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.

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