Wednesday, 12 December 2012

Desert Island Discs - 83 Born in the UK by Badly Drawn Boy

83 Born in the UK by Badly Drawn Boy 2006

I've got a feeling I might be in the minority here. The hat , the slightly shambolic nature , the reputation for on stage grumpiness to rival Van the Man tend to put a lot of people off. However, when he is on form I think he is one of the best songwriters going. His early lps may have lacked a strict sense of quality control but Born in The Uk is a filler free set of songs.

Loosely themed on his growing up it starts with his birth in 69 and 70s childhood and ends with meeting his future wife in One Last Dance. Apparently over 25 songs were recorded with 12 making the final cut

Born in the 70s captures that time perfectly recognising that for most people Johnny Rottten was minor character to the Silver Jubilee, and for a child Jilted John was way more important than Joe Strummer

Virginia Wade was winning our hearts
She made us want to live
Vicious and his brothers
Were trying to set us free
But much more than this to you and me
This was the Silver Jubilee

The main theme I think that runs through the lp is one is not events themselves shape who you become but rather the memories of those events

Just promise you will remember
That promises last forever
Still after the last dying embers
Of a fire that burns so slowly

The sound is a mix of styles at times orchestral and the occasional massed voices make it sound like a musical

Welcome to the Overground - Badly Drawn Boy

The lp is full of the same national contradictions that shaped the Brucie one that formed part of its inspiration

You can buy Born in the UK , part concept lp , part musical , therapy through songs here and if you've avoided before now this is the one that is worth giving  a second chance to


  1. I have to confess that for some reason I've never even bought one BDB album. The few tunes that I've listened to have never clicked. Maybe I just haven't been listening enough...

    HALL & OATES - Abandoned Luncheonette (1973)

    Nostalgia time... Not sure if folks across the pond would appreciate the elegant blue-eyed soul of early H&O work. I've been a fan since this album was released way back in 1973. Features one of the best singles of all time "She's Gone". A masterpiece of production by Arif Mardin, building a sonic landscape from a quietly grooving keyboard intro, gradually adding shadings of guitar, synth, horns and strings, leading into some of the prettiest verse/chorus harmonies ever recorded; finally reaching a climax of soaring, passionate vocal interplay that leaves me breathless (and singing along!) everytime I hear it. Even the lyrics convey uncommonly sharp imagery for a "pop" band...

    "Up in the morning look in the mirror/One less toothbrush hanging in the stand/My face ain't looking any younger/And now I can see love's taken it's toll on me..."
    “Think I'll spend eternity in the city/Let the carbon monoxide choke my thoughts away/And pretty bodies help dissolve the memories/But they can never be what she was to me... She’s gone.”

    She's Gone (album version):
    Had I Known You Better Then:
    When The Morning Comes:

  2. I was taken with his first album; the melodies and grumpy delivery stood out against the sparkle of the charts... I lost interest when he started mauling Springsteen songs, so never got to this. The songs sound good; he writes lullabies and nursery rhymes well...
    Hall and Oates; always loved 'She's Gone' and 'Rich Girl'. Their 'Silver Album' was my official 'shagging album' at college, so they are close to my heart; the soundtrack for some of my finest performances and most embarrassing ones both...

  3. Hi Tim I only know H and O through the Maneater / i can't go for That Time ( when I though moustaches were the devils hair)so need to listen to the early stuff. i know the song shes goen but never really took in the lyrics which are way better than the usual blue eyed soul stds

    Hi Trev - i forgive him the bruce maulings (mainly as i have a bit of a brucie blind spot and he is obviously an obsessive fan ) his best lullaby is silent sigh from the about a boy soundtrack.
    His latest on the other hand (follow up to this lp) was a major disappointment brought into sharper focus as i loved this one so much and worryingly the first part of a trilogy

  4. I've not heard this album. I don't know why I stopped buying his records after 'About a Boy'.It's not like I didn't rate his stuff. His debut is in my list a little further down the line.I think I have a bit of catching up to do.
    Tim - I'm the same as David in my knowledge of Hall and Oats. Maneater was never of the radio when I first came to Israel.
    #84 is another from earlier this year Gerard Love of The Teenage Fanclub, going under the name The Lightships - 'Electric Cables'
    Guess what? More sunshine pop from Glasgow.

  5. Hi Phil - not heard this at all before will give it a go
    Born in the Uk is well worth getting but handle the follow up with care ... it is a major disappointment


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