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Sunday 11 June 2023

Forty Five Minutes Of Beth Orton

A couple of weeks ago I was crate digging in Altrincham, flicking through a box of records that even though it was outdoors smelt like it had been recently recovered from a damp garage. In among the finds and the rejects was a Beth Orton 10" single, Touch Me With Your Love, from 1996. Weirdly while the sleeve was in bits, water damaged and splitting at the seams, the record was in really good condition and though there was no inner sleeve around the disc the free postcard (a black and white photo of Beth) was inside with the record. The 10" single had four songs, the title track (from her debut album Trailer Park), an instrumental version, the B-side song Pedestal and a live version of the epically beautiful Galaxy Of Emptiness recorded at the Shepherd's Bush Empire in November 1996. I took it along with a copy of Bruce Hornsby And The Range's The Way It Is on 12", a compilation of Pentangle on Pickwick Records from the late 1960s and Warm Leatherette by Grace Jones, paid my tenner and shuffled off. 

As a result, a Beth Orton Sunday mix seemed to be a good idea. 

Forty Five Minutes Of Beth Orton

  • Galaxy Of Emptiness
  • It's This I Find I Am
  • Bobby Gentry
  • Touch Me With Your Love
  • Anywhere (Two Lone Swordsmen Remix)
  • Water On A Vine Leaf (Underworld Mix Part 1)

Galaxy Of Emptiness is the ten minute closer from Beth's debut Trailer Park, an Andrew Weatherall produced epic, with Red Snapper's Rich Thair and Ali Friend on brushed drums and stand up double bass. It's one of Weatherall's greatest 90s productions, full of space and atmosphere.

It's This I Find I Am was the B-side to the Someone's Daughter single from 1997, another Weatherall production and a bit of a lost gem. 

Bobby Gentry, named after the singer of 60s classic Ode To Billie Joe, came out a 2003 compilation that followed her Daybreaker album called The Other Side Of Daybreak. It's been a favourite of mine since I first heard it twenty years ago, a cinematic beauty with strings and heartbreak lyrics including this piece of poetry- 'Collecting dead rainbows/ From puddles and mires/ Taking them home to warm by the fire'.

Touch Me With Your Love was a 1996 single as mentioned above, CD and 10" vinyl on Heavenly. 

Anywhere was remixed by Two Lone Swordsmen, with some superb Keith Tenniswood programming, Beth sent into electro heaven, TLS remix gold. Anywhere was on Daybreaker, Beth's third album from 2002. There were Adrian Sherwood and Photek remixes too.

Water On A Vine Leaf was one of Beth's first vocal appearances, the result of studio time with William Orbit. This single from 1993 is one of the year's and William Orbit's best. Some of the songs Beth and William worked on resurfaced on Trailer Park under different names. There are several remixes that are right up there in terms of 90s acid house/ progressive house brilliance, three from Underworld and the Xylem Flow remix by Spooky. I could have chosen any and went for Underworld's Part 1 mix. 


thewalker said...


Nick L said...

Oh this is lovely stuff. Beth Orton was fantastic around that time and it was a shame she seemed to lose her way a bit as time went on. However, this will be getting a lot of listening in the weeks ahead.

Khayem said...

A Beth Orton Sunday mix was a very good idea, Adam. I do like a lot of the music she's recorded since but the songs produced and/or remixed by Andrew Weatherall and Keith Tenniswood set the bar so high.

Walter said...

Another excellent compilation for Sunday, Adam. Sadly Beth didn't got the recognition she should have.

Rol said...

That's £10 well spent.

I've never heard the Bobby Gentry song before, and I thought I had pretty much everything I needed by Beth. Clearly that's never the case.

Rol said...

Addenudum: How is that a b-side?

Swiss Adam said...

Rol- I know, its just about the best thing she ever did