Saturday, 11 March 2017

Ritz - Cockney Rebel

Simon Reynolds really got me excited about Cockney Rebel's first 2 LPs when he wrote about them in his fabulous 2016 book Shock & Awe. I'd only ever heard Cockney Rebel's Make Me Smile single previously plus there was a cover version that was a hit here in Australia in the late 80s. I'm thinking that was by Nick Barker or someone of that ilk. Anyway the two records The Human Menagerie from 1973 and 1974's The Psychomodo preceded that 1975 number one smash hit. Listening to Psychomodo today I was struck by how much the tune Ritz reminded me of The Church. Further into the track I realised 'Wait a minute, The Church covered this!' The Church's version of Ritz appeared on their 1996 album Magician Among The Spirits which I haven't heard in almost 20 years. So there's weird connections everywhere considering my last 3 posts.

This isn't as glammy or idiosyncratic as anything off the those first couple of LPs probably due to the fact Harley had sacked the original band. He also plays guitar here which is odd because one of the unique things about that first incarnation of Cockney Rebel was that they were guitar-less.

This clip makes me wanna get a bowler hat. How much would that wind everybody up?

So this was slated to appear on Box Of Birds which was their very own Pin Ups/Kicking Against The Pricks type of album ie. an LP of cover versions that were influential on the embryonic Church. But Box Of Birds came out a couple of years after Magician Among The Spirits. Confused? Well it gets more puzzling because Ritz has been removed from subsequent reissues of Magician Among The Spirits. There must be a story here, I just don't know what it is. Maybe I should tweet SK.

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