Saturday, 8 December 2012

Desert Island Discs 85 Keep Going by the Lilac Time

85 Keep Going by Stephen Duffy and the Lilac Time 2003

So this was a tough choice , it was almost the chamber pop of an Andy Partridge produced Paradise Circus or the pastoral folk pop of the debut which, strange as it seems now, sounded like nothing else at the time.

Instead I've gone for the slightly rootsier sounding Keep Going just because song by song I just think it edges it.

My only gripe is the credit  - it is either a lilac time lp or a stephen duffy solo , the halfway house just feels like a record company ploy.

Stephen Duffy lyrics always tend to come from interesting place , some autobiographical some not so and this lp has some of his best

There is a verse in We Used to Be So that I think sums up the Lilac Time in 4 lines

Have you read of Fitzgerald’s descent
Have you seen Eat the Document
I know you’ve heard Tim Hardin’s lament
Haven’t you

We Used to Be So - Lilac Time

The lp has some lovely pedal steel and slide guitar not enough to to dominate , but just enough to compliment and never better on this gorgeous ballad

I Wasn't Scared of Flying - Lilac Time

The lyrics do suggest that at the time Stephen Duffy wasn't in the best place with themes about being lost , giving up etc running throughout until the unknown girl gives him the rallying cry in the title track. I'm glad he did because two years later he finally got his richly deserved time in the sun by co writing Robbie Williams 8 million selling lp

My epitaph will be
“In dazzling obscurity
He played his songs for free
And a royalty

His website says there is a new double lp on the way in the spring but until then you can buy Keep Going here


  1. I don't know what happened but I somehow lost track of Lilac Time after 4 albums. I see now that I've missed a bunch of releases, and maybe some of their best stuff. It seems the later releases have a much more country vibe, with Melvin Duffy's pedal steel brilliant as always. I like the tracks you've posted, and just watched the clip for 'Driving Somewhere' and I'm hooked! I'm looking forward to a backward trawl... Thanks for making me aware!

    #85 - IVY - In The Clear (2005)

    - sexy Parisian model/chanteuse fronting dreamy, sophisticated pop band. What's not to like?

    Tess Don't Tell:
    Ocean City Girl:
    Thinking About You:

    PS: Phil, The French Wives sound great! Reminds me of My Latest Novel's best tunes. Again, I don't know where you find these bands, but glad your finding 'em...

  2. Hi Tim

    good hunting - all the later lps are well worth getting - agree about the french wives , ordered a copy straight away

  3. There's certainly rich pickings in The Lilac Times back catalogue. My preference tilts towards the Fontana trilogy, 3 really top drawer albums, one of which appears high on my list.
    Tim - What's not to like indeed. One of my favourite bands from accross the pond, but after saying that I prefer Andy Chases' solo output under the name Brookville.
    # 85 is from a band that I find very similar to The Lilac Time:
    The Leasure Society - Into the Murky Water

  4. Hi Phil Leisure society was one of those lps that was in the mix but lost out in the end in extra time!

  5. As ever you freak me out with your posts David; was listening to the fantastic Duffy anthology 'Memory and Desire' when your post landed; trying to work out which album I liked the best. See also Boo & Lloyd. 'Oh God' and 'Bank Holiday Monday' particularly lovely.
    The pedal steel is Melvin Duffy (no relation) btw. He has played on all MM albums since 'Stories We Could Tell' and also graces Hopeland and Keepers. He got to tag along with Steven on the Robbie gravy train. This life is feast or famine. Currently starving!!


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