Alan Hull


Band members                             Related acts

  line up 1  

- Alan Hull (RIP 1995) -- vocals, guitar, keyboards

 

  supporting musicians (1973)

- Dave Brooks -- sax

- Ken Craddock -- keyboards, guitar

- Colin Gibson -- bass

- Ray Jackson -- harp, mandolin, backing vocals

- Ray Laidlaw -- drums, percussion

 

 

 

- Bretheren

- The Downtown Facion

- Lindisfarne

- Radiator

 

 

 

 


 

Genre: rock

Rating: 3 stars ***

Title:  Pipedream

Company: Elektra

Catalog:  EKS 75075
Year:
 1974

Country/State: Newcastle On Tyne, UK

Grade (cover/record): VG+/VG+

Comments: white label promo copy; sticker on cover

Available: 1

Catalog ID: 2808

Price: $20.00

 

Best time to listen to:  rainy Sunday mornings

With the collapse of Lindisfarne (half the band reappearing as Jack the Lad), it was only natural that singer/guitarist Alan Hull would strike out with a solo career.

 

Co-produced by Hull and Mickey Sweeney, 1973's "Pipedream" probably won't serve as a major shock to longtime Lindisfarne fans.  That makes sense given there was a good chance many of these songs were originally intended for a follow-up to Lindisfarne's 1972 "Dingly Dell" album. It was also underscored by musical support from Lindisfarne members Ken Craddock, ray Jackson, adn Ray Laidlaw.   Moreover, Hull was such a significant  part of the band, it's hard to hear pastoral tracks like 'United States of Mind', 'Cuntry Gentleman's Wife', and 'Money Game' and not flashback to Lindisfarne.  That's not to imply the album was a carbon copy of the former.  Tracks like 'Justanothersadsong' and the autobiographical 'Numbers (Traveling Band)' found Hull and company trotting out their rock and roll shoes.  Like most Lindisfarne albums, this one is probably too English to have ever found an American audience.  Hull's distinctive working class view of life and sense of humor just wasn't going to connect with most Americans.  Add to that, with the  possible exception of the single 'Numbers (Traveling Band)'  there weren't any tracks that jumped out and totally wowed you.  In fact, the first couple of times the results were a bit on the dull side.  Even if some of the English euphemisms were lost on American ears - check out the hysterical lyrics on 'Country Gentleman's Wife' or the life-on-the-road details buried in 'Numbers (Traveling Band)', the more you listened to it, the better the LP got.  Besides,, how could you not love an album that featured a Rene Magritte cover ?   

 

"Pipedream" track listing:
(side 1)

1.) Breakfast  (Alan Hull) - 3:40   rating: **** stars

I always thought 'Breakfast' was a tale of morning-after regret - a lover having to return to her family.  There's a live album ("Live At Clifton Poly") where Hull introduces this song as having been written about things he loved - so who knows ?  Maybe it was about breakfast ?.   Love it when the rest of the band kicks in giving the song a rock feel..   

2.) Justanothersadsong  (Alan Hull) - 2:50   rating: **** stars

Anyone who found Lindisfarne's heavy folk orientation a source of frustration was probably going to be thrilled to hear Hull take a crack at an out and out rock tune.  He pulled it off with considerable verve.  The tune was released as a single:

- 1973's 'Justanothersadsong' b/w 'Waiting' (Charisma catalog number CB 211)

3.) Money Game  (Alan Hull) -1:48   rating: *** stars

Set to a pastoral melody, the biting lyrics have always struck me as a no-holds-barred reflection on the end of Lindisfarne, Part 1. Hull's Geordie accented vocal delivery seldom sounded as good as on this one - even better when the sloshed band kicked in on backing vocals.   Shame the song wasn't longer.

4.) STD 0632 (instrumental)  (Alan Hull) - 3:12   rating: **** stars

I always wondered about the offbeat title - I know STD is an acronym for sexually transmitted diseases, but somewhere I read the tune was actually meant as a tribute to his hometown Newcastle On Tyne.   I'll go with the latter interpretation.  Anyhow, 'STD 0632' was a sweet, breezy instrumental that gave every band member a chance to share the spotlight,

5.) United States of the Mind  (Alan Hull) - 3:08  rating: *** stars

Pretty, acoustic number that bore more than a passing resemblance to Lindisfarne.  The video and sound quality are poor, but YouTube has a live performance of the song at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vKiLXqhliuY 

6.) Country Gentlemen's Wife   (Alan Hull) - 3:40  rating: *** stars

Just Hull and acoustic guitar ...   Imagine Dylan being born and raised in Newcastle on Tyne.  Ah, you have to smile hearing Hull singing about the fruits of temptation.

 

(side 2)

1.) Numbers (Traveling Band)   (Alan Hull) - 2:14   rating: **** stars

An autobiographical tune seemingly looking back on touring with Lindisfarne, hearing 'Numbers (Travelling Band)' you had to wonder why Hull didn't do more in the conventional rock arena.  Great song and easy to see why it was tapped as the album's leadoff single:

- 1973's 'Numbers (Travelling Band)' b/w 'Drinking Song' / 'One Off Pat' (Charisma catalog number CB-208)

2.) For the Bairnes   (Alan Hull) - 2:25  rating: *** stars

'For the Bairnes' was a nice, up-tempo, Music Hall-ish tune with a nice Dave Brooks sax solo.

3.) Drug Song   (Alan Hull) - 3:10   rating: **** stars

In spite of the title, the slightly jazzy 'Drug Song' didn't seem to preach pro, or con on the subject. Lovely lead guitar.

4.) Song for a Windmill   (Alan Hull) - 2:45   rating: **** stars

Upbeat, folk-ish melody with a downbeat lyric that seems to be lament for independent millers -  few do it as well as Hull.  

5.) Blue Murder   (Alan Hull) - 5:07   rating: **** stars

My vote for the album's best performance ...  Surrounded by kind of a jazzy melody (for some reason this one's always reminded me of The Zombies), Hull's quirky sense of humor was front and center and the lead guitar work was stunning.   

6.) I Hate To See You Cry   (Alan Hull) - 3:29   rating: **** stars

'I Hate To See You Cry' was a sweet, slightly out-of-tune piano propelled ballad.  One of Hull's prettiest melodies and most touching lyrics, it's easy to see why this one's been covered by a number of bands.  

 

 

Sadly, while working on a new album Hull died of a heart thrombosis (which I guess is a blood clot) in February 1995.  He was only 50.

 

 

 

 

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