Monday, June 12, 2006

'Over the Rainbow' by Tracey Thorn (Everything But the Girl)

I'm probably the biggest Everything But the Girl fan this side of the Atlantic. I can still remember the first time I heard them back in high school in 1984 on the Rock Over London radio program one Sunday night performing their jazzy single "Each and Everyone." I was instantly hooked.

My obsessive-compulsive music collecting tendencies led me to spend hundreds of dollars as a kid grabbing up all of their import 45's, 12" singles (so many great b-sides!) and albums (and then doing it all over on cassette and CD), yet there was one song in the discography that eluded me for decades -- until now. A fellow fan from Boston recently sent me a CDR of the virtually-impossible-to-find collaboration between the trumpet player James McMillan and Tracey Thorn doing the classic Judy Garland song "Over the Rainbow." I'm happy to report that the 20-year wait was well worth it as it's everything you'd ever dream it could be. (Ben and Tracey: I don't feel any guilt about putting this song up on my site as I'm 100 percent certain there is no way anyone could buy it -- no matter how desperately they wanted to.)

I don't know much about James McMillan, but I do know he played on EBTG's "Idylwild" album and later toured with the band, and also worked with Sade. These day, his name comes up as an arranger on "American Idol" (I see Kimberley Locke also covered "Over the Rainbow"), although I'm not even certain it's the same James McMillan. (Whatever the case may be, the James McMillan involved in this song is a real talent.)

While researching this post I noticed on the EBTG site that Tracey -- in a recent picture above, long in retirement since becoming a mother -- is working on a new solo album with a tentative February 2007 release date (I could die!). While we eagerly await that work, sit back and enjoy this "Wizard of Oz" gem -- you're in for a real treat.

  • Play "Over the Rainbow" here.

    Anonymous said...

    Hey Kenneth,

    I'm glad that you put this up! I love it. I'm so proud and lucky to have found this CD after all this time. And to think that some lady had it in upstate NY, it was a promotional CD and it cost me less than $10!!!

    I would however have to argue with you when you say that you are the biggest EBTG fan this side of the atlantic! ;-) I could give you a run for your money! But what is mine, I'll share with you as a good EBTG fan should. Can't wait for Tracey's solo project... Let's hope she tours and comes to the east coast.

    Keep the EBTG vibe alive my friend...

    Take care


    Anonymous said...

    OMG..what an excellent track. Thanks for sharing this.

    xolondon said...

    WOW! Thanks so much. I SO wish I had tapes of Rock Over London that I could transfer to MP3. :( I still remember hearing "Running Up That Hill" there first...

    Anonymous said...

    Thanks for posting this elusive tune! When I saw the group's acoustic tour in 1988, EBTG performed a lot of non-album songs. I've hunted those rarities for years, but never found Rainbow.

    Can't wait for the new solo album. I hope it has more "songs"--and fewer remixes!

    Madrid SoulBrother said...

    The other day searching for old school tunes (I'm collecting all music only issued in vinyl re-issued on cd) found this lovely song. I'm a EBTG long time fan as well as Over the rainbow, I have a bunch of different versions, but didn't know bout this. I know is included within James McMillan "Makin' Changes" issued in JP for Toshiba. Does anyone know if is it possible to get a copy of this? Can't believe that there are copies out there by less than 10 bucks!!!.

    Tks in advance for your kind comments.



    royiskeen said...

    can't believe i've finally found this track. been searching for years! thank you.

    Nassim said...

    Hi Kenneth !

    Sorry but i think i am the biggest fan of EBTG :-) ! Thank you for posting that song i was hunting for a long time . So sad the resolution is only 128 kbs(the worst for sound ) . Can you please rip again and save as 320 KBS file . Did you know about a concert for a french radio back in 1994 ? It was released to only 2500 CD-R copies and is called the black sessions ...Let´s start looking for that together ! Who gets it first is the best fan ! Cheers

    EBTG Nerd said...

    Hi Kenneth,
    I just discovered this. I just googled it because I wanted my son to hear it and here you were. I hadn't heard the song since 2000 when I got it through Napster (remember?) but lost it a few years later when my computer crashed. I won't get into the "who's the biggest fan" debate, but I'll add my first "Tracey's voice" memory. Summer of 83. The song was Lazy Ways by the Marine Girls, on the Pillows and Prayers LP (Cherry Red) (Which I of course still have on vinyl, but also on CD, I'm such a nerd.) Like you, I was hooked and spent the next years rummaging through used record shops in and around Toronto. Recently found a 7 inch vinyl of "Alfie" in a shop on Bleeker Street in New York. Almost 30 years later, and still beyond hope, but I'm happy not to be the biggest fan. (I'll settle for top 10.)

    typicalboy said...

    Hey Ken
    Do you have any other EBTG/ Tracey stuff to trade, live recordings DVDs etc..
    David uk