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The Blockheads Staring Down The Barrel (2009)

 The Blockheads —•— Staring Down The Barrel (2009)

The Blockheads Staring Down The Barrel
“ They've got womanly breasts under pale mauve vests
Shoes like dead pigs' noses
Cornflake packet jacket, catalogue trousers
A mouth what never closes ”  — from "Blockheads"
Location: London, UK
Album release: April 6, 2009
Record Label: EMI Records
Duration:     44:52
Tracks:
01. Roll Over     4:48
02. Greed     4:23
03. A Little Knowledge     4:02
04. George The Human Pigeon     4:25
05. No Go Central     5:29
06. Prophet Of Doom     3:09
07. Hold Tight     5:08
08. Life In Your Hands     5:02
09. Dirty Money     4:00
10. Elegant Style     4:24
CREDITS:
Gilad Atzmon  Clarinet, Saxophone
Philip Bagenal  Engineer, Mixing
Peter Blake  Cover Art, Graphic Design
The Breezeblocks  Vocals (Background)
Paul Castle  Engineer, Mixing
Mick Gallagher  Hammond B3, Management, Organ (Hammond)
Lee Harris  Management
Dylan Howe  Drums
Derek Hussey  Composer, Mixing, Vocals
Chloe Jackson  Photography
Chaz Jankel  Clavinet, Composer, Guitar, Mixing, Piano, Yamaha Keyboards
E. Jankel  Composer
Dave Lewis  Sax (Tenor)
Anna Tjan  Engineer
John Turnball  Guitar, Spoons, Ukulele
Norman Watt-Roy  Bass
Editorial Reviews
¤  2009 release from the late Ian Dury's old backing band still led by musical director/songwriter Chaz Jankel. Since 2002, they have been fronted by Derek The Draw, who was both driver and friend to Ian during much of his career. Since they are both Essex boys and shared a common outlook on life, it is fair to say that Derek's lyrics and style of delivery are a perfect fit for the Blockheads. The touring and recording band is filled out with Dylan Howe on drums and sax-madman Gilad Atzmon.
Notes:
¤  The Blockheads have continued after Dury's death, contributing to the 2001 tribute album Brand New Boots And Panties, then releasing Where's The Party in 2004 and Staring Down The Barrel in 2009. A live album 30 Live At The Electric Ballroom produced by Lee Harris and Sonny Flint was released in 2008 to mark the 30th anniversary of New Boots and Panties!!.
¤  The Blockheads still tour and currently comprise Jankel, Watt-Roy, Gallagher, Turnbull with John Roberts on drums, and Davey Payne, Gilad Atzmon or Dave Lewis on sax. Derek Hussey (aka "Derek The Draw", who was Dury's friend and minder) is now writing songs with Jankel and sings lead vocals. They are aided and abetted by Lee Harris, who co-manages the band with Gallagher. 2013 is the band's 35th anniversary year.
Website: http://www.theblockheads.com/
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/theblockheads#!
PRESS
¤  The front CD inlay artwork has been illustrated by Sir Peter Blake who has been a friend to the band since their formation (he was Ian Dury's art tutor).
¤  "Given the times those ancient Blockheads sound more here-and-now than anyone..." Uncut
¤  "Dury would be proud." Mojo
¤  "This is a record which will thrill Blockheads fans of all ages and demonstrates this ensemble have lost none of their passion and spirit." Subba-Cultcha
¤  "The trademark funk/rock/music hall/ska fusion of old mucker Derek The Draw has...got the great man [Ian Dury]'s knack for vivid social commentary nailed too." Big Cheese
¤  "...unexpectedly thoughtful and engaging." Daily Telegraph Review
¤  "It sounds like a vintage Blockheads album..." Record Collector
¤  "Ian Dury owed his brilliance to no one. But he owed his stardom to The Blockheads. Musically Jankel and his men keep it as tight and funky as before." The Word
¤  "Staring Down The Barrel is a great, adult album full of good tunes, witty lyrics and steaming great grooves." bbc.co.uk
BBC Review:
Full of good tunes, witty lyrics and steaming great grooves.
Daryl Easlea 2009-04-06
¤  Staring Down The Barrel is a great, adult album full of good tunes, witty lyrics and steaming great grooves. In 2004, bbc.co.uk said about the Blockheads last album, Where’s The Party, that “the Blocks are on their own label and the album, unless some benevolent sponsor steps in, is most likely destined for obscurity.”
¤  Well, that album opened some doors and lo and behold, a benevolent sponsor in the shape of EMI stepped in. That’s right, that EMI, the one that has the Beatles and Coldplay. It is testament to the accomplishment and downright tenacity of the group to find themselves in such illustrious company.
¤  The musicianship here is remarkable, of course. MD and co-writer Chaz Jankel delivers some hummable epics and the band is as tight as they’ve ever been. What is different is that they have decided that Derek Hussey is to be the album’s sole vocalist. In Hussey, they have a song stylist who takes on former leader Ian Dury’s mantle with accomplishment. Comparisons, inevitably, are going to be drawn, but this is Derek, not Ian, you are listening to.
¤  Hussey's lyrics make you both giggle and think and are sufficiently three-dimensional to not simply be a disgruntled old bloke railing against 21st Century. He uses terms like 'shove off' and 'rozzers' with such great sincerity; you think you've found a lost artifact from the 50s.
¤  Staring Down The Barrel, with its Peter Blake sleeve, musical and lyrical references to the group’s thirty years and some very modern concerns in the subject matter, is a rather enjoyable romp. Whether it sells is another affair, but as a signpost to their stunning live work and a postcard to prove they have survived without the wondrous Dury, it does the job.
REVIEW
By Andre S. Grindle TOP 1000 REVIEWER/Rating: *****
¤  Musically there's no secret that the modern interpretation of funk is largely produced with a sense of naturalness in mind. I've dropped that statement one too many a times in my reviews of such kinds of music. This is an album I've looked forward to hearing since it first came out mainly because I know how great Chaz Jankel is and was excited to see what he and the Blockheads would come up with on this occasion. The flavor of this album is distinctly different from say....Do It Yourself. It doesn't have to do with the absense of the late great Ian Dury but more in the sense that particular album was recorded in an environment when funk was still in it's pioneering age and still producing endless variations,from jazz to disco styles. From "Roll Over","Greed","A Little Knowledge","No Go Central",'Hold Tight" and "Dirty Money" the best word I can use to describe this type of funk is straight ahead. It is largely natural,it doesn't have a whole lot of frills and is heavy on the Hammond B3.At the same tume Chaz's puncuation of clavinets and Yamaha electric piano put a great spin on the music the not only keeps the groove going but keeps everything from getting boring. The surreally mixed sax of Gilad Atzmon also helps along with Chaz the progression of the sound. Lyrically....well it's square in the middle of Blockhead territory. Derek Hussey's cockney lyrical doggrel regarding environmentalism and social mood of nations offers very human observations (and sometimes warnings) about the bad situations we often put ourselves into then end up nearly powerless to resolve. Even with the obviously English theme and outlook of the presentation that type of social and humanist ethic could've come from anywhere but from the 70's style funk that powers these songs. There are a few songs that take very unexpected directions of course. "George The Human Pigeon" actually blends these Beatle-like English music hall style pop into the mix where the country soul of "Prophet Of Doom" and the easy swinging "Elegant Style" are the softer sides of the albums,the latter being the albums offical lone ballad. Where personally it would be nice to see a modern funk soloist/band who aren't shying away from the sophisticated,technological side of the music the nature of the way this album is laid out,as well as it's strong grooves and jamming quotiant make this for sure a very welcome comeback.
Discography:
¤  Do It Yourself (1979)
¤  Laughter (1980)
¤  Live! Warts 'n' Audience (1990)
¤  Mr. Love Pants (1998)
¤  Straight from the Desk (2001)
¤  Ten More Turnips from the Tip (2002)
¤  30 Live At The Electric Ballroom (2008)
¤  Where's the Party (2004)
¤  Staring Down the Barrel (2009)
Releases:
¤  Studio albums 6
¤  Compilation albums 3
¤  Video albums 1File:Chas Jankel at Water Rats.jpg © Chas Jankel at Water Rats, London, 13.07.11; Date: 13 July 2011, 20:25:20; Author: Steve Speight 
CHAZ JANKEL
¤  Charles Jeremy Jankel (born 16 April 1952, Stanmore, England) professionally known as Chaz Jankel, is a musician best known as the keyboard player and guitarist with Ian Dury and The Blockheads. He was co-writer with Dury of the band's best-known songs during its commercial peak in the late 1970s.
Instruments: Vocals, keyboards, guitar
Website: http://www.chazjankel.com/
JOHN TURNBULL
¤  John George Turnbull (born 27 August 1950, Newcastle upon Tyne) is an English pop and rock guitarist and singer.
¤  He has played in bands such as Skip Bifferty, The Chosen Few, Arc, Loving Awareness, Glencoe, Nick Lowe, Dave Stewart and the Spiritual Cowboys, Eurythmics, Talk Talk, Londonbeat, Paul Young, Bob Geldof, World Party, Kaos Band and Ian Dury and the Blockheads.
¤  He has also contributed to film soundtracks since the 1960s, the most famous of which was the 1971 crime thriller Get Carter starring Michael Caine.((cn))
MICK GALLAGHER
¤  Michael William "Mick" Gallagher (born 29 October 1945 in Fenham, Newcastle upon Tyne, England) is a British Hammond organ player and best known as a member of Ian Dury and the Blockheads and for his contributions to albums by the Clash. He has also written music for films such as Extremes (1971) and After Midnight (1990), also the Broadway play Serious Money (1988).
Instruments: Keyboards and piano occasionally
Notable instruments: Hammond organ
NORMAN WATT-ROY
¤  Norman Watt-Roy (born 15 February 1951, Bombay, India) is the bassist for The Blockheads, previously known as Ian Dury & the Blockheads.
¤  In November 1954 the Watt-Roy family, including Norman, his older brother Garth (born Garth Philip Watt-Roy, December 1947 in Bombay, India) and his sister, moved to England. They settled in Highbury, North London, where Norman went to St Joan of Arc Primary School, Blackstock Road. When Norman was eight, the family relocated to Harlow, Essex. At the age of ten, he had been shown some guitar chords by his father, and played in school bands with his older brother Garth on lead guitar, who started playing in 1961. Norman Watt-Roy left school at 15 and briefly studied art at Harlow Technical College, before moving back to London.
LEE HARRIS
¤  Lee David Harris (born 20 July 1962) is an English drummer and musician. Harris attended secondary school with Paul Webb, and the two became good friends. They played in the reggae band Eskalator before being recruited to form Talk Talk in 1981. Harris played drums for Talk Talk until 1991. In the early 1990s he and Webb formed .O.rang. He played drums on the Beth Gibbons and Webb album Out of Season (2002), Midnight Choir's Waiting for the Bricks to Fall (2003) and Bark Psychosis' Codename: Dustsucker (2004).
GILAD ATZMON
¤  Gilad Atzmon (Hebrew: גלעד עצמון‎; born June 9, 1963) is an Israeli-born British jazz saxophonist, novelist, political activist and writer.
¤  Atzmon's album Exile was BBC jazz album of the year in 2003. Playing over 100 dates a year, he has been called "surely the hardest-gigging man in British jazz." His albums, of which he has recorded thirteen to date, often explore the music of the Middle East and political themes. He has described himself as a "devoted political artist."
¤  A profile in The Guardian in 2009 which described Atzmon as "one of London's finest saxophonists" stated: "It is Atzmon's blunt anti-Zionism rather than his music that has given him an international profile, particularly in the Arab world, where his essays are widely read." His criticisms of Zionism, Jewish identity, and Judaism, as well as his controversial views on The Holocaust and Jewish history have led to allegations of antisemitism and racism from both Zionists and anti-Zionists.
Awards:
¤  Atzmon was the recipient of the HMV Top Dog Award at the Birmingham International Jazz Festival in 1996–1998. Gilad Atzmon's Exile was BBC jazz album of the year in 2003.
Website: http://www.gilad.co.uk/ © Jazz player Gilad Atzmon in concert/Date: 27 February 2007/http://www.flickr.com/photos/kabyric/132980207/
Author: Richard Kaby

The Blockheads Staring Down The Barrel (2009)

 

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