Fantasy Deluxe #6: It’s Better To Travel


As outlined in A Love Deluxe, the past year or so has seen me become just a little bit addicted to creating “fantasy” deluxe editions. You take an album, and use whatever extra material is available (B-sides, Single Edits, 12″ Remixes, Demos, Out-takes, non-album 45s) to piece together a multi-disc celebration of it. 

There are times when an officially-released expanded version still leaves you wanting (and needing) to create your own. One of the more notoriously annoying Deluxes (of the 2-disc kind) was the 2012 special edition of Swing Out Sister’s seminal debut album.

The actual end-product was an improvement on the planned tracklisting, which – driven by Andy Connell’s personal dislike of anything other than what was on the original LP – lacked far more than the handful of (still notable) omissions which blighted it. Fan reaction prompted a reluctant change of heart, and the 2-disc set did at least have a CD’s worth of the many mixes that were done for the SOS singles during 1986 and 1987.

Yet the biggest bone of contention was the absence of Twilight World in its 7″ single form. That was, weirdly, an absolute no-go (despite being on an earlier Swing Out Sister best-of collection for the Japanese market).


The original 1987 CD tracklisting. Complete with incorrectly-named mixes!

The VERY LOUD modern-day sound of the 2012 edition was also a pity, though not a surprise. It’s Better To Travel is, for my money, one of the most exquisitely-produced albums that wasn’t done by Trevor Horn or Steven Lipson at ZTT. This is just how brilliant pop music had the capacity to become by the end of the 1980s. In truth, no remastering of it should ever be needed.

My dilemma was this; a beautiful 80s version of the album existed, but without the B-sides (all quite brilliant) and without that 7″ of Twilight World. A flawed 2012 version also existed, with (almost all) the B-sides and a few more remixes than the three on the original CD, but again no Twilight World 7″ mix and a less-pleasing sound. Neither version was satisfactory.


In a change from our usual programming, CD1 of my fantasy deluxe is not simply the album as first issued, without anything else. I’ve added seven extra tracks; the 7″ versions of two singles which were the only ones to differ to their album counterparts, plus all five B-Sides. One of these, Another Lost Weekend, was only featured in its longer mix on the 2012 Special Edition.


1 breakout 3:46
2 twilight world (superb, superb mix) 6:29
3 after hours 4:51
4 blue mood 4:18
5 surrender 3:55
6 fooled by a smile 4:05
7 communion 4:39
8 it’s not enough 3:46
9 theme (from – “it’s better to travel”) 4:32
10 twilight world [7″ mix] 4.05
11 fooled by a smile [7″ mix] 3.44
12 wake me when it’s over 4:36
13 dirty money 4:08
14 who’s to blame 5:12
15 another lost weekend 3:41
16 fever 4:33

This way, you have the best-sounding version of the album, plus those single mixes and all the original songs tucked away on the B-sides (many good enough to be on the album itself, and in the case of Another Lost Weekend, good enough to be an A-side). We’re on our way to satisfaction!

For the sake of completism, of course, the remastered version still needs to be included. That takes care of CD2. Only the 9 songs, mind. Not the bonus mixes. Those are going elsewhere.


Percussionist Martin Jackson catches a glimpse of Swing Out Sister’s future without him.

Elsewhere being the third and final disc in this mercifully concise fantasy set. The dust has settled and we are left with eleven alternate and/or extended mixes. They are arranged first by release order as singles (Blue Mood / Breakout / Surrender / Twilight World / Fooled By A Smile being the official UK run so you have one remix of each to start the CD), and then it was really a case of what flowed best after that, with the instrumental of Communion (from the 1987 CD’s trio of bonus tracks) being the closer. The 2012 reissue’s longer mix of Another Lost Weekend turns up here.

1 blue mood (growler mix) 6:52
2 breakout (N.A.D. mix) 6:59
3 surrender (stuff gun mix) 6:40
4 twilight world (gas distress mix) 6:05
5 fooled by a smile (ralph mix) 6:10
6 breakout (horny mix) 4:33
7 surrender (roadrunner mix) 6:14
8 blue mood (dubbed up mix) 6:46
9 breakout (a new rockin’ version) 5:51
10 another lost weekend (long version) 5:25
11 communion (instrumental) 4:43

In addition to being a tidy-up exercise, this disc was a chance to correct some of the labelling errors from the 1987 CD. The mix of Breakout on that was not the “NAD Mix”, but “A New Rockin’ Version”, more than a minute shorter. The “Remix” of Twilight World was actually the “Gas Distress Mix” (although the latter is also on the 2012 version, there is a slight edit at the end so the two are not identical).

Notwithstanding a bunch of US-only remixes not commissioned or endorsed by the band, that is just about everything available on the two incarnations of It’s Better To Travel on CD, and any relevant edits/mixes from SoS compilations.

The artwork should have been a doozy, but somehow I spent ages cleaning up a version of the cassette sleeve (the LP/CD dimensions being too square for my preferred DVD-shaped design template) only to find myself dissatisfied with the result. No matter, my dedication to the cause trumps everything else, so I knuckled down to work on something better. Which is what you see at the top of this post.

Pretty similar to the original album sleeve in the end, but an extra Swing Out Sister star and the title (plus “Superb Superb Deluxe Edition“, a reference to the album’s working title and obviously a play on words) took up some of the blank space at the bottom. The rear sleeve uses the very cool retro art from the vinyl LP as its background, with all the text aligned to the right margin.

Finally, the best of both (twilight) worlds. But I doubt Andy will approve!


  1. Good work. Agree that at its best the album is up there with the Lipson/Horn epics of the era (I guess also helped by Richard Niles’ superb arrangements). A few B-sides here I need to check out – I only know ‘Fever’. Also I’ve never heard the original 7″ of ‘Twilight World’. But I have to say that I haven’t liked ANY of the remixes I’ve heard, that would be on your disc three…

    Liked by 1 person

    • Strictly speaking, I would agree with Andy Connell that the Superb Superb mix of Twilight World is the best, but I’m one of those people who feel the single versions of singles should appear on Best Ofs, and at least be included somewhere on expanded reissues. The majority of B-sides are more in the vein of Blue Mood than the later hits (Wake Me Up excepted), darker and sparser.

      I love some of the 12″/remix versions – Blue Mood (Growler) and Surrender (Stuff Gun) especially. The NAD mix of Breakout is probably the definitive one (I really don’t like the Roadrunner mix!). The best ones have that ZTT vibe about them…all very ACT.

      Liked by 1 person

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