Is Long Hot Summers really the definitive anthology of The Style Council’s career? The best compilation of their magnificent music? Yes, it is.
As many Best-Of-Compilations of The Style Council’s oeuvre have been released over the years, the primary question with Long Hot Summers / The Story Of The Style Council is: Is it really the definitive anthology of The Style Council’s career? Is it the best compilation of their magnificent music? The answer is simple and clear: Yes, it is. It even surpasses the previous superb collections: The fully on point Greatest Hits from 2000, a CD compiling 18 tracks, not missing any of their hits. The excellent The Sound Of The Style Council from 2003, a double LP/CD, comprising 21 tracks. Long Hot Summers surpasses those two and others not only because it collects more songs, 32 on vinyl, 37 on 2 CDs, and the digital album, it’s an affectionately created, high quality artefact, that really tells the story of The Style Council in full. And maybe it’s a better time now to release a new TSC-Compilation than it was around the millennium. In 2020 The Style Council are as hip and relevant like they were in their prime, maybe they are loved now even more.
The first and foremost quality guarantee is, that Paul Weller, the Modfather and Style Council master mind himself, together with Andy Street, is responsible for the concept and compilation of Long Hot Summers. So, the design of the 3-LP-package, the tracklisting, the remastered sound, the liner notes – everything is top here.
The design and the whole artwork of Long Hot Summers is exquisitely stylish and cool in the tradition of the old Style Council records (the inspirational award goes to their previous brilliant graphic designer Simon Halfon). It comes in a luxurious gatefold cover and beautifully designed inner sleeves, using a lot of Peter Anderson’s classic photos of The Style Council.
The sound remastered at Abbey Road is top, too. Previous collections tended to sound not so powerful, but way better on vinyl than on CD. Long Hot Summersdoes sound dynamic, bright, crispy, and fresh just like the old master tapes have been freed from all dust. How the vinyl LPs sound is a revelation, even the digital album sounds okay.
The tracklisting is also excellent, the non-chronological running order sketches the big picture from the opener Headstart For Happiness to the last track, a previously unreleased demo of My Ever-Changing Moods. You couldn’t do better, could you? It’s fine to hear Long Hot Summers in full that way round. Nothing’s missing.
En route you get the hits and the classics like A Solid Bond In Your Heart, Speak Like A Child, My Ever-Changing Moods, Long Hot Summer, You’re The Best Thing, Shout To The Top! or Have You Ever Had It Blue. You get deep key album tracks like Down In The Seine, The Paris Match, Homebreakers, Spin Drifting, Waiting or Changing Of The Guard and rarities like Wanted (Or Waiter, There’s Some Soup In My Flies) or Sweet Loving Ways, plus two previously unreleased bonus tracks.
The attendant liner notes of Long Hot Summers are formidable too, the renowned music journalist Lois Wilson tells the Style Council story with lots of knowledge and affection for the band’s music. The famous actor Martin Freeman, a dedicated fan of The Style Council, recalls fondly how much they meant to him in his youth and adult life. The same goes for me: Honestly, The Style Council had a big impact on my life. With all about them – the free-minded, manifold musical mix, what they sang about, what they thought, their left-wing politics, their open-minded internationalist stance, their modernism, how they dressed, their love for Paris, cappuccinos, and espressos – they were an import game and life changer for me. Not the only one, but yeah. Would I love to have the five more songs, that come with the CDs and the digital album – All Gone Away, Boy Who Cried Wolf, Homebreakers, A Woman’s Song, Shout To The Top (Instrumental) – on the vinyls too? Of course. But 32 tracks are fair enough. Long Hot Summers brings it all back.
Read More articles by Klaus Winninger by going to his blog “ Klaus Winningers Beat: And the Beat Goes On” HERE
This Article was published with permission from the Author Klaus Winninger. All rights reserved.
© Long Hot Summer Pics shot by Klaus Winninger
Copyright © Klaus Winninger, Mods Of Your Generation, 2020, . All Rights Reserved. No part of this interview may be reproduced without the permission of the authors.