Thursday, October 30, 2014

Hounds of Love: An Interview With... Kate Bush Italian 7" Picture Disc

Italian pressed 7” interview picture disc with Kate Bush during the Hounds of Love era. It's considered pretty rare and hardly ever turns up at all. Allegedly, this is a promo release and the only interview disc to be officially released through EMI. What's even more interesting is that people have been on opposite sides of the fence over this one for years and years, wondering if this is really official or just a nicely done bootleg. What is clear is that there seems to be too much unnecessary confusion about this one and not enough plain common sense.

This is one record I used to do a lot of digging into during the pre-internet days, but nothing conclusive has ever turned up about it. The fact that I've never come across any official mention of this anywhere is pretty telling to start with. When I say official, I mean record company official and not fan opinion official. There is a huge difference between the two. Having said that, if you use a bit of simple logic in this case, all fingers point to this being unofficial and I’ll explain why.

To start with, the record doesn't have great sound quality. Unofficial releases (or bootlegs) from back in the day were notorious for their not-so-great to poor sound quality. If this was an official release from EMI Italy it’s doubtful this would have even been pressed, especially if a test pressing had been made first to test the sound quality of the recording. It wouldn't have gotten out of the pressing plant sounding like this, so that’s a fairly large strike right there.

One of the bigger things to consider when looking at this 7" is the source of the material itself. The interview on it has actually been borrowed from the official Canadian promo LP 'An Interview with Kate Bush'. If you aren't familiar with that LP it has two sections to it. Side one is an open interview, which contains 11 separate responses pre-recorded by Kate with pauses in between. The total length is just over 9 minutes long. It also comes with a cue sheet containing the questions that coincide with Kate’s pre-recorded responses. Basically the intention behind this was to use it for radio broadcast interviews and whatever else. Anyway, this Italian 7” contains Kate’s pre-recorded responses from that Canadian promo, but with two differences. Not only is the sound quality poor in comparison to the Canadian promo, as I mentioned before, but a fake interviewer has also been badly dubbed into the recording. I'm assuming that the fake interviewer is Italian, but the accent is so thick and the elocution on certain words is so bad that the guy sounds like he's from India. The whole thing would be sad if it wasn't for the fact that it comes off sounding more hilarious than anything else. Despite the hilarity of it, it's not professional sounding at all and I very much doubt that EMI would have even used this guy - whoever he may be. I should also point out that the interview portion of the official Canadian promo has also been bootlegged onto several other 7" interview picture discs, as well as the unofficial CD box set: Kate Bush On Compact Disc, which you can see right "HERE". In those cases another voice has been dubbed into it. The official Canadian promo portion of this doesn't have any dubbed in voice – just the supplied cue sheets.

Even without taking the interview source or quality into any consideration, there are loads of endless key things lacking on the card insert and record that indicate this is not an official release, such as the EMI logo on the bottom right-hand corner of the insert. Nowhere does it say EMI Italiana, which would have been the case. It also doesn't say Made in Italy anywhere on the insert or the record, which also would have been the case. There’s also no distribution information anywhere, and it also lacks copying violation warnings of any kind. If this was a legitimate promo, at the very least it would have been listed as such somewhere on the insert or record (even on both). Another thing that should tell anyone that this is dodgy is the photo on the b-side. The photograph was taken by photographer Claude Vanheye, who shot it back in the late ‘70s, so it was pretty old by that point. It's extremely unlikely that EMI would have used something so old, and especially not this shot. If I recall correctly, Kate wasn't particularly fond of the end result of that photo-shoot either, so I seriously doubt this would have gotten her approval.

Despite all of that it's still a really nice record visually, and the picture insert is pretty stunning. As I mentioned earlier this one rarely ever turns up, but I wouldn't waste your time seeking it out as it tends to go for more money than it's actually worth in my opinion.

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