Round Tower 1997 / Angel Air 2016
British singer revisits his old European haunts to see if they still hold romantic memories.
The consistency of Peter Sarstedt’s catalogue might come as a surprise to those who know him only by “Where Do You Go To (My Lovely)?”, and “England’s Lane” is one of the veteran’s most solid offerings. Instigated and produced by Brian Hodgson, an original Rutle, it finds Peter reconnecting his past and the present en route from UK to France and across the Pyrénées with the same lyricism and attention to detail he demonstrated on that Number One hit. There would be no Ivor Novello Award for tapping into a similar tune on the accordion-adorned “Biarritz” yet it’s difficult not to become fascinated with “The Horses” and its air of freedom.
It’s also hard not to recognize Peter’s “ancient features” in the “Empty Pages” melodrama, whereas the pictures in “British Museum” come painted with a skank and a smile. And while some nostalgia is inescapable in such a context – an exquisite acoustic weave in “You Crazy Fool” is a dewy-eyed delight – the singer’s recollections are mostly sweet, his two brothers – each a charts-denting musicians – joining in for the skiffle-spiced “All Together Now” in which Albert Lee pitches filigree flurries. At the same time, plaintive harmonica and steel guitar give “I Need Her” and the title track a bluesy tinge, but the unhurried stanzas of “Spanish Made Easy” harbor a genuine passion. So if Sarstedt felt out-of-fashion when delivering “The Last Of The Breed,” he certainly wasn’t – and isn’t now, when Peter’s memories faded due to deteriorating health.
Where do you go to when you’re down and out? Down your memory lane.