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16
4.1 out of 5 stars
From Langley Park To Memphis
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
on 20 March 2000
Those who only remember Prefab Sprout for 'Hot Dogs and Jumping Frogs' do not know what they are missing. The Sprout frontman, Paddy McAloon, is a singer songwriter of exceptional talent and originality. This was the first album I bought of theirs and have never looked back. From the bouncy opening number, the album goes from strength to strength, with only one track 'The Golden Calf', a disappointment. Immerse yourself in the exciting tunes and clever lyrics, for example on 'Cars and Girls', 'Hey Manhatten' and the classic 'I Remember That'. 'Nancy' is a gentle and touching portrait of a marriage which will spin around in your head till you simply must sing out loud. I can't recommend this album too strongly - buy it, you won't be sorry !
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
on 1 May 2005
This review is being written over 15 years after I bought my original 'From Langley Park to Memphis' on cassette tape: on the long-overdue occasion of its replacement by CD. The original was bought after hearing 'King of Rock 'n Roll' on the radio and thinking "that sounds like fun". Boy - if I had known what I was getting myself into!
Of all the Sprouts' albums (and I do have them all), this is for me one of the best. The sheer range of themes and styles sweeps the listener from the orchestral 'Manhattan' through the poignant 'Nightingales' to the slightly tongue-in-cheek 'Cars and Girls' without losing either ones interest or engagement. The lyrics are consistently intelligent without the impenetrability of some of the Sprouts earlier work, and Paddy never insults or cajoles his audience - just gently guides them (or perhaps 'seduces' would be a better word) through his emotional journey. I would defy any true romantic to hear 'I Remember That' without a sigh and a nod towards past loves long lost, or not to smile at the 'Venus of the Soup Kitchen' and wonder where to sign up.
Call it 'sophistipop' or 'intellipop' or whatever strange polyglot combination catalogues use to cram artists into a box; say they sound a bit like Blue Nile or Big Dish or some other band that makes their own way off the beaten track through the maze of life: Prefab Sprout are unique. Of course, I'm already a fan, so you'd expect a good review. But don't miss the point - it was this album that made me a fan in the first place.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 31 July 2015
Not viewed as a classic Prefab Sprout album in the eyes of the music critics but, nevertheless, there is plenty here to delight lovers of intelligent pop music on this 1988 release. 'The King of Rock 'N' Roll' and 'Cars and Girls' are perfect examples of the band's more commercial output during this period whilst the supreme class of 'I Remember That' and 'The Venus of the Soup Kitchen' represent Paddy McAloon's ability to write lovely slower songs. Definitely worth adding to your collection.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
*** THIS REVIEW IS FOR THE JAPAN-ONLY 2009 REMASTERED VERSION ***

"From Langley Park To Memphis" was first issued March 1988 on Kitchenware Records in the UK and on Epic Records in the USA. It felt like a more commercial version of its brilliant predecessor "Steve McQueen" from 1985 - and building on that incredible groundwork - it was eagerly awaited - and so raced to Number 5 in the UK charts.

It was released on LP/MC and CD at the time in fairly good sound - but a remaster has been long overdue. Some of its hit singles have been remastered for "Best Of" compilations, but this is the first time the entire album has been sonically upgraded - and it's an absolute wow - even it is only available as a limited edition import from Japan...

PACKAGING:
This 26 August 2009 Japan-only CD is on Epic EICP 1245 (Sony Music Japan) and is part of 6 albums reissued there - all in remastered form (45:32 minutes). It's one of those mini LP replica sleeves in an Obi and resealable outer plastic (picture provided above), which also reproduces the original inner sleeve. The inner sleeve's nice to look at, but of course because of its 5-inch size, virtually illegible - hence the need for the separate lyric booklet. There's also another insert advertising further Eighties CD titles, but it's entirely in Japanese...

SOUND:
CD sites in Japan have claimed that each has 2009 remastering, and although I can't actually find this in writing anywhere on the disc or packaging (that I can understand), I don't need to see it in writing because I can hear it. The sound quality is simply GLORIOUS.

Highlights include the beautiful melody of "I Remember That" (lyrics above) and an incredible punch out of "Knock On Wood" and an absolutely HUGE feel to "The Golden Calf". A lot of the time, you're just in awe of Paddy McAloon's superb songwriting and how well so much of it has held up - the arrangements, the clever lyrics, the melodies that grow and grow on each hearing - 20 years plus and they still move me...

It is of course a shame that the many unreleased tracks off the singles "The King Of Rock & Roll", "Cars & Girls" and "Hey Manhattan" are not on here, but this release doesn't pretend to be anything other than a straightforward transfer of the album.

With no sign of British or US remastered versions on the horizon, fans of this superb British band and their brilliant albums will need to own this.

Recommended wholeheartedly.

PS: the other albums reissued in this Japanese Limited Edition series are:
1. "Swoon" (1983) on Epic EICP 1276 (21 October 2009 release)
2. "Steve McQueen" (1985) on Epic EICP 1244 (26 August 2009 release)
3. "Protest Songs" (1985 Recordings Released in 1989) on Epic EICP 1277 (21 October 2009 release)
4. "Jordan: The Comeback" (1990) on Epic EICP 1278 (21 October 2009 release)
5. "Andromeda Heights" (1997) on Epic EICP 1279 (21 October 2009 release)

PPS: see also my review for "Jordan: The Comeback" from the same series - and thanks to TIM SQUIER of Revival Records for a lend of the 2 CDs
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10 of 14 people found the following review helpful
on 4 October 2003
This album which contains the Sprouts' biggest hit is, inevitably, hated by fans of "Swoon". To be sure, it has its faults, yet there is some great material here. "The King of Rock and Roll" caught the public ear, and although it is hardly representative of their work, it does show that Paddy McAloon has a healthy disregard of what his audience supposedly wants (the theme tune to "Where the Heart is", songs for Cher also indicate this, too).
"From Langley Park..." has a distinctly playful air about it, indeed a few of the songs are reminiscent of the soundtracks to the classic old Disney cartoons with lots of sweeping strings and cutsey lyrics ("We are cartoon cats..."!). Despite the sweet feel to the material, there is bite also. "Cars and Girls" takes a pop at (then) label mate Bruce "The Boss" Springsteen and his distinctly limited imagination.
This album is worth buying to hear "Nightingales" which is, perhaps, the Sprouts most realised work. Stevie Wonder guests on harmonica and, along with Paddy's almost whispered vocal, the effect is stunning. It is the musical equivalent of the world's most luxurious chocolate eaten with the girl of your dreams.
The only real letdown is "The Golden Calf" where the band unconvincingly rock out. Paddy, leave that to Bruce.
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on 6 November 2013
Up there as one their best albums. Some memorable tracks including "Cars & Girls" and "King of Rock & Roll". There is a good crisp and clean sound across theis album. A good addition to any collection.
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on 29 April 2014
Reminds me of my youth and more. Great sound and lovely to have the extra acoustic tracks which are so adeptly delivered by this great band. Thanks.
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8 of 12 people found the following review helpful
For me,this is where the rot started to set in for the Sprouts.After the edgy'Swoon'(loaded with promise)and the near perfect 'Steve McQueen,Paddy McAloon had established a reputation as probably the finest song writer of the decade. Although containing some classy writing and catchy tunes there is an overall impression of sugariness to this album.There are some great redeeming moments(Cars and Girls,Venus of the Soup Kitchen and the Sprouts finest Rock & Roller 'The Golden Calf')but the syrupy overlay to these tracks eg Nightingales is the thin end of a wedge which pervaded later albums.
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on 26 July 2015
Heard a track on the radio and thought I'd buy the album. Thanks guys.
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on 10 July 2015
A nice blast from the past. A+
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