Deacon Blue – All The Old 45s The Very Best Of Deacon Blue (2CD Edition)


Since their formation in Glasgow in 1985, the single has always been an important part of Deacon Blue’s genetic make-up. The album was always held up the album as the pinnacle of popular culture, a format on which to explore weighty issues, but Deacon Blue took that aesthetic and brought it to the 7” single. In doing so, they created a body of work that explored the minutiae of modern life, while wrapping it up in sumptuous melodies, and All The Old 45s The Very Best Of Deacon Blue stands testament to their power.

Somewhat surprisingly, Deacon Blue’s first two forays onto 7” wax proved unfruitful (even more perplexing as their first single was ‘Dignity’) and both sank without trace. Yet, this proved a blessing in disguise and ensured the band were built for the long haul, rather than being an overnight sensation, and listening to both these discs back-to-back (which run chronologically) you have to marvel at the strength of song writing that permeates. A song the quality of ‘Dignity’ could easily overshadow their other work, yet it simply shines as one of many jewels in their crown. However, looking back it’s a head scratcher as to why it never initially caught the imagination of the record buying public; like most of the songs in this collection it is a musical novella that captures a moment in time, a mini-drama that’s played out over three glorious minutes. Vocalist Ricky Ross was the primary lyricist, and like all the best writers he employs a “show don’t tell” aesthetic, just one listen to ‘Fergus Sings The Blues’ and you’ll know exactly what the protagonist looks like, and much of his backstory, too.

A band is nothing without its members, and All The Old 45s evidence the type of musical chemistry that only occurs once in a lifetime. The rhythm section of bassist Ewen Vernal (a slot now filled by Lewis Gordon) and drummer Dougie Vipond are solid and lithe, and it is their fluidity that adds a depth and a touch of sophistication that was often missing from the singles chart. However, it is the vocal interplay between Ross and Lorraine McIntosh where we hit pay dirt, even in the band’s earliest days Ross’ vocal cords sounded as if they’d been marinated in whisky, and they provided the perfect foil for McIntosh’s angelic, playful vocals and it is a push-and-pull that echoes throughout this collection, making it cohesive, and most importantly, enjoyable.

This compilation is split nicely between pre-hiatus (Disc One) and post-reformation, and it is here on Disc Two where Deacon Blue really come into their own. Mature, slightly world-weary, but still infused with melody, the band are no longer chasing a glittering prize and are making music for themselves, and in doing so, create songs for everybody. There’s been no radical overhaul of their sound, these songs are still characterised by longing and yearning, only now with a desire to face the future. There’s no pandering to fads and trends here, and subsequently cuts such as ‘Every Time You Sleep’ have a timeless quality, and as time has proved, still sound fresh and vibrant. There’s a definite nod to the Beatles on this disc (more so than the first) and if any band could carry off those delicious harmonies and make them their own, then it is Deacon Blue.

This release finds Deacon Blue at a pinnacle of sorts; it is akin to looking through an ageing photograph album, and makes a great way to relive All The Old 45s, while simultaneously offering a tantalising glimpse at what’s to come.

Track List:

Disc One:

  1. Dignity
  2. Loaded
  3. When Will You (Make My Telephone Ring)
  4. Chocolate Girl
  5. Real Gone Kid
  6. Wages Day
  7. Fergus Sings The Blues
  8. Love And Regret
  9. Queen Of The New Year
  10. I’ll Never Fall In Love Again
  11. Your Swaying Arms
  12. Twist And Shout
  13. Closing Time
  14. Cover From The Sky
  15. Your Town
  16. Will We Be Lovers
  17. Only Tender Love
  18. Hang Your Head
  19. I Was Right And You were Wrong
  20. Bound To Love

Disc Two:

  1. Homesick
  2. Every Time You Sleep
  3. Bigger Than Dynamite
  4. The One About Loneliness
  5. The Hipsters
  6. The Outsiders
  7. That’s What We Can Do
  8. Turn
  9. You’ll Know It’s Christmas
  10. A New House
  11. I Wish I Was A Girl Like You
  12. Bethlehem Begins
  13. Win
  14. The Believers
  15. This Is A Love Song
  16. Gone
  17. I Will And I Won’t
  18. City Of Love
  19. Hit Me Where It Hurts
  20. Wonderful
  21. Riding On The Tide Of Love