proper band, Daly and Lundon recruited bassist Gazza Johnson and drummer Kevin Wilkinson, and recorded their debut album Difficult Shapes & Passive Rhythms. Another single, "Christian," hit number 12, followed by two singles from second album, Working with Fire and Steel Possible Pop Songs, Vol. 2. China Crisis spent 1984-85 making their biggest chart run, beginning with their first Top Ten hit, "Wishful Thinking." Third album Flaunt the Imperfection was produced by the sympathetic Walter Becker (from Steely Dan), and resulted in the hit singles "Black Man Ray" and "King in a Catholic Style." A critical mistep followed in 1986, What Price Paradise?, though China Crisis worked with Becker once more on 1989's Diary of a Hollow Horse, which earned critical raves though not much commercial movement. © John Bush, All Music Guide

BIO (Wikipedia)

China Crisis are an English pop/rock band. They formed in 1979 in Kirkby, near Liverpool, Merseyside with a core of vocalist/keyboardist Gary Daly and guitarist Eddie Lundon. Their output was pop music similar in style to that of New Wave but with strong similarities to the post-punk movement of the early 1980s, namely inclusion of a broader range of musical influences and occasional flirtation with political commentary. Throughout their career, China Crisis has seen moderate success in the United Kingdom, Western Europe, Australia and the Americas. Sharing an affection for Stevie Wonder, Steely Dan, David Bowie, and Brian Eno, Daly and Lundon played with various Knowsley post-punk groups. Daly then spent time tinkering with synthesizers and a drum machine. Along with Lundon, Daly began writing songs. The pair eventually asked drummer and percussionist Dave Reilly to join them, and in 1982 they released their debut single "African and White" as China Crisis on the independent record label, Inevitable. In June 1982 they supported the former Television guitarist, Tom Verlaine, at London's Venue. The band was signed to Virgin Records and recorded their debut album, Difficult Shapes & Passive Rhythms: Some People Think It's Fun To Entertain, which was released in December 1982. A re-release of "African & White" became China Crisis' first hit in the UK, reaching #45 in the UK Singles Chart. When the follow-up single, "Christian" made UK #12 in early 1983, this brought them to national prominence. By this time, Reilly had left the band, but was still credited on the record sleeve as a guest on the single, along with new member Steve Levy (oboe/saxophone). The album peaked at #21 in the UK Albums Chart. During this period the band toured supporting Simple Minds (as discussed in interviews on the DVD Live in Concert at the Paul McCartney Auditorium Liverpool Institute of Performing Arts). Adding Gazza Johnson (bass) and Kevin Wilkinson (drums) to the line-up, a second album, Working With Fire & Steel : Possible Pop Songs - Volume 2 was released in November 1983. This was regarded as a more consistent effort, with tracks including "Tragedy and Mystery" (released as a single six months earlier), "Hanna Hanna" and the title track, "Working With Fire & Steel", which became a hit single in Australia. The album was a Top 20 success in the UK, and China Crisis spent 1984 and 1985 making their biggest chart run, beginning with their only UK Top 10 hit single, "Wishful Thinking", which peaked at #9. Their third album, Flaunt the Imperfection, was produced by Walter Becker (of Steely Dan fame) and reached #9 in the UK Albums Chart in May 1985. According to the album credits, China Crisis was now officially a quintet consisting of Daly, Lundon, Johnson, Wilkinson, and Becker. However, Becker never appeared with the band, and the subsequent tour featured new keyboardist Brian McNeil. Johnson was now credited as co-writer with Daly and Lundon. The album was previewed by the #14 UK hit single "Black Man Ray", which also enjoyed international success. The follow-up, "King In A Catholic Style (Wake Up)" was a Top 20 UK single (#19), but it would prove to be the band's last substantial hit. A third release from the album, "You Did Cut Me", stalled at UK #54. They simultaneously released a video compilation, Showbiz Absurd. In 1986, the band returned with the low key What Price Paradise, including "Arizona Sky" (the album's first single release and another Australian hit), "June Bride", "The Understudy" and "A Day's Work For the Dayo's Done". All the band were now credited as songwriters. A second single from the album, "Best Kept Secret", made UK #36 in early 1987. It was to be the band's final Top 40 hit single. The five-piece band worked with Becker once more on 1989's Diary Of A Hollow Horse, which earned critical acclaim though little commercial success. It spawned the singles "St Saviour Square" and "Red Letter Day", both reaching the lower reaches of the UK Singles Chart. Becker acted as the producer of most of the album's tracks, but this time was not credited as an official band member. The band's last studio album, Warped By Success, was released in 1994, following the band's parting of ways with the Virgin label and produced their final UK hit, "Everyday The Same". Although Johnson and Wilkinson both made small contributions, the band was now listed as comprising Daly, Lundon, producer Terry Adams and audio engineer Mark Phythian. In 1995 they released a live unplugged album and video entitled Acoustically Yours, which proved to be their recording swansong. This featured one last single, a live version of "Black Man Ray" and also saw a return for Johnson, Wilkinson and McNeil. Sometimes misunderstood by critics, China Crisis distinguished themselves from their Liverpudlian contemporaries such as Orchestral Manoeuvres In The Dark, The Teardrop Explodes, and Echo & The Bunnymen by digesting a cornucopia of musical genres, everything from jazz to progressive rock. Despite the stylistic deviations, China Crisis maintained their distinctive sound through a number of albums in the 1980s and 1990s. Since 1992 there have been four compilation albums of their work for the UK and U.S. markets and three live DVDs. On 17 July 1999 drummer Kevin Wilkinson committed suicide by hanging himself at the age of 41. Wilkinson had played with a wide variety of bands including The Waterboys, Fish, The Proclaimers, Squeeze and Howard Jones. In 2000 Daly contributed a track to a tribute compilation to Wilkinson, Green Indians. China Crisis toured the UK during January and February 2007 as part of their 25th anniversary. In June 2008 it was announced they would be the support act for Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark's UK October tour.

3 comments:

A.O.O.F.C said...

LINK

p/w aoofc

Ron said...

Thank you for this and Aladdin Sane as well. You have a terrific selection of music on your blog.

A.O.O.F.C said...

Thanks a million, Ron. I would put Bowie's Aladdin Sane and China Crisis' Flaunt the Imperfection in my all time TOP 10 albums.Keep in touch.......P.