Kate Bush


Band members                             Related acts

  line up 1 (1978-)

Kate Bush -- vocals, piano, synthesizers

 

  supporting musicians (1978)

- Brian Bath -- guitar

- Ian Bairnson -- guitar 

- Paddy Bush -- mandolins, guitar, pan flute, backing vocals

- Stuart Elliott -- drums, percussion 

- Richard Harvey -- recorders 

- Duncan Mackay -- bass, synthesizers

- Francis Monkman -- harpsichord, Hammond organ 

- Charlie Morgan -- drums, percussion

- Del Palmer -- bass 

- David Paton -- bass 

 

  supporting musicians (1981)

- Stewart Arnold -- backing vocals

- Jimmy Bain -- bass guitar 

- Ian Bairnson -- acoustic guitar, backing vocals

- Brian Bath -- guitar

- Paddy Bush Ė sticks, mandolin and strings, backing vocals

- Geoff Downes -- synthesizers

- Peter Edwards -- animal noises

- Stuart Elliott -- drums, percussion 

- Gordon Farrell -- backing vocals

- David Gilmour -- backing vocals

- Paul Hardiman -- backing vocals

- Rolf Harris -- digeridoo 

- Preston Heyman - drums, percussion

- Gary Hurst -- backing vocals

- SeŠn Keane -- fiddle 

- Dave Lawson -- synthesizers

- Důnal Lunny -- bouzouki 

- Alan Murphy -- guitar 

- Liam O'Flynn-- penny whistle and uilleann pipes 

- Del Palmer -- bass guitar, backing vocals

- Esmail Sheikh -- drum talk

- Danny Thompson-- string bass 

- Richard Thorton -- backing vocals

- Eberhard Weber -- double bass

 

 

 

 

- none known

 

 

 


 

Genre: rock

Rating: 3 stars ***

Title:  Lionheart

Company: EMI Harvest

Catalog: STAO-6456
Year:
 1982

Country/State: Bexleyheath, Southeast London, UK

Grade (cover/record): VG+/VG+

Comments: Canadian pressing; embossed cover; gatefold sleeve

Available: 1

Catalog ID: --

Price: $35.00

 

 

I first heard "Lionheart" in college.  I remember my initially impression being one of bewilderment. Bush was so different from the top-40 and Southern rock I gravitated to.  Still, the fact she was so different was enough for me to go looking for a copy.  It wasn't available at my local Penguin Feather record store (I didn't realize EMI Records hadn't bother to release the album in the States) so it took some effort to find an import copy.  Admittedly the album's back cover may have played a role in my interest.  Nevertheless, finding a copy and buying it were major accomplishments given my limited disposable income.  

 

 

 

Today "Lionheart" certainly isn't my favorite Kate Bush album (even Bush complains about it), but there are some classic performances and every time I play it I find myself hearing some new, enjoying the set and wondering how a then-nineteen year old came up with something as imposing.  Shoot when I was twenty I was lucky to find my way to class.  

 

 

 

 

The fact "Lionheart" is as good as it is reflects a miracle of sorts.  Released a mere nine months after her debut, EMI Records put immense pressure of Bush to come up with a quick follow-on to "The Kick Inside."  Still busy touring in support of her debut album, Bush had about four weeks to prepare for the second album.  Produced by Andrew Powell, the album was recorded over a two and a half month period at Super Bear Studios in Berre-les-Alpes on the French Riviera.  With little time to write new material, Bush was forced to raid her catalog of previously written songs.  Of the ten tracks that made it on to the album, only three were "new" compositions.  I won't say the album sounded desperate, but it wasn't nearly as consistent as her debut and yeah, there were a couple of clunkers here. Sounding like she lifted it from a 1920's Berlin nightclub, 'Coffee Homeground' was apparently meant to be funny.  It wasn't.  The stark, piano-powered 'In the Warm Room' was just forgettable.  On the other hand Bush sounded great throughout and to my ears the album featured a more diverse sound.  Sure there were still lots of ballads. 'Oh England My Lionheart' was one of the prettiest things she's ever written.  'In Search of Peter Pan ' was almost as good.  The subject matter was typically odd, but the first single 'Hammer Horror' had an upbeat melody and a great refrain. 'Fullhouse' was almost conventional for a Bush composition.  'Don't Push Your Foot on the Heartbrake' was flawed, but showed Bush could rock.  Most hardcore Bush fans don't think much of the set, but I'll admit it has a special place in my heart.

 

In support of the album Bush undertook a two month, 29 date UK tour billed as "The Tour of Life."  The critical reception helped the album hit # 6 on the UK charts.

 

Feeling Bush wouldn't register with an American audience, the album didn't see a US release until 1984.  That late release only happened because Bush's fourth studio album "The Dreaming" generated some attention Stateside.

 

"Lionheart" track listing:
(side 1)

1.) Symphony in Blue (Kate Bush) - 3:35 rating: *** stars

'Symphony In Blue" was one of the album's three "new" songs.  Built on a breezy, commercial, keyboard-powered melody (remember this is Kate Bush), I read the title was intended as a pun on George Gershwin's 'Rhapsody in Blue.'  No idea, but like most of her catalog the lyrics have puzzled me for decades.  Come to think of it, I've never seen a clear explanation of the song's meaning.  I'll admit to smiling every time I hear the lyric "The more I think about sex, the better it gets. Here we have a purpose in life: Good for the blood circulation, Good for releasing the tension, The root of our reincarnations."  The third and final single off the album, the track was released as a 45 in Canada (pressed on blue vinyl) and in Japan

 

- 1978's 'Symphony in Blue' b/w 'Full House' (Harvest catalog number 72807)

 

The opening is a little quirky (this is Kate Bush after all), but YouTube has a clip of Bush performing the song for a 1979 British television Christmas show: Kate Bush - Symphony In Blue (1979 Xmas Special) (youtube.com)

 

 

 

2.) In Search of Peter Pan (Kate Bush) - 3:46 rating: **** stars

As mentioned above, in the rush to release a second album Bush was forced to raid a stash of previously written material.  One of those earlier songs was 'In Search of Peter Pan.'  To my ears this is a patented slice of classic Kate Bush - a delicate melody that highlighted her amazing voice and delicate backing vocals that were like icing on a cake.  In some promotional material for the album Bush talked a little bit about the song's inspiration "... itís sorta about childhood. And the book itself is an absolutely amazing observation on paternal attitudes and the relationships between the parents Ė how itís reflected on the children. And I think itís a really heavy subject, you know, how a young innocence mind can be just controlled, manipulated, and they donít necessarily want it to happen that way. And itís really just a song about that."  The final section of the song includes lyrics lifted from 'When You Wish Upon a Star' taken from the Disney film Pinocchio.  YouTube has a fascinating 1979 performance of the song filmed at a date in Manchester, England: KATE BUSH - In Search of Peter Pan/ Symphony In Blue -LIVE IN MANCHESTER 1979 (youtube.com)

3.) Wow (Kate Bush) - 3:58 rating: *** stars

I've always seen the fragile ballad  'Wow' as reflecting Bush's dark view of her dealings with record executives and the music business in general.  The contrast between the pretty melody and the dark lyrics is pretty wild.  A slightly shortened version of the track was released as the second single.  The 45 was released in dozens of countries with the notable exception of the US.

 

- 1979's 'Wow' b/w 'Fullhouse' (EMI catalog number EMI 2911)  # 14 UK charts

 

EMI also released a promotional video for the song.  It was reportedly recorded in a single take: Kate Bush - Wow - Official Music Video - Version 1 (youtube.com)    Interesting pairing - YouTube has a clip of her performing the song as part of an April, 1979 ABBA television special: Kate Bush - Wow " high-quality " 1979 (youtube.com)

4.) Don't Push Your Foot on the Heartbrake (Kate Bush) - 3:12  rating: *** stars

Another "older" composition that was originally intended for the debut album, 'Don't Push Your Foot on the Heartbrake' (no it was a misspelling), was interesting for showing Bush could go from fragile balladeer to rocker in a heartbeat.  The lyrics are goofy (even by Bush's standards; full of "gearhead" terminology.  Don't ask me what it's about as I don't have a clue.  YouTube has a mesmerizing performance of the song from her 1979 Christmas special: Kate Bush - Don't Push Your Foot On The Heartbrake (1979 Xmas Special) (youtube.com)

5.) Oh England My Lionheart (Kate Bush) - 3:10 rating: **** stars

Even the most hardcore Anglophile would acknowledge Bush's reflections on England are little more than wistful nostalgia.  At the same time, the delicate acoustic arrangement and her yearning vocals - well she could sell me an acre in Cambria.  Bush has some of the most dedicated fans I've ever run into and there's an amazing website dedicated to her - The Kate Bush Encyclopedia.  The Encyclopedia has a quote from Bush on the song: "Itís really very much a song about the Old England that we all think about whenever weíre away, you know, ďah, the wonderful EnglandĒ and how beautiful it is amongst all the rubbish, you know. Like the old buildings weíve got, the Old English attitudes that are always around. And this sort of very heavy emphasis on nostalgia that is very strong in England. People really do it alot, you know, like ďI remember the war andÖĒ You know itís very much a part of our attitudes to life that we live in the past. And itís really just a sort of poetical play on the, if you like, the romantic visuals of England, and the second World WarÖ Amazing revolution that happened when it was over and peaceful everything seemed, like the green fields. And itís really just a exploration of that.  YouTube is a treasure trove for all things Kate Bush.  Here's a link to a 1979 performance of the song at Hammersmith Odeon:  Kate Bush-Oh England My Lionheart (youtube.com)

 

(side 2)
1.)
Fullhouse (Kate Bush) - 3:14 rating: **** stars

The album's second new composition, 'Fullhouse' was a relatively straightforward composition with lyrics seemingly reflecting the pressures she was having to cope with.  The multi-tracked vocals also nicely showcased her patented "little girl" voice.  The track appeared as the "B" side to her 'Wow' single.

2.) In the Warm Room (Kate Bush) - 3:35 rating: ** stars
'In the Warm Room' as a stark (Bush and piano), lyrically dense ballad.  This one's never registered with me.  From the ate Bush Encyclopedia, Bush talked about the song's background (admittedly I'm still clueless what it's about: "m always getting accused of being a feminist. Really I do write a lot of my songs for men, actually. In fact, ĎIn The Warm Roomí is written for men because there are so many songs for women about wonderful men that come up and chat you up when youíre in the disco and I thought it would be nice to write a song for men about this amazing female. And I think that I am probably female-oriented with my songs because Iím a female and have very female emotions but I do try to aim a lot of the psychology, if you like, at men."  YouTube has a clip of Bush performing the song during her 1979 "The Tour of Life" trek in support of the "Lionheart" album.  This performance ended up on German television.  I actually like it more than the studio version: Kate Bush - In The Warm Room (Live in Germany) (youtube.com)

3.) Kashka from Baghdad (Kate Bush) - 3:55 rating: *** stars

Another lovely keyboard-powered ballad ... kudos to Bush for taking on what was still largely a taboo subject - the backing vocals are hypnotic.  Bush's comments on the song: "That actually came from a very strange American Detective series that I caught a couple of years ago, and there was a musical theme that they kept putting in. And they had an old house, in this particular thing, and it was just a very moody, pretty awful serious thing. And it just inspired the idea of this old house somewhere in Canada or America with two people in it that no-one knew anything about. And being a sorta small town, everybody wanted to know what everybody what else was up to. And these particular people in this house had a very private thing happening."  So what was that private thing?  Another quote from Bush: " ...a happy homosexual couple who overcome prying eyes and vicious tongues by keeping themselves to themselves ..."  YouTube has a performance of the song from an 1978 appearance on the BBC's Ask Aspel program: Kate Bush Kashka From Baghdad (youtube.com)

4.) Coffee Homeground (Kate Bush) - 3:38 rating: ** stars

The final new song, 'Coffee Homeground' found Bush at her most stage-show-ish and operatic.  Can't say it's a side of her talents I particularly like.  "[the song] was in fact inspired directly from a cab driver that I met who was in fact a bit nutty. And itís just a song about someone who thinks theyíre being poisoned by another person, they think that thereís Belladonna in their tea and that whenever they offer them something to eat, itís got poison in it. And itís just a humorous aspect of paranoia really and we sort of done it in a Brechtian style, the old sort of German [vibe] to try and bring across the humour side of it."  Guess that explains the broken German fragments that end the song.  I'm guessing this was from one of her "The Tour of Life" performances.  The video and sound quality are poor: Kate Bush - Coffee Homeground live 1979 (youtube.com)

5.) Hammer Horror (Kate Bush) - 4:39

It opens up sounding life a Jeff Lynne arrangement and then veers into patented Bush territory; both musically and lyrically.  Catchy refrain.  Where in the world did these song ideas come from?  Bush used to issue a newsletter to her fans and she talked about the song in a November 1979 issue of the fanzine:  "The song is not about, as many think, Hammer Horror films. It is about an actor and his friend. His friend is playing the lead in a production of The Hunchback of Notre Dame, a part heís been reading all his life, waiting for the chance to play it. Heís finally got the big break heís always wanted, and he is the star. After many rehearsals he dies accidentally, and the friend is asked to take the role over, which, because his own career is at stake, he does. The dead man comes back to haunt him because he doesnít want him to have the part, believing heís taken away the only chance he ever wanted in life. And the actor is saying, ďLeave me alone, because it wasnít my fault Ė I have to take this part, but Iím wondering if itís the right thing to do because the ghost is not going to leave me alone and is really freaking me out. Every time I look round a corner heís there, he never disappears.Ē The song was inspired by seeing James Cagney playing the part of Lon Chaney playing the hunchback Ė he was an actor in an actor in an actor, rather like Chinese boxes, and thatís what I was trying to create."

 

A slightly shorted version of the song was released as the album's first single:

 

- 1979's 'Hammer Horror' b/w 'Coffee Homeground' (EMI catalog number EMI 2887)  # 44 on the UK charts.

 

Showcasing Bush's dance background, EMI commissioned a promotional video for the song: Kate Bush - Hammer Horror - Official Music Video (youtube.com)

 

 

 

 


Genre: rock

Rating: 4 stars ****

Title:  The Dreaming

Company: EMI America

Catalog: ST-17084
Year:
 1982

Country/State: Bexleyheath, Southeast London, UK

Grade (cover/record): VG+/VG+

Comments: --

Available: 1

Catalog ID: --

Price: $35.00

 

Self-produced, Kate Bush spent two years working on 1982's "The Dreaming."  While her entire discography is eclectic, experimental and challenging her fourth studio album took it all to a new level.  And that's a promise and a warning.  Bush has never been the kind of artist who was going to be to everyone's taste.  What some folks find fascinating; groundbreaking and endearing, others are going to react to with WTF.  I was certainly in the latter category when I was first introduced to this album in college.  I had a roommate who was a passionate Kate Bush fan and played this album non-stop for months.  Trying to study when he was blasting stuff like the hyperactive 'Sat In Your Lap' convinced me he'd lost his mind.  Admittedly, after the 50th spin, some of it's quirky charms began to work on me.  (Rob you were right and I was wrong.)

 

With EMI/America granting Bush the freedom to pretty much do whatever she wanted to, Bush recorded material across at least three studios, working with at least thirteen engineers.  She also availed herself to a dizzying array of sessions musicians and instrumentation ranging from Celtic uilleann pipes to cutting edge Fairlight CMI synthesizers.  In the midst of the project Bush found herself having to fight through a period of intense writer's block, walking away from the project for several months.  When all was said and done, the album reflected an amazingly dense, diverse and personal set of material.  Admittedly personal is a subjective term, even more so when talking about Kate Bush and on this collection she took her inspirations from all over the map - this was not your girl-loses-boy; girl-wins-back-boy themed album.  Lyrics addressing Houdini's death ('Houdini'), desecration of Aboriginal lands ('The Dreaming') and tracking and killing American soldiers in Vietnam ('Pull Out the Pin) were dense and frequently obscure.  This sure wasn't a happy album that you were going to play at a house warming party.  Looking back at the album, one of the things that strikes me the most is what sounded incredibly weird and uncommercial in 1982 doesn't sound nearly as bizarre today.  True, songs like 'There Goes a Tenner', 'Pull Out the Pin' and 'All the Love' reflect unconventional subject matter, weird time signatures and melodic shifts, but at last to my ears, the album doesn't sound nearly as out there.  Nah, I'm unlikely to find myself humming 'Get Out of My House' while on a walk, but I won't go running to find a different song. And as much of a challenge as it may have been for me and many other listeners, the album took an even greater toll on Bush who was subsequently diagnosed with nervous exhaustion.  Three years went by before she released another album. During that timeframe Bush built a state-of-the-art 48 track studio in her parents' home.  There's clearly a thesis waiting to be written on this lone album. 

 

"The Dreaming" track listing:
(side 1)

1.) Sat in Your Lap (Kate Bush) - 3:29 rating: **** stars

Finding a Kate Bush tune that captures her unique combination of catchy and eccentric isn't tough since its a target rich environment. That said, the hyperactive 'Sat In Your Lap' isn't a bad place to start.  The combination of tribal drums, Fairlight horns, start-and-stop vocals were startling.  Bush had been playing with a rough outline for the song for some time, but was moved to complete it after going to see a Stevie Wonder concert. In a 1985 MTV interview Bush described the song's inspiration as: "Sat In Your Lap' is very much a search for knowledge. And about the kind of people who really want to have knowledge but can't be bothered to do the things that they should in order to get it. So they're sitting there saying how nice it would be to have this or to do that without really desiring to do the things it takes you to get it. And also the more you learn the more ignorant you realize you are and that you get over one wall to find an even bigger one."  Recorded at the start of "The Dreaming" sessions, the track was released as a single a year before the parent album was completed.  A slightly remixed version appeared on "The Dreaming" LP.  

 

- 1981's 'Sat In Your Lap' b/s 'Lords of the Ready River' (EMI catalog 1A 006-64452)   

 

The promotional video simply has to be seen.  It adds a totally different dimension to the song.  Bush actually went out and bought a pair of roller skates in order to learn how to skate for the video: Kate Bush - Sat in Your Lap - Official Music Video - YouTube   I once read a comment on the video to the effect Bush was the only person who could make wild-eyed, bat-shit crazy look sexy ...  Watching the video I can see the point.  LOL

 

2.) There Goes a Tenner (Kate Bush) - 3:24 rating: *** stars

'There Goes a Tenner' found Bush adding a music hall and a heavy Cockney accent to her storyline about a bank robbery gone wrong.  In an interview discussing "The Dreaming" LP she talked about the song: "It's about amateur robbers who have only done small things, and this is quite a big robbery that they've been planning for months, and when it actually starts happening, they start freaking out. They're really scared, and they're so aware of the fact that something could go wrong that they just freaked out, and paranoid and want to go home. (...) It's sort of all the films I've seen with robberies in, the crooks have always been incredibly in control and calm, and I always thought that if I ever did a robbery, I'd be really scared, you know, I'd be really worried. So I thought I'm sure that's a much more human point of view."  What young woman contemplates something like this?   Just my opinion, but given the song wasn't very commercial it stood as an odd choice for the album's third single. Not that it stopped EMI from releasing it:  Perhaps because it was somewhat strange, it was only released in the UK.  

 

- 1982's 'There Goes a Tenner' b/w 'There Goes A Tenner' (EMI catalog number EMI 5350)

 

There was also promotional video which at least helped clarify the plotline: Kate Bush - There Goes a Tenner - Official Music Video - YouTube  YouTube also has a clip of Bush lip-synching the song on the English Razzmatazz television show.  Yeah the audience appeared a little confused by the performance: Kate Bush - There Goes A Tenner - Razzmatazz - YouTube

 

 

3.) Pull Out the Pin (Kate Bush) - 5:26  rating: *** stars 

Sporting a great bass line, longtime Bush mentor David Gilmour on backing vocals and an awesome refrain "I love life", the song was inspired by an Australian documentary Bush saw looking at the Vietnam war from the Vietnamese side - specifically Viet Cong soldiers'  ability to smell, track and kill American soldiers.  Not the most uplifting plotline I've ever heard.  Bush talked about the song with author Robin Smith in a 1982 interview. "I saw a programme with a camera man on the front line in Vietnam. The Vietnamese were portrayed as being very craftful people who treated their fighting as an art. They could literally smell the Americans coming through the jungle. Their culture of Coke cans and ice creams actually made them smell. Anyway, I learnt that before the Vietnamese went into action they popped a little silver Buddha in their mouths. I thought that was quite beautiful. Grotesque beauty attracts me. Negative images are often so interesting."

4.) Suspended in Gaffa (Kate Bush) - 3:54   rating: **** stars

Built on a waltz structure, 'Suspended In Gaffa' sported one of Bush's bounciest melodies and was probably the closest thing to a commercial tune on the album.  The song was simultaneously giddy and thought provoking.  Gaffa apparently referred to gaffer tape.   In a 1985 MTV interview Bush talked about the song:: "Suspended In Gaffa' is, I suppose, similar in some ways to 'Sat In Your Lap' - the idea of someone seeking something, wanting something. I was brought up as a Roman Catholic and had the imagery of purgatory and of the idea that when you were taken there that you would be given a glimpse of God and then you wouldn't see him again until you were let into heaven. And we were told that in Hell it was even worse because you got to see God but then you knew that you would never see him again. And it's sorta using that as the parallel. And the idea of seeing something incredibly beautiful, having a religious experience as such, but not being able to get back there. And it was playing musically with the idea of the verses being sorta real time and someone happily jumping through life [Makes happy motion with head] and then you hit the chorus and it like everything sorta goes into slow mo and they're reaching [Makes slow reaching motion with arm] for that thing that they want and they can't get there."  The track was tapped as a European 45:

- 1981's 'Suspended In Gaffa' b/w 'Dreamtime' (instrumental) (EMI catalog number 1A 006-64972)   

 

The single was accompanied by a fascinating promotional video. Having viewed the video, someone described her performance along the lines of "she's Bowie without all the different personas and cocaine ..."   Great description.  Kate Bush - Suspended in Gaffa - Official Music Video - YouTube
5.) Leave It Open (Kate Bush) - 3:20  rating: **** stars

Rhythmically rich and featuring a driving beat (be ready when the drums start blasting around the two minute mark), 'Leave It Open' is also one of the strangest tunes she's recorded.  The track featured heavily treated vocals and what I thought were backwards tapes, but was actually Bush having learned how to sing the phrase "We let the weirdness in" so that it sounded like it was backwards.  Geez !!!.  In a 1982 NME interview with Richard Cook Bush describe  the song as: "Leave It Open' is the idea of human beings being like cups - like receptive vessels. We open and shut ourselves at different times. It's very easy to let you ego go "nag nag nag" when you should shut it. Or when you're very narrow-minded and you should be open. Finally you should be able to control your levels of receptivity to a productive end."

 

(side 2)
1.) The Dreaming
(Kate Bush) - 4:41

Geez, complete with Didgeridoo, Australian accent, Aboriginal chanting and various animal sound effects, imagine listening to a world music tune on a bad acid trip ...  Yeah, the title track was completely bizarre and simply fascinating.  The track was one of the last written and recorded for the album and was originally entitled 'The Abo Song.'  Unaware" Abo" was a slur term for Aborigines, the song was quickly re-titled 'Dreamtime' and finally 'The Dreaming.'  Bush talked about the song in a 1982 interview with Poppix: "Well, years ago my brother bought 'Sun Arise' [by Rolf Harris] and I loved it, it was such a beautiful song. And ever since then I've wanted to create something which had that feel of Australia within it. I loved the sound of the traditional aboriginal instruments, and as I grew older, I became much more aware of the actual situation which existed in Australia between the white Australian and the aborigines, who were being wiped out by man's greed for uranium. Digging up their sacred grounds, just to get plutonium, and eventually make weapons out of it. And I just feel that it's so wrong: this beautiful culture being destroyed just so that we can build weapons which maybe one day will destroy everything, including us. We should be learning from the aborigines, they're such a fascinating race. And Australia - there's something very beautiful about that country." 

 

In tandem with the album itself, the track was released as the second single.  Bush intended to release a 12" version, but the absence of sales quashed the plan.

 

- 1982's 'The Dreaming' b/w 'The Dreaming' (instrumental) (EMI catalog number 5296)

 

Naturally it was accompanied by a promotional video:  Kate Bush - The Dreaming - Official Music Video - YouTube  Whereas some of Bush's videos help clarify her lyrical ideas, that's not the case with this one.

 

 

 

2.) Night of the Swallow (Kate Bush) - 5:22

'Night of the Swallow' was recorded in Ireland with members of The Chieftains and the Irish band Planxty. As you'd expect Bush-goes-Celtic is different.  Yes, there was plenty of acoustic instrumentation, but it was there for color and didn't really change Bush's unique take on the ballad.  Bush discussed the song in a 1982 edition of her fan club newsletter: "Ever since I heard my first Irish pipe music it has been under my skin, and every time I hear the pipes, it's like someone tossing a stone in my emotional well, sending ripples down my spine. I've wanted to work with Irish music for years, but my writing has never really given me the opportunity of doing so until now. As soon as the song was written, I felt that a ceilidh band would be perfect for the choruses. The verses are about a lady who's trying to keep her man from accepting what seems to be an illegal job. He is a pilot and has been hired to fly some people into another country. No questions are to be asked, and she gets a bad feeling from the situation. But for him, the challenge is almost more exciting than the job itself, and he wants to fly away. As the fiddles, pipes and whistles start up in the choruses, he is explaining how it will be all right. He'll hide the plane high up in the clouds on a night with no moon, and he'll swoop over the water like a swallow. Bill Whelan is the keyboard player with Planxty, and ever since Jay played me an album of theirs I have been a fan. I rang Bill and he tuned into the idea of the arrangement straight away. We sent him a cassette, and a few days later he phoned the studio and said, "Would you like to hear the arrangement I've written?" I said I'd love to, but how? "Well, Liam is with me now, and we could play it over the phone." I thought how wonderful he was, and I heard him put down the phone and walk away. The cassette player started up. As the chorus began, so did this beautiful music - through the wonder of telephones it was coming live from Ireland, and it was very moving. We arranged that I would travel to Ireland with Jay and the multi-track tape, and that we would record in Windmill Lane Studios, Dublin. As the choruses began to grow, the evening drew on and the glasses of Guiness, slowly dropping in level, became like sand glasses to tell the passing of time. We missed our plane and worked through the night. By eight o'clock the next morning we were driving to the airport to return to London. I had a very precious tape tucked under my arm, and just as we were stepping onto the plane, I looked up into the sky and there were three swallows diving and chasing the flies.."  

 

 

The Irish theme probably explains why the track was released as a single in Ireland:   

 

- 1983's 'Night of the Swallow' b/w 'Houdini' (IEMI catalog number 9001)

 

 

 

 

3.) All the Love (Kate Bush) - 4:29  rating: **** stars

Perhaps it was Del Palmer's fretless bass, but I've always felt 'All the Love' had a jazzy edge.   Weird in a Joni Mitchell jazz-era way (think along the lines of "Mingus" or "Hejira").  The voicemail section was ... well either brilliant, or mad.  And as she discussed in one of her fanzine newsletters, brilliant seems to be applicable:  "Although we are often surrounded by people and friends, we are all ultimately alone, and I feel sure everyone feels lonely at some time in their life. I wanted to write about feeling alone, and how having to hide emotions away or being too scared to show love can lead to being lonely as well. There are just some times when you can't cope and you just don't feel you can talk to anyone. I go and find a bathroom, a toilet or an empty room just to sit and let it out and try to put it all together in my mind. Then I go back and face it all again. I think it's sad how we forget to tell people we love that we do love them. Often we think about these things when it's too late or when an extreme situation forces us to show those little things we're normally too shy or too lazy to reveal. One of the ideas for the song sparked when I came home from the studio late one night. I was using an answering machine to take the day's messages and it had been going wrong a lot, gradually growing worse with time. It would speed people's voices up beyond recognition, and I just used to hope they would ring back again one day at normal speed. This particular night, I started to play back the tape, and the machine had neatly edited half a dozen messages together to leave "Goodbye", "See you!", "Cheers", "See you soon" .. It was a strange thing to sit and listen to your friends ringing up apparently just to say goodbye. I had several cassettes of peoples' messages all ending with authentic farewells, and by copying them onto 1/4'' tape and re-arranging the order, we managed to synchronize the 'callers' with the last verse of the song. There are still quite a few of my friends who have not heard the album or who have not recognised themselves and are still wondering how they managed to appear in the album credits when they didn't even set foot into the studio."

4.) Houdini (Kate Bush) - 3:48  rating: **** stars

Yes, 'Houdini' was inspired by Harry Houdini, but maybe not the Houdini most of us remember.  The song was also the inspiration for the album cover - the key shown in Bush's mouth representing the way Houdini's wife Bess would pass an escape key to her husband.  The song was apparently based on the plan the pair had developed which included a secret code they would use in an attempt to communicate after his death.  Musically the range Bush displays on the song was stunning - little lost girl to death metal winch in under four minutes.  In a 1982 interview with Poppix, Bush explained the song's roots: "During his incredible lifetime Houdini took it upon himself to expose the whole spiritualist thing - you know, seances and mediums. And he found a lot them to be phoney, but before he died Houdini and his wife worked out a code, so that if he came back after his death his wife would know it was him by the code. So after his death his wife made several attempts to contact her dead husband, and on one occasion he did come through to her. I thought that was so beautiful - the idea that this man who had spent his life escaping from chains and ropes had actually managed to contact his wife. The image was so beautiful that I just had to write a song about it."  What Bush failed to mention is that his wife Bess later came to doubt the posthumous contact; thinking someone had learned what the secret code was and used it to trick her.

5.) Get Out of My House (Kate Bush) - 5:25  rating: **** stars

'Get Out of My House' was one of those tracks that just left me in the dark.  With a dark haunted feeling, I remember hearing Bush screaming the title refrain over and over and thinking you really wouldn't want to confront a pissed-off Bush.  And the donkey sounds ...  what the hell?  Luckily Bush provided an explanation of the song in a 1982 edition of her fan club newsletter: "The Shining' is the only book I've read that has frightened me. While reading it I swamped around in its snowy imagery and avoided visiting certain floors of the big, cold hotel, empty for the winter. As in 'Alien', the central characters are isolated, miles (or light years) away from anyone or anything, but there is something in the place with them. They're not sure what, but it isn't very nice. The setting for this song continues the theme - the house which is really a human being, has been shut up - locked and bolted, to stop any outside forces from entering. The person has been hurt and has decided to keep everybody out. They plant a 'concierge' at the front door to stop any determined callers from passing, but the thing has got into the house upstairs. It's descending in the lift, and now it approaches the door of the room that you're hiding in. You're cornered, there's no way out, so you turn into a bird and fly away, but the thing changes shape, too. You change, it changes; you can't escape, so you turn around and face it, scare it away."  It's relatively unknown, but Bush filmed a rather disturbing promotional video for the song: Kate Bush - Get Out Of My House - YouTube

 

 

 

 

 

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