INXS "Shabooh Shoobah Rarities" (2023 Record Store Day Black Friday LP)

For Record Store Day Black Friday in 2023, Rhino Records is issuing a limited edition LP of INXS rarities, related to the Australian band's 1982 album Shabooh Shoobah, which was their first album released in the United States. The Shabooh Shoobah Rarities LP is pressed in colored vinyl and will be limited to 3,500 copies.

Shabooh Shoobah helped INXS achieve a strong breakthrough in the U.S. and elsewhere, as it corrected the shortcomings of the band's two earlier dance-rock albums which were released overseas. Still, the related rarities collected on this Record Store Day LP will mostly only be of interest to diehard fans. All of the eleven tracks were released digitally last year as part of a 40th Anniversary Deluxe Edition of Shabooh Shoobah.

Four of the tracks are obscure B-sides which I have previously covered in an earlier blog post and YouTube playlist. These tracks tend to be unlike most INXS recordings. This is especially true of two tracks which appeared as B-sides on different issues of "The One Thing". "The Sax Thing" (often a "To Look At You" flip-side as well) is a pleasantly old-fashioned jazz instrumental written and produced by saxophonist Kirk Pengilly. The oddball "Phantom Of The Opera" (intentionally misspelled "Phantim" on singles) was written and produced by guitarist Tim Farris, and places recordings of film dialogue and operatic voices on top of a languid instrumental groove. "Go West", the B-side of "Don't Change", is not the Village People song, but a fairly straightforward and mostly acoustic rock ballad that is uncharacteristic of INXS. "Long In Tooth", the B-side of the Australian "Black And White" single, is the most INXS-like song of the four B-sides, a mellow synth-pop song with a xylophone.

Three other tracks are alternate mixes of songs from the Shabooh album, previously issued on the 1983 Dekadance EP. I've never been a fan of dance remixes, and these selections are no exceptions. The five-minute extended mix of "Black And White", with its sparser instrumentation, is merely unnecessary, while the six-minute extended mix of the hit "The One Thing" is hurt by badly dated-tech echo and quick-change effects. "Here Comes II" is an alternate version of a filler track on Shabooh which fails to improve upon the original.

The last four tracks were recorded at the US Festival in San Bernardino, California in 1983. (The band's full US Festival set featured performances of nine of the ten Shabooh tracks, and was released on CD in Europe and Australia as Recorded Live At The US Festival 1983 (Shabooh Shoobah) in 2022). Performed at a time when Shabooh was still the band's only proper U.S. album release, these live versions of lesser-known songs have a seemingly understated sound when compared to the clean-and-loud production on the album, but they are engaging performances, and the late Michael Hutchence already was a noticeably charismatic frontman. These four live tracks are the high point of this selection of rarities.

INXS "Shabooh Shoobah Rarities" (Rhino/Atlantic) 2023

Track Listing:

1. The Sax Thing
2. Long in Tooth
3. The One Thing (Extended Mix)
4. Black and White (Extended Mix)
5. Here Comes II
6. Go West
7. Phantom of the Opera
8. Soul Mistake (Live from the US Festival, 1983)
9. Here Comes (Live from the US Festival, 1983)
10. Spy of Love (Live from the US Festival, 1983)
11. Old World New World (Live from the US Festival, 1983)