Friday, September 14, 2007

FDF Volume 1: Issue 68: The Beautiful South - 0898 Beautiful South

Album - 0898 Beautiful South (usually just shortened to 0898)
Artist - Beautiful South
Key Players - Briana Corrigan vocals, Paul Heaton - guitar and vocals, Dave Hemingway - lead vocals, Sean Welch - bass, Dave Stead - drums, Dave Rotheray - lead guitar,
Produced By - Jon Kelly

Release Date - March 1992

What caused me to blow off the dust? - I was actually singing another song, out of the blue, from this band and when I went to go review "that album" I realized I wanted to give this cd a spin again.

Overview - This is the bands third major label album. At the time it was released it fell short of sale expectations (the first 2 albums had gotten to #2) while this only made it to #4 on the U.K. charts. 0898 was the extension in the UK for telephone "sex lines" at the time. The band was formed by former Housemartins members, singer Paul Heaton and drummer David Hemingway. Although success would seem to elude the band in the USA (some later records never were even released here) the band would continue on, only losing 2 members from its run as a studio/live act.

FDF Comments (aka the songs)
- The album opens up with two of the popper, more well known (at least stateside) tracks by the band. "Old Red Eyes Is Back" and "We Are Each Other". Old Red eyes opens with a solo piano and Hemingway in fine voice. After the first verse the whole bands come in and there are more vocal harmonies. Corrigans vocals are a little buried until the track nears the third and final verse. The song as a great overall tempo to it.. "We are Each Other" opens with a crunch guitar, but has a very fun guitar pluck feel. The song has a lot of layered guitars, none of which overpower the other. The vocals are a lot of fun and the track really just bounces along nicely. Corrigan takes the lead on "The Rocking Chair" giving the album a little different feel. Its a slower track than the previous two, but none the less pretty if you will. "We'll Deal With You Later" is also a piano heavy track, at the outset. The bass is a little more up on this track and Hemingway is more the vocal focal point. The song has a slow, sludgy feel to it almost until the final minute and a half as the tempo picks up and there is more perk both from the band and vocals. Horns also was over the top as the track begins to fade out. "The Domino Man" is piano and "string section" lead. Again, the track slowly builds, lulling the listener into the mode of "here is another slow song" when they kick it up a notch. Its about as heavy/fast/hard as the band gets but its a full sound. The next track, "36D" is a song about busty models that actually is said to be one of the reasons for Corrigans departure from the band. As the songs title says its about "measurements". The longest track on the album at just shy over five minutes, it has a piano and bass guitar intro as guitars layer over top. The vocals are sung almost whispered for the first verse that is until the chorus kicks in. The line leading up to it is a fun line "I hear you've turned our young men in to dribbling clowns". Its a fun song overall, the chorus being the highlight. The final minute musical breakdown, awash with horns and chorus are also quite good. The bass takes the lead on "Here It is Again" and the piano works with the bass as it builds. Its a pretty somber/dark song for the band. The overall feel of it is just "dark". The harmonica intro to "Something That You Said" has a slight "out of place" feel, but it works. Once again the first vocal pass is somewhat subdued. There is not a lot of urgency in the vocals. Corrigan comes in and it gets a little more interesting. She has a great voice and this is really the track that she works her vocals. "I'm Your No. 1 Fan" picks up the musical tempo a little more. Its the sound, at least to these ears, you can associate easily to the bands sound. The vocals on the entire record are clear and never buried in the mix. Hemingway has a nasally falsetto that works wonderfully throughout. Corrigan also appears on the track as a front and center member. Its on tracks like this you actually wish, or wonder why she was not used more often. Good news, that last wish is granted as Corrigan takes the lead on "Bell Bottomed Tear". It sounds a little "loungy" but she is in fine voice, even going up in range on occasion. It is not until the final chorus do Hemingway and Corrigan share the vocals..they mesh so well, its a shame they didn't utilize this more. "You Play Glockenspiel, I'll Play Drums" opens with an odd keyboard intro and some punchy bass work. Piano layers underneath the looping keyboard line. The most interesting part of the song, honestly, is the title. Its "okay" but nothing too flashy either way. Closing out the album is "When I'm 84". A fun bouncy track that has a good bass/piano section at the intro. Not too flashy, not too simple either its a good end cap to the album.

Where are they now? - Briana Corrigan left the band in 1994 to work as a solo artist. The rest of the band continued on (replacing Corrigan with Jacqui Abbott who was later replaced by Alison Wheeler) and the final incarnation disbanded in early 2007 citing "musical similarities".

FDF Personal Comments (aka the Live experience) - Only once, and it was memorable. July 7, 1992 the band played the Paradise. It was a great show and the stage was packed with all the gear and members. Towards the end they began to do the Bee Gee's song "You Should be Dancing" and this rather large fellow comes up on stage and sings right along. Before long the stage is overrun with fans. In the clearing off of the stage one bouncer was seen telling Corrigan to get off the stage, and she had to basically plead with him saying "I am in the band!". Still to this day one of the better live shows I have ever seen.

FDF Overall Take
- Across the globe the band has sold over 15 million albums yet fame eluded the band in America. Often times it is hidden gems like this that make you realize there is a lot of great stuff out there that begs to be heard. Radio air play then, and even more so now, means little if a band is good or not. Check out some of their other stuff, its all decent, although many argue this is the bands watermark.


Official Site here
Fan site here
Check out some art work used for each song inside the cd right here

Curious? Check out some MUSIC!

***mp3's have been removed Oct 26, 2007 3:25 ET***

We Are Each Other
Old Red Eyes is Back

You can buy it here if you so desire.

Disclaimer - For the most part songs listed you can find on iTunes or your local cd shop. The idea is to give you a little taste of the music. Please support the artist buy purchasing some of their work. Songs are posted for about 1 week but can and will be removed at the request of the artist, band, band management etc. If you are one of those persons contact me via the email link in the profile and they will be removed as soon as we are made aware of the request.


At 2:30 PM, Blogger Ello said...

I love Beatufitul South! My favorite CD of theirs is Welcome to the Beautiful South, which I could listen to any night I feel like chilling out! I didn't see this last week, must have missed it! But you reminded me how much I loved Old Red Eyes is Back! That is such an awesome song! as soon as I saw it I started humming "it could never be blue..." I have this album so now I'm gonna have to go dig out my copy to play also! Gosh, thanks for reminding me I had this hidden gem!

At 2:36 PM, Blogger March to the Sea said...

comments like these make doing these posts so worth it..thank made my day.


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