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Everything But The Girl


Country of origin:

England

Type of music generally:

Pop (alternative and mainstream), jazz, ambient. Ok, so they don't really fit any of these categories, though they have touched on all of them over the years.

Status:

Most recent release, Adapt Or Die/Remixes, 2005

See also:

Everything But The Girl's official website

The Ectophiles' Guide entries for Marine Girls, a pre-Everything But The Girl band that Tracey Thorn was in and Tracey Thorn's solo work.

Comparisons:

Jane Siberry's Maria in their early years. (jeffw@smoe.org)

I always say that Kindness of Strangers sounds like a less boring Everything But The Girl. (neal)

Covers/own material:

Primarily own material. The album Acoustic contains several covers.

General comments:

Their debut album was one of my first ectophilic purchases (if not one of my first album purchases). Listening to Tracey's vocals is pretty much guaranteed to cause tears welling up in my eyes.... It's amazing, but I first saw Everything But The Girl on MTV, back when it offered an outlet for good music. (jeffw@smoe.org)

In the early days, they moved from soul to jazz to jangly guitar songs to orchestral music to acoustic. That's what made them interesting. If they don't get stuck in a rut again, I'll be happy. I don't even mind if they are in a rut, as long as it's an interesting one. :-) (1/97, stuart@sph.emory.edu)

definitely check out everything but the girl. but be sure to purchase any album other than the recent one (walking wounded) if you want the jazz thing. (iflin@speakeasy.net)

Comments about live performance:

I'm not that big of an Everything But The Girl fan and seeing them live did not change my opinion. I would say that if you like the band, than you will probably love the live show. I find the band nice enough, but not particularly diverting, which was exactly how the show struck me. They told a number of stories that highlighted exactly how personal some of the songs are, and played tunes spanning their whole career, dating back to the first album and including some on the one they are currently recording. The string bass was a lot of fun, and the synth accompaniment was sometimes interesting, though a greater use of real drums probably would have given them a warmer sound. The audience gave them a rousing standing ovation, which drew them back for one song after an already brief set. I only knew one song ("Driving", and it wasn't even a show highlight), though I did have a slight chance of knowing another, since they did a Sonic Youth cover! It wasn't a song I knew though. (12/95, neal)

Recommended first album:

I consider Eden to be their finest collection of songs. (11/98, stunning@tezcat.com)

If you don't know their music, get Amplified Heart and work your way backwards. They must have over 10 albums that I've seen, and they're all easy to listen to—great vocals, lyrics, etc. (mundopax@ingress.com)

I *LOVE* Idlewild, and though I own at least two or 3 CDs after that one, they seem to get progressively fluffier, whereas Idlewild is meaty with songs and ideas. (mjmjminla@yahoo.com)

If you like the simple trumpet/bass/drum sound of Jane's Maria, you might want to take a listen to Everything But The Girl's debut CD.... (jeffw@smoe.org)

the best way to catch up with Everything But The Girl is probably to track down their 1993 Best of Album called Home Movies, the best of Everything But The Girl but unfortunately it was never released in the U.S. though it is relatively easy to find on import. DON'T get the U.S. release of The Best of Everything But The Girl which is a different CD. The song selection isn't as good, and Ben and Tracey have washed their hands of that release, it being released by their old record company primarily to make money. (iflin@speakeasy.net)

Recordings:


Eden

Release info:

1985—WEA Records/Blanco Y Negro—240 395-2

Availability:

Non-U.S. release

Ecto priority:

Medium

Group members:

Tracey Thorn—vocals, acoustic guitar
Ben Watt—guitars, vocals, Hammond organ, piano, and horn arrangements

Guest artists:

Sim Booth—guitar
Bosco de Oliveira—percussion
Charles Hayward—drums
Chucho Merchan—double bass
Pete King—alto sax
Nigel Nash—tenor sax
Dick Pearce—trumpet and flugelhorn

Produced by:

Robin Millar

Comments:

very beatnik jazzy (half of it is the same as Everything But The GirlEden was the U.K. debut, Everything But The Girl—the U.S.). (4/98, jjhanson@att.net)

I consider to be their finest collection of songs...and I have them all. (stunning@tezcat.com)


Everything But the Girl

Release info:

1984—Sire/Blanco Y Negro—9 25212-1

Availability:

Hard to find. U.S. only.

Ecto priority:

Medium

Group members:

Tracey Thorn—vocals
Ben Watt—guitars, piano, organ, and vocals

Guest artists:

Simon Booth—guitar
Bosco de Oliveira—percussion
Charles Hayward—drums
Peter King—alto sax
Bill Le Sage—vibraphone
Johnny Marr—harmonica
Chucho Merchan—double bass
June Miles Kingston—drums, vocals
Phil Moxham—bass
Nigel Nash—tenor sax
Dick Pearce—flugel, trumpet
Dave Smith—double bass
Bob Sydur—tenor sax

Produced by:

Robin Millar

Comments:

Where *was* I in 1984 when this was released? This is more jazzy-poppish than later albums, but I like it. (Riphug@aol.com)

Love Not Money

Release info:

1985—WEA/Blanco Y Negro—2292-40657-2

Availability:

Wide

Ecto priority:

Medium

Group members:

Tracey Thorn—vocals
Ben Watt, guitars, piano, organ and vocals

Guest artists:

June Miles Kingston—drums and vocals
Phil Moxham—bass
Neil Scott—electric guitar
Peter King—alto sax
Nigel Nash—tenor sax
Dick Pearce—flugel and trumpet
Chris Thompson—banjo
B.J. Cole—pedal steel
Dave Golding—tin whistle
Robin Millar—piano

Produced by:

Robin Millar

Comments:

More standard acoustic pop—very good. (4/98, jjhanson@att.net)

Baby the Stars Shine Bright Tonight

Release info:

1986—WEA/Blanco Y Negro—240966-2

Availability:

Wide

Ecto priority:

Medium

Group members:

Tracey Thorn—vocals
Ben Watt—guitars

Guest artists:

Mickey Harris—bass
Robert Peters—drums
Cara Tivey—piano and organ
Also includes a full orchestra, and vocal choir including Linda Allen, Victy SIlva, Clare Torrey, Tessa Niles, Gary Taylor, Lance Ellington, Tony Burrows, and Bob Saker

Produced by:

Mike Hedges and Everything But The Girl

Comments:

Very big bandish-my second favorite of their albums. (4/98, jjhanson@att.net)

Idlewild

Release info:

1988—WEA Records/Sire/Blanco Y Negro

Availability:

Wide

Ecto priority:

Medium

Group members:

Tracey Thorn—vocals
Ben Watt—guitars and vocals

Guest artists:

Damon Butcher—Synthesizers, piano
Steve Pearce—bass guitar
Chucho Merchan—bass guitar
Peter King—alto saxophone
Ian Fraser—tenor saxophone
James McMillan—trumpet

Produced by:

Ben Watt

Comments:

Later U.S. release features a cover of "I Don't Want To Talk About It" and a different track order than the U.K. version.

"The Night I Heard Caruso Sing" is one of my favorite songs of all time, bar none. (mjmjminla@yahoo.com)

My favorite album by them—the perfect summer album. (4/98, jjhanson@att.net)


The Language of Life

Release info:

1990—Atlantic—7 82057-2

Availability:

Wide

Ecto priority:

Medium

Group members:

Tracey Thorn—vocals
Ben Watt—vocals, guitars, piano

Guest artists:

Omar Hakim—drums
Vinnie Colaiuta—drums
Larry Williams—synthesizers, programming and piano
Joe Sample—piano
Russell Ferrante—piano
Lenny Castro—percussion
Michael Landau—electric guitar
Stan Getz—tenor saxophone
Michael Brecker—tenor saxophone
Kirk Whalum—tenor saxophone
Jerry Hey—flugel

Produced by:

Tommy LiPuma

Comments:

Very smooth jazz—don't much care for it. (4/98, jjhanson@att.net)

this is my favorite album by them but that might just be because it was the first album i ever heard by them. (iflin@speakeasy.net)


Worldwide

Release info:

1991—Atlantic—82322-2

Availability:

Wide

Ecto priority:

Medium

Group members:

Tracey Thorn—vocals
Ben Watt—vocals, keyboards, guitars, synthesizers, sampled percussion, programming, etc.

Guest artists:

Ralph Salmins—drums, cymbals, percussion
Geoff Gascoyne—bass guitar
Dick Oatts—alto and soprano saxophones
Damon "The Doctor" Butcher—acoustic piano
Peter Murray—organ
Martin Ditcham—congas, tambourine
James McMillan—trumpet, flugel
Pete Whyman—tenor saxophone
Steve Pearce—bass guitar
Greg Lester—electric guitar
Vinnie Colaiuta—drums

Produced by:

Everything But the Girl

Comments:

My third favorite album by them. Much like Idlewild. Contains my favorite Everything But The Girl song—"You Lift Me Up". (4/98, jjhanson@att.net)

The Best of Everything But The Girl

Release info:

German Compilation

Availability:

Hard to find

Ecto priority:

Medium

Group members:

Tracey Thorn, Ben Watt

Track Listing:

1. Missing (Todd Terry Remix)
2. Driving (Todd Terry Remix)
3. Old Friends
4. One Place
5. I Don't Want To Talk About It
6. Love Is Strange
7. The Only Living Boy In New York
8. Apron Strings
9. When All's Well
10. Another Bridge
11. Each And Every One
12. Rollercoaster
13. Driving (The Underdog Remix)
14. Better Things
15. Protection

82-92 Essence & Rare

Release info:

1992

Availability:

Japanese Import

Ecto priority:

Medium

Group members:

Tracey Thorn, Ben Watt

Comments:

Wonderful stuff; I adore this band. (KSMUDGE@uwyo.edu)

Acoustic

Release info:

1992—Atlantic—7 82395-2

Availability:

U.S. only

Ecto priority:

Medium

Group members:

Ben Watt—guitars, piano vocals
Tracey Thorn—vocals

Guest artists:

None

Produced by:

Everything But the Girl

Track Listing:

Love is Strange
Tougher Than the Rest
Time After Time
Alison
Downtown Train
Driving
One Place
Apron Strings (Live)
Me and Bobby D
Come on Home
Fascination (Live)

Comments:

Acoustic (duh!) (4/98, jjhanson@att.net)

Home Movies: The Best of Everything but the Girl

Release info:

1993

Availability:

non-U.S.

Ecto priority:

Medium

Group members:

Ben Watt, Tracey Thorn

Track Listing:

Each And Every One
Another Bridge
Fascination
Native Land
Come On Home
Cross My Heart
I Don't Want To Talk About It
Apron Strings
The Night I Heard Caruso Sing
Driving
Imagining America
Understanding
Twin Cities
Love Is Strange
The Only Living Boy In New York
I Didn't Know I Was Looking For Love

Amplified Heart

Release info:

1994—Atlantic

Availability:

Wide

Ecto priority:

Medium

Group members:

Tracey Thorn—vocals
Ben Watt—acoustic and electric guitars, acoustic & electric piano, Mini Moog, and vocals

Guest artists:

Danny Thompson—double bass
Dave Mattacks—drums
Martin Ditcham—percussion
Harry Robinson—string arrangement
John Coxon—additional keyboards
Richard Thompson—lead guitar on "25th December"

Produced by:

Ben Watt, Tracey Thorn & John Coxon

Comments:

their output gets softer and softer and less edgy and interesting—but, this *is* good for falling asleep to. (mjmjminla@yahoo.com)

I found Amplified Heart to be a terrific album with some really beautiful songs. (1/97, colford@chlotrudis.org)

check out amplified heart for a more contemporary feel of what Everything But The Girl is about (newer releases include the remix of "Missing" that became such a big hit for them—so you can check out their earlier jazz sounds, and their later dance remixed sound. this is good for melancholy smoothness and Tracey Thorn's voice. and we all need a disco song at the end to dance to. i think this one would also be on my top ten desert island CDs. i think it is a brilliant album, and "25th of December" has to be the best seasonal song that doesn't sound like a seasonal song. (iflin@speakeasy.net)


Walking Wounded

Release info:

1996—Atlantic—82912-2

Availability:

Wide

Ecto priority:

Medium

Group members:

Tracey Thorn—vocals
Ben Watt—synths, beats, abstract sounds, acoustic guitar, vocals

Produced by:

Ben Watt

Comments:

It's a quite a departure from their recent albums, although not so much of a surprise considering the "Missing" remix and Tracey's work with Massive Attack. Walking Wounded successfully integrates Everything But The Girl's style and Tracey's sort of jazzy vocals with jungle/techno/whatever you want to call it. It's a lot edgier, and in my opinion, much more interesting than anything Everything But The Girl has done in years. Their music had lost all of its edge and had become disposable. However, they more than redeemed themselves with this album. The mix of dance beats with their traditional sound works perfectly. It's almost like discovering a new group. It's definitely in my Top Ten of the year.
     What I think makes Walking Wounded a great album is that Ben and Tracey seem genuinely excited about making music again. It has a real sense of passion and experimentation which I think is necessary for truly great music. They have said they were getting bored with their music, and that ended up affecting the quality of their songs, in my opinion. I think it's more obvious on the albums right before Amplified Heart. (1/97, stuart@sph.emory.edu)

Much more Massive Attack/Tricky influenced, to be expected after the huge success of the remix of "Missing". Tracy's cool vocals dwell on broken relationships and love gone wrong. Solid album full of good songs, but none of the songs have the immediate appeal of "Missing". The songwriting (lyrics) seems to me to be some of their weakest. My favorite track—"The Heart Remains a Child". (jjhanson@att.net)

Walking Wounded has some terrific songs on it, but they all have that very artificial, electronic backbeat behind them. For me, the overall experience was rather repetitious. It was as if they were trying to make every song another "Missing". (1/97, colford@chlotrudis.org)

walking wounded is their dance album (and quite brill if you like mainstream drum and bass music). It is an excellent album that marries both house dance beats, with Tracey Thorn's excellent vocals, and Ben Watt's strong songwriting abilities. Coming from a songwriter's perspective, i think too often "dance" and "house" music lacks in song structure, and instead the concentration in on beats or drum loops. (iflin@speakeasy.net)

Very nice in a mellow, sort of poppy way. (afinney@ozonline.com.au)


Temperamental

Release info:

1999—Atlantic Records—83214-2

Availability:

Wide

Ecto priority:

Recommended

Group members:

Tracey Thorn—vocals
Ben Watt—beats, bass, keyboards, guitars, strings, scratches, sound editing and programming

Guest artists:

Deep Dish—programming and music performance on track 10

Produced by:

Ben Watt, Deep Dish, J. Majik, Danny Jay

Comments:

Temperamental pushes further in the club/dance direction that Walking Wounded started in, so if you didn't like that album, you're not going to like this one either. Still, Everything But The Girl is making some of the most interesting club music out there. The music is catchy, the lyrics meaningful, the sound effects mostly not distracting, and Tracey's voice is still wonderfully Tracey's voice. (JoAnn Whetsell)

the new Everything But The Girl is bit too gay disco club music for me. kinda generic sounding, it sounds like it would fit well on one of those gay dance compilations like Pride 99, and Anthem Vol. 2, etc. the ones that have all the popular songs, remixed with a ubiquitous under-beat, in which all songs have been rendered into one long 72-minute beat, with different vocals on top. perhaps it will grow on me though. for sure their collaboration with Deep Dish—"The Future Of The Future (Stay Gold)" is one of the weaker songs (i picked up the single months ago when it came out, in anticipation of new Everything But The Girl and was highly disappointed. hmmmm.... (iflin@speakeasy.net)

I would agree that Temperamental is even more pure dance music than Walking Wounded. And, it's a good album. But I still think Walking Wounded is their masterpiece. They were able to take the traditional Everything But The Girl sound and meld it perfectly with modern dance and electronica sounds. On Temperamental, the songs seem to have organically developed as dance music, but the result is just a little too generic. I'm not disappointed since I'm just happy to have another Everything But The Girl album, but I don't think this one will have the staying power with me that Walking Wounded has. (stuart@sph.emory.edu)

One of my biggest disappointments of the year. I liked Cher's techno-pop album, but this album just gets annoying—can barely listen to it all the way through. (jjhanson@att.net)


Like the Deserts Miss the Rain

Release info:

2003—Warner Music—R2 73838

Availability:

Wide

Ecto priority:

Highly recommended

Group members:

Tracey Thorn—vocals
Ben Watt—vocals, guitars, moog, synths, samples, bass, beats, organ, piano, electric piano, original instrumentation (5, 8, 10), horn and string arrangements

Guest artists:

Danny Thompson—bass (2)
Dave Mattacks—drums (2)
Martin Ditcham—percussion (2, 13)
Chucho Merchan—bass (4, 6)
Bosco D'Oliveira—percussion (4, 6)
Pete King, Dick Pearce, Nigel Hash—horns (4)
Chicane—additional instrumentation (5)
Charlie Morgan—drums (6)
Bill Le Sage—vibes (6)
Massive Attack—instrumentation (7)
Photek—additional instrumentation (8)
Soul Vision—instrumentation (9)
John Coxon—original instrumentation (10)
Todd Terry—additional instrumentation (10)
Cara Tivey—piano (11, 13)
Micky Harris—bass (11, 13)
Rob Peters—drums (11, 13)
Frank Ricotti—vices, marimba (13)
Spring Heel Jack—instrumentation, programming (16)

Produced by:

Everything But the Girl (1, 2, 10, 13), Ben Watt (3, 5, 8, 9, 11, 12, 14, 15), Robin Millar (4, 6), Nellee Hooper and Massive Attack (7), Sandy Rivera (9), John Coxon (10), Todd Terry (10), Mike Hedges (13), Spring Heel Jack (16)

Comments:

It's hard to get excited about retrospective albums, but this one is worth getting excited about. The 16 tracks span 1984-2000 and represent different facets of their music—their hybrid of folk, jazz, and electronica. One track represents Tracey Thorn's collaborations with Massive Attack and none of the songs are repeats from their previous compilation Home Movies. The songs are not in chronological order, and this works really well as they flow into each other stylistically instead. The remixes of songs from Amplified Heart and Walking Wounded are surprisingly good. Lyrics are also included which is a nice touch usually overlooked in retrospective albums.
     Overall, it's a great introduction for new listeners and a good compilation for fans. It's also available as a limited edition version with a bonus 4-track disc which is worth getting if you can. (JoAnn Whetsell)

Further info:

Everything But The Girl Free (in U.K.) Information Service: Everything But The Girl, Freepost CV744, 47 Bedford Street, Leamington Spa, CV32 5BR.

Contact info: Everything But The Girl, P.O. Box 3382, London, NW3 1TG

Tracy Thorn appears on an album by Massive Attack

Holly Cole covers one of their songs ("Don't Let the Teardrops Rust Your Shiny Heart"), and Tricky has collaborated with them.

Besides Tracey Thorn's solo work, Ben Watt has a solo album or two as well, and has a book out chronicling his fight with a rare illness.


Thanks to Neal Copperman, Jeff Hanson, and JoAnn Whetsell for work on this entry.

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Entry last updated 2008-08-17 02:16:34.
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