Tuesday, April 14, 2009

HIGH SOCIETY-I Never Go Out The Rain (Angel Air Records)

I love those "WOW!" moments when listening to new albums and reissues. You know, those moments when you slide a disc into the CD player while you're driving and then something comes on that makes you want to pull over and just enjoy the album in it's entirety without being bothered by annoying drivers, traffic and the long drive home. But alas, you must continue that trek home and deal with the trials and tribulations that life throws out in front of you. Until you get home, that is! When home, you can slip on the headphones and be transported into whatever world the music takes you...
Well, I was aware of who HIGH SOCIETY were, but had never actually heard the album before. When my good friends over in the UK sent me a copy of the self-titled reissue on Angel Air, I was very pleased indeed. And what I heard gave me many "WOW!" moments on my long drive home! But before I tell you about the album, let me fill you in on the band...

The band was formed in England at the tail end of the '70s by Richard Hudson, John Ford and Terry Cassidy. Hudson and Ford had been members of The Strawbs before moving on as a duo, scoring a handful of hits in the '70s. They then formed a New Wave-influenced band called The Monks with Terry Cassidy. No, this was not the same Monks that are best known for their insane '60s Garage Rock and questionable haircuts. This was an entirely different band. Hudson, Ford and Cassidy's Monks scored a few hits (and sold very very well in Canada, I might add) but, being talented musicians and songwriters, there was more to these three maestros than anyone could imagine.

On a lark, the three wrote a song called "I Never Go Out In The Rain", inspired by the classic vaudeville and Tin Pan Alley music of the '30s that they all admired while growing up in the Rock 'N' Roll era. The song turned out so well that they wrote and recorded an entire album in that style, renamed themselves HIGH SOCIETY and released it in 1981 to an unsuspecting world. Well, as you know, 1981 was not the greatest year for anyone to release an album influenced by vaudeville and Tin Pan Alley and, while they did have some success, it seemed that New Wave and Punk were still ruling the airwaves and the album sadly sailed off into the sunset...

Well, thanks to Angel Air Records, we can all relive the heyday of HIGH SOCIETY with this 2009 reissue of their album, now titled I Never Go Out In The Rain, along with some nifty bonus tracks. And let me tell you, although the style of the music reaches back to the '30s, the actual production of the album is so superb, you'd never guess that many of these tracks are nearly 30 years old! This is truly timeless stuff.

Imagine, if you will, a recording session with Rudy Vallee, Neil Innes, Vivian Stanshall and other assorted Bonzo Doo Dah Band members, Ian Whitcomb and Paul McCartney during his "Honey Pie" phase and you might be picking up what I'm laying down....

Other bands would reach back into the archives and re-record some classic songs of that era, but not High Society. Hudson, Ford and Cassidy actually wrote all original songs that sound so authentic, you could fool your dear ol' granny!
And the songs are really fab, too! "Got To Get Out Of This Rut", "Sitting On A Rainbow", "Down By The River" and "Top Hat & Tails" are just a few of the tracks that are on constant rotation here at Spaz Central. And even Mrs. Spaz is digging it, too!
If you are not feeling adventurous, it might become tiresome halfway through, but if you approach it with an open mind and let the music lift you and sweep you away, then you will be quite surprised on just how fun this ride really is!
If you are the type who likes a little taste before you dive in, then check out the band's music at their MySpace site:



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