Saturday, 16 March 2013

Desert Island Discs 36 Baptist Hospital by Boo Hewerdine

36 Baptist Hospital by Boo Hewerdine 1996

Now isn't that a beautiful song (not so sure about the curtains)

I'm written quite a few posts on Boo Hewerdine and picking a favourite lp was always going to be a challenge. There are 2 types of Boo lp. There is the quieter more reflective , hushed folky ones and then there are the ones with fuller arrangements that mine the more pop seam.

Where as I love the reflective Boo, it is 2nd set that I keep going back to (nearly always featuring the fantastically inventive guitar playing of Neil MacColl)

Baptist Hospital is Boo's 2nd solo lp and released at a time when the record company may have still held out hope for a hit in his own name rather than as a songwriter for others.

For me it is the closest thing in a sound to a Bible lp , helped by the fact it includes a version of one song that his old band rejected which he ended up giving to Eddie Reader (Patience of Angels) and another of which a version appeared eventually on the much delayed 3rd Bible lp Dodo (Dreamlife)

However, the closets has more to do with the sound , which is why these 2 acoustic performances are a bit misleading. The guitars jangle  a lot more on Baptist Hospital. His version of another of his songs that he gave to Eddi Reader bounces along with a Byrdsy backing.

If you listen to this lp and the Bible's Dodo together they could have been recorded in the same session, which is partly why this one gets the nod

Love Thieves - Boo Hewerdine

Song For a Friend - Boo Hewerdine

The one song that points to how his next lp would evolve is a gorgeous ache of a song

sometimes the thing that you love in the night
the morning will choose to regret 

You can buy Baptist Hospital here


  1. Can't go wrong with Boo. Of course, this album is great; I just prefer the melancholy tone of 'Thanksgiving' a smidge more. Should be interesting to see who holds out longest with their Bible entry...


    Another case of "Art vs the Artist". Question: Should the universally aknowledged fact that Van is an obnoxious cu**... er, curmudgeon, influence how one appreciates his musical brilliance? I'm reluctant to admit it, but I'd be lying if I said No. That's why I'm docking him several positions (see Ryan Adams, Elton, Geldof). Still pretty high, mostly because I've been a fan for a long time.

    All the highbrow critics favour Van's early work, but I admire his late 80's spiritual period starting with 'No Guru' through to 'Hymns To The Silence'. The music is lush & intimate, and Van actually appears to be in a rather contented & congenial mood, unlike his later frequently uninspired "I'm so hard done by..." musical railings.

    I might have chosen 'Avalon Sunset' except it opens with a vapid gospel duet with Sir Cliff (ironically Van's biggest hit record), but I've always loved 'Poetic Champions' elegant, slightly jazzy pleasures. The album has beautiful flow, there are no weak tracks and there's a quiet joy that permeates throughout...

    Queen Of The Slipstream:
    Celtic Excavation:
    Someone Like You:
    Alan Watts Blues:

  2. Agree that it depends on your mood with Boo, I went for 'Thanksgiving' too (I think... didn't I? Did I?) but have to agree with Biblical proportions of this one... My CD skips so I'm always reluctant to put it on...
    Van has me scratching my head TT. If you'd have asked me 10 years ago I'd have raved. I've readdressed recently because he was certain to be in my top 20 wasn't he... but beyond Astral Weeks, which I'm currently dismissing because everyone goes there, I'm struggling to find an album that I'm truly loving... 'No Guru' has a calmness that I like, St Dominic's Preview currently atop the pile and you are SO right about Avalon Sunset; Cliff (1st track) doesn't get me in the mood for the beauty to come; it's a bit like wearing a twirly bow tie with an Armani suit...
    Quiet joy is something I'd like to find this morning. Bowie's latest currently blasting out and it's starting to hurt...

  3. I need to get into the bowie lp. I like it ... I think although i'm going to have to work at it but then again that is the whole point
    Ive only got 1 van lp which is avalon spoilt by the image of van and cliffs funny in the wrong way top of the pops appearance

  4. With Boos solo output we're ptretty much spoilt for choice. Any one of 3 or 4 albums could have made my list depending, as Trev says, the mood I'm in. For me The Bible less so.I like all their albums but none of them enough to make my list.
    #36 Kings of Convenience - Quiet is the new loud.Two young Norweigen lads making fragile sensitive folk pop a la Nick Drake.

  5. Very, very 'nice' Phil but they don't quite do it for me.
    I still buy all their albums though...

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