After Sgt Peppers, Robyn Hitchcock played Abbey Road (the album) once again for MSF (doctors without frontiers) in the Three Kings Pub on the 1st November 2009 (there was a set the previous night). With him you funnd Graham Coxon (yes the ex-Blur man) on guitar and Mark Bedford (yes the Madness man) on bass. The rehearsals had surely not been very long cos' the playing (and most embarrassingly the singing) is sometimes rough and approximate but after all the pleasure is to hear Robyn Hitchcock pay hommage to this page of musical English history (and mine too since this I listened to this LP more than any other else in my life). And the bonus tracks sung after Abbey Road are finally the best, notably "Old Brown Shoe" (and not "show" as wrongly written on the cover sleeve). The sound capture is not professional of course but of good enough quality to be heard with pleasure (pleasure is the word tonight). Thanks to http://halsprogressiverockblog.blogspot.fr to have posted it 2 years ago. I did a cover sleeve for it cos' of course this has never been on any solid form ever. Enjoy it here or there.
Since "Goodnight Oslo" is one of the best song of the first decade of this century and one of the true masterpiece of Robyn Hitchcock (who composed some others but this one is certainly not the least and I hope not the last), since this song is somewhat a contempory version of "Underwater Moonlight", since it did not get the success it would have deserved, since he released a version sung in Norwegian in his last album (and musically different), since I can't stop to listen to this song on and on for the last 2 days don't ask me why I don't know it myself, and since, at last, Norway is celebrating the awful massacre of the Utoya island, I thought it was a good idea to create this fake 7" so that this song had the spot on it once again. The text is rather obscure but who cares, the song is breathtaking and haunting as few others. Enjoy it here and buy the 2010 album of the same name (one of his best) and also Tromsø, Kaptein released last year. PS. The accoustic Norwegian version in the video below is not the one on this fake 7" and on the album.
For his second single, Kimberley Rew, now out of the Soft Boys, gathered a dream team for all those (I was) who were in the current pop trip: 3 quarters of the db's and Mitch Easter (Mr Let's Active). Strangely the songs are not so sparkling that we could have hoped but it's a fine couple and they are now rather cult, embodying all that was so naive, innocent and celestial in this first years of the eighties (things would soon turn sour). Strangely, he won't try a solo career but would form The Waves (soon to be Katrina & the Waves) with his old drummer mate Alex Cooper, but that's another story. Now, enjoy this second offer here.
Kimberley Rew - Stomping All Over The World / Nothing's Going To Change In Your Life / Fighting Someone's War 7" (1980)
I'm beginning a Robyn Hitchcock period but strangely, my first post is for another Soft Boy, Kimberley Rew, the second guitarist, and for his first solo single, recorded and released during his Soft Boys days, in which he seems the perfect English version of the great Mitch Easter (Let's Active). On this single, we find this candy and jumping pop song I was so fond of at the times and that I can still appreciate, particularily when I'm down, a sort of antidote to my despair. But this single worths mainly for the fantastic "Fighting Someone's War" on the B-side. Another affair, much darker and rather emotional. Produced by Pat Collier and recorded at Alaska, it has everything Soft Boys lovers appreciate in this era of their heroes. Enjoy this 3-song gem here.
We have jumped upon "Any Old Time Will Do", the A-side of a single with both sides from Mustard (the reason why I don't post it), and failing miserably in the charts although it was a wonderful song, and we find Roy Wood in the summer of 1977 (a punk one remember) trying to reinvent himself, having disbanded his Wizzard after the label refused to release Main Street, and trying to go on under another outfit name, Wizzo. This first shot (the album would be released 1 month later) was a single with both sides not featuring on the album, a nice gift for fans. Unfortunately, neither the style nor the period could allow such a single to be a hit. The style? A mix between Led Zeppelin and Stevie Wonder (yes, I assure, listen), and the usual horny arrangements borrowing to a lot of diverse and, sometimes difficult to reconcile, genres, from rockabilly to "Loveboat" thru Hawaian music. Not surprising that nobody did understand what was the fuck. Today, it's rather easier to appreciate since this strange collage has been tried by others and we are maybe more receptive to it. Not that it's my fave Wood period (but after all, I realize that I listen to this period quite often, maybe to be sure that I don't like it very much), but it deserves to be respected and not forgotten. I'm sure that at the time he was honestly thinking that he was innovative and contributed to the evolution of music. Not sure it was not evilution actually. Enjoy it here.
When this single was released under the Roy Wood's Wizzard name, so that it was difficult to know if it was a new Wizzard or a new solo single, things were going bad for Roy Wood, and it was dubious that this single would change anything. Cos' honestly this is really bad (at least not my cuppa music). Not anymore under the Beach Boys influence, he suddenly seems to compose the soundtrack for the Loveboat TV series (La croisière s'amuse in French) and it could be worse. It was then included on the shelved Main Street album (here) but was surely the worst track on it. But if this single is still interesting, it's for the B-side, a 5'45 long instrumental called "This is the thing" and not easy to find except on the Mustard reissue. Actually on the Exotic Mixture double CD compilation of Wood's singles, it's ruined by scratches, the song being apparently ripped directly from vinyl. Strange. So here it is in a better although not perfect, quality. Enjoy it here.
Alternative TV fans (are they but me?) won't find their usual sonor taste in this opportunist single (requested by a Leicester label) since it's more Mark Perry playing with samplers and lo-fi electronics than anything else (he said it could have been a git for Denim in Japan, not impossible), but after all the B-side (experimental bzzing) is rare and that's the important for completists ("Unlikely Star" was the first song on Punk Life). There won't be many more in the near future and the Mark Perry activity will be more and more a retrospective and punk-nostalgic one unfortunately. I would prefer he released this kind of insignifiant songs that old passeist covers of his ancient glory times. Enjoy it here.
In November 1975, nothing seemed to work for Roy Wood since neither the last Wizzard single ("Rattlesnake Roll") or this one would chart. After 8 years of presence in this temple of success (with the Move, ELO, Wizzard or in solo), this was surely a rude awakening for this one-man band. Sad cos' honestly this song had everything to be a hit, once again a pure Beach Boys-like tune with appropriate arrangements, but it seems the audience wanted something else (in November Bowie was in the charts with "Golden Years" and introduced the virus of soul and funk in british rock, it was over for the glam-like market and their idols). Sad too cos' the B-side instrumental ("Strider") is a good one this time. And it makes the interest of this single since the A-side was on Mustard, the album that would be released the next month (and that you can dl here). I did the cover sleeve myself (there has been none) and tried to imitate the look of cover sleeves of this era. Sorry, I mispelled the name of the song which is "Looking" and not "Look". Silly I am. Two late to change it. Enjoy this new Wood here (only on rs now since mf fired me).