March 23, 2020
Paul, Sean, Andrew and Pany tackle 10cc's penultimate album in this extremely long podcast - you might want to digest it in two separate sittings! For an arguably weaker album by this band, we found an awful lot to talk about...
The Meanwhile project began with bright optimism, after Polydor Records discovered a public appetite for a new 10cc album. Eric and Graham broke their long radio silence and got quickly back in the saddle for an extremely positive and productive period of songwriting. The pair penned no fewer than 22 songs, and were full of hope for this new project. And could this really be a reunion of the four original members? In order to better appeal to the elusive U.S. market, the label decided to employ Gary Katz and numerous luminaries from the Stateside session scene to embellish the album. Given Eric's love of Katz's work with Steely Dan, what could possibly go wrong?
Suffice to say, our intrepid podcasters have a lot to say about the gulf between Graham's and Eric's optimism and the finished product. This record certainly has its fans among 10cc circles, and there are some good tracks, but we leave you to hear our opinions on this collection of finely-polished and FM radio-friendly fare. Kevin and Lol guest on vocals on numerous songs, but have their individual talents been buried in glossy production? You decide.
Next time we move, with heavy hearts, to 10cc's final album. We're not finished yet with our odyssey around the 10cc universe, but this feels like we're nearing the end of a chapter...
March 9, 2020
It's with a real sense of sadness that Paul and Sean come to the last chapter in our foray into the solo work of Godley and Creme. Once again, we're joined by Statesider Michael Ferreri who brings a wealth of love and insight to this episode.
'Goodbye Blue Sky' certainly polarises fans of Kevin and Lol's musical output. A total departure for the duo, the album is their first to feature a band of musicians. As you'd expect, seen through their singular prism, this 'band' is a very unusual one, featuring the three seasoned Soul singers of Londonbeat - George Chandler, Jimmy Helms and Jimmy Chambers - and two stellar harmonica players in Mitt Gamon and Mark Feltham, the latter of Talk Talk fame. The premise for this album is indeed to highlight the harmonica, in all its incarnations, in arguably the duo's first ever coherent and 'straight-forward' collection of songs. Yes, verses, choruses and lyrics that make sense!
Perhaps most interestingly, 'Goodbye Blue Sky' is a concept album of sorts, exploring the theme of the threat of nuclear war and its effect on relationships, those in power and mankind as a whole (AAAA!). Yes, we've been here before! It's somehow fitting that Godley and Creme would bow in and bow out with two visions of the apocalypse.
We really enjoyed discussing this album, despite the difficulty Sean and Paul have in enjoying it fully.
Thank you so much to Lol and Kevin for giving us your unique and sideways view of the world. We've so enjoyed the trip!
March 2, 2020
Well, we had to get around to talking about this one eventually, didn't we?
Sean, Paul and our Californian guest Mike Ferreri tackle the stand-alone single 'Golden Boy' before tackling the most controversial of all the 10cc-related albums: History Mix Vol.1. It was originally promising to celebrate Godley and Creme's 25th anniversary of working together in their unique creative partnership. Paul can't hide his disappointment and shock at this spiky remix album, lamenting that it's more the work of Art of Noise's JJ Jeczalik than of Kevin and Lol.
Sean, on the other hand, was a Trevor Horn/ZTT/Art of Noise nut from the off, and argues in favour - if only to express the fun he's always had trying to spot all of the wacky samples used throughout the album. He relishes just how many 'Consequences' snippets are strewn hither and thither! The other podders indulge him as he gives a potted history of how this album could have possibly made sense at the time. Poor old Mike is a bit bemused; are we actually talking about the same album here? Two albums for the price of one, then.
Naturally, we all rave about 'Cry': Kevin and Lol's 'I'm Not in Love', you could say. And for good reason; it's a classic.
Love it or loathe it, we hope you have some fun with this one! We draw our Godley and Creme series to a close next time with their final project together, Goodbye Blue Sky.
February 24, 2020
Welcome to part 2 of our appreciation of Godley and Creme's adventures in the 80s. Paul and Sean are once again joined by our Stateside friend of the show Mike Ferreri. Here we launch into 1983's 'Birds of Prey', an album that by rights shouldn't have existed at all, given Kevin and Lol's punishing but highly successful video schedule.
But somehow this album came into being, and it's a surprisingly meaty offering from the duo. Sean believes this is their finest work in the 80s; Paul and Mike aren't convinced! For Paul, it's all about the songs... We all admire Lol's development as his own one-man DIY backing band, with much more layered, realised and refined textures. Kevin's singing out of his skin too, with a huge dollop of Soul in his delivery, melodies and lyrics.
Even though the album doesn't have the obvious highlights (ie. the hits) of its predecessor, it's a much less erratic affair. There are some real highlights here: the affecting 'Samson', driving 'Worm and the Rattlesnake' and the haunting and beautifully old-fashioned 'Out in the Cold'. Others grab the podders by the ears or throat; some just impress with their lyrical darkness, honesty or power. But all of the tracks are given the once-over this week, and we hope that you enjoy Sean's brave efforts to enthuse his podcast partners!
Hold tight for next week's controversial 'History Mix Vol.1'
February 16, 2020
Sean and Paul are joined by Godley and Creme aficionado Michael Ferreri for our journey into the duo's 1980s work. Paul's chiming in from a B&B in Liverpool, and their steam-powered wi-fi renders him a little bit 'Inanimate Objects'!
We start with a bang, with the cracking, stand-alone single 'Wide Boy', and its wonderfully innovative video. We muse on how this wasn't a hit. The same simply isn't true of its follow-up, 'Submarine' - a curious instrumental that was re-released a year later as a b-side with lyrics. An odd single choice, to say the least.
'Ismism' saw Kevin and Lol enjoy their first commercial success since their split from 10cc in 1976. All three of us adore the haunting 'Under Your Thumb', but Paul's not enamoured of hit number 2 'Wedding Bells'. The third single, 'Snack Attack', has Mike's taste buds really kicking in. In fact, he'll later engage with this hilarious rap in a unique and special way! For Sean, this is one of several tracks on the album that demonstrate Kevin Godley's fantastic wordplay. 'Joey's Camel' and 'Lonnie' see the lyricist journeying into dark, strange but highly inventive territory. We have a lot to say about the duo's new sound, with their songwriting modus operandi now shaped by Lol's home studio experiments and new, more current electronic treatment.
Other tracks we feel are simply filler - 'Ready for Ralph' and 'Sale of the Century' - don't find many fans here, but all three of us are fascinated by 'The Party'! 1-star, 2-owner, shagged-out chic? No - we find so much to talk about here.
Not for everyone, this record, but we're glad it exists. It's strange, flawed and fascinating - very Godley and Creme! Look out in the next three episodes for our analyses of 'Birds of Prey', 'History Mix v1' and 'Goodbye Blue Sky'.
February 10, 2020
Welcome to the third instalment of our ventures into the murky world of 10cc in the 1980s. This week we look at 'Windows in the Jungle', their last throw of the dice before a long lay-off that saw the band lay dormant until they were tempted back into the water with Meanwhile and Mirror Mirror in the '90s. Paul and Sean are once again joined by friends of the show Pany Bogdanos and Andrew Dalgarno. Andrew's a huge fan of this album, and we're so grateful for his enthusiasm, as without it, the two hosts and our Stateside special guest would be a bit lost, quite frankly!
Once again, we disagree on just about everything. No surprise really, as this album perhaps more than any other splits 10cc fans down the middle. Is it a brave re-invention, where Eric and Graham throw out the rulebook in a genuine, last-ditched close collaboration? An attempt to re-invent the 10cc brand with a completely new group of top session musicians? Is it an ambitious and cinematic concept album, a kind of 'Une Nuit à New York'? Or is it an artistic and commercial failure, showing the same creeping malaise of below-par songwriting we've heard on the last two albums? Suffice to say,Andrew is passionate, Paul is underwhelmed, Sean is properly het up and Pany is a voice of reason in the crossfire!
Whatever your views on this record, we hope you enjoy our debate here. There's certainly a lot to discuss, and of course we'll probably never get to the bottom of it.
February 3, 2020
Once again, Sean and Paul are joined by our fellow 10cc acolytes Andrew Dalgarno and Pany Bogdanos for our forensic look at the band's 1981 album 'Ten Out of Ten'. For all of us, this is a step up from the dismal 'Look Hear' from the previous year. Graham's on better and more prominent form for a start, and Eric seems to have shaken some of the downbeat feel of his 1980 work following his accident. There's certainly more of a sense of fun here. But 'The Group' have all but disappeared from the fray...
We discuss Warners' great-on-paper decision to bring Andrew Gold into the frame for the U.S. release, and their bizarre excising of four of the best tracks from the end of the album! We almost completely disagree on the comparative merits of these Andrew Gold tracks... and Sean's equally excited by and furious with the notorious We've Heard it All Before. Discuss!
In fact, we disagree on almost all of the tracks, with songs like Don't Ask, Overdraft in Overdrive, Memories, Don't Turn Me Away, Hotel Notell, Nouveaux Riches and Survivor getting as many kicks as plaudits. Perhaps Lying Here With You is the only track we all like? Once again, we show that perhaps there's no consensus on any of these 1980s albums. Ten Out of Ten? Well, some of us give it a six. Others higher. What do you think?
January 27, 2020
Sean and Paul finally get around to the 'difficult' 1980s 10cc albums...
We're joined today via that Skype by two passionate observers of the 10cc universe: Panayiotis Bogdanos and Andrew Dalgarno. Both bring some well-needed positivity to our conversations about Look Hear, Ten Out of Ten and Windows in the Jungle, and a very different perspective on all of the tracks. Even Paul's joining the pod via satellite link, so Sean's manning podcast headquarters as solo anchorman for these next three episodes.
We of course discuss Eric's 1979 accident and the interesting hiatus between Bloody Tourists and Look Hear, during which time Eric and Graham both recorded interesting solo soundtrack projects. The band's 1980 return sounds strangely flat, and we conjecture about the reasons for that. What is the relationship between the two main players? There are some reasons to be cheerful, however, although Sean is struggling with that!
Whether you're a lover or hater of this album, we're sure you'll enjoy the sheer mad variety of our opinions on Look Hear. Confused? We certainly are! Fun though.
Are you done?
January 13, 2020
Paul and Sean get their teeth into Graham Gouldman's brilliant 1968 debut album.
We cover all the tracks, giving detailed critique of music, arrangements and lyrics. We of course discuss the importance of Graham's father Hymie to his early songwriting, and wonder if his influence was even greater than he has stated? No matter; the songs are great. Personal, poignant and perceptive.
Special attention is paid to Graham's wonderful interpretation of his mega-hit for The Hollies, Bus Stop, and to one of Paul's favourite songs of all time: Behind the Door. Sean's a big fan too, but there's much critique of Graham as a solo singer, alongside huge admiration for his maturity as a songwriter and his genius with (occasionally very many!) chords.
This is a great record, which stands together brilliantly as a collection of some of Graham's best 1960s material.
January 6, 2020
Paul and Sean give Graham Gouldman's prolific songwriting of the 1960s our trademark 'forensic' going-over in these next two episodes.
We look in detail at many of Graham's most famous and successful songs, including his big hits for Herman's Hermits, the Hollies and the Yardbirds. We also criticise and admire many of the near-misses and simply forgotten gems in his huge songwriting canon, with his own recordings with the Whirlwinds and Mockingbirds, and songs covered by Wayne Fontana, Cher, Friday Brown and Toni Basil, Dave Berry and many others. We've dug deep to bring you some songs that only exist as acetate demos!
Paul's guitar makes its pod debut, as he takes us through some of Graham's wonderful chord progressions, and even examines a possible influence from Jewish religious music.
Next week, we focus our attention on Graham's brilliant debut album, 'The Graham Gouldman Thing', and touch on the massive lyrical influence of his father Hymie.