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Old 06-04-2012, 11:47 AM   #1311 (permalink)
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Couple of quick questions.

Do you change Stacey Lynn's clothes yourself?
Are you the one that chooses her outfits?
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Old 06-04-2012, 04:45 PM   #1312 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cledussnow View Post
Couple of quick questions.

Do you change Stacey Lynn's clothes yourself?
Are you the one that chooses her outfits?
Well now, that would be telling, wouldn't it?
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Old 06-05-2012, 03:52 AM   #1313 (permalink)
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On the beach --- Chris Rea --- 1986 (Magnet)


I've had a strange kind of relationship with Chris Rea down the years: musical only, you understand! He's not one of those artistes I'd class as being a favourite of mine; I don't have all his albums (nothing like it) and of those I have got, I don't like or love them all, though I do like the vast majority of them. I haven't followed his discography backwards or forwards, as I usually do when I come across an artiste I like: there are huge gaps in my collection of music from him. And yet, I really do like his music, his style, his lyrics, his melodies.

This album came sort of at the height of my “getting into Chris Rea” phase. Mid-eighties, and I'd heard some of his songs on the radio, had bought “Water sign” and “Wired to the moon”, nipped back to get “Deltics” --- which was different but still a great album --- looked into “Tennis” and wasn't too impressed, and decided not to go back any further. Following this, I'd buy “Dancing with strangers” and “The road to Hell”, both of which I'd love, but skip over “Shamrock diaries” --- don't ask me why; I was a little less disciplined and ordered in my selection of music back then --- after which I'd miss out everything up until “The road to Hell part 2” (bad move!) but despite that being a turkey I would continue undaunted to invest in “King of the beach”, which was a good move, and then the two-disc “Dancing down the stony road”, and then stop, not because that was a bad album --- far from it --- but like Basil Fawlty once said about his chef, I just … stopped.

And I've never really felt the need to go back. It's not that I don't think Rea's current stuff is any good. Maybe I've just got too involved with other music to give his a second thought. Before downloadable music came available I remember staring at my CD collection (about 200 or so) and being regularly stumped by what I should listen to, and wishing I had more but was unable to just go out and buy a new CD, unless I knew it was really good. So my collection tended to get overplayed and thus familiar almost to the point of contempt. Then when the likes of torrents and (ahem!) certain websites selling albums gave me another avenue, I was suddenly able to try out albums and artistes I had never heard before, thus allowing me a much wider musical taste and making such questions as should I get the new Chris Rea CD more or less unimportant.

But nonetheless, Rea has had some great albums, and I have never regretted buying any of his. Well, except for one. Probably his best were the earlier ones I mentioned, but I do have a special place in my heart for this one, though I probably couldn't really tell you why. I just know it brings back certain memories for me, but what those memories specifically are, I, well, forget! I should mention also that when I bought this album it was on vinyl (though CDs were available, we couldn't all afford them, and we didn't all have CD players --- is any of this making sense or am I talking an alien language?) and so I will be following my usual habit of reviewing only the tracks I know, ie the ones that were on the original album, as I don't know the others, and though I could listen to them, they wouldn't have the same immediate impact on me, or fit into the makeup of the album as those I already know.

The album opens with the title track, a lazy, laidback, carefree meshing of synth and guitar, whistling keys and wind sounds ushering the album in gently till it slowly and unhurriedly takes off on a sort of restrained funky/jazzy beat, Rea's instantly recognisable drawl singing of places he used to go, places that still engender certain feelings years later. He's much more than just a singer and songwriter, and here he plays guitar, keyboards, piano and even fretless bass, though it's a lovely little run on the Fender Rhodes courtesy of Max Middleton that steals the show. It's a song for relaxing to, and though not a ballad, and not necessarily slow, it conjures up images of lying in the sun, or sitting in a chair outside, watching the clouds and drinking something cool, with no worries and no responsibilities or concerns.

More than likely one of the many songs a father who is a songwriter pens for his child, “Little blonde plaits” is a slow, dreamy ballad with lovely slide guitar, and though he has two girls, the youngest was only born three years after this album was released, so we must assume this is the Josephine, at this point three years old, who is referred to in “Bombollini” on “Wired to the moon” and later on “Dancing with strangers” in the song which bears her name. It's okay I guess, with a certain celtic flavour to it, but I find it a little limp after the supersmooth opener. Things get a lot better though with “Giverny”, which although it starts off like a ballad, on breathy synth and easy guitar, picks up nicely and trots along at a decent lick, with a great solo on guitar and drums at the end.

It shouldn't be supposed or taken for granted that I think this is a great album, without flaws, because it certainly is not. It's a good album, but it does suffer from some weak tracks, perhaps not quite filler, but definitely not up to the higher standard of the better tracks. I've already mentioned that I was not that impressed with “Little blonde plaits”, and it's a similar story with “Lucky day” and the one that follows it, “Just passing through”, though both songs have their decent points and things to recommend them. It's seldom --- of what I've heard from Chris Rea anyway --- that he writes a bad song, but I just feel these few let down the overall quality of the album and stop it from being as good as “Dancing with strangers” or “King of the beach”, for example.

But for what it is, “Lucky day” is an uptempo groove-led guitar calypso, with a few reggae touches and what sounds like castanets getting in on the act, then “Passing through”, in contrast, is a low-key, introspective, downbeat ballad with blues guitar licks, some nice bright piano contrasting with some dour notes on the Fender Rhodes, becoming something of a gospel piece halfway, though never rising to the joyous level of a true gospel song. Probably the most existential of the tracks on the album, with its quiet acceptance that no-one lives forever, some nice piano leading it out.

Luckily, that's it as far as the, shall we say, lower quality tracks go, and from here on in, as McCain say, it's all good. A relatively big hit single for him at the time, “It's all gone” is a boppy, upbeat song with a somewhat bitter message: you can't ever go home, and find things the way you remember them. Time moves on, whether you're there to see it or not, and people and places change. Great synthesiser and some very effective percussion, and a very catchy song. Easy to see how it was so popular. It also features a really good guitar solo, which I think is Chris himself: certainly has his style. Some more great work on the Fender Rhodes too, as Middleton joins forces with Kevin Leach on the keyboards to take the song to its instrumental conclusion in a special extended version to the one that was released as a single.

Chris Rea writes first and foremost about people: about their emotions, their situations, their thoughts, their hopes and their dreams, and “Hello friend” is another example of that, carried on Chris's fretless bass and Robert Awhai's gentle guitar and a soft percussion, a letter to a friend written in an attempt to reconnect, an attempt he knows is futile. Sometimes distance and time keeps us so far apart it's almost impossible to bridge the gap again. “Two roads” bumps up the mood again, a jaunty little tune running on a funky guitar and piano line, with some jazzy brass adding joyous heart to the proceedings, then “Light of hope” is a gorgeously fragile ballad that runs on a deep little bass line and picked guitar, going right back to the laidback, lazy theme of the opener, but slowed right down, Fender Rhodes from Middleton flowing like a river in the background. A breathy, gentle vocal from Rea almost whispers at times, and it certainly sounds like there's acoustic guitar in there somewhere. One of my favourite Chris Rea ballads.

It all comes to a close then on another ballad, a track which we're told is “from the film”, though how many of us have ever heard of, never mind seen a film called “Auf immer und ewig” is a matter for conjecture. Apparently, it means “always and forever” in German, but my lack of knowledge of the film is unimportant, as this is one beautiful little ballad, and a great way to end the album. There's not a huge amount in terms of lyrics --- I think one verse and one chorus --- but it's the instumentation that makes the song; from the deep bassy opening and the sighing guitar to the gently fingered piano notes and the closing synth runs, this is one lovely song. Rea's deep, soulful voice just adds the final layer on an emotional, touching closer.

If you wanted to start listening to Chris Rea, this is not a bad place to start, though in fairness his music has not changed all that much down the years, so you could theoretically start anywhere. But I would definitely recommend this album, especially if you're heading anywhere there's likely to be a lot of sun, a lot of relaxing, and a lot of free time spent doing lots of nothing.

TRACKLISTING

1. On the beach
2. Little blonde plaits
3. Giverny
4. Lucky day
5. Just passing through
6. It's all gone
7. Hello friend
8. Two roads
9. Light of hope
10. Auf immer und ewig
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Old 06-05-2012, 06:07 PM   #1314 (permalink)
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Old 06-05-2012, 06:11 PM   #1315 (permalink)
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Good one from the moon goddess herself, this is Kate Bush, and the appropriately titled “Wow”!
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Old 06-06-2012, 05:35 PM   #1316 (permalink)
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Old 06-06-2012, 05:39 PM   #1317 (permalink)
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Ah, supercool with a heatwave on the way! No, the worm is sadly not talking about the weather forecast, but rather this smooth band from back in the late seventies, with “Mind blowing decisions”.
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Old 06-07-2012, 04:39 AM   #1318 (permalink)
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Okay, time to once again take off the gentleman hat and let a lascivious grin spread across my face, as I shamelessly feature a music video for the tittilating content in it (not to mention the tit content --- wonder will that one get by the censorbots? Yup! It did! ). Regardless of how pretty damn awful this song is, there are few of us guys (and probably some girls!) whose tongues were not hanging out when Britney danced down the school hall in that little schoolgirl uniform! From the first slow almost upskirt (control, Trollheart! Control!) shot that opens the video to Britney's sexy bored naughty look sitting in the desk, it's pure teenage fantasy all the way. Only thing I don't like about the video is when she changes into that bloody tracksuit! Man, that school uniform woke dark fantasies within me (not that they were ever that deeply asleep, truth to tell) and allowed me to suffer this terrible song over and over, conveniently “forgetting” to change channel when it came on the TV. Oh yeah, that's Britney Spears. Terrible isn't it? I must turn the telly.... errr, what was I saying? Huh? Sure, I'd love an omelette right about now...
Britney Spears --- ...Baby one more time --- 9 out of 10 on Trollheart's “Way-hay!” scale, to about 1:24 when the rating drops back to about 6 out of 10.
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Old 06-08-2012, 04:23 AM   #1319 (permalink)
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Old 06-08-2012, 04:26 AM   #1320 (permalink)
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The worm has some news for you. You had better get ready, cos there's a train a-comin'! You don't need no ticket, you just get on board...
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