Thursday, March 13, 2008

Stamp of approval...

Getting your Indie CD reviewed, whether in print or online, can be quite a challenge. You have to be aware that your CD and its accompanying press kit will be arriving along with countless others, and that the odds are largely against you. There's no guarantee that anyone will actually listen to it, let alone assign it for review.

When I send out a package, I know that there's a certain amount of luck involved. I'm fully cognizant of the fact that there's every chance that my album might be doomed to sit unopened in an anonymous pile of similar submissions, or be unceremoniously tossed into an already overflowing waste paper basket, after a perfunctory audition. I also know and accept that an editor may well indeed give it a fair and open-minded listen, and decide that it's crap, and pass on it. It might be that you caught him on a bad day; it could be that he picked the wrong track, and that the previous one would have knocked his socks off. Or... it really might just be crap.

Either way, you have to accept it, move on to the next victim, and not take the rejection personally. Conversely, you have to really enjoy and appreciate it when you actually do land a review. I certainly made sure that I took the time to savour the following review from the Scottish-based website Penny Black Music . I caught him on a good day, apparently.

Tuesday, March 04, 2008

Reasons To Be Cheerful (Part 1)...

Ok, so maybe "cheerful" and "Gilbert O'Sullivan" might appear to be a little oxymoronic, especially in light of the fact that one of his biggest hits on both sides of the Atlantic was the desperately sad "Alone Again (Naturally)", and to be honest, this earlier UK hit from 1970 was hardly a knees-up either.

Like several of O'Sullivan's records, this one has that sort of distinctly English, sepia-tinged sense of melancholy about it, but despite its rather solemn subject matter, I don't find it a dour affair at all. In fact, when I hear it I usually find myself beaming. I suppose that part of the reason is that it brings back such vibrant and mostly pleasant memories of the early 70s. It was, after all, a time when my mother was still with us; our family well and truly intact.

My mum loved Gilbert, and had a stack of his 45s that she'd play relentlessly. "He's lovely"- she'd always inform us, and it seems that she was onto something. At the time, of course, I'd be rolling my eyes in adolescent disgust. I was far too obsessed with glittery and sartorially resplendent superstars, like T.Rex and Slade, to be able to relate to this corny, street urchin-looking throwback with a cloth cap and pudding bowl haircut.

Listening to it now, I'm totally knocked out by the sheer musicality of it. A brilliant song, beautifully arranged and played; truly lovely. Always listen to your mother.