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on 3 October 2005
This is the first time I have really felt compelled to leave a review. Spread the word, this album is great !!
My favourite track by far is 'This Old Skin' where Hull meets the Deep South beautifully. This is the best harmonised and most skillfully crafted track I have ever heard (by any artist) and I can't stop listening to it !!
Just one thing though Mr.Heaton on some early Housemartins demo's I have there's a track called 'I bit my lip'....you just have to release this with the South.
Please please more uptempo country like 'This Old Skin' with guest vocalists....SUPERB STUFF !!!
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on 30 November 2004
I'm a sucker for cover versions, partly because the songs will usually be familiar, and only if the coveror has done something worthwhile with them, rather than just doing carbon-copies. So I was looking forward to this album, and on reflection it comes down in the good, but could have been better category.
The big plus point is, of course, that they have, by and large, sung and played these songs as if they were their own, and some they have twiddled with radically. It is right, and rather strange, to have "You're The One That I Want" slowed right down to a smooch; it's no less camp for it. ELO's "Livin' Thing" is turned into a Western jazz/country swing number, though they've retained some very ELO strings in the background. Lush's "Ciao!" becomes an upbeat chugger - the "Ying Tong (Tiddle-I-Po)" notation in the booklet is very apt. I love the new rumbha version of Blue Oyster Cult's "Reaper", and on "Rebel Prince" they give the best impression of Sting I've heard in a long time.
I suppose it was expecting a lot for all twelve tracks to be as innovative. "Don't Stop Moving" repeats the trick done on John and Olivia, and the lyric doesn't really match; it sounds funny once, but does it bear repetition? Similarly they take the old Brrok Benton / Ray Charles warhorse "Till I Can't..." uptempo like "Ciao".
"This Old Skin", a relatively obscure number, sounds just like a Beautiful South song, and the Ramones' "Blitzkrieg Bop" is
also done as a BS number. Which leaves "Stone In Love With You"; I confess this never has been a favourite of mine and nothing changes here, because they sound just like the Stylistics, or Johnny Mathis in tight pants.
The musicianship and production is, as ever, excellent, and they sound suitably laid-back and as if they had fun recording it. On the whole I like it, but not as much as I was expecting, based upon their brilliant track record. You do get the impression they had to get an album out and had a bout of writer's block so did some covers instead; it is very unlikely they will get away with it again.
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on 15 December 2004
The Beautiful South achieve the near impossible on this album by performing S Club 7'S 'Don't Stop Moving'as if it were a lyric which demanded respect. When listening to the aforementioned track you realise it is actually a song which someone has taken the trouble to write and not the banal garbage it was originally presented as. One wonders if the B.S. had originally recorded this song would it be regarded as one of their classics.
Elsewhere on the album B.S.perform a faultless rendition of Willie Nelson's 'Valentine' with Heaton's voice as distinctive as the Texan. This track is followed by a superb version of 'Don't Fear the Reaper, for me enhancing the original.
'You're the One that I Want'is vastly alternative and basically ok if not sensational, perhaps suffering from the familarity the entire population has with the track.
On listening to the album in it's entirity I find myself pondering on the selection process for a covers album and despite its many merits I feel better material was available to the B.S.
I doubt they'll ever record another covers album, which adds to the slight feling of disappointment for this one.
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on 14 November 2004
Cover albums are always dangerous territories. On one side they can scream creative flare with an artist putting their own spin on already existing records; on the other side they can seem a desperate attempt to try and cover up a bad album and bad album sales. It can also suggest a lack of inspiration for new material. It seemed that the Beautiful South were doing the latter following on from 2003's less-than-mediocre 'Gaze'. For obvious reasons, BS fans were beginning to become a little concerned.
We needn't have worried.
The Beautiful South have really bounced back with this album; twelve cover songs all sounding different but all having that typical BS quirkiness put on them. The CD opens with 'You're The One That I Want' (yes, the one from 'Grease'), a much less sprightly affair than the original. But somehow it is pulled off marvellously with Paul Heaton and new vocalist Alison Wheeler providing the heartfelt vocals as they always successfully do.
Following on from this is 'Livin' Thing', originally done by ELO. Here, Dave Hemingway takes charge on lead - is it me or is he getting even better? Onwards we go to hear covers of songs by the likes of The Zombies, Willie Nelson and The Ramones amongst others. My personal favourite track is a cover of 'Ciao!' by the long forgotten (and may I state underrated) Lush. Jaunty and bold, this track really opens your eyes.
My favourite cover however is a different story. How The Beautiful South have taken S Club 7's 'Don't Stop Moving', turned it into a dark and bitter affair and make it work is beyond me. But that's what I love about The Beautiful South - they can take anything and make it sound wonderfully original, and that's why this cover album works so well.
Closing with the touching 'I'm Stone In Love With You', you finally feel that after a few years in the wilderness The Beautiful South are back to their best. All I can hope for now is that their next studio album is a brilliant affair and I hope that this album has given them the inspiration to once again provide that BS sound over a variation of songs.
If you bought 'Gaze' and were disappointed, do not be afraid to buy this album! 'Golddiggas, Headnodders and Pholk Songs' is simply brilliant, and even if you don't know the original versions of these songs, The Beautiful South sound is well and truly back and nobody else can match it. A wonderful addition to any CD collection!
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on 20 October 2004
Yes, this is an album of covers. No, it's not the usual suspects that get covered time and time again. Having decided it was the right time for such a project, Paul Heaton & gang have assembled a very eclectic collection. It's definitely a brave move and something of a gamble, as even hard core fans may be put off, but ultimately they pull it off. Just.
Not only do they have the audacity to cover the most unlikely songs, but in several instances, totally reinvent them. Take the opener. In their hands "You're the One That I Want", becomes some sort of power ballad. And S Club 7 could never have imagined the depths of feeling that could be wrung out of "Don't Stop Moving." The best, undoubtedly though, is "Don't Fear the Reaper." I would have thought this very difficult to cover well. However, with the help of a Latin beat, Paul Heaton turns this into a real tour de farce.
Not all songs fare so well. "Livin' Thing", isn't sufficiently different from the ELO original to work well. While Blitzkrieg Bop proves too much even for the BS to handle. And although the album finale "I'm Stone in Love With You", cries out for a Heaton version, somehow it disappoints. However, you expect the BS to be quirky and it's this talent that serves them well for most of the album.
Why 3 stars? Well, although generally well done, it's not one I will keep on listening to after the first few plays. I suspect this album was something of a reaction to some of the reviews of Gaze. However, I thought that album was superb and am still playing it. So, well done Paul, but more originals next time, please.
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on 18 November 2004
Yep the header says it all. I have a MP3 collection of all B.S. Singles, including Housemartins and P.Heaton Solo stuff. Each single has been pretty good and place them amongst my favourite artists of all time.
On the strength of the first Greatest Hits Album (Carry On Up The Charts) I bought both 'Blue Is The Colour' and 'Quench'. Imagine my disapointment when I found the only songs I rearly enjoyed were the singles!
So It was with some trepidation that I got me self a copy of 'Golddiggas, Headnodders and Pholk Songs'. The new album from B.S. I think the reason I got this is that it's a collection of cover's rather than totally new material.
Wow I've not been disapointed! This is there greatest album, end of story. The whole album gels in a way very few albums do. Fantastic.
Only two songs rearly don't work. The first track and the last. The last, 'I'm stone In Love With You' sounds good but it's missing that speacil something the rest of the album has. As for the first, 'You're the one that i want' - they just shouldn't have bothered. It is diabolical. The only totalt cr*p track on the album, and to put it first! If 'Livin' Thing' wasn;t next I would have turned it off - thankfully I had already heard the first single from the album and liked it so the album get playing.
My fav. track is 'Rebel Prince' which I can't stop singing to myself, and it'd be a crime if neither 'Don't Stop Moving' or 'Don't Fear The Reaper' don't get released as singles.
Also dispite what other reviews might say I actually found 'Blitzkrieg Bop' to be one of the albums strenghs.
All in all worth the asking price, I must have even more so than 'Carry on up the charts' and proves that B.S. are still current and relevant.
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on 17 January 2005
Excellent range of tracks and eras covered with Paul Heaton's beautifully dulcet tones coming to the fore on all of them. Some of the cover versions here are just plain re-makes, others are breath-takingly original and innovative, viz, the Travolta/ONJ hit You're the One That I Want and the reworking of S-Club 7's Don't Stop Moving. Not only for Beautiful South die-hards. A real treat.
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on 14 December 2004
A fan of The Beautiful South since the beginning I was both pleased and intrigued to hear of this new album, especially as it was a first for them, being a whole album of cover versions.
In a word, fantastic!
Most, if not all of the tracks have been presented at an easy-going ballad type pace, although there are a couple of upbeat offerings, including the latest single "This Old Skin".
Album highlights include; ELO's Livin' Thing, who'd have thought this could be bettered? The lovely acoustic guitar on Blitzkrieg Bop and the brilliant "You're the one that I want"
One other fine point which seemed to have been missed by other reviewers is the superb artwork on the album cover. Always great to see so much effort put into every aspect of the whole product.
Great Album.
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on 25 October 2004
From the moment you hear the eerie opening to You're The One That I Want, you know this album is going to be special.
First things first, yes its a covers album. Not the band's choice but the new record label, but they have presented us with 12 songs that are very much Beautiful South in style. Each song has been revamped in a clever way, making it worth the buy. The only one that doesnt really work is Blitzgrieg Bop, but still its worth listening to.
The instrumentation is varied as usual, and lots of use is made out of strings and brass. It would be great to see them tour later this year with a string orchestra. The vocals are excellent, most noticeably Paul's falsetto on Stone In Love With You, and Alison and Dave's vocals on This Will Be Our Year.
This deserves to be a huge success, and we should see some new material from the South in the near future.
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on 27 January 2005
Wow! I love this album, is is brill - who knew Travolta and Newton-Johns Classic, You are the one I want, could be made into a ballard! S Club 7's Don't stop moving, is soooo different as well!
This is an amazing album! I recommed anyone who is into easy listening music to buy, buy, buy!
Why 4 stars and not 5? If you hit the CD repeat button it gets a bit monotomus - the way they hsve constructed the tunes is VERY similar and they all merge together after a while!
But on the whole - GREAT JOB - TBS!!! Well done!!!
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