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Thursday, March 26, 2009

Dave Stewart & Barbara Gaskin Green and Blue

Dave & Barb phone home!
Green and Blue
Dave Stewart & Barbara Gaskin
Broken Records

Given that their last release, Spin, saw the light of day as long ago as 1991, it’s an understatement to say this new album has been keenly anticipated by Stewart and Gaskin's loyal and supremely patient followers.

Happily, Green and Blue has the duo sounding more confident and accomplished than ever before.

Vestigial traces of Stewart’s prog-centric past are scattered throughout the album. The soaring theme of the opener, Jupiter Rising, easily equals the anthemic bravado of National Health’s Tenemos Road. Similarly, the twinkling complexities of Jupiter's playout and other sections across Green and Blue, remind us that although Stewart largely abandoned long-form music in favour of shorter tracks, his love of detailed intricate composition remains intact.

Further evidence of this is found in the undulating exploration of London’s psycho-geography of Walnut Tree Walk. Complete with Stewart’s trademark fuzz organ sound and skipping solo, this wouldn’t sound out of place on a Hatfield’s record.

Gaskin’s warm voice is set off to perfection in the heavenly ballad, Let Me Sleep Tonight. Across decorous chords she sounds like she was born to bring this paean to love and insomnia into life.

Stewart’s brilliance as an arranger is showcased at every turn and non more so than on the 10 minute title track, or the two-part album closer, The Sweetwater Sea; a nine minute white-water musical excursion with Peter Blegvad as a surreal, declaiming tour guide.

The addition of Gavin Harrison’s drumming throughout the record brings an authoritative, dynamic emphasis and in this he’s helped by Andy Reynolds’ guitar work on rockers such as Rat Circus.

If there is a jarring moment on the album it’s the inclusion of a Beatles cover, Good Morning, Good Morning.

Given the top-notch material surrounding it, there’s a rowdy element that disrupts the prevailing mood of a calm and measured reflection which these sophisticated songs create.

Of course, Stewart has form when it comes to geeing up his audience - remember all those rousing in-concert renditions of I Do Like To Be Beside The Seaside? So, wrong-footing the punter in this way may be exactly what Stewart and Gaskin had in mind!

You can buy this album directly from Dave Stewart at Burning Shed.

Released alongside the new album is Hour Moon, a half hour CDR collection of out-takes and Stewart & Gaskin rarities. In for a penny...


Rob said...

just picking my jaw up off the floor.. wasn't expecting this..
damned pleasant news, if a tad long in arriving (the album not the news)..

The Saurus said...

Having owned both the new "albums and a half" since the day they were released, the only thing I can suggest to people is go and buy them, you will not be disappointed. I just hope we don't have to wait another eighteen years before we get the follow up.

Incidentally, I found a flyer a couple of weeks back apologising for the delay for the new album.. and THAT was dated 1994!

Sid Smith said...

I hope we don't have to wait that long for something new as well. One of my favourite albums of the year.

The Saurus said...

Hi Sid....

... and true to form, a new(ish) CD is in the post as I write, The TLG Collection! Hopefully it'll make its way through the UK postal chaos one day very soon.

Just like waiting for a 92 bus... you wait ages, and then... ;-)

Great to know there's another S&G fan here in blighty mate!!


Sid Smith said...

Hey there Steve,
we could form ourselves into a club and hold S&G convention. Name your telephone kiosk!

The Saurus said...

Hi Sid

Heh heh heh, I like that!! I'd gladly travel up t'north and say hi though, I have a good pal in Felling that I come up and see occasionally!

Said CD, The TLG Collection arrived today and it is bloody marvellous!!! The quality of their demos makes me wanna give up making music, they are great! Hope you're getting a copy too?


Sid Smith said...

Hi there Steve glad to hear you're enjoying the new "old" D&B. As for Felling let me know when you're next up and we'll have that D&B convention!

The Saurus said...

Will do Sid! Can we put pressure on the two of them to sort out a gig on THIS side of the world one day soon? I missed the QEH gig in the '90s, thinking there would be another soon after... silly me, I thought the same about a new album after "Spin"!

I've spoken to my local radio guys and they've promised to play a track from the TLG collection next Sunday!! I'll get S&G popular again if it's the last thing I do (and it probably will be!).

Take care Sid.


toko said...

Hi Sid,
thanks for the review.
I've always been a big Dave (and Barbara) fan.

Sid Smith said...

Hi there Toko,
thanks for dropping in. This was one of my favourite albums of 2009.


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