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.
December 16, 2019
Here's part two of Sean and Paul's conversation with Strawberry founder Pete Tattersall in the old studio building.
We discuss the enormous success of Pete's brainchild, 'There's No-one Quite Like Grandma' by St Winifred's School Choir, which was one of Strawberry's few number one singles. His stories on this are really fascinating, and paint a wonderful picture of the record industry's 'good old days'!
Pete recalls in detail some of his favourite sessions, including the McGear album (with an early incarnation of Paul McCartney's Wings band) and Liverpool Lou, featuring the Gizmo. We loved geeking out over his explanations of more studio techniques and beautiful accidents, such as micing and mixing, and Strawberry's ground-breaking reverb and guitar sounds.
We also hear more about 10cc, Joy Division, Ramases and Linda McCartney's musical and culinary prowess, among many others, plus amazing tales of celebrity recording artists and unexpected superstar studio guests, many of whom used the studio to record TV-ready re-recordings of their hits. Finally, Pete sheds more light on Strawberry's demise, and a deal that could have saved the studio...
Hope you've enjoyed our interviews so far. Hopefully, some amazing guests to come soon! Tune in next time for Paul and Sean's debate and analysis of Graham Gouldman's key 1960s songs.
December 9, 2019
Welcome to the first part of our conversation with Strawberry founder Pete Tattersall, recorded in the old studio building on Waterloo Road in Stockport.
Pete is an engaging, amusing and modest man, and regales us with so many stories about how Strawberry came into being. Leaving behind his (often dangerous!) gig playing career, he set up Intercity Studios in Stockport, but soon joined forces with Eric Stewart to found the new studio. It's fascinating to hear how Strawberry began as a relatively humble set-up, but quickly grew thanks to re-investment after the successes of Neanderthal Man and the first 10cc hits. What they built at the time was the first, and only, studio outside London that could rival facilities in the capital. He gives us some interesting insights into how he and Eric captured such top-quality and ground-breaking recordings with a huge range of artists, from the Syd Lawrence Orchestra and Barclay James Harvest to Neil Sedaka, and he tells us what it was like to see 10cc develop right in front of his eyes.
Other lovely treats here include Pete's memories of Consequences, including the infamous Fireworks location recording, Kevin and Lol's best practical jokes, working with Brian Epstein, rigging up a drum booth with tin baking foil for Neanderthal Man, recording the Hotlegs LP, the inevitable slew of football songs, and 10cc's recording of harmonies, as well as sessions including I'm Not in Love.
The equally interesting part two of our chat with Pete will be published next week.
December 4, 2019
Hello gentle subscribers!
Here's a bonus podcast where Sean and Paul do a round-up of our antics over the last months, with a few unpublished thoughts and stories, as well as talking about our plans and hopes for the podcast in the new year.
We cover a whole range of topics, including lots of observations, anecdotes and surprises from our meeting with Kevin Godley. We talk about our other wonderful guests too: Pete Tattersall, Ken Maliphant, Harvey Lisberg and Peter Wadsworth. There are a few details of some of the 'goodies' we're stashing away in our shared Google drive folders that you should all now have access to. We ponder over Consequences' second commercial failure, and talk about our plans for next year. Of the ones we can divulge at this stage, we'll be collaborating with some of you fine people on some imminent podcasts on 10cc Mk II's and Godley and Creme's 80s and 90s output; we're keeping our fingers crossed on meeting some more of the 10cc chaps next year; and also to meet some of you in some kind of live event... We just need your ideas!
Hope you find this entertaining, and have a lovely Christmas!
Sean and Paul