Tuesday, March 10, 2009
1987 was another "invisible" year for Robyn Hitchcock, when he didn't release any new material, but had a bunch of old material repackaged. In late-1986, Relativity reissued all of his pre-Fegmania! solo albums in the U.S. and issued another album of outtakes from the early 80s called Invisible Hitchcock.
According to Robyn's liner notes, this album (a play on the Soft Boys' Invisible Hits) assembled songs that "didn't fit in with what I was doing at the time but do fit in with each other now". Over the years, he's put together multiple collections of 1980s outtakes (Invisible Hitchcock, You & Oblivion, the recent While Thatcher Mauled Britain and A Bad Case Of History) with just a few overlapping songs, so he was apparently wickedly prolific during the 1980s, and released only a small percentage of all the songs he wrote and recorded.
As these things go, Invisible Hitchcock hangs together fairly well as an album. About half the songs are Black Snake outtakes (1980-81) and half are from the I Often Dream Of Trains era (1983-84), but most of them wouldn't fit on those albums, so it makes sense to try to assemble them into something cohesive.
Invisible Hitchcock is now long out of print, but I think it's possible to assemble an IH playlist from the I Wanna Go Backwards box set. Unfortunately, the last two volumes of the box aren't available on emusic and are listed as "album only" on amazon & iTunes, so it isn't possible to assemble without purchasing the entire box set.