Edwyn Collins' 1994 album Gorgeous George is a magnificent collection of some of this most talented songwriter's best work, both musically and lyrically. Featuring Collins on many of the instruments, long-time collaborator and ex-Sex Pistols band member Paul Cook on drums and ex-Orange Juice member Clare Kenny on bass, this album is full of infectious pop tunes, and ranks along with the albums I'm Not Following You and Losing Sleep as my favourite of Edwyn's solo work. The album also features Collins' long-time friend and collaborator Vic Godard (leader of the band Subway Sect) on backing vocals on a couple of the songs.
The album opens with the stunning The Campaign For Real Rock, probably the least accessible (certainly the least poppy) song included here, but for me the album's highlight. This song shows Collins at his lyrical best, producing a scathing attack on the music festival scene with lyrics that any of Mark E Smith, Morrissey, Nick Cave or Luke Haines would be proud of. The song is (structurally) reminiscent of Bowie's Memory Of A Free Festival, but there the similarities end, as Collins clarifies who his targets are with the brilliant lyric, 'The overrated hit the stage, overpaid and over here, and their idea of counter-culture's momma's charge account at Sears'. The accompanying (and atypical) feedback-infused guitar and repeated closing chanted vocal really transform this song into a veritable masterpiece.
The other album standout song for me is Out Of This World. Starting with a throbbing repeated motif, before breaking into a sublime verse/chorus refrain, backed by extra-terrestrial sounding electronic effects, and with Collins' vocals sounding particularly ominous and vibrant, this song is one of Collins' very best.
The album also contains a number of beautifully melodic slow or medium tempo songs such as the well-known single hit A Girl Like You along with Low Expectations, If You Could Love Me, North Of Heaven (with its brilliant 'Guns `n' Roses lyric') and Make Me Feel Again. The title track is also musically of a similar nature, but lyrically is another satirical attack, this time on ex-tory MP, Scot George Younger (not George Galloway, as one might suppose). I've Got It Bad is another somewhat atypical song, slow-paced but with some brilliant guitar playing from Edwyn, as he laments over an obsessive relationship. Also worth a mention is the album's bonus track, The Moron Song, which finds Collins at his most humorous, with its repeated refrain, 'This music won't take you higher unless you're a moron', reminding me somewhat of Jilted John's 1978 single with its similarly repeated line, 'Gordon is a moron'.
As you can tell, there is not really a duff song here. An essential album for the collection.