Between the release of Bauhaus
' debut single, "Bela Lugosi's Dead," in 1979 on the Small Wonder label, and their debut album, In the Flat Field
, in 1980, the band had played a John Peel
session at the BBC, toured England extensively (and North America selectively), and recorded over a dozen sessions that resulted in three singles and an EP, and ultimately, their debut album, In the Flat Field
, one of the most important post-punk recordings in history, and arguably the first "gothic rock" album. The influence of Bauhaus cannot be overstated: In the Flat Field
has been re-released on compact disc no less than five times since 1990, and in 2008, it was released on vinyl in various editions no less than four! This Beggar's Banquet Omnibus Edition of the album is a true fetish object as a package. It contains the 24-bit remaster of the original album in its own sleeve with a replica of the original inner sleeve that contained the lyrics for the album's nine tracks, and is held in a rice paper sleeve. In addition, there is a second disc that contains not only the singles issued during the same period (minus "Bela Lugosi's Dead," done for a separate label): "Dark Entries," "Terror Couple Kills Colonel," but also outtakes of album tracks, alternate takes, and original versions of "A God in an Alcove," and the Beck studio original version of their cover of Marc Bolan
's "Telegram Sam," to name a few. There are 16 tracks in all, and given how familiar fans are with In the Flat Field
, this second disc, so loaded with alternates and outtakes, is a revelatory experience because it offers a portrait of the band struggling with itself, and experimenting, trying to eke out that certain sonic something that would ultimately set them apart and create so many imitators.
As if the music weren't enough, Beggar's has included in this semi-long box offering a 48-page book that includes comments from bandmembers, photos, complete lyrics, complete tour date information for 1979 and 1980, and a solidly authoritative and excellent chronological essay by Kevin Brooksbank on the formation and creation of the band, the singles, and the album. It's a prize in itself. Fan will simply not want to live without this one -- even if they already own the expanded edition of the album.