Album Title: Carry On Up The Charts
Artist: Beautiful South
Running Time: 51m 5s
Track listing: 1 Song For Whoever; 2 You Keep It All In; 3 I’ll Sail This Ship Alone; 4 A Little Time; 5 My Book; 6 Let Love Speak Up Itself; 7 Old Red Eyes Is Back; 8 We Are Each Other; 9 Bell Bottomed Tear; 10 36D; 11 Good As Gold (Stupid As Mud); 12 Everybody’s Talkin’; 13 Prettiest Eyes; 14 One Last Love Song
From the ashes of the silly but brilliant Housemartins came the less wacky Beautiful South. This collection tracks is from their inception in 1989 to their present day situation, as it was, in 1994. There have been a few additions and purges from the line up in that time but damned if I know what they were. The one constant figure I am sure of is the former ‘Martins lead singer, Paul Heaton.
First up is ‘Song For Whoever’, a subtle pop ballad featuring a delicate piano and bass backbone and it is followed by ‘You Keep It All In’, a jaunty tune which uses the unique presence of three different lead singers to create something that sounds a little different. My favourite tune on the album though is probably ‘A Little Time’, a lamentable vocal duel between two lovers, played by singers Dave Hemmingway and Briana Corrigan. The astute use of sax and piano is crucial to the tormented sound it portrays.
Top marks for coolness go to ‘My Book’ which sees Heaton grab the mic again in order to describe his life in a serious of unfortunatle situations and analogys. ‘This is my life and this is how it reads, a documentary that no one believes, Albert Steptoe in Gone With The Breeze, Mother played by Peter Beardsley, father by John Cleese’. It broods but is still fun and accessible.
‘Old Red Eyes is Back’ is another Heaton creation. Using just a piano backing for the verse, the chrous sees the rest of the band drop by and pick the tempo up rather well. A wonderful little tune. Hemmingway and Abbott takes over the vocals again for the beautiful ‘Bell Bottomed Tear’. Lyrically it’s a bit obtuse – ‘this is the way that I lay and this is the woman you laid'(!) – but it’s a really nice piano and guitar-based strain.
Speaking of lyrics, ’36D’ is hardly the most conventional track ever recorded – a plea to large-chested prostitutes to clean their act up! Good tune though with an infectious chorus. Strange though all the same! ‘Good As Gold’ was another sassy, bouncy ride through Tunesville which saw the debut of Jacqueline Abbott as lead vocalist and ‘Everybody’s Talkin’ was always a nice tune and the BS have done a good job here – melodic and sonorous..
‘We Are Each Other’, ‘Prettiest Eyes’ and ‘Sail This Ship Alone’ are decent cuts too but ‘One Last Love Song’ and ‘Let Love Speak Up Itself’ will probably bore you to bell-bottomed tears!
Paul Heaton and guitarist, David Rotheray co-wrote every original song on this disc and they have certainly mastered popular music and the secrets of perfect melody. This collection is a fun distraction for just about anybody.