01 August 2011

Virginia Astley - Rarities Part One

You thought we had gone away, but no, that time is not yet. We still have some goodies for you, this instalment leading the way with some rarities from our own collection. Following on with Virginia Astley we've once again done a special mastering job from a quality vinyl rips where possible, although we start with two cassette originals.

Pleasantly Surprised was a Scottish cassette label which put out compilations of some of the best music of the day, largely based on the aesthetic of 4AD. State Of Affairs was released in 1984 and had some unique remixes of Wolfgang Press, Modern English and Cocteau Twins, alongside lesser-known acts: Action Pact, Rubella Ballet and Primal Scream (unknown at that time). Dreams And Desires followed later that year. Unfortunately the tape dubs were of questionable quality, a problem made even more annoying by the fact that many of the tracks are still unavailable in other forms today.

"I Live In Dreams" and "Tree Top Club" are demos that come from a recording session with Anne Stephenson and Gini Ball on violin, Audrey Riley on cello, Jo Wells on sax, Kate St. John playing cor anglais and oboe, Russell Webb on bass. As far as I know, none of her other tracks have that line-up. The former song was never otherwise issued, while the second was re-recorded for Hope In A Darkened Heart.

"Waiting To Fall" is a track available only on the 1985 Some Bizzare compilation If You Can't Please Yourself, You Can't Please Your Soul, where it sits rather uncomfortably between Yello and Einst├╝rzende Neubauten. It seems that even Stevo was not immune to the Astley charms. Here the instrumentalists are Audrey Riley (cello), Joceyln Pook (viola) and Anne Stephenson (violin).

The same group recorded the one-off single "Tender" for Elektra in 1985, four tracks that were not to make it to any album.

To finish our collection is the instrumental version of "So Like Dorian", from the "Some Small Hope" 12" single. For this record Astley was working with producer Ryuichi Sakamoto; many of the tracks are sequenced electronically. That's not really to my taste, which is what makes some of these rarities all the more valuable.

We believe that none of these tracks are readily available at the current time, and trust you will enjoy them.

-- The Second Chameleon

Rarities Part One

01 I Live In Dreams (1:59) 1984
02 Tree Top Club [demo] (2:13) 1984
03 Waiting To Fall (3:27) 1985
04 Tender [extended] (6:06) 1985
05 Mindless Days (2:42) 1985
06 A Long Time Ago (2:49) 1985
07 Tender [instrumental] (3:08) 1985
08 So Like Dorian [instrumental] (4:16) 1987


  1. Welcome back!! And what a fine post to return with - Virginia Astley is such an underrated and overlooked talent. Thank you!

  2. Thank you. Glad to see you're back.

  3. Great to see you back and thanks for the lovely VA rarities - much appreciated!

  4. Hey - could you get a message to Virginia? - I went out with her in the late 70's/early 80's in London when I worked in the hole in the wall pub in Borough High Street (halcyon days !) - nice to hear her songs are still around and i wouldn't mind catching up with her after all these years .... i would really appreciate it - understand if you can't though - thanks - Tony

  5. Thanks all for the appreciation -- it really helps!

    To contact Virginia I would try her own website. We are not affiliated in anyway.

  6. yeah, thanks - just left a message, thought you may be in contact with her - never mind -

  7. thanks so much - excellent rarities. actually 'i live in dreams' became 'shadows will fall' on the 12" of 'darkness'. i was about to upload my own rarities from that period...you've just about filled in the gaps, many i've never heard before.
    i do have the Ravishing Beauties Peel Session though...joe

  8. http://soundcloud.com/treetopclub/sets

  9. You fair scooped our next post, which was to have a good number of the tracks you posted. In fact, all we don't own is the "Darkness" single. I think we will go ahead, however since there are one or two alternative dubs in our set and, dare I say it, even some extra tracks!

  10. yes much appreciated...the 'Darkness...' is a rip off the vinyl which i actually bought in 1985. so quality in inferior...

    all in all your uploads have filled all the gaps in my own collection. thank you !


  11. Thank you! Always loved Virginia's music and have her albums on vinyl. I do still listen to them. Its very nice indeed to get some extra's after all these years!