Swing Out Sister

Swing Out Sister are an English sophisti-pop combo from Manchester that issued four 1985/86 singles on Mercury that formed the basis of the 1987 album It’s Better to Travel. In 1989, they released Kaleidoscope World on Fontana, followed by a third studio album and a live disc on the label in 1992/93. A return to Mercury yielded three discs during the second half of the ’90s, while a deal with Liberty/Universal spawned the millennium titles Somewhere Deep in the Night (2001) and Where Our Love Grows (2004).

Swing Out Sister started as the trio of vocalist Corinne Drewery, ex-A Certain Ratio keyboardist Andy Connell, and former MagazineChameleons drummer Martin Jackson, the last of whom left between the first and second albums.

Members: Corinne Drewery (vocals), Andy Connell (keyboards), Martin Jackson (drums, 1985-91)


Background

Swing Out Sister coalesced in 1985 when Andy Connell and Martin Jackson needed vocals for a set of dance-oriented backing tracks.

Connell (b. July 26, 1961) first played in The Immediates, an unsigned Manchester post-punk band. In November 1982, he joined the Factory Records avant-funk band A Certain Ratio in time for their third Peel session, which coincided with the release of their fourth album I’d Like to See You Again (recorded before his arrival). A four-year album gap ensued when four-fifths of ACR (Connell included) joined Kalima (formerly the Swamp Children), the other band of ACR guitarist Martin Moscrop.

Jackson (b. August 30, 1955) first recorded with the Bees Knees, the starting vehicle of Freshies mastermind Chris Sievey. In late 1977, Jackson joined Magazine, a maximalist prog-punk band formed by original Buzzcocks singer Howard Devoto. Jackson plays on their debut single “Shot By Both Sides” and first album Real Life. After four inactive years, he deputized Chameleons drummer John Lever on a winter 1982–83 tour.

In 1984, Jackson teamed with Connell and DJ Greg Wilson on seven hi-tech instrumentals, recorded under assorted band monikers (Broken Glass, Syncbeat, Zer-O) and compiled on the album Street Sounds UK Electro, released on the early UK hip hop label Street Sounds.

Connell and Jackson continued their partnership in Design 9, formed with members of the Manchester mod bands Fast Cars and Two-Tone Pinks. The project collapsed when Phonogram Records, impressed with UK Electro, requested vocalized tracks by the pair. They contacted singer Diane Charlemagne of the Factory soul-funk band 52nd Street, who demoed material with Connell and Jackson right before her band signed with Virgin. The pair then called in a recent acquaintance, fashion designer Corinne Drewery, who recently sang with a (pre-record) Working Week.

Corinne (b. September 21, 1959, Nottingham) grew up in Authorpe village, where classic pop standards (courtesy of her father, a big band musician) filled the Drewery household. As a teenager, she attended Northern soul events at the Cleethorpes Winter Gardens. In 1976, she moved to London and enrolled in the fashion program at the Central Saint Martins College of Art and Design. She met Connell and Jackson during her brief stint in Working Week, a spinoff of Weekend (a spinoff, in turn, of Young Marble Giants).

The trio named their act after Swing Out, Sister, a 1945 American musical comedy starring Billie Burke, Arthur Treacher, and Rod Cameron. They signed with Mercury UK, an imprint of Phonogram. Meanwhile, Connell fulfilled his commitments to A Certain Ratio on their 1986 album Force, which features Corinne on the track “Bootsy.”

Nov 1985
A: Blue Mood
B: Wake Me When It’s Over

Sep 1986
A: Breakout
B: Dirty Money

Jan 1987
A: Surrender
B: Who’s To Blame

Apr 1987
A: Twilight World
B: Another Lost Weekend


It’s Better to Travel

Swing Out Sister released their debut album, It’s Better to Travel, on May 11, 1987, on Mercury.

A1. “Breakout” (3:45)
A2. “Twillight World” (6:26)
A3. “After Hours” (4:47)
A4. “Blue Mood” (4:17)
B1. “Surrender” (3:52)
B2. “Fooled by a Smile” (4:03)
B3. “Communion” (4:37)
B4. “It’s Not Enough” (3:40)
B5. “Theme From: It’s Better to Travel” (4:35)

Credits:
Corrine Drewery — vocals
Andy Connell — keyboards
Martin Jackson — percussion
Swing Out Sister — writer

Paul Staveley O’Duffy — producer
David McIntyre — photography

United Kingdom (Official Charts Company) 1
Australia (Kent Music Report)[10] 23
United States (Billboard 200) 40

29 Jun 1987
A: Fooled By A Smile (Re-Mix)
B: Fever


Kaleidoscope World

Swing Out Sister released their second album, Kaleidoscope World, on May 25, 1989, on Fontana.

1. “You on My Mind” (3:34)
2. “Where in the World” (5:34)
3. “Forever Blue” (4:19)
4. “Heart for Hire” (4:28)
5. “Tainted” (4:01)
6. “Waiting Game” (4:18)
7. “Precious Words” (4:15)
8. “Masquerade” (4:47)
9. “Between Strangers” (4:09)
10. “The Kaleidoscope Affair” (3:11)

CD-only tracks:
11. “Coney Island Man” (3:42)
12. “Precious Words (Instrumental)” (4:11)
13. “Forever Blue (String Mix)” (4:13)
14. “Masquerade (Instrumental)” (4:46)

Credits:
Keyboards – Andy Connell
Lead Vocals – Corinne Drewery

Mar 1989
A: You On My Mind
B: Coney Island Man

A: Waiting Game
B: Coney Island Man

26 Jun 1989
A: Where In The World
B: Taxi Town

30 Oct 1989
A: Forever Blue
B: The Kaleidoscope Affair


Discography:

  • It’s Better to Travel (1987)
  • Kaleidoscope World (1989)
  • Get in Touch With Yourself (1992)
  • Live at the Jazz Cafe (1993)
  • Living Return (1994)
  • Shapes and Patterns (1997)
  • Filth and Dreams (1999)
  • Somewhere Deep in the Night (2001)
  • Where Our Love Grows (2004)
  • Live (2005)
  • Beautiful Mess (2008)
  • Les étrangers (OST, 2009)
  • Private View (2010)
  • Almost Persuaded (2017)

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