CD Reviews posted on Amazon:

   BOTBS + DTMA : A rare neglected talent (09.11.99)

Back in the seventies (and before) Pete Atkin wrote music to the lyrics of one Clive James - yes that Clive James!! Pete Atkin has become a cult of late with an outstanding website dedicated to him. The music is hard to classify - folk is close but it is stronger than the norm. The lyrics are deep, amusing and, on occasion, spine tingling. Give it a try - of his six albums this comprises the songwriting duo's two most popular. Well worth the experience.

[Reviewer: Stephen Coles, Guildford]

   BOTBS + DTMA : Music that stays with you (18.12.99)

Struggle as you might (and you ultimately won't want to), the music of Pete Atkin sticks in your mind, provides you with hooks, phrases, refrains, counterpoints that will do for years. If anyone other than Val Doonican (the only singer I've yet heard of covering Atkin's work) had got hold of all this, Pete Atkin would now be the source of pop standards - in the mould of Simon Climie for Eric Clapton, Tony Joe White for Tina Turner, or Albert Hammond for anyone American. But the problem lies in the word 'pop'; Pete Atkin's songs don't lend themselves to such easy categorisation. They're modern Tin Pan Alley, they're folk, they're... surprisingly inexpensive through Amazon. Go on, play the audio equivalent of Blind Date ('Deaf Date'?). Buy this record.

[Reviewer: Geoffrey Plow, Pinner, Middlesex]

   BOTBS + DTMA : Listen and hear the magic (17.04.00)

If you are alive to the 70's then this is a CD you can listen to. The lyrics are poetical and the music is lyrical. It was created in an era of hopeful exploration and great magic and to return there is a joy. Try "Touch has a memory" if you are feeling mournful and "I am the rider to the world's end" if you are not.

[Reviewer: Anon, Preston]

   BOTBS + DTMA : Eureka! (06.09.00)

At long last - a rediscovery of superb talent! This is a highly original double CD. If you're the kind of person who likes the kind of music that inspires, challenges and defies categorisation, then this is it. Few artists manage this trick - there's everything here - folk, blues, rock, easy listening, and yet none of these absolutely. It just has to be heard to be believed - a timeless classic. I can't wait to see the rest of Pete Atkin's catalogue of music being transferred to CD - here's hoping!

[Reviewer: Angus Maciver, Western Isles]

   AKAN + TROS : Welcome back, Pete Atkin (18.01.01)

Words by Clive james (yes.....Really!) and put to music by Pete Atkin. Poetry in motion, maybe. This is a wonderful 2 album set which entertains, both musically and lyrically. Expect the unexpected. Listen and you're hooked. Totally different and at the same time enchanting.

[Reviewer: Paul Roberts, Whitchurch, Shropshire]

   AKAN + TROS : The only category he ever fitted in was 'Brilliant' (25.01.01)

Too jazzy for rock, too rocky for folk, too individual for a mass market, Pete Atkin could play a concert that would leave you thirsting for more but couldn't get the starmaker machinery behind the popular song to give him the recognition (and the sales) he so richly deserved. This re-issue of Pete (and lyricist Clive James) shows the team at the height of its powers. If you listen to "Between us there is nothing" once, you will want to listen to it ten times, and then some more. Many of us have been waiting for the time when we can stop worrying about wearing out the vinyl copies that have sustained us so long, and now the day is at hand. Check out the previous re-release (Beware of the Beautiful Stranger/Driving Through Mythical America) and await the next one.

[Reviewer: Dave Jones (Waiting breathlessly in Rochester NY)]

   AKAN + TROS : Redicovered elegies (03.04.01)

A collection of elegies set to hauntingly romantic music, a sign post to the past but with something to say to today's generation. Most of the tracks on these two albums speak powerfully to the enduring emotions, love, loss, joy and pain: they are rarely pretentious and often quite lovely. Clive James the lyricist was a younger more artistically ambitious man when these songs were written and his occasional forays into the recondite are both excusable and, with the benefit of distance, charming. Anyone who enjoys poetry allied to remarkakably beautiful melodies will love these albums; no one today is producing anything quite like them.

[Reviewer: Michael Maister, Maidenhead]

   SD + LL : Two albums: one sublime, the other hilarious but dated (09.12.01)

"Secret Drinker" was the fifth and last of the Pete Atkin/Clive James albums of the 70s, now all happily reissued on CD. James' lyrics are full, perhaps too full, of references that leave traces in the memory. Atkin's music matches the lyrics beautifully. They were very popular on the college circuit and with certain radio DJs, but never quite made it to the really big time, and this enormously talented pair went their separate ways. Pete Atkin became a radio producer, notably responsible for the BBC's magnificent "This Sceptred Isle". Not sure what happened to Clive James, though rumour has it he had the odd TV show. They remain close friends.

"Live Libel" was the sixth of the five albums they made. Well, sort of. Their live shows always contained a few sideswipes at the stars of the day. This album brought these together in a series of "tributes to insufficiently neglected contemporary artists". It was hilarious. The problem is that the artists aren't contemporary any more, so while the first 5 albums should appeal to the more thoughtful members of a new generation, this one will probably be lost on them.

[Reviewer: Anon, London]

   SD + LL : Available again at last! (21.12.02)

Like many others,I consigned my vinyl and my turntable to the attic many years ago. Gradually, I've replaced nearly all my record collection as they've reappeared as CDs; but the few old favourites that never were reissued have been greatly mourned. Most missed have been Van Morrison Live at Marble Arch, Kevin Coyne's "Blame It on the Night" and the six Pete Atkin albums, so it's a joy to see all the Atkin albums rereleased at last, together with a new CD.

If you are unfamiliar with Mr Atkin's work then "Secret Drinker" is a good place to start.

[Reviewer: Bryan Ansell, Newark, Notts.]

   TBC+ : A bitter-sweet collection of evocative lyrics (14.07.00)

This is an all-time great collection of bitter-sweet vocals by an artist with a stunning, haunting voice. She brings a sense of nostalgia and 'what might have been' to a variety of tracks that transport you right back to the heady days of the seventies. In essence, this is a collection about romantic possibility - and failure.

[Reviewer: Anon, Bristol]

TBC+ song clips on Amazon.

   TLS : Return Of A Great Songwriting Team (24.08.02)

This is just great! If you've heard Pete Atkin's songs before you'll know the quality to expect - but with his first release in 20 years Pete has found a new and more intimate delivery. Famous for 6 albums in the seventies on which he collaborated with Clive James (yes, that Clive James) as he does on most of the songs here, Pete provides inspired settings and memorable tunes for the surprisingly personal lyrics of Mr James with performances to match. Clive apparently views his work with Pete as his most satisfying creative endeavour - and this double set certainly justifies that claim. The songs are based on a piano sound - with judicious use of extra musicians and keyboard voices. Many have a late night feel to them - but there are some up tempo numbers as well - and the whole adds up to a really satisfying album. Maturity is what shines through in this music - both in terms of musical composition and emotional experience and these songs, in my view, have the depth and resonance that maturity can bring. (Oh yes and the price is amazing value!!)

[Reviewer: Seán M Kelly, London]

   TLS : Worth Waiting (07.09.02)

It may have taken Pete Atkin more than twenty years to return to the studio to make a new batch of commercial recordings, but enthusiasts are agreed it was worth the wait.

The Lakeside Sessions provide further evidence of the remarkable lyric-writing skills of Clive James and of Atkin's ability to provide music that complements - and sometimes contrasts with - the lyrics. On their recent national tour together James told at least one audience that Atkin was a "national treasure". The Lakeside Sessions are proof of that. The songs are witty, insightful and musically quite diverse. There is a jazz-club feel to some of the tracks, others are more up-tempo - all are sharp and intelligent. As with their commercial albums from the seventies the Lakeside Sessions are hard to label. Don't bother trying; just buy and enjoy.

[Reviewer: Paul Leighton, Bristol]

   TLS : Incredibly good (09.06.03)

My parents more or less brought me up with his original material from the 1970's and this is the first of his albums that I've listened to of my own volition. And I'm glad I did. It isn't often that an album is satisfying both musically and lyrically, and Pete Atkin and Clive James achieve this consistently. If you like David Gray's way with words, this is worth a listen!

[Reviewer: Phil Crooks, Aberystwyth, Wales]

   WS : Atkin and James - still a potent partnership (14.08.03)

This is the first full album of 'new' Atkin/James material - the Lakeside Sessions being 'forgotten songs' from their 70s collaboration. As such, I was expecting it to be somehow different in tone to earlier work - but the timelessness of Pete's music and Clive's words means that it sounds very much as before. Clive's lyrics are occasionally a little more playful, Pete's voice splendidly mellowed.

About half of the album seems to be a tale of loss, separation and sorrow, with some miscellaneous songs breaking up what feels like the story of the decline of a relationship and the struggle to cope afterwards.

'Thought of You' is a typical wistful love song, a gentle introduction to the album. 'So Loud I Couldn't Hear It' is slightly jokey, a little thin - a tale of a deaf rock star with rather annoying female backing vocals. 'Dancing Master' is quiet, sombre, and introspective, leading into the dark and expansive 'Daughter of the Sun' - this is particularly reminiscent of the more rock-oriented material on Driving Through Mythical America or A King At Nightfall. 'An Empty Table' compliments 'Thought of You' musically and lyrically, and reminds me of 'Between Us There Is Nothing'.

'I Have To Learn' again fits into the mood of loss and transition; this mood is rapidly relieved by the upbeat and playful 'Fat Cat' in which a lot of James/Atkin tricks reappear - rhymes in the middle of lines, and the bestavoidance of the f-word I've heard for a long time.

We're back into loss and survival with 'Winter Spring'; short, poignant and poetic, and possibly the highlight of the album.

James' fascination with trying to describe Arendt's banality of evil resurfaces in 'A Hill of Little Shoes', a disconcerting and profoundly uncomfortable view of the holocaust seen through the eyes of a parent. Sobering stuff indeed.

'Prayers against the Hitman' closes the album - a simple plea for sanity and peace.

Pete's vocals, keyboards and acoustic guitar are all superb on this album, subtle, precise and delightful; the electric guitar and bass are fine too, but the slightly bland drums and the overdone backing vocals and really cost the album its fifth star.

Excellent stuff and a fine companion to Pete's other works.

[Reviewer: Peter Fenelon, York]

See also Mel Powell's review and analysis of Winter Spring, for Midnight Voices.

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