Gone Digital: Babe Ruth, The Divine Comedy, Mayfield’s Mule, Roger Ruskin Spear & Sir Winston Churchill
If it’s Tuesday, then it must be time for Gone Digital, our weekly look at five albums which may not even realize are part of Rhino’s digital catalog. As ever, the types of music we’ll be covering will be all over the place, but that’s Rhino for you: we’re all about variety!
- Babe Ruth, BABE RUTH (1975): This band from Hatfield, England released their debut album, FIRST BASE, in 1972, finding minor success in the US thanks to its single, “Wells Fargo,” but it was this self-titled album that earned them their American chart high – it climbed #75 – and provided such tunes as “Jack O’Lantern,” “Dancer,” “A Fistful of Dollars,” and “The Duchess of Orleans.”
- The Divine Comedy, VICTORY FOR THE COMIC MUSE (2006): Although there have been other members of the band at various junctures in their career, The Divine Comedy is, for all practical purposes, frontman and songwriter Neil Hannon. This was the band’s ninth album, and in addition to being a critically acclaimed effort for the band, it also won the Choice Music Prize, which is no small potatoes...and, no, that’s not an Irish joke, but since it’s actually Ireland’s equivalent of the Mercury Music Prize, it could be one.
- Mayfield’s Mule, MAYFIELD’S MULE (1970): Recorded by Chris Mayfield for EMI Records in ’69 and into ’70, this album bears a sonic resemblance to Deep Purple and features backing vocals by P.P. Arnold and engineering by Alan Parsons. The album only just barely made it into release, but the single “Drinking My Moonshine” earned some popularity at the time, and over the years it’s become a bit of a cult-classic LP.
- Roger Ruskin Spear, UNUSUAL (1973): Best known as a member of the Bonzo Dog Doo-Dah Band – you can hear his tenor sax getting an introduction on their tune “The Intro and the Outro” – Spear’s decision to entitle this album UNUSUAL is a case of truth in advertising, as evidenced almost immediately by the opening track, a cover of The Who’s “Pinball Wizard” which is very unusual indeed. Other song titles include “When Yuba Plays the Rumba on the Tuba Down in Cuba” and “I Love to Bumpity Bump (On a Bumpy Road with You),” so...there’s further proof, wouldn’t you say?
- Sir Winston Churchill, CHURCHILL’S SPEECHES (2005): We wouldn’t go so far as to call this unlikely inclusion a political statement, but if you should happen to hear a particular politician once again make the suggestion that he’s been at all “Churchillian,” please go listen to even just one track on this compilation of the late British Prime Minister’s speeches. If nothing else, at least we can help you realize that any resemblance is completely coincidental.