"A Tale Of Two Lyrics and three different species of Wild Orchids" - TWR's very own transcription service restores some missing lyrics to one of Mr Hackett's latest offerings. Your scribe for today: Alan Hewitt.

Lyrics have always been something that have fascinated and at times irritated fans, especially when for one reason or another they can't be either heard or fully understood or in others have been left out of the lyric sheet for one reason or another. Steve has set a few challenges for his listeners recently not least being the original lyrics to what we now know as A Dark Night In Toytown which thankfully are now fully reprinted in the booklet to the Wild Orchids album. Strangely enough though, the same cannot be said for the lyrics of Down Street for which hefty slices of the lyrical content have been left out of the booklet. Ever one who hates an unsatisfied curiosity, yours truly has endeavoured to transcribe the missing bits to give the full "wide-screen" version of this latter day classic. I only hope Messrs Hackett, and King doesn't mind my liberty taking! For purposes of reference, the lyrics which do not appear in the album booklet are printed here in bold type.

Dear friend you've come at last

I wish to impart to you something

Of a deeply personal nature.

Dare we venture off the map

And indeed between the cracks

To a private road of sorts

I presume you have a strong will

And the stomach to match the

Underbelly of our fair city.

You'll need this firm crowbar

Whilst I implore you to utilise no

Sense of smell

And to think that people live down there.

A rush of chill air heralds our

Clattering necropolis railway

Like a Transylvanian express

Plunging into rivers of fungi and algae

And the midst of ten million rats:

One for each one of us

And to think; people live down there!

A race of wild hogs inhabits the sewers of Hampstead

The cisterns smell superb, supreme

Catacombs of Kensal Green

I know you like to slide away

Like those aldermen of Whitechapel

But I've my own kind of Jubilee Line

Out of sight and out of mind

And to think: people have to live down there!

Strangled streams, smothered

Rivers, London always gives me the

Shivers brrrr!

Forty abandoned stations, down

Churchill's last bolthole

Impregnable as Hitler's bunker

Can’t you see them dancing on the

platform at Down Street

All things bright and beautiful

All creatures great and small…..

(Copyright: Stephen Hackett Ltd/King Custard Music)


The release of Steve's new album has, as usual generated several collectable items. The standard and "special" editions differ in several aspects not least the appearance of four tracks on the latter which are not to be found on the standard edition. Having had the chance now to compare the actual running order of both versions at length, I have to say that the standard edition has a much better flow to it than the "special". I was surprised by the omission of Transylvanian Express from the standard edition. This track very much takes the part of a curtain raiser, one could even perhaps say "overture" for the album.
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Blue Child sticks out like a sore thumb and even though as an all too rare example of Steve's Blues playing, I like it a lot, its position in the running order of the special edition sandwiched between A Girl Called Linda and To A Close really spoils the momentum of the album. Cedars Of Lebanon is well placed within the running order of the special edition although its omission from the standard version does not affect the overall impact of either version. Until The Last Butterfly however, should, in my opinion have never been released on this project. This track is another delightful example of Steve's acoustic playing and its relegation to the end of the special edition gives it the appearance of being an afterthought, a tag which is something that such a track does not deserve to be saddled with in my own opinion. Maybe this would have been better served as part of a future acoustic album although there has seldom been a rock album by Steve which has not featured at least one acoustic track and so I suppose that tradition has been upheld here.

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As if that were not enough, however, the Japanese edition of the album which was released a few weeks after the previous editions has generated a further two collectable items. Eruption was a track which didn't particularly grab my attention when I heard it in Steve's studio back in April and I have no real reason to reappraise it now that I have the Japanese album here. The appearance of Reconditioned Nightmare here is also something of a surprise. This return visit to one of Steve's best known instrumentals and firm stage favourites would surely have made better sense being reprised on the forthcoming re-mastered version of the Cured album from whence it originally came? Steve has certainly proven that the devil really is in the detail on this one however and it is replete with enough production values to sink a battleship!

Steve has never been short on ideas and as the various versions of this new album prove, he has never stinted his fans in terms of material. The plethora of different versions of the album available may confuse the floating voter but the attempts at different running orders give a few different insights into how difficult it can be to try and please everyone - record companies and fans alike whilst producing an album that also gives Steve himself artistic satisfaction and on that score - Wild Orchids succeeds on every level whichever version you are listening to!