Kirsty MacColl "Real" (partially lost unreleased album; 1982)

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Status: Partially Lost

Singer/songwriter Kirsty MacColl released her first album Desperate Character in the UK in 1981 on Polydor Records. She returned to Polydor to make her second album, titled Real and featuring a synthpop sound opposed to the guitar-based arrangements of her debut. Dave Jordan, then best known for his work with The Specials, was the producer for at least some of the sessions.

Written Off

Although she had scored a hit single with There’s A Guy Works Down The Chipshop, Swears He’s Elvis, subsequent releases flopped, and when the album was finished, Polydor had written MacColl off. In a 1994 interview with Record Collector magazine, MacColl recalled,

“When we got to the end of the recording, I realized that nobody from the company had been down or asked to hear the demos. It was obvious that they weren’t interested. Then they just dropped me. I was left with a finished album that wasn’t coming out. and that does your head in. It’s like having a baby and then leaving it in a phone box.” [1]

Availability

Certain tracks from the Real sessions have emerged over the years. In 1985, MacColl had a hit single, A New England, on Stiff Records, and Polydor took the opportunity to issue Kirsty MacColl, a slightly altered reissue of Desperate Character with three new tracks taken from the Real sessions. This compilation did not sell well either, and although generally regarded as a poor cash-in, is much sought-after today, partly because it's the only official release of Annie. Kirsty MacColl also included Berlin and Roman Gardens from these sessions; these appeared on the 2005 compilation From Croydon to Cuba... An Anthology along with two previously unreleased tracks from Real, Sticked and Stoned and Camel Crossing.

Lost Songs

  • Bad Dreams
  • Man With No Name - which was announced for “Kirsty MacColl” but was not issued. Rumors abound of a “special edition” of the album with this track, which does not seem to have reached the shops through the Kirsty MacColl website Freeworld reports that one copy (possibly a test pressing) is in the hands of a fan, who submitted the song’s lyrics to the site.
  • Germany
  • Time
  • Goodnight Paris
  • Lullaby for Ezra
  • Up The Grey Stairs

Not only the recordings but the songs themselves remain lost. They were never played live as MacColl had sworn off touring during this period.

Freeworld also reports the existence of a twelfth track, Sleepless Nights, which is a version of the later B-side Please, Go To Sleep. As this is reported to have appeared only on the unissued “special edition” of Kirsty MacColl, it can also be considered lost.

Despite its title, the 1990 promotional sampler The Real MacColl is unrelated to the unissued album or her Polydor material.

Reference