Deacon Blue

Ooh Las Vegas

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In their early days (1988-1990), Ricky Ross and his Deacon Blue bandmates (who all hail from Scotland) were one of the most prolific U.K. bands scaling the top of the European music charts. Early copies of their 1988 debut album Raintown contained Riches and More, a bonus CD featuring an album's worth of B-sides and other tracks that didn't make it on to the mother album. Although their 1989 follow-up, When the World Knows Your Name, did not feature a bonus disc, this 1990 two-disc release more than makes up for it. Containing almost two dozen non-album B-sides, soundtrack recordings and unreleased tracks (and no songs from Riches and More), this may be too much Deacon Blue for the average person, but is an absolute treasure trove for those smitten with the band since the debut album. Yes, the band may be too slick for their own good, and yes, they do tend to come off as pretentious, but 'pretentious' has never sounded so passionate and fun! Ross' gravely vocals lead the way, followed by the sweet and soulful backing vocals of Lorraine McIntosh (who was on the debut but not a full-time bandmember until 1989), Deacon Blue successfully mix pop, jazz, soul and rock together and create a unique sound. If you want musical references, then imagine Steely Dan impersonating Sade's backing band covering Prefab Sprout songs! From "Disneyworld" to "Don't Let the Teardrops Start," the 22 songs contained on these two silver platters are just as good as the tracks that made the first two albums. The gentle "My America" is a standout in this abundant sea of musical misfits. Ross' odd, off-key delivery at the beginning of the otherwise uplifting "Ronnie Spector" definitely led to this track being left off of their sophomore release. Apart from that, most everything here is pretentiously ace!

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