You go to my head....
Released September 1976
Recorded in London
Bryan Ferry trod water to a certain extent on this 1976 album, carrying on the cover versions tradition of his first two solo albums, but also, rather surprisingly, re-recording five of Roxy Music’s earlier songs. Four came from Roxy’s ground-breaking debut album and one from 1974’s Country Life. Quite why Ferry chose to re-do these songs is not known, maybe he was exorcising demons, maybe he wanted to record them as he felt they should have sounded, free of Bryan Eno’s influence. Maybe he just felt like it. He never really said.
1. Let's Stick Together
3. Sea Breezes
4. Shame, Shame, Shame
6. The Price Of Love
7. Chance Meeting
8. It's Only Love
9. You Go To My Head
11. Heart On My Sleeve
Let’s deal with those first. Casanova loses its rock bombast and becomes almost funky, with a rhythmic drum backing and a moody Ferry vocal. 2HB is more jaunty than previously, with a prominent melodic piano coda. The lengthy Sea Breezes is pretty similar until the staccato pace change in the middle, then it becomes, once again, funky, with a great bass sound and some impressive acoustic guitar. Some blistering guitar riffs come too. This is a really good re-make. Chance Meeting is similar to the original, although Ferry's vocal is more pronounced and the backing a bit more industrial, particularly near the end. It actually still sounds very Roxy-ish. Re-Make, Re-Model is a funked up, sleazy delight. The original is wonderful, but this take is too.
Now for the covers. Let's Stick Together is now iconic, with its blistering dual saxophone opening riff, and rousing female whooping backing vocals (the vocalist was never named, strangely). Ferry’s vocal is top notch too. Great stuff. Shame Shame Shame is a superb bluesy rocker and The Everly Brothers’ The Price Of Love is given a similar pounding blues rock makeover. These are both excellent tracks.
The Beatles’ It's Only Love is a lot better a cover than many say it is, with a fetching brassy backing and Gallagher & Lyle’s evocative, catchy Heart On Your Sleeve is suitably laid-back in that typical Ferry style. Then there is You Go To My Head a lounge bar number from the late 1930s, which is the first sign of Ferry covering a sort of song the like of which he would do many more times in subsequent times. He does it very sensually and atmospherically. Lovely.
This album rarely gets mentioned in Ferry’s canon, which is a shame as it is a good one.
Below is a clip of Ferry performing Let's Stick Together in 1976.