Coyne, Kevin

Band members               Related acts

- Kevin Coyne (RIP 2004) -- vocals, guitar


  supporting musicians:

- Chilli Charles -- drums (1974)

- Tony Cousins -- bass (1974)

- Ricahrd Dodd -- sax (1974)

- Zoot Money -- keyboards (1978)

- Ruan O'Lochlainn -- sax, guitar, keyboards (1974)

- Tony Slade - drums (1974)

- Gordon Smith -- guitar (1974)

- Barry St. John -- backing vocals (1974)

- Liza Strike -- backing vocals (1974)

- Andy Summers -- guitar (1978)

- Steve Thompson -- bass (1978)

- Fiarachra Trench -- keybaords (1974)

- Peter Woolf -- drums (1978)



- Siren





Genre: rock

Rating: *** (3 stars)

Title:  Blame It On the Night

Company: Virgin

Catalog: V.2012

Year: 1974

Country/State: UK

Grade (cover/record): VG+ / VG+

Comments: UK pressing; textured sleeve and includes the lyric sheet insert

Available: 1

GEMM catalog ID: 5543

Price: $100.00


I'm not sure why, but 1974's "Blame It On the Night is extremely difficult to score; easily one of the rarer offerings in Kevin Coyne's extensive (40 plus LP) catalog.  I'd guess the rarity factor might have something to do with the fact Virgin management knew he was a big time eccentric who had little or no chance of scoring any kind of popular recognition, let alone sales, so they only printed up a handful of copies ...  Who knows?    Maybe the copies just got lost.



Produced by Steve Verroca, the album found the ever-challenging Kevin Coyne clawing his way through another set of original material.  Hard to believe I'm typing this, but Coyne and Virgin actually seem to have made an effort to sound more commercial (yes I'm using the term loosely).  His lyrics remained extremely personal, hard to understand (especially for an American fan - anyone got a clue on what 'Poor Swine' was about?), and occasionally quite disturbing, (check out flamenco-meets mental meltdown 'Witch') but tracks like the opening rocker 'River of Sin' and 'I Believe In Love' (the latter complete with female backing chorus), and the previously mentioned 'Poor Swine' actually sported recognizable melodies that wouldn't have sounded bad on top-40 radio. To the relief of longstanding Coyne fans, tracks like 'Sign of the Times', 'Light Up Your Little Light' and the disturbing 'Don't Delude Me' were far more typical and predictably inscrutable Coyne efforts.  Coming from a fairly well-to-do suburban lifestyle, Coyne's catalog of life's outsiders and losers has always struck an ominous chord with me.  It's kind of like seeing a bad traffic accident.  The carnage is horrible, yet there's something fascinating about the horror that makes it hard to take your eyes of the scene.  Same thing with this set.  Add to that Coyne may not have been the most tuneful singer you've ever encounter, but like Joe Cocker after a week lost in the desert, Coyne's dry and labored voice was actually kind of engaging as he crackled, groaned and moaned his way through these dozen songs.    (By the way the album clocks it at almost an hour in length).


Another shocker - Virgin actually decided to tap the LP for a single:


- 1974's 'I Believe In Love' b/w 'Queenie Queenie Caroline' (Virgin catalog number VS 107)


As you'd expect, the album sold about 100 copies in the UK and zero in the States.  Shame, since even though it's a challenging work, there were some real unexpected pleasures to be found here - for goodness sakes who would have ever thought I'd enjoy a country-flavored rocker that seems to be celebrate someone's release from an asylum.


"Blame It On the Night" track listing:
(side 1)

1.) River Of Sin   (Kevin Coyne) - 
2.) Sign Of The Times   (Kevin Coyne) - 
3.) I Believe In Love   (Kevin Coyne) - 
4.) Don't Delude Me   (Kevin Coyne) - 
5.) Wanting You Is Not Easy   (Kevin Coyne) - 
6.) Take A Train   (Kevin Coyne) - 

(side 2)
Blame lt On The Night   (Kevin Coyne) - 

2.) Poor Swine   (Kevin Coyne) - 
3.) Light Up Your Little Light   (Kevin Coyne) - 
4.) Choose   (Kevin Coyne) - 
5.) Witch   (Kevin Coyne) - 
6.) Right On Her Side   (Kevin Coyne) - 



For the curious, here's a YouTube clip of one of the songs:

- 1974 Hyde Park performance of 'Poor Swine"






Genre: rock

Rating: *** (3 stars)

Title:  In Living Black and White

Company: Virgin

Catalog: VD  2-2505

Year: 1977

Country/State: UK

Grade (cover/record): VG+ /VG+

Comments: UK pressing; double LP; gatefold sleeve

Available: 2

GEMM catalog ID: 4684

Price: $40.00

Recorded at various dates supporting Coyne's 1976 "Heartburn" tour, 1977's "In Living Black and White" was released in the UK as a 16 track, double LP set.  Given it's limited commercial in the States, Virgin Records elected to release it in a condensed single LP format for the US market.  Co-produced by Robert John Mutt Lange and Steve Lewis, the album found Coyne touring with an exceptional band which included keyboardist Zoot Money and future Police guitarist Andy Summers.  It's interesting and somewhat ironic that the album didn't attract a great deal of attention when originally released.  Only after Coyne's 2004 death did  rave critical reviews and a cult following start to dribble in.  Those reviews were fine, but I'll go ahead and warn you that parts of this album are friggin' challenging to get through.  Featuring mostly original material, Coyne's wasn't a particularly memorable singer (imagine Joe Cocker having broken out of a mental institute and decided to carry a straight razor for fun), though I have to admit that he actually sounded better live than on some of his studio sets.  Like most of his material, many of the songs were apparently very autobiographical ('House On the Hill' and others based on his post-art school time spent working at a mental institution), and lyrically lots of the material was major league depressing, covering the entire spectrum of human and social wreckage that he'd seen in his personal life and professional career. Coyne's largely acoustic side one performances were particularly raw and difficult to get through - definitely not a Saturday night party album.  Admittedly it got a little better when the band kicked in ...  tracks such as 'Eastbourne Ladies', 'Marjory Razorblade' and 'Turpentine' actually rocked with some conviction.  Still, listening to this in one sitting was one major downer; certainly not a good idea for folks suffering from an already fragile mental makeup, and for lots of people this was going to make for some difficult slogging.  On the other hand, Coyne's fans know what to expect ...

"In Living Black and White" track listing:
(side 1)

1.) Case History No. 2   (Kevin Coyne) - 

2.) Fat Girl    (Kevin Coyne) - 

3.) Talking To No-One    (Kevin Coyne) - 

4.) My Mother's Eyes    (Kevin Coyne) - 

5.) Ol' Man River    (Kevin Coyne) - 

6.) Eastbourne Ladies   (Kevin Coyne) - 

(side 2)
1.) Sunday Morning Sunrise    (Kevin Coyne) - 

2.) One Fine Day   (Kevin Coyne) - 

3.) Marjory Razorblade   (Kevin Coyne) - 


(side 3)

1.) Coconut Island    (Kevin Coyne) - 

2.) Turpentine    (Kevin Coyne) - 

3.) House On The Hill    (Kevin Coyne) - 

4.) Knocking On Heaven's Door     (Bob Dylan) - 


(side 4)

1.) Mummy    (Kevin Coyne) - 

2.) Big White Bird    (Kevin Coyne) - 

3.) America    (Kevin Coyne) - 


And thanks to YouTube, you can see a couple of Coyne live performances:

- 1973's BBC television appearence 'House On the Hill'

- 1979 concert performance of 'Eastbourne Ladies'