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Marjory Razorblade CD

4.9 out of 5 stars 18 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Audio CD (15 Oct. 1990)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Format: CD
  • Label: EMI
  • ASIN: B000006XTX
  • Other Editions: Audio CD  |  Vinyl  |  MP3 Download
  • Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (18 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 57,146 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)
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Product Description

Product Description

Compiled by Coyne's sons, Eugene and Robert Coyne and featuring quotes from their father, friends and fellow musicians, Marjory Razor Blade chronicles a vital period in Kevin Coyne’s career, one of the most fascinating and forthright artists of his time.

BBC Review

There are not that many artists with 40 albums to their name who haven’t at least once enjoyed significant mainstream recognition. But despite the backing of Virgin Records, the late Kevin Coyne never reached these heights. His label tried – the delightful Marlene, from this collection, was released as a single first in 1973 and then again four years later, its initial under-performance a mystery to all. Ultimately, sadly, Coyne’s legacy is one that’s remained relatively under the radar.

A student of the blues, Coyne’s timbre wasn’t as pristine as charting artists of the time; the songs collected here – the original 20-track album, plus a second disc of bonus selections including BBC session takes and previously unreleased fare – wear their edges roughed, their imperfections proudly displayed. But while the pop market was resistant, Coyne found fans amongst the music world’s cognoscenti: John Lydon expressed his admiration of Marjory Razorblade in 1977, particularly praising the swaggering Eastbourne Ladies, and John Peel was an early supporter, signing Coyne’s pre-solo-career band Siren to his Dandelion label.

This re-issue features some insightful liner notes, including contributions from bassist Tony Cousins as well as press release snippets. The original one-sheet for this album, generally considered to be Coyne’s landmark release (though his small but passionate fanbase still debate that), states that Coyne had 26 tracks laid down after just five recording sessions. Subsequently Marjory had to be a double album – making this set, with 37 tracks, effectively a four-album package by 12” timings. But indulgent it’s not, restraint expressed both lyrically – words cut deep, but with precise strokes rather than repeat swings – and exercised in the skeletal frames of several of these songs.

There’s a lovely Rhodes warmth to Old Soldier, Coyne’s twangy guitar complemented by Jean Roussel’s organ contributions and subtle string arrangement; similarly notable of verdant texture is the synthesizer-embellished Mummy. But by and large this is a stripped-bare affair, a musical unit unburdened by technological temptation and just letting the music flow through them. At the heart might be Coyne, but each player is a vital component, more than a constituent part that could be swapped at a moment’s notice. There’s a comfortable compatibility evident, a synthesis of individual ability into one effective, enchanting end product.

So if you’ve never heard it before, don’t delay any longer: Marjory Razorblade is a trove of largely forgotten delights ready for rediscovery.  --Mike Diver

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Customer Reviews

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By Peter Uys HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWER on 8 Jan. 2003
Format: Audio CD
This obscure musician has made some unforgettable albums, like Case History and this sprawling masterpiece. His themes are often very dark (fellow Brit Nick Drake’s “Black Eyed Dog” comes to mind when I listen to Coyne) and deals with stuff like insanity, despair, abuse and all manner of deviancies. He’s also a sharp satirist, as demonstrated by Dog Latin, This Is Spain and Good Boy, in which he respectively sends up organised religion, holidays in Spain and the public school system. Eastbourne Ladies also falls into this category. Everybody Says is a beautiul acoustic ballad and Mummy is a sweeping wall-of-sound rocker. His voice is not unlike Van Morrison’s in its scope and expressive range, but while Van’s is likely to be affected by spiritual ecstacy, Coyne’s can be twisted with rage or anguish, as on the title track. Marlene is a catchy number with gorgeous organ and guitar, a galoping beat and a sinister undertone. Talking To No One and House On The Hill are anguished but moving ballads about alienation and insanity. Lonesome Valley is more of the same, but over an uptempo beat and complex vocal arrangement where his voice really shines. Other great tracks include I Want My Crown, Nasty and Chairman’s Ball. With his chosen subject matter, it’s no surprise that Coyne has remained obscure. Still, I think that fans of Leonard Cohen, Richard Thompson, Marianne Faithfull, Nick Drake, Nico, Lydia Lunch and especially Swans, will find much here to appreciate.
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By Peter Uys HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWER on 12 Jan. 2010
Format: Audio CD
Coyne's masterpiece has been enhanced by live recordings, songs from the Peel sessions and various other rarities. This obscure musician made some unforgettable albums, like Case History and this harrowing work. His themes are often very dark (fellow Brit Nick Drake's "Black Eyed Dog" comes to mind when I listen to Coyne), dealing with stuff like insanity, despair, alienation, abuse and all sorts of deviancies.

He was also a sharp satirist, as demonstrated by Dog Latin, This Is Spain and Good Boy, in which he respectively mocks organized religion, holidays in Spain and the public school system. Eastbourne Ladies also falls into this category. Everybody Says is a beautiful acoustic ballad and Mummy a sweeping wall-of-sound rocker. His voice is not unlike that of Van Morrison in its timbre and expressive range, but while Van's is affected by spiritual ecstasy, Coyne's tend to be twisted with rage, disdain or anguish as on the title track.

Marlene is a melodious number with gorgeous organ and guitar, a pulsating beat and sinister undertone. Talking To No One and House On The Hill are anguished ballads portraying alienation and insanity. Lonesome Valley is more of the same, but over an uptempo beat and complex vocal arrangement where his voice really soars. Other great songs include I Want My Crown, Nasty and Chairman's Ball. Fans will love the extra tracks, many of which are live versions of the familiar songs.
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Format: Audio CD
Kevin Coynes early work was incredibly creative, switching from R&B, ballads & folk type songs. He is one of a line of eccentric Enlish singer/song writers. His songs range from happy to sad and from simple to funny. Patience will be required if you try Kevin for the first time, however if get into this work there are a wealth of brilliant quirky albums covering his many years of recording. Have a go the bloke's a genius.
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Born in Derby, England, Kevin Coyne was a unique songwriter who carved out mythological stories of pathos. His vocal style was a rough kind of grumbling reminiscent of Captain Beefheart and his arrangements were spartan and bizarre - his songs often being dilapidated chants accompanied by guitar. His masterpiece, 'Marjory Razorblade' (1973), told stories of alienation, insanity and alcholism that was directly inspired by his pyschiatrist background.

'Marjory Razorblade' is a collection of twenty songs dedicated to the common people sung in a caustic and archaic style that depicts a sequence of pictures of life that evoke a drunk saloon-style boogie interpreted in the register of a vibrant shouter (for example, 'Lovesick Fool' and 'Eastbourne Ladies'), melancholy ballads of life ('Marlene' and 'Old Soldier'), an atmosphere of desolation ('Nasty'), crackling blues ('I want My Crown') and an endless gallery of surreal vignettes ('Karate King', 'Dog Latin', 'Good Boy', 'Chicken Wing') that culminate in 'House On The Hill'.

In the heart of Coyne's music are the blues of the Delta allied to the 'ship of fools' theme common to English literature. 'Marjory Razorblade' is a conscientiously passionate and impetuous work that is one of of the all-time masterpieces to have emerged from the British Isles.
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If Nick Drake's justifiably celebrated music was the soundtrack for a sylvan England where problems were never discussed for the sake of maintaining appearances, Kevin Coyne's came from a place where politeness served no function and appearance served only to hide what lay beneath. In other words, he wrote a body of songs as singular as anything out there.

Listening to "House On The Hill" seems to highlight what a drab place the England of the late 1960s and 1970s was outside of the bright Metropolitan lights despite the lyrical reference to a Brixton square, but for all that Coyne's level of social observation was always pretty acute, and on this one he effortlessly conveys a lot in few words - a rare gift.

"Jackie And Edna" is a song about loss but as is so often the case with Coyne that observation doesn't disclose much. Coyne also had a gift for free association, although in this case there's a lyrical clarity which belies the fact.

His idiosyncratic rhythm guitar playing is to the fore on "Karate King" So too is his eye for a subject as he implores us to help the individual of the title by offering to tie his shoe laces or commenting on his pomaded hair. You might not be able to resist thinking that the Karate King's descendents are out there right now, skulking behind closed doors............

On a technical note the entire original double album is now accommodated on the first disc of this set. The second contains a host of near-contemporary material including an entire session for the John Peel programme -it's the one from January 31st 1974, fact fans- which in turn has a version of "Need Somebody" from Coyne's first solo album 'Case History', a title that's overripe for reissue.

How long have we got to wait?
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