On Kevin Coyne's fine album Nobody Dies in Dreamland / 1 October 2013
Available on Turpentine Records these recordings were made in 1972 after Siren, the band Kevin was in, had split up. Also shortly before his first solo record Case History was made. The story behind these recordings is as follows. Someone gave Kevin a one track reel to reel In his rented flat in Clapham, where he then lived, armed with his guitar and harmonica, he recorded these songs.
A number of the songs on Dreamland would appear on Case History. However the opening track “Black Cloud” would appear on his 1984 album “Legless In Manila”. The second song A Distant Desert features Kevin on slide guitar. Kevin very rarely played slide guitar, so it is interesting to hear him play it here. One of the songs that appeared on Case History is Uggys Song, here titled Tramps Song.
The song is about a black tramp who got murdered by the police in 1971. The police called him Uggy because they considered him to be ugly. On songs like this Kevin showed great compassion for the outsider.
On other songs like Hypnotise for example, Kevin portrayed himself as the outsider. On the harmonica songs Kevin interspersed his words with blasts of harmonica. These songs echo the spirit of country blues harmonica players like Sonny Terry.
There is one cover on Dreamland. This is a version of Georgia On My Mind. A lovely song made popular by Ray Charles. It is also a song that Kevin performed at talent shows in local pubs. Here Kevin accompanies himself on guitar. It is different to how Ray Charles did it. But Kevin’s delivery is still very soulful.
There are places on this CD where you can hear the tape machine being switched off and on. The guitar is sometimes very basic. There are rough edges. Kevin sometimes liked having rough edges on his music. The rough edges are right for what Kevin is singing about. From the raw blues of Mean Molecatcher Man, through the desperation of Need Somebody, to the disorientation of Sleepwalking.
This record is in the same spirit as old delta blues recordings. But Kevin was also influenced by music hall comedy. This adds something else to Kevin’s music. Congratulations to Kevin’s sons Robert and Eugene for putting this great CD together. Uggys Song remains relevant with the terrible plight of homelessness in our cities.
Hopefully this record will reach a few new people. If you like the delta blues then this record is worth listening to. If you like Lo Fi music then I think you will like this. Like the Virgin anthology box set from 2010 this is a testimony to the talents of a much missed national treasure.
To buy this record go to Kevin’s website at www.kevincoyne.co.uk Hopefully this record will also be available from some record stores.
For more about Kevin Coyne and his long prolific career, visit Pascal’s Kevin Coyne website at www.kevincoynepage.tk/