OPAL – “Early Recordings” (Sally Gardens) 2019
Opal were a band in the mid 1980s that were part of the Paisley Underground scene. Originally called Clay Allison, the band featured David Roback (ex Rain Parade), Kendra Smith (ex Dream Syndicate) and Keith Mitchell (ex Romans).
After one single, they released the remaining Clay Allison tracks under the band’s new name, Opal, on the 1984 “Fell from the Sun” EP. followed by “Northern Line” in 1985.
These EPs were later compiled and released as “Early Recordings”. Hope Sandoval joined the band shortly after and they became Mazzy Star. Which brings me to this CD release, a re-issue of the long out of print original records.
It seems that I’m fortunate to have found copies of “Early Recordings” and the next album “Happy Nightmare Baby” because the re-issue programme came to an abrupt halt last year following the untimely death of leader David Roback. Here is some information posted online by Pat Thomas.
The albums have been out of print since the early 1990s — and never available on streaming services — but according to Smith’s manager Pat Thomas, they will be available “imminently.”
At the time of his passing, Roback was working with Smith on finalizing the re-release of the albums, which will be available digitally and physically via Ingrooves Music Group, Thomas tells Variety. The group’s 1987 opus, “Happy Nightmare Baby,” will not include any bonus tracks, but a 1989 compilation of earlier material called, naturally enough, “Early Recordings,” will include five extra songs: “Hear the Wind Blow,” “I Called Erin,” “Don’t Stop the Train,” “Sailing Boats” and an alternate version of “Empty Bottles.” (Some of these songs appeared on a bootleg compilation called “Early Recordings Volume 2.”) Thomas did not give a more specific release date than “imminent.”
“Thanks to David Roback, his management and the record company- these two releases are permanently cancelled. Yes, CDs were manufactured and a few copies were sold last November. Sadly the remainder will be destroyed. Kendra & I did everything we could to make this release happen.”
Pat Thomas, November 2020 (via Twitter)