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A Forgotten '80s Classic, Reissued at Last

Clive Gregson and Christine Collister chronicle a troubled marriage on an '80s classic.
Clive Gregson and Christine Collister chronicle a troubled marriage on an '80s classic.

Home and Away, the debut album by Richard Thompson associates Clive Gregson and Christine Collister, shouldn't exist — certainly not now and probably not 20 years ago, when it was first released. It was a quickie live recording, released only because that's what performers on the British folk scene did at the time, chronicling an act that Gregson never intended to be anything more than a jump-start for Collister's singing career. But the collaboration lasted another four studio albums, and the straightforward simplicity of Home and Away's two-voices/one-guitar arrangements helped attract a cult following that routinely drove the price of the out-of-print CD version to the $100 mark on eBay.

One of the best albums of the '80s, and certainly one of the most unjustly overlooked, Home and Away has finally received the reissue it's long deserved. It's a spare, gorgeous record, and no song is more spare or gorgeous than "All the Time in the World." Accompanied only by his stunningly agile acoustic guitar and Collister's sympathetic backing, Gregson strips every superfluous feature from a tune by his defunct New Wave-tinged folk group Any Trouble. All that's left is three verses chronicling a troubled marriage, damaged ties with parents and a sympathetic shoulder that promises never to leave. In the end, nothing gets resolved, but the story sounds a little more bearable for having been shared at all.

Listen to yesterday's 'Song of the Day.'

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Marc Hirsh
Marc Hirsh lives in the Boston area, where he indulges in the magic trinity of improv comedy, competitive adult four square and music journalism. He has won trophies for one of these, but refuses to say which.