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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars O'Sullivan's most lyrical & humorous album
This album, originally released in 1974, did not produce any hit songs as the previous 3 albums, but it is one of my favourite Gilbert O'Sullivan albums. Just like Beatles made the highly experimental album Revolver, which crystalised later into Sgt.Pepper's, one gets an impression that the stunning originality and imagination in this album had evolved from O'Sullivan's...
Published on 17 Dec 2010 by Scriabinmahler

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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars "...You've Got To Be Honest..."
*** THIS REVIEW IS FOR THE 2012 REMASTERED REISSUE ***

"A Stranger In My Own Backyard" is the 4th release in a full-on reissue campaign by Salvo Records of the UK for Irish singer-songwriter Raymond Gilbert O'Sullivan. His UK debut album "Himself" from 1971 was relaunched in November 2011, his second "Back To Front" from 1972 in February 2012 and his third...
Published on 15 July 2012 by Mark Barry


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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars O'Sullivan's most lyrical & humorous album, 17 Dec 2010
By 
Scriabinmahler (UK) - See all my reviews
(TOP 500 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: Stranger in My Own Back Yard (Audio CD)
This album, originally released in 1974, did not produce any hit songs as the previous 3 albums, but it is one of my favourite Gilbert O'Sullivan albums. Just like Beatles made the highly experimental album Revolver, which crystalised later into Sgt.Pepper's, one gets an impression that the stunning originality and imagination in this album had evolved from O'Sullivan's previous album I Am A Writer Not A Fighter. Every song in this album is not just original but a beautifully crafted masterpiece. The songs were recorded in Los Angeles with John Haeny, and in New York with a sound engineer Phil Ramone who later became a famous producer of many Grammy Award winners including 'Still Crazy After All These Years' and 'Just the Way You Are'. The arrangements are multi-faceted and highly sophisticated.

Another striking feature of this album is the childlike sense of humour and the warmly nostalgic melodies - the opening song 'Number 4' and 'Victor E' are reminiscent of Sesame Street and other songs like 'It's so easy to be sad', 'If you ever' or 'My father' share the same childhood theme. '15 Times' is a hilarious tongue in cheek song which sounds like a nursery rhyme. Maybe, the concept of the whole album IS a nursery rhyme, meant, not for children, but for adults! 'The marriage machine' is one of O'Sullivan's most beautiful songs. 'No more', 'I wonder would you mind', and 'Nothing to do about much' are little gems with impossibly funny lyrics and very touching melodies. Perhaps, all these songs are disguised in childhood innocence, but meant for 'a stranger in my own back yard' - in other words, our own inner being?

Tracks:

1 Number 4
2 A woman's place
3 No more
4 It's so easy to be sad
5 My father
6 The marriage machine
7 If you ever
8 The thing is
9 Jut like me
10 Victor E
11 I wonder would you mind
12 15 Times
13 Nothing to do about much
14 Can't get you to love me
15 Always somebody
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars "...You've Got To Be Honest...", 15 July 2012
By 
Mark Barry "Mark Barry" (London) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)    (HALL OF FAME REVIEWER)    (TOP 50 REVIEWER)   
*** THIS REVIEW IS FOR THE 2012 REMASTERED REISSUE ***

"A Stranger In My Own Backyard" is the 4th release in a full-on reissue campaign by Salvo Records of the UK for Irish singer-songwriter Raymond Gilbert O'Sullivan. His UK debut album "Himself" from 1971 was relaunched in November 2011, his second "Back To Front" from 1972 in February 2012 and his third from 1973 "I'm A Writer, Not A Fighter" in April 2012 (all are reviewed separately). With fantastic new sound, copious bonus tracks, quality packaging and a none-too steep pricetag - legions of his fans worldwide will be thrilled to see that his MAM Records catalogue is finally receiving a thorough going-over (and like the others - this release is artist-approved too). But in this case - I just wish the material matched the packaging...

Here are the finite details - UK released Monday 4 June 2012 (12 June 2012 in the USA) Salvo SALVOXCD004 breaks down as follows (62: 02 minutes):

Tracks 1 to 15 are his fourth studio album "A Stranger In My Own Back Yard" - released October 1974 in the UK on Mam Records MAM-SS 506 and on Mam Records MAM 10 in the USA. It peaked at 9 on the album charts in the UK - but didn't reach the top 200 in the USA.

Tracks 16 and 17 are "Happiness Is Me And You" and "Breakfast Dinner And Tea" - the A & B-sides of a non-album 7" single released February 1974 in the UK on Mam Records MAM 114 (it reached Number 19 on the single charts).

Track 18 is "Too Bad" - the non-album B-side of "A Woman's Place" - the first single lifted off the album. "A Woman's Place" was issued August 1974 in the UK on Mam Records MAM 122 and charted at Number 42.

Track 19 is "To Cut A Long Story Short" - the non-album B-side of "Christmas Song" - a 7" single released December 1974 in the UK on Mam Records MAM 124 (it peaked at Number 12). The A-side is missing and isn't on other CD reissues (an error no doubt).

Tracks 20 and 21 are "You Are You" and "Tell Me Why" - the A & B-sides of a non-album 7" single released January 1975 in the UK on Mam Records MAM 126 (it didn't chart).

Track 22 is "That's A Fact" - the non-album B-side to "I Don't Love You But I Think I Like You" - released May 1975 in the UK on Mam Records MAM 130 (it peaked at 14 on the charts). Again the non-album A-side is a no show and isn't on other CDs?

The original UK and US LP artwork by David Larkham was an elaborate affair - a cut-corners gatefold sleeve with 4 book-like leaves inside (he'd been responsible for the lavish LP covers of "Madman Across The Water", "Goodbye Yellow Brick Road" and "Captain Fantastic" for Elton John). All of it is repro'd either on the card digipak or in the beautifully laid-out 20-page colour booklet. The inlay features lyrics for all tracks (including the bonuses), photos of rare 7" foreign picture sleeves from all over the world, Japanese trade adverts, fanzine covers, snaps from the recording sessions. There are reminiscences on the album by Gilbert and thoughts on the disastrous US tour of late 1973 - and a paragraph-by-paragraph critique on each song by Chris Ingham (author of a "A Rough Guide To The Beatles"). There's even a 'Gilbert O'Sullivan - A Singer And His Songs' logo sticker on the front of the card digipak which accompanies all of these expanded reissues. A minor niggle would be that the Amazon photo seems to indicate that the card repro matches the cut-corner look of the original LP design - it doesn't - and neither does the booklet on the inside.

But the really big news for fans here is the AUDIO... Remastered from original master tapes - the sound quality is a vast improvement on what went before (compilations and expensive Japanese imports). Right from the off both the Intro "Number 4" and its follow up track "A Woman's Place" sound amazing. Unfortunately that's where the good news ends as far as the album is concerned. "A Woman's Place" is a cloying awful piece of pap that grated at the time too ("...a woman's place is in the home...") for God's sake. I'd argue that it single-handedly turned whole swaths of people off him and gave his begrudgers ammunition to dismiss his genuine song-writing capabilities. The arrangements on "It's Easy To Be Sad" are lovely while "My Father" harks back to the melodies and sound of the superb "Himself" debut album. And the "Get Down" boogie of "The Thing Is" should have been a single while "Just Like Me" shows sophistication in the arrangements. But there's the terribly preachy "Marriage Machine" and the mock jaunty "15 Times". The schooldays "I Wonder Would You Mind" is OK but too many tracks like "Nothing To Do About Much" and the terribly-worded album-finisher "Always Somebody" are cheesy and sounded dated on release - never mind 35 years later.

While the extras will finally allow fans to sequence rare 7" single releases on CD for the first time - another real downside here is the sloppy exclusion of the two 45s "Christmas Song" and "I Don't Love You But I Like You" (both of which charted). Having said that the bonuses have surprises like the b-sides "Too Bad" and "Tell Me Why" (lyrics above) - both as good as anything he'd done on the "Back To Front" and "I'm A Writer..." albums.

He followed 1974's "Stranger" with the equally forgotten "Southpaw" in 1977 - and wouldn't chart again with a proper album until he signed to CBS in 1980 and delivered the truly cringing "What's In A Kiss".

To sum up - while Salvo is to be praised for handling Gilbert's reissues so well - I just wish I could recommend this particular one.
What we have here is two to three-star material - and as much as I love the guy - I'd urge you get a listen in before you buy...
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars O'Sullivan's most lyrical & humorous album!!!, 17 Dec 2010
By 
Scriabinmahler (UK) - See all my reviews
(TOP 500 REVIEWER)   
This album, released in 1974, did not produce any hit songs as the previous 3 albums, but it is one of my favourite Gilbert O'Sullivan albums. Just like Beatles made the highly experimental album Revolver, which crystalised later into Sgt.Pepper's, one gets an impression that the stunning originality and imagination in this album had evolved from O'Sullivan's previous album I Am A Writer Not A Fighter. Every song in this album is not just original but a beautifully crafted masterpiece. The songs were recorded in Los Angeles with John Haeny, and in New York with a sound engineer Phil Ramone who later became a famous producer of many Grammy Award winners including 'Still Crazy After All These Years' and 'Just the Way You Are'. The arrangements of all 15 songs are highly sophisticated and multi-faceted.

Another striking feature of this album is the childlike sense of humour and the warmly nostalgic melodies - the opening song 'Number 4' and 'Victor E' are reminiscent of Sesame Street and other songs like 'It's so easy to be sad', 'If you ever' or 'My father' share the same childhood theme. '15 Times' is a hilarious tongue in cheek song which sounds like a nursery rhyme. Maybe, the concept of the whole album IS a nursery rhyme, meant, not for children, but for adults! 'The marriage machine' is one of O'Sullivan's most beautiful songs. 'No more', 'I wonder would you mind', and 'Nothing to do about much' are little gems with impossibly funny lyrics and very touching melodies. Perhaps, all these songs are disguised in childhood innocence, but meant for 'a stranger in my own back yard' - in other words, our own inner being?

Tracks:

1 Number 4
2 A woman's place
3 No more
4 It's so easy to be sad
5 My father
6 The marriage machine
7 If you ever
8 The thing is
9 Jut like me
10 Victor E
11 I wonder would you mind
12 15 Times
13 Nothing to do about much
14 Can't get you to love me
15 Always somebody
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5.0 out of 5 stars BRILLIANT , IF YOUR A FAN...., 14 Jun 2013
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LOVE THIS ALBUM , BIN TRYING TO REPLACE THE ORIGINAL ON CASSETTE FOR YEARS , MAGIC ? , BUT PROBABLY , ONLY FOR FANS , OF THE ORIGINAL....
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4.0 out of 5 stars Gilbert the songsmith, 3 July 2012
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This was Gilbert's 4th album and the songsmith had done it again, I already own all of his albums on vinyl but as with any album I own I wanted it on CD. I recently went to see him in Birmingham and he still has the magic and continues to write great songs today.Off Centre
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5.0 out of 5 stars Great CD, 10 Aug 2014
By 
Grace (Hertfordshire) - See all my reviews
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CD arrived on time and in good condition. Have the LP on vinyl and tape and wanted to listen to his music again. Great to listen to.
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Stranger in My Own Back Yard
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