Robyn Hitchcock/Soft Boys: Classic or Dud?

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Just picked up the Matador Records re-release of the Soft Boys' celebrated UNDERWATER MOONLIGHT album, appended with outtakes and deleted tracks. I started backwards with this band, becoming a fan of Robyn Hitchcock's solo career of skewed psychedelic pop back in college, only later discovering his earlier, "punkier" band, The Soft Boys. To my ears, the hybrid of Hitchcock's decidedly off-kilter lyrical fixation with all things surreal and his knack for soaring pop harmonies and melody is absolutely the stuff of legend, but I have friends who consider him a unbearable Syd Barrett clone and/or too clever-clever for anyone's aural benefit. What say you?

Alex in NYC, Monday, 7 May 2001 00:00 (twenty-three years ago) link

"Underwater moonlight" is a classic indeed. It's an album that doesent fit in anywhere, its a bit punk, bit power-pop and a bit psychedelic. I havent heard any of his solo stuff so I cant pass any comment on it.

Michael, Monday, 7 May 2001 00:00 (twenty-three years ago) link

I love both the Soft Boys and Hitchcock, for slightly different reasons, and have favourites amongst the discographies of both. With the Soft Boys, it's easier to just like it all because there was precious little material, though Underwater Moonlight certainly towers head and shoulder over everything else. With Hitchcock, I find that it's a bit hit and miss. I'm unabashedly a fan of Globe of Frogs, because that was my entry point and has some truly killer songs in "Balloon Man", "Vibrating", Tropical Flesh Mandala" and "Beatle Dennis". That said, I think I almost prefer some of the earlier albums, including I Often Dream of Trains, Fegmania, Element of Light and esp. Gotta Let This Hen Out. The first two I find a bit patchy and anything after Queen Elvis is also patchy. Certainly, Hitchcock's wonko lyrics are an acquired taste, but I'll take the clever surrealism of his lyrics over the stupid cliches that comprise a good chunk of popular music any day.

Short answer: both classic.

Sean Carruthers, Monday, 7 May 2001 00:00 (twenty-three years ago) link

Like Alex, I was a fan of Robyn' solo work and then went backwards to the Soft Boys. The Soft Boys are complete CLASSIC. I first picked up A CAN OF BEES and UNDERWATER MOONLIGHT in the early 90s and they totally blew my mind. I couldn't believe that they were so unappreciated in music "history". Even today, people still give you cross looks when you mention the Soft Boys. Not many people know them at all. Hopefully the Matador attention will change that a bit. Their show a few weeks back in Baltimore was attended by about 200 or so folks, which was pretty respectable. Great show. They played "I Wanna Destroy You" so I was satisfied.

As for Robyn's solo stuff, I'd have to say its a mixed bad. In fact, I can't even point to one album that's all classic. But there's so much great stuff scrambled in there that its hard to dismiss any of them totally. Probablly my favorites would be GLOBE OF FROGS, EYE, ELEMENT OF LIGHT, and QUEEN ELVIS. That looks like mostly mid-period Hitchcock to me.

But for a career, I'd give Robyn in his various guises a CLASSIC.

Tim Baier, Monday, 7 May 2001 00:00 (twenty-three years ago) link

Ooops, I meant Robyn's solo career is a mixed "bag". Its not "bad", its a "bag" dammit!

Tim Baier, Monday, 7 May 2001 00:00 (twenty-three years ago) link

Underwater Moonlight is absolutely wonderful. There seems to be a perfect balance between Robin's unsettling wierdness and killer psych- pop tunes, which all to often tips towards 'being a loony'later on. A Can of Bees is worth having too. The best of Hitchcock's solo career is probably "Gotta Let this Hen Out", but unfortunately IMHO the whimsy overwhelms all else after "Fegmania". The later albums are all but unbearable, although I haven't heard them all. I'd say his best before date was around 1985.

Dr. C, Monday, 7 May 2001 00:00 (twenty-three years ago) link

Classic: the title "The Lonesome Death of Ian Penman" (in response to IP's sarky review of _A Can of Bees_)

Dud: Never heard a single solitary note, so I wdn't know. Naturally I hate him.

mark s, Monday, 7 May 2001 00:00 (twenty-three years ago) link

I saw the re-united soft boys out here in san francisco a few weeks back, and they were quite good...played my favourites, Queen of Eyes and I Wanna Destroy You. Plus they were backed up by the mighty Young Fresh Fellows, so that added lots. I've always liked Underwater Moonlight, especially the Rykodisc Cd reissue of 5 or so years back, which had 5 or so extra tracks, including a good one called Nobody Like You. My favourite Soft Boys, though, would be the very silly Live at the Portland Arms. Mostly sort of acoustic, filled with ad- libs, wit and oddball cover songs. Hitchcock solo I haven't enjoyed as much, as I guess I like the rockier / poppier side of the Soft Boys, albeit partly because of the somewhat odd lyrics...I like some of his LP I Often Dream of Trains. I certainly know some people who can't stand his lyrics, though.

paulsheridan, Tuesday, 8 May 2001 00:00 (twenty-three years ago) link

Has made a career flogging a particular brand of stereotypical English weirdness (cf Glen Baxter) - some good tunes on Underwater Moonlight but he leaves a bad taste in the mouth. No connection at all. Dud.

Tom, Tuesday, 8 May 2001 00:00 (twenty-three years ago) link

I'm of much the same opinion as Tom...But oddly today I kept finding myself singing to myself a typically anoying solo-career-era song of his. Now I've started fuckin' doing it again. Thanks guys.

duane zarakov, Wednesday, 9 May 2001 00:00 (twenty-three years ago) link

one year passes...
classic - twisted dark humour, a touch of verbosity, snarling and prowling guitars and a dark dark heart. i had very low expectations of "nextdoorland" the new album but it's entirely fantastic. have not heard anything as thrilling as "strings" all year...

commonswings, Tuesday, 24 September 2002 14:18 (twenty-one years ago) link

He's sooooooooo weird.

DeRayMi, Tuesday, 24 September 2002 14:26 (twenty-one years ago) link

The Soft Boys are on point rather like a steeple but I just can't get on with Hitchcock's solo stuff. I have a friend who has a catalogue of it but it just doesn't seem to have... the edginess of the Soft Boys. When he's on his own, it's like Rob tries too hard to be a Barrett but he's too sane to make it work. I can't listen to it.

But Underwater Moonlight is somethig else. I Wanna Destroy You is an alltime winner. I also really like He's A Reptile.

Roger Fascist (Roger Fascist), Tuesday, 24 September 2002 14:31 (twenty-one years ago) link

hehe...once i saw the title of the thread i knew Sean would be all over this as when we met he had a soft boys t-shirt.

haven't heard soft boys myself but will pick it up if i see it.

Julio Desouza (jdesouza), Tuesday, 24 September 2002 14:49 (twenty-one years ago) link

Soft Boys are definitely classic to me, Hitch more of a mixed bag. I am a bit wary that the Soft Boys new record (out now, as they say in the papers) will do damage to the band's rep; I haven't heard the record yet, but I did hear some of the songs on the reunion tour and they definitely skewed toward the diminishing returns side of Hitch's more recent works.

The Minor Fall, The Major Lift

TMFTML (TMFTML), Tuesday, 24 September 2002 14:53 (twenty-one years ago) link

"Underwater Moonlight" is a great record.

The rest of The Soft Boys and Hitchcock's output is very hit and miss.

The only Hitchcock album that I have heard that is consistent front to back is "Globe of Frogs". I used to have a few others from that time period, but there would generally only be a song or two worth hearing and the rest pretty dull. It has been a long time since I have heard any of this music.

Hitchcock seemed to put out a record every six months for a few years back in the day, which is probably a primary reason why they are kind of spotty.

earlnash, Tuesday, 24 September 2002 17:07 (twenty-one years ago) link

I gotta pay closer attention to what's going on in the world. I had no clue that Nextdoorland was even on the way. I just picked it up now. It's weird, because I was actually wearing my Soft Boys shirt again the other day, Julio, and I don't think I've put it on since that last time when you saw it. Huh.

Sean Carruthers (SeanC), Friday, 27 September 2002 22:52 (twenty-one years ago) link

two years pass...
"...I don't KNOW WHY
She never gets anywhere

(Wonder why I never posted on this thread before? Been listening to the Rykodisc reissues and the 2-disc overview of Soft Boys stuffage all week.)

Ned Raggett (Ned), Friday, 21 January 2005 18:23 (nineteen years ago) link

As I get older, Robyn is becoming my favorite musician. I bought Can of Bees a long time ago and thought it was good... then I finally heard Underwater Moonlight a few years before the Matador reissue came out... and since then, I've become a bit obsessed. He's one of those artists who never seems to put out anything that I don't like, including individual songs. His songwriting is remarkably consistent, but not samey because his lyrics are usually very good if not terrific.

polyphonic (polyphonic), Friday, 21 January 2005 18:29 (nineteen years ago) link

I love A Can of Bees. I couldn't stop listening to it last fall.

Trip Maker (Sean Witzman), Friday, 21 January 2005 18:42 (nineteen years ago) link

Totally classic (with longueurs, of course). How Demme managed to film a dull RH gig...?

Anyone knocked out by the new Gillian Welch collab?

Dr Morbius (Dr Morbius), Friday, 21 January 2005 18:49 (nineteen years ago) link

He's the best. I've loved pretty much all of his records at one time or another. A couple of interesting ones that don't get mentioned too much are that Rykodisc set, Invisible Hitchcock, and the last few, especially Jewls for Sophia and Moss Elixer. Also You and Oblivion which has some of my favorites.

danh (danh), Friday, 21 January 2005 18:54 (nineteen years ago) link

As I think is almost required among fans, I have a bootleg of one of his solo acoustic performances, in this case one I taped myself back in 1995 at McCabe's in LA. He previewed a fair amount of Moss Elixir material along with digging up various old faves and random numbers, and of course was his usual dry self on stage. I'm trying to remember if I ever got it converted to digital or not...

Ned Raggett (Ned), Friday, 21 January 2005 18:57 (nineteen years ago) link

Any thoughts on Nextdoorland by the Soft Boys?'s a bit spotty but I def. think "Mr. Kennedy" is one of my fav SB songs ever....It's totally like onOFFon my Mission of Burma, not disappointing but not a classic, held up by a few genuinely great songs....

M@tt He1geson (Matt Helgeson), Friday, 21 January 2005 19:05 (nineteen years ago) link

Nextdoorland was my third favorite record of 2002, if memory serves. By contrast, onOFFon did nothing for me.

polyphonic (polyphonic), Friday, 21 January 2005 19:07 (nineteen years ago) link

Those Nextdoorland songs didn't hold up live when they did that Underwater Moonlight show. I actually never bought it because of that show. They were totally lifeless next to the classics. Pretty, but lifeless.

danh (danh), Friday, 21 January 2005 19:10 (nineteen years ago) link

I think "Underwater Moonlight" is about half-classic. The title track is great, "Kingdom of Love" is the all-time best rip of the Hollies' "Long Cool Woman." I give Kimberley Rew credit for it, though--great guitar work, really distinctive. I also like the earlier Soft Boys stuff OK, but I don't think it's all that great.

I guess I like "Element of Light" all right, and there are times I put on "Mossy Liquor" or "Moss Elixor" or whatever that's called depending on whether you have the LP or CD. RH is good, kind of a one-trick drugged pony ride though. I probably still prefer Syd Barrett or John Lennon, though.

eddie hurt (ddduncan), Friday, 21 January 2005 19:12 (nineteen years ago) link

Yeah, I found Nextdoorland to be kind've a let down.

Alex in NYC (vassifer), Friday, 21 January 2005 19:13 (nineteen years ago) link

Anyone knocked out by the new Gillian Welch collab?

It's kinda strange. I do like it - not necessarily knocked out though. It had this implicit "this is Robyn's grown-up serious record" feeling to it. Almost if it's in reaction to the relatively freewheeling Luxor album.

Gator Magoon (Chris Barrus), Friday, 21 January 2005 23:43 (nineteen years ago) link

To clarify, I don't want him to make another crustacean album either.

Gator Magoon (Chris Barrus), Friday, 21 January 2005 23:44 (nineteen years ago) link

The new one's excellent; the first and last tracks steal it, but so much else is great; "English Girl", who else would reference Merle Haggard and Ronald Searle? Even better was seeing him live a few months ago, in a nicely small (if difficult to find) venue in Newcastle, the Cluny...

Tom May (Tom May), Friday, 21 January 2005 23:52 (nineteen years ago) link

five months pass...
Classic. Underwater Moonlight will be all over my Top 100 80's lists whenever we do it.

Cunga (Cunga), Wednesday, 6 July 2005 23:51 (nineteen years ago) link

I'm very fond of I Often Dream of Trains.

Ian Riese-Moraine has been xeroxed into a conduit! (Eastern Mantra), Thursday, 7 July 2005 00:09 (nineteen years ago) link

I still defend Perspex Island.

Alfred Soto (Alfred Soto), Thursday, 7 July 2005 00:21 (nineteen years ago) link

soft boys--classic
robyn hitchcock--classic

i'd say that the best way to experience robyn these days is to see him live--he's got such a wealth of great songs at this stage in his career. And usually, the more recent songs sound better in person than they do on record. there are a few live shows on's live music database if you're curious.

also worth seeking out is the soft boys' live at portland arms LP (some of which is on the ryko overview). hilarious and unplugged.

and ned, it sounds as though we were probably at the same mccabes show in 1995--i think my friend and i were the only teenagers in the house. if you ever digitize your tape, i'd love to relive it.

tylerw, Thursday, 7 July 2005 01:17 (nineteen years ago) link

also, in the middle of one of those 1995 mccabes shows, i realized that i was sitting next to none other than adam duritz. true story.

tylerw, Thursday, 7 July 2005 01:19 (nineteen years ago) link

No mention of Old Pervert or Insanely Jealous?

Jamey Lewis (Jameys Burning), Thursday, 7 July 2005 02:21 (nineteen years ago) link

insanely jealous old pervert?

chief of chaff (Jody Beth Rosen), Thursday, 7 July 2005 02:24 (nineteen years ago) link

Robyn was a streak of genuine weirdness on the alt pop charts in the eighties, his records definitely helped get through high school back then. The live shows were incredible, the improvised stories he'd spin between songs always made sense.

He's one of two people I ever asked for an autograph. Philip Glass was not in a good mood when I walked up, 15 years old & nervous, having spotted him in the lobby during the intermission to the Knee Plays... can't blame him for scowling at me. Robyn on the other hand was impossibly cool about the awkward situation, saying while signing my copy of Trains "well y'know it's no good having heroes, especially once you get to know them and realize they have all the same problems..." I assured him that was the point.

milton parker (Jon L), Thursday, 7 July 2005 06:23 (nineteen years ago) link

one month passes...
I noticed the similarities between the Left Banke's I Haven't Got the Nerve tune and I Wanna Destroy You a few weeks ago. Who knows? It's a good tune either way but thought someone might appreciate it.

Cunga (Cunga), Tuesday, 30 August 2005 08:11 (eighteen years ago) link

Underwater Moonlight is one of the best records ever made.

zeus, Tuesday, 30 August 2005 08:21 (eighteen years ago) link

nine months pass...
The Soft Boys (esp. Can of Bees, Underwater Moonlight and Invisible Hits, the cream of the crop) are absolute classic. No doubt about it. Nextdoorland is really good as well, esp. Mrs. Kennedy.

As for Robyn Hitchcock, his first album, Black Snake Diamond Role continued the Soft Boys course honorably - "Acid Bird" especially is classic. Also, his third, I Often Dreamt of Trains is excellent too. Hilarious (and very British) songs like "Uncorrected Personality Traits" and "Sometimes I Wish I Were a Pretty Girl" ( I could ---- myself in the shower..) sit next to absolutely gorgeous quiet and sad songs. His 80s and 90s stuff gets a bit too slick for my tastes, losing its classic edge - some good moments though. Haven't heard his most recent stuff...mixed bag, as other said.

Nick Wilson, Friday, 2 June 2006 05:54 (eighteen years ago) link

I absolutely like his later stuff too. He does pop after all, and pop may well benefit from a slick production (that being said, the rawer sound of "Underwater Moonlight" doesn't make that album any less excellent, partly because the songs he wrote for that album are better than any songs he has been able to write since)

Geir Hongro (GeirHong), Friday, 2 June 2006 09:20 (eighteen years ago) link

three months pass...
i was overcome with the need to listen to robyn hitchcock's "i often dream of trains" this evening, but alas, i am unable to find my copy of it anywhere. i'm feeling rather distraught about all this. i haven't ripped and ipodified that one yet and now i'm terrifically disappointed that i didn't.

anyway: classic. i heard solo hitchcock first, and have always had a preference for the early stuff, though i did snag a copy of "spooked" and found it quite entertaining. the 90's stuff often bores me, though certainly "moss elixir" has it moments. but "trains" and "fegmania!" are my favorites.

soft boys, also classic. picked up the matador rerelease of "underwater moonlight" when it came out and loved it. played that this evening in lieu of "i often dream of trains".

Emily B (Emily B), Friday, 15 September 2006 05:00 (seventeen years ago) link

Listened to "Fegmania" the other day and it is absolutely ace. Particularly "The Man With The Lightbulb Head" and "My Wife And My Dead Wife".

Geir Hongro (GeirHong), Friday, 15 September 2006 18:39 (seventeen years ago) link

New Robyn Hitchcock w/band album coming out soon on Yep Rock. The track I've heard (something about a Rocketship) sounded promising.

dlp9001 (dlp9001), Friday, 15 September 2006 20:35 (seventeen years ago) link

i've always had mixed feelings, I loved it all but kinda grew out of some of the wackier stuff. Now I look at something like Trains and the stuff that's a bit "silly" I have to skip over, but the other stuff is some of the most beautiful music ever.

He played at Oberlin when I was there to a small crowd and encored with Autumn is Your Last Chance.

I also have a severe soft-spot for Queen Elvis.

Dan Selzer (Dan Selzer), Friday, 15 September 2006 20:58 (seventeen years ago) link

A Can of Bees and the comp "76-81" is all you need in my opinion. Underwater Moonlight just doesn't do it for me really and Robyn's solo stuff has never been my cup of tea.

Randall Weeber (yoyoweb), Saturday, 16 September 2006 01:22 (seventeen years ago) link

I've heard that Robyn Hitchcock and the Venus 3 on Yep Yoc -- it's the guys from the Minus 5 backing him up. Peter Buck and Scott McCaughey and the other guy (forget his name). It's pretty good, very power pop.

mcd (mcd), Saturday, 16 September 2006 03:00 (seventeen years ago) link

A Can of Bees is a much more uneven affair than Underater Moonlight. 'Anglepoise Lamp' is one of Hitchcocks's best song though, strange, that nobody mentioned that in the thread.

zeus (zeus), Saturday, 16 September 2006 10:39 (seventeen years ago) link

Dang, too bad! There are some fun shots of the crowd in the video, too. Seems like a blast to be there. Excellent “Waterloo sunset”, too.

Bruce Stingbean (Karl Malone), Thursday, 23 June 2022 22:57 (two years ago) link

this was just posted a few days ago. Santa Monica, April 25, 1993.

what's great about this thread is the outside chance that one of you may have been there!

I was there! I was a few minutes late (parking in Santa Monica is always terrible) so I was in the back - I think I saw the top of my head when the camera panned to the back during the Donald Fagen section.

Elvis Telecom, Friday, 24 June 2022 23:04 (two years ago) link

i KNEW donald fagen would provide the crucial connection in time and space, somehow!

that's awesome! what a cool show. was that in addition to a show at a more traditional venue or in place of one?

Bruce Stingbean (Karl Malone), Friday, 24 June 2022 23:16 (two years ago) link

Yah, this was a couple days before his show at The Palace in Hollywood that he refers to at the end (which was also a terrific show). I think he was living in Los Angeles at this time (1991-1993/4 or so) during his A&M Records era so I saw him a lot - this show, several times at McCabe's, The Whiskey, CSUF's coffee bar.

Elvis Telecom, Friday, 24 June 2022 23:55 (two years ago) link

two months pass...

Listening to Queen Elvis today front to back, having listened to it a lot in college (quintessential late-80s/early-90s "college rock" production). Always wondered why it wasn't on streaming services, and hearing it in full now wonder if it's because it's...not very good? Maybe it's Robyn's choice not to have it out there? The high points ("Madonna of the Wasps" and "One Long Pair of Eyes") are streaming from Greatest Hits comps.

Anyway, 80s/early-90s Hitchcock is always perfect fall music for me, so listening to it on this cool morning.

The self-titled drags (Eazy), Thursday, 22 September 2022 16:48 (one year ago) link

i love this anecdote:

Airscape" concerns his "favourite beach", Compton Beach on the Isle of Wight,[5] which also provided a backdrop for the cover shots. He was inspired by learning about the erosion of the cliffs, and imagining the ghosts of people who had walked the cliffs centuries ago now suspended over the water.[6]

Karl Malone, Thursday, 22 September 2022 17:03 (one year ago) link

this is my "Not That Robyn: I've been listening to Hitchcock for a summer" spotify playlist (so missing some things, like Queen Elvis, as Eazy just mentioned), in chronological order. i realize i have huge blind spots and i need to give his 90s - present albums more time, but at least later i can look at it and make fun of it, about 10 years from now. i hope i don't have horrible back pain all of the time when i do that! i'm sure i won't

human music
leppo and the jooves
i wanna destroy you
kingdom of love
insanely jealous of you
queen of eyes
underwater moonlight
only the stones remain
acid bird
out of the picture
all i wanna do is fall in love
the cars she used to drive
trams of old london
egyptian cream
the man with the lightbulb head
bells of rhymney
i'm only you
the leopard
if you were a priest
somewhere apart
a globe of frogs
chinese bones
flesh number one (beatle dennis)
queen elvis
shimmering distant love
driving aloud (radio storm)
dark princess
she doesn't exist
propellor time

Karl Malone, Thursday, 22 September 2022 17:12 (one year ago) link

Queen Elvis has some duds, but I love "wax doll," "veins of the queen" and "swirling" in addition to the ones you mentioned.

I think its absence on streaming is just that A&M is kind of a mess rights-wise? That's why those Robyn A&M records have never been reissued.

tylerw, Thursday, 22 September 2022 17:14 (one year ago) link


That’s a strong list KM! You have good taste in RH songs!

realistic pillow (Jon not Jon), Thursday, 22 September 2022 18:47 (one year ago) link

thank you! it's hard to go wrong with RH, though. i came away very impressed with his consistency over the years. even the lesser ones generally have at least a few really strong tracks that make it worth revisiting

Karl Malone, Thursday, 22 September 2022 18:55 (one year ago) link

I'm always finding stuff in his catalog that I've overlooked — like this week, I was blown away by this one, a late 80s outtake:

tylerw, Thursday, 22 September 2022 19:05 (one year ago) link

oh and hey, I interviewed Robyn this week! Last time I did that was 20 years ago!

tylerw, Thursday, 22 September 2022 19:06 (one year ago) link

Those Yep Roc box sets were supposedly great. I wasn't yet a fan so I settled for getting the album reissues one by one as I got to know his music.

birdistheword, Thursday, 22 September 2022 19:28 (one year ago) link

yeah, they're pretty nicely done — his stuff has been reissued so much over the years, it's hard to say what the "definitive" versions of a bunch of his albums really are. But the yep roc ones are pretty close?

tylerw, Thursday, 22 September 2022 19:45 (one year ago) link

for me the rhino series is definitive. The Yep Roc are good except the egyptians studio items are too louderized - i don't want morris' kick drum to momentarily wipe out the sustain of every other instrument every time it hits. If you had the yep roc boxes and the rhinos of fegmania and element you'd be sitting pretty IMO

realistic pillow (Jon not Jon), Thursday, 22 September 2022 21:36 (one year ago) link

tyler where is the interview gonna be... and do you have any shareable thoughts on Shufflemania?

realistic pillow (Jon not Jon), Thursday, 22 September 2022 21:36 (one year ago) link

So Karl when you announced your RH jag earlier this summer i got inspired to try to make my definitive RH/SBs comp. This became a two month obsessive hitch-hole in which I went through several cycles of culling. I never did get it down to a single CD or even a double CD. I made it to 53 tracks before it became too excruciating to delete anything more.

Here is the tracklist for A Deck Of Cones - The Best Of Robyn Hitchcock:

I Want To Be An Anglepoise Lamp (7" version) (Soft Boys 1976-1981 2CD)
Salamander (Soft Boys 1976-1981 2CD)
Human Music (A Can Of Bees)
The Pigworker (A Can Of Bees)
The Asking Tree (Invisible Hits)
Insanely Jealous (Underwater Moonlight)
Underwater Moonlight (Underwater Moonlight)
Only The Stones Remain (Underwater Moonlight bonus)
The Lizard (Black Snake Diamond Role)
Acid Bird (Black Snake Diamond Role)
Mr. Deadly (Invisible Hitchcock or I Wanna Go Backwards)
Flavor of Night (I Often Dream Of Trains)
Sounds Great When You're Dead (I Often Dream Of Trains)
Winter Love (I Often Dream Of Trains)
Autumn Is Your Last Chance (I Often Dream Of Trains)
I Often Dream Of Trains (I Often Dream Of Trains)
Victorian Squid (You and Oblivion or I Wanna Go Backwards)
I'm Only You (Fegmania!)
Insect Mother (Fegmania!)
The Cars She Used To Drive (live Gotta Let This Hen Out)
52 Stations (Kershaw Sessions version)
The Abandoned Brain (Invisible Hitchcock)
Winchester (Element Of Light)
Airscape (Element Of Light)
The Leopard (Element Of Light bonus)
The Ghost Ship (You and Oblivion)
She Reached For A Light (You and Oblivion)
Chinese Bones (A Globe Of Frogs)
A Globe Of Frogs (A Globe Of Frogs)
Wax Doll (Queen Elvis)
Freeze (Queen Elvis)
Aquarium (Eye)
Lysander (Perspex Island)
Birds In Perspex (Kershaw Sessions version)
Arms Of Love (Respect)
Egyptian Cream (live version from Rhino ed. of Fegmania - or live version from Live At Cambridge Folk Festival)
Filthy Bird (Moss Elixir)
I Am Not Me (Moss Elixir)
Glass Hotel (Storefront Hitchcock)
1974 (A Star For Bram)
I Feel Beautiful (Jewels For Sophia)
No, I Don't Remember Guildford (Jewels For Sophia)
Mr. Kennedy (Nextdoorland)
Creeped Out (Spooked)
Sometimes A Blonde (Spooked)
Museum of Sex (Ole Tarantula)
Goodnight Oslo (Goodnight Oslo)
John in the Air (Propellor Time)
The Abyss (Tromso Kaptein)
Strawberries Dress (Live at the Troubadour LA from because the production on the Love From London version sucks - killer song though)
Mad Shelley's Letterbox (Robyn Hitchcock)
Autumn Sunglasses (Robyn Hitchcock)

realistic pillow (Jon not Jon), Thursday, 22 September 2022 22:01 (one year ago) link

nice! thanks for sharing

budo jeru, Thursday, 22 September 2022 22:29 (one year ago) link

robyn interview will be on aquarium drunkard in a couple weeks. shufflemania is good! maybe one or two songs I'm not wild about, but good overall production, really nice vocals. he sounds pretty lively!

tylerw, Thursday, 22 September 2022 22:40 (one year ago) link

I'm always finding stuff in his catalog that I've overlooked — like this week, I was blown away by this one, a late 80s outtake:


budo jeru, Thursday, 22 September 2022 22:40 (one year ago) link

xp cool, link it here when up plz

budo jeru, Thursday, 22 September 2022 22:41 (one year ago) link

Awesome, Jon! That’s for a bunch of songs I can’t immediately remember, I will be going through that today and tomorrow looking for gold :)

Karl Malone, Thursday, 22 September 2022 22:52 (one year ago) link

I rely on my brother for all my Robyn Hitchcock knowledge, and I've only heard like 1/3 of these songs, but one that I really like that I haven't seen mentioned is "Solpadeine."

Lear, Tolstoy, and the Jack of Hearts (Lily Dale), Thursday, 22 September 2022 23:55 (one year ago) link

That’s for a bunch of songs I can’t immediately remember...

this is one of the most confusing things i've ever written, and that is hard to do. sorry about that!

what i meant was, there are a bunch of songs in your playlist that I don't think I'm familiar with, so I'll be looking forward to listening!

Karl Malone, Friday, 23 September 2022 00:02 (one year ago) link

"veins of the queen"

Forgot to say, having this song in my head over the past week led me back to Queen Elvis! Would love if somehow A&M allows a deluxe edition sometime, given how good the live versions of these songs can be.

The self-titled drags (Eazy), Friday, 23 September 2022 17:25 (one year ago) link

Yeah, the live stuff from the "Luminous Groove" box is ace.

Gerald McBoing-Boing, Friday, 23 September 2022 19:03 (one year ago) link

Also the B-side from that album, “Ruling Class”… rules

realistic pillow (Jon not Jon), Friday, 23 September 2022 19:33 (one year ago) link

Other odds and ends I'd recommend:

Innocent Boy (Soft Boys)
The Face of Death (live Gotta Let This Hen Out)
August Hair
The Beauty of Earl's Court
De Chirico Street (alt version from Mossy Liquor)
Each of Her Silver Wands
Pulse of My Heart (Soft Boys - Nextdoorland)
I'm Falling
San Francisco Patrol
Time Coast

JoeStork, Friday, 23 September 2022 21:13 (one year ago) link

seconding "san francisco patrol" — I think that's my favorite song of his from the past decade or so...

tylerw, Friday, 23 September 2022 21:22 (one year ago) link

where is "Do Policemen Sing?" u savages

these later period recommendations are helpful, thx

both the Yep Roc boxes rule, I have 'em

sleeve, Friday, 23 September 2022 21:29 (one year ago) link

Oh yeah Do Policemen Sing rules.

JoeStork, Friday, 23 September 2022 22:00 (one year ago) link

one month passes...

at long last —

I think it turned out OK!

tylerw, Monday, 7 November 2022 16:19 (one year ago) link

how's the new album? I guess I could listen to it.

akm, Monday, 7 November 2022 17:15 (one year ago) link

when is someone gonna reissue the Soft Boys "Live At The Portland Arms" record? I love that thing and it's never even been on CD.

sleeve, Monday, 7 November 2022 17:16 (one year ago) link

thought the new one was pretty middling tbh

ciderpress, Monday, 7 November 2022 17:17 (one year ago) link

Tyler - great interview, particularly liked the question and his answer about singing songs written 40 years ago. I've had other songwriters say basically the same thing to me, that the best songs reveal different aspects as the years go by.

Gerald McBoing-Boing, Monday, 7 November 2022 20:34 (one year ago) link

Thanks! Love talking to Robyn, he's definitely a thoughtful guy.

I think his new one is a grower maybe — a handful of duds, but that's sort of par for the course. Really love "The Man Who Loves The Rain" and "Feathery Serpent God" ...

tylerw, Tuesday, 8 November 2022 20:01 (one year ago) link

nine months pass...

Maisie, Robyn’s only child, has passed away four years after a stage 4 ovarian cancer diagnosis; she was 47. He wrote something beautiful and devastating on Instagram.

realistic pillow (Jon not Jon), Sunday, 13 August 2023 16:18 (eleven months ago) link

Awfully tragic -- did see note indicates she had a brother.

Ned Raggett, Sunday, 13 August 2023 16:49 (eleven months ago) link

I read that, it was very sweet and sad. Don't know anything about his personal life beyond his current relationship with Emma Swift, but I like to imagine he was a fun dad.

a man often referred to in the news media as the Duke of Saxony (tipsy mothra), Sunday, 13 August 2023 18:11 (eleven months ago) link

Oh how sad, I was hoping she could beat it.

Gerald McBoing-Boing, Sunday, 13 August 2023 19:33 (eleven months ago) link

I remember some strange interview way back when between Robyn and a teenage Maisie, it was in Spin Magazine or something similar, they seemed to have a lovely mutual appreciation of the surreal.

MaresNest, Sunday, 13 August 2023 20:39 (eleven months ago) link

yeah, nickn pasted from facebook to Rolling Obits, where there was no response so far, deserves to be preserved here:

From his fb post:

Maisie Hitchcock 1976 - 2023
My daughter Maisie Emerald Hitchcock passed gently out of this life on the evening of Wednesday August 9th. She was born on the first warm day of the year, April 17th, in Cambridge, and died as night fell in Sussex last week. She had Peritoneal Cancer, a rare form of Ovarian.
Maisie was vital. From the perspective of only three days, I can feel how unique she was: very much her own person with her own take on life. There was no filter between her feelings and the outside world. Her undiluted Maisie-ness and her deep dark eyes gave her a magical charisma which attracted her many friends. She was fiery at times, almost combustible: she didn’t just smoulder - she was an ingot of crimson heat, and so she loved to douse herself in water, swimming in lakes and pools and oceans. Maisie fed on art, music, thought and the wild open air. And comedy: she and I spent many hours together in Python Land, and she introduced me to the Mighty Boosh. I have lost, too, my fellow Ferry connoisseur - we did a *lot* of Bryan Ferry over the decades.

But Maisie also fed on food (she loved her food, so she did), and one of the sad and terrible effects of the cancer that she held at bay for nearly three years (despite being diagnosed with Stage 4 in autumn 2020) was that she could eat less and less. She remained feisty and optimistic for the longest time, until this summer she bravely faced up to the inevitable and discontinued her chemotherapy treatment. I was glad to be able to visit her most days in her final two months. We had some laughs, some arguments and a lot of philosophy: Mais and I could both wander the labyrinths of the mind for hours.

Almost the last word she said to me was “Pangolin” before she curled away and sank back into her morphine cocoon. My phone revealed this to be an endangered species of anteater, with a scaly dragon tail. Pangolin! I mean - jeez, what an utterance - what way to go…Tears are back in my eyes. Thank you for being my daughter, Mais. You were special, vibrant and lovely.

I’m sending out love to all who loved and cared for Maisie, especially her mum Rosalind and brother Jack. Also the nurses and doctors at the Wiltshaw Ward in the Marsden Hospital in Chelsea and then at St. Peter & St. James Hospice in Sussex.

“Is there a heaven? I’d like to think so.”

dow, Sunday, 13 August 2023 21:47 (eleven months ago) link

Brutal, so sad.

tylerw, Sunday, 13 August 2023 22:05 (eleven months ago) link

Yeah--in part because of the beauty, his most expressive writing that I've seen---didn't know anything about her, but I feel like I do now. Rock on Maisie, pangolin and all!

dow, Sunday, 13 August 2023 22:42 (eleven months ago) link

that is so beautiful

out-of-print LaserDisc edition (sleeve), Sunday, 13 August 2023 22:53 (eleven months ago) link

Ach, I'm crying. So sad. Thanks for posting.

three of the doctor's valuable bats are now dead (broom air), Sunday, 13 August 2023 23:32 (eleven months ago) link

What a remarkable tribute

Nonhuman biologics enthusiast (morrisp), Monday, 14 August 2023 01:41 (eleven months ago) link

one month passes...

Good lord, what an awful year for the family.

My lovely wife has been through hell this summer. Please read this thread.

— Robyn Hitchcock (@RobynHitchcock) September 28, 2023

JoeStork, Friday, 29 September 2023 23:12 (nine months ago) link

nine months pass...

just started the audiobook and, wow, so good.

encino morricone (majorairbro), Thursday, 4 July 2024 09:05 (two weeks ago) link

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