ALAN CLAYSON – Ancient And Modern

Think Like A Key 2024

Ancient And Modern

Subtitled “Highlights Of Half-A-Century” yet spanning more than one lifetime, a romping comp of Kentish eccentric’s best moments.

He led THE ARGONAUTS and produced THE ASTRONAUTS and played with fellow oddballs such as Wreckless Eric and Screaming Lord Sutch, yet for all these achievements Alan Clayson might have remained a strictly British proposition if he wasn’t also an author whose books about the individual Beatles are among the finest on the subject. Still, preferring the veteran’s writing to his music is not fair, and this collection of the Englishman’s songs should redress the balance by ignoring chronological order of his recorded works in favor of their integrity-showing flow. Not that it in any way affects variety these pieces offer in terms of time-defying mélange of genres.

Here’s why the psychedelic ballad “The Rake’s Progress” that Clayson laid down during his stint with TURNPIKE back in 1973 had to be placed in the middle of this platter which 1979’s glittery “Sol Nova” that emerged from THE ARGONAUTS lore opens the proceedings in a more artsy, space-pop fashion, taken further into the future by the heavy epic “Superman ’42 / Rue Morgue” from 1975 and the Theremin-rippled and effects-laden “The Local Mister Strange” from 2017. However, while 1982’s brass-splashed serenade “Eleanor In Bondage” and 2012’s “Heedless Child” – where Mr. Wreckless’ instruments support Alan’s voice – find the singer at his most emotional, his vocals and lyrics scintillate even brighter on infectious folk-punk of sea shanty “The Landlocked Sailor” (sadly, a download-only number), the boisterous pastiche of “Teenage Runaway” and the sax-driven “The Refugees” as well as the resonant madrigal of “Pagan Mercia” of 1975 vintage. And then, there are two 1999 gems: “The Last Show On Earth” which eulogizes Sutch and “The Moonlight Skater” – a magnificent, medieval-styled song co-written with Jim McCarty for Dave Berry and appropriated later by the Yardbird’s STAIRWAY project.

So when “This Time Tomorrow” links back to classic rock ‘n’ roll for the finale, the listener can’t help but like Alan Clayson’s maverick ways. Like and spread the word on this one-of-a-kind performer.


June 8, 2024

Category(s): Reissues
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