Today’s POP RESCUE from a fate unknown, is the seventh Roxy Music album titled Flesh And Blood from 1980. With CDs still being new technology, the album dates from 1980, but it wasn’t released on CD until 1983. Is this album a Strange Delight, or just a Bloody mess? Read on…
This is my first Roxy Music album listen, so I’ve no idea if I’m going to enjoy this. I like a few of their bigger hits.
The 10 track album opens with the Wilson Picket-penned hit, In The Midnight Hour. This was released as the fourth and final single from the album, but only in the US. This track opens with a mixture of guitars, and a slightly robotic countdown into this classic track. This is a fairly tame rendition of this song, and feels a bit of an odd choice for Roxy Music and as an opening song.
Oh Yeah is up next, the first single from the album, with it’s great piano and guitar riff, that I wouldn’t be surprised to hear having been sampled by countless other acts. The song starts gently, with Bryan Ferry‘s vocals leading it into the more up-beat chorus that sings about themselves – ‘there’s a band playing on the radio with a rhythm of rhythm guitars they’re playing ‘oh yeah’ on the radio’. It’s a great little pop song.
Next up is third single Same Old Scene, which opens with some really nice synths that lend it a disco meets trance sound in a few places. This is a catchy song, broken up momentarily by obligatory 80s saxophone, which helps to lead the song out to the end.
The album title track is up next, Flesh And Blood, which opens with some growling guitars before being joined by some synths and a nice clean 80s beat. It’s quite a simple song musically, and the two chord guitar riff carries the song perfectly alongside Bryan’s vocals.
Up next is My Only Love, the longest track on the album at 5m 16s. It opens with piano and bassline, giving Bryan a 50 second intro before he comes in with vocals. This feels like a fairly downbeat song, and could have perhaps had up to a minute shaved off it.
Sixth track Over You was the lead single from this album in May 1980, kicking off with bass and guitars – this is a really catchy song. It flows easily, and the Bryan’s vocals suit it perfectly. Obligatory 80s saxophone is back courtesy of band member Andy MacKay.
Next up is a cover of The Byrds‘ 1966 track Eight Miles High has a great tempo, beat, and funky bass line, and the song’s outtro is a nice mixture of vocal effects. This version feels less bass led than the original, but not as tightly sung – this one feels like it drifts a bit.
This ushers in a synth led Rain Rain Rain with a slow pace. It’s musically and vocally a fairly simple track that kind of just chugs its way through Bryan’s lyrics about getting high, ending abruptly.
Up next is penultimate track No Strange Delight, which builds up musically, particularly when the piano and oboe arrive (the latter really helping to add a somewhat alien sound to this song). The bassline funks out the song right to the end as the keyboards, piano, and oboe escalate up with the drums.
The tenth and final track of this album is Running Wild. It opens with bass and guitars, which are soon joined by piano and organ. Bryan’s vocals are strong here, perhaps the strongest on this album. This song naturally feels like an album closing track, as it builds and then gradually closes.
Where are Roxy Music Now?
By the time of this 1980 album, only two of the original Roxy Music members remained. With one more album coming in 1982, giving us More Than This, and Avalon, the group disbanded.
Bryan Ferry has continued to perform as a solo artist, releasing many albums under his own name.
Roxy Music, as a group, re-formed in 2001 and performed a string of live shows as part of their career anniversary. They released a number of live albums, but no new studio albums.
POP RESCUE RATING
This album is an interesting mixture of styles – upon original release in 1980, it would have been right on the chart cusp of keyboard/synth charting songs, and yet it also manages to carry a fair amount of ‘real’ musicianship through it’s dependence on more intricately played rock guitars and drums, and that funky bass – all of which is played slickly, and seemingly with great ease.
There’s pretty much nothing here to dislike, but it does manage to deliver a couple of less interesting tracks (Eight Miles High, and My Only Love).
- POP RESCUE 2015 RATING: 4 / 5
- 1980 UK CHART POSITION: #1, certified Platinum.
- POP RESCUE COST: £4.40 from an eBay seller.