Friday, March 03, 2017

neil's heavy concept album

boom shanka

it does rather feel like posts on this blog of late are tending to lean towards being of a celebration of music, or if you like the vibes. i don't believe this is too bad a thing, for there are far worse things which i could write of, look you see.

anyway, on with the vibes. this time we go back some 33 years to a sort of semi celebrated release from the year 1984. i would not call this an obscure record as such, but also i would not refer to it as one which frequently comes up in conversations. or "best albums ever" lists. but, still, you know.

oh yes indeed, this is a bit of a recollection, or if you like celebration of or indeed if you prefer shout out for 1984's partially noticed Neil's Heavy Concept Album by Neil Pye.

i would imagine that most who have found this off of one of them internet searches need not have me tell them this, but on the off chance the information is useful, Neil Pye was of course one of four students what shared a house in the superb early 80s documentary The Young Ones. this documentary series ran for two series, or "seasons" if for some reason you are American.

this album was after, or if you like post, the highly celebrated documentary series, and is a rare glimpse at one of the students which was followed in the documentary did after they completed their studies. it was, now that i think of it, never quite clear what Neil was actually studying at the time, but maybe it was music related. that would make sense, what with him doing an album. and not just any album, of course, but a concept album.

provenance of my copy? rather more 2017 than 1984, i must confess. this is not an album i bought at the time of release. no, for me 1984 musical purchases were limited, if not reserved, for Frankie Goes To Hollywood. they released quite a bit, and how much pocket money is it that you think i got?

my (considerably) better half got this CD re-re-rerelease of it for me for all that Valentine's Day business; a gift that somewhat put my offerings to her to shame. but that's pretty much standard for this event.

i can, at the least, recall seeing Neil on Top Of The Pops, doing the single which was his pop debut. it was a cover of Traffic's Hole In My Shoe, and was not bad at all. not good enough to be number one, for i think it stalled at number two below a Frankie Goes To Hollywood release. not difficult to have done that, really - Frankie were at number one for a total of 15 weeks out of 52 in the year, and for a while also held the second spot. so well done, Neil, for getting as high as you did.

if you'd rather go and look at Neil off of The Young Ones doing Hole In My Shoe on Top Of The Pops as i watched it at the time, here's a link to what seems to be the only copy going. sadly, the quality is not what it could be, but better this than nothing. relax, click away - it's John Peel what is host, and not any DJ who has had allegations made against them.

should it be the case that you're rather more interested in the commercial promotion of this album and you are capable of watching videos here on this blog, then here you go. here's a video below of an advert for the album from the time. an advert which seems to be aimed at the American audience, or possibly the Australian one. a market which is rather more used to Dollars than Pounds, at the least.

there is a compelling case to say that if i had bought the 7" single of Hole In My Shoe that i would have gotten to number one. i bought the cover of Living Doll he and the rest of the students out of The Young Ones documentary did with Cliff Richard, and that went to number one. but then again, that single, as i recall, was rather more dominated by the politics of one of his student friends, Rik, than anything.

so, anyway, is Neil's Heavy Concept Album any good? yes, indeed it is. whilst there isn't exactly much of a concept to it, heavy or otherwise, bar "hello i am Neil and this is my record", it's entertaining enough. granted, for the most part it is propped up by the two singles, Hole In My Shoe and White Bicycle, although there are many other highlights. well, a few. Lentil Nightmare, for example, pretty much gave every post-80s metal band - and later The Darkness - the full inspiration for their vocal style.

this CD brings together with the original album an assortment of b-sides. there's also tracks which were at the time exclusive to the cassette release, which is interesting. yes, back then they sometimes made different versions of albums for different format releases. sure, mostly this was done to try and convince people to buy the same record twice, but all the same it was a nice touch. 

now that i think on, one of the extra tracks here from a single is a cover of Hurdy Gurdy Man off of Donovan. i know this because my mate Stephen Legget bought that single and shot it onto a tape for me. so, in a sense, i did make some sort of small contribution towards trying to get Neil to number one as a solo artist.

would there be any value in the target audience of pop records today - the young ones, as it were - seeking out this record? i am not so sure. whereas people of my years would recall the documentary series of The Young Ones rather fondly indeed, i am not certain that it has lived on in a way that has seen you, the kids, go out and seek it. perhaps they have their own, similar natured documentaries that speak to them and their era the way that The Young Ones did to us.

i haven't really said all that much about the record in amongst all this waffle, have i? oh well, these things happen. if you've stumbled upon this as part of a trek through your own nostalgia or simply found it by accident, then i can but hope that it is, for what it is, was of some interest!

be excellent to each other!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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