Essential Music: LC by The Durutti Column

Durutti lcAfter the first album by The Durutti Column – The Return of the Durutti Column – had appeared like an alien in the post-punk music scene, Vini Reilly released a second album, LC, containing more mellow instrumentals and a few plaintive songs. Instead of just “the guitarist” and “the producer” (Martin Hannett) that were credited on the first album, LC saw the addition of Bruce Mitchell on drums and percussion.

From the first drum beats of Sketch for Dawn (1), it’s clear this album is different from Return. First, Vini is singing, and second, it sounds more like a band. (The Durutti Column was always Vini Reilly and whoever he was playing with at the moment; it was never a real “band.”) He doesn’t sing on all the tracks; there are plenty of instrumental tracks, as on the first album (Jacqueline, Messidor, The Sweet Cheat Gone, etc.), but there are a few songs.

LC contains what may be the most beautiful song Vini Reilly ever wrote: Never Known. This minor key ballad with lots of reverb and phasing, over a simple guitar rift, features Vini’s voice barely audible, and its melody is nearly heart-breaking.

LC was quite a spontaneous album. Vini Reilly has said:

“I had no real plans for a second album. Then one day, guitarist Bill Nelson sold me a four-track Teac tape machine, and I started putting a drum machine through an echo unit whilst playing the guitar. I recorded a whole album’s worth of material in five hours; then Bruce Mitchell and I went into a studio and put the lot down in two hours.”

Released in an expanded, remastered version in 2013 (Amazon.com, Amazon UK), LC is also now available on vinyl, for those who like that sort of thing. (Amazon.com, Amazon UK) The expanded CD contains lots of tracks that were released on singles, EPs, and compilations, many of which have long been hard to find. These include the cassette compilation From Brussels with Love, the vinyl compilation The Fruit of the Original Sin, and Ghosts of Christmas Past, originally on Les Disques du Crepuscule. There are some demos, the three songs from The Factory Quartet, the early Factory Records release featuring The Durutti Column and three other artists, and more. The vinyl edition includes a previously unreleased 7″ single with two live tracks.

If you’re not a fan of The Durutti Column, this album may convert you; it contains some of Vini Reilly’s finest music. If you are a fan, the extra tracks in this set will make it worth buying yet another copy of the album. And if you like vinyl, well, here’s your chance.

You can also buy this and other Durutti Column re-issues from Factory Benelux records.

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