Essential Music: Amigos em Portugal, by The Durutti Column

Amigos em portugalThe Durutti Column (aka Vini Reilly) recorded an album in 1983 for a small Portuguese record label. Entitled Amigos em Portugal, this record has been hard to find since its release. (I actually still have an original vinyl copy of it.) Recorded in just a few days, Vini laid down some tracks, mostly instrumental, of some works in progress. The music was similar to what he would soon record on Without Mercy, and Vini made some of his finest music in these few days.

Unfortunately, this album was never really supposed to be released, and Vini never earned any money from it. For many years, it was one of the most collectible Durutti Column albums. Now, Cargo Records has reissued the album, which is available in a package containing an LP and a CD, each of which has been remastered with specific masters (i.e., one for the LP and another for the CD).

If you’re a Durutti Column fan, you must own this. Even thought it’s mostly a collection of sketches, these are some of Vini’s finest songs. (One of my favorites is Wheels Turning, with Vini’s slightly off-key vocals over a piano accompaniment.)

The same label has also reissued Live at the Venue, another limited LP release from the same period. Recorded in 1982 at The Venue, in London, this record features Vini Reilly and drummer Bruce Mitchell. The sound is rough, but it gives a good picture of what the band sounded like live, back in the day.