Monday, 29 August 2011

Not Another Singer Songwriter part 20 - Colin Vearncombe /Black

Colin Vearncombe is best known for the songs he records under the name Black and especially the the 2 maudlin songs he released from his debut lp Sweetest Smile and Wonderful Life. He has recorded various lps and released a number of singles but none of them managed to repeat the success of these two singles.

If you want to listen to a number of these singles as well as the excellent b sided then pay a visit to the wonderful 80s vinyl Gems who has been featuring Black's 12" singles on and off for the last few weeks.

Like artists such as lloyd Cole he has found his niche releasing the odd new lp as well as live lps on his own label and via his website. He has also experimented with different release models as this short extract from his bio tells

2009 was another one of those busy years. After continuing the experiment of limited-period free downloads which had filled most of 2008, Colin, who had been recording in various studios and with several top musicians for over two years wound up with more than two albums worth of new songs and a question mark about how to release them. The response was ‘give to get’ – give away one album in digital form and then make a special package of the other for sale exclusively to those who had lodged their email addresses on the Blacklist (puns, obvious, see above). The Given was released under Colin’s name in July and Water On Stone – a pure Black album – was made available in November.

The full bio can be found on his excellent website here

Of his later tracks I've posted 2 . The first followed a long break and came from the lp the Accused. It featured songs that had been worked on in Chris Difford's songwriting retreats and so features a number of co writes. This one with Boo Hewerdine

Sleeper - Colin Vearncombe

The second comes from a double lp that he also recorded under his own name rather than Black and in his own words

Smoke up close’ is an acoustic album of 30 songs, written in three months and recorded in seven sessions. “No overdubs, no edits. Because I said I would,”

As you'd imagine some songs work better than others and there is a sense of some being a bit half finished. I can't help but feeling there is a great single lp in there. However it does contain what I think is the best song he has ever written

The Sunshine - Colin Vearncombe

You can buy his lps from his website here. By clicking on the relevant lp cover you get track listing and a brief note on the lp as well as the buying options

Finally a reminder of the early days



  2. Colin Vearncombe is such a wonderful songwriter. His early work on WEA is really spare and just lovely. I love the debut album and even if it does reflect a man full of sorrow, it is a very stiring record.
    Comedy and Black are even more confident releases and it's a shame that they didn't get the same attention as the first album.
    Post 80's my favorite release is Water on Snow. It is a simply beautiful and personal collection of music.

  3. Majid would love to but how ?

    Echo - I've not heard water on snow need to track this one down

  4. Hi there, try these (a little bit expensive ones but really little copies indeed):


Leave a comment and let me know what you are listening to.