IN WHICH I SLAGGED OFF KATE BUSH

AS POSTED OVER ON THE OLD BLOG IN AUGUST 2010.

I was never completely convinced by Kate Bush when she first emerged in January 1978. The early singles sold in their millions but as a mid-teens boy with a love for post-punk bands with all their loud guitars and even louder shouty lyrics, the talents of the singer-songwriter at the piano with her squeaky voice just didn’t register.

Oh and she was ancient as well at 18 and a bit years of age……..

But as I got older and realised that there was a wee bit more to music than spotty oiks in sweaty venues, I fell for the charms of Ms Bush and started to listen to her much more closely. Oh and some brilliant promotional photos on giant billboards also had something about grabbing my hormonally-charged attention…..

I’ve a few Kate Bush LPs sitting in the vinyl cupboard, but its been years since I played them. The only tracks that ever come up on the i-pod shuffle are those that formed part of a Greatest Hits CD that was released in 1986 that I picked up cheap a few years later. I didn’t pay any attention to the comeback record in 2005 although a few folk have said I’m missing out on something quite decent.

The thing is, while browsing in a second hand vinyl emporium a wee while back, I came across a copy of a 1979 EP, and given it was going for £2, I thought it worth giving a listen again all these years later.

It has four live tracks, all recorded at a London gig in May 1979. This turned out to be the only time that Kate Bush ever toured in her entire career*, although over the years there would be sporadic live appearances, either solo or as alongside a whole range of other performers, suggesting that it wasn’t a fear of playing live that she suffered from.

The four songs all originally featured on The Kick Inside or Lionheart, her first two LPs:-

mp3 : Kate Bush – Them Heavy People (live)
mp3 : Kate Bush – Don’t Push Your Foot On The Heartbrake (live)
mp3 : Kate Bush – James And The Cold Gun (live)
mp3 : Kate Bush – L’Amour Looks Something Like You (live)

So as its spinning round the USB Turntable and doing whatever thing it is gadgetry wise to turn the tracks into instant mp3s, I’m thinking to myself…….this is shite.

It just feels as if it is music played by top-notch session players incapable of hitting a bum note but who are just as incapable of adding any meaning or feeling to a song. It’s got wanky solos all the way through as well and the sort of music that punk/new wave/post-punk was determined to banish forever (not that they ever had a chance of succeeding).

I’ve recently read reviews of that six-week tour that Kate Bush undertook in 1979 and by just about every account, it seems to have been an event that was ahead of its time with its use of theatre and dance and multi-median innovations including the use of a head-mic. But tucked away in the middle of such reviews you cotton-on to the fact that the musicians were drilled to the Nth degree with no room at all for improvisation. It sounds as if it was more akin to going along to a musical than a gig…….and I reckon that’s what comes across on the tracks on the EP. They lack any real depth or soul……but I bet they were astonishing if witnessed in the flesh.

Oh well. I’ve said it.

Bring on the brickbats.

* written and published years before the London residency of 2015 which so many got really excited about.

2 thoughts on “IN WHICH I SLAGGED OFF KATE BUSH

  1. The thing is, a live recording often goes through a production process in a studio before release to sort of clean things up, especially with high profile artists on major labels. That’s probably what we hear on this record. I’m not a fan of live albums as a rule because you rarel hear what was actually played.

    I’m giving you the benefit of the doubt JC just because it’s you. If anyone else has a problem with our Kate, they’d better start looking over their shoulders… 😉

  2. Robster is quite right, “live” albums notoriously have the “live” edited right out of them. My record collection contains less than .1 of 1% live albums.

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