Performance date: Wednesday 19th June 2024

Deacon Blue announce ‘All The Old 45s – The Very Best of Deacon Blue’; and ‘You Can Have It All – The Complete Albums Collection’; both released September 1st 2023.

Thirty-five years since their debut single, ‘Dignity’ – and their debut album, Raintown – Deacon Blue have announced their most comprehensive greatest hits anthology to date, along with a career-spanning box set. All The Old 45s – The Very Best of Deacon Blue (2CD / double vinyl), and the 14CD You Can Have It All – The Complete Albums Collection, which includes a brand-new unplugged CD, will be released by Cooking Vinyl on September 1st, 2023.

All The Old 45s – The Very Best of Deacon Blue (2CD and double vinyl track listings below) coincides with the band’s UK and Ireland tour of the same name (dates below), and charts their multi-million selling history – from bringing ‘Chocolate Girl’ and ‘Dignity’ to life in the corner of a Glasgow basement, to skyscraping, stadium-filling hits like ‘Wages Day’ and ‘Real Gone Kid’, via their swoon-inducing tribute to Bacharach and David (‘I’ll Never Fall In Love Again’), their collective favourite single (‘Your Swaying Arms’), and one of the most significant songs in the Deacon Blue canon, which followed a split in 1994 and the loss of two original members: 2012’s comeback single ‘The Hipsters’ heralded a new lease of life for the group, and jump-started a second act that’s seen them more fired up, and prolific, than ever.

“We’ve added so many songs, albums and EPs which have become a strong part of Deacon Blue and our live repertoire since ‘The Hipsters’ in 2012,” says songwriter and vocalist Ricky Ross. “It feels like the right time to celebrate that; to release something that’s a true compilation of our music so far.”

You Can Have It All – The Complete Albums Collection (14CD box set details below), meanwhile, is Deacon Blue’s most comprehensive musical biography to date. It features all of their studio long-players, including – among other wonders – their landmark debut (1987’s Raintown); their post-split return to glorious form (2012’s The Hipsters); their myriad fan favourites, many of which reached the UK Top 5 (1991’s Fellow Hoodlums; 1993’s Whatever You Say, Say Nothing; 2020’s City Of Love); and the one that knocked Madonna off the top of the charts (1989’s When The World Knows Your Name). There are two well-loved b-sides and rarities compilations (1988’s Riches; 1990’s Ooh Las Vegas) – and there’s also a brand-new stripped-back compendium of hits, live favourites and cover versions, Peace Will Come.

“We really enjoyed playing our campfire sets on the last tour, when we deconstructed and rearranged songs to fit an acoustic format,” says Ricky Ross. “Essentially, Peace Will Come is an extension of that concept. It’s rough around the edges, but it captures the core of what we do. There are no overdubs or drops – we all just sang and played together and took the best take. Almost all of our albums are represented in its tracklisting – plus, we include a couple of cover versions we’ve often sung towards the end of our live shows. The one original song is the title track.”

Along with that new song, ‘Peace Will Come’ – a unifying hymn for the ages, which echoes Deacon Blue’s earliest single – the unplugged CD revels in fresh takes on harmonic career-highs like ‘Chocolate Girl’ (from Raintown), ‘Delivery Man’ (from 2016’s Believers), and ‘In Our Room’ (from City of Love) – and that’s not to mention gorgeous renditions of Bruce Springsteen’s ‘Dancing in the Dark’, and their long-standing live encore of Bob Dylan’s ‘Forever Young’. Recording the Peace Will Come CD has been a galvanising experience for the band, says Ross. “It ended up being a vital artistic exercise for us. After we’d finished, I did think – ‘Why have we never done this before?’”

The packaging for both All The Old 45s and You Can Have It All features rare photos from over the years, and extensive liner notes with new insights from all current members of Deacon Blue, who reflect on the songs – and albums, and memories – that mean the most to them.

It sees Ross wax lyrical on ‘Wages Day’ (“As a songwriter, you get so many gifts every year, and your job is to know when to accept them,” he laughs. “That was one…”); co-vocalist Lorraine McIntosh on dance-rock juggernaut and enduring live highlight ‘Your Town’ (“That’s one of my favourites; it’s got this unbelievable energy and power…”); drummer Dougie Vipond on the song his late mum loved the best – “She always used to say we should have been number one all over the world with ‘When Will You (Make My Telephone Ring)’ – and keyboard player / songwriter Jim Prime on ‘Queen of the New Year’s bluegrass roots (“I wanted to write a southern train rhythm, so I grabbed a guitar and detuned the bottom string, and that’s the riff that I came up with”).

More recent recruits Gregor Philp (guitar / songwriting) and bass player Lewis Gordon variously muse on the thrill of The Hipsters, and all of the songs / albums that have followed, while also paying tribute to original members Ewen Vernal (bass) – who’s still a lively and well-loved presence in folk and traditional music circles – and guitarist Graeme Kelling, who died in 2004. He will be forever missed, but he’s never far from the silhouettes onstage, from our memories, and from the songs, even as the decades march on.

No-one is more surprised than Ricky Ross that they’re releasing a new compilation to mark 35 years of greatest hits; that a box-set of his band’s albums to date now numbers 14 separate discs. In the ‘80s, he couldn’t see beyond Raintown.  “All I ever wanted to do was to make that album,” he says of their calling card and politically-charged pop manifesto. “Everything else just got lost. I didn’t give singles, or what might happen after that, any thought.”

Not even thinking how good it would be.

It’s a lifetime, yet no time at all, since Deacon Blue first roared their gospel according to hope, work, dignity, and Scottish towns beset with rain. We’re still taking cover under their words. Everything and nothing’s changed. There’s still a thrill in pressing play. We still need their songs in our cities of love, in our hearts, in our homes, in these hurricane days.

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