Sunday, April 17, 2016

The Curio Cabinet of Metal #1

Motorhead 1916 Promo Releases

Muthas, this is the first article in a new series that will feature the rare, the odd, the strange and the sometimes interesting bits from my collection.  I’ve amassed a nice quantity of stuff over the years and I thought you might want to see some of it.  So to kick things off let’s take a look at the various recordings released by Epic/CBS/Sony/WTG to promote the Motorhead album 1916.

Vagrancy may still result even with purchase.
Motorhead had bad luck with record labels throughout their forty years of existence, and by the mid-80s they had sued their label Bronze Records and actually prevailed in the case.  Free from their Bronze contract they formed their own label – GWR – with their management and good times were on the horizon, right?  Of course not. because they actually ended up involved in a lawsuit with GWR in 1988!  This explains why there was a four year gap between the release of Rock ‘n’ Roll and 1916.  The GWR lawsuit was finally resolved in 1990 and the band signed with Epic Records under the WTG imprint.  Things were finally looking up for the band business wise and they finally had the promotional power of one of the biggest records labels in the world behind them.

1916 was recorded in 1990 and the Epic promotional machine swung in to action by releasing several recordings to promote the new album.  The first of which was released only in the U.K. in late 1990 to promote the band’s February, 1991 tour.  The One To Sing The Blues promo comes in several formats including CD, cassette, 7”, 12” and picture disc.  The CD version (cat. no. 656578 2) was quite valuable to Motorhead completists and collectors because it includes two unreleased tracks from the 1916 recording sessions – “Eagle Rock” and “Dead Man’s Hand.”  Both are trademark Motorhead speedballs which rival anything on the album proper.

The 7” single version (cat. no. 656578 7) is a two tracker with “Dead Man’s Hand” on the b-side.  The 12” version has the same tracklisting as the CD version and the picture disc (which came in both 7” and 12” versions) has the same tracklisting as the 7” single.  The cassette also has the 7” tracklisting. I have the 7” and the CD versions and here’s what they look like:

The next promo is It’s Almost…1916 (cat. no. NSK 2295) which was released in 1991 on CD only for use at radio stations.  This is a 3 track affair with “The One To Sing The Blues,” “I’m So Bad (Baby I Don’t Care)” and a 9 minute interview with Lemmy as track three.  The interview is interspersed with snippets of “Angel City,” “The One To Sing The Blues,” “I’m So Bad (Baby I Don’t Care),” “Nightmare/The Dreamtime,” “No Voices In The Sky,” and “1916.” The interview is the highlight here, particularly Lemmy's discussion of “1916” and The Battle Of The Somme. Lemmy does say that 96,000 died before noon on the first day, but that’s not true.  There were a little over 19,000 British troops that died that first day, not 96,000.  That’s still a horrific slaughter by any measure.  I think Lemmy was confusing the number killed on the first day with the number killed in the entire battle which actually was almost 96,000.  Regardless, it an interesting promotional piece and here’s some pictures or my copy:

Next up is No Voices In The Sky (cat. no. NSK 4010) which is a two track promo with no cover.  It’s got full lyrics on the back for the title track and the second track is the unreleased “Eagle Rock.”  It’s a standard radio station promo piece from the era, but it had some collectability due to the unreleased track.  Here’s mine:

The last promo release is Angel City And Other Cities Live 1991-1916 (cat. no. NSK 4169) which is a five track promo with no cover.  “Angel City” is the studio version of the song and the other 4 cuts – “Going To Brazil,” “No Voices In The Sky,” “I’m So Bad (Baby I Don’t Care)” and “Ramones” – are all live.  The live tracks are all taken from the Sony video Motorhead Live Everything Louder Than Everything Else which was released on VHS tape.  You’ve probably seen “Ramones” from that release because MTV played it frequently in the early 90s.

What’s amazing about this release is one particular quote on the back cover from, of all places, Seventeen magazine!!! In case you don't know, Seventeen magazine was a publication aimed at tween/teen girls and probably wasn’t your first choice for Motorhead reviews back in 1991. Epic Records was so powerful back in 1991 that even Seventeen magazine had to stop writing about Richard Grieco and how to look great on your first date in order to promote Lemmy and the boys.  Check out my copy:

Grieco ist Krieg!

So that was all of the promotional releases from the 1916 album, but if you are wondering how much you are going to have to shell out to score the two unreleased songs on that CD promo the answer is not much!  Luckily for you, Epic put out two greatest hits compilations that both include “Dead Man’s Hand” and “Eagle Rock.” In 2003, they released Hellraiser Best Of The Epic Years and in 2007 Hellraiser – The Best of the WTG Years and both are still readily available.

In 2014, Cherry Red Records released the album with remastered sound, a thick booklet that is packed with photos and full lyrics, and most importantly, the two unreleased tracks are tacked on as bonus cuts.  It’s the ultimate version of this album and features a picture that perfectly encapsulates Motorhead’s entire ethos:

Angel City indeed.

So that’s the first installment of the Curio Cabinet of Metal.  I hope you liked it and more oddities are on the way.