Monday, 22 June 2009

If You're Buying A CD This Christmas...

Click the photo for the track listing

The room echoed to the dying notes of the Nigerian National Anthem as I wiped a beady drop from my brow. The Madeley ridge may be thought as handsome as some Alpine peak but it too has been scarred by business as bad as Julie Andrews hammering on about songs they’ve sung for ten centuries or more. Today’s bad business was clearly up there: a frown as heavy as Dame Julie dressed like a nun. A big nun with pockets weighed down with sodden puppies.

I opened my eyes, hoping to ease the anxiety, but the bright glare of expectation made me wince and the frown pinch the bridge of my nose.

‘Well?’ asked my wife, wide eyed, her lower lip chewed almost down to the gum. ‘What did you think?’

‘That was remarkable,’ I replied. ‘If I hadn’t known better, Jude, I would have thought you a professionally trained trombonist.’

Judy flushed with pride. ‘There’s nothing wrong with amateurism if it brings passion to the job at hand.’

‘Or the job at lip,’ I quipped.

But Judy was beyond jokes. She was in that realm of pretension where all musicians dwell. She slid the CD from the Bang and Olufsen before snapping it back into its case. ‘But do you think the album worked as a concept?’ She was speaking in a tone that made her sound not unlike a Pet Shop Boy talking Wittgenstein. I knew I had to take care.

‘Without a doubt it does,’ I replied but thought it better say something else before she tried to draw me into explaining the album’s concept. I’ve never been any good at spotting concepts. If I had to describe the album in one intelligently argued statement, it would go something like: ‘prrrrp’ with an undercurrent of ‘paarrrp’. It’s hardly the music criticism of Tony Parsons. It’s not that bad. But it would still be lower than level Judy would expect of me.

‘I couldn’t hear much of Cilla’s backing vocals,’ I offered.

Judy latched onto the subject like I knew she would. It was like watching a Gecko gumming a tourist’s big toe. ‘I made sure we buried Cilla in the mix,’ she explained. ‘She’s a lovely woman but she will drown out a trombone solo.’

‘Well, you deserve all the success that I’m sure will come your way,’ I said and stood up. ‘You are without doubt a wonderfully gifted woman.’ And with that, I planted a kiss on her brow cheek before encouraging my slippers to make a quick exit to the garden shed from where I’m now writing this despatch.

To be fair to Judy, the album is a masterpiece of the solo trombone. She’s been squirreled away in different recording studios for months working on it. It’s a relief to be finally able to talk openly about her achievement of getting the sixty seven recorded tracks down to a more manageable fourteen.

It’s also a miracle that the Press still haven’t had wind of the album. It’s going to press next week and will hopefully be charting by Christmas. Though it might not be a ‘Sgt Pepper’ as a concept, each track is a crafted by Judy’s lips, lungs, and larynx. It’s like having Beatles without Ringo. And what she does to that classic morality tale, ‘Cake or Biscuit’, is nothing short of genius.

It’s why I’ve broken my blogging sabbatical to do the husbandly thing and give it a little promotion. Recommend it to your friends. It might only be a novelty for Christmas or perhaps an ideal present for a family member who’s infirm or can’t quite know how to use a CD player, but this album is one I recommend you go out and buy. Don’t download it from Bitorrent. And don’t go applying for tickets to your local lending library with no intention of borrowing books but to rip off their entire CD collection. ‘Wine, Music & Trombone’ will be worth a fortune in years to come but priceless the moment you put it in your CD player. Go out and buy it now. Or next week, when it should be available from all good music stockists.