Wednesday, 16 December 2009

God Like Genius - Terry Hall

Another songwriter who gets some of the recognition but not half of the success they deserve. It is difficult to think of many who are a better lyricist. I wasn't that much into the Specials only really knowing the singles, and there was always the feeling that it was Jerry Dammers band. I didn't really like Funboy Three until this came out.

Our Lips Are Sealed - Funboy Three

Which was followed by the next killer single "Tunnel of Love". However this was just a prelude to what was to come next. The First couple of singles by the Colourfield passed me by and I guess like most people it was only when "Thinking of You" (Beautiful South made a bit of a career of following on from this template) one of those perfect pop songs charted that I sat up and took notice

I bought "Virgins and Philistines", loved it and it remains one of my favourites from the time. Verging on easy listening and with downbeat lyrics it stuck out from the bright shiny stuff in the charts, almost the commercial sound of the 100s of "twee" bands that would appear in the late 80s/early 90s. The track I've posted is a hypnotic song with gorgeous harmonies that sounds like it has come from the soundtrack of some long forgotten sixties film.

Hammond Song - The Colourfield

The Colourfield fell apart and their follow up lp "Deception" had a more electronic sound which hasn't dated very well, it still had a couple of great songs on "Miss Texas 1967" the standout

Next was a collaboration with Dave Stewart from the Eurythmics under the name Vegas. Again the backing is a little souless but this is more than made up for by the quality of both the songwriting and Terry Hall's voice that just gets better.

Walk into the Wind - Vegas

Finally settling and recording under his own name the mid 90s saw Terry Hall release two solo lps "Home" in 1995 and "Laugh" in 1997 (ironic title as it mainly deals with the breakup with his wife). The first lp followed some co-writing he did with Ian Broudie for the Lightening Seeds "Jollification" lp with Ian Broudie returning the favour and producing "Home". Collaboration continued in terms of songwriting with tracks on these 2 lps c0 written with among others Stephen Duffy, Damon Albarn, Andy Partridge and Nick Heyward

Forever J - Terry Hall

Ballad of the Landlord- Terry Hall

I've not even touched on his recent flirtation with World Music or the short lived Terry , Blair and Anoushka. It does seem that he thrives best when songwriting with a partner and suffers from itchy feet, however whoever he works with he keeps knocking out songs of such great quality.

The circle now closes and he is back touring with the Specials, great for old mods but it's a shame that this probably means we'll not see another solo lp for a while

you can buy an extended version of Laugh here

As for the Colourfield , Vegas and Home it seems that they are all only know available as downloads or overpriced cds on amazon marketplace which is a real shame.


  1. Its a shame that Fun Boy Three will only be remembered for their collaborations with Bananarama and not 'The Lunatics..' or 'Our Lips are Sealed'. I have seen Neville Staples doing a selection of Specials and Fun Boy Three songs on tour recently and he is brilliant.

  2. I think for me Terrys up there with Stephen Duffy as one of my all times
    favourites .I loved all early colour field stuff and solo work too .

  3. and I thought I was alone in prefering Terrys post Specials and Fun Boy 3 output.His two solo albums especially.If you don't have 'Laugh',it's a 'must buy' for 7 pounds,with all those extra tracks.
    Tel Aviv
    ...By the way,thanks to you,I'm currently listening to Duke Special!

  4. Thanks for the comments, i really hope his does some more oslo stuff eventually. Glad you like Duke Special Phil, the 2nd lp is also good just not as immediate as the first one


Leave a comment and let me know what you are listening to.