Released July 1974
Recorded at Air Studios, London
Released in 1974, I find this, Bryan Ferry's second solo album, to be a better and far more enjoyable effort than his first, "These Foolish Things", which contained, in my opinion, some truly awful covers. I prefer the choice of material on here, more soully and rocking country than the 60s pop of the first album. These Ferry solo albums should be taken for what they are - not Roxy Music albums. Ferry covers stuff he liked. If he liked "You Are My Sunshine" then that is his prerogative. Obviously, it is then down to how he covers the songs. His "Sympathy For The Devil" on the first album is a million times worse than anything on here.
1. The "In" Crowd
2. Smoke Gets In Your Eyes
3. Walk A Mile In My Shoes
4. Funny How Time Slips Away
5. You Are My Sunshine
6. What A Wonderful World
7. It Ain't Me Babe
9. Help Me Make It Through The Night
10. Another Time Another Place
Starting off with the album's two singles, covers of Dobie Gray's Northern Soul classic "The In Crowd" and The Inkspots' "Smoke Gets In Your Eyes", the album has a more confident feel about it than the last. "The In Crowd" is the best track on the album, a strong rocker, while the laid-back, melodic "Smoke" has an excellent saxophone solo. "Walk A Mile In My Shoes" is an excellent throaty, rocking cover of Joe South's 1970 country hit, with nice bass and organ backing. Great backing vocals and horns also. A bit of electric violin in there too. Pretty much everything seems to be played on this track. Good stuff.
"Funny How Time Slips Away" is a soulful cover of another country song but it is marred just a little bit by Ferry's semi-spoken introduction. Things are redeemed, however, when it kicks in. More great guitar and horns backing. The musicianship on this album certainly is top notch.
"You Are My Sunshine" is given the backing choir treatment that Ferry used on "Psalm", from Roxy Music's "Stranded" album. Lovely New Orleans-style brass though, like a funeral march. It sort of suits Ferry's mournful voice. Wonderful backing vocals. Ferry's cover of Sam Cooke's "What A Wonderful World" is appealing as, actually, is his first effort at being "Dylanesque", a strong cover of "It Ain't Me Babe". The upbeat "Fingerpoppin'", initially recorded by Ike & Tina Turner tests Ferry's vocal range and "Help Me Make It Through The Night" sees him back on safer ground.
The final track is his first solo solo composition, if that makes sense, in "Another Time Another Place". As his albums progressed, more and more of his own compositions crept in and less covers, which was a good thing. As much as I quite like this album, 1977's "In Your Mind" was a much better album, full of his own songs.
This 1999 remastering is pretty good, except that "The In Crowd" has a few tinny moments. It always has. Maybe it just always will.