Founded in 1982 by Hull University students Tracey Thorn and Ben Watt, the duo apparently took their name from a sign placed in the window of a local furniture shop, which claimed "for your bedroom needs, we sell everything but the girl." I had always thought that it was a play on the fact that Tracey Thorn is, well, let's just say plain.
Their 1984 debut Eden followed on the heels of the single "Each and Every One," a U.K. Top 40 hit. A lot of this same type material was covered on U.S. albums such as Love Not Money released in 1985. When All's Well, Heaven Help Me, and a wonderful version of the Pretenders' Kid were my favorites on this release.
A subtle country influence crept into the mix for 1986's lush, orchestral Baby, the Stars Shine Bright. The beautifully spare Idlewild followed in 1988, spawning the single "I Don't Want to Talk About It," a wonderful cover of a song by the late Crazy Horse guitarist Danny Whitten which became EBTG's biggest hit to date; it wound up at the number three spot on the British charts.
Watt and Thorn then came to Los Angeles to record 1990's slick, commercial The Language of Life, produced by Tommy LiPuma and featuring a guest appearance by jazz great Stan Getz. This is the album that solidified my love for this group. Me and Bobby D is a great pop song about the Kennedy clan. Oddly prophetic, it foreshadowed a lot of the problems that clan has had since its release.
Sure I'd love the wild life
But every wild man needs
A mother and a wife
There were a couple of more lackluster efforts in the next few years. but in 1995 the soulful single "Missing" was remixed by Todd Terry, and after first becoming a club sensation the track blossomed as a major international hit, reaching the number two position on the U.S. pop charts. More importantly this launched the duo into an entirely new musical direction. 1996's Walking Wounded was hard for me to listen to, at first, but this trip-hop drum n bass sound will grow on you. And there could be no more intelligent practitioners of this form than EBTG. My favorites on this CD are The Heart Remains a Child and Mirrorball.
I highly recommend this group if you like a beautiful female voice singing quite intelligent lyrics in many different styles.