Graham Gouldman. ‘Heart Full of Songs’. Brudenell Social Club. 14.5.2014

It’s the 60s, in England, and Lennon/McCartney are the tops regarding songwriters. Jagger/Richards soon latched onto the £sd involved and Pete Townshend and R ay Davies were soon writing classics for their respective groups. But someone who wasn’t on the radar was Mr Gouldman. As a teenager, he wrote some unique songs which were a long way removed from the C Am F G boy/girl stuff that the likes of Neil Sedaka and Carole King were churning out across the pond on the Brill Building production line. (Although he did seemingly go over to have a go).  So why almost 50 years before being inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame?!  One thought occurred to me that maybe he has been ‘forgotten’ because most of his songs weren’t hits for his own group, but Ray Davies has only just been recognised too!  And Mr Gouldman must have been quids in if Herman’s Hermits, The Hollies, The Yardbirds and Wayne Fontana were all in the Top Ten together.

So, 9.00 pm sharp and Mr G comes on, starting up solo with ‘Pamela, Pamela’. ‘Heartful of Soul’, ‘Good Morning Judge’ and ‘No Milk Today’ follow, and there is barely a soul in the less-than-packed venue who hasn’t known every word. A song from a long-forgotten Farrah Fawcett-Majors film, a song from ‘Animalympics’ and a new song ‘Halls of Rock and Roll’ don’t detract from the quality and ‘Look through any Window’ seems to have more chords in it than any other song of its era.

‘Daylight’ (about his late Wax partner Andrew Gold) precedes his choice for the ‘Songwriters’ ceremony, ‘Bus Stop’. We get another recent song ‘Dancing Days’ and the Wax hit ‘Building a bridge to your Heart’. The inevitable ‘I’m not in Love’ doesn’t suffer at all from a necessarily stripped-down arrangement and ‘Ariella’ (for his wife) featured that familiar descending D structure ( ‘Handle with Care’ ) which Her Majesty quickly spotted.  One of Mr G’s best songs from the latter days of 10cc was next, ‘Ready to go Home’. Cruelly missed by all the radio stations, although the pre-reunion version of Asia  mauled it mercilessly. ‘Things we do for Love’, ‘Memory Lane’ (about Manchester), ‘For your Love’ and ‘Dreadlock Holiday’ finished a great 85 minutes of banter and music. ‘Evil Hearted You’ would have rounded it off perfectly at an hour and a half!

A great masterclass of 60s and 70s-plus songwriting. Amazing that at £20 a ticket, does that mean that he is not even twice as good as a Thin Lizzy copy group tomorrow at the New Roscoe at £12 a throw?!

A must-see.


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