Eric Stewart


Band members                              Related acts

- Eric Stewart -- vocals, guitar, bass, keyboards, percussion

 

  backing musicians: (1982)

- Paul Burgess -- drums, percussion

- Lennie Crooks -- sax

- Vic Emerson -- keyboards

 

  backing musicians (2009)

- Alain Merlingeas -- drums, percussion


 

- Father Doctor

- Wayne Fontana and the Mindbenders

- Hotlegs (Eric Stewart)

- 10cc. (Eric Stewart)

- The Mindbenders

 

 

 


 

Genre: rock

Rating: *** (3 stars)

Title:  Frooty Rooties

Company: Mercury

Catalog: MERS 9

Year: 1982

Country/State: UK

Grade (cover/record): VG+/VG+

Comments: UK pressing; original  inner sleeve with printed lyrics; promo stamp on back cover

Available: 1

Catalog ID: 4625

Price: $100.00

Cost: $66.00

 

If you like 10cc. you'll probably like this Eric Stewart solo set.  If you can't stand the former's occasionally all too-cute material, then you probably want to stay away from this set.  On the other hand given it's surprisingly hard to find a copy of this effort (particularly the vinyl version) and the fact it carries an equally surprisingly price, the latter option may not be too difficult a choice for many folks.

 

 

At least to my ears Stewart (along with long time partner Graham Gouldman) was responsible for 10cc's most mainstream and commercial material.  Accordingly 1982's self-produced "Frooty Rooties" should have sounded quite familiar to 10cc fans.  Featuring all original material, tracks such as the multi-part suite 'The Ritual', 'All My Loving Following You' and 'Doris the Florist (The Bouquet That Nobody Caught)' showcased Stewart's instantly recognizable voice, catchy melodies, and patented 'wall of sound' production values.  In fact anyone hearing this album for the first time could easily be forgiven for mistaking it for mid-1970s era 10cc (complete with occasionally too cute lyrics).  While much of the album would have sounded good on top-40 radio, the set wasn't perfect.  Stretching out over 10 minutes, the three part 'The Ritual' recalled some of 10cc's duller, later stage endeavors, while the '50s-styled 'Night and Day' was simply boring.  Personal favorites - the country tinged 'Make the Pieces Fit' and the should've-been-a-hit 'All My Loving Following You'.  Unfortunately Stewart's solo release attracted virtually no attention in the States, making it extremely difficult to track down.

"Frooty Rooties" track listing:
(side 1)

1.) The Ritual - 10:00

    (Part 1) Progress de la Rake  (Eric Stewart) - 

    (Part 2) Euphoria   (Eric Stewart) - 

    (Part 3) The Rakes Process A Dog with Four Trees

2.) Make the Pieces Fit   (Eric Stewart) - 

3.) Never Say I Told You So   (Eric Stewart) - 

4.) Night and Day   (Eric Stewart) - 

 

(side 2)
1.) All My Loving Following You   (Eric Stewart) - 

2.) Rockin My Troubles Away   (Eric Stewart) - 

3.) Doris the Florist (The Bouquet That Nobody Caught)   (Eric Stewart) - 

4.) Guitaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaargh's Rooties   (Eric Stewart) - 

5.) Strictly Business   (Eric Stewart) - 

 

 

Stewart had a nice website at: http://www.ericstewart.uk.com/ but for some reason removed virtually all of the material in 2014.

 

 

 

 

 


Genre: rock

Rating: **** (4 stars)

Title:  Viva La Difference

Company: Mercury

Catalog:  STRSCD20081

Year: 2009

Country/State: UK

Grade (cover/record): --

Comments: --

Available: --

Catalog ID: --

Price: --

 

Eric Stewart began recording what would become "Viva La Difference" in 2006, but the sessions quickly ground to a halt with Stewart shifting his attentions to renovating his UK home and building a studio in France.   Three years later the album was finally finished.  Sadly the collection didn't attract much attention from the media or the buying public and while you can readily download it, good luck finding a CD copy for under $100.  (As much as I love Stewart, there's no way I'm going to pay that for a CD.)  

 

Musically I've got to admit is fourth studio set was a major surprise.  All of Stewart's earlier solo albums were interesting, but none were knock-me-to-the-floor-and-take-away-my-breath good.   While this one didn't reach that status, on a song-for-song basis it was good.  Very good.   Vocally Stewart seldom sounded as impressive - even more startling given he was in his mid-60s.  Exemplified by tracks like 'Gnome Sweet Gnomes' and 'Down By the Palace' he also seemed pretty pissed off, adding a nice slice of dry and biting bile to his instantly recognizable voice.  Yeah, for 10cc fans there were occasional flashbacks to that band's unique sound - to my ears 'Millennium Blues' and the breezy title tracks came close.  That said, this wasn't going to be mistaken for a 10cc release.  The songs were simply too mainstream for anyone to mistake this for a 10cc release.   Personally that was something I was more than willing to deal with.  Anyhow, there were plenty of highlights.  The slinky 'Friends Like These' was one of those tunes that crept into your head and wouldn't leave, while 'It's In the Blood' underscored Stewart's melodic gifts.    Executive summary -   this was simply one of the most commercial and melodic releases across the entire 10cc and family discography.   Shame nobody heard it.


"Viva La Difference" track listing:
(side 1)

1.) Gnome Sweet Gnomes   (Eric Stewart) - 5:20

Geez, talk about a dark and cutting tune ...   Every time I hear this one I'm left to wonder what triggered Stewart's slew of stinging bile seemingly aimed at the world of banking, or maybe international charities.  Makes me wonder if Stewart knows something about the banking system, or world charities that I don't.   Maybe I should hold on to my Combined Federal Campaign contributions.   Stewart's seldom sounded as good (the way he sings the refrain "play with your plunder ..." is bone chilling) and I've always loved the snarling guitar sound he gets on this one.   rating: **** stars

2.) It's In the Blood   (Eric Stewart)  - 5:00

Most people have forgotten what a talented melody writer Stewart is.  The breezy 'It's In the Blood serves as a wonderful example of his gifts.  One of those tracks that may not immediately sink in, but suddenly you find yourself humming the "it's in your blood" chorus.  The song also sported one of his prettiest guitar solos.   rating: **** stars

3.) Friends Like These   (Eric Stewart) - 4:50

Love the slinky slide guitar that opens the tune and kicks it along  ...   Slow builder with an almost hypnotic feel and one of the album's spotlight numbers.   Months later this one is still bouncing around my head.   rating: **** stars

4.) Down By the Palace   (Eric Stewart) - 5:40

I was never a fan of 10cc's lite reggae offerings ('Dreadlock Holiday'), and have to admit that 'Down By the Palace' didn't do much for me.   On the other hand, the tune sports one of Stewart's most blistering slices of social commentary.   rating: *** stars

5.) Do Not Bend   (Eric Stewart) - 4:36

Pretty mid-tempo tune that showcased Stewart's clever wordplay and was one of the most radio-ready selections (not that anyone was paying attention).   rating: *** stars

6.) Millennium Blues   (Eric Stewart) - 3:55

In case anyone had forgotten, 'Millennium Blues' showcased Stewart's frequently overlooked guitar chops.  To my ears this one had a very 10cc-esque feel.   Might explain why I like it so much.   rating: *** stars

7.) Viva La Difference   (Eric Stewart) - 3:36

The title track was another tune that included a dollop of reggae influences, though this time it was relegated to the sidelines with the focus on Stewart's jazzy guitar chords and the killer title track refrain.   Great tune.   rating: **** stars

8.) We're Not Alone   (Eric Stewart) - 5:41

The opening backward tapes were irritating, but Stewart's dark and pensive delivery saved the tune.  rating: *** stars

9.) Word of the Mouth   (Eric Stewart)- 3:43

The album's first true disappointment - non-descript tune that showcased a very '80s feel.   rating; ** stars

10.) Sleep At Night   (Eric Stewart) - 4:35

Another tune that I could live without ...  bland, formulaic, mildly bluesy track though it sported one of the album's best guitar solos.   rating: *** stars

11.) Can't Get Enough   (Eric Stewart) - 4:24

I certainly liked the harpsichord (?) opening, but then 'Can't Get Enough' shifted into production mode, losing any semblance of originality.    rating; ** stars

 

 

 

 

 


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