One of the first rock songs I ever heard was Roll Away the Stone by Mott the Hoople. Our old back garden was in ear shot of a youth club and this song just stuck in my head. When I was about 25 I heard this track again and I was transported back, epiphany like to that back garden in the summer of 74.
I do like a bit of Mott (sorry I couldn’t resist that). I think they are one of that rare breed of bands that defy real classification, most people stick them in the Glam category, but they had much more going for them.
Standout track; All the Young Dudes of course, imagine writing a song like that and then giving it away!
Hidden gem; One of the Boys
Many Prog Rock bands were Prog Rock by accident, Pink Floyd and Hawkwind fall into this category. However Van der Graaf Generator were definitely Prog Rock on purpose, I am pretty sure Peter Hammill sat up most nights with the Prog Rock Manifesto ticking boxes and making lists.
It is a great album with an absolute golden moment of Prog pomposity, A Plague of Lighthouse Keepers. I just realised this tonight but you have to be pretty posh to be a proper Prog vocalist, I wonder if this is in the Manifesto, even the Durham pit village lad, Bryan Ferry pretended to be Posh.
An aside; I had never before considered the obvious psychological effects of shipwrecks on a lighthouse keeper, thank you Mr Hammill for bring this to light.
This has to be the un-coolest of the three uncle Lou albums I have been listening to, lyrically it is odd, Uncle Lou seemed to be in a very strange place when writing this album (isn’t he always, I hear you cry). My Old Man is cripplingly brutal, and is actually quite hard listening. Lou Reed might be many things, but dishonest would never be one of them.
So Alone, which is musically all over the place, cuts even closer to the bone, Lou gives his perspective on the early 80s dating scene and male castration, good stuff.
One track that I really like on this album is How Do You Speak to An Angel, still a confessional, but wrapped in a verse/chorus/verse.
Micro review; Uncle Lou’s confessional album, brutally honest and deserves more credit than it’s given.
Lou goes a bit Velvets on this album, especially on the title track, which has a great opening sequence, but Lou is in a bit of dark place on this track, I don’t know whether to like this track or run screaming from it.
On a lighter note the track My house is hilarious for a number of reasons. Lou re-tells the story of an Ouija board session, with his wife, where he finds out that his old mate, and mentor Delmore Schwartz, is, by a strange coincidence, haunting his house. Even better though in his top three favourite things his motorbike comes before his wife.
Best lyrical moment; There are unconfirmed reports the president’s been shot, and he may be dead or dying. (Lou you are such a poet)
Best guitar wig-out moment; The end of Waves of Fear is absolutely on the money.