"Snake Charmer" - Wobble, Jah, The Edge, and Holger Czukay

Single (EP)

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Background Information

This release has been the subject of some confusion from collectors, mostly due to the fact that the track listing of the USA release and the UK release appear to be the same but they actually have alternate versions of the songs betwen the two. Before any discussion on the background of this album it is important to understand that there are these two pressings. The UK pressing (IMA 1) has “Snake Charmer” at (6:14) and “Snake Charmer (Reprise)” at (6:54). The USA pressing (90141-1 on LP) has “Snake Charmer” at 6:20 and “Snake Charmer (Reprise)” at 6:58, and not only are the times different, but these are alternate mixes of the song and differ throughout the song. “Hold on to Your Dreams”, the third track featuring The Edge, is the same version on all releases.

Jah Wobble got his start with Public Image Ltd (PiL) and in 1983 was just getting his own group, Invaders of the Heart started. For this 1983 solo project he approached Holger Czukay of Can, and The Edge of U2 to work on the EP, as well as famous electronic producer Francois Kervorkian. The EP would be released on Island records as “Snake Charmer” and was released on vinyl and cassette. The EP featured five tracks, and The Edge participated in three of them. The Edge is credited as “Slide guitar and Soloist” on the both versions of “Snake Charmer” on each release, and he is listed as “Lead Guitar and Effects” on “Hold on to Your Dreams”. Wobble has spoken about the recording: “The producer here was top New York DJ/remixer Francois Kervorkian, and the album was “Snake Charmer”, which features The Edge (nice down to earth fella) from U2 and Holger. Check out the latter’s mental French horn solo. This was also the first time I came across the infamous Lin Drum, one of the first programmable drum machines, it is a feature of this track. This era, the early to mid eighties saw the rapid development of midi technology; this session was my introduction to the digital domain. It was quite an eye opener for me. I gave Francois a tough time on occasion, but he did ok. And I learned a lot.”

It is believed that there was an error in what tapes were used for the pressing of the album in the US, and this resulted in alternate recordings of the two songs being used, with one set appearing on the US vinyl and cassette, and the other set appearing on the UK vinyl (as well as in other countries around the world). “Snake Charmer (UK Version)” also appeared on the Jah Wobble compilation “I Could Have Been a Contender”. “Snake Charmer (Reprise – UK Version)” appeared on the Jah Wobble single “The Sun Does Rise”. “Snake Charmer (Reprise – USA Version)” appears on the compilation album “Last Night a DJ Saved My Life”. “Hold on to my Dreams” has been released on the compilation “King Britt” but the version appearing there is recorded from a vinyl source. A promotional single for “Snake Charmer” was also released in the UK and includes an edit of “Hold on to Your Dreams” and of “Snake Charmer”. The EP itself has never been released on CD as a whole, but many of the tracks can be found on the above listed compilations.

Wobble would also work with Bono on the single “You Made Me the Thief of Your Heart”, performed by Sinead O’Connor, for the soundtrack to the movie “In the Name of the Father”.

Liner Notes

Snake Charmer: Written by Wobble, Marland, Czukay, Kevorkian. Jah Wobble: Bass, Vocals. The Edge: Slide Guitar Solo. Holger Czukay: Dictaphone, French Horn, Lead Guitar, Grand Piano. Francois Kevorkian: Linn Drum Programing. Animal: Rhythm Guitar. Ollie Marland: Keyboards. Neville Murray: Percussion. Produced by Francois Kevorkian for Axis Productions Inc. Engineer and Production assistant Paul “Groucho” Smykle. 2nd Engineer: Steven Street. Recorded and mixed at the Fallout Shelter, London, UK.
Hold on to Your Dreams: Music written by Wobble, Evans, Marland, Kevorkian. Words by Arthur Russell. Jah Wobble: Bass, Vocals. The Edge: Lead guitar plus Atmospherics. Jaki Leibezeit: Drums. Marcella Allen: Lead Vocal. Ollie Marland: Keyboards. Animal: Rhythm Guitar. Neville Murray: Percussion. Produced by Francois Kevorkian for Axis Productions Inc. Engineer and Production assistant Paul “Groucho” Smykle. 2nd Engineer: Steven Street. Recorded and mixed at the Fallout Shelter, London, UK.
Snake Charmer (Reprise): Written by Wobble, Marland, Czukay, Kevorkian. Jah Wobble: Bass, Vocals. The Edge: Slide Guitar Solo. Holger Czukay: Dictaphone, French Horn, Lead Guitar. Francois Kevorkian: Linn Drum Programming. Ollie Marland: Keyboards. Animal: Rhythm Guitar. Neville Murray: Percussion. Produced by Francois Kevorkian for Axis Productions Inc. Engineer and Production assistant Paul “Groucho” Smykle. 2nd Engineer: Steven Street. Recorded and mixed at the Fallout Shelter, London, UK.

Artwork

Illustrations: Paul Wearing, Art Direction: Bruno Tilley.

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