Tuesday, 4 December 2012

Desert Island Discs 87 - Devil's Tavern by The Blow Monkeys

87 The Devil's Tavern by The Blow Monkeys 2008

I think this is so high as I'm still in the same bit of shock as I was when I first heard it. A great singles band, I'd never really got into any of the Blow Monkeys' Lps although I had a couple of Dr Robert's solo efforts which I liked.

I noted news of a reunion with only passing interest , thought the cover of the comeback lp interesting (always makes me think of Angel Heart) and some surprisingly 5 star reviews stood out. For some reason , maybe a slow month for new releases I took a punt on Devil's Tavern.

It is the best thing they have done , the sound of a band without a record company to tell them what to do and so what we get is a bunch of great musicians sounding like they are having a blast as their creative legs are allowed to run.

There is a bit of everything , some bluesy sounds , driving pop songs  ........

Bullet Train - The Blow Monkeys  ...... bit of soul , bit of folk , quiet reflective songs , bit of brass , bit of strings but all held together by Dr Robert's older but still as smooth vocal

The centrepiece for the lp is the 8 min track Save Me , where you are swept along an such a gorgeous bit of 70's soul backing that just doesn't want to end

Save Me - The Blow Monkeys

They followed up with Staring at the Sea which is good but doesn't touch this and serves to highlight it as one of those once in a career lps

The lp is already creeping up in value but you can get it as a reasonable download here . Give it a listen even if you did or didn't dig their original scene (sorry couldn't resist)


  1. You hit this one right on the mark! The Devil's Tavern is so much more that anyone would expect from a band that had been away as long as they had. I'm sure the fact that they could make music for themselves has a great deal to do with the cohesion and calibre of the work. Bullet Train and Save Me are both career defining quality that show that good ideas can stand up to the tests of time .

    The Blow Monkeys were one of those 80's bands that can barely be qualified as a one hit wonder in the States. Diggin Your Seen made it to MTV and the precursors to Modern Radio format stations, but they never really bothered the charts again. I stuck with them as I was a sucker for their polish and sound. Sure there was a bit of time where, like every other pop band, the record company was looking for the next Jam & Lewis sound alikes and that was their least interesting period.
    Robert's solo effort with Kym Myzelle - Wait! - was an exciting moment and the inclusion of the burgeoning House sound into their pop was one of the few times it would work.
    Springtime For The World is one of the most underrated albums of the turn of the decade. I've always found it a exhilirating collection of pop and dance.
    Robert Howard solo, as well as contributing to Paul Weller and Dee C. Lee's solo work is really strong. Realms of Gold and Flatlands are among my favorites.
    I agree that Staring At The Sea doesn't have all the impact of The Devil's Tavern, but it is quality music by great musicians.

  2. I would never have given a Blow Monkeys release a second look. Hardly sounds like the same band, but I do like what I hear!

    #87 - EASTMOUNTAINSOUTH -Eastmountainsouth (2003)

    Mitchell Froom produced this folk/americana duo's debut, receiving excellent reviews and holding great promise. Disappointingly, it turned out to be a one-off as the pair parted ways shortly after release. There has been some "nice" follow-up solo work, but nothing approaching the unique magic and grace of this exceptional album...

    On Your Way: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5Fwjipy7g8o
    Hard Times: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W-EjM-DI5rw

  3. Hi Echo - agree Dr Roberts solo work int eh2 lps you m ention is great.

    New one for me Tim but really like it

  4. I can't believe this album is 4 years old! Where has the time gone?
    This was a superb comeback album .Head and shoulders above their 1980's output. I also had no idea that they've released another album since.Have to agree with Echorich, 'Realms of Gold' is an excellent listen.
    My #87 is from the spring of this year, French Wives - 'Dream of the Inbetween'. The new indie scene in Scotland is as strong as ever. I'd been waiting for this debut for ages and it doesn't dissapoint.

  5. Hi Phil

    scottish ... indie ... another cd bought !!!


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