What does it sound like?:
Recorded during 2008 in one 8-hour-long session in a Cambridge studio, the debut (and only) long-player from this Briticana band.
Lead singer Sam’s lyrics were always worth hearing, for wry humour verging on laugh-out-load quips. Guitar and pedal-steel player David (editor of Guitar Buyer magazine) always had just the right solo or phrase, always underplayed. Keyboard & mandolin player Paul always understated. Bassist Tom 1 and drummer Tom 2 made up up the rhythm section.
The Wilderness Years (“I lost the flat in Ladbrooke Grove, stuffed the pension up my nose”) features a chiming REM-alike electric guitar and Hammond organ.
Jaunty two-chord-shuffle two-minute-long Older Women (“Although their brown hair may be streaked with grey, older women are OK”) has a lilting pedal-steel backing.
Ancient History (“that’s You and Me”) rocks out with electric guitar over a barrel-house piano.
Hard To Love (“It’s hard to love a theme bar full of city types”) is almost stocatto with lovely C&W duelling guitar solos from Sam and David.
The Birds (“I’m a Swallow, or maybe I’m a Swift/You’re a Swallow too, or maybe you’re a spit”) is a bass-driven funk workout starting on a bottom B and with an upward key change at the end of every verse.
Find It In Your Heart (“Heard you was going, so I wrote you a poem/Thinking how hard can it be?/Well, it turns out it’s easy to f*ck shit up”) starts with a lovely acoustic guitar pattern then hands over to driving choppy mandolin chords and a riff played on an ancient Russian analogue synth.
If Wishes Were Horses (“then I would be stable”) stops and starts with a Hammond organ solo.
St. Peter (“I am not here to suffer fools, I’m St. Peter and I’ve got bad news”) has brushed drums, Mrs Mills-style upright piano and pedal steel.
Over-rated (“it’s like the Smiths, and oven chips, and open relationships”) features a driving descending four-chord Telecaster riff.
The Story of My Life (“what’s missing here is sex and drugs, there’s too much of the nine to five/well, that’s the story of my life”) is another mandolin-driven almost comedy number.
Rocking Horse Shit (“we had something rare and wonderful, and I put my foot in it”) lasts barely 90 seconds with its acoustic-guitar-driven stop-start rhythms.
The Hardest Word (“is just five letters long/ if you belive the hits of Elton John / but the and Bernie never tried / to get Sulfanilamide into a song”) starts with a nagging keyboard riff and works up to a heads-down Can-style wig-out. After a minute of what sounds like a fire alarm going off, a quick Bontempi organ riff and it’s all over.
This non-existent super deluxe edition features three tracks (They Did Something, My Christian Friend, The Hardest Word (demo)) from The Morning People Are Not For The Likes Of You EP, Our Work Here Is Done from the Mill demo, Misadventure from The Lavishly Packaged Morning People Demo CD, album out-takes Cherchez la Femme, If You Must, Guilty Pleasures and Air Crash Investigation, and live covers of Walyon Jenning’s Mama Tried, Television’s Foxhole, and Neil Young’s Don’t Cry No Tears. And a Morning People sun logo tea towel.
I miss the band terribly, but I was lucky to work the desk at so many of their gigs. I still count Sam as one of my best pals. Shortly after the album was completed, the Globe Ale House (home of the band’s monthly residency) closed and the band fizzled out. It’s a shame nobody ever got to hear the completed album.
What does it all *mean*?
Not every review on the Afterword is sponsored by someone or something. Sometimes I just love the music I write about, even if you can’t buy it.
Not available in any record shop, good or bad. Not ever. What a shame.
Goes well with…
Unicorns, blue moons, the end of the rainbow, writing reviews just for the hell of it.
Might suit people who like…
Jonathan Richman, Half Man Half Biscuit, the Monochrome Set