Soul Mining is the debut album by British post-punk/synthpop band The The. The 1981 album Burning Blue Soul was originally credited to the band’s frontman Matt Johnson as a solo album, but later reissues now credit it to The The.
Soul Mining was released in October 1983 and included versions of the UK singles “Uncertain Smile” which reached no. 68 in December 1982, “Perfect” which made no. 79 in February 1983, and “This Is the Day” which reached no. 71 in September 1983. The album peaked at number 27 in the UK album chart.It has appeared on several lists as one of the best albums of the 1980s.
The title track of the album was released as a UK Promo 12″ in 1986 with a 12″ remix of “Soul Mining” and the original recording of “The Sinking Feeling”, also from the Soul Mining album.
Matt Johnson (born 15 August 1961) is a singer/songwriter best known as the vocalist and only constant member of his band The The.
The single “Perfect” was recorded in 1982 in New York with Mike Thorne producing, after The The had been signed by Epic Records in the USA. However, the relationship between Johnson and Thorne quickly deteriorated as a result of Johnson’s heavy drinking and drug use, and disagreements between the pair over the songs’ production. The sessions were eventually abandoned and Johnson returned to London and began recording with Thorne’s former engineer Paul Hardiman, reworking the single.
“Perfect” features harmonica playing by New York Dolls singer David Johansen, a friend of Thorne’s. The song was remixed by Johnson and Hardiman, only keeping Johansen’s contribution from the original single. The new version was added on to the end of the US version of Soul Mining, and later to the CD versions, a fact which irritated Johnson who felt it was an unnecessary addition to the album.
“Perfect” made no. 79 on the UK charts in February 1983
The singles “Uncertain Smile” (originally released in 1981 in a different form and titled “Cold Spell Ahead”) and “Perfect” were recorded in 1982 in New York with Mike Thorne producing, after The The had been signed by Epic Records in the USA. However, the relationship between Johnson and Thorne quickly deteriorated as a result of Johnson’s heavy drinking and drug use, and disagreements between the pair over the songs’ production. The sessions were eventually abandoned and Johnson returned to London and began recording with Thorne’s former engineer Paul Hardiman, reworking the two singles.
The version of “Uncertain Smile” released as a single in 1982 had featured flutes and a saxophone solo from the Uptown Horns founder Crispin Cioe, but for the album the song was re-recorded, replacing the saxophone solo with a lengthy piano solo by Jools Holland. Holland revealed in his 2007 autobiography Barefaced Lies and Boogie-Woogie Boasts that it is in fact two separate solos edited together.
The edits on the US Promo 12″ were exclusive to this release.
The The are an English musical and multimedia group that have been active in various forms since 1979, with singer/songwriter Matt Johnson being the only constant band member.
In 1982, the intended debut album by The The (The Pornography of Despair) was recorded, but was never officially mixed nor released. Johnson apparently ran off some cassette copies for friends, and several tracks were subsequently re-recorded and issued as b-sides, but the album remains unmixed and unissued. Steve James Sherlock played flute and saxophone on the re-recordings of “Three Orange Kisses From Kazan” and “Waitin’ For The Upturn”, two of the songs from the album which saw the light of day as b-sides.
Instead, in 1983 The The released their official album debut, the synth-noir classic Soul Mining. It featured the minor UK No. 71 hit “This Is the Day”, as well as a new recording of “Uncertain Smile”. Produced by Johnson and Paul Hardiman it featured guest appearances from Orange Juice’s drummer Zeke Manyika, Jools Holland, Thomas Leer and J. G. Thirlwell (aka Foetus).
This Is the Day (Extended Version) 5:22
I’ve Been Waiting For Tomorrow (All Of My Life) (Special Mix) 7:36