Having bamboozled a lot of fans with the change of image and shift in sound on the debut solo LP, Lloyd Cole displayed a wicked sense of humour by calling his next record Don’t Get Weird On Me Babe, which itself was a quote from author and poet Raymond Carver, thus further contributing to the prejudices of those who thought our singer/songwriter was a frustrated English Lit lecturer.
I have no doubt that this was the LP that Lloyd Cole had been desperate to make his entire career. He and Blair Cowan worked together and co-wrote many of its songs, specifically with the aim of having an orchestra play on them. At the same time, Lloyd wanted to further explore the rock side of things that had been captured on his debut record and so he also kept all of Robert Quine, Fred Maher and Matthew Sweet on board. The album was recorded at great expense in New York and Los Angeles and it was given a substantial marketing budget. Here in the UK, side one of the record featured all the expansive songs while side two had all the guitar-led material; tellingly, the reverse was the case in the USA with Capitol Records determined to make him a rock’n’roll star.
It’s also worth recalling that 1991 was the year, as far as guitar music was concerned, that grunge and the heavier-end of things became highly fashionable. So it can come as no surprise that the album and the singles from it more or less disappeared without trace.
Which is a real shame, for it was an album that contained a lot of very fine songs, especially if you were prepared to accept that the jingly-jangly pop of the Commotions era was long gone, while the arrangements on the orchestral side brought comparisons with some of the finest work by Burt Bacharach…a man who whose work would become highly fashionable again later in the decade.
The last of these is an earlier, and in my view, superior version of the song Tell Your Sister which appears on the album. It was snuck out on a b-side.
Lloyd has never been slow in recording cover versions of some of his favourite songs by some of his favourite singers. He was always a huge fan of Marc Bolan and this was also one of the 1991 b-sides:-