Saturday, 2 June 2018

David Essex - All The Fun Of The Fair (1975)

  

Released in 1975

Marketed in 1975 as the dreaded “concept album” revolving around life in a fairground (to suit David Essex’s somewhat contrived “gipsy” image) it is, as in many such albums, not really anything of the sort beyond the first track. It is, however, a very good rock album with hints of a soulful edge. It is a highly credible album, but is never treated as such due to Essex’s “teen chart idol” persona.

It is musically very impressive, and lyrically too in places. The title track is five minutes plus of fairground imagery and characterisation. An atmospheric, powerful composition. The huge hit single, the infuriatingly catchy “Hold Me Close” sort of speaks for itself, as indeed do the other hits - the stunningly beautiful and evocative “If I Could” and the soully “Rolling Stone”, which intoduced The Real Thing on backing vocals. 

There are other underrated gems on here too, though - the bluesy “Circles” and the riffy, Who-influenced “Won’t Get Burned Again”. Then there is the appealing, singalong cod-reggae of “Coconut Ice” and the melodious “Watch Out (Carolina)”. “Here It Comes Again” is as close to adding to the concept thing as any of the other songs gets in its sort of operatic form and overblown delivery. It sounds a bit like it was written for a stage musical. Then the album closes with a reprise of the title track, as if to prove it was a concept album after all.

As with the two albums David Essex out out before this, it is a much better piece of work than he was ever given credit for. He wrote all the songs too. Shame they slipped under the criticial radar.

B+

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