This is one of those songs that has so many different versions, and so many people associated with it, that no one ever seems to agree on its provenance or exact history. Some versions list the primary artist as True Faith, others as Bridgette Grace–I think True Faith was intended to be Grace’s artist name before the song was briefly picked up by Atlantic and Polydor, who both evidently preferred Grace use her real name. Others still list Final Cut as the primary artist–sometimes presenting or featuring or with True Faith. Final Cut was a production duo composed of one Jeff Mills and a fellow Michigander named Anthony Srock; later, it was Srock and various others after Mills left to focus on solo work and Underground Resistance. Even the names of the songwriters and performers are often misspelled. Srock is often spelled “Stock”, and Grace’s first name is spelled every which way possible (I believe the correct spelling is actually “Bridget” and she’s often not credited as a songwriter at all.) I haven’t seen Mills get skipped or misspelled, go figure.
I suppose only Srock and Mills would be able to say for sure how exactly the timeline of the song took shape, but for all I know, they might not agree with each other, and maybe Bridget Grace would have a different story too. Maybe all the confusion is the reason why many of the original and best versions of the song are out of print. In 2012, Anthony Srock uploaded a kind of strange compilation of relatively current remixes (including that Prodigy song that samples Grace’s vocals) under the name AsRock. That compilation does indeed include a version titled “(Original Mix)”, which I suspect is in fact the first version produced. But it’s still not the version I think of as my original.
The version that hits closest to my heart is a five-minute-fifty-second uncredited “Pinned Up Mix” from 1990 on Network Records (who appear to have owned the UK/Euro distribution rights by the end of 1989/early 1990) which featured prominent use of the Hot Pants break and various liberally sampled elements of Kevin Saunderson’s “Definition of Love” release as Kaos.
The “Pinned Up” tag refers to the Pin Up Girls, who discogs tells me is Paul Waller. (Waller later worked on Björk’s Debut, among other important records throughout the 90s and beyond.) This mix was likely derived from a shorter version released a few months earlier as an original by the Pin Up Girls on a bootleg 12″ on Soft Records, which was then rebranded as a remix and released on Network (and some continental labels too). The label notes of one release claims that True Faith and Final Cut are the Pin Up Girls, but that doesn’t feel right to me. There are also other Pin Up Girls versions floating around. (One other contender for the best is a version very similar to this one that clocks in a minute or two longer.) Based on the prominent reliance on a breakbeat, and the sampling of Kaos (it’s almost a mashup), I’ll bet Waller probably produced the first initially as a bootleg using the acapella from one of the first 12″s, and then redid his version later in various incarnations on license back to Network and other labels.
I could have a lot of this backwards or plain wrong, but this is all my best attempt at unraveling this historical rat’s nest. The Quietus reviewed the reissue of Final Cut’s Deep Into the Cut, their only album released while Mills was still a member, which provides a bunch of great context, but unfortunately doesn’t address “Take Me Away” at all. Still a good read, and a great album.
For whatever reason, you can buy digital copies of a bunch of the song’s versions, but I don’t think you can buy this one, even though it’s the best one. At least I haven’t been able to find it. Maybe it’s that Saunderson sample preventing release, or maybe no one’s on the ball. Who knows. So I’m sharing a vinyl rip here. If you’ve got the scoop on the deeper history of this song, I’d love to hear it.
True Faith / Final Cut – “Take Me Away” (Pinned Up Mix) (1990) (mp3)