Tuesday, 8 January 2019

Ellen Foley - The Spirit Of St. Louis (1981)


Released March 1981


1. The Shuttered Palace

2. Torchlight
3. Beautiful Waste Of Time
4. The Death Of The Psychoanalyst Of Salvador Dali
5. M.P.H.
6. My Legionnaire
7. Theatre Of Cruelty
8. How Glad I Am
9. Phases Of Travel
10. Game Of A Man
11. Indestructible
12. The Killing Hour                                        

An utterly different album. Ellen was carrying on with Mick Jones of The Clash at the time and on this bizarre album, she enlisted Jones' help. He and Joe Strummer contributed several "Sandinista!" style compositions and members of The Clash and Ian Dury's Blockheads played the music which was anything but rock. It is virtually impossible to categorise, just as "Sandinista!" was. All that said, I found it strangely appealing at the time and still do. 

"The Shuttered Palace" is marvellously evocative and "Torchlight" sees Ellen duetting with Jones, somewhat clumsily. "Beautiful Waste Of Time" is a jazzy pleasure and "The Death Of The Psychoanalyst Of Salvador Dali" is frankly bonkers. "M.P.H." is as close to punky rock as it gets. "My Legionnaire" is another atmospheric Edith Piaf cover. "Theatre Of Cruelty" continues the floaty, jazzy feel and "How Glad I Am" is a slice of sixties soul. "Phases Of Travel", the intoxicating "Game Of A Man", the soulful "Indestructible" and the anthemic "In The Killing Hour" end this interesting little curio.

Ellen Foley did little else after this. One more ordinary album was released in 1983 before a comeback in 2013. I haven't checked that out yet. Maybe I should.


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