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288 tracks from England have been recommended (see also UK).
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Amoureuse  performed by Kiki Dee  1973
Recommended by john_l [profile]

This is a fabulous, lush, orchestrated ballad sung from the point of view of a woman who is totally in love ... the only unusual thing is that it is very serious and sombre, rather in opposition to the lyrical intent. Vastly superior to her forgettable mid-'70s pop hits like "I've Got The Music In Me". Oh, and a different set of lyrics by somebody named Dahlstrom enabled the wretched Helen Reddy to have another hit named "Emotion" -- same melody, but an absolute piece of rubbish. This just proves that a song's worth comes from the arrangement more than anything else ...

There are a number of CDs available which contain this song.


available on CD - Greatest Hits


Isadora  performed by Illusion  1977
Recommended by john_l [profile]

This track kicks off the first album by the Jane Relf - Jim McCarty - John Hawken group which arose from the ashes of Renaissance when the latter was taken over by the Camp / Dunford / Thatcher cabal after a couple of LPs (that's not a knock at Renaissance by the way!). "Isadora" is interesting because although it's almost seven minutes long and doesn't have a great deal of lyrical content, it does have a wonderfully frosty mood to it (all those minor chords will do that) and I love some of the piano riffs that fall in behind the lines of singing. And its frostiness makes a remarkable contrast to the sultry "Face Of Yesterday" (q.v.) from the same album!

from Out Of The Mist, available on CD


Face Of Yesterday  performed by Illusion  1977
Recommended by john_l [profile]

This is a slow, sultry, intimate piano-led song that makes a remarkable contrast to the frosty "Isadora" (q.v.) off the same LP, despite both songs having basically the same acoustic guitar / bass / drums / piano / vocals lineup. The difference between this kind of soft-rock and, say, the Carpenters, is that the latter were schmaltzy beyond endurance while Illusion provided the genuine article ...

"Face Of Yesterday" was recorded earlier by Renaissance on their "Illusion" LP, which gave its name to this group, which was actually mostly the same Renaissance lineup (with Jane Relf and Jim McCarty) before the Camp / Dunford / Thatcher group took over Renaissance. I know, I know, you can't follow the players without a scorecard in this case ...

from Out Of The Mist, available on CD (Edsel)


As Strong As Samson  performed by Procol Harum  1974
Recommended by john_l [profile]

Best known for their organ-drenched debut 1967 hit "A Whiter Shade Of Pale", Procol Harum continued for quite a long while and in fact have re-formed in recent years. A lot of their 1970s songs seem to have an odd jerkiness about them, but "As Strong As Samson" is the one in which they put it all together properly, 'cause it's smooth, heavy, and it swings! With organ, piano, and pedal steel guitar all pitching in, surely this is high up somewhere in the 1970s top ten songs.

Produced by Chris Thomas, who later did "Back On The Chain Gang" for the Pretenders and the "Different Class" LP for Pulp, so that's quite a line of quality there.

from Exotic Birds and Fruit (Chrysalis)
available on CD - The Chrysalis Years (Chrysalis)


Write To Your MP Today  performed by McCarthy  1990
Recommended by john_l [profile]

Another fast and furious assault with incendiary guitars! There's really not much more to say than that. They have a number of other great songs, like "The Well-Fed Point of View" (also on this LP, their third and best) the single "This Nelson Rockefeller" (which is on the compilation "That's All Very Well But"), and a handful on their first LP "I Am A Wallet". Their second LP had the best title, "The Enraged Will Inherit The Earth", but the weakest material.

The "MP" in the title means Member of Parliament, from which you can guess that McCarthy wrote mostly political songs. They were together from about 1985 to 1990, at which time they split up (Tim Gane and Laetitia Sadier went on to form Stereolab, of which I have a couple of CDs that so far do little for me).

from Banking, Violence and the Inner Life Today, available on CD (Midnight Music)


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