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Sunday 24 September 2023

Forty Minutes Of Tracey Thorn

A January 1995 episode of Top Of The Pops came up on the repeats on BBC4 recently including this performance of Protection, Tracey Thorn and Massive Attack in imperious form. Protection is one of the 90s best songs, a genuine jaw dropper on first and subsequent listens and a song its impossible to turn off once it starts. Tracey's voice is perfect for the song, her singing a perfect blend of strength and hurt and her lyrics, switching the gender around mid- song, spin the song around. Protection, the album, came out in  September1994. Following up Blue Lines was never going to be easy but Protection mainly manages it with the title track and others- Karmacoma, Sly, Better Things, Three and Spying Glass, some of their best songs. The cover of Light My Fire less so maybe. But Protection is the towering achievement, a song that even mid- 90s Top Of The Pops can't ruin. 

Tracey's songs and recordings outside Everything But The Girl, both solo and with other people, are many and various. I thought, having listened to Protection a few times and then heading to the Andrew Weatherall remix of Tracey's Sister from 2018, that a Tracey Thorn solo/ collaboration mix might work. And it does. 

Forty Minutes Of Tracey Thorn

  • Protection (Brian Eno Remix)
  • Raise The Roof (Beyond The Wizard's Sleeve Remix)
  • Sister
  • Sister (Andrew Weatherall Remix)
  • Moving Dub
  • Night Time
Protection came out in 1995, one of the singles/ songs of the 90s. The 12" came with this Brian Eno remix, a ten minute ambient affair. It had already been the lead song on the album Protection, released in 1994 and an obvious choice for a single. 

Raise The Roof was a 2007 Tracey Thorn single, and on her solo album Out Of The Woods. Beyond The Wizard's Sleeve, Richard Norris and Erol Alkan's psyche outfit, twist it into new shapes and spaces.

Sister was the lead single from Tracey's 2018 album Record, a song with Corinne Bailey Rae and Warpaint's Stella Mozgawa on board. Tracey sings the line 'And I fight like a girl' and makes it sound like the toughest, most menacing line she's ever sung. Andrew Weatherall 's remix (and the dub version too) are ten minutes of late period Weatherall brilliance, chuggy, dubby remix splendour. 

Moving Dub is from No Protection, the Mad Professor dub version of Massive Attack's Protection. Moving Dub, with Tracey on vocals, is Better Things sent through the dub blender. 

Night Time is a cover of a song by The Xx, released as a standalone solo EP in 2011. It has husband Ben Watt on guitar. The Xx asked Tracey to cover it for a compilation of covers of their songs by their favourite artists they were planning. It never happened except for Tracey's cover. Drums, programming and production were courtesy of Ewan Pearson. 


Anonymous said...

Never knew she covered The xx but it makes a lot of sense as Romy reminds me so much of her. Michael

Khayem said...

Superb selection, Adam. I like your pairing of the original & Weatherall remix of Sister, in the grand Dub tradition.

Tom W said...

My absolute favourite Tracey Thorn adventure is her cover of the Pet Shop Boys' King's Cross, remixed by Hot Chip. Circling paranoid beauty. And I'm still looking for a cheap charity shop copy of the Batman Forever soundtrack, where she and Massive Attack cover The Hunter Gets Captured By The Game.