david essex and the avant-garde … rock on.

if gregorian monks were of the rock n roll gene pool,this is what they might sound like.

i would have enjoyed being a fly on the worried walls of a record label,upon the eve of launching a supercute pop star with such an avant-garde sound …
but y’know the listening talents of the audience have always been underrated …
there’s this assumption that they’ll only buy into the lowest common denominator,
yet time and time again it gets proven to be untrue…
kate bush had to fight tooth and nail for wuthering heights to be her first single,and she,like david essex threw clear light on what the music loving audience had instant capacity for.
this is not radio fodder..it’s a studio experiment that came good…uncompromisingly sparse in it’s sound,with musical arrangements set free of convention.

you can’t under rate the audiences capacity for a little bit of strange…
but on a bad year,the record business usually does.

1972-74..were golden years for music because of singles which had a strong air of artiness about them…
and if you listen to the singers ..they try out some wonderfully strange approaches,that many a serious album artist would never be up for.
there was sparks doing a whole opera type affair on *this town ain’t big enough for the both of us*…
noosha fox coming on like a 1920’s art deco flapper girl on acid …
steve harley giving it god only knows what,on the brilliantly burlesque *mr soft*…
and that’s before ever mentioning david bowie or marc bolan or roxy music …
my reverie here is beyond mere glam rock….in hindsight,it’s surely ART rock or pop art.
a high period in music, fuelled by the single, way more than the album.
i often gaze with wonder on the power of the pop single as a painterly canvas …
three or four minutes doesn’t give much time to muddy the waters…
there’s a strong artistic discipline at work there.

i remember at school getting laughed at for my *poofy* taste in music…
the musical playground at school fell into two distinctive camps…
on one,you’d have the innocents loving the flamboyance of pop music,
and on the other,you’d have these future grave diggers with their ‘budgie’ albums…or ‘uriah heep’…or ‘mountain’…obscure for the sake of being obscure.
of course there were exceptions like led zeppelin…but a lot of the so called serious rock music was just hilariously turgid.
yet when you look at what’s stood the test of time,those heavier records rarely come near…
my god there was some awful crap that got taken seriously by 6th form longhairs …
however,there were a few lovely chaps at school who were serious..and they liked *the incredible string band* as well as *t-rex*…
i was very much relieved how they would look out for me.

so david essex…..the poor chap inevitably fell victim of convention with sugary songs like ‘hold me close’,and from that,there was no return…
as a very wise music mogul once told me,you can swing from the left to right,but it’s extremely hard to swing back from the right to the left.
if you listen to david essex talking,or study his eyes,you can see that he is surely a really nice man…..nice
giving way to the nice is often a talented artists undoing.

martin gore of depeche mode,who clearly has flawless taste,did a great re-reading of a david essex single called *stardust*..
here it is.

love to whoever reads this…..mary in the snowy wilderness.

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10 Responses to david essex and the avant-garde … rock on.

  1. martin says:

    its allways great to read your blogs when i see them on face book for my self i fell hoplessy for marc bolan and to this day love all the trex singles and albums ad as ive develope my spiritual pagan side ive realised by his lyrics just how much an intuative pagan marc was he followed his heart wherein all true magic eminates from brightest blessings upon you xx


  2. Nemorino says:

    Right on the nail here, Mary. (Possibly because we’re about the same age and had a similar relationship with pop music at the time). ‘Rock on’ is brilliant. Who else put a delay line on a bass guitar? Not even McCartney did that I think. And you’re absolutely right about the first single thing. Who would have expected this from the lovely boy in Godspell?

    Keep warm and keep writing!

    Love from snowy south London.




  3. yes….the slap back delay on the bass guitar was such a great touch…it gives a nod and a wink to that slap back echo sound on 50’s rock n roll jukebox records, in a way that isn’t too literal…it was just eery and evocative ……you’re right about the godspell thing too…in the light of such a background,they could have easily have done a david cassidy on him and failed…but they didn’t…not for a while at least..thank heavens….lovely to read your message.


  4. Marianne says:

    No doubt about it ..David E was a total hottie and with a pair og mighty fine eyes:))
    (rock on ,is now dream on) …but he is still kinda cute in his own little age way.
    Give me some Glitter and glam and lots of make up and lets talk The Sweet !
    Those were my heroes untill “something” irish took over 🙂 Lol
    Hot sunday from the sofa site ,while siberia is a cold bitch outsite xx


  5. DST says:

    Dear Mary. I’m having a strange depeche mode moment in recent weeks. Why do you think that might be? Yours hurriedly, Kennington.


    • oh that’s easy..spring’s on the way,and you’re ready to get the leather out,and you want a wee soundtrack for the slap and tickle… personally i prefer no music whatsoever..just the sound of my filthy tongue reverberating off the cream and navy blue tiled walls.


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