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P o s i t i v e V i b r a t i o n s

they're stuck in the past
& they'll never do anything new

the kershaw sessions cd

by david fallon

A Robyn & the Egyptians radio sessions album? A mouthwatering prospect Unleashed upon an unsuspecting audience with the scale of publicity usually reserved for utterly inert bands, this album seemed to have wonderful potential. However, I did feel rather cheated. The album contained only two 'new' songs - 'Open The Door Homer' and the 'Banana Boat Song' (both covers, one of which has been aired by Andy Kershaw anyway). The CD packaging offered us only the skimpiest of notes from Andy & Morris. Also, most annoyingly, it was only available on CD. Huh!

Thankfully, there were highlights. For a start, we had over sixty minutes worth of material at the weigh in, with some hefty tunes. Fans may be dismayed at the inclusion of tracks from the near-mythical (but way too real for me) Queen Elvis album.

The selection kicks off with a manic 'Brenda', fuelled with restless energy. A quirky, atmospheric 'Lady Waters' was quite impressive, whilst a faithful (but unadventurous) acoustic 'Open The Door Homer' Dylan cover did the job. The giggly 'Banana Boat Song' cover was, um, interesting. Highlights of the album were (a mon avis) the Globe Of Frogs sessions - 'Devil Mask' and 'Tropical Flesh Mandala' were both great, pulsating with energy.

The CD only situation was irritating - the sound was unnatural, far too brilliant and the songs don't perform (to their potential on vinyl). Overall, once initial disappointment is overcome, this is quite a good collection, albeit old hat to real fans. Many tracks have only a minimal variation on album tracks, making the album a no-no in value for money stakes. It really acts as a more up-to-date best-and rest of the band that Gotta Let This Hen Out. The pleasantly cohesive sound to some tracks suggests that Robyn would do well to do more first-take recordings in future.

Most will be swayed by the two 'new' tracks and all those alternate versions. It won't change your life if you say no.

But the crabs on the spine are nice.

Positive Vibrations is a fanzine dedicated to news, discussion and whatnot regarding Robyn Hitchcock, The Soft Boys and Kimberley Rew published by Aidan Merrit.
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