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    The very best favourite mike-mechanical hits


    On December 27, 2000 there appeared in Sweden another compilation of songs by Mike Rutherford and his Mechanics. This time it was called Favourites. So what?, one may ask, but the release appears to be quite interesting after all. For one thing, it is one of the last CDs to be released in the last millennium, and there may be some significance to this fact. When Paul “Youngy” Young passed away in summer 2000, a chapter in the book of Rutherford’s long-time project ended near the end of the millennium. The exclusive remix of former B-side song You Never Change – a real rarity – makes this record very attractive for the whole…. make that the core of the global Mechanics’ fan community. One may be pleased to notice that, according to the subtitle, this is not a “Hits” but a “Very best of” compilation. Does that mean that you’ll enjoy it more than the 1996 Hits sampler and it’s collection of songs that were even then worn out by excessive radioplay?


    favourites-cover The idea for this release apparently came from Sweden, but Mike Rutherford and Paul Carrack were not ignored. Mike helped pick the songs and provided the remix of the final song and they both signed the note of dedication to the Swedish fans and their late “friend and colleague”. The CD is filled with 17 songs. There are three songs each from their first album, from Living Years and M6 and four songs each from Word Of Mouth and from the Beggar… period. If you check the list of Mike’s co-writers the CD proves equally balanced: Mike wrote six of the songs with Chris Neil, a successful producer and one of the most important Mechanics. Little is known about him except for his huge list of remarkable references. Another six songs were co-written by B(rian) A(lexander) Robertson, another founding member of the Mechanics. He is a Scot who had a couple of hit singles in the 80s and wrote music for BBC productions. Carrack’s importance as a co-writer has grown continuously in recent years. The final five songs were co-written by him and Mike. Paul Carrack also sings on eleven tracks while Paul Young has the lead vocals on only five songs. Par Avion is sung by John Kirby. The only data we have about him is that he is certainly not identical with the swing legend.

    A comparison with Hits has a sobering effect. Except for the exquisite Taken In, all twelve songs from the 1996 compilation are included on Favourites, too. The individual songs are well-known. All I Need… can be heard in the 1996 remix. You Never Change loses a couple of bars at the end, but, more importantly, the chorus has a stronger drive because the drums are played twice as fast and Mike re-recorded the guitar part (only during the chorus). The version is described in Swedish as “tidigare outgiven” (probably “earlier release”).

    The booklet consists of the above-mentioned note, the credits for this compilation, a concise history of the Mechanics from 1985 to 2000 in Swedish and a list of sing with the usual brief notes that provide as little detail about the songs as the booklets of previous releases. Fotos from previous sessions show the Mechanics trio or Mike alone. The image of the starry universe is not only used on the cover. Perhaps it is meant as a nod to Paul Young. Funny – the five little pictograms representing their five studio records.

    What are we to make of this release? The expensive CD is recommended if you would like to hear You Never Change in an (even) better version. Rutherford fans will have to keep waiting for a compilation that also pays attention to his solo albums Smallcreep’s Day and Acting Very Strange and other pieces Mike wrote outside of Genesis, e.g. In The Arms of Someone Else, a song Mike wrote for John Verity (he also plays on the album version). A live version would have been refreshingly enjoyable. Since the 80s, live versions have been released repeatedly on B-sides. Think of the powerful live version of Mike’s I Don’t Wanna Know (the B-side of Hanging By A Thread) or the excellent Silent Running from the Beggar… tour. So let’s dream on … across in dreamland …

    by Andreas Lauer
    translated by Martin Klinkhardt

    Mike Rutherford


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