The 1986 London Sessions

Sixteen Tulips
Untitled [Ah Lee] (otherwise unreleased anywhere)
The Scientist Writes A Letter
Call Me The
Smoother Than Jones
Vanity Fair
One Time At Sundown

Plus: Marquee Moon (Live)

Sometime in 1986 or early 1987 Verlaine and Dave Bascombe produced at least 10 tracks intended for an LP that was shortly thereafter rejected by Phonogram/Fontana. The known 10 tracks from these sessions are sometimes called the 'Bascombe sessions', the '1986 London sessions', the 'Lost Album' - or the '10 b-sides' (as the tracks later appeared on b-sides of various Verlaine UK single releases).

Subsequently, Verlaine recorded the album Flash Light (1987). A version of The Scientist Writes A Letter from the Bascombe sessions ended up intact on Flash Light; the non-Flash Light, b-side version of Scientist is known as the 'Paris Version', has a different spoken section in the middle and lacks, to my mind, the power of the album version. Another of the 10 b-sides, One Time at Sundown, was rerecorded in a different version for Flash Light. Caveman-Flashlight, Circling, Smoother Than Jones, One Time at Sundown (The 1986 London Version) and The Scientist Writes a Letter (Paris Version) do not exist in a CD format.

Anna, Circling, Call Me The and Vanity Fair certainly rank with the best of Verlaine's recorded work and we can only guess at why these tracks were not acceptable to the record company. Not "commercial" enough? Well, surely no-one would sign Tom Verlaine in the mid-80s and expect him to make an album that would outsell, say, Dire Straits or the Police (or The Thompson Twins or whatever else was passing for popular music back then). Would they? In any case, somene turned down a pretty damned good album. So here it is.

(The truly great live version of Marquee Moon added as a 'bonus' track - one of my favourite versions - is taken from the b-side of the UK 12" promo single A Town Called Walker (1987) and was, I think taken from a soundboard recording, possibly at a soundcheck.)