Monday, 24 September 2012

The (first) Album

Interesting thing in The Gruniad about The First Album You Owned... After thinking long and hard about it (about 15 secs.) I decided that mine was probably Abba : The Album, the Swedes' late-1977 opus which accompanied their Hard Day's Night-esque film, appropriately entitled Abba : The Movie. I'm thinking I must have bought this incredible artefact a couple of months later with my birthday money. I had also previously and religiously purchased the singles The Name of the Game and Take a Chance On Me, both of whose A and B sides I played to death. (This was all before Gary Numan arrived on the scene of course..)

By way of a coincidence said album is also the subject of an excellent, detailed review by Marcello Calin in his Then Play Long series. Check it out it's a good read, although I would contest its no. 196 placing).

Although my music tastes, and purchases, have taken many turns since then ( I never bought another Abba album after this one) I often come back to this album to appreciate its many textures and moods, and indeed sheer the strength of the songwriting. The one that usually gets me going is One Man One Woman, an everyday tale of a wife who is ignored and perhaps even maltreated by her belovèd husband, only to have a seemingly failing relationship redeemed once more just by a single smile when he comes home at the end of the day, and they both realise that all is not lost and can never be.
Now I have a friend who is often in a similar situation....

Monday, 17 September 2012

like an engine in the sky..

Love this forgotten gem by ex 10CC-ers Godley & Creme .. dramatic vocal performance, minimal studio set-up, subdued electronics and a couple of CRs! Creme looks as if he's playing piano to a silent film or something....brilliant!

Wednesday, 12 September 2012

Friday, 7 September 2012

Discovery of the week

David Bedford - The Odyssey (1976)

I got to this via Bedford's connection and work with Mike Oldfield in the 70s. They were bandmates in Kevin Ayer's The Whole World , and Bedford went on to orchestrate both Tubular Bells and Hergest Ridge, Oldfield's first two studio albums.

Oldfield also plays guitar on this amazing opus by Bedford, originally released in 1976 (one track The Phaeacian Games also appeared on MO's Boxed box-set). What's amazing about it though are the keyboards and how they are used - Bedford proudly boasts playing an ARP 2600 synthesiser, Stringman string sythesiser, Hammond organ, as well as clavinet, vibraphone, cymbal, gong and, er, wine-glasses.

Bedford denied being a proficient keyboard player although this work is a masterpiece of OTT mid-70's keyboard music, complimented (but not smothered) by nifty guitar work by Oldfield and Andy Summers (months away from joining The Police).

Bedford's Odyssey was also performed live in 1977 at the RAH with no less than ten keyboard players .. surely that would've been a sight to see.

Apparently a recording exists. The hunt continues...

Sadly, Bedford died last year.