8 Raintown by Deacon Blue 1987
Not a concept but the 4 pillars of faith , rain , work and home are all over this lp. The whole thing was a perfect fit from the Oscar Marzaroli photograph of the Glasgow skyline on the cover (his striking images were also found on the early singles) to the echoes of Spingsteen in Jon Kelly's production and earnestness of Ricky Ross's lyrics.
The boy girl vocals fit perfectly and you get the sense that everyone was working towards a big idea where ambition would just outstrip time and money but only just.
I bought it on a whim and didn't like it at first for mainly the reasons that I came to love it. Soon though it was never off my stereo and I was boring people in halls of residence every time the drinking ended up in my room and dragging the same people along to see them live. One by one they crumbled and soon Raintown was on most stereos on our floor.
I still get a shiver whenever the first line "that hurricane day.." comes on the stereo
Overtime I convinced myself that the words Rain , Work , Faith or Home appeared in each song. Listening back of course they don't that would be just too forced but the few where they don't they are there in spirit , in the ghosting behind other words. Even the tracks that didn't make the final cut still keep those themes.
Oddly the one track that feels a tad out of place as it moves us to another country and another time , is still just about my favourite on the lp. I've posted before the article that inspired the song but here it is in Ricky Ross's own words
He Looks Like Spencer Tracy Now (live) - Deacon Blue
The only thing that jarred was they made such god awful videos! The bright, glossy, shiny nature didn't fit the music at all
Still it shows how much faith Columbia had in the band , the cast of guest and session musicians were more in tune with a well established big act rather than one on their debut. Although they were surely getting worried when the big hits didn't come flowing , the first 3 singles bombed and the next 3 including a re release of Dignity all failed to get in the top 30. What they didn't realise is they had a lp not a bunch of singles and one that had to be listened to as an lp. It became a classic slow burn , word of mouth grower. It only got to 14 in the lp charts but made platinum (which I think means a lot!)
3 years to write 6 weeks to record as Ricky Ross puts it in the recent reissue "that record , the experiences we shared in AIR studios and the songs we still perform today remain a testament to one of the best of times"
I doubt anyone will discover this lp after reading this blog or it will change anyone's view so here are a some differing takes
An early demo version of Loaded which is interesting in that it gives an idea of what the band would be like without Lorraine's vocals
Loaded demo version
A stripped and slowed down version of Raintown
Finally a powerhouse of a live performance that ends with a reference to another Glasgow lp coming a bit higher up , both of were the main part of taking my first job after poly as it allowed me to move to Glasgow where it did rain virtually every day
Town to be Blamed live
If you haven't already got it there is an excellent 4 discs and a dvd deluxe edition that you can buy here