Saturday, 29 September 2012

Desert Island Discs 120 The Words We Say Before We Sleep by The Music Lovers

120 - The Things We Say Before We Sleep by The Music Lovers 2004

I first came across the Music Lovers when a track appeared on one of the now dearly departed Word magazine's monthly cds.

This is one of those occasions when the cover sets the mood. Looking like a record from the 50s the songs on the lp have a classic timeless feel, reminding me a bit of a lot of the Scottish bands I used to like in the mid 80s

Lots of brushed drums , subtle strings , stand up bass, strummed guitars and occasional trumpet, all with a lead vocal that has an ache in the voice suggests sharp suits and a smokey club somewhere.

A bit of bosa nova rhythm and a smidgen of the j word but all through a pop filter

Sunday - The Music Lovers

You can buy The Words we Say before we Sleep here

On a completely separate note I've just bought Mark Eitzel's new solo lp. In the past his solo stuff and the reformed American Music Club have been a bit hit and miss but this is a record of real warmth

you can buy it here

Thursday, 27 September 2012

Desert Island Discs 121 - Coldest Winter for a Thousand Years by the Wild Swans

121 - The Coldest Winter for a Thousand Years by The Wild Swans 2011

Paul Simpson has been making music in various guises since the late 70s. From the Teardrop Explodes through to Care and various line ups of the Wild Swans he has made some fantastic records although the lps have flattered a bit to deceive. However out of the blue last year came his masterpiece.

It starts with a rallying cry in Falling to Bits

"from the checkout girl to the 14th earl are you with me
from the lifeboat crew to the theatre queue are you with me"

and ends with a despairing cry against town planners and the relentless supermarket march in Bluebell Wood

In between we have a state of the nation address that covers the where we are as a country in the William Blake like English Electric Lightning  as well as the personal in the reflections on mortality and family.

All to the backing of top pop tunes , sweeping keyboards , jangling guitars and Simpson's rich vocals together which add up to a record that touches the emotions much more than I'd ever expect and gets better each time I hear it

Lost at Sea - The Wild Swans

Just to confuse matters the band also have recorded a spoken word track the Coldest Winter that doesn't appear on the lp. I've posted it as it captures a time in Liverpool where so many of the bands I liked were about to be born (a kind of tribute to the bunnymen's fantastic drummer Pete De Freitus who died so tragically before his time)

You can buy Coldest Winter here

On a completely separate note just bought the new Deacon Blue lp - the Hipsters early signs are that it is a classic - you can get it here

Tuesday, 25 September 2012

Desert Island Discs 122 - Giant by the Woodentops

122 - Giant by the Woodentops 1986

Nowadays indie music you could dance to or manic drumming, quirky and complex rhythms and acoustic strumming doesn't really raise much of an eyebrow.

However when this came out it genuinely felt a bit different.

This is one on the list (and there will be many) where it probably isn't one of he best 125 lps I own but it is certainly one of my favourites. I don't play it that often but when a track comes on shuffle , I cant help but smile and feel a strange twitching in my arms and legs.

The scene is set with the opening charge of Get it On ( including an organ sound that the Inspiral Carpets would make their own).  From then on it is a perfect pop rush , a bit scuffed round the edges and of an age maybe , but a rush just the same

The song titles lifted from classics - Get it On , Shout , Good Thing , Love Train show a great naivety in making those titles their own and a healthy disregard for pop history. Before I get too navel gazing and attributing deeper meaning than exists here is the opening track and flavour of their live performance

Get it On - Woodentops

the lp goes for silly money but you can get it as a download here for a more realistic price

Sunday, 23 September 2012

Desert Island Discs 123 Mark Hollis by Mark Hollis

123: Mark Hollis by Mark Hollis 1998

Mark Hollis solo lp took to a natural conclusion where his band Talk Talk had been heading with their last 2 lps. It begins and ends with a period of silence and in between there are 8 pieces ( calling them songs doesn't really describe what goes on) which are as much about what is left out as what it put in. The spareness of sound means each brushed drum , plucked string , solitary chord and obtuse lyric has the maximum impact

His vocals also reach the extreme of the style he was developing where the syllables and words are joined together into one long tonal moan type sound.

The lp starts with the Colour of Spring that following 15 seconds of silence turns into a beautiful vocal and piano piece that touches on a sense of letting go and walking away. A fitting theme as nothing has been heard of Mark Hollis since the lp came out. It is if he knew with this lp he had taken his music as far as he could

Colour of Spring - Mark Hollis

Soar the bridges
That I burnt before
One song among us all

what follows are tracks that deal with the futility of war , a lament for lost youth and an overwhelming sense of sorrow and regret. Ambient , folk and the dreaded j word all feature in the arrangements but put through a minimalist filter where the gaps are just as important as the notes.

A real marmite lp that can't just be on , but has to be concentrated on and properly listened to

you can buy Mark Hollis here for only slightly more than a pint.

Friday, 21 September 2012

Desert Island Discs - 124 First Frost by The Lucksmiths

124 - First Frost by The Lucksmiths - 1998

Next up is the final lp from Australian band The Lucksmiths who I had always meant to feature in my indie past or bigger than the beatles. Over 15 years and 11 lps they found their sound and kept to it. Radical experiments in dub or death metal aren't for them Winsome songs that stay just the right side of twee and would've fitted right in on Sarah Records. Guitars that jangle and back clever wordplay lyrics , supported every now and then with a bit of brass and a sweep of strings echo bands like the Trashcan Sinatras.

For the final lp just nudges it for two reasons. Firstly, all 4 members contribute songs which keeps the quality high and secondly the production has less of a home made in the bedroom feel being just a tad sharper and crisper.

A bit like the Hit Parade that will feature later this is a band whose sweetness of sound will put the teeth on edge for some of you, but the pretty melodies hide a lyrics whose depth sneak up on you

I always think if I'd ever ended up in a band (apart from the seminal insistent porpoises) it would have sounded a tad like the Lucksmiths. Here a couple of my favourites from the lp plus a bit of a dodgy live recording

California in Popular Song - The Lucksmiths

Day Three of Five - The Lucksmiths

You can buy First Frost here

Wednesday, 19 September 2012

Desert Island Discs - 125: Heaven and Earth by The 4 of Us

Okay so the big countdown begins. 125 of my favourite lps. To remind you of the rules I've set myself

Only 1 lp per artist (although someone can have an entry for their band and as a solo singer) so some favourites will face the chop ...Steve McQueen or Jordan?

No greatest hits so all those singles bands I like Squeeze , The Cure etc. wont make the cut

No live lps (are these any good ever ...really??!)

No soundtracks so my strange Evita / Jesus Christ Superstar / oliver fix will be missing

Got to be all round good - one or two great tracks don't a great lp make - so no for example Visage

125 - Heaven and Earth - The 4 of Us 2004

First up is a whisky lp , ie one that works best at night with a single malt.

The 4 of Us are an Irish band who flirted with UK success (all the band's lps have charted in Ireland)with their debut lp after the track Mary featured heavily on the awful Jonathon King's Entertainment USA tv show.

The lp is largely acoustic but drums , keyboards all provide subtle textures. The cover of rough seas and threatening skies  hides the smooth melodies and calmness within.

The lp opens with Sunlight and is one of the tracks with a fuller sound. The sense of hope and nostalgia is set

" speck of dust
thats us
sitting on a greyhound bus
and we're along way from home"

The track was voted one of the best Irish singles ever in one of those polls that don't really mean much but I love still the same

The mood mellows further but that sense of dislocation continues with the quiet wooziness of the songs built around Brendan Murphy's lived in vocals

Gospel Choir - the 4 of Us

The pace varies slightly but the sparse arrangements always have something going on to hold the attention. The fact that the lp is so understated is one of its key strengths

Only towards the end does the pace pick up again with a track that is the closest to their earlier work and shows they can write a good a pop song as anyone

Breakdown - The 4 of Us

Songs of fractured relationships, stories to be told and one bit of politics thrown in, but vague enough not to preach but to make you feel

We watched a roman candle burn
The day the world refused to turn
Even a chimpanzee can learn
To be a little human

You can buy Heaven and Earth direct from the band's website here  

Monday, 17 September 2012

Middle of the Road Monday - Jennifer Warnes

apols link now up

Middle of the road monday this week features an lp by a singer who I only knew through one of those awful film soundtracks that seemed to dominate the charts in the late 80s. At the time I was more focused on Joe cocker's strange facial expressions to notice who he was singing with.

Famous Blue Raincoat is an lp of Leonard Cohen covers (including 2 new songs one of which was to feature on his own comeback lp I'm Your Man). I knew Leonard Cohen without really knowing any of his songs. An english teacher at school continually claimed he was one of the great poets and a lot of bands I liked name checked him but there was too much new music to discover to spend anytime looking back.

When I got the lp the music was about as middle of the road as it could get , a million miles away from the noisy jangly guitar bands that I normally listened to. When it was released he was kind of a forgotten artist If it wasn't for the fact that it was given to me by a girl I fancied at the time I doubt it would have got a second listen.

Slowly the power of the songs and her voice took hold and the soothing backing track only heightened the impact of the lyrics.

Strangely that summer I went on hols to Spain with a couple of friends and in a week of only wearing stripey t shirts , rolled up chinos and deck shoes (yes I know we must have looked like idiots ) I'm Your Man seemed to be playing in every bar and so i bought that when I got back , which then led on to getting his greatest hits and exploring his back catalogue. I must have recognised that it was the songs that had me hooked as it is still the only thing by Jennifer Warnes that I own

I've posted the one track from the lp that she duets with Leonard Cohen who is at his gravelly voiced best

Joan of Arc - Jennifer Warnes

Sunday, 16 September 2012

Lazy Sunday Edie Brickell

Lazy sunday and top of the shuffle pile is a track from Edie Brickell's debut lp Shooting Rubber Bands at the Stars. It seems strange that this comes from a time when fermale singer songwirters were hard to find so that Annie Lennox won an annual bit almost by default.

This is a gorgeous jingle jangle track and has the great line "swinging on the branch of a broken family tree"

Little Miss S -  Edie Brickell and the New Bohemians

Saturday, 15 September 2012

Edwyn and Roddy Follow Up

As a follow up to a previous life of live when I saw Roddy Frame and Edwyn Colins play together I thought I'd post this as it kind of captures what it was all about

consolation prize - roddy frame and edwyn collins

It is available of a series of re releases. Edsel have released extended versions of all of Aztec Camera's lps . Some double disc some with just extra tracks, all put together in a nice package like a small hardback book. If you have the Everything But the Girl re releases then you will know what to expect. The only disappointment is that unlike EBTG the sleeve notes are done not by the artist but by I'm assuming a music journalist. As a result they don't really tell us anything new or offer any fresh insight.

You can get them all here

Thursday, 13 September 2012

Life of Live - The Men They Couldn't Hang

Well Life of Live is finally up to date. The last few gigs I've been to I've written about as and when I've been , which leaves this one from a couple of years ago.

I used to go and see the Men They Couldn't Hang when I was at poly and sing along to songs of smugglers and all!

They released a couple of patchy lps and like an old college friend I lost touch.  After a break the band re formed and kept on recording and touring and a friend from work lent me their latest lp, Devil on the Wind and although not quite as good as the ones in the late 80s (they used to have 3 main songwriters whereas although the other 2 were still the main vocalists , the songs were writen by just one of the trio, which must have had an impact.) I was pleasantly surprised at how much i enjoyed it.

I therefore agreed to go to an upcoming gig. Although older, thinner on top and portlier round the middle the energy they threw into the gig was amazing . The audience responded and as a results I had real concerns that the state of the audience down the front would result in at least one heart attack.

I've posted 2 tracks from Devil on the wind that show both sides of the band . Devil on the Wind is a rip roaring fiddle/banjo driven gallop while Mrs Avery shows the softer more melodic side.

Devil on the Wind - Men They Couldnt Hang

Mrs Avery - The Men they Couldnt Hang

If you get a chance to catch them live then go along , you'll have a blast

 You can buy Devil on the Wind here and if you liked their earlier stuff it is well worth getting

Wednesday, 12 September 2012

Before they Were famous - Human League

Today's post is prompted by last week's life of live when I also remembered that Heaven 17 did a version of Being Boiled , that and the fact that I finally got round to buying Travelogue and Reproduction on cd.

Both lps are patchy and listening to them now you can see why they didn't take off Virgin had hoped or why Bowie's future of music comment seemed a little silly. However they also have some great tracks , Being Boiled is still the highlight but here is another that also reminds me how mad Phil Oakey's lyrics could be

Circus of Death - the Human League

The lps also threw up a couple of oddments that i didnt know about.

The first was that in between the 2 lps their first single for Virgin was recorded under the name the Men as the record company insist they tone down the synths. The result is a bit more discoy in sound , a bit like Life in Tokyo era Japan

I don't Depend on You - The Men / The Human League

When this too failed Virgin let the band go their own way with Travelogue

The second thing is that the band released a single in between the split with Ware and Craig - Marsh and the Dare era. The girls joined in time for the cover shoot but didn't feature on the single. It is a bit ropey but bought them a bit more time with Virgin

Boys and Girls - the Human League

as the cliche goes the rest is .....

Monday, 10 September 2012

Middle of the Road Monday - Oliver

Middle of the Road Monday and another one of my parent's lps and another musical , this time Oliver. Now one of those that have a revolving celebrity (I took my son to see Rowan Atkinson do a surprisingly well sung job) no one can get near the original
A few years ago I went to a wedding of someone at work and Ron Fagin was one of the guests . He got up and did a speech and then burst into a couple of songs . He asked for some volunteers to join him. I was both in hero worship mode and also a little worse for wear and before any one could stop me I'd bounded up to the head table, only to realise too late that I was the eldest by about 25 years. Which is how I along with 6  children below the age of  10 got to accompany Ron Moody in a version of Got To Pick a Pocket or Two.
However the track I'm picking is one full of pathos as Fagin touched with regret considers turning over a new leaf. It brings a tear every time.

Sunday, 9 September 2012

lazy sunday - Kane Gang

Lazy sunday and top of the shuffle pile is by one of kitchenware's big 4. A bit of western frontier music from the north east

Gun Law - The Kane Gang

Saturday, 8 September 2012

A year in books catch up

As I mentioned in the last post I'm way behind on a year in book so here is a whistle stop tour that gets me up to date

First up is At Last the final book in Edward St Aubyn's Patrick Melrose series of novels. I wrote about the previous 4 books here

At Last is built around the funeral of Patrick's mother who at the end of the last book, having given away Patrick's inheritance to a spiritual guide, backed out of assisted suicide. This book is back to the broad social commentary of Some Hope. Friends relatives and foes gather to pay their respects as Patrick struggles with his understanding his past relationships. The book is a fitting end to the traumas of the previous novels and Patrick, now free of his addictions, reaches as sense of calmness and finally stability and control.

You can read this as a stand alone book but if you do you are missing out a real delight and a set of novels which I feel will grow in importance and recognition long after more successful contemporaries have faded out of print

you can get Never Mind the first of the series here

I've also written previously about hopefully finding a successor to a series of annual short story compilations here .

The 2012 edition isn't quite as good as the 2011 one. Bookending the collection with 2 short stories based around a library feels too neat and politically current, which makes me question the "best of" title. However there are some crackers

Dan Powell's story of loss and dignified grief and Jon McGregor's tale of a doomed swimmer are the pick of the bunch and like the best short stories, both have a power in the economical sense of not a wasted word or sentence as well as an ending that makes you stop before you go on to the next one. Stuart Ever's tale of sex with an ex is full of truths and Will Self's contribution is as clever as you'd expect it to be.

Whilst I thought the quality was a bit more patchy than last year (there were 2/3 that really annoyed me) what is good is the variety of styles is broader with comedy . modern fables , horror, personal drama and the surreal all present

Roll on 2013 and you can buy 2012 here

I seem to be spending the year reading trilogies and the Honourable Schoolboy is Carre's second book in the Smiley trilogy. Set in the aftermath of Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy, it takes Smileys world to the far east. It suffers from the lack of the "who done it" element of Tinker and could have been 200 pages shorter but it has that same feel of 70s seediness and a great sense of time and place

you can buy Honourable Schoolboy here

Ex Smash Hits journalist Dave Rimmer tells the story of the bright shiny new pop that emerged in the early to mid 80s using the rise of Culture Club as his vehicle. Originally published in 1985 it ends with the band in disarray but reconvening for their 3rd lp.

Like most music books it works much better when it focuses on the facts and tells the Culture Club story. Where it struggles is when he tries to make broader social points and paint pop in a wider context. I just found myself getting annoyed at the way selective examples were used to illustrate points and anything that contradicted was ignored. As ever the story it tells is very London centric and tends to make things seem more important and significant than they were. Pop music ,by its definition, is disposable and lasts because of our own individual memories and associations , first kiss , ex girlfriend , student parties , holiday songs, etc and not due to some wider social trend / context.

Having said all that it is a good read and an interesting document of that time written from the heart of the action.

You can buy Like Punk Never Happened here

Ctirus County is a kind of comic American gothic novel, as disturbing as it is funny , a cousin to the Coen Brothers Blood Simple or Fargo crossed with one of those misfit high school movies.

The book focuses on Shelby and her building relationship with fellow school misfit Toby. Toby has a secret that we all know in that he has done something terrible and unforgivable to Shelley's family. Anymore detail would be too much of a spoiler. The effectiveness of the writing comes from the fact that as you get sucked into their friendship and romance and the quirky supporting cast, author Brandon keeps bringing you shockingly back to what Toby has done.

you can buy Citrus County here

More teenage angst in Stephen Chbosky's The Perks of Being a Wallflower. Charlie is smart introspective and shy, a combination that makes first year at high school an ongoing assault course. Befriended by  older brother and sister, who begin Charlie's education into love , drugs , friendship and life.

Charlies tells his tale in a series of letters to some one he doesn't know, a technique which at first I thought would really grate but in the end works really well. Through Charlies voice you get the sense that something isn't quite right both with Charlie and his view of his friends and the world.

The reveal at the end is easy to spot but that isn't the point, it is one of those books that acts on 2 levels. You'll read a chapter that is light and funny but as you slowly see beyond Charlie's eyes a lot more depth is revealed. It has been made into a film which I dread will be one of the coming of age / american pie like efforts - I hope not because the book is so much more than that.

Catch it quick and you can buy it here

Tim Binding is one of those authors who really should sell more than he does. he has tackled a variety of subjects but always with the same great grasp of character and dialogue.

For the Champion he returns to the middle england of his Falklands novel Anthem. The Champion focuses on what happens to the middle class world when someone with an oversize ego, ambition and personality takes over.

Charles Pemberton has lived his whole life in a small market town where his father was mayor. School was ruled by Clark "large "Rossiter who had moved up from London and had a working class background.  His easy charm , sporting prowess and big personality meant he soon was school captain , sleeping with the best looking girls and king of the common room.

After making money in the city , Large returns with the same easy charm , but with bigger plans, a determination to shake things up and a desire to upset the establishment. Charles becomes his at first reluctant and then enthusiastic accomplice, until Large's ambitions begin to get a bit to close to home.

Set in the Major years this is a biting satire (is satire ever described as anything else but biting?) on money, power and greed

You can buy the Champion here

So that brings it up to date and you can breathe a sigh of relief that it is back to music!

Thursday, 6 September 2012

A year in Books - holiday reads

I've realised that I'm way behind in a Year in Books so the next coupe of posts are going to be a bit of a catch up.

I'll start with my holiday reads. I tend to save up books that I'm pretty confident I'm going to like and ones that are big fat reads. Despite an action packed holiday and 2 kids I managed to find time to get through 4 books.

First up is Chad Harbach's The Art of Fielding which was released last year to a lot of hype. The paperback version has positive quotes from John Irving , Jonathan Franzen and Jay McInerney on the cover, 3 authors I really like , so expectations were set high.

A mixture of a sports novel and a college novel , the book follows Henry Skrimshander through his debut college baseball season as a star short stop and potential draft to a professional team.

As Henry moves in on a record for the most consecutive error free games, one throw goes disastrously wrong and impacts on the lives of his gay room mate , his captain and mentor , his college president and the president's daughter.

I've seen one baseball match on holiday in the states and the best thing about it was the hot dogs although this didn't impact on how much I enjoyed this book. You don't need to know much about the game as although a prominent part, the real joy is how the lives of the 5 main characters interact and impact on each other.

That and a great ending that stays just the right side of  cliche make this a great read.

You can buy the Art of Fielding here  

I've read a few books (okay maybe 2) that take Issac Newtons's time at the Royal Mint as their inspiration. In Dark matter Philip Kerr uses it as the backdrop to what starts as a murder mystery and then evolves into a wider political thriller. Its a good old fashioned entertaining romp that combines to good historical "well I didn't know that" with a style that doesn't take itself too seriously. It obeys the rules of the genre even with the usual Sherlock Holmes introduction of one character telling the others life story from obscure observational clues

If you like that sort of thing then you can get Dark Matter here

The One Hundred Year Old Man Who Climbed Out of the Window and Disappeared is as whimsical as it could possible get and as a result I think will be a bit of a marmite book. I loved it.

It starts with Allan Karlsson who on the day of his 100 birthday decides to miss his planned party and leave his old peoples home. On reaching a bus stop he acts on impulse and steals a suitcase that happens to be full of money . Soon he has the police , the press and the local gangsters all hot on his heels as he road trips across Sweden picking an strange array of quirky characters and an elephant on the way. We also learn of Allans life story  the includes meeting presidents and dictators , time as a spy , fighting in the Spanish civil war , imprisonment in Iran  and advising Oppenheimer.

There is a flavour of Forrest Gump that runs through the book. The quirkiness may be a tad too saccharine for some people and the whole thing relies on ridiculous coincidences and a big suspension of logic, but the story zips along and the writing is delightful with every page full of comic gems.

I don't think I'll read anything else like this, it is pretty unique but if you want to take a bit of risk then give it a go it really is a joy to read

you can get the book here

I've no idea why it has taken me so long to read Middlesex, I think I was always put off by the fact that I thought it was about the life of a hermaphrodite ... which it partly is but it is also a whole lot more.

I'd enjoyed the Marriage Plot, Eugenides' new book, so much that I thought I'd finally give it a go and I'm so glad I did.

We are introduced to Cal , born once as a girl and then again as she realises that she is happier as a boy. Through Cal we get his/her family history in an attempt to help him/her understand how the gene lottery threw up this combination. What we then get is a big fat family saga that ranges from Greece to the race riots of Detroit and then back to Europe with modern day Germany.

The book is full of memorable characters and can switch from comedy to tragedy in the space of a paragraph . Cal as a narrator is full of humour , insight and self awareness, reviewing his/her family history with a questioning , critical and loving eye.

The fact that I knew little of two of the points in history , the turkish / greek conflict and the Detroit Race riots helped keep me hooked , with the massacre at Smyrna particularly powerfully written.

The second half of the book struggles a bit to match the first half, but it is still a fantastic book and if like me you've picked it up and put it down , I'd heartily recommend you give it a go

you can get Middlesex here 

Wednesday, 5 September 2012

Life of Live - Heaven 17

This was a real impulse nostalgia thing. Heaven 17 had a strange rush of publicity , a tv documentary and a reissue of their debut lp all the be followed up by a mini tour playing the whole of Penthouse and Pavement live

As usual with these things the set was in 2 parts . Part one was the lp in track order , with part 2 being a bit a greatest hits and other oddments (including a strange version cheeky version of Don't You Want Me)

The only slight downer was that one of the trio was missing having left the band. What we had was Glen Gregory and Martyn Ware backed by a band.

The main highlight of the night was how good Glen Gregory's voice was, if anything stronger and richer than the recorded version. The other thing that struck me was that live most of the songs didn't seem to have dated at all, they all had a bit of a freshen up for the tour

The second part of the set was largely pulled from the Luxury Gap, as well as a couple of the BEF covers (Wichita Lineman was as haunting as ever). The only misfire was Claudia Brauken coming on for These Boots Were Made for Walking and this is only because I cant stand that song in any guise!

There was a nifty light show but it wasn't really needed

I've posted one of the lesser known tracks from the lp which has always been one of my favourites, catchy and quirky at the same time

Geisha Boys and Temple Girls - Heaven 17

Here is a taster of the concert

Monday, 3 September 2012

Middle of the Road Monday - Jesus Christ Superstar

I've mentioned before that growing up my parents only had a handful of lps (my dad just wasn't into music apart for a strange fixation on Boney Ms Brown Girl in the Ring and my mum had a few singles that she had kept).

One of them was the original lp version of Jesus Christ Superstar. I remember pouring over the lyric sheet as I played it again and again.  I would sit transfixed as the film made its annual appearance on TV at Easter time. Once I went to poly I saw a live version and since then I've seen it about 3 more times with each revival

It is back in the news down to one of those singing competitions where the BBC promote Andrew Lloyd Webber's new show for a few weeks on prime time TV. This time a big stadium tour including intriguingly Tim Minchin and more worryingly Chris Moyles
Friends scratch their head when I go on about how dam good the whole things is, especially when all most people remember is a playground song about wearing frilly knickers and a bra (the worst song in the show) 

It really shouldn't be my cup of tea , very 70s sounding guitar and vocal histrionics (Ian Gillan was Jesus on the lp that my parents had) all a bit hippy concept.

Now I'm not at all religious and I don't want to offend anyone for who Christianity plays an important part in their lives..... but the musical strips it down to one hell of a story.

Although abased on the last days of Christ at its heart is an ideological struggle between Judas and Jesus. With events told from both their perspectives

The whole things starts with Judas having doubts driven along by a great guitar riff

"I remember when this whole thing began
No talk of god then we called you a man
But every word you say today
Gets twisted round some other way
and they'll hurt if they think you've lied

..... all your followers are blind
too much heaven on their minds
it was beautiful but now its sour"

Heaven on their Minds

To say I was a little obsessive may be an understatement as I used to imagine my own dream cast . I always had David Bowie as Pilate (before he popped up playing the role in Scorsese's Last Temptation of Christ!)
You can just imagine him singing this

Pilates Dream

and performing in this

And so a strange love of musicals was born, the clever lyrics , the repeated melodies , the singing/speaking etc somehow strike a chord. Whilst I'm on hols middle of the road monday will pick my 3 favourites