Friday, June 19, 2015

steve mcqueen / two wheels good









Prefab Sprout painted the town with shaded feelings and insights from retrospect on this sophisticated pop swoon.   The group was formed during the British punk explosion in 1977 by brothers Paddy and Martin McAloon in Witton Gilbert, County Durham, England.   They self-released the single  "Lions In My Own Garden: Exit Someone" before signing with independent Kitchenware Records to record their debut album 'Swoon' in 1984.   For their next project, they were approached by Thomas Dolby, who helped them select songs to record from the large number that Paddy had written over the years.  


Dolby remembers:   "The band was already in full swing before I ever heard them. They'd released Swoon, which in its own way, had a lot of critical success. But in a way what they needed perhaps was somebody with a little bit more experience, not from the engineering side, but from the musical side to help them fine-tune their sound to make it a little bit more accessible, a slightly easier listen. Because Swoon is a brilliant album, but it's quite demanding...I think the reason for that was that you have to start with Paddy, I think. He's a lyricist, first and foremost. When I met him he was in a tiny bedroom with a mattress stacked on top of piles of song lyrics that he'd written over the years...And he'd pull them out one by one, and he'd squint at them and strum his way through them. And he would write notes for chords and melodies over the top of the lyrics. But primarily it was about the poems. What happened when the band started to arrange those was that there were lots of extra beats here and there, strange chord changes or rhythm changes, or odd lengths of phrases. The musicians tried to sort of accommodate those, but in fact what needed to happen was a few of the rough edges needed to be trimmed off.   But at the same time, I didn't want to throw out the baby with the bath water. I mean, what made them so unique is that they defied logic. So the task, really, at hand, for me, was how to elevate them to a more accessible level, commercially, without homogenizing the essence of the music...It was a given that I was a performer in my own right, and quite opinionated. It would have been very easy for them to say, 'Watch it, step back, don't try to impose yourself on our album.' And they were very respectful of the slight edge I had over them in terms of experience and the range of artists I'd worked with at that point, and the sort of spectrum of musical styles and sounds that I had under my belt already. They were very humble, and said, 'We're just a bunch of hicks from Tyneside, and what do we know?'"





'Steve McQueen' was produced by Thomas Dolby (Phil Thornally did "When Love Breaks Down") with engineers Andy Scarth, Brian Evans, Chris Sheldon, and Tim Hunt; and mixed by Mike Shipley.   The sessions featured Paddy McAloon on guitar and vocals, Martin McAloon on bass, Neil Conti on drums,  and Wendy Smith on vocals,  with Thomas Dolby on keyboards, Mark Lockheart on saxophone for "Desire As", and Kevin Armstrong on lead guitar for "Hallelujah" and "Desire As".  


Paddy McAloon reflects:   "I like Thomas Dolby's production style...It's an odd thing to contemplate, because I sometimes think when I talk about the records...I'm not even talking about the record. I'm talking about the song...In certain respects, you may have a much clearer idea of what's happening on 'Steve McQueen' than I do, whereas I'm thinking of the song that was there before the recorded version...It's kind of...the writer's lack of perspective gets in the way ... I listen to Steve McQueen...I hear Thomas there.  It's kind of like his record.  That's the way it is.  It's beautiful; but someone else's work, in a way ... There was a time when I wanted to see if I could write something unambiguously personal, and maybe even conventional. Perhaps that song was “When Love Breaks Down.” Later, when we finished recording the Steve McQueen album, I desperately wanted to do something throw-away and funny...I am at the mercy of these whims. Action and reaction. No consolidation, no settling down to pursue a sensible course ... When the fuss dies down – and it usually does very quickly – you’ll go back to anonymity...My memory is that we weren’t very good at it.  We were young enough to look OK. I remember being in Japan and fans invaded the restaurant we were in – but it wasn’t for us, it was for A-Ha. Another time, we stood at a luggage carousel at Heathrow with hundreds of fans going bonkers, because Bros were on the same flight. Prefab Sprout had a great time but we had to get our own bags ... I remember going through Rome airport and the guys were supposed to be frisking me but they were too busy asking for my autograph and I've seen the Top of the Pops 2 re-runs where they write [straplines] like 'all the girls loved Paddy McAloon's hair', but I must have missed that. I feel as if I moved like a ghost through it all. I was always thinking about something else. There was no thrill in it for me – it was too angsty a process to rest on my laurels." 


'Steve McQueen'  charted at one hundred and eighty in the US, thirty-four in the Netherlands, thirty-three in New Zealand, and twenty-one in the UK.  In the UK, it stayed on the charts for thirty-five weeks, slowly working its way to platinum certification.  In the US, the album was renamed 'Two Wheels Good' after Steve McQueen's estate took legal action.   








http://www.prefabsprout.net/








"When Love Breaks Down" hit number fifty-five in Australia, thirty-eight in New Zealand, twenty-six in Ireland, and twenty-five in the UK.  
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QeZkLV3ZjeI



My love and I, we work well together
But often we're apart
Absence makes the heart lose weight, yeah,
Till love breaks down, love breaks down

Oh my, oh my, have you seen the weather
The sweet september rain
Rain on me like no other
Until I drown, until I drown

When love breaks down
The things you do
To stop the truth from hurting you

When love breaks down
The lies we tell,
They only serve to fool ourselves,
When love breaks down
The things you do
To stop the truth from hurting you

When love breaks down
The things you do
To stop the truth from hurting you
When love breaks down,
Love breaks down

My love and I, we are boxing clever
She'll never crowd me out
Fall be free as old confetti
And paint the town, paint the town

When love breaks down
The things you do
To stop the truth from hurting you
When love breaks down

The lies we tell,
They only serve to fool ourselves,
When love breaks down
The things you do
To stop the truth from hurting you
When love breaks down
You join the wrecks
Who leave their hearts for easy sex

When love breaks down

When love breaks down

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E0PkIO1SmO8





"Moving the River"
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BNAQ1I5Q1S0





"Faron Young"
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZtS-a5-L0ic




'Steve McQueen / Two Wheels Good' 
full album:


https://myspace.com/prefabsproutmusic/music/album/steve-mcqueen-13387052



All songs written by Paddy McAloon.

"Faron Young" – 3:50
"Bonny" – 3:45
"Appetite" – 3:56
"When Love Breaks Down" – 4:08
"Goodbye Lucille #1" – 4:31
"Hallelujah" – 4:20
"Moving the River" – 3:57
"Horsin' Around" – 4:39
"Desire As" – 5:19
"Blueberry Pies" – 2:24
"When the Angels" – 4:29

bonus tracks:
"The Yearning Loins" – 3:38
"He'll Have to Go" – 3:06
"Faron" (Truckin' mix) – 4:45 






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