Continuing our occasional series of albums that remain baffling unavailable, can anyone out there provide good reason why The Colour Field’s 1985 debut Virgins and Philistines will set you back somewhere in the region of £90, that’s providing you can find someone willing to sell you a copy?
A year after the mainstream success of the Fun Boy Three Terry Hall unveiled his latest project with new sidekicks Toby Lyons and Karl Shale. Two singles, The Colour Field and Take, failed to make much of an impression, but early in 1985, they came close to breaking into the Top 10 with the lovely Thinking of You. They played this hit on the Whistle Test just prior to the album’s April release, with the Bunnymen’s Pete De Freitas guesting on drums, following it with the excellent Faint Hearts (see below), both of which were included on Virgins and Philistines.
Although a Terry Hall fan (by the way, he turned 50 a fortnight ago), it was this OGWT appearance that prompted me to rush out and buy the album on the day of its release. Despite the version of Faint Hearts not being as good as on the Whistle Test (I recall the Hammond organ wasn’t so prominent in the mix), the album remained on my turntable for the next few months. Like an idiot, in a random burst of generosity, I gave it to my flatmate Bruce when we finished college, not knowing I’d never be able to track it down again.
To coincide with the album’s release, a third single, Castles in the Air, was issued from it. Another minor gem (with added castanets!), it was obvious that Terry had fully shaken off all of his Specials/FB3 baggage. Jaunty singalong pop and social commentary had been jettisoned in favour of introspective (and on the surface of it, lightweight) easy listening in the manner of Everything But The Girl. Neither the single nor the album proved to be a success.
A second album, Deception, was even less successful and that was that for the Colour Field. This too remains unavailable, though not quite so sought after. Five tracks, three from V&P plus The Colourfield and Windmills, appear on The Complete Terry Hall released in 2001.
Of course, they are not the best band that Terry has been a member of, but even in these straitened times, could it not be beyone the wit of the people at EMI (who bought out Chrysalis and presumably own the rights) to reissue the album with half a dozen bonus tracks (b-sides Windmills of Your Mind and Pushing up the Daisies spring to mind)?
Whilst we’re at it, have you ever heard this lost classic from 1995? Co-written with Damon Albarn, this really deserved to be a huge hit.