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Bryan Ferry, 1979-1999: What Happened? What Was He Going For?

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Conventional wisdom holds that in the waning days of Roxy and for the two decades thereafter, Bryan Ferry became the Lothario character he always parodied, casting aside his ironic distance to become a smooth, commercially successful aesthete. It's a theory echoed and explored to some extent in Jonathan Rigby's excellent "Both Ends Burning," but one that's always struck me as all too facile. The theory fails to explain the striking uniformity of his work from 1982 to 1994 or how the same guy could write a rocker as hard and weird as "This Is Tomorrow" and a pop song as limpid and earnest as "Dance Away" contemporaneously. And commercial considerations notwithstanding, it fails to fully explore or account for Ferry's obsession with funk and dance music or why he would quite deliberately trade that celebrated, vampiric baritone for a tremulous falsetto.

Few who appreciate the man's whole oeuvre (Ferry included) would insist that Boys and Girls, Bete Noir or Mamouna constitute Ferry's best work. But it is precisely these records' utter uniformity--the fact that the creator of Stranded and the "A Hard Rain's-a-Gonna Fall" single felt compelled to make the same record over and over--that makes them so interesting, if frustrating.

So what was it? Drugs, arrogance and writers' block combined with an over-reliance on session musicians and recording technology? Or was it something more deliberate and complex?

Naive Teen Idol, Sunday, 20 January 2008 17:19 (nine years ago) Permalink

I have trouble hearing Boys and Girls, Bete Noir and Mamouna as "the same record over and over." It's hard to talk about, because I don't own the last two (because I got rid of the copies I had), and haven't listened to them for a long time. But even if the approach is obviously similar, Boys and Girls has good songs, something I found missing from the other two. However, maybe I shouldn't be trying to de-rail this. In less extreme terms than you put it, yes, obviously the style of Ferry's work there became much more uniform than it had been, and I don't have any good guesses as to why that happened.

(Incidentally, I don't think I prefer Boys and Girls because I heard it earlier than the others. I think I heard Boys and Girlsand Bete Noir for the first time at about the same time.)

Rockist Scientist, Sunday, 20 January 2008 17:30 (nine years ago) Permalink

(Also, Boys and Girls I can actually sort of imagine dancing to, or at least it evokes dance in a way that the other two didn't for me--from what I can remember. More rhythmic appeal to it, I think.)

Rockist Scientist, Sunday, 20 January 2008 17:33 (nine years ago) Permalink

I started a similar thread last year about Boys & Girlis vs Bete Noir, and Matthew (among others) made some great points.

Matthew, I don't believe this polarity: "a rocker as hard and weird as "This Is Tomorrow" and a pop song as limpid and earnest as "Dance Away" contemporaneously." To me, the imagination that conceived both is one and the same, and his career up to that point had pointed in a "Dance Away" direction if he chose to follow.

The solo albums are the problem. I still like Mamouna very much -- the keyboard sound, the title track, "The 39 Steps" and "Chain Reaction" -- but its predecessors are two of the emptiest, most dessicated creations ever made by a major rock artist. I can't believe he spent hundreds of thousands of pounds on nullities like "Seven Deadly Sins" and "Stone Woman."

Alfred, Lord Sotosyn, Sunday, 20 January 2008 17:47 (nine years ago) Permalink

That was a good thread -- I was specifically interested in this one with discussing what I found in the last few weeks: the total disconnect between 70s Roxy and 80s Ferry.

The idea that Ferry's career pointed in a "Dance Away" direction is just not something I think the facts bear out. It's not like his music got increasingly dance-y -- the re-made/remodeled "Remake/Re-model" on Let's Stick Together may be funky, but it's not in the same pop universe as "Dance Away." Was he pushed in that direction by the session guys? Maybe, but there's nothing on Bride Stripped Bare (his first "Release the session hounds" record) that even hints at, say, "Oh Yeah." It's just a completely different aesthetic -- totally detached from the two things that had permeated everything he'd done up to that point: croon and irony.

It's just very, very odd.

Naive Teen Idol, Sunday, 20 January 2008 18:04 (nine years ago) Permalink

The idea that Ferry's career pointed in a "Dance Away" direction is just not something I think the facts bear out

"Beauty Queen," "Psalm," and especially "End of the Line" are older, weirder prototypes.

As for "Dance Away," it's a song he would try to duplicate later, but only Roxy could provide those spaces in the music (and that guitar sound).

TBSB is an oddity, period. No other record, Roxy or otherwise, sounds like it -- and why I like it best.

Alfred, Lord Sotosyn, Sunday, 20 January 2008 18:20 (nine years ago) Permalink

as this has always been my favorite Brian Ferry stuff, and seems like the natural progression from "Avalon," I find this thread's premise at odds with my own experience

J0hn D., Sunday, 20 January 2008 19:19 (nine years ago) Permalink

While I don't consider them his best work (that would be "Avalon" and the other 1979-80 work IMO) I love the aforementioned albums. He perfected an archetypical 80s new romantic sound in a great way, even after the new romantic movement had faded. And he did in a great way. "Bete Noire", in particular, is underrated.

Geir Hongro, Sunday, 20 January 2008 20:08 (nine years ago) Permalink

"Taxi" is also ace, the way it manages to turn a lot of old pop standards into shiny and sleek new romantic wonders.

Geir Hongro, Sunday, 20 January 2008 20:09 (nine years ago) Permalink

One possible reason:

40 Roxy Music Trash Mar 1979
2 Roxy Music Dance Away Apr 1979

Dingbod Kesterson, Monday, 21 January 2008 14:49 (nine years ago) Permalink

"Battle not with monsters, lest ye become a monster." - Fredrich Nietzsche

Also, nuns->church, joe strummer.

Mark G, Monday, 21 January 2008 14:52 (nine years ago) Permalink

...but there's nothing on Bride Stripped Bare (his first "Release the session hounds" record) that even hints at, say, "Oh Yeah."

Actually, I've always found it fitting that TBSB ended with "This Island Earth," which soundwise absolutely prefigures the next phase of both Ferry/Roxy, doesn't it? (I also think there's something telling about the title, not that I've listened to the lyrics too closely. It's the first sign, in a way, that Ferry is drifting away from the rest of us, sort of.)

Bryan Ferry became the Lothario character he always parodied

Did he ever really parody this? Didn't he always seem to embody it, even if his music embodied it in a much different way initially. I realize you're chalking this up to "conventional wisdom," but I've always assumed the opposite was what people said--that he always WAS that guy, essentially.

sw00ds, Monday, 21 January 2008 15:37 (nine years ago) Permalink

"This Island Earth," which soundwise absolutely prefigures the next phase of both Ferry/Roxy

Agreed.

Rockist Scientist, Monday, 21 January 2008 15:43 (nine years ago) Permalink

as this has always been my favorite Brian Ferry stuff, and seems like the natural progression from "Avalon," I find this thread's premise at odds with my own experience

-- J0hn D., Sonntag, 20. Januar 2008 20:19 (Yesterday) Bookmark Link

ditto

baaderonixx, Monday, 21 January 2008 16:04 (nine years ago) Permalink

Did he ever really parody this? Didn't he always seem to embody it, even if his music embodied it in a much different way initially. I realize you're chalking this up to "conventional wisdom," but I've always assumed the opposite was what people said--that he always WAS that guy, essentially.

OTM

baaderonixx, Monday, 21 January 2008 16:05 (nine years ago) Permalink

What most people here said. I actually got into Bryan Ferry in the first place with, of all things, "Is Your Love Strong Enough?," aka 'love theme from Legend,' 1986, full on stately dramatics. Worked brilliantly and I wanted to find out more about the guy!

Ned Raggett, Monday, 21 January 2008 16:10 (nine years ago) Permalink

I guess those who hate this type of stuff would consider all his 79-99 output as different shades of bland, but really 'Boys and Girls' and 'Mamounia' are not at all the same album.

baaderonixx, Monday, 21 January 2008 16:22 (nine years ago) Permalink

The latter being Ferry's half-successful foray into "urban grooves"

baaderonixx, Monday, 21 January 2008 16:24 (nine years ago) Permalink

If Ferry was 'parodying' this, then Posh Spice was as well.

Mark G, Monday, 21 January 2008 16:28 (nine years ago) Permalink

My favorite eighties Ferry track has become "Help Me," and it's a damn shame Ferry and Nile Rodgers didn't record a whole album. Very hard to find too!

Alfred, Lord Sotosyn, Monday, 21 January 2008 22:17 (nine years ago) Permalink

The more I think about this question, the more I think that the differences between Ferry's 70s work and his 80s/90s work, while certainly having some continuity in subject matter, the types of songs he covered, etc., are really pronounced in a way that's sometimes hard to reconcile. It seems like a lot of it has to do with production and arrangements--the technology he recorded with, the types of players he used (even though some are probably the same as he used earlier), the drum sounds he was after, etc. When he recorded standards on those early albums, like "These Foolish Things" and "You Are My Sunshine," despite heavy leanings towards lounge music, they're still essentially hard rock songs at root (in the former instance, hard rock combined with a slight reggae lilt, in the latter, hard rock combined with slight gospel overtones)--I mean, listen to the drums in "These Foolish Things," it's still very far removed from easy listening and has nothing at all in common with the era the song is trying to evoke (there was NEVER drumming like that on Sinatra records, for instance). I imagine had he covered those same tunes in the mid '80s or '90s, they would've come out much differently, way less "rock," way more atmospheric and ambient. I don't know where I'm going with this comment, but I do think the drumming on his records (not to mention the drum sounds) has a fair bit to do with why the two eras are so different.

sw00ds, Tuesday, 22 January 2008 14:24 (nine years ago) Permalink

Aren't some of his own version of Roxy Music songs on Let's Stick Together kind of going in that more atmospheric refined-nearly-out-of-existence direction?

Rockist Scientist, Tuesday, 22 January 2008 14:29 (nine years ago) Permalink

refined-nearly-out-of-existence direction

That's a very nice way of putting it and why I love the guy. For all the talk about romance, Ferry always appears completely removed from the setting of his songs.

baaderonixx, Tuesday, 22 January 2008 14:42 (nine years ago) Permalink

atmospheric refined-nearly-out-of-existence direction

Yeah, that's a good way to put it. In regards to Let's Stick Together--I suppose, but even early Roxy had lots of atmospheric stuff--yet it still (to me) sounds nothing like the '80s period. The sheen isn't quite there yet?

sw00ds, Tuesday, 22 January 2008 14:47 (nine years ago) Permalink

In some ways, the '80s Ferry adapted Eno's ambient ideas more fondly--so much so that it actually does become a kind of "background" music. I wouldn't even say this was completely by design, but it transmits that way perhaps.

sw00ds, Tuesday, 22 January 2008 14:49 (nine years ago) Permalink

I also wonder if he wasn't trying to make records that sounded more in tune with contemporary r&b--whereas the earlier records harken back more to classic soul? I don't think the 80s records are r&b in that you can dance to them, but maybe he's aiming for the sheen or the elegance of post-disco/post-Chic r&b?

sw00ds, Tuesday, 22 January 2008 14:53 (nine years ago) Permalink

Drifting through a world that´s torn and tattered
Every thought I have don´t mean a thing

baaderonixx, Tuesday, 22 January 2008 14:54 (nine years ago) Permalink

I think I was stealing a phrase from something I once read about Andre Gide.

Rockist Scientist, Tuesday, 22 January 2008 16:25 (nine years ago) Permalink

Good thread, and I also asked this from myself a few times. Am I the only one who thinks Ferry should've made a kind of chamber pop-records with Tindersticks-like melancholy and lush orchestral parts instead of this plastic-R&B dullness?

zeus, Tuesday, 22 January 2008 16:33 (nine years ago) Permalink

He has:

http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/41Q7Y2VMVHL._SS500_.jpg

baaderonixx, Tuesday, 22 January 2008 16:38 (nine years ago) Permalink

... and it wasn't as good as the plastic-R&B.

baaderonixx, Tuesday, 22 January 2008 16:39 (nine years ago) Permalink

i still think he should have made an entire album of stuff like 'Sultanesque'.

Jack Battery-Pack, Tuesday, 22 January 2008 16:39 (nine years ago) Permalink

No, this was swing/big band music revival, not that thing that critics usually call chamber pop.

zeus, Tuesday, 22 January 2008 16:40 (nine years ago) Permalink

I'm not gonna go off on too big of a tangent here, but I like As Time Goes By way more than most critics, in part because I think it was his way out of his 80s-90s vocal malaise (not that I don't gravitate to that style sometimes as well--I mean, I love Avalon, absolutely). His version of "The Way You Look Tonight" is totally glam rock--the singing, anyway. Way more bite than ANYthing he'd recorded the 18 or so years previous.

sw00ds, Tuesday, 22 January 2008 16:45 (nine years ago) Permalink

Putting it into a wider context, a lot of the glam/art rock people of the 70s kind of blanded out in the 80s, ie Bowie, Reed etc.

Zelda Zonk, Tuesday, 22 January 2008 16:46 (nine years ago) Permalink

I don't think the 80s records are r&b in that you can dance to them, but maybe he's aiming for the sheen or the elegance of post-disco/post-Chic r&b?

That's a nice line. It's certainly more true of "Angel Eyes," "Ain't That So," "Same Old Scene," and the other club-leaning tracks on Manifesto and F+B.

Here's my take on Ferry in the eighties.

Alfred, Lord Sotosyn, Tuesday, 22 January 2008 16:47 (nine years ago) Permalink

Scott will disagree, but I started hearing aggressive singing again as far back as Taxi. Maybe Robin Trower encouraged it? He's even enunciating again on Mamouna's better tracks.

Alfred, Lord Sotosyn, Tuesday, 22 January 2008 16:48 (nine years ago) Permalink

"Putting it into a wider context, a lot of the glam/art rock people of the 70s kind of blanded out in the 80s, ie Bowie, Reed etc."

Don't forget Eno.

zeus, Tuesday, 22 January 2008 16:48 (nine years ago) Permalink

Lou Reed eighties = far better than Lou Reed seventies.

Alfred, Lord Sotosyn, Tuesday, 22 January 2008 16:49 (nine years ago) Permalink

You really think so? Personally I can take or leave most stuff he did after the title track of The Bells...

Zelda Zonk, Tuesday, 22 January 2008 16:52 (nine years ago) Permalink

I like The Bells, but there's no way that any of the seventies albums compare with The Blue Mask, Legendary Hearts, and New Sensations, crap production and everything. But that's for another thread....

Alfred, Lord Sotosyn, Tuesday, 22 January 2008 16:55 (nine years ago) Permalink

Scott will disagree, but I started hearing aggressive singing again as far back as Taxi.

No, I'm guessing you've probably just listened a little closer than I have. I trust your judgment! Maybe part of the point is you really have to listen hard to get it--I could see that.

sw00ds, Tuesday, 22 January 2008 16:55 (nine years ago) Permalink

I love this line from Alfred's Stylus piece:

"These albums raise the idea of Bryan Ferry into an abstraction too remote to quantify, removed from mortal thought—our own Holy Spirit of Sophisticate Melancholy."

Fantastic!

sw00ds, Tuesday, 22 January 2008 17:01 (nine years ago) Permalink

Nice article but I don't get/remember the rerefence in the last paragraph on Sade, who incidently rivals Ferry in the "atmospheric refined-nearly-out-of-existence direction" (esp. on Love Deluxe).

xp indeed, that's a great line.

baaderonixx, Tuesday, 22 January 2008 17:02 (nine years ago) Permalink

as flawed as Boys & Girls and Bete Noir are, their sound and ethos seems unique to me. Has any other artist worked so hard to distance himself from his own music?

Alfred, Lord Sotosyn, Tuesday, 22 January 2008 17:03 (nine years ago) Permalink

sw00ds OTM and may simply say it better than I have.

The key word upthread is "reconcile" -- discerning a thread of continuity between his 70's and 80's work, and it's something I think all too often simply gets dismissed. Even on this thread, people are just kind of casually making claims (Let's Stick Together refines the Roxy tracks out of existence!" "I can hear Boys and Girls in 'This Island Earth'!" "'Psalm' is a proto-'Dance Away'!!") that are either so wrongheaded, dubious or intellectually tenuous that one can understand why this "theory" has persisted.

Getting back to blowing a hole in it...

First, there's the difference in the music itself. sw00ds' point about the drums is something I thought a lot about this weekend ("These Foolish Things" has a reggae beat for chrissakes!) The departure of Paul Thompson was obviously a major catalyst for Ferry -- once he leaves, you can literally count on one hand the number of rock numbers he records. Everything he does from thereon out is either pop or funk.

But that doesn't account for the utter lack of irony in his 1980's music. In Ferry's earlier work, sincerity is strategically deployed -- in "Just Another High," it's the release for five albums' worth of deceptions. By the 1980's, it's all release, no tension -- and yes, maybe a bit of an Eno-esque ambient moment in that so many of the tracks from that era ("Which Way To Turn," for instance) are just one elongated sentiment.

Still, it don't jibe...

Naive Teen Idol, Tuesday, 22 January 2008 17:07 (nine years ago) Permalink

Ok, thinking about the idea that maybe he started singing with bite again around Taxi -- I've always thought he did, at least with "You gotta stop the things you doooooo..." line on "I Put A Spell On You" which has that old vampiric vibrato.

It makes me think: is it possible Ferry explicitly rejected his old aesthetic come 1980 or so?

Naive Teen Idol, Tuesday, 22 January 2008 17:10 (nine years ago) Permalink

(This thread is turning out great! The "atmospheric refined-nearly-out-of-existence direction" part alone = yay.)

Ned Raggett, Tuesday, 22 January 2008 17:13 (nine years ago) Permalink

and "Girl of My Best Friend" is sung with lots of the old irony. He's accepting his loucheness with a sly shrug.

Alfred, Lord Sotosyn, Tuesday, 22 January 2008 17:14 (nine years ago) Permalink

* will support

Alfred, Lord Sotosyn, Monday, 24 March 2008 02:21 (nine years ago) Permalink

wow, he only lived 20 years?

latebloomer, Monday, 24 March 2008 05:51 (nine years ago) Permalink

wakka wakka

latebloomer, Monday, 24 March 2008 05:52 (nine years ago) Permalink

Great thread - the kind I came to ILM for.

I don't remember why I did it know, but earlier this year, I listened to Dylanesque. I am not a fan of Ferry's covermania, nor a Dylan devotee, but I found this abut the most interesting (=vital) thing he's done in about 20 years.

I fear the Roxy album, if it ever comes out, is just going to sound like everything else Ferry's done since 1986 (ie. not as good as Bete Noire).

mitya, Monday, 24 March 2008 06:54 (nine years ago) Permalink

am i the only person who thinks his best song is 'slave to love'? probs.

or something, Monday, 24 March 2008 09:46 (nine years ago) Permalink

It is touching and interesting to see such dedicated attention to the work of Bryan Ferry.

What about Morley's sleeve notes for Dylanesque? Does he seem to have understood Ferryism, or not?

the pinefox, Monday, 24 March 2008 10:36 (nine years ago) Permalink

The only thing I find puzzling is that, once there was an 80s revival really getting into the mainstream, Ferry stopped reviving the 80s. He had that sleek new romantic style, originally more or less "invented" on "Both Ends Burning", from the "Dance Away" single through the "Mamouna" album. And then, with "Frantic" he did something completely different, sort of returning to his 70s style all of a sudden.

Geir Hongro, Monday, 24 March 2008 16:21 (nine years ago) Permalink

one year passes...

Great thread. Also this:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nWexyXpLKOY

post-contrarian meta-challop 2009 (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Friday, 28 August 2009 03:16 (eight years ago) Permalink

Ned's reviews are, as usual, quite good -- Bete Noir in particular is a pretty fresh take.

I had to reread that review just now because I'd forgotten it completely -- would definitely change a lot of the style but I'm actually surprised by my conclusions, in a good way. I need to listen to that one again!

Ned Raggett, Friday, 28 August 2009 03:24 (eight years ago) Permalink

I'm listening to it now. "The Name of the Game" = wow. It's like Ferry heard "Live to Tell" and wanted to record a vocal as naked as Madonna's until his ethos got in the way -- he sounds like he's singing from Mons Venus across endlessly cavernous slap bass and synth tracks.

post-contrarian meta-challop 2009 (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Friday, 28 August 2009 03:28 (eight years ago) Permalink

Writers think like writers, musicians like musicians.

The Occam's razor element here comes courtesy friends who played on some of these records.

At this point, Ferry had enough money to indulge his obsessive ideas about instrument sounds leading to some truly crazy frittering of studio time to get one beat of a percussion sound nobody would really hear. (I don't know how much drugs did or did not play into matters.)

So I don't think there's an art theory Macguffin here. And I think this helps explain the loopy disconnect between "Kiss and Tell"'s succinct dance pop and blurry whoosh of "The Right's Stuff". Without Roxy and his art school pals, he had nobody to bounce those sort of notions off (I forget when Simon Puxley passed on, but it seems Ferry spent much time just trying to keep him alive.)

Anyway--he DID have musicians. Anyone he wanted. And all the studio time in the world.

I mean, I saw him at Radio City in '88 and he had The Best Band Money Could Buy and it was literally the most godawful show I've ever seen, one Sisters of Mercy atrocity to the side.

I think his recent inclinations towards Manzanara and Eno show, perhaps, a humbling sense of needing reflective sources.

i, grey, Friday, 28 August 2009 04:20 (eight years ago) Permalink

And then there's the facts that BOYS AND GIRLS made him a shitload of money, which would lend validation to whatever aesthetic caused that to happen.

i, grey, Friday, 28 August 2009 04:22 (eight years ago) Permalink

The only thing I find puzzling is that, once there was an 80s revival really getting into the mainstream, Ferry stopped reviving the 80s....
― Geir Hongro, Monday, 24 March 2008 16:21 (1 year ago) Bookmark Suggest Ban Permalink

Not really, when all around you are doing the same thing, it should be more implicit for the 'artist' to do something different...

Mark G, Friday, 28 August 2009 09:34 (eight years ago) Permalink

three months pass...

I mean, I saw him at Radio City in '88 and he had The Best Band Money Could Buy and it was literally the most godawful show I've ever seen, one Sisters of Mercy atrocity to the side.

Like this?

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b2EqR89MpiQ&feature=related

Please check out the lead guitarist's hair.

Hell is other people. In an ILE film forum. (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Sunday, 27 December 2009 19:45 (seven years ago) Permalink

/I mean, I saw him at Radio City in '88 and he had The Best Band Money Could Buy and it was literally the most godawful show I've ever seen, one Sisters of Mercy atrocity to the side./

Like this?

Please check out the lead guitarist's hair.
--Hell is other people. In an ILE film forum. (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn)


He sure is surrounded by a lot of plume- and loincloth-clad black people there.

Naive Teen Idol, Monday, 28 December 2009 03:09 (seven years ago) Permalink

"Frantic" definitely had some more muscle to it, didn't it? Good Eno collab on that one, too. (Though to be fair, if memory serves, Eno is all over "Mamouna," which every much sounds like something he might have produced circa then).

What I've always found most odd about Ferry's shift to full-on smooth mode is how raw and invigorating all the prime Roxy stuff is. I mean, they had enough money to sound like Steely Dan, if they wanted to, but for some reason they kept it rough. I dunno. Maybe blame Manzanera as failing to fulfill his role as studio foil?

Also, unlike Sade, Ferry is just too inherently arch to pull off ennui sans irony. Also, the difference between "cool" and "cold," etc.

Josh in Chicago, Monday, 28 December 2009 03:30 (seven years ago) Permalink

(xpost)
Ha. Saw a god-awful show at Radio City in the early nineties. Then a few weeks later ran into a friend of a friend musician, complained about the show I saw and she told me that she had been rehearsing with Ferry, but he fired everybody in the version of the band she was in, which she claimed was much better, and replaced them with the jokers that I saw.

the embed's too big without you (James Redd and the Blecchs), Monday, 28 December 2009 03:31 (seven years ago) Permalink

As good as Manzanera, Mackay, et al were as musicians, they weren't Steve Gadd or Skunk Baxter, so on Manifesto, the closest they ever came to Katy Lied-Royal Scam era Dan (check out "Ain't That So"), they still sound like punks.

Hell is other people. In an ILE film forum. (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Monday, 28 December 2009 03:33 (seven years ago) Permalink

Well, yeah. But they could have *afforded* to replace them in the studio with session dudes. And indeed ultimately did, with Andy Newmark, Rick Marotta, their rotating cast of bassists, et al. The question is, why didn't they go whole hog with the session smooth earlier? I suppose there are some parallels to the Beatles as a touring unit vs. the Beatles as studio bound. When Roxy got back together for "Manifesto," they were a fundamentally different band in a different place, and I doubt they would have gotten to that place naturally, sans a disruptive hiatus.

Josh in Chicago, Monday, 28 December 2009 13:25 (seven years ago) Permalink

No question but that Ferry would have replaced them ALL if he could. He tossed out Paul Thompson because he was too much of a "basher."

Hell is other people. In an ILE film forum. (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Monday, 28 December 2009 13:31 (seven years ago) Permalink

I thought Paul offered an easy opening by breaking his hand or something? Curiously, Thompson was back for the reunion tour but barely billed.

Josh in Chicago, Monday, 28 December 2009 15:19 (seven years ago) Permalink

one month passes...

Can't wait for the next round of Alfred's and Scott's Roxy/Ferry podcast - the 80s are next
http://rockcriticsarchives.com/audiovisual/index-roxy.html

Elvis Telecom, Saturday, 30 January 2010 08:43 (seven years ago) Permalink

GQ linked to us!

Blue Fucks Like Ben Nelson (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Saturday, 30 January 2010 12:46 (seven years ago) Permalink

Hey Alfred, when is the next podcast going up--I am loving these!

iago g., Sunday, 31 January 2010 17:27 (seven years ago) Permalink

as soon as Scott edits the last three broadcasts.

Blue Fucks Like Ben Nelson (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Sunday, 31 January 2010 21:26 (seven years ago) Permalink

I'll happily accept criticism, by the way. Relistening, I'm aware that I overuse "interesting."

Blue Fucks Like Ben Nelson (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Monday, 1 February 2010 01:42 (seven years ago) Permalink

The "post-enunciation" phase of Bryan Ferry's career:

http://rockcritics.com/2010/01/22/roxymania-1973/

Inculcate a spirit of serfdom in children (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Monday, 8 February 2010 13:19 (seven years ago) Permalink

This whole podcast series has been a v. inspiring idea on a number of fronts.

Ned Raggett, Monday, 8 February 2010 13:43 (seven years ago) Permalink

six years pass...

Revive to note that after two records of reconnecting with his earlier, rockier sound (Frantic and Dylanesque), Ferry has quietly slid right back into uber-session-y smoothie funk with the last two records (Olympia and Avonmore). It's like Lucifer caught him reneging on their deal.

Naive Teen Idol, Friday, 26 August 2016 12:01 (one year ago) Permalink

with which I have no problem because the songwriting is often rather good

The burrito of ennui (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Friday, 26 August 2016 12:44 (one year ago) Permalink

eight months pass...

I love "As Time Goes By". One of his finest records.

Carlotta's Portrait (Ross), Monday, 8 May 2017 20:20 (five months ago) Permalink

I spend much more time listening to Billie Holiday than any "rock" vocalists these days, so I've always shied away from it the same way I have, say, Rod Stewart's Great American Songbooks records. It was Ferry who introduced me to "These Foolish Things" as a teen though, still one of my favorite songs of all time, so I should probably give "ATGB" a shot.

I don't really like any of these albums (Dan Peterson), Monday, 8 May 2017 20:47 (five months ago) Permalink

ugh bete noire is just fucking killing me with goodness rn

gimmesomehawnz (Jon not Jon), Wednesday, 10 May 2017 19:03 (five months ago) Permalink

am i the only person who thinks his best song is 'slave to love'? probs.

No.

Spencer Chow, Wednesday, 10 May 2017 19:42 (five months ago) Permalink

three months pass...

He's coming to Vancouver tomorrow night. I'm pretty strapped for cash but Ferry is one of my all-time favourites - is it a big mistake not to go?

Week of Wonders (Ross), Saturday, 12 August 2017 19:31 (two months ago) Permalink

Yes.

the Rain Man of nationalism. (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Saturday, 12 August 2017 19:43 (two months ago) Permalink

Yeah, I mean, it'll be very close to the album versions of songs you know, but he won't live forever.

Josh in Chicago, Saturday, 12 August 2017 19:53 (two months ago) Permalink

I saw him last year…good show, but his voice is destroyed…

veronica moser, Saturday, 12 August 2017 20:06 (two months ago) Permalink

His voice is reduced a whisper of desires of past. The song selection is striking, though, and the band is first-rate.

the Rain Man of nationalism. (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Saturday, 12 August 2017 20:16 (two months ago) Permalink

two weeks pass...

So what DID happen?? I have theories.

the Rain Man of nationalism. (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Wednesday, 30 August 2017 02:21 (one month ago) Permalink

No love for the Bête Noir title track, Alfred? It's the song that would top my list.
And from BN, definitely 'The Right Stuff' too, 'New Town' as well.
I'd also put 'The Only Face' from Mamouna in there.
And I am pretty fond of his As Time Goes By album, 'The Way You Look Tonight and 'Where or When' are highlights for me there.
'Reason or Rhyme' is a strong one from Olympia.

(But you can count me in with the 'few' mentioned in the OP who would say Boys And Girls and Bête Noir are his best solo albums, don't know what that says about me.)

Valentijn, Wednesday, 30 August 2017 18:02 (one month ago) Permalink

I can't belive I omitted "Reason or Rhyme."

the Rain Man of nationalism. (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Wednesday, 30 August 2017 18:06 (one month ago) Permalink

(But you can count me in with the 'few' mentioned in the OP who would say Boys And Girls and Bête Noir are his best solo albums

Ten years later, me too, surprisingly, on Boys and Girls at least. To the point that I even did a re-edit of "Sensation" a few years ago:

https://soundcloud.com/the-me/sensation-the-me-re-edit-1

Naive Teen Idol, Wednesday, 30 August 2017 18:15 (one month ago) Permalink

Excellent writing as usual, Alfred.

Which way to turn and San Simeon are underrated imo

Week of Wonders (Ross), Wednesday, 30 August 2017 19:12 (one month ago) Permalink

those are all good songs. nice list! I'm at peace with ferry as he turned out. I think he's done what he needed to do. and I still don't like Bete Noir that much.

akm, Wednesday, 30 August 2017 20:23 (one month ago) Permalink

Does anyone have a copy of Eno's 39 Steps mix? I am a big fan but can't find it anywhere.

Naive Teen Idol, Wednesday, 30 August 2017 22:08 (one month ago) Permalink

same!

the Rain Man of nationalism. (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Wednesday, 30 August 2017 22:24 (one month ago) Permalink

I have a different version, from The Horoscope Demos, but I have no idea if it's the Eno mix. Eno is all over that album in a supporting role.

Josh in Chicago, Wednesday, 30 August 2017 23:12 (one month ago) Permalink

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aP6HoCNQtlU

Josh in Chicago, Wednesday, 30 August 2017 23:12 (one month ago) Permalink

I'll still defend Robin Trower's co-productions on this album and Taxi: he insisted on a few tracks per song at most, which put renewed interest on Ferry's vocals and keyboards for the first time since Avalon.

the Rain Man of nationalism. (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Thursday, 31 August 2017 00:08 (one month ago) Permalink


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