- UK release date:
- May 17, 1968
- PMC 7047
More from year 1968
This album has been recorded during the following studio sessions
From June 18, 1967 to ?
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Written by Mike McCartney / McGear
This album was also released in Stereo.
From the liner notes:
Roger McGough and Michael McGear are two human beings from Liverpool. They came into a recording studio one day with a few friends. Some of the friends had musical instruments with them, but some hadn’t so they just played on the floor. Roger read some of his poetry and Michael sang some of his songs and the friends joined in when necessary and even when it wasn’t necessary. They all had a good time. This is the LP. Roger McGough is not just a Liverpool poet but one of the Liverpool poets, part of that little group of provincial poets, unique in Great Britain, who somehow manage to live on just being poets. They’ve been giving readings since 1960 and built up their own local fanatical following, just as the Beatles did, long before London and the rest of the country realised what was happening. There is nothing show businessy or tinselly about the Beatles and there is nothing poetic or long-haired or sitting at a table with a glass of water about Liverpool poetry. It’s all real. Since 1967 the Liverpool poets have been discovered by London, particularly Roger McGough. He has had a novel and several books of poems published. The Sunday Times even suggested him as a possible Poet Laureate. Some other Poet Laureate got the job instead, which doesn’t say much for the Sunday Times suggestions. Michael McGear, the one who composes and does the singing on the LP also wrote “Thank U Very Much” which even got into the Top Ten, which doesn’t say much for the Top Ten. But back to this record then which combines naturalistic poetry, Liverpool humour, and good pop music.
ONE SIDE: The words of “So Much In Love” were written jointly while Michael composed the music. He can’t write music, but who can. He just sang out the tune and all together they worked out the arrangement in the studio. The words are fairly conventional, but the music is very inventive. It’s a good solid, well-polished pop song. It contrasts well with “A Little Bit Of Heaven” (written by Roger, sung by both of them) which is a little bit of Liverpool-Irish street music, plus some contemporary black comedy. “Basement Flat” could probably drive you mad eventually, especially that pneumatic drill. It’s written by Roger, composed by Michael, with an echo, a cuckoo clock and friends thrown in. The whole session was improvised, though it doesn’t always show, but it does tell in the line “So why don’t you marry me”. You can sense Michael having a go at singing in different ways, waiting to see how the instruments will answer him. Roger’s poems, “Summer with Monika”, take up the rest of side one. Andy Roberts, on guitar, is his main accompanist although other instruments join in. The music fits and complements the poetry, talking to it, commenting on the jokes or just being gently lyrical or satirical in the background. It doesn’t often work, when poets read their own poetry, but it’s always preferable to actors using poetry just to show off their actors’ voices. The thing about Roger’s voice is that it is so unpoetic. He finishes lines flatly and pronounces hair like hur and sounds like a real person. The poems, which form a narrative, are about a real couple spending a real summer in a real house, full of domestic images. It’s sometimes very funny and sometimes very sad.
TWO SIDE: Begins with some piano exercises hesitant and looking for something, like many of their numbers. Roger reads his “Come close and sleep now” which is full of Roger word-play. She “put on a dress of guilt” and “shoes with broken high ideals.” All clever stuff. “Yellow Book” is a beautiful ballad in the moon-june tradition but with some nicely unusual similes. The words are by Roger. The smooth singer is Michael. At the haunting piano is a haunting friend. “House In My Head”, words again by Roger and music by Michael, is another with disturbing chords but still retaining that hesitant, tentative feeling. Towards the end, you can feel Michael waiting again for the pianist, talking to him, not knowing what he’s going to play next. “Mr. Tickle” is Michael reading his own. All the other friends thought it was nice. I am not very keen on significant insignificance. But give it a chance. You might grow to love it. The hazy pianist in the background didn’t realise he was going to be on this one. He was trying out something else in another corner of the studio. “Living Room” is again completely by Michael. Like so many of the other songs, it’s rich to ideas and invention. “Do You Remember”, words by Roger and music by Michael, is my favorite. The words are delightfully corny and so are the soft shoe shuffle overtones, but it’s beautifully constructed. “Please Don’t Run Too Fast” is Michael being simple and not trying to be significant. Michael being brilliantly simple. “Ex-Art Student”, words by Roger and music by Michael, is the all-together one. All the friends were allowed their head this time, even the one banging on the floor. There’s a flute talking to a sitar and guitar blowing bubbles. There are all sorts of jungle noises. It could have gone on forever. If you listen afterwards in your head, it probably does.Hunter Davies
Last updated on September 23, 2021