SLF CD--Handheld and Rigidly Digital: Liner notes by Jake Burns
A lot of the material here is taken from the "Hope St. Premiere Party" which took place in London just before Christmas '98. This was a chance to try and meet some of the people who had kept us in jobs for such a long time and to play some new material for the first time (in some cases the ONLY time) and throw in a few old favourites that we haven't played in donkeys. Other recordings comes from points north, south, east and west on the following March tour.
What we tried to achieve with the "Hope St." record was a more "up-beat" version of the band's philosophy. I think in the main we succeeded. The knock on effect that no-one saw coming was that this more optimistic approach to life that we were singing about, became infectious. Suddenly, the band had re-discovered its joy in performing again.
The "Hope St." tour was among the most successful we have undertaken in recent years and I don't just mean from the point of view of attendances, although those were encouragingly up as well. What happened was everyone played better, laughed more and generally had more fun on the road than we'd had in ages. It really was a shame when the whole thing stopped.
I honestly believe that this sense of fun and renewed purpose conveyed itself to our audience, and I hope that this CD gives you some idea of that. It was the best tour I think we have played for years and it's nice to have captured some of it. Hope you enjoy it.
See you out there somewhere !
Review from Baggy: My postie arrived with a big smile this morning, very happy about something. Mabe he got laid by the big busty blond next door before coming to my house, or he had finally bought me my long awaited parcel. He has had a lot of friendly hassle from myself, asking when my boxset was going to arrive. At last the day was here. I ripped open the parcel, like a kid ripping the paper away from his biggest Christmas present. Lots of favourites being played and songs I never heard before, like "She grew up" and the very catchy "Drinkin' again". Hanx to Gary for putting up with my "is it ready yet" phone calls and to the band for still playin' great music, and gettin better with age. Tatty bye and See you up there. Baggy.
Review from Stevie Latimer: Got home from work tonight and there it was at last....Within seconds I was reliving that night last December at the Hippodrome. The quality is top notch and the packaging is also superb....The fact that there are some "new" songs on this set makes it even more of a must have (especially Shirley's choice of "She Grew Up".
Review from Simon Kitson:I can only say how delighted with it I am. Particularly since it includes some songs which were previously unavailable on CD ('race you to the grave'; 'she grew up', 'drinkin' again') and others which are here recorded live for the first time ('Last train', 'Hope Street', 'You can get it', 'Forensic evidence'). Can I suggest that this trend be continued in future live albums- too often the track listing of SLF live albums is broadly speaking the same from one live album to the next- we all have about 10 live versions of 'Suspect Device' when perhaps we would prefer to have the novelty of a live version of 'Bloody Sunday' or 'Half a Life away'- please think about this guys next time you know you're being recorded.
The new CD includes a well-deserved dedication to Shirley Sexton and is worth buying just for that reason! Another nice thing is the packaging. A group achieving platinum sales would be proud of the packaging here. This is a rarity for SLF- although the first 3 SLF studio albums had good sleeves, only 'Hope Street' has stood out for its artwork since then and SLF fans have been subjected to the worst sleeve design of all time on 'Get a Life'. As if all this wasn't enough reason to buy this new box set you also get a booklet in which Jake Burns explains each of the songs on the Hope Street album. So go on, reach for your credit cards--it's well worth it.
Review from Zedfan: This was well worth the wait!!!! Some of the older stuff sounds better than the original version (or maybe I'm just getting older myself!). Absolutely *#@^"~! MAGIC!!!!!