What’s in the bag? (86)

I was in a record shop today and there was a 30th anniversary edition of ‘Soul Mining’ by THE THE, which was fortuitious as I’d been listening to it after adding the track ‘This Is The Day’ to Volume 1 – Side 1 of the current (and first, which is why it’s Volume 1) Mix Tape.

The_The_-_Soul_MiningI had this on cassette when it was first released and played it to death. It caused quite a stir with folks round our way when it was released, which was quite surprising as these were Prog and Rock fans, Zeppelin, Floyd, AC/DC, Sabbath and so on. ‘Soul Mining’ wasn’t a good fit but it seemed to slowly spread until everybody knew about it. I seem to remember that there was an accompanying story that it was just one guy, Matt Johnson, who made the whole thing in his bedroom, which would have resonated with a lot of people as they were trying to do exactly the same thing, except it wasn’t true. It was studio recorded and they had a record deal, it wasn’t ever a DIY affair, how could it have been with a Jools Holland piano solo on it?

As an album it is a strange listen as your own mood can discern exactly how it makes you feel, it can be an uplifting listen, or it can be rather heart wrenching, full of self-doubt, but it is always a good listen regardless of which mode you are in as there are enough pop elements in there to make it listenable. It talks about destruction but in a good way, a positive way, “you can’t destroy your problems by destroying yourself” but has many moments that search for answers, “How can anyone know me, when I don’t even know myself”.

My anniversary edition has two discs, here’s the product description:


This lavish boxset celebrates the 30th anniversary of The The’s major label debut album, Soul Mining, originally released in October, 1983. The re-packed and expanded version contains an authentic reproduction of the album, with newly remastered audio from the original master tapes (overseen at Abbey Road by Matt Johnson), as well as an extra 12” gatefold vinyl of alternative versions and remixes..

The remastered audio has also been dubbed from new vinyl test pressings recorded from Matt Johnson’s original 1982 Thorens TD-147 gramophone player using patent ‘Dubbed-From-Disc’ technology, obtainable via a download code contained within the boxset. The boxset also includes a unique ‘news-poster’ containing extensive notes written by Matt Johnson that detail the making of the album.

Disc: 1
1. I’ve Been Waitin’ For Tomorrow (All Of My Life)
2. This Is The Day
3. The Sinking Feeling
4. Uncertain Smile
Disc: 2
1. The Twilight Hour
2. Soul Mining
3. Giant
Disc: 3
1. Uncertain Smile
2. Perfect
Disc: 4
1. This Is The Day
2. Fruit of the Heart
3. Perfect
4. I’ve Been Waitin’ For Tomorrow (All Of My Life)

Below is the original 7 track release, except for the US where an extra track was added against Matt Johnson’s wishes:

Here are some videos from the whole of Matt Johnson’s/The The career, begining with a couple from ‘Soul Mining’.