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Pete Atkin >> Music >> Pete's later stuff
(Message started by: Ian Chippett on Today at 10:54)

Title: Pete's later stuff
Post by Ian Chippett on Today at 10:54
Bogus T. wrote:

<<Looking at the recent post list, I am begining to think we should rename the forum the "Clive James Forum" >>

 to which Anne H. replied

<<That's true Bogus Trumper.  Let's get back to talking a bit more about Pete (wish someone would give him some kind of award!) Clive's words are wonderful, but the music is pretty brilliant too. >>

Exactly. It might be interesting to discuss Pete's more recent stuff. I like all of it of course from "The Lakeside Sessions" to "Midnight Voices" but the one I find myself listening to most is "Winter Spring" even if it's a bit patchy (I could do without the comical songs and "Daughter Of The Sun".)  I think it must be the presence of a real rock guitar, something "The Lakeside Sessions" could have used and the fact that it seems to represent a new departure with simpler, more direct songs. And while I like the "Midnight Voices" album, I'm not really sure I see the point of it apart from the reworkings of "Thief In he Night" and "Master Of The Revels." A little too polite IMO. So here are my Top Three New Testament Albums in order of preference:

1. The Lakeside Sessions
2. Winter Spring
3. Midnight Voices

Ian C




Title: Re: Pete's later stuff
Post by Mike Walters on 20.08.08 at 18:16
I guess the target audience for 'Midnight Voices' isn't really the group gathered here, but the broader world out there who haven't yet discovered Pete's music or who only remember it from the 70s.  But I'm pleased at least to have versions of some of my favourite songs with modern production quality.  

In general, though, I agree with Ian about 'Winter Spring'.  I'm not keen on the jokier songs either, but there are some real gems on there.  I agree also about the simplicity of Clive's lyrics - although I think this is often deceptive.  Some of the songs - 'Dancing Master', 'I Have to Learn', 'Empty Table' and, of course, 'Hill of Little Shoes' - seem to me as complex and subtle as any lyrics he's written, but the craftmanship is less self-conscious and showy than on some of the older songs.  On re-listening to 'Winter Spring', I've several times been struck by subtleties of phrasing or thought that I'd initially overlooked.  

Mike

Title: Re: Pete's later stuff
Post by hannibalmcnee on 21.08.08 at 00:01
I think there are some fantastic pieces on The Lakeside Sessions and Winter Spring. And it's amazing when you've not listened to them for a while, for something to come up on ipod shuffle or the like that you've not paid as much attention to as the Seventies stuff, to find that it really affects you.

Just recently I found myself listening to Let's Try The Whole Thing Again (a song I've never considered close to a favourite) and was surprised by just what a great song it was.

Lakeside Sessions in particular is so packed with material that even now, after so many years, you can discover things that passed you by and deserve a little more attention.

Winter Spring doesn't hold up as well for me, but I think a lot of that has more to do with the production values than the songs. I just can't get into the overemphatic drums, tinny-sounding electric pianos and abbrasive back-up singers, so the solo piano tracks are the only ones that still get much play in my house. Of course, I could sit through hours and hours of stuff I didn't like to get to Empty Table and Hill Of Little Shoes, surely two of the strongest songs they've ever done.

I was incredibly happy with the production values on Midnight voices. It's the band, that collection of musicians, that makes it so worthwhile for me and has me listening to it over and over. Now if only Pete could pair that group of musicians with some new/unrecorded material, all my future gifts for friends and family for a year would be sorted.

Title: Re: Pete's later stuff
Post by Gerry Smith on 21.08.08 at 14:42
I hadn't read Bogus's comment about the forum until Ian quoted it above. It's quite a coincidence as I had thought the precise same thing only the evening before. Have to disagree with you about the Midnight Voices album, Ian. I think the re-workings are superb and the musicianship is awesome. And on a more practical level, it ensures that some of Pete's and Clive's best work is available to new audiences - no hassles with re-issues, copyright, etc.

I know what people mean about the lighter stuff. Somehow it's less convincing, but maybe that's because we've come to expect the songs to address weighty issues from lost love to war, old age and death? I could live without Fat Cat but I love So Loud... It's for the same reasons that Live Libel doesn't really work too. And if one is going to do a skit, I think Meaningless Songs in Very High Voices, by the Heebeegeebees is unbeatable!

Any forthcoming small venue (or other) appearances in the pipeline? It's been a while and I need a fix...


Best

Gerry

Title: Re: Pete's later stuff
Post by Anne H on 21.08.08 at 19:51
Confession time for me here, as I have not yet added "Winter Spring" to my collection.  However some quick clicking at the Hillside ordering page sorted that out and I am looking forward to it dropping through my letterbox any day now.

Just realised that I'm somewhat hampered in discussing Pete's music in any depth due to a lack of musical education - am somewhat like "the man who walked toward the music" in that respect!  But one thing that stands out is the beauty of the melodies, and also how they are so perfectly matched to the lyrics - a good example being the wistful melody of "Tenderfoot."  I just came across the karaoke version of this...sorry!!  the MIDI file of the piano part  :)  Wonderful!

And for me the second disc of "The Lakeside Sessions" has to be a high point with its tremendous suite of songs.  "Midnight Voices" is not on my player so much as I prefer the songs in their original form, but as an introduction to Pete and Clive for a new generation, it works very well.

Anne

Title: Re: Pete's later stuff
Post by colin_boag on 22.08.08 at 17:56

Quote:
It's for the same reasons that  Live Libel doesn't really work too.


For me Live Libel worked brilliantly at the time of its release - it's surely just the passing of the years making many of its targets less relevant and well known.  

Title: Re: Pete's later stuff
Post by Leslie Moss on 26.08.08 at 18:07
It's taken me a while to get into Winter Spring but I agree that it's worth the effort. At first hearing, it's almost like listening to a different artist as both the melodies and the lyrics are subtly different from what we've got used to. But I'm now very fond of Dancing Master, Empty Tables and Little Hill of Shoes while less enamoured of the others (though not unenamoured if you know what I mean).

But the Lakeside Sessions are my real favourite of recent years, and gets more airtime than any of the original albums, partly through over-familiarity with the latter and partly because the sparse arrangements of LS seem more timeless. Some of the songs dating from the pre BOTBS era are absolutely superb, while I'll always remain fond of the two A&R songs. I now find myself looking forward to songs off the original six albums in live performances but in recording prefer the other stuff.

Re Midnight Voices, I'd like to see Pete (and Julie?) re-record the two unreleased albums again. Well, one can dream!

Leslie

Title: Re: Pete's later stuff
Post by Rob Spence on 29.08.08 at 10:29
I'm glad we have more discussion on this topic. I thought I would let people know that, in what was possibly a first, I presented a paper on Clive James's lyrics at an academic conference in Aarhus, Denmark, earlier this week. One of the lyrics I talked about was Hill of Little Shoes. I got a decent response (well, I wasn't booed off or anything) and the after-paper discussion was really stimulating. I did get several conversations of the type very familiar to most of us - "you mean THAT Clive James?" and I think maybe some interest was awakened. Certainly, Hillside should have a Dutch customer before long, if a colleague's comments are anything to go by.
(Sorry if this seems conceited, but I thought people might be interested. I remember saying in a job  interview once that I didn't want to blow my own trumpet, and I was advised by one of the panel, a stereotypical northern councillor, that "if tha' doesn't, no other bugger will." Sound advice.)

Title: Re: Pete's later stuff
Post by BogusTrumper on 29.08.08 at 16:14

on 08/29/08 at 10:29:26, Rob Spence wrote :
I'm glad we have more discussion on this topic. I thought I would let people know that, in what was possibly a first, I presented a paper on Clive James's lyrics at an academic conference in Aarhus, Denmark, earlier this week. One of the lyrics I talked about was Hill of Little Shoes. I got a decent response (well, I wasn't booed off or anything) and the after-paper discussion was really stimulating. I did get several conversations of the type very familiar to most of us - "you mean THAT Clive James?" and I think maybe some interest was awakened. Certainly, Hillside should have a Dutch customer before long, if a colleague's comments are anything to go by.
(Sorry if this seems conceited, but I thought people might be interested. I remember saying in a job interview once that I didn't want to blow my own trumpet, and I was advised by one of the panel, a stereotypical northern councillor, that "if tha' doesn't, no other bugger will." Sound advice.)
Not conceited at all - any way to spread the news is great!  And congrats as well - another abstract for the CV   ;)



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