Deacon Blue / Believers deluxe box


Deacon Blue return with a new album, Believers, at the end of September and in addition to the usual physical formats, it will be available as a rather appealing deluxe box set.

The album is being marketed as the third part of a trilogy which began with The Hipsters in 2012 and continued with A New House in 2014. The new single will be the first track on the album, the political The Believers, which Ricky Ross describes the song as “our statement that belief in the possibilities of hope and a better tomorrow is the side we choose to come down on.”

The record was produced and mixed by producer Paul Savage and will be available on vinyl and CD, but it’s the deluxe box set that is the pick of the formats. It includes a bonus CD dubbed “What We Left Out” which features a generous 27-tracks of demos and outtakes from the Believers recording sessions including four unreleased tracks: Sunshine State (recorded during the Believers sessions), Dusk (demo), Easter Sunday (demo), Snow Still On Cars (demo).

In addition, the box includes a cassette tape of an exclusive, previously unreleased (and newly mastered) recording of Deacon Blue Live At The Dominion Theatre, London, 26th October 1988. The cassette artwork has been recreated from Ricky Ross’s original master tape. Not got a tape deck? Have no fear, because you get the entire contents on the cassette as a download, and they’ve even thrown in a bonus track for downloaders, You Don’t Understand (recorded in 1989).

Believers album cover

Being a music box set they can’t resist the dubious and unecessary “postcard bundle”, although the print of the Believers cover art might be quite nice.

All in all, a pretty well thought out, and decently priced package, with something from the classic era, a very generous bonus CD of demos and the artifact that is the cassette tape. Oh, and let’s not forget the new album!

Believers is released on 30 September 2016.

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Deacon Blue

Believers deluxe box set


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Deacon Blue

Believers vinyl LP



Box in brief:

  • • ‘Believers’ album CD
  • • Cassette ( ‘Live at the Dominion Theatre, London 1988’),
  • • Download of above with unreleased track ‘You Don’t Understand’
  • • Bonus CD (‘What We Left Out’ – 27 tracks of demos and outtakes)
  • • Post card bundle,
  • • Art print of ‘Believers’ cover art

CD 1 – Believers
1. The Believers
2. This Is a Love Song
3. I Will and I Won’t
4. Meteors
5. Gone
6. What I Left Out
7. A Boy
8. Birds
9. You Can’t Know Everything
10. Delivery Man
11. Come Awake
12. B Boy

CD 2 – What We Left Out – 27 demos and outtakes from sessions

Cassette: Live at the Dominion Theatre 26th October 1988
Fergus Sings the Blues / Born Again

The Very Thing
Love’s Great Fears
This Changing Light
One Hundred Things
Circus Lights
Chocolate Girl
Spencer Tracy
Real Gone Kid
Little Lincoln
Wages Day
Long Distance to Love
When Will You (Make My Telephone Ring)?
Town to Be Blamed
Love of You / Ain’t That Good News

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I bought the regular version of the album for £2.99 from HMV and it’s a good album. I did some research on the download included in the box set for the concert and found out they are mp3s encoded at 192 Kbits/s glad i didn’t waste my money on that.

Michael poole

Deacon blue believers box download code does not work no help to mail site they don’t respond has anyone had this problem

Phil Wilson

If anyone has this, please could you send me a scan of both sides of the cassette inlay at philjwilson@hotmail.com cheers, Phil


I’ve seen a few deacon blue bootleg cassettes over the teaser, they are usually typed with a photocopied picture, this one looks rather ‘poshed up’ to me I never came across one from this concert either, I guess it must have existed

Dougie Adam

There is a link earlier in one of the comments to an blog by the company who transferred the 1988 gig from Betamax to digital transfer about the process. Looks like most of that tour was recorded that way rather than on DAT or cassette, and my guess is from the transfers completed the London Dominion was chosen as the best concert to release.

Over the years most of the tours had some kind of live radio broadcast – 1987 saw Radio Clyde cover the Glasgow School of Art show in the summer and BBC broadcast a few songs from Manchester International, 1988 we had Radio Clyde at the first of the Barrowlands gigs, and May 1989 saw Radio Clyde at the SECC and BBC Radio 1 at Hammersmith Odeon, December 1989 saw Radio Clyde at the Barrowlands for the final show of the year and BBc Radio 1 did a 60 minute highlights broadcast from the Glasgow Royal Concert Hall, and again in 1994 were at the Edinburgh Playhouse. Occasionally the band have let soundboards slip out through the bootleg / traders network (Newcastle City Hall in 1999 being 1 example). As far as I’m aware there were very few audience recordings from the short October 1988 tour and the box set will be the first time a full show from the tour has been made available in broadcast / soundboard quality. Fans of the bands live output should go to http://www.circuslights.com and http://www.glasgowskyline.com where many MP3s from live shows can be listened to and as the years go by more and more soundboard recordings are being made available to listen to.


I was involved in picking out the gig for inclusion in this boxed set. Nearly all of the October 88 tour was recorded digitally onto Betamax PCM – but very few of the recordings were complete. (The tapes are 28 years old – the technology has no error correction, so if there are any faults/dropouts on the tape, you get several seconds of silence. Think of it like VHS – every time the picture went fuzzy, there was a fault on the tape…) The gig that was chosen was the most complete – and even then, it still needed some remastering. Yes, putting a cassette in a boxset is a little old fashioned, but the expectation is everyone will just download the gig!

Dougie is right – very little of the 1988 tour was audience recorded. In fact, the only recordings I’ve ever come across are the ‘warm up gig’, Sheffield and Edinburgh.

Having transferred a lot of live material – some on cassette, some on DAT, some on minidisc, some on Betamax – cassette isn’t as bad as it’s reputation! I’ve got some pretty good sounding recordings from 30 year old cassettes.


I think I find it a bit weird that they’ve picked a 1988 gig at all for this.
Why not pick a recent gig with songs from the album?

Dougie Adam

Prior to the album release only the title track and This Is A Love Song had been played live in concert a few months earlier in Belfast.

Now that I have listened to the 1988 concert I am pleased it was selected for release. The band and fans are excited that Real Gone Kid has become their first top 30 hit single (a few weeks later it would reach the top 10). There are lots of inserts of cover versions into their own songs and quite a few cover versions which have not featured much after that tour and some of the lyrics and arrangements for the new unreleased songs at the time changed between that gig and the 2nd album being released.

The main news should of course be that the new album is one of the best the band has made in their career, but given we are into box sets on this site, I have to say I also really love the bonus disc “What We Left Off” as we get to hear how 8 of the songs started off on work tapes where Ricky plays around with a riff, and then runs through songs before some of the lyrics are finalised on some of the work tapes and then we hear early demos and full band demos as well as some of the songs that werent included on the final album but were tried out during the sessions / written during the period the rest of the album was written.


Some people are misarable on here no one is forcing anyone to buy it i think a tape is a good idea retro is the new lol

Dougie Adam

I think it’s a shame so much of the comment is about the cassette part of the box set. People are missing the fact that this is a bit of humour (surely) on the band’s part about box set’s and formats… one option is to get a box set with the vinyl LP, new CD, bonus CD, cassette and download… hopefully next time the band will not forget to include minidisc in the options :-)

From 1988 onwards I think the band have lots of unreleased soundboards. I was surprised to find out that until after their second album had gone to No.1 a lot of the soundboards had digital sound recorded on Betamax video tapes. We’ll have to wait and see what format the live download is available in, if flac or Wave files are an option I will be delighted. Some Deacon Blue tours are well documented by radio broadcasts, or bootlegs but the October 1988 shows are one of the tours which weren’t covered by national or local radio broadcasts and found the band midway through the convoluted recording sessions for When The World Knows Your Name and gigging as Real Gone Kid made its way to becoming the band’s 1st top 10 UK single. I’ll be interested to hear the cassette and download of a tour where the band went out and played the new album live 6 months before the sessions were finished, mixed and released given that it was a big departure from the sound and feel of Raintown. Fergus Sings The Blues (6 months away from release) as the opening song seguing into a cover of Born Again. I’ve heard the 1988 concert is not too far short of the 2 hour mark.

One of the great things as a fan of the band was how good they were as a live band, and I think this is something that often gets overlooked as people comment on them being an old 80’s band jumping on the reformation and nostalgia bandwagon. Personally I’d love it if the band found a way to release the equivalent of a 2 CD compilation of tours from spring 1988 (Barrowlands in April), October 1988, May 1989, December 1989, September 1990, December 1991 (when the band were probably at their peak), April 1993, April/May 1994, autumn 1999, and the Homesick tours from 2001. There were lots of innovations and new material in October 1988, the Fellow Hoodlums tour in 1991 and the 1993 live shows.

But I am getting bogged down in the debate about the live cassette and I REALLY didn’t want to do that at all. For me the exciting things about the boxset are the obvious ones that no one has really mentioned much yet in the comments I have read through.

First up, it’s another new studio album of all new Deacon Blue material and these days I don’t take that from granted after the 11 year wait between Homesick and The Hipsters, Ricky admitted he wasn’t sure if there was much point or demand for a new Deacon Blue album. Since 2012 (when we also got the remastered back catalogue at a bargain price given they were pretty comprehensive) we have had The Hipsters album, You’ll Know Its Christmas EP, A New House album, Bloom bonus disc of Hipsters and New House outtakes and now The Believers new album and What We Left Off bonus disc plus 4 UK tours all within the space of 5 years and I think all the new recordings with Paul Savage producing have been to a high standard, so I am looking forward to hearing a 3rd new full length studio album in 5 years from the band, and I’m also really looking forward to the bonus disc where I am guessing there will be 3 or 4 b-sides which were left off the main album and for the first time ever get to hear how a few of the album tracks develop from Ricky’s first dictaphone recordings through various demos and alternate takes or rough mixes until they reach release on the bonafide album.

To whoever said we should get a new studio album, bonus disc, live album all for £15 my advise would be to wise up, as box set prices go this is sensibly priced and I think it is also a great balance of finding a way to release new material, provide examples of demos and work in progress for the anorakish fans like myself and release rare archive material in good sound quality side by side, and the band have found a way of making it work for them 30 years after they began recording their debut album, here is a new album available on vinyl, cassette, CD and download with a UK tour to follow in a few month’s time.

Great days to be a Deacon Blue fan.

Derek Langsford

What will be next? 8-tracks? 78s? Wax cylinders? Enough I say! Give us a digital 96/24 version, preferably physical medium. I will not buy a turntable or cassette deck to humour such releases.


I noticed that HMV has vanished from your pricing widget Paul. Is it just a glitch or deliberate as all we seem to get now is links for Amazon.


For all those moaning about the Super Deluxe edition-compare with what Sting is offering up…
No contest.
And the band are making signed ones available for fans. Can’t see Sting doing that…


As poor as that Sting Super Deluxe edition is at least he is not including a cassette which in this day and age is about as useful as an ashtray on a motorbike.


This is no different to ordering a Bluray movie trilogy, which features the third film on an accompanying VHS tape. Nuts.


I just bought a second hand copy of the Smashing Pumpkins’ Pisces Iscariot deluxe and that has a bleedin’ cassette in it featuring exclusive tracks. Luckily I still have a couple of decent tape decks kicking around, so hopefully one of them still works so I can grab a digital version of it.


The tracks on that PI cassette where available as downloads as well at the time of release. However those were old demo tracks from the very beginnings of the Smashing Pumpkins, and were circulating among fans for years before this deluxe reissue. The main point of that cassette was to make an artifact of an early demo tape, a pretty object for collecting purposes. I believe here we have more or less the same.

alan hansen

now, if only we can get SDE’s of the Ricky Ross solo catalog to accompany the lovely Deacon Blue sets from a few years ago (even if they weren’t perfect – but damn close).


Signed boxset on their site for 35 plus postage.


The one good thing about tapes back in that day was they could hold more music than a CD which was annoying when they were released on CD with 4 or 5 tracks missing. You would have to imagine the download will be lossless instead of a bunch of crappy mp3s which are no use for burning a live CD.

john T

Signed copies are available on the Deacon Blue website


I think cassettes get an overly bad press. I remember some albums like Wings over America, especially the acoustic side sounding great and actually never bettered on CD IMHO. Also, some of the Joan Armatrading albums on chrome cassettes (remember them?) sounded brilliant.


I love cassettes! Have been buying lots of them recently. The sub-pop label now releases most of their catalogue on cassette. I may buy this, if I like the album. I am not sure anymore what deacon blue sounds like.


Each format has a unique appealing feature for me – for vinyl, it’s the large artwork/packaging; for cassettes, it was the hypnotizing (even calming) sight of watching those spools go round and round while watching a roll of tape shrink on one spool and grow on the other; and for CDs, it’s the sound quality. So while a tape would be nice to watch, I’d rather it be a ‘virtual’ cassette – an ‘app’ or ‘visualization’ on my computer’s media player while it plays the CD/download. I wish someone would invent something like that!

The problem I have with cassettes is the tape fragility – I like the look of them, I like the tactile quality and I enjoyed the sound. But they just don’t last.

Gary C

Cool box, quite like this, and the first album in the trilogy is very good indeed.

When all is said and done however, you can’t take any of this with you, whether it be a cassette or a CD.


Why you are so annoyed by something extra? I mean you won’t play the tape so let it sit in the box and download the content. How much do you think you would save if the box didn’t feature the tape? Maybe £5? I don’t know.

What you people seem not to get is that all this deluxe editions/box set/whatever thing is just a marketing strategy based on selling you useless extras. That is what they want to sell you, pointless gadgets and useless/redundant formats. This is how they keep the business going.

There are digital download options or standard releases for those who feel so outrageous to buy a cassette tape in the year 2016. If you want your superdeluxe thing to collect just buy what they give you, because that’s how they make those things, deal with it.


The only person on this thread who is ‘annoyed’ and not able to ‘deal with it’ is you Paolo. Every other comment is a constructive observation.


There are many comments complaining about the cassette, not exactly constructive observations but whatever.


Thank goodness I still have my old tape deck sitting under my turntable. And I even have at least three old Sony Walkmans lurking in a bottom drawer, alongside two mini-disc players I never got around to throwing out… (now there’s a thought, how about a bonus mini disc next?)

So I’m covered. :)


It’s form over function. You have to pay extra for the box, because the the box needs to hold the tape that most people don’t want but which again you are paying extra for.

There are plenty of ways in which to make a deluxe or super deluxe set make sense in terms of both content and price, it’s just that 90% of releases seem thrown together, with daft little inclusions that are of no use and a complete lack of thought for the customer.


I would have prefered a 3 CD Set or 2CD Set an LP instead of the Cassette Tape as I have no way of listening ot it these days, so it will just stay in the box.


Well all junk for sure, but I can carry or store things in a plastic bag, I could wear a rossette for fancy dress, I can amuse a cat / small child with the marbles and kill some time doing the jigsaw. But a cassette tape, well if I don’t have a tape deck it seems like it can only be a paperweight for credit card receipts, or a storage case for something small like paperclips. Other than that it has no use or amusement value I can think of.

Would you really push this as an item in any of the SDE’s you curate?

Simon Long

Neil Young also reckons that his high-res digital player sounds better than standard CD-res music. He’s wrong about that as well…

(I can’t work out why Neil Young’s opinion on sound quality is felt to be relevant in audio circles – he’s in his 70s and has spent most of his life standing in front of distorted high volume PA stacks; by definition his hearing will unavoidably be ruined by now.)


:) Agreed, it’s a mystery isn’t it! Most opinions I read on Pono state it’s no better or worse than any other high-res player. But I guess when you have something you need to flog you will spout any bullsh*t to get the coin coming in.


I’d rather have an extra CD or piece of vinyl with all remixes issued at the time! Seriously tapes will disintigrate over time. Your grand kids won’t be getting a legacy consisting of playable tapes.


The tape is crazy! No more madness like this record companies / bands!

I can’t understand how these things get green lighted Paul? You know the inside dealings of boxset creation. What goes through their minds?

Do they really sit around a table brainstorming (or is that a brainshower these days..) and someone actually says “you know what, why don’t we include an exclusive on a cassette. That will be so cool for fans, it will help sales no end”, but then miss out the common sense reply from someone of “well actually it would not be cool for fans as almost nobody has tape playback anymore, and so it will to all intent and purpose be a pointless waste of time and money – ours and the fans, ending up as nothing more than a curio or a paperweight”.

We could start a petition: No more nonsense junk in SDE’s please!

It appears so.


I think most people would rather a CD than a tape. What next? An eight-track with a download code?


Or piece of chalk!

Tom of FIN

This cassette boom has been for years around already for hipster consumers under 30/35 years of age, students and sorts that is.

I have been wondering when it started really. Pearl Jam debut LP deluxe box seven years ago was the first, at least I paid attention to from a major label.


Does anyone know why more and more releases are being made available on cassette? Always hated the format and I was delighted when it died out years ago. Only to return like a bad smell… Vinyl revival I get but cassette? Seriously?

Simon Long

No-one loved tapes, surely?

At the time they were popular, people used them in preference to vinyl purely because they were portable (Walkmans, car stereos) and in preference to CD because they were half the price. They only succeeded because there was no alternative. I for one was delighted when they vanished, and I really don’t want to see them reappear – the sound quality was rubbish, they were prone to damage while being played (and degradation over time even if they weren’t played) and winding through them to the song you wanted was tedious and sucked battery.

Let’s not get nostalgic – cassettes were cr*p. We don’t need them back, ever again.

(Not to mention that, while there are still one or two cassette decks on sale, none of them have Dolby because Dolby Labs have stopped manufacturing the chips, so they can’t actually play back even an approximation of the original music.)

Bloody hipsters – can’t they stick to fixie bikes and craft beer, and leave music formats alone… ;)

CJ Feeney

In the Walkman era, you could walk into record shop, buy a tape and listen straight away – the nearest thing to an instant download.

Aah, the good old days!

I still have a tape deck in my hi-fi system, as I still have a good 100 or so albums and “cassingles” that I bought in that format, as well as a few radio 1 concerts I recorded (legally for personal use only) over the years.


I don’t want cassettes to make a come back, but the one thing I did really like about them was that I was much more likely to listen to an entire album from back-to-front rather than skipping tracks. It gave you a chance to have something grow on you that maybe wasn’t as appealing upon the first listen. When I bought The Whole Story solely based on Running Up That Hill, I hated everything except the song I had bought it for (I was twelve, only liked dance music, and thought New Kids on the Block were high art), but I loved RutH so much that I would sit through the rest of the cassette repeatedly just to hear it, and the next thing I knew, every song on it felt like a classic. I don’t know if my tastes would have grown as quickly at hat stage without being “forced” to listen to the full album, rather than just programming and skipping to the songs I liked.

I try to not skip tracks when I’m listening now, bu it becomes too tempting sometimes, and there are os many recent albums that I’ve listened to, but I couldn’t tell you about half the music on them because I wrote it off after only one or two listens and only pay attention to the tracks I liked right off. I think it has hurt me a bit as a fan to not have that encouragement to look at an album as a single unit.


Holy cow there’s a tape, shame on them!

Simon Long

What is really annoying is that the live show on the cassette was actually recorded on a digital system – it was a PCM recording onto videotape. http://www.thegreatbear.net/audio-tape/deacon-blue/

I assume the cassette release is to make it have a “bootleg” type feel, but given how dreadful cassette was as a format when we were forced to use it, the idea that it is somehow pleasingly nostalgic to release a digital recording on it 25 years later is just annoying.

Still – given the title of their last album, maybe DB are trying to attract the hipster audience who seem to be the only people who might think a cassette release is a good idea in this day and age. I’ve preordered my copy, mainly to get that live show – there isn’t much officially-released live DB stuff, and they are a great band to see live – but I do wish it was on CD. I wonder if there’s any chance of the live download being in a lossless format…


From that website, it’s interesting to see that they recorded a lot of that October 1988 tour. I saw a few of those gigs and, looking back, I think that was their peak, the highlight being the October 30th show at Edinburgh Playhouse.
I don’t want the cassette. I don’t even want to hear the new album so I will sit tight and see if anyone releases the live stuff separately.


The cassette is just a nice thing to have if you are a big Deacon Blue fan, certainly better than photos or stickers etc . Cassettes have instant nostalgia value, even if the sound isn’t that great.

Phil Wilson

It is a bit of a strange idea to include the tape, even though that’s how “bootlegs” were traded back in the day, but I would have bought this if that show was on CD. Being the first band I ever saw live, in 1990, I would relish some vintage shows on CD. I just don’t think these will get played very much, which is a real shame, and whilst I appreciate you get the downloads, they just aren’t the same are they. I would have to put them on CD and make my own cover :-)

Tony S

Burn the download to a cd then


I would have bought this if it wasn’t for that silly tape. I wonder who came up with that bright idea let’s release it on a format that died over 20 years ago.


Hate Deacon Blue (I always refer to them as ‘The Poor Man’s Prefab Sprout” much to my best mate’s annoyance) BUT I have to say that this is a really nice, and decently priced, deluxe edition. Dammit! :-)

alan hansen



Should be a 3 CD set then really priced at around £15. The live tape/download is a bit silly and that content should be on CD for those of us who would rather not pay a premium for inferior/outdated formats and aesthetics.

If you like this kind of thing though, great.


Could be worse – the cassette could have been vinyl…..

Phil G.

I agree, though I’d pay up to £20 for the deluxe box. Hopefully it will drop.

So I’m doing what I usually do in this situation – bung it on my Amazon wish list and keep checking the price…

Mike the Fish

15 quid for recordings that have not yet recouped their costs? Plus the packaging? Not realistic.

Dougie Adam

It couldn’t have been a 3CD set at £15. You have 1 new studio album, 1 bonus CD with 27 tracks of dictaphone recordings, demos and B-sides and a full 1988 show which is too long to fit on a 3rd CD.

The only way bands can finance making new albums is by touring on the back of them and hoping some of the bigger fans will opt to buy a box set at over £30. Few singers / bands make much money from selling a new album at £15 any more , never mind 3-4 CDs of new / unreleased material at £15 for the lot. Deacon Blue’s current line has 6 members, and their original line up had Ewen Vernal and Graeme Kelling (and I’m guessing GK’s family will get a small slice of the money from the 1988 live show being sold in the box set).