Script For A Jesters Tear (Deluxe Edition) – Marillion
Another of the re-issued box sets by Marillion is upon us and this is fifth one of their albums from their back catalogue to be re-released in what they call the Deluxe Edition. I think the band could have been a bit more adventurous like Ian Anderson with how he has titled the re-issues of the Jethro Tull back catalogue by giving each edition an associated name to go with each album, rather than just call it a “Deluxe Edition”. It’s rather confusing especially being that just over a decade ago many artists were re-releasing their back catalogue of albums as double CD or LP that included extra bonus material on the second disc just like the album pictured below.
Marillion have also copied Ian Anderson with the packaging they chose to put out these new re-issues by putting all the discs in a hardback book. I very much favour this type of packaging in that they have a feel of real genuine quality and presentation about them and they can also be easily stored along with your DVD’s. The other thing the band are doing regarding these new re-issues, is that they are not re-releasing them in any particular order or to mark the anniversary of when they were originally released. They also stick to same format by including 5 discs.
The bands debut album Script For A Jesters Tear is the third album they have re-issued in these rather tasty packages that comes from the Fish era of the band. To be perfectly honest this is the only era of the band I am interested in which is why I purchased both the new re-issues of Misplaced Childhood and Clutching At Straws in this series and never bothered with the other two albums that got released Brave and Afraid Of Sunlight. The bands debut album has always been my personal favourite album of theirs and the only other album I am waiting for them to get around to is Fugazi and that will most likely get re-issued next year.
My main interest and reason for buying these types of albums all over again is really for the 5.1 surround mix of the album more than anything, but you do also get quite an array of bonus material thrown in along the way. Some of which has never been released before, so there is good value here plus you get a book to read all about the time when the album was made. They also come with a documentary with all the original band members speaking about when the album was made and oddly enough, they have titled it “Sackcloth and Greasepaint”. That would have been an appropriate name for this edition rather than just call it a “Deluxe Edition”.
The Packaging & Artwork…
Personally, I do not think you can go wrong with these book editions and they really are genuine quality and the 5 discs store very neatly into the hardback book that’s made with thick quality cardboard and sturdy plastic trays to hold the 4 CD’s. The Blu Ray is stored in its own slip pocket and is gloss coated inside to prevent the disc from getting scratched. It also comes with a 60-page book that provides a brief look into the history of when the band started and their debut album and it also includes all the linear notes, credits, lyrics and a lot of photos and artwork.
The artwork and design layout were done by the English illustrator Mark Wilkinson who done all the artwork for the band back in the days when Fish was in the band. He also went on to do most of the artwork for Fish’s solo albums as well as album covers for bands such as Judas Priest and Iron Maiden. The artwork he done for this album is my personal favourite album cover of all Marillion albums, although it was the artwork, he did for the bands second album Fugazi that was chosen by Gigwise in 2012 that got rated the 29th best album cover of all time.
I have nothing but praise for Wilkinson’s artwork and I suppose Fish himself deserves some praise with the ideas he presented to him. I shall also touch on the artwork a bit later on in the bonus material that is included on the Blu Ray. The bands logo name was done by Joe Mirowski.
Script For A Jester’s Tear Deluxe Release Editions…
As far as I can make out unlike the previous Marillion Deluxe Editions there is no Digital Download for this release and it was only released in the form of two box sets. The 4 CD + 1 Blu Ray is the cheaper of the two and retails at around £30. It also gives you more bonus content with the addition of the Blu Ray.
For vinyl lovers it has also been released as a 4 LP box set and is accompanied by 24-page booklet containing rare photos, new artwork and memorabilia. Plus, an extended essay from Prog Magazine editor Jerry Ewing. It does come at a higher price and retails at around £60.
I cannot find out any information regarding the quality of the vinyl as to if it’s been pressed onto 180- or 140-gram vinyl but no doubt 3 of the LP’s in this box set will have restrictions regarding sound quality due to them being around the 46 – 48-minute mark. This is personally where I have always seen this format being inferior in relation to the CD and why I chose to relegate my turntable to the attic 20 odd years ago.
Marillion In Brief History…
The band was originally formed in Aylesbury which is in the county of Buckinghamshire in England by drummer Mick Pointer and bassist Doug Irvine at the end of 1978 after they both decided to leave the band Electric Gypsy and form a new band of their own. It was also Pointer who chose the name of Silmarillion, after J.R.R. Tolkien’s book. In 1979 they played one gig in London as an instrumental band with Neal Cockle on keys and Martin Jenner on guitar who were later replaced in the same year by guitarist Steve Rothery and the keyboard player Brian Jelliman. It was not until around March 1980 that this new line-up got to play their first gig.
At this point the band certainly was not going anywhere and it was not until the name was shortened to Marillion and Doug Irvine left in 1981 and they brought in a new bass player Diz Minnitt who only joined on the account that they also took in his pal Fish that things started to develop more. It was this newer line-up of the band that started to write and develop much of the bands earlier material and in this same year that they had also had written the demos of “He Knows You Know” and “Garden Party” that were to appear on the bands debut album.
Between 1981 & 1982 most of the material was written by the same line-up which is why 4 of 6 tracks on the bands debut album are also credited in the writing to Brian Jelliman and Diz Minnitt. However, it was not until Mark Kelly replaced Jelliman at the end of 1981 and Pete Trewavas replaced Minnitt in the beginning of 1982 that the material started to take more shape and the band were actually going places. Though even before Minnitt left the band had played over 100 gigs including Friars in Aylesbury where they built up a bit of a following.
It was Fish who was the one that got them out playing live more by getting the gigs. He also took on a more demanding role and control over the band, but he knew it was going to take a lot more than himself to get the band on the road to success. He decided they needed a press officer if things were going to progress and by chance, he landed on a good one who had a lot of connections in the music business. Keith Goodwin had worked with the likes of Yes, Black Sabbath and Argent who was the key to getting the bands foot in the door so to speak.
Not only did Goodwin get the band noticed in music magazines such as the Melody Maker, NME and Record Mirror, but also got them a prestigious session with the BBC’s Friday Rock Show which enabled them to get their foot in the door of London’s famous Marquee Club which led to further bolster their success. It was also at the Marquee Club that they were spotted by the Genesis manager and founder of Charisma Records Tony Stratton-Smith who later sent out a couple of chaps over in a flash roller to try and sign them up for a record deal. Although it was only a singles deal that was on the table at the time to which the band turned down.
In the end the band decided to sign up to EMI Records and sign over the publishing rights to Charisma and the deal was done at the Reading festival they played in August 1982. There was another Genesis connection when the band went into Park Gate Studios in Sussex to record their first single “Market Square Heroes” along with “Three Boats Down From The Candy” on the 25th October 1982. It was produced by David Hitchcock who was the same guy who produced Genesis 1972 album Foxtrot.
They also released a 12″ single so they could include their epic 17-minute track “Grendel” on the B-Side. The reason they did was because it never fitted in with the tracks, they had planned for their debut album. “Market Square Heroes” did not exactly give the band instant Stardom and failed to break into the UK’s Top 40 and peaked outside it at number 53.
However, success was not too far away and neither was actually charting the single with their second single release on the 31st January 1983, that got released to co-inside with their debut album that would get released in the following month. “He Knows You Know” did manage to break into the UK’s Top 40 and peaked at number 35. To save wasting a track they used “Charting The Single” for the B-Side.
The bands debut album Script For A Jester’s Tear did even better and broke into the Top 10 of the UK albums charts and by now they was on the road to Stardom though it would take at least another couple of years before they were lining their pockets with Gold so to speak and the rest is really history and a fascinating one at that.
Script For A Jester’s Tear (Deluxe Edition) In Review…
The original album Script For A Jester’s Tear was released back on the 14th March 1983. The album contained 6 tracks spread over an overall playing time of 46 minutes, 56 seconds. The album received commercial success in the UK on its release and peaked at number 7 in the UK album charts. Part of the albums success may of also came from the late Tommy Vance plugging some of the tracks from the album on the Friday Rock Show that was one of the popular rock shows on BBC Radio 1 back then.
The bands debut Script For A Jester’s Tear is the only album to feature the drummer Mick Pointer the very man who formed the band and gave it the name. It was down to both he and Fish not getting along that well in the end that led to his dismissal even though the bands guitarist Steve Rothery fought in his defence to try and keep him on. The dismissal hit Pointer hard forcing him to pack it all in and set up his own kitchen designer business to which did for the next ten years. Though like a phoenix from the flames he returned to the music business to prove his critics wrong and has had a successful music career with the neo-prog rock band Arena for the past 25 years.
The new Deluxe Edition of the album was officially released on the 3rd April 2020. Though due to distribution problems many outlets including Amazon put a hold on it for a couple of weeks and were not releasing it until the 17th. I pre-ordered my copy from Amazon on the 31st January and due to the Coronavirus also having an effect on the postal service it did not arrive until the 21st. Though I cannot complain and I got it much cheaper than the retail price of £29.99 and ended up paying £23.99 for it.
One of the advantages of having a residency at the Marquee Club was that it had its own in-house studio around the back of it which was mainly used for residents of the Marquee Club only. It was the band who chose to record the album there. It was also the perfect location for Fish and it was his watering hole. Although David Hitchcock had produced the bands single “Market Square Heroes” he had been injured in a car crash and Nick Tauber was brought in to produce the album.
Tauber had produced Thin Lizzy’s early records, though he’d recently had success with the new-wave banshee Toyah Wilcox. He very much helped flesh out some of the superfluous bits and got the right layering to get them the right sound. The album was recorded onto a 16-track mixing console and the band were on a tight budget to record the album. The Marquee Studio closed in 1988 coinciding with the demolition of the Marquee Club. Many artists had recorded live and studio albums there such as the likes of Elton John, Vangelis, Toyah Wilcox, The Clash, Groundhogs, Ralph McTell and many more.
The album comes with an array of bonus material with this new Deluxe Edition that reflects that period of when the band first started out. So, let’s now take a closer look at what you get for your money here.
The Package Contents.
As with the other couple of Deluxe Editions I have of Marillion the book that comes with them provides very little informative information and is mostly filled with glossary pictures and artwork. Regarding the very little informative information they contain you can read it within a couple of minutes whilst sitting on the toilet taking a dump :)))) and they are nowhere near as informative in relation to how well written the new Jethro Tull Editions have been so well compiled and put together.
I would also say that this particular release certainly packs in a lot more extra bonus content in relation to the other couple of Deluxe Editions, though it’s not all good and there are a few things here that could have been done better. But on the whole, I still feel you are getting good value for the money here regardless. So, let’s now dig deeper into the contents of the 4 CD’s and Blu Ray that come with it.
The 1st CD contains the new re-mix of the albums 6 tracks done by Andy Bradfield & Avril Mackintosh and these were the same guys who did the new mixes for the Deluxe Edition of Clutching At Straws that was released in 2018. I personally thought the new stereo mixes they done for that album were pretty good, but the new stereo mixes they have done for this album is quite outstanding and they certainly breathe a very welcoming breath of fresh air to the album.
They have brought out much more clarity and dynamics with this mix and I am hearing things I have never heard before. It’s quite a BIG! improvement over the original mix and the album sounds way better for it. Avril Mackintosh is the one who specialises in vocal production and you can hear every single word as clear as a bell in this mix. It does not suffer with the lack of bass either and every instrument is very well refined and detailed and it’s certainly up their with the best new stereo remixes.
The 2nd CD contains or supposedly contains a new remix of the 3 track 12″ version of the Market Square Heroes EP that originally was released back in 1982. It also contains a remastered version of “Charting The Single” which was the B-Side of “He Knows You Know” that was released back in 1983. However, I have noticed in many reviews that quite a few people are kicking up a fuss regarding the version of “Market Square Heroes” they have actually remixed here and included as part of the EP.
To be perfectly honest I do not know what all the fuss is about simply because if you were a purist I hardly think you would be buying something that has been newly remixed in the first place, unless you buy these things to kick up a fuss that is :)))).
But I myself have noticed that this is not the original version that was on the 12″ EP that Bradfield & Mackintosh have actually remixed, and instead they have remixed the alternative (Battle Priest Version) that was included as one of the bonus tracks on the 1997 remastered album. It might have been that they were not able to lay their hands on the multi-track tape of the original version. There have been many alternative versions of this song that got released over the years.
The other couple of tracks “Three Boats Down From The Candy” and the epic 17 and quarter minute long “Grendel” are remixed versions of the original studio tracks that were included on the original EP. Overall, another GRAND! job has been done with these new mixes and they have more punch with the bass but still define very good well detailed clarity and I am certainly not complaining and they sound GREAT!
CD’s 3 & 4.
The final couple of discs contain a previously unreleased concert of the band playing live at the Marquee Club in London on the 29th December 1982. This a really superb live concert that captures the band playing all 6 songs from their debut album before it was released in the following year plus a few others including “Market Square Heroes“, “Three Boats Down From The Candy“. “Margaret” and “Grendel“.
No doubt this concert has been bootlegged over the years and most likely is floating around on Youtube. But the sound quality on this release is to die for and this is well and truly a GREAT! bonus to have included. So now let’s take a look at the Blu Ray.
The Blu Ray.
The Blu Ray contains all of the material that is on the 4 CD’s only there are some differences and good and bad points about some of them. It also contains a few more extras besides and they really have packed in quite a lot onto the disc. The one thing that they have not included with this release is the original mix of the album.
The blu ray’s main menu displays Mark Wilkinson’s artwork that was done for the album cover and I must say it looks even better on my 50-inch TV. Speaking of the little TV in the picture on the far left, it has some concert footage on a loop of Fish singing along to “Grendel” and they have done a GREAT! job on the menu.
The menu gives you 6 choices to choose from, the first of which is the main feature which contains the 5.1 surround mix of the Script For A Jester’s Tear album. You will also notice there is no “Audio Options” on this menu and it is only the main feature that comes with a surround mix and the rest of the bonus material is in stereo only. The audio and track selection options are hidden away and a pop-up window (as seen below) displays the other options if they have any when you click on any of the 6 bonus features.
The main featured album gives you 3 audio choices to choose from all of which are 24-bit 96K high resolution quality. By default, its set to the LPCM Stereo mix. The other 2 are surround mixes and you have the choice of either the 5.1 DTS HD Master or the 5.1 LPCM mixes. There is certainly no lack of high-end audio options here but I shall go into further detail later on in the 5.1 mix section of my review.
Once you’ve made your audio choice for the album and hit the “Play Album” it displays another one of Mark Wilkinson’s SUPERB! pieces of art. This is the only picture you do get whilst listening to the album and the only thing that does change is the highlighted colour of each album track as it goes along.
They have also included the new mix of the Market Square Heroes EP on the blu ray. I must admit I would have expected a 5.1 surround mix for the 4 track EP especially how other engineers have done so in the past for other bands and artists. However, I am certainly not complaining and the fact that we also have a 24-bit 96K LPCM Stereo mix sonically and fidelity wise makes all the difference.
The same as also been done for the SUPERB! live concert they played at the Marquee Club and once again this concert is in audio only and includes a 24-bit 96K LPCM Stereo mix and it sounds FANTASTIC! The concert comes with a running time of 92 minutes, 49 seconds.
They have also included the Recital of The Script DVD on the blu ray and this live concert captures the band at the Hammersmith Odeon in London on the 18th April 1983. It was originally released on VHS back in October 1983 and later released on DVD in July 2003 to which they included the extra video footage and only bit of video footage from the concert they played at the Marquee Club in 1982.
No doubt you will find this concert on Youtube and the fact that it was captured with video cameras back in those days and not 35mm film does unfortunately mean that there is no way of improving the picture quality. Today’s modern technology of flat screen HD TV’s and Blu Ray is not gonna exactly do it any favours either and will in fact make it look worse than what it was back in those days.
But for nostalgic purposes this is still good to have and no doubt the band gave another truly remarkable outstanding performance. However, this concert was not captured as well on video as the open-air concert Live At Loreley that caught the band 4 years later in 1987, and the Hammersmith Odeon is quite a dark and dismal place and the lighting was not the best in relation how well it has improved today. But one of its downfalls is that it was either badly edited or they never used enough cameras to capture the band properly, and for most of the concert you can only really see Fish more than anyone else.
But you do get to see Fish in combat and destroy house plants :)))) and I had to laugh even more when it came to Steve Rothery’s guitar solo on the opening track “Script For A Jester’s Tear” to which I was expecting the camera to point at him. Instead all you could see was the camera jerking around showing you Fish and Pete Trewavas and it was only at the very end of the guitar solo that you got see Steve Rothery from a distance standing in a spotlight LOL. Honestly some of these camera men have no idea and I do rather think this was more than likely only filmed with a couple of video cameras.
The concert has a running time of 81 minutes, 39 seconds and comes with a 4:3 TV aspect ratio and the picture has black borders on both sides of the video which is to be expected. It also comes with a LPCM 16-bit audio soundtrack which does sound very good. To be honest this concert I never had unlike Live At Loreley which I did buy on both VHS and DVD. I had seen in on Youtube and I am glad they included it here.
The “Extras” bonus material is once again more nostalgic than any real quality and it does contain the extra 11-minute video footage of the Marquee Club that was on the Recital of The Script DVD. You also get the 3 videos that were made for the single versions “Market Square Heroes“. “He Knows You Know” and “Garden Party“. In total you get an extra 23 minutes here.
The final extra bonus content you get on the blu ray is the documentary they have entitled “Sackcloth and Greasepaint” and this is longer than the documentaries they done on the previous Deluxe Editions and has a running time of 93 minutes, 29 seconds. They have also gone about things differently by interviewing all 5 members of the band individually rather than all in the same room at the same time.
Personally, I think this documentary is better than the previous documentaries and I quite like how they have also included a chapter index that details the various points about the album they are discussing as you can see below.
The documentary goes into quite a lot more detail than what the 60-page book you get with the package and that is very brief. Besides the 5 original members of the band they have also included the bands ex-bass player Diz Minnitt in the interview who along with the bands drummer at the time Mick Pointer shed more light on how the band originally started. Another important person they brought along to interview is the artist Mark Wilkinson and this is interesting how he goes into more detail about the artwork he done for the debut album and singles.
The artwork that Mark Wilkinson done for the bands debut contained quite a few references to the bands and even others music such as the posters on the wall and the records on the floor of the singles that got released. There is also a couple of albums on the floor Pink Floyd’s A Saucerful Of Secrets and Bill Nelson’s Do You Dream In Colour?
It also contained a couple of references to a couple of the songs that would later appear on their second album Fugazi. Such as the figure of Punch on the TV screen and the inclusion of a Chameleon and these would have been some of things Fish had asked to be included, simply because he had not heard a note of the bands music when he worked on the album cover.
The Jester was Fish’s idea and it was something he had in mind long before he had joined Marillion. He wanted to portray a struggling writer in his surroundings and Wilkinson took it on from there and decided to put him in his own surroundings of the bedsit he was living in at the time. He even painted his own fireplace and wanted to create the real sense of a seedy environment and included copies of Kerrang! Sounds and the Daily Mirror which featured the story of the Yorkshire Ripper on the front page.
Wilkinson was put under a lot of pressure to get the artwork for the album done in time for the albums release. Things would of been fine if he did not have to replace and make alterations to some of the things that he had put in at the last-minute sort of thing, and he was given a hard time by EMI. Some of the things he had to change were for branding reasons for example the Coca Cola can, the Fairy Liquid bottle and even the name on the ashtray which had a Fuller’s Brewery logo on it had to be changed.
Originally the painting above the fireplace was a painting of John Lennon floating in water but he was asked to remove it by EMI due to not having enough time to get permission granted from Yoko Ono. A painting of Ophelia, who is mentioned in “Chelsea Monday” was used to replace it has seen above. One of the things that were left in was the words to Paul McCartney’s “Yesterday” that were in the empty violin case because permission was granted for them. McCartney was said to be impressed although he never got any work from him to do his album covers.
Overall, the documentary is very good and is another of the good things about the extra bonus content you do get with the blu ray. The one thing I did however notice regarding both the documentary and the book, is that it never gave one mention to the engineers who done the new stereo and surround mixes.
The 5.1 Surround Mix.
The surround mix was left once again to the same engineers Andy Bradfield & Avril Mackintosh who done the previous 5.1 mix for the Clutching At Straws album. I did mention in the review of the Deluxe Edition of that album that they never had the right head on their shoulders to do a 5.1 mix and it’s even more evident with this surround mix. The 5.1 mix they done for the Straws album was nothing to write home about and did nothing to bring out the clarity, and dynamics to give you the immersive experience that you will get from an engineer who knows what they are doing and has a lot more experience and imagination to do the job in the first place.
Like I have mentioned in the past doing a 5.1 surround mix is a totally different ball game and it really is all about placement and knowing what to take away from the front channels to place in the rear. It requires a hell of a lot more thought, immigration and attention than any stereo mix and just because an engineer can do an excellent stereo mix does not mean he can do the same for a 5.1 mix. In this world there is only around 1% of producers and mixing engineers who are capable of doing an excellent 5.1 mix and getting the right man for the job is a lot more difficult task.
But I suppose everybody has to start somewhere, but in all honesty these pair are not learning anything and are taking a step backwards rather than forwards. Where I do give them praise though is with the stereo mix and they have really gone to town and knocked it out of the park and that is the real winner and it was a shame they never included that remix on the blu ray in a Hi-Res audio format.
A completely new mix was done for surround mix and once again more reflections have been used for the rear channels instead of actually using any of the instruments. What instruments they have used to place in the rear are too low in the mix quite often and even though they have made the vocals clearer, there are certain parts where they are too low to hear and they could have perhaps utilised the rears for those parts.
Overall, the surround mix is very disappointing and its quite clear that they lack the vision and attention to detail to be even given the job of doing the surround mix in the first place. I honestly get ZILCH! from this mix and would not even bother to play it again. It’s a complete shambles in relation to how well they done the stereo mix on the CD and I would even go as far as saying that it was not even worth sticking it on the Blu Ray. I think even my rating of 3 out of 10 is on the generous side.
Musicians & Credits…
Produced by Nick Tauber. All music written and arranged by Fish, Steve Rothery, Pete Trewavas, Mark Kelly, Mick Pointer, Diz Minnit, Brian Jelliman (Except tracks 1 & 5 by Fish, Steve Rothery, Pete Trewavas, Mark Kelly, Mick Pointer and track 3 by Fish, Steve Rothery, Pete Trewavas, Mark Kelly, Mick Pointer, Brian Jelliman. All lyrics written by Fish.
Recorded & Mixed by Simon Hanhart between December 1982 – February 1983 at the Marquee Studios London, England. Assistant Engineers Mark. Andy. Mike Martin. Illustrations & Design Layout by Mark Wilkinson. Art Direction & Logo by Jo Mirowski. Photography by Steve Rothery, Fish, Andy Phillips, Stuart James, Stef Jeffery, Simon Fowler, Alan King, Robert Ellis, Mike Eldon & Peter Sims. Remixed by Andy Bradfield & Avril Mackintosh. DVD Authorising by Ray Shulman. Linear Notes by Jerry Ewing.
Steve Rothery: Yamaha SG 2000/Yamaha Acoustic/Squire 57 & Fender Strat Guitars/Marshal & Mesa Boogie Amps.
Pete Trewavas: Rickenbacker 4000 Bass/Fender Precision Fretless Bass/Peavey Amps.
Mark Kelly: Steinway Grand Piano/Harpsichord/Mini Moog/Roland JP8/PPG Wave 2.2 Emulator/Pro One/Yamaha CS15/Korg CX3 Organ.
Mick Pointer: Tama Kit/Paste Cymbals/Percussion.
Marquee Clubs Parents Association Children’s Choir (Appear on “Forgotten Sons”).
Peter Cockburn (Newsreader on “Forgotten Sons”).
The Album Tracks In Review…
Marillion could be seen perhaps as the godfathers of neo-prog rock and they were certainly one of the more notable new bands to hit the scene that were venturing back down the road of prog rock after a wave of punk rock, new romantic, new wave and all the other so called retro electronic garbage many bands and other artists churned out in the 80’s. I quite often visualised and likened the band to early Genesis when they had Peter Gabriel and often thought this is what Genesis might have sounded like had Gabriel not left the band.
You could say that in the 80’s Marillion were my Genesis and in my opinion, they certainly wrote better material than they ever did in that decade. They also had a singer who like Gabriel had that bit more edge and aggression, and certainly churned out a way better debut album than they ever did as well. So. let’s now take a closer look at the albums individual tracks.
Track 1. Script For A Jester’s Tear.
The albums self-titled track was one of the last to be written for the album and like many of the songs on this album it’s an absolute classic well written song that has a really GREAT! musical structure and well-thought-out lyrics. Fish wrote all the lyrics to the songs on the album and to be honest these are more like songwriters lyrics that you would associate with some of the GREAT! singer songwriters in this world, and not so much the fantasy and mythical stories that are commonly associated with many prog rock bands including early Genesis. These have far more purpose and meaning to them even more so than the lyrics that he wrote for “Grendel” which are more or less along the lines of that band.
The lyrics to this particular song pertain to the breaking down of a relationship and it could be said that this is “Kayleigh (Part One)” because they were inspired by the very same woman he had broken up with before he quit a secure life in the forestry commission to join the band. In my personal opinion this song is way better than that hit song that winded up on the bands 3rd album a couple years later, and this is the real playground of the broken hearts.
Musically there is some GREAT! progression along it’s path that allows the room for all the instrumentalists in the band to play their role besides the singer, and even though the song starts on the keys and the first section of the song is more developed by Mark Kelly’s keyboards it is very much more structured around the guitar. In the interview Steve Rothery stated that he had not quite developed his guitar sound at this stage and he did not really develop it till the bands second album Fugazi.
That may have been the case regarding the actual sound but his guitar work on this song and many of the other songs on this album outshine anything he went on to do when Fish had left the band. The guitar solos in this song are very strong and provide the main themes to drive it along. It’s a very powerful song that has a GREAT! come down section and features a nice blend of acoustic guitar, some dominant bass lines, well-crafted harpsichord and synth work and it all builds up to its powerful ending and allows Fish to use his voice with GREAT! expression and aggression.
The albums self-titled track a “Script For A Jester’s Tear” gets the album off to a very positive start and is one of the 4 songs on the album that merits the albums TOP SPOT AWARD! This is very much an album that is so hard to choose a personal favourite track and I could of easily chose 5 out the 6 songs on it.
Track 2. He Knows You Know.
A song about the problematic problems that are associated with drugs to which in some circumstances will no doubt lead one to an early grave. The song is perhaps written more in the way of an anti-drug song to show the effects that drugs can have with drug abuse. The inspiration for the lyrics came from his own experience of suffering from stomach cramps brought on from bad speed. I know the feeling myself and have been there in my youth especially with blues more so than sulphate.
Luckily for me I soon seen sense to get off them and music has always been my own personal drug apart from a bad nicotine habit of smoking cigarettes. Fish is very much right when he stated “there are no different types, they’re all just drugs and anyone who takes them is weak-willed and has no part in society”.
The problem with any drug including weed is that those who take them are not living in the world of reality and can often be reckless minded and have an “I don’t give a FUCK!” attitude and inflict harm on others. I’ve literally seen a kid stab his best to death over a £20 bag of weed. So, for anyone who thinks weed is harmless, they are literally off their head. I know plenty of people who take them including some of my friends, and I call them all life wasting “CUNTS! who do not belong in society! But alcohol can be just as harmful when abused and mixed with weed it can be lethal as in that case.
This is very much another of my favourite tracks on the album and a very strong contender for the albums TOP SPOT AWARD! It’s the shortest track on the album and is perhaps the only song on the album that was really suitable for a single release. I love the aggression in Fish’s voice on this song and the words “Problems. problems and don’t give me your problems” have seeped into my brain that every time I am in conversation with somebody and they have a problem I will quite often jokingly burst out singing this song :)))).
Track 3. The Web.
The longest track on the album and this particular song just like “Grendel” is more like early Genesis and has more of a GABRIEL-ESC feel about it. Even lyrically this is stepping on Genesis territory and we have heroes and characters from Greek Mythology such as Ulysses and Penelope. But it also has been mingled in with words that pertain to some of the other tracks on the album perhaps to make it work like more of a concept idea to some degree, and this web is spinning quite a yarn and perhaps even too much of one for me to even try and decipher the lyrics we have here.
There is no doubt that all the band are doing quite a STELLAR! job on the song and it features some GREAT! guitar and keyboard solos and once again there is some really good progression along its path. I think it’s quite a good song, but personally for me it is the lyrics that let it down and the fact they are trying to sound too much like early Genesis but they are not on the same level or par sort of thing.
Track 4. Garden Party.
Another of the many classics on the album and this is very much another one of my personal favourites that merits the albums TOP SPOT AWARD! The lyrics are based around a cynical outlook of the upper class who like to entertain their guests by hiring bands to play at their garden parties and the reason for them having cucumber sarnies and other vegetable varieties is so they can throw them at the band if they are not all that good they can have a bit of snotty nosed fun. But it also gives the band a chance to intermingle and have a good piss up and have a proper party so they say :)))).
Musically the song was written and structured around Mark Kelly’s riff on the synth and this is a song that would have been written around the keys very much like how “Market Square Heroes” was structured. He also gets to fly out a really GREAT! synth solo too. and solo section is supported by some excellent bass work from Trewavas. Rothery also joins in on part of the solo playing along the same lines as Kelly, although his guitar is utilised more in the chorus sections which are more subtle to which he blends in some nice rhythm guitar and phasing FX.
The verse sections are where more of the power lies and Fish gets to express his vocals very well in the song and also gets to change its texture and give it another accent with the speaking parts. Something that Peter Gabriel used to also do with Genesis and they both are very good at doing.
I can perhaps see why “Garden Party” was released as a single because it is quite infectious with the riff on the keys that drives it along in much the same way that “Market Square Heroes” did. However, I prefer the full version rather than an edited down version and that is why is perhaps does not work for me as a single.
The video they made for it was a bit like something along the lines of the stories Enid Blyton wrote about the Famous Five. Only they were perhaps trying to do it in the same way that the likes of Adrian Edmondson, Dawn French and others did in the comedy series The Comic Strip Presents with Five Go Mad In Dorset. That incidentally was shown on Channel 4 in the previous year and it would not surprise me if the idea for the video came from that TV series.
Track 5. Chelsea Monday.
If you like guitar solos then you should like this classic song and personally, I do not think that Steve Rothery did a better one that what is on this song. No doubt he got to play many GREAT! solos back in the early days when Fish was in the band, but this one as the cream on top of them all. His guitar work on “Chelsea Monday” is pure bliss and it charms me with its smile and its totally GORGEOUS!
If I had to make the choice to only pick one of the songs from this album to be my personal favourite, it would be this one down to the guitar work on it. Musically the song was even constructed around the guitar, only it was Pete Trewavas’s bass line that was at the core and was the basis of its structure. Everything worked around it including it and it’s a master-stroke piece of work and I could play this song till the cows come home.
The lyrics and the way Fish delivers them are SUPERB! and they pertain to a young girl’s dreams of becoming an actress and making it to the silver screen so to speak. However, rather than face the prospect of failure she decides that she’s going to commit suicide and go out in a blaze of fame, but she still managed to charm them with her smile. This is very much another song that merits the albums TOP SPOT AWARD!
Track 6. Forgotten Sons.
The album ends off with yet another Marillion classic and although “Forgotten Sons” can be seen as a political song and has perhaps certainly become more of one, the lyrics that Fish penned for it were based around the chaos the IRA inflicted in England and their own country. The original idea came to him when he was working at the employment office seeing all these people wanting to sign up to the army because they could not get a job to which he thought they were crazy.
This is a song that goes through some really GREAT! progression and transitional changes, the songs versus are structured around the keyboards, bass and drums and the chorus is more guitar structured. There is also a couple of bridge sections that were developed for the spoken parts. They originally wanted the ITN Newsreader Trevor Mcdonald to do the spoken parts but he wanted something like 2 grand and has the band were on a tight budget and Peter Cockburn ended up doing them. It also features the Marquee Clubs Parents Association Children’s Choir.
I like how they have adapted and incorporated the Lord’s Prayer with different lyrics and “Ring-a-ring-a Roses” into the song and no doubt the whole band are firing on all cylinders. Pete Trewavas’s bass work is outstanding and once again we get some GREAT! guitar solo work from Steve Rothery and they are all out in full force to deliver the goods and put the album to bed in tremendous style. “Forgotten Sons” is the 4th track on the album to merit the albums TOP SPOT AWARD!
To sum up the new Deluxe Edition of Marillion’s debut album a Script For A Jester’s Tear. I personally think for those like myself whose incentive to buy these albums all over again for the 5.1 surround mix will be hugely disappointed. However, the new stereo mix of the album on the CD is way better than the original mix and really brings the album back to life in many respects. Both the Market Square Heroes EP and the live concert at the Marquee Club are also superbly mixed and the fact that both of these have also been included on the Blu Ray in Hi-Res Audio makes this package even more worthwhile.
The rest of of the bonus material is also very good and although the 60-page book is not as informative as the documentary they have included on the blu ray, it still all comes very neatly packaged in a quality hardback book that will store nice and easy along with your DVD’s on the shelf and is a very well presented package well worth its price point.
Now all I need is the new Deluxe Edition of Fugazi to complete my personal Marillion collection and I have heard that is scheduled to be released next year. I shall also be keeping my eyes peeled so I can pre-order it well in advance to get it at the best price.
Marillion’s debut album Script For A Jester’s Tear is quite a force to be reckoned with and is a very strong body of work. Debut albums do not come much better than this and even though Led Zeppelin made quite a good debut album, it was the bands second album that spilled out all the guts and energy and in terms of how well this debut album of Marillion’s really is, it’s more on par with that album and not many bands have done that with their first album.
Out of the 6 songs on the album 4 of them are absolute CLASSICS! and “Script For A Jesters Tear“. “Garden Party“. “Chelsea Monday” and “Forgotten Sons” are very much my personal highlights from the album. But I certainly do not have any “Problems” playing the whole album that’s for sure.
The new Deluxe Book Edition of the album represents quite an expansive and broader look and way to showcase the bands debut album and all they were doing around this time period. My only real gripe would be with the surround mix and their unfortunate insight of them not including a Hi-Res audio version of the newly mixed debut album on the Blu Ray. But overall, with all you get here, it still holds a lot of GREAT! value for the buck and is well worth getting.
The Playground Of The Broken Hearts…
The CD track listing is as follows:
Disc One: Script For A Jester’s Tear (2020 Stereo Re-mix)
01. Script For A Jesters Tear. 8:43.
02. He Knows You Know. 5:23
03. The Web. 8:50.
04. Garden Party. 7:20.
05. Chelsea Monday. 8:17.
06. Forgotten Sons. 8:25.
Disc Two: Market Square Heroes EP (2020 Stereo Re-mix)
01. Market Square Heroes. 4:18.
02. Three Boats Down From The Candy. 4:30.
03. Grendel. 17:17.
04. Charting The Single (2020 Remaster). 4:47.
Disc Three: Live at the Marquee Club, London (29/12/82)
01. Garden Party. 8:47.
02. Three Boats Down from the Candy. 5:24.
03. Grendel. 19:24.
04. Chelsea Monday. 9:14.
05. He Knows You Know. 5:33.
Disc Four: Live at the Marquee Club, London (29/12/82)
01. The Web. 11:24.
02. “Script For A Jester’s Tear. 9:35.
03. Forgotten Sons. 11:25.
04. Market Square Heroes. 5:27.
05. Margaret. 6:45.
Lee’s overall Complete Package Value Rating…
The Packaging Rating Score. 10/10
The Price Point Rating Score. 10/10
The Bonus Material Rating Score. 10/10
The Stereo Re-Mix Rating Score. 10/10
The 5.1 Mix Rating Score. 3/10
The Original Album Rating Score. 10/10