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Monday, 19 November 2018

New Release: The Last King of Pop - Paul Heaton

The Last King of Pop - Paul Heaton
Virgin EMI Records
Released 16th November 2018

The Last King Of Pop Tracklist

‘I Gotta Praise’ [radio mix] (Paul Heaton + Jacqui Abbott)
‘Don’t Marry Her’ (The Beautiful South)
‘Poems’ (Paul Heaton)
‘Happy Hour’ (The Housemartins)
‘Moulding Of A Fool’ [radio mix] (Paul Heaton
+ Jacqui Abbott)
‘Prettiest Eyes’ [single version] (The Beautiful South)
‘Me and the Farmer’ (The Housemartins)
‘Good As Gold’ (The Beautiful South)
‘Real Hope’ [radio mix] (Paul Heaton + Jacqui Abbott)
‘You Keep It All In (The Beautiful South)
‘Austerity of Love’ [radio mix] (Paul Heaton
+ Jacqui Abbott)
‘Build’ [single version] (The Housemartins)
‘Rotterdam’ (The Beautiful South)
‘She Got The Garden’ (Paul Heaton
+ Jacqui Abbott)
‘Old Red Eyes Is Back (The Beautiful South)
‘Flag Day’ [single version] (The Housemartins)
‘Manchester’ (The Beautiful South)
‘D.I.Y.’ [radio mix] (Paul Heaton
+ Jacqui Abbott)
‘Perfect 10’ (The Beautiful South)
‘I Don’t See Them’ [radio mix] (Paul Heaton
+ Jacqui Abbott)
‘Song For Whoever’ [single version] (The Beautiful South)
‘A Little Time’ (2018 Version) (Paul Heaton
+ Jacqui Abbott)
‘7” Singles’ (2018) (Paul Heaton
+ Jacqui Abbott)


The cynic in me says that you know Christmas is on the way because there is almost an avalance of artists putting out Christmas music albums or putting out "Greatest Hits" packages but I am not overly cynical about this release from Paul Heaton at all! Yes, there are a few concerns because the music of his bands The Housemartins and The Beautiful South have featured individually and together on these types of collections in previous years. In many ways there's always that element of disappointment regarding things that have been on albums of like nature before. On the other hand though I think that the concept behind The Last King of Pop is spot on as it draws from the wells of over 30 years of a musical career and gives us the "highlights" in a sort of edited Match of the Day broadcast!

So let's have a quick look at what's included (and maybe mention a "few" things that are not!). There could quite easily have been a 2CD set for this because there is so much to draw upon and the compiler has stuck to the mandate of putting together an album of Glorious Poptastic Tunes and thus some better tunes have been laid to the side. I have included a whole bunch of links to some of these songs that could quite easily have found a home on this release. Click on them to enjoy more music from the songbooks of King Paul!

(The Housemartins)

It's fitting that 'Flag Day' should be included as this was the first ever single by the band. 'Happy Hour' (which was their first massive hit, reaching #3), 'Me and the Farmer' and 'Build' (singles taken from their great second album 'The People Who Grinned Themselves To Death') are also included. It's a shame that 'Sheep', 'Think For A Minute' and 'Five Get Over Excited' were overlooked because they were terrific singles as well.

(The Beautiful South)

After the folding of The Housemartins in 1988, Paul Heaton, Dave Hemingway and roadie Sean Welch formed The Beautiful South. Dave Rotheray became the creative writing partner of Paul Heaton and between 1988 - 2007 they churned out some absolute gems over the course of 10 studio albums and 34 singles. Nine songs from this phase of Heaton's musical journey appear on 'The Last King of Pop': 'Song for Whoever' (their debut single that reached #2), 'You Keep It All In', 'Old Red Eyes is Back', 'Good As Gold (Stupid as Mud)', 'Prettiest Eyes', 'Rotterdam', 'Don't Marry Her', 'Perfect 10' and 'Manchester' are the selections here. 

There is one more but it's a new version of an old Beautiful South classic (more about that later). 

(Paul Heaton)

One of the "disappointments" if you can call it that is the inclusion of only one track from Mr Heaton's Solo career ('Poems' from his debut album 'Fat Chance'). Surely a track or two from 'The Cross Eyed Rambler' (released in 2008 - 'I Do', 'She Rolled Her Own', 'Everything is Everything', 'The Kids These Days', for instance) or 'Acid Country' (released in 2010) - 'The Old Radio', 'It's A Young Man's Game', or 'Acid Country'.

(Jacqui Abbott + Paul Heaton)

The solo years between 2007-2010 might not have been his most successful time at all but unlike other songwriters/musicians he was about to get a fourth shot at the big time and this time with Jacqui Abbott (who had been with him in The Beautiful South between 1994-2000).

On working with Abbott once again, Heaton said: "Working with Jacqui again was like going into your garage and discovering a beautiful, covered up Rolls Royce that hadn't been started in years. Jacqui is one of the best singers I've worked with and is also part of my past. It was only a matter of time before I asked her."

Three tracks from their debut album 'What Have We Become?' are featured ('D.I.Y.', 'Moulding of a Fool' and 'Real Hope'); two tracks from 'Wisdom, Laughter, and Lines' ('The Austerity of Love' and 'I Don't See Them'); and two from the third studio album 'Crooked Calypso' ('I Gotta Praise' and 'She Got The Garden') are included.

Two newer songs round out the album, a new version of The Beautiful South's 'A Little Time' (given a very significant overhaul from it's original quite sombre tune to be a bit of a rock and roll hoedown!) and the very brilliant '7" Singles' (which is a deliciously "infectious ska-pop paean to a lifetime of jukebox dancing and pop music obsession").

To celebrate the release of 'The Last King of Pop', Heaton + Abbott will play 3 very special live shows at London’s Royal Albert Hall, Sheffield City Hall and Blackpool Empress Ballroom at the end of November where they will perform the album in full.

The dates are as follows:

24 November: Blackpool, Empress Ballroom
26 November:  Sheffield, City Hall
28 November: London, Royal Albert Hall.

I'm sure the title of the album might sound a little bit pretentious to some as it's a massive boast. I think Paul Heaton had his tongue firmly in his cheek when he came up with title but love him or loathe him, with this 23 song collection I'm pretty sure if he's not already on the throne he's either marking time or has a cunning plan for his eventual ascension!

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