Album Review – Peter Gabriel – Flotsam And Jetsam

Peter Gabriel has released this monumental album, as a digital release only, featuring a host of B-sides, remixes and rarities from across his solo career. It features sixty-two tracks and clocks in at a massive three hundred minutes (that’s some four CDs worth if you think that way), mostly all of which have previously been released physically, either on 7”, 12” or CD singles, soundtrack or tribute albums over the years but never released digitally. A few notable inclusions are available commercially for the very first time.

The release splits Gabriel’s career into three fairly obvious periods, arranged chronologically. The first part covers the years 1976 – 1985, a period many would consider to be his experimental years.  It opens with a cover version of ‘Strawberry Fields Forever’, the first time he featured on a release after leaving Genesis. Also included is a previously unreleased extended version of ‘Slowburn’, the extended outro single version of ‘Perspective’, the re-recorded version of ‘D.I.Y.’ for the single’s re-issue in late 1978 and the alternate mix of ‘I Don’t Remember’ which appeared as the B-side to ‘Games Without Frontiers’ in advance of the PG3 album. There’s also the German version of ‘Here Comes the Flood’ and the ‘Shock the Monkey (instrumental)’ that uses the alternative audio version from Deutsches Album.

The second, 1986-1993, Peter’s pop years, with music released around the albums So and Us. Included is the previously unreleased full version of ‘Don’t Break This Rhythm’, an edited version having been the B-side to ‘Sledgehammer’, ‘Curtains’ the B-side to ‘Big Time’ and ‘Bashi-Bazouk’ from the ‘Digging in the Dirt’ single. There’s ‘GA GA (I Go Swimming Instrumental)’, which is the studio version of a song known to fans from the Plays Live album and Nile Rogers’ single mix of ‘Walk Through the Fire’. Also in this section are numerous remixes from the likes of Massive Attack, William Orbit, The Bomb Squad (famed for their work with Public Enemy) and David Bottrill.

Finally, not surprisingly, the third era is 1994-2016 and features music from before and after the Up album and brings the collection pretty much up to date. There’s Peter’s version of ‘Summertime’ from the Larry Adler ‘Glory of Gershwin’ album, ‘Suzanne’ from the ‘Tower of Song’ Leonard Cohen tribute album and ‘In the Sun’ a cover of the Joseph Arthur song that featured on the Diana tribute album.

Alternate versions used in films include the Robbie Robertson mix of ‘I Have the Touch’ that featured in ‘Phenomenon’ and features a verse not on any other version, ‘I Grieve’ from City of Angels and the Gangs of New York version of ‘Signal to Noise’. There’s also ‘The Veil’, written especially for the Oliver Stone movie ‘Snowden’.

Remixes come from Röyksopp, Martyn Bennett, Trent Reznor, Tricky, Elbow, The Polyphonic Spree and Steve Osborne. The full version of ‘Courage’, the Broad mix of ‘Curtains’ and the Daniel Lanois & Richard Chappell mix of ‘Father, Son’ are released here for the first time.

In all honesty, you cannot imagine anyone sitting through all this in one sitting. Few people could find the time, and to be frank some of it would be tedious. Keeping to the strict chronological order would require listening to very similar versions of the same song (In Your Eyes, Steam and Sledgehammer, for example). There are fun moments too, as with Peter’s take on Me And My Teddy Bear (just called Teddy Bear here). Much of this material is very familiar of course, although if you start to try and notice the differences in the tracks compared to the originals you might drive yourself crackers skipping between CDs and this release. Some of the differences are not so obvious, on others the dance mix might give you a bit of a shock. There are plenty of live tracks though to enjoy.

All in all, though, these tracks are a good listen. It is interesting to follow how PGs style developed over the years. From the experimental early years, through to the popstar, then the later groove- meister (get in the groove then take it somewhere!). Everyone will find something to enjoy here, and it will save the completist trawling the internet to find their missing tracks by this innovative and compelling artist. Sometimes his work is powerful, sometimes emotional or political. Examples of it are gathered here in an interesting collection that will throw a light in the more hard to hear corners of his work.

Strawberry Fields Forever | All This And World War II album, 1976. The first release featuring Peter after he left Genesis.
Slowburn (Extended Version) | previously unreleased officially. Released in error on a US pressing of PG1 in 1981.
Perspective (Single Version) | D.I.Y. single, May 1978. Extended outro version.
D.I.Y. (Re-recorded Single Version) | D.I.Y. single, September 1978
Teddy Bear | D.I.Y. single, September 1978
Mother of Violence (Single Mix) | D.I.Y. single, September 1978
Solsbury Hill (Live at the Bottom Line) | Fanclub flexi disc, December 1978. Recorded on 4 October 1978.
I Don’t Remember (Alternate Version) | Games Without Frontiers single, February 1980. Early version produced by Peter and Steve Taylor.
Biko (Remixed Version) |  I Don’t Remember single, 1980. This version uses the ‘ein deutsches album’ mix of the track which differs from the original.
Shosholoza | Biko single, August 1980
Jetzt Kommt Die Flut | Biko single, August 1980. German version of ‘Here Comes the Flood’. Also, B-side to Spiel Ohne Grenzen single release.
Soft Dog | Shock the Monkey single, September 1982
Shock The Monkey (Instrumental) | Shock the Monkey single, September 1982. This version uses the ‘deutsches album’ mix of the track which differs from the original.
Across The River | I Have the Touch single, December 1982
Kiss Of Life (Live) | Solsbury Hill (live), Dutch single release 1983
I Don’t Remember (Live Single Version) | I Don’t Remember single, 1983

I Have The Touch (85 Remix) | Sledgehammer single, April 1986
Sledgehammer (Dance Mix) | Sledgehammer single, April 1986. Remix by John ‘Tokes’ Potoker
Sledgehammer (Extended) | Sledgehammer single, April 1986
Don’t Break This Rhythm (Full Version) | Previously Unreleased. Edited version was the B-side to Sledgehammer
In Your Eyes (Single Mix) | In Your Eyes US single version, 1986
In Your Eyes (Special Remix) | Don’t Give Up single, October 1986. Jason Corsaro remix
Big Time (Extended Version) | Big Time single, March 1987. Tom Lord-Alge remix
Curtains | Big Time single, March 1987
GA GA (I Go Swimming Instrumental) | Red Rain single, June 1987. Studio version of a track well-known to fans from the ‘Plays Live’ album.
Walk Through The Fire (Single Mix) | Red Rain single, June 1987. Nile Rogers version. Original film version is on ‘Rated PG’.
Biko (Live) | Biko single, 1987. Re-release in support of Cry Freedom. Recorded at Blossom Music Centre, Cleveland 27 July 1987
Digging In The Dirt (Raw Stylus Mix) | Digging In the Dirt single, September 1992
Digging In The Dirt (Instrumental) | Digging In the Dirt single, September 1992. Frameman remix
Quiet Steam | Digging In the Dirt single, September 1992
Bashi-Bazouk | | Digging In the Dirt single, September 1992
Games Without Frontiers (Massive/DB Mix) | Steam single, January 1993. Massive Attack / Dave Bottrill mix
Steam (Oh, Oh, Let Off Steam Mix) | Steam single, January 1993. Remixed by The Bomb Squad
Steam (Oh, Oh, Let Off Steam Mix Dub) | Steam single, January 1993. Remixed by The Bomb Squad
Mercy Street (William Orbit Mix) | Blood of Eden single, March 1993
Blood Of Eden (Special Mix for Wim Wenders Until the End of the World) | Blood of Eden single, March 1993
Digging In The Dirt (Rich E Mix) | Kiss That Frog single, September 1993
Kiss That Frog (Mindblender Mix) | Kiss That Frog single, September 1993
Shaking The Tree (Bottrill Remix) | Kiss That Frog single, September 1993

1994 – 2016
Summertime | The Glory of Gershwin album,1994. Larry Adler album
Suzanne | Songs of Leonard Cohen album, 1995
I Have The Touch (Robbie Robertson Mix) | Phenomenon soundtrack, 1996. Edited version is on ‘Hit’ but this version contains a vocal verse not present on any other version.
In The Sun | Diana Tribute Album, December 1997. A cover of the Joseph Arthur song.
Shaking The Tree 97 (Jungle Version) | Jungle 2 soundtrack, 1997. Feat. Shaggy
I Grieve (City of Angels Version) | City of Angels soundtrack, March 1998
The Tower That Ate People (Red Planet Remix) | Red Planet soundtrack, 2000
Animal Nation | Wild Thornberrys Movie soundtrack, December 2002
Signal to Noise (Gangs of New York Version) | Gangs of New York movie soundtrack, 2002
More Than This (The Polyphonic Spree Mix) | More Than This single, 2002
More Than This (Elbow Mix) | More Than This single, 2002
My Head Sounds Like That (Röyksopp Remix) | More Than This & Barry Williams Show singles, 2002
Sky Blue (Martyn Bennett Remix) | More Than This single, 2002
Growing Up (Trent Reznor Remix) | Growing Up single, 2003
Growing Up (Stabilizer Remix) | Growing Up single, 2003
Growing Up (Tricky Instrumental Mix) | Growing Up single, 2003
Darkness (Engelspost Remix) | Burn You Up, Burn You Down single, 2003
Curtains (Broad Mix) | Uscita album, given away to attendees of the Music Industry Trust Awards dinner that honoured Peter in 2004. Previously unreleased
Father, Son (Daniel Lanois & Richard Chappell Mix) | Uscita album, given away to attendees of the Music Industry Trust Awards dinner that honoured Peter in 2004. Previously unreleased
Courage | Previously unreleased full version. Overdubbed for digital single release 2013. Original unfinished version first released on the So 25th Anniversary Boxset.
Courage (The Hexidecimal Mix) | Courage digital single, 2013. Remixed by Steve Osborne
I’m Amazing | Digital single 2016, in part inspired by Muhammed Ali’s life and released at the time of Ali’s death.
The Veil | Digital single, 2016. Written for the movie ‘Snowden’

Peter Gabriel / vocals, keyboards
numerous musicians

Label: Real World Records
Format: Digital
Released: September 13, 2019

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