If you are a Kate Bush fan, you have probably been in a conundrum whether to shell out the bucks to buy her recent career-spanning box sets. The remasters sound great, but if you have all the albums, it's perhaps an unnecessary expense. Unless, of course, you want the four extra discs in the second box. They feature a bunch of oddball tracks from over her career, from b-sides to charity cuts to 12" remixes.
The fan above, who didn't buy the second box, will no doubt be thrilled to find out those four discs can now be bought in this break-out collection, at a much cheaper price. Of course, those who bought the box just for the rare cuts will now be cursing. But as Record Store Day has taught us, most of what is marketed as exclusive and limited eventually becomes widely available if there's demand.
What I can tell you is that there are lots of interesting cuts here for the Bush fan. The remixes disc features five cuts, four from Hounds Of Love, and the other one being the one-single Experiment IV in an extended form. The Big Sky is wilder and richer, with the drums pounding and the intensity greater. Running Up That Hill is a denser, more hypnotic version, and Hounds Of Love features radically different vocals and chorus. Of course, these are some of her best, and best-loved songs as well, so there's certainly nothing boring about these lengthier tracks.
Discs two and three feature b-sides from her career, and non-album tracks. Most of them come from the first part of her career, while she was still putting out lots of singles, recording more and labouring less on each track, so she had more extras. These date back to 1975, when the precocious 16-year old was already working with Pink Floyd's Dave Gilmour on her own compositions. The big gem is a track called Humming from that era, previously unreleased, which has a raw energy that was smoothed over by the time her debut The Kick Inside came out three years later.
The rest of these 20 tracks have been out before, but you'd have to be a big collector to have them all. There's the updated version of Wuthering Heights from her 1986 best-of The Whole Story, the single version of Experiment IV, and her much-admired 1980 Christmas single, December Will Be Magic Again, tracks that are pretty common. But there's another Christmas cut, this one from 1993, Home For Christmas, that never gets played or included on holiday compilations. There's a b-side from The Red Shoes era of 1994, that shows the influence of Prince in her sound of the time, and a rich gem that should have been on the album. And the piano ballad Warm and Soothing from 1980 is another must, for those who can't get enough of her early, simpler sound.
The final disc is called In Others' Words, nine choice cover versions from various sources, mostly tributes and charity albums. She's long been an Elton fan, and here we get both Candle In The Wind and Rocket Man, candy cuts, but she does fine readings. Better is her Sexual Healing, which shows that side of her personality, something she has addressed on a couple of her albums. And cuts Lord Of The Reedy River (Donovan) and the traditional My Lagan Love give us a clear vision of what she would have done as a folk/trad artist.