Of all the bands that are no longer with us, I would have to say I miss Catherine Wheel the most. [Yeah, I've gone on about this before...no wait, come back!] Similarly, with all this reissue/repackage madness going on the past few years, the one band I would love a thorough catalogue overhaul of is - you guessed it - Catherine Wheel.
So imagine my excitement last fall when I get a text from my friend Joe that Cherry Red is working on a re-issue of 'Ferment'. "Hooray!", I think, even though I know the finished product will certainly fall far short of the ideal package I've created in my head. [Imagine it: disc one is a DualDisc with the original album on one side and a sparkling new 5.1 mix on the other. Yeah, I know, that's so totally 2006, but imagine a well done one, something along the lines of the 5.1 mix of 'Black Celebration' - specifically "Fly on the Windscreen - Final". Amazing. Throw the period promo videos on there while you're at it. Anyways, disc two could go a few ways. You can't fit all the b-sides onto one disc, so you can either stick some at the end of CD1 and put the rest on CD2, but that doesn't leave much room for unreleased material. You could cherry pick the best, but then you aren't really getting a complete picture AND without a doubt you're going to miss someone's favorite, however this leaves more room so it's probably the best bet. There are confirmed to be unreleased masters sitting in the vaults, so let's dig those out, and there's probably more demos where those on the second "I Want To Touch You" 12" came from so unearth them as well. Actually, scratch that - let's make it a THREE disc set with all of the b-sides at the end of disc one and taking up disc two and dedicate disc three to demos and live stuff and "new to us" material. See how out of hand this can get, and fast?]
Anyways, so I've been waiting quite impatiently for some info to come out. And then, all of a sudden, there's a track listing. And what are we getting? A one disc set - boo! - with six bonus tracks: "Balloon" [not a bonus to us in the US, folks], "Intravenous", and the whole of the "30 Century Man" EP.
Not only are both of the EPs those bonus tracks are sourced from relatively easy to track down in this day and age - two "30 Century Man"'s recently sold for under $10 each on eBay, I had no idea it had gotten that inexpensive - but anyone who is interested in buying this re-issue more likely than not already has them, perhaps multiple times over. [Hello "Balloon" CDS/12"/7", nice to see you.] The promise of "extensive liner notes" doesn't a worthwhile re-issue make.
Perhaps those who needed to be involved weren't playing nice - watching from a far as a fan, it wouldn't totally surprise me - but if you're going to put together a [relatively] niche re-issue, you really need to make it worthwhile for those it's aimed at to purchase again. If there was a vinyl edition coming out, I'd be a little more forgiving - good luck tracking an original down for less than $50. But there's not, so I'm not. Talk about a crushing disappointment.