Picked up a cool little item on eBay a month or so ago: a promo-only CD single for The Red Devils’ “Automatic” and “Devil Woman.” Though it only contains two songs that you should own by now, there are still several notable things about this little single:
THE TWO-SONG PAIRING. After having memorized just about every sound and pause on “King King,” it is cool to hear these two songs back-to-back, out of sequence from the album. The promo disc is nicely mixed, with no edits, so the “live” feel carries over between the two songs, as though they were next to each other in the set.
The choice of songs is interesting, too. It’s no surprise “Automatic” is the lead cut, as it is perhaps the defining cut for this incarnation of The Red Devils. It’s the undeniable Big Shuffle. “Devil Woman,” however, is, in my experience, the most polarizing cut on the album. It’s the one whose genealogy is least “blues” (the groove may have roots in “Run Through the Jungle”), and the one with the most overt drug imagery in the lyrics. When people say, “The Red Devils are blues-rock,” this is the cut they cite. To B/W it with the classic harp shuffle “Automatic” gives a new dimension to each song. (Or, the analysis doesn’t matter, because the choice of song was pragmatic: The
Lester Butler Red Devils-credited “Devil Woman” keeps the publishing in-house, or perhaps “Devil Woman” seemed more a crossover tune for radio.)
THE RECORD LABEL. I know nothing about This Way Up. What I do know is that both of the official Red Devils singles in the UK — “Blackwater Roll” (Way 2433) and this promo (Way 655) — are credited to Def American and This Way Up. They are most likely a local distributor for Def American. (I do find them credited online with releases from artists such as Tindersticks and Ian McNabb.)
For being part of 2/3 of The Devils’ “official” output, This Way Up deserves mention.
THE SLEEVE. Yeah, the little rocket ship seems to be This Way Up’s logo, but it’s still cool!
This release seems a little difficult to find, but might be worth searching out if you are interested.
If anyone has more info on This Way Up, “Blackwater Roll” or any other Red Devils releases, please let us know.