Wey Wey Hep a Hole Ding Dong: Robyn Hitchcock the song by song, album by album thread

Discussion in 'Music Corner' started by Lance LaSalle, May 15, 2020.

  1. pocketcalculator

    pocketcalculator Forum Resident

    Location:
    New York City
    "Savannah" - No idea what's going on here lyrically. Even though the song is repetitive, the cello is hypnotic, I like the tinkling instrument (really high capo on the guitar? mandolin?) that comes in about halfway through, and I don't mind how long the song lasts. I don't love it, either, though - there's just not enough there. 3/5.
     
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  2. chrism1971

    chrism1971 Forum Resident

    Location:
    Glos, UK
    I like it as it fits the overall texture of the album but not a standout. The insistence of the cello and vocals is memorable, though, and I think the lyrics are quite personal (sounds a bit like a short but interesting affair...) 3.5/5

    So - is Savannah another Southern name to go with Tallulah?
     
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  3. pocketcalculator

    pocketcalculator Forum Resident

    Location:
    New York City
    I mostly think of the city in Georgia but there is at least one TV personality whose name it is.
     
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  4. MattR

    MattR Forum Resident

    Location:
    Sheffield, UK
    This one definitely isn't one of the best tracks, but I still like it. Like others have said, the cello, driving rhythm and backing vocals are hypnotic and really draw me in. I never realised it was over 5 minutes either! 3.3/5
     
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  5. Lance LaSalle

    Lance LaSalle Prince of Swollen Sinus Thread Starter

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  6. Great Face For Radio

    Great Face For Radio Sing Hosanna, the jazz snobs are all going home.

    Location:
    London N13
    This is a nice jaunty pop song which reminds me of a post-ska Madness single. The only letdown is the middle eight "whoa oh oh" bit which seems a little less well thought out than the rest of the song. Nonetheless it works very well as the album's uptempo number.

    Dismal City 4/5.

    As an aside, I've grown a little weary of Robyn's "dismalia" England schtick from across the pond in recent interviews. Yes it rains a lot and Brexit is a disaster, and yes he's probably hamming it up for an American audience, but I don't think his repressed public school victimhood applies to very many of us in this day and age.
     
    Last edited: Sep 14, 2021 at 7:00 AM
  7. brownie61

    brownie61 Forum Resident

    Dismal City

    This is a nice poppy, vaguely Beatley song. I really like the lyrics, especially the image of the plump frog on a lilypad. I guess I don’t pay enough attention to Robyn’s motives for writing what he does, so I’m blind to the cynicism @Great Face For Radio feels. If indeed cynicism is the right word for it.

    To me this is just a song about someone who doesn’t mind a rainy, gray climate, probably because that’s what he’s used to. Much like the climate Seattle has a reputation for (although changing now), and like the climate where I live has been changing to over the past few years. I’m not used to it, so I don’t like it, but our singer here is obviously fine and happy with it. It makes me think that one day I’ll like the “dismal city” climate that’s been developing here after I’ve lived with it long enough. (Nah, I doubt it.)

    3.5/5
     
  8. bzfgt

    bzfgt The Grand High Exalted Mystic Ruler

    Location:
    New Jersey
    Yeah this one is catchy and a little Kinks-y....3.9/5
     
  9. Shriner

    Shriner Forum Resident

    Location:
    Ann Arbor, MI, USA
    Dismal -- agree that it's very Kinks-y. Very strong 3/5, but not enough to push to 4. It's pretty good, though and a solid album track.
     
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  10. pocketcalculator

    pocketcalculator Forum Resident

    Location:
    New York City
    You may be tired of his "dismalia", but I can't get enough! Frankly, the few times I've been to England, it has seemed like a miserable place, and I definitely relate to the smallmindedness, which you can find anywhere. A lot of people (certainly in the US right now) are much more comfortable with their misery and bitterness than the idea of changing the way they think or act, particularly when small changes (like getting vaccinated!) would make big differences in improving their lives and the lives of others.

    As you note, Robyn's probably spent the majority of the last thirty odd years in the US, but you never truly escape the feeling and the mindset of the place where you grew up, and when you return, it's still comfortable even if it is still miserable. So I love lines like:

    England is a dismal place
    Woah oh-oh oh-oh
    I've got england on my face
    Woah oh-oh oh-oh

    Don't get too big for your boots
    And don't stray too far from your roots
    Negative, not moi, you know
    I need someplace to go

    I love the jauntiness and "Kinksiness" of the tune juxtaposed with the dismalia. This is a great sing-a-long song, and makes me look forward to Robyn's eventual musical: 5/5.
     
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  11. chrism1971

    chrism1971 Forum Resident

    Location:
    Glos, UK
    I'm with the above commentator - although there are certainly parts of Britain that aren't dismal - and some of the people are quite nice.
    I like the idea of having England, rather than egg, on one's face. And a Hitchcock favourite - 'I'd rather bloat in a cold dank marsh' - remember 'Bloaty's having his newt installed'? 5/5
     
  12. Great Face For Radio

    Great Face For Radio Sing Hosanna, the jazz snobs are all going home.

    Location:
    London N13
    As promised here's an overview of last night's gig at The Horn in St Albans.

    He said it was his first ever visit to this historic town "with a bus station built by the Romans" and the gig was a rather strange affair. It's a nice little venue and the sound was very good but it was very crowded and stiflingly hot. RH seemed extremely uncomfortable throughout and early on he asked the front few rows to put on a mask, which most did but some conspicuously didn't. He never looked comfortable and after half a dozen songs he requested that everyone should take five and get some air and water.

    I can't recall a gig which featured less of his trademark between song storytelling and when he did pipe up it was generally to comment on the conditions and to enquire whether people were ok. That said, he's a consummate pro and still produced an excellent night. The highlights for me were Goodnight Oslo, Brenda and the two Serpents (Feathery God and Gate Of Wisdom); the encore of Raymond Chandler and Cynthia Mask was superb too. He seemed to hint that he had left Nashville and was now resident in the UK, so hopefully there'll be lots of rather more relaxed gigs to come.

    I went with @Nod2 and we noted with some alarm that we've now been attending RH gigs for forty years since that first solo show with the fish-headed band at The Venue in 1981. Robyn is now 68 and obviously feels very vulnerable to the prevailing conditions. It's a credit to him that he still managed to turn in an excellent show despite it all. Long may he run.

    Setlist: Serpent at the Gates of Wisdom/Ole Tarantula/Chinese Bones/Feathery Serpent God/I Pray When I'm Drunk/One Long Pair of Eyes/My Mind is Connected/Acid Bird/Queen Of Eyes/Up to Our Nex/Goodnight Oslo/Museum of Sex /Sally Was A Legend/Insanely Jealous/I Wanna Destroy You/Brenda’s Iron Sledge/ Encore: Raymond Chandler Evening/Cynthia Mask.

    For Brenda’s Iron Sledge he was joined by support act Jessica Lee Morgan, who I never realised is the daughter of Mark Hopkin and Tony Visconti.
     
  13. brownie61

    brownie61 Forum Resident

    Thanks for that! :)

    I’m happy to hear he’s left Nashville, as Tennessee is probably the worst place in the U.S. for a 68 year old, healthwise, right now.

    There is some hope that I will be able to attend my Robyn show on Oct. 8 after all. The Covid protocols have been substantially beefed up (full vaccination and masks required now), and it’s general admission in a big old church where I go up and sit in the choir where not many people choose to sit because you have to view the stage from the side. We’ll see how things go. Three weeks is a lifetime in this pandemic.

    Currently trying to make a similar decision about Lindsey Buckingham tomorrow night, which has the same stringent protocols, appears to be poorly sold, and there is almost no one near my seat in the balcony, which is so empty I’m sure I can move to another seat. We’ll see how I feel about it tomorrow. Brian Wilson still seems to be out due to insufficient Covid protocols and too many people sitting around me.
     
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  14. chrism1971

    chrism1971 Forum Resident

    Location:
    Glos, UK
    Jessica Lee Morgan, who ... is the daughter of Mark Hopkin and Tony Visconti.[/QUOTE]
    Interesting.
    That's a really different setlist - some of the recent songs we've been critical of! Glad he got through it OK without walking off.

    Wish I could go to that one!
     
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  15. Great Face For Radio

    Great Face For Radio Sing Hosanna, the jazz snobs are all going home.

    Location:
    London N13
    Oops. Not sure who Mark Hopkin is but Jessica's mum is definitely Mary Hopkin.
     
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  16. Lance LaSalle

    Lance LaSalle Prince of Swollen Sinus Thread Starter

    :( Well I hope Robyn’s vaccinated.
     
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  17. Great Face For Radio

    Great Face For Radio Sing Hosanna, the jazz snobs are all going home.

    Location:
    London N13
    I may be wrong but I got the impression that Covid was one of the reasons he left Nashville. Hope you get to the NJ gig Brownie.
     
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  18. Lance LaSalle

    Lance LaSalle Prince of Swollen Sinus Thread Starter

    Our votes for "Savannah"

    1-0
    2-2
    3-3
    4-3
    5-0
    Average: 3.05
     
  19. Lance LaSalle

    Lance LaSalle Prince of Swollen Sinus Thread Starter

    Dismal City is gorgeous, I don't know but i like it as much as almost anything he'd done.. I get the Kinks thing, but ultimately I think the guitar playing and cello is wonderful, and while the arrangement is actually pretty stripped back, it does all it needs to do in my opinion. Great melody and singing, too. Love the lyrics.

    5/5
     
    Last edited: Sep 15, 2021 at 9:06 AM
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  20. Lance LaSalle

    Lance LaSalle Prince of Swollen Sinus Thread Starter

    Our votes for "Dismal City"

    1-0
    2-0
    3-0
    4-4
    5-3
    Average: 4.3429
     
  21. Lance LaSalle

    Lance LaSalle Prince of Swollen Sinus Thread Starter

    Today's song is "Ole Man Weather", written by Robyn Hitchcock. Produced and mixed by Paul Noble and recorded by Marc (not Mary) Waterman.

    Robyn Hitchcock – Old Man Weather Lyrics | Genius Lyrics

    Robyn Hitchcock: vocals, guitar, piano
    Paul Noble: bass, guitar
    Jenny Adejayan: cello
    Stephen Irvine: drums
    Jennifer Macro and Lucy Parnell: backing vocals
     
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  22. Shriner

    Shriner Forum Resident

    Location:
    Ann Arbor, MI, USA
    Weather -- this is great! I'm in a good mood this morning, so I'm giving it a definite 5/5. Everything works on this one. Tromso has been a really good relisten so far. Not sure why I've dismissed it in the past so much.
     
  23. brownie61

    brownie61 Forum Resident

    Old Man Weather

    This track sounds fantastic. It has an open, expansive sound, and I can hear every instrument clearly. The cello, bass, drums, and guitar all combine to create an exquisite sound. The verses create a nice mood that gets pumped up a bit in the chorus, and the backup singers sound great, as does Robyn.

    I think the song itself is above average but not quite great. But everything about the arrangement and recording sound elevate it.

    4/5
     
  24. Great Face For Radio

    Great Face For Radio Sing Hosanna, the jazz snobs are all going home.

    Location:
    London N13
    A really beautiful song with some wonderful playing by all involved. There's a lovely mood and feel to it. I always enjoyed hearing this one live and I'm pleased that he's still performing it on the current tour. It's one of the best tracks on an album which, like @Shriner, I feel as if I've rather overlooked. It's really great.

    Old Man Weather 4.5/5.
     
  25. chrism1971

    chrism1971 Forum Resident

    Location:
    Glos, UK
    It's unlikely he isn't, but I don't know the vax situation in the southern USA. As far as mask wearing at the gig is concerned, to be very generous to those who didn't they may not have had a mask with them, as there is no mandate (currently) in the UK. Any event or venue (or shop etc) may politely ask for mask wearing but no guarantee of compliance.

    Old Man Weather - another great track which really makes this album sound more like a song-suite than anything he'd done for a long time. 5/5
     
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