So in 2001 someone in James or their management decided to copy the idea I'd had a couple of years earlier, after I got my mini-disc player, of doing a compilation of James B sides. The fools! They gave the fans a say in which songs should be included. Hence the cover versions get included, but nothing from pre-1990 (i.e. before Sit Down) does.
When it came out, I was surprised at how many of my favourite songs were not included — needless to say, I didn't vote. No Your Story, for instance, and no Wisdom of the Throat — that really is a great song. No Downstairs, still wonderfully harsh. And neither of the Oedipal-rage songs from the B-side of YaHo.
And not only that, I was surprised, given how many James singles I own in multiple versions, how many songs were on B-Sides Ultra that I didn't already have.
I always felt my original compilation was better. In fact I enjoyed it so much I made a second mini-disc compilation of the remaining B-side songs I had, filled out with a few of my favourite early songs that I only had/have on vinyl. The first disc would probably still make it as my third or fourth favourite James album. The Boy, who has learnt since last October to distinguish James-the-band from James-the-steam-engine (and James-his-cousin), did a good dance to Stolen Horse.
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