Andrew Gold: Lonely Boy – The Asylum Years Anthology review

15 06 2020

Lonely Boy – The Asylum Years Anthology is a 6 CD / 1 DVD collection from Andrew Gold, released by Esoteric Recordings via Cherry Red on 24 July 2020. The collection features all of the solo albums released by the singer – songwriter on the Asylum label between 1975 and 1980.

Prior to his solo career, Andrew Gold worked with Linda Ronstadt, as multi-instrumentalist and arranger for her 1974 Heart Like a Wheel album.

The Lonely Boy anthology contains the studio albums Andrew Gold (1975), What’s Wrong With This Picture (1976), All This And Heaven Too (1978) and Whirlwind (1980). The studio albums are all newly re-mastered from the original Asylum Records master tapes, and have never sounded better.

Disc 5 is titled Out-Takes And Unreleased Recordings, with disc 6 consisting of Live Recordings – Released 1976 / 1977 whilst the final disc is a DVD of promotional videos and live recordings / interviews (including quite a few from the legendary Old Grey Whistle Test TV show).

The debut album perfectly captures the mood and the sound of 1975, with a mixture of early 70s Laurel Canyon and late 60s Beatles inspired harmonies, particularly on Heartaches in Heartaches and Hang My Picture Straight.

The most familiar song on Gold’s debut is Endless Flight, that was famously covered by Leo Sayer on his best-selling 1976 album of the same name.

What’s Wrong With This Picture? contains Gold’s most famous song, Lonely Boy but is a solid mid-70s rock/pop album in its own right. Highlights include the bittersweet ballad Passing Thing, the mostly acoustic and country tinged Firefly plus a playful cover of Maurice Williams’s Stay (that was also recorded a year later by Jackson Browne, in slightly rewritten form, on Browne’s Running On Empty album).

All This and Heaven Too is the most rewarding of Gold’s solo albums from the Asylum years period. How Can This Be Love has hints of 10cc (Gold would later record with 10cc and form Wax with Graham Gouldman).

The charming space-themed Oh Urania (Take Me Away), the sparse but haunting beauty of Looking for My Love and the masterpiece that is Genevieve are career-highlights. This is the beauty of box-sets such as this, discovering songs that never made it onto mainstream radio at the time, and certainly do not feature on 70s or 80s themed radio stations now but are lost classics, crafted with love and deserving of our attention.

Most people will know the two big hits from this album, Thank You for Being a Friend (the theme to NBC sitcom The Golden Girls) and Gold’s biggest hit in my neck of the woods, Never Let Her Slip Away, which features background vocals from J. D. Souther, Timothy B. Schmit (Poco / Eagles) and rumour has it, an uncredited Freddie Mercury. Never Let Her Slip Away is one of my favourite singles from the seventies, and a perfect pop song.

The Asylum years ended with the Whirlwind album, released as the new decade began. More guitar-heavy than previous Gold albums and more in-step with current trends such the new-wave infused pop of The Police and Joe Jackson, highlights include the nods to his earlier work with Sooner or Later and the slide-guitar driven Make Up Your Mind.

The live recordings disc, with performances from 1976 and 1977 is overflowing with memorable performances, and the quality is pretty good, considering the age of the recordings.

The out-takes and unreleased recordings disc is a fascinating dip below the artist’s engine, with excellent alt-takes such as a must-hear version of Lonely Boy and a sublime bossa-nova instrumental version of Genevieve.

The sleeve-notes, lyrics and an informative essay on Gold’s work from Don Breithaupt add to the value of this essential collection for lovers of 70s music.

Lonely Boy – The Asylum Years Anthology is an excellent collection, that provides the best of the 70s work of Andrew Gold, and also serves as a charming snapshot of this period in rock and pop music.

Buy Lonely Boy – The Asylum Years Anthology on CD





Trevor Horn Band – Live at Sarm Music Bank 19/7/2018

29 07 2018

The Trevor Horn Band played live at the opening of Sarm Music Bank‘s impressive new facility in Old Oak Common on July 19th 2018.

Sarm Music Band invite

The band included Trevor Horn (bass and vocals), Lol Creme (guitar and vocals), Luis Jardim (percussion), Phil Palmer (guitar), Steve Ferrone (drums), Izzy Chase and Hayley Sanderson (vocals), Jamie Squire (vocals and guitar) with guest appearances from vocalists Matt Cardle and Steve Hogarth (Marillion).

Lol Creme, Luis Jardim, Trevor Horn and Steve Ferrone

The invite / competition winners only performance was the perfect opportunity to christen the new rehearsal space, and was also a great way of showcasing some of the songs that will appear on the  forthcoming Trevor Horn album. Reports online suggest that the album may be called The Eighties Reimagined, and will consist of some of Trevor Horn’s favourite 80s songs, recorded with the band, a 65-piece orchestra and guest singers.

The set opened with the air-raid sirens signalling Two Tribes, the first of three Frankie Goes To Hollywood songs. Sporting one of the finest basslines of the 80s, this was a powerful opener, and the acoustics in the room, even at a very loud volume, sounded amazing.

Sadly we were only treated to one song from The Buggles back catalogue on this occasion. After an amusing Boris Johnson anecdote, TCH and the band performed a note-perfect Video Killed the Radio Star.

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“And now we meet in an abandoned studio
We hear the playback and it seems so long ago”

I was expecting to hear some Godley & Creme, and clearly Five O’Clock in the Morning or Art School Canteen were not likely as part of this performance, so as expected the band performed the TCH produced perfect pop of Cry.

Lol Creme can still hit the high notes, evidenced as the band delivered a rowdy version of 10cc’s first no1 single, Rubber Bullets, which was originally released in 1973.

Marillion vocalist Steve Hogarth joined the band for two songs – David Bowie’s Ashes To Ashes (you could not have an 80s tribute without the Thin White Duke) and the most surprising song in the set, Joe Jackson’s Different For Girls (from the I’m the Man album). This timeless song was released in 1979, so although it is not an 80s song, it was an interesting choice.

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A re-imagining of Slave to the Rhythm marked the halfway point in the set. On stage percussionist and frequent Trevor Horn collaborator Luis Jardim performed the bass on the studio version of the track, fact fans.

Trevor switched back to lead vocals on the Yes hit from 1983’s 90125 album, Owner of a Lonely Heart, complete with Synclavier / Fairlight sounding stabs. The second Frankie Goes To Hollywood song of the night was sung by guest vocalist Matt Cardle. A string laden version of The Power of Love went down a treat with the audience.

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A version of the 2002 no1 single All the Things She Said by Russian pop duo t.A.T.u.was performed with Izzy Chase and Hayley Sanderson sharing lead vocals.

The set wrapped up with a trio of massive 80s singles – a reworked version of Tears For Fears Everybody Wants to Rule the World (which will surely feature on the forthcoming The Eighties Reimagined album), Dire Straits Money For Nothing and the final FGTH song of the evening, Relax.

I’m looking forward to hearing The Eighties Reimagined album (hopefully later this year) and it looks like there will be further live dates from The Trevor Horn band to promote the album. Follow TCH on Twitter or Facebook to stay in the loop.

Full setlist:

Two Tribes
Video Killed the Radio Star
Cry
Rubber Bullets
Ashes to Ashes
Slave to the Rhythm
Owner of a Lonely Heart
The Power of Love
All the Things She Said
Different For Girls
Everybody Wants to Rule the World
Money For Nothing
Relax

Legacy

Buy Legacy – 3 Chord Trick (the band features new, original material from former members of Dire Straits, and features Trevor Horn on bass)

Buy Godley & Creme – Body Of Work (1978 – 1988) Box set

Buy the Trevor Horn – Slaves To The Rhythm live DVD

Buy the 10cc Classic Album Selection Box set

Buy Grace Jones – Slave To The Rhythm Collector’s Edition, 2015 remaster

 





Producers – Made in Basing Street

30 06 2012

Producers are Lol Creme (Godley & Creme, 10cc), Trevor Horn (producer known for his work with Frankie Goes to Hollywood, Seal, ABC‘s Lexicon of Love, Grace Jones Slave to the Rhythm and singer / bassist in The Buggles and for one album, Yes), Stephen Lipson (guitarist / engineer / producer who worked with Horn on a lot of ZTT recordings) and Ash Soan (former Del Amitri / Squeeze drummer, now an in-demand session drummer).

The band started out as a live covers band, albeit made up of multi-million selling producers / musicians! The Producers initially existed as a way for the musicians to escape from the confines of the studio environment, and they rehearsed a set of songs by other artists that they had produced over the years.

The project soon grew into something greater and the band released a couple of singles (Freeway & Barking Up The Right Tree) in 2007, but this is their first full-length release, almost six years in the making.

Album opener Freeway is ushered in with Frankie-esque synths, and is a love-song to driving around Los Angeles.  Freeway introduces the two main vocalists on the album – singer / songwriter Chris Braide and Ryan Malloy (former vocalist in the short-lived post Holly Johnson Frankie Goes to Hollywood).

Geoff Downes (The Buggles / Asia) is another key player, appearing on every track, contributing keyboards, piano and rhodes.

Your Life is the first of three songs featuring Trevor Horn on lead vocals. As a big fan of The Buggles and the Yes Drama album, I had hoped for more Horn lead vocals. Maybe the next album? Ryan Malloy takes over lead vocals on the chorus of Your Life.

An extended version of the track can be found on the 2 disc version of the album, and it works well in an extended format, with some lovely trademark Trevor Horn heavy reverb on the vocals. There is a lovely pace to the song in this extended mix.

ZTT regular Luís Jardim also appears on Your Life, and the extended version on the second disc features Ryan Malloy on vocals throughout the song.

copyright Producers

Man on the Moon is a mid-70s FM radio style ballad with a fine vocal performance from Malloy and an outstanding guitar solo from Steve Lipson.

The haunting Every Single Night In Jamaica features Trevor Horn as the sole vocalist, and builds towards a killer chorus. Maybe this is how The Buggles would sound in 2012 if they were still recording?

“I know it’s you I should call
But my hearts not in it at all.”

Stay Elaine would not sound out of place on a mid-70s Rod Stewart album (that’s not a criticism by the way), and at times has hints of Del Amitri. Lovely guitar harmonics see out the song.

Barking Up The Right Tree is the only song to feature Lol Creme on lead vocals. A different version from the 2007 release, it’s one of the strongest songs on the album and is sequenced well to follow the previous track, which has a similar 70s feel. Gorgeous layered harmonies on top of Steve Lipson’s slide guitar make this song a personal album highlight.

Garden Of Flowers is the final song to feature Trevor Horn on lead vocals, and has touching lyrics, which possibly reference a personal tragedy that has been well documented. Despite it’s subject matter, it’s a very uplifting song, and highlights that although he is known primarily for his production skills, Horn is a unique vocalist and a damn fine bass player.

The album ends with a couple of uptempo songs – Watching You Out There and the album closer, You & I, another track with Chris Braide on lead vocals. Although Chris features throughout the album, he is no longer part of the band, but continues to record his own music, as well as writing for artists such as Lana del Rey and Sia.

I would recommend the 2-CD version of the album, which contains a hidden track at the end.  I won’t give too much away, but it goes back to the beginning of the band, with a live cover version of a key song by a band I’ve already mentioned.  That’s all I’m saying…. Ha!

Made in Basing Street is an excellent rock / pop album.  Hopefully it won’t take six years for Horn / Creme / Lipson & Soan to put together a follow-up release.

Made In Basing Street (2 CD version) at Amazon
Made in Basing Street (single CD) on Amazon








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