Artist: Beth Orton
Release Date: 24th November 1993
Record Label: Toshiba / EMI
While Trailer Park is thought of by most fans as Beth Orton's debut album release, it is actually SuperPinkyMandy that holds that position. Only 5000 copies were made and it was released in Japan only, so it's almost certainly its obsurity that leaves it relatively unknown. Long since deleted, it was recorded after Beth had recorded vocals on a few of William Orbit's tracks, notably Water from a Vine Leaf - William laid down all the music for SuperPinkyMandy and Beth did the vocals.
The style of SuperPinkyMandy is very different to Beth's later work. The folk sounds are much less evident, with a lot of William Orbit's influence on the majority of the floaty, chillout style tracks. Some of it does show signs of exploring more folk-y territory, specifically Faith Will Carry, Where Do You Go? and the early version of She Cries Your Name.
Original copies of SuperPinkyMandy are incredibly difficult to find and only change hands for large amounts of cash. You might, I suppose, have a little more luck looking for an original in Japan, but I think a large number of copies have fallen into the hands of fans who are unwilling to part with them. CD-R copies do float around and most of the tracks are available from the usual places.
1. Don't Wanna Know 'Bout Evil (5:31)
"Sometimes it gets so hard to listen, Hard for me to use my eyes"
Originally a John Martyn song, Don't Wanna Know 'Bout Evil was covered by Beth and William and released as a single in the UK under the name Spill. This was the one and only release under that name and the same song appears on SuperPinkyMandy. This is one of my favourite tracks from the album and starts it off with the necessary aplomb. Very dance-y, Beth's voice sounds like it's been messed with (probably with a computer or something).
2. Faith Will Carry
"You touched my hand. Said, 'Follow me. I'll be your eyes when you cannot see'"
Faith Will Carry starts off very slowly and builds to a fairly fast (for Beth anyway) dance beat. The main hook, "and it's plain to see, that it's faith that will carry" is very good and really makes the track. Beth's voice does sound a little ropey at points though, unfortunately.
3. Yesterday's Gone
"Yesterday's gone, Let it fade away, Blind chances of destiny"
Again, Beth's voice has been heavily modified in this track - it sounds very raspy in places. Despite this, Yesterday's Gone is a very nice song and completely different to the work Beth would go on to do.
4. She Cries Your Name
"Birds which scream for territory, Can learn to sing euphorically"
This is an early version of a track which would later appear on Trailer Park. It sounds completely different, and is certainly a very interesting curiosity for Beth fans. It somehow feels a lot slower and much less guitar based than the more well known remix. The whole thing somehow seems wrong, but possibly that is simply due to preconceptions.
5. When You Wake
"When you wake in the morning, Leave the shadows where they lie"
Beth sings very slowly on this one, accompanied by a light, repeating beat. The whole thing sounds very light, very airy, almost ethereal, and is completely wonderful. Unlike the rest of the album, this has no real dance beat and more in the way of instrumentation.
6. Roll the Dice
"She said I put a spell on you, He said there's nothin' I could do"
Roll the Dice is, in all fairness, not a great track. Fairly bland and overly slow, it really doesn't grab you at any point and feels a little like filler. It's a shame because some of the musical transitions are very nice and the majority of the electronic effects are well done.
7. City Blue
"It was the sound of the city that was making me blue, I kept hearing it and I'd think of you"
A strange one, this. Lasting less than a minute and a half and consisting of little more than the quoted line, it remains a favourite from SuperPinkyMandy. This one really is over before you realise it's started, but Beth's voice, while certainly not perfect on this track, somehow feels right.
8. The Prisoner
"You've been lost and you've been found, This time you've gotta stand your ground"
Another curiosity, this track somehow feels unfinished. Some of the vocals are great, some certainly seem like filler, some of the music is superb while other parts sound generic and much like the rest of the album. Certainly not a favourite, it's clear that both Beth and William can do better.
9. Where Do You Go?
"I long to smell you, To feel you within"
A definite highlight of the album, Beth has recently added Where Do You Go? to her set in a few live gigs. The music perfectly compliments Beth's vocals and the track can certainly hold its own with the majority of Beth's newer work, even if it does have a completely different feel.
10. Release Me
"Breakin' waves on the shore, Return then fade once more"
A nice downer to end the album, Release Me is a perfectly pleasant track but lacks a certain something. Again, Beth's voice sounds less than perfect and the lyrics are simplistic at best. Where Do You Go? certainly needed something like this to follow it and end the album, but it could have been done better.