Tuesday, March 06, 2007


VIDEO - Dave Stewart & Barbara Gaskin - It's My Party



Backing Vocals [Additional] - Amanda Parsons (tracks: 3, 4, 7, 11, 14) /Cello - Georgie Born (tracks: 4, 14) /Engineer - Chris Porter (tracks: 2, 6) , Nick Bradford (tracks: 3, 4, 7, 9, 11, 12, 14) , Ted Hayton (tracks: 1, 2, 5, 6, 10, 13) /Guitar - Jakko (tracks: 1, 4, 6 to 9, 12) Producer, Arranged By - Dave Stewart

Tracklist :

01 I'm In A Different World
Bass [Fretless] - Ed Poole
02 Leipzig
Bass - Rick Biddulph/Drums, Percussion - Pip Pyle/ Written By - Thomas Dolby
03 It's My Party
04 Lenina Crowe
05 (Do I Figure) In Your Life
06 Busy Doing Nothing
Viola - Ruth Holton/Vocals [Singing] - Chris Porter
07 (I Know) I'm Losing You
Drums - Bryson Graham/Guitar - Phil Miller/Timbales, Percussion [Log Drum] - Bill Bruford
08 Roads Girdle The Globe
Written By - Andy Partridge (XTC)
09 When The Guards Are Asleep
Bass - Rick Biddulph/Other [Enraged Pygmy Submarine] - Nick Bradford/Percussion - Pip Pyle
10 The World Spins So Slow
11 Siamese Cat Song
12 Do We See The Light Of Day
Backing Vocals [Additional] - Jakko/Percussion - Andy Duncan
13 Henry And James
14 As Far As Dreams Can Go

Link to download:

"Rykodisc were the world's first CD-only company. A deal to release Dave & Barbara's music in the USA & Canada was struck with Rykodisc in 1984, but due to the shortage of CD pressing facilities at the time, 'Up From The Dark' wasn't released till 1986! The album includes a mixture of the duo's early (1982) Trident Studios recordings (marked * ) and some later work, including the beautiful ballad 'Do I Figure In Your Life' originally recorded by The Honeybus in 1968, and the quirky 'Henry & James', a great favourite with US audiences. After Rykodisc was bought by Chris Blackwell of Island Records, 'Up From The Dark' was deleted and is, sadly, no longer available - however, its component tracks are all available on other Stewart / Gaskin CDs."

"In the 1980s, Dave Stewart must have decided somewhere that he needed to eat. So, with the end of National Health and assignments like Bruford, he signed to Rykodisc to make a series of albums of "pop music for adults" with partner Barbara Gaskin. This is perhaps the hardest of the bunch to find on disc nowadays. The caveats first. Most obviously, this is not a prog rock album. Also, those who hate drum machines and "programming" best stay far away, because this disc is loaded with it. Pip Pyle plays a pretty minimal role, and Bill Bruford, getting busy on those log timbales (smirk), barely registers on the radar screen. Finally, the sound and production is very 80s.
Well, with all this aside, does it succeed as a pop music album? I'd say with mixed success. To Stewart and Gaskin's credit, there is a very eclectic selection of source material, some of which might show some appeal to prog fans. Still, I always shrug my shoulders at golden oldies covers ("I'm in a Different World," "It's My Party," and "(I Know) I'm Losing You"). No matter how interesting the re-workings are, they're not likely to supplant the originals as what I'm going to listen to if I feel the urge. The covers of Thomas Dolby's "Leipzig" and Andy Partridge's "Roads Girdle the Globe," however, are far more successful, perhaps in part because of their comparative obscurity. The most overt track on this album is the comical "Busy Doing Nothing." Here, Barbara plays a good Dean Martin to Dave's Jerry Lewis, though Stewart's formidable keyboard technique and harmonic knowledge get to surface at the very end of the song.
Other stuff? "(Do I Figure) In You're Life" is a gentle ballad about an exasperated relationship, the sort of tune an artist like Kirsty MacColl writes in her sleep. There's that well-known Disney tune, "We are Siamese if you please". While I admit it's a pretty creative inclusion and the thought of British gals Gaskin and Parsons as Siamese cats brings a smile to my face, it can't wipe away the one simple fact that I can't stand that bloody song. Finally, Stewart's original material on here, particularly "Do We See the Light of Day" and "As Far As Dreams Can Go," fares pretty well.
For prog fans, though, I ultimately couldn't recommend this album, and predict most expecting National Health or the like would see it as a let-down. If you're more open-minded about pop music or are curious to see the more lucrative direction (to my understanding, "It's My Party" was a smash hit in Britain) Stewart went in the 1980s, I'd say get your hands on a copy and see what you think. -review by Joe McGlinchey


Dave Stewart - Keyboards, Rhythm Programming, Electric Drums/Barbara Gaskin - Vocals, Keyboards/Phil Miller - Guitar(track03)/Jimmy Hastings - Sax (track 01)/Jakko Jakszyk - Bow bow bow, Guitar, Backing Vocals (track 01-04,06,08)/Georgie Born - Cello (track 02,09)/
Amanda Parsons - Backing Vocals (track 02,03,09)/Bill Bruford - Timbales, Logdrum ( track 03)/Bryson Graham - Real Drums ( track 03)/Pip Pyle - Cymbals (track 06)/Rick Biddulph - Bass (track 06)/Nick Bradford - Submarine Impersonation (track 06)/Andy Duncan - Percussions, Film Can (track 08)

Notes :
2nd Japanese compilation

Tracklist :

01 The Locomotion
02 Lenina Crowe (I Know)
03 I'm Losing You
04 Roads Girdle the Globe
05 (Do I Figure) In Your Life
06 When The Guards Are Asleep
07 Make Me Promises
08 Do We See The Light Of Day
09 As Far As Dreams Can Go

Link to download:

"The 2nd. Japanese album release was an eclectic mixture of early Trident Studios recordings plus the 'A' and 'B' side of Dave & Barbara's 7th. single 'The Locomotion' c/w 'Make Me Promises'. Together with the tracks on 'Broken Records - The Singles', it comprised all of the duo's recorded catalogue at that time. Highlights (both with a transportation theme) include XTC's mad driving song 'Roads Girdle The Globe', and a charming version of the Little Eva classic 'The Locomotion' whose imaginative twists and turns put all those other dull cover versions (by the likes of Kylie Minogue) in the shade. This album too was well received by Stewart/Gaskin's Japanese audience, and the relationship with Midi Records continues to the present day. (Temporarily out of stock.)"


Electronic, Rock, Pop
Chanson, Lounge, Soft Rock, Acoustic, Downtempo, Synth-pop, Ballad

took 3 years to record!

Tracklist :

01 Levi Stubbs' Tears
02 My Scene
03 Grey Skies
04 Subterranean Homesick Blues
05 Heatwave
06 The Crying Game
07 Deep Underground
08 Shadowland
09 Mr. Theremin
10 New Jerusalem

Link to download:

"By 1986, Dave & Barbara had reached a level of musical sophistication where aiming their work at the increasingly juvenile UK singles-buying market no longer seemed a smart career move. One afternoon, standing in the electronic chaos of his Chiswick music room, Dave Stewart made a pronouncement: "From now on, we're going to make albums". On that fateful day, work began on a project which was to take 3 years to complete, the awesome 'Big Idea' album. Every track is a labour of love, with no 'fillers'. Starting with a lush and emotional exploration of a Billy Bragg song with a touching Tamla Motown theme, 'Levi Stubbs' Tears', and continuing with the exquisite ballad 'Grey Skies' (about the English weather, and England), 'Subterranean Homesick Blues' (a savagely deconstructed, choppy electronic version of the old Dylan song), 'Mr. Theremin' (a tribute to the Russian inventor - see 'The Theremin'), 'The Big Idea' goes from strength to strength, finally culminating in the monumental 'New Jerusalem', a sonic epic on the dangers of nationalism complete with 25-voice Welsh choir, the pipe organ of St. Georges Hanover Square, and drums recorded in the Grand Canyon. Students of audio technology may be interested to know that the howling synthesizer solo played by Dave Stewart at the end of 'New Jerusalem' was recorded by 2 studio assistants whirling microphones on 8 foot leads around their heads like lassoes."

"After the audacity of the string of singles preceding this studio album The Big Idea may sound initially a bit more laid back, but it is an album that grows on you and after all these years it is still a pleasure revisiting it. Apart from the compelling Levi Stubbs Tears there are many strengths - Heatwave is boppy with an underlying Barbara Gaskin pathos, New Jerusalem is almost apocalyptic in its breeziness. This sort of duality gives these songs a delicious ambivalence, and Dave Stewarts arrangements continue to delight. Other brilliant songs include Mr Theremin and Shadowland, while Deep Underground and My Scene crank up Stewart's pop quotient but there is always a twist to it. And no one is better suited to sing these songs than Gaskin with her distinctive timbre."

"This first real "album" release by Stewart/Gaskin reached a level of sophistication rarely heard on pop/rock albums. Every track sounds like a labor of love, with no fillers. Starting with a lush and emotional exploration of a Billy Bragg song with a touching Tamla Motown theme, "Levi Stubbs' Tears", and continuing with the exquisite ballad "Grey Skies" (about the English weather, and England), "Subterranean Homesick Blues" (a savagely deconstructed, choppy electronic version of the old Dylan song), "Mr. Theremin" (a tribute to the Russian inventor),"The Big Idea" goes from strength to strength, finally culminating in the monumental "New Jerusalem", a sonic epic on the dangers of nationalism complete with 25-voice Welsh choir, the pipe organ of St. Georges Hanover Square, and drums recorded in the Grand Canyon.
The stand-out is a cover of The Blue Nile's "Heatwave", a beefed-up, cinematic (8 minute) expedition through shifting styles, moods and textures that removes all pretense of innocence from the original"

SPIN (1991)

latest album. Pop music for grown-ups!

Tracklist :

01 Walking The Dog
02 The Cloths Of Heaven
03 8 Miles High
04 Amelia
05 Trash Planet
06 Golden Rain
07 Your Lucky Star
08 Cast Your Fate To The Wind, Louie Louie (medley)
09 The 60's Never Die
10 Star Blind
11 8 Miles High (instrumental)

Link to download:

"In contrast to the dense, layered textures of 'The Big Idea', 'Spin' is a lighter album with more of a pop sensibility, but the musical depth and imagination which runs through all Stewart/Gaskin's work is there in abundance. Starting with a somewhat mad, harmonically twisted but still funky version of the old Rufus Thomas R & B hit 'Walking The Dog' (beloved of Dave since his schooldays), the album contrasts tender, haunting ballads like 'Star Blind' and 'The Cloths Of Heaven' (the latter based on a poem by W.B.Yeats) and Joni Mitchell's 'Amelia', with cheerful, up-tempo songs like 'The 60's Never Die' and 'Trash Planet'. There are affectionate (if irreverent) versions of some great 1960's singles (8 Miles High / Cast Your Fate To The Wind / Louie Louie), plus a sad but lovely tribute to the legendary record producer Joe Meek (England's Phil Spector), 'Your Lucky Star'. Throughout, Barbara Gaskin gives some of her best ever vocal performances, delivering the ballads in her distinctive soft, breathy style, but also belting out the rockers like a good 'un. (Temporarily out of stock.) "

"Every so often an album blindsides me with it's beauty. This is one of those. I was expecting it to be a side project of the Eurythmics' Dave Stewart and a new vocal partner. Instead, this is a different Dave Stewart (the one from Canterbury prog-rock cult band, Hatfield & the North). Barbara Gaskin is a real revelation: she has one of the purest voices I've ever heard and the lush multi-track vocal mixes are truly intoxicating.
Any band that can segue from "Cast Your Fate to the Wind" to "Louie Louie" in five minutes (and make it seem like a natural progression) gets my respect. Stewart & Gaskin have a real knack for transforming cover tunes into distinctive songs (often melding divergent melodies into fascinating hybrids). Joni Mitchell's "Amelia" is nearly as great as Joni's version. Stewart also writes some great originals. The best cut on the album, "Your Lucky Star," is a tribute to English producer, Joe Meek, featuring a "Telstar" guitar. Gaskin's poignant vocal serves up a stunning epitaph to a talented producer who committed suicide in relative obscurity. "Hey Joe," she sings. "you didn't have to lose your soul/Nothing mends a bullet hole." The album ends with some fine Stewart originals: "The 60's Never Die" (name checking Ringo, Hendrix, and Timothy Leary) and "Star Blind" (a heavenly ballad). Surprise yourself: buy this album (and all their other hard-to-find but great albums)."



Barbara Gaskin first became ensnared in the music industry while studying at Kent University in 1969. It was then that she became the vocalist for the folk-revivial band Spyrogyra (not to be confused with the similarly-named jazz fusion band that would surface later), which went on to release three albums and extensively tour Europe and the UK before dissolving in 1974. During this period she also sang as one of the "Northettes" -- a female vocal trio assembled to record with jazz-rock band Hatfield and the North.
After the end of Spyrogyra, Manning embarked on an extensive, 3-year exploration of Asia, during which time she supported herself as an English teacher (as well as a singer during her stay in Japan). Upon her return to England, she once again began her musical and personal association with former-Hatfield keyboardist Dave Stewart, providing vocals for his band National Health and later contributing to recordings by his next project Bruford. A tenure with the all-female band Red Roll On also took place during this time.
In 1981, Stewart and Gaskin joined forces to record a cover of the Lesley Gore bubble-gum classic It's My Party. They followed up with a series of singles released across the next three years (later collected together on the album Up From the Dark in 1986) and founded the independent label Broken Records to release them. The Stewart/Gaskin duo has since continued to be Ms. Gaskin's primary musical outlet.
Husband: Dave Stewart (musician)

Spyrogyra: Vocalist 1969-74
Hatfield and the North: Vocalist 1973-75
National Health: Vocalist 1977-78
Stewart/Gaskin: Vocalist 1981-present


One of the leading names in the British jazz-rock (sometimes referred to as "Canterbury") scene of the 1970s, Dave Stewart began tickling ivories as a child, switching off to the more socially-impressive electric guitar as a teenager before again learning his place. While in school, he formed the band Uriel with schoolmate Steve Hillage; after Hillage moved on to pursue a university education, the band changed its name to Egg, and thus was begun Stewart's recording career and subsequent legend. Somewhere in the middle of its lifespan, Egg and Hillage briefly met up once more to record and perform as Arzachel.
Not long after Egg's demise in 1972, Stewart was invited to join Hatfield and the North by drummer Pip Pyle. After a year-and-a-half of live performance, Hatfield finally got around to releasing a pair of interesting records and then sadly bit the big one. This was followed by a short-lived ressurection of Egg, but by late 1975 "all the king's horses and all the king's men..." Stewart followed up by putting together National Health at the end of the year, again featuring the talents of Mr. Pyle on drums (although he was replaced for an instant by Bill Bruford in the early moments of National Health's existence).
National Health soldiered on until 1979, finally brought down by a change in public tastes. Dave Stewart then resumed his association with Bill Bruford, joining the latter's jazz-fusion combo Bruford (having already contributed to Bruford's first solo effort Feels Good to Me in 1977). This proved to be one of Stewart's more successful ventures. National Health, as with Egg, managed a period of resurrection before dispersing into the aether for good in 1983.
By 1981 Stewart had made a change in musical direction, and released the sophisticated pop record What Becomes of the Brokenhearted?, a cover of a Jimmy Ruffin tune. He also began a partnership with vocalist Barbara Gaskin, which continues to be his most productive and enduring musical vehicle. Other notable endeavors include a pair of music instruction books, and a Stewart/Gaskin collaboration with British comedian and Young Ones/Comic Strip alumnus Nigel Planner. Wife: Barbara Gaskin (musician)

Egg :Keyboardist 1969-7;1975
Arzachel: Keyboardist 1969
Hatfield and the North: Keyboardist 1972-75
National Health :Keyboardist 1975-79;1981-83
Bruford :Keyboardist 1977-80
Stewart/Gaskin :Keyboardist 1981-present

More info:


Blogger Nick said...

Love the blog! Really glad to have found Up From The Dark. Do you have a version of this album with a different track listing- made up of 6 singles- A and B sides- 12 tracks in all? Especially looking for the track by Barbara Gaskin and Dave Stewart called Johnny Rocco. It's also on Broken Records compilation. Could you possibly post that? Thanks...

11:15 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi Nick, thanks for the kind words & enjoy your req:

DAVE STEWART & BARBARA GASKIN - Up From The Dark (1988)(12 tracks):

9:02 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Love the site and great to hear DS & BG.
Have you got the Dave Stewart (with Colin Blunstone) single 'What Becomes Of The Broken Hearted/There Is No Reward'
it seems to have vanished.
I think it did come out on a Broken Records compilation.

3:10 PM  
Blogger djbethell said...

Loving this blog!
Could you please repost a working link for this please? X

10:32 AM  

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