My Record Collection 197

Tin Machine – not sure if this should be separate, as it is Bowie really.  After a couple of poor albums in the Eighties David decided to once more change direction.  He now formed a band – Tin Machine – he was of course lead singer and they played his songs in a fairly power rock way.  They wore black suits and looked cool, but the songs seemed uninspired mostly.  Tin Machine 1 (1989)  was released to much press interest.  I bought it and quite liked some songs – best were ‘Heavens In Here’, ‘Prisoner Of Your Love’ and a cover of Lennon’s ‘Working Class Hero’.  I did buy Tin Machine 2 – but don’t have it on CD.  One live album ‘Oy Vey Baby’ (1992) released just as Bowie was saying goodbye to his erstwhile sidesmen and going solo again.   A bit raucous and not sure I like it – best tracks are ‘Goodbye Mr, Ed’ and ‘Amazing’.  Still at the end of the day it is Bowie.

Martina Topley-Bird – Every so often the music press introduces the next big thing; Martina was one of them.  I bought her album; Quixotic.  Well, it did nothing for me, and after repeated listenings, it still doesn’t.  A pity, as she has a nice voice and the album is varied in pace – it is simply boring, and doesn’t move me at all, except to look at my watch to see how soon it ends.

William Topley – I was most enthralled with an album by The Blessing – Prince Of The Deep Water (1991 – See B).  The Lead singer, with a remarkable voice was William Topley.  He has released a clutch of albums.  I only own one – 2002’s Feasting With Panthers.  Well, the voice is still there – a deep baritone – but sadly the songs aren’t.   In fact, I cannot remember a single song when I have just played it…oh well.

Pete Townshend – The major songwriter and lead guitarist for the Who (see W).  What can you say about this, except that he is a genius – if an occasionally flawed one.   He was incredibly prolific and would demo most of the songs the band eventually recorded – lots didn’t make it onto records.  I did have 2 cassettes of these ‘rejects’ called Scoop and Another Scoop and a couple of his solo albums; so far not bought on CD.  His first solo outing was cleverly entitled Who Came First and though far from the bombastic rock of The Who, I loved it.   The record was dedicated to Pete’s Religious Leader, Meher Baba – an Indian mystic and even includes Pete singing ‘There’s A Heartache Following Me’ – a 60’s hit for Jim Reeves, because it was a favourite of Meher’s.  Pete had been working on a new concept after Tommy – The Lifehouse – which was confusingly to be a film, a collection of songs and even a ‘happening’ – based on redemption through music.  Lifehouse came to no real fruition but many of the songs became the basis for ‘Who’s Next’.  Some of the ideas from Lifehouse and a few songs found their way onto this mixed bag of an album, which somehow hangs together by Pete’s singing and playing almost all the instruments on many tracks.  We kick off with ‘Pure and Easy’ – a wonderful song – then a duet with Ronnie Lane on ‘Evolution’ (a Lane song). I cannot really fault the album, even the two heavily religious closers – ‘Content’ and ‘Parvadigar’.  Possibly my favourites are ‘Time Is Passing’ and ‘Sheraton Gibson’.  I also have a rarity, a 6 CD boxset, a 50th birthday present from a friend – The Lifehouse Chronicles (2000). The last 2 CDs are a radio play based on Pete’s Lifehouse writings – but the first 4 are demo’s and later work, all based on the Lifehouse.   Disc 1 – is maybe the best, as it features several early versions of my favourite Who album ‘Who’s Next’.  There are also a few other major Who songs on this, including ‘Music Must Change’ and ‘Sister Disco’ – which I believe didn’t become Who songs until Face Dances, over a decade later.   Disc 2 – is similar – best here are; ‘Won’t Get Fooled Again’, ‘Who Are You’ and ‘The Song Is Over’.  Disc 3  – is sub-titled ‘Themes and Experiments’.  But is much the same as the first 2, except for a couple of live tracks including ‘Hinterland Rag’ and a new song ‘Can You Really Help The One You Love’.  Disc 4 is a classical album of music related to the radio play.