Thursday, 28 July 2016

Bernard Butler - People Move On

Back to a 1998 album for today's post.

Mick Ronson was my guitar hero, I was too young at the time to truly appreciate what went before glam and through that glittery star sprinkled era, the Spider shone. So I now look at it through very large rose tinted spectacles.

I became more and more appreciative as time went on for Ronson, through Dylan's Rolling Thunder Tour, his superb return with Ian Hunter in '79 and then his Nashville years.

I never thought anyone could equal Ronson, he was as good as ever on that final tour with Ian Hunter. Seeing him at Manchester International 2 with my good friend John Dickinson, I was transfixed. Mott The Hoople had been my band, but it was Ronson I wanted to see.

Melodic, effortless and not just the traditional rock riffs, he was never afraid of country or a Duane Eddy Twang.

Why all this stuff about Ronson in a Bernard Butler post?

Well I did find someone who had the same style, attitude and belief. If it got boring, he moved on, that man was Bernard Butler. He was the Mick Ronson for the Brit Pop generation.

Less so now are his links to Suede and Duffy now, Butler's work away from those is akin to the axe hero for hire. He's obviously more known as a Producer of excellence these days, as well as currently on a great live stint with Ben Watt and I'm sure he doesn't reflect on the past. but his first solo album gets nowhere near the recognition it deserves.

I lost interest in Suede an album or two after he left. Dog Man Star is a wonderful album and if only it hadn't disintegrated after that, who knows what they could have become. The album but creative genius. To me it was Butler's album.

After two killer singles and an album as a duo with David McAlmont, a solo album was to come.

This is one of the great whole albums of the 90's. When you expect it to rock, it goes all moody and intimate and as you get into that mode, the glamathon comes back to hit you like a hammer

The album is 18 years old now and I still return to it when I need something uplifting (I do the same with Ian McNabb's Truth And Beauty).

For fans of McAlmont Butler's "Yes", Not Alone is in a similar vein, all strings and solos.

More folky reflective moods are catered for by Autograph, Stay and People Move On.

The lead in twang to the final chorus on the superb A Change Of Heart is so Ronson like.

Critics griped about a supposed weedy voice. I think they miss the point, it was a solo album and so why have an outside singer and I think his voice works beautifully on the songs he brought to the album. The opener, Woman I Know, is a bold start, a nigh on eight minute Peter Green like Riff dominating it, it's great.

I mentioned preparing for the first radio playlist yesterday and Mr Butler's You Just Know is the second selection. You'll pick the album for a dirt cheap price on Amazon, wrongly, it dererves far more and for the proceeds to be going into the artist's pocket.

His second and final solo album, Friends And Lovers, came out the following year. It's a much more mellow affair, songs built more on a riff than those grandiose solos, but well worth digging out too. It seemed that the budget was much less for it, so it was much more down to earth. It doesn't suffer from that though.

Finally, Bernard Butler's appearances as a guest guitarist are always ace and here he is with my beloved Sparks on Channel 4's White Room. You can also find more about the great man at his website here.

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