Monday, 7 January 2013

Desert Island Discs - 70 Johnson by the Fat Lady Sings

70 Johnson by The Fat Lady Sings 1993

The Fat Lady Sings in some ways provide a small snap shot of a large part of my record collection.

Celtic in origin , some early indie success , some early critical success, a major label signing leading to a brush with the charts , has a life of 2/3 lps , lead singer goes off and records under own name, does slow sad songs and faster sad songs, lyrics contain some "clever" play on words,  melodies that linger and guitars that jangle. Finally of course the records dont sell that many although copies now seem to go for silly money.

As you ca hear from this single , Johnson was never going to change any worlds , win any awards or reinvent the popular song. However it is showcase of Nick Kelly's fine songwriting bought alive by a band who had honed their skills from non stop touring (the result of which saw Nick Kelly break up the band after the tour promoting this lp as he realised the lives of his friends and family were passing him by).

It was a toss up between this and the debut , but Johnson shades it due to the hit that never was , a song that gives the sense of watching life and love pass you by

And the Girls go out and it's a date
And the boys stay in now it's too late
Still I fall in love six times a night
In vain on sight

And this bottle laughs back in my face
See how easily I lose my place
And the way I look tonight's a crime
Where does the time go?
Where has the time gone?

But if I held you in my arms again
This time I'd never let you go
And I would feel the universe for you
And I would let you know

We don't leave ourselves in many things
Just in letters leases writs and rings
And when the last one's sold or lost or gone
We don't belong here

And the stupid bells
That hang around London town
They cannot pick me up
They cannot dust me down
Things would always have turned out about this way
Where there's an up there'll always be a down you say
Where there's an up there'll always be a down

And one of the saddest goodbye songs which is effective because of its economy

I am sincerely yours no more
I quit
I know life is long
but life is too short for this

Finally as I've posted both of these before here they are at their melodic best

You can buy Johnson here and Fat Lady Sings wont be the last band on the chart that meets the criteria at the top of the post by a long way!


  1. I could appreciate the craft but never fell for The Fat Lady Sings. Nick making some films these days - a very short one here -

  2. Wow, this is really good... Unusual voice, reminds me of someone else... Chris Thompson of Bathers? Horse Water Wind, Drunkard Logic, Alien marvellous. Smart lyrics too. Another to add to my to buy list. Thanks again.

    #70 - NICK DRAKE - Bryter Layter (1970)

    - a no-brainer for me... Northern Sky near the top of my favorite songs of all time.
    Northern Sky:

  3. A fine band that are somehow banished to the attic; there's some dusty talent up there...
    Nick Drake at 70 TT?
    Cheerios flying again!

  4. Yeah, I knew I'd catch a slap on the wrist from the professor on this one. I have to confess I'm not a British folk aficionado like the the erudite Mr. Jones. As much as I love Northern Sky, Hazey Jane, Chime, the rest of the album doesn't grab me as much. Pop/rock/R&B where my strongest sensibilties lie...


  5. Hi Tim

    I'd also heartily recommend nick kellys solo lps Running Dog and between the trapezes.

    I'm going to confess a Nick Drake absence in my chart. i have one compilation and that is it. In fact I've gone off a few smusicians when I think they've "gone a bit too Drake".

    I know I need to clean out my ears ... etc but it is one of those deaf spots that has remained


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