Too Many Castles In The Sky / Velveteen EP Reissue

Yes, you’ve guessed it, a re-issue by Fire Records released on the 3rd July 1987. Read the press release here.

The compilation is the “Too Many Castles In The Sky” 12″ single, and the “Velveteen” 12″ single.

As all the tracks had been previously released you can read the reviews of them on the appropriate links above.

Catalogue Number: BLAZE 19EP

Velveteen Castles EP

Anthology

Yet another re-issue by Fire Records, this release is noteworthy only for the fact it was the first Rose CD release.

The compilation is made up of tracks from “First Avalanche” and the “Always There” mini album.

As all the other tracks had been previously released you can read the reviews of them on the appropriate links above.

Anthology Front

Anthology Back

Catalogue Number: FIRE CD7

In Rock

This album was without doubt the most controversial of the Rose’s career, and began a bitter court action between the band and Fire Records.

The band had been demoing new material at the recording studio and wanted to release another single to follow up Always There. The band wanted to maintain their very high standard of recorded output, and therefore felt another single release would maintain that quality, however Fire were demanding an album.

As described by Paul in his interview with me, Fire took matters into their own hands and seized the master tapes from the demo sessions. Fire then released the “In Rock” album, charging full price for a record which contained only 7 tracks, four of which were alternate takes of two songs (“Height of The Clouds” and “Darkorjan”) and one reworking of the previously released “Just Like Yesterday”.

The band were furious and pursued a court route to free themselves from their Fire contract. Due to this prolonged dispute the band would disappear off the map for nearly a year, unable to release records and with no product to promote by touring.

Despite the unauthorized nature of this album it does contained some all time classic Rose songs, and had it been released as a 4 track 12″ would have been a monumental record.
The album opens with “Dreamland” cited by Glenn as the bands most complete song. The song was actually debuted at the live recording of the Rose gig at London’s Town and Country Club in July 1987. The quality hits you instantly. Next up is “Not Another Day” – another fantastic tune, and another of my personal favorites.

Two versions of a track called “Height of The Clouds” Part 1 (instrumental) and Part 2 follows, and these stand out for the remarkable guitar work of Glenn, possibly his finest solo captured on record.

The reworking of “Just Like Yesterday”, called “Yesterday Once More” follows, which is instrumental, and “In Rock” closes out with yet another couple of instrumental versions of the same track “Darkorjan”. The fact that only three out of seven songs have lyrics just show how incomplete the tracks were at the time of release.

In Rock
Dreamland (The Rose of Avalanche) (3:57)
Not Another Day (The Rose of Avalanche) (4:59)
Height Of The Clouds – Part 1 (The Rose of Avalanche) (4:27)
Height Of The Clouds – Part 2 (The Rose of Avalanche) (4:29)
Darkorjan (The Rose of Avalanche) (5:40)
Yesterday Once More (The Rose of Avalanche) (4:55)
Darkorjan – Og (The Rose of Avalanche) (5:23)
Catalogue Number: FIRELP12
Notes: This album also reissued by Restless records, backed with the Always There re-issue on one CD, Cat No: 7 72285-2

Always There

The third Rose single released on Fire records on 09/03/87 on vinyl 7″ and 12″ format, including for the first time, a limited edition 12″ with a ‘Mainline’ remix of the title track, an extra track (“Mainline Man”) and special rose embossed sleeve. Read the press release here

This record represents the first total break from material written by the original Rose of Avalanche lineup (Morris / Berry / Davis) with all the recordings being new tracks written during 1986 / 87. This record also represents the first complete recording with the Rose Mark 2 line up of Morris / Berry / Schultz / McKay / Thompson.

The band must have completed the recording sessions during The Mission World Crusade support slots of late 1986 / early 1987, which although must have been exhausting, really helped to develop their live performance capability, which is evident in the Always There sessions.

All the songs have that classic rock 5 piece line up feel.

The title track “Always There” did always feel like it was playing up to the Goth genre, as the lyrical theme is pretty depressing being based around suicide, and the opening drum pattern reminds the listener of The Sisters of Mercy’s “Alice”. However, that aside, “Always There” continues the growing body of sophisticated, complex dual guitar work, now benefiting from the warmer, less mechanical, rhythm section of McKay and Thompson.

The Rock ‘n’ Roll roots resurface on “Mainline Man”, which is similar in style to some of the earlier tracks featuring on the “LA Rain” and “Goddess” singles, and the track quickly became established in the Rose’s live repertoire.

Homage is again paid to the Rose’s influences, with a cover of The Doors “Waiting For The Sun”. Despite being a huge fan of The Doors myself, I really think the Rose managed to make this song their own with a great version of the track.

Finally, we behold the might that is “Majesty”. I described this as a “fantastic, orgasm of wonder!”. I defy anyone that loves guitar music not to give in to their heart strings being plucked and tickled by the closing 1:30 in particular. Every time I hear that track it still gives me that warm fuzzy feeling where my brain must be releasing some unpronounceable chemical, telling me this is rather good, give me more…

I truly believe no other band was writing music like this in 1987, and I think the band felt the same. You could feel the growing resentment of being overlooked by the mainstream press who at the time were under the spell of Mr Hussey and The Mission. Of course that is not to say the Rose were not blameless in all this. They never were “media” friendly in the same way as The Mission were, and maybe naively, felt the music should do the talking.

Always There 7" A Side
Always There (The Rose of Avalanche) (3:23)
B Side
Waiting For The Sun (Jim Morrison) (3:48)
Catalogue Number: Blaze 18
Notes: Note red lettering – different to 12″

 

Always There 12"

 

 

A Side
Always There (The Rose of Avalanche) (3:23)
B Side
Waiting For The Sun (Jim Morrison) (3:48)
Majesty (The Rose of Avalanche) (5:56)
Catalogue Number: Blaze 14T
Notes: Note white lettering – different to 7″

 

Always There Limited Edition 12"
A Side
Always There (The Mainline Mix) (The Rose of Avalanche) (3:23)
The Mainline Man (The Rose of Avalanche) (3:12)
B Side
Waiting For The Sun (Jim Morrison) (3:48)
Majesty (The Rose of Avalanche) (5:56)
Catalogue Number: Blaze 14TR
Notes: Rose embossed sleeve

Velveteen

The second single released on Fire records on vinyl 7″ and 12″ formats on the 22/09/86.

“Velveteen” became one of Roses most well known tracks, possibly as it was the record in the stores at the time of their Mission support slot where the Rose gained exposure to larger audiences every night, and toured extensively with The Mission in the UK in late 1986, and in Europe in early 1987.

Listening to the recordings on the single, my ear tells me a drum machine is still providing the rhythm section on the title track, suggesting the “Velveteen” recording was made at the same time as the “Too Many Castles In The Sky” studio sessions, but held back for future release. However on the B side of the single I think drummer Mark Thompson finally makes his recording début with the band on “Who Cares” and “Just Like Yesterday”

The song continues in a similar vein from where “Assassin” left off on the previous single. Again demonstrating an advanced song structure, well crafted lyrics, and highlighted by the dual layered guitar attack of Berry and Schultz which was rapidly becoming the Rose’s trademark. The technical ability, attention to detail in the composition, and blatant references to their American 50′s & 60′s influences were starting to set the Rose apart from their peers in the Goth genre.

The quality doesn’t stop with the A side either, as both B side tracks are great songs in their own right. Again accentuating the dual guitar parts with Berry and Schultz perfectly complementing each other. “Who Cares” in particular providing a richly layered platform for Morris to deliver his well crafted lyrics.

At this stage of their career I think it is fair to say that listening to the bands early live performances you can see a group learning to find their live persona as they go, which with their inexperience, it sometimes proved difficult to do justice to the songs in a live situation, especially when often playing support slots with an indifferent audience who were mostly there to see the headline act.

However from day 1 the band seemed naturally at home in the studio where they could really do justice to the complex songs they were producing. As Phil said, they had a number 1 independent single (“LA Rain”) before they had even played a gig so the pressure was on from the off to deliver the goods live.

Velveteen 7"

A Side
Velveteen (The Rose of Avalanche) (5:28)
B Side
Who Cares (The Rose of Avalanche) (5:18)
Catalogue Number: Blaze 14
Notes: Note alternate colour and design to 12″

 

 

Velveteen 12"

A Side
Velveteen (The Rose of Avalanche) (5:28)
B Side
Who Cares (The Rose of Avalanche) (5:18)
Just Like Yesterday (The Rose of Avalanche) (5:49)
Catalogue Number: Blaze 14T
Notes: Note alternate colour and design to 7″

Too Many Castles In The Sky

The first Rose release on Fire Records. Issued on vinyl 7″ and 12″ single format in 1986.

You always seemed to get the impression that the title track was one of the bands favorite tracks to play live, as it was always enthusiastically banged out on stage. “Castles” opened the Rose’s live set during the 1989 Groove Collision Tour. Glenn & Phil would often build the intro of the song around The Doors “LA Women”

“Too Many Castles In The Sky” and “Assassin” (on the B side of the 7″ and 12″) were written by the original line up of the band in 1985, appearing in the set list of Rose shows from the very beginning of the bands career. Due to the single being released in 1986 after Mark Thompson had joined on drums, Mark is listed as a band member on the rear of the sleeve, but it is clear that a drum machine is providing the rhythm section on the actual studio recordings.

Phil has been quoted that the inspiration for “Castles” came from over hearing corny pick up lines in pubs and clubs, e.g. “I’ll take you to my castle in the sky”

The B sides couldn’t be more different. ” Dizzy Miss Lizzy” is a cover of the 1950′s rock ‘n’ roll classic – firmly positioning the Rose’s American influences, and a brave move for a band coming out of the Leeds Goth scene.

“Assassin” is up there (IMHO) as one of the Rose guitar fest classics. Both guitarists complement each other perfectly, and the track showcases the Rose’s technical prowess and mastery of song structures for such a young group. The highlight of the song is the instrumental break at 3:33 with a mystery female backing singer helping with the build, leading into Glenn’s beautiful outtro. Its one of my personal favorite Rose tracks.

Too Many Castles In The Sky 7"

A Side
Too Many Castles In The Sky (The Rose of Avalanche) (4:15)
B Side
Assassin (The Rose of Avalanche) (7:29)
Catalogue Number: Blaze 9S
Notes: Note single castle towers and colour difference to 12″ cover design.

 

 

Too Many Castles In The Sky 12"
A Side
Too Many Castles In The Sky (The Rose of Avalanche) (4:15)
B Side
Assassin (The Rose of Avalanche) (7:29)
Dizzy Miss Lizzy (Larry Williams) (2:16)
Catalogue Number: Blaze 9
Notes: Note multiple castle towers and colour difference to 7″ cover design.

First Avalanche

This album was the first example of something that would dog and antagonize the band throughout their career – it was an unapproved compilation album issued by Leeds Independent Label (LiL) in 1986 to presumably try to cash in on The Rose’s growing indie status at the time of them signing to Fire Records.

Mostly made up of the tracks from the bands first two singles, “LA Rain” and “Goddess”, plus “American Girls” which featured on a the LiL showcase album “Parkside Shivers”. The album is only notable for the first recorded appearance of the great “Stick In The Works”, which although was clearly recorded at the same time as the first singles, did not make it on to any of those releases.

“Stick” is another song in the Amrican rock style, driven by a catchy hook and featuring in the Rose live set from day 1.

As all the other tracks had been previously released you can read the reviews of them on the appropriate links above.

First Avalanche

Stick In The Works (The Rose of Avalanche) (4:20)
Rise To The Groove (The Rose of Avalanche) (3:20)
A Thousand Landscapes (The Rose of Avalanche) (5:49)
Conceal Me (The Rose of Avalanche) (4:32)
Goddess (The Rose of Avalanche) (5:05)
American Girls (The Rose of Avalanche) (4:08)
Gimme Some Lovin’ (Winwood / Davis / Winwood) (4:24)
LA Rain (The Rose of Avalanche) (7:39)

Catalogue Number: LiLLP3
Notes: This album also reissued by Fire: REFIRE4

The Rose of Avalanche

This album is basically “First Avalanche” minus the track “Stick In The Works”.
Issued by Italian label Contempo in 1985, self titled, with new art work and inner lyric sheet

As all the tracks had been previously released you can read the reviews of them on the appropriate links above.

The Rose of Avalanche
Catalogue Number: CONTE104

Goddess

The Rose’s second single release, coming out in mid 1985. “Goddess” followed up on the success of the bands début release “LA Rain” by reaching No1 in the UK indie charts again.

The title track is very much reflective of the early recording sessions of the band, being very American influenced with a good sleazy overlay. The lyrical content of “Goddess” is essentially Phil bragging about his first love and about how much action he gets.
But the song doesn’t ever threaten to degenerate to the lowest common denominator, and again showing lyrical maturity beyond their actual years, the middle section produces some reflective and defensive imagery, and perhaps with a second meaning, attacking the small town mentality of some, which Phil hinted at in interviews:

“I can see them laughing, I can hear them talking about you / About the life you live / And the crimes and the passion you get from all around this world / And they hate you for that, say your a tramp, a dirty no good little whore / But you’re not, you’re my friend, no-o baby you’re my first love”

On the B Side “A Thousand Landscapes” is a slow paced long burner which was a fixture in the live set for three years. Another good example of the dual guitar interplay between Berry and Shultz with some keyboard overdubs.

“Gimme Some Lovin’” tips the cap to one of the bands influences, The Spencer Davis Group, and was used repeatedly to close out the bands live set prior to the encore.

Goddess

A Side
Goddess (The Rose of Avalanche) (5:05)
B Side
A Thousand Landscapes (The Rose of Avalanche) (5:49)
Gimme Some Lovin’ (Winwood / Davis / Winwood) (4:24)
Catalogue Number: 12 LIL2

LA Rain

The Rose’s first single release, coming out in early 1985, and immediately being picked up by John Peel and championed via his radio play the Rose’s début reached No1 in the UK indie charts.

What was even more remarkable about this instant success was at this stage The Rose of Avalanche were not an established live act with a following, so found themselves in the pretty unique position of being top of the charts but with no gigging experience.

“LA Rain” was written by the original Rose lineup of Morris / Berry / Davis and recorded at Parkside Studios in Leeds. The track was originally produced & mixed by Lawrence, the bass player from the March Violets (influential Leeds scene band). However the Rose weren’t happy with the results and promptly re-mixed it when he left!.

As part of this remix the boys felt the track needed a little something extra and persuaded one Glenn Shultz who was working at the studio to put some 12 string over the track. By the bands own admission Glenn was technically far superior to any of them, having been classically trained. At that point Glenn was invited to join the band on a permanent basis.
The title track is a brooding, sleazy opus, clocking in at over seven minutes. The style and swagger of the song masks the youth and inexperience of the band. Phil almost raps the lyrics in his mock American drawl which was to become a trade mark of the band.

The support from Peel continued throughout 1985 with the band recording a Peel Session on 28th May 1985, and “LA Rain” being named in John Peel’s “Festive 50″ (number 26 in fact) in December 1985.

The Rose choose “Rise To The Groove” and “Conceal Me” to back the single, with other songs from the same session carried over to the “Goddess” single. Both establish the Rose’s rock ‘n’ roll influences, learning towards an American influence. This was unlike many of their contemporaries in the Goth scene who could trace their roots back to British Punk and New Wave.

LA Rain

A Side
LA Rain (The Rose of Avalanche) (7:39)
B Side
Rise To The Groove (The Rose of Avalanche) (3:20)
Conceal Me (The Rose of Avalanche) (4:32)
Catalogue Number: 12 LIL1