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STEWART, DAVE & BARBARA GASKIN - GREEN & BLUE (2009 STUDIO ALBUM/DIGI-PAK)

Product Format: CD               

Price: £12.49 (exc) £14.99 (inc)

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Released in 2009, this classy piece of work was the first S&G album to become available for some time and more than worth the long wait.

Keyboardist Dave Stewart started his career in music back in the sixties/seventies with Progressive/Canterbury fusion legends: EGG, ARZACHEL, HATFIELD & THE NORTH and NATIONAL HEALTH, as well as working with drummer Bill Bruford on several projects and with guitarist Steve Hillage in KHAN.
In 1981 Dave changed musical direction and began experimenting with pop arrangements and song writing. He started working with his friend from NATIONAL HEALTH: Barbara Gaskin, with whom he had known and sporadically worked with since the late 1960’s. Their first single together was: 'It's My Party' – a cover of the Lesley Gore sixties classic - and it reached number one in the UK charts. Earlier that same year Dave recorded a heavily electronic cover of the Motown Jimmy Ruffin classic: ‘What Becomes Of The Broken Hearted’. That 45 featured ZOMBIES vocalist Colin Blunstone, and although it was not quite the massive hit that he later had with Barbara Gaskin, it was still an excellent record that reached number 13 in the UK chart, and showcased Stewart’s mastery of the cover version ‘with a difference’. A series of 7" singles followed and in 1986 US company Rykodisc released the first STEWART & GASKIN CD album entitled: ‘Up From The Dark’. Since then they have built a reputation for producing intelligent and imaginatively arranged pop music, recording several albums together, which were initially Japanese only releases, but they also appeared on the German Line label in the early 90’s.
The duo re-appeared with their long-awaited album: ‘Green And Blue’ in 2009, and during 2010 and 2011 Dave & Barbara have reissued their earlier albums in new Remastered, Expanded, Special Editions, all of which you will find here at CDS Towers.

After not having had a Stewart / Gaskin album in some time, along came ‘Green And Blue’ in 2009, and it was a piece of quality work which more than make up for the long wait. One word was good enough to sum it up – CLASS!
On ‘Green and Blue’ (and on the duo’s earlier album recordings), Dave Stewart’s creative genius stretches much further than just being a king of quality covers. His skilful keyboard work and tasteful arrangement / production techniques are, as ever, outstanding. He has a real flair for a good tune and his songwriting skills are self-evident. The cutting edge sound he gets from his keyboards is pretty much his own and they just add so much vibrant colour to each and every track the pair record together. Dave also has a tasteful knack of knowing where to, and where not to, use samples in his music, and when all this is brought together, there is a real feeling of maximum entertainment value given to everything he does.
Barbara Gaskin’s vocal contributions are just timeless – she still sounds fantastic – her voice is just as smooth, pure and tuneful as it ever was – incredible – she was (and still is) one of the best female vocalists in the land.
Dave & Barbara are joined by long-time collaborators Andy Reynolds (guitar), Gavin Harrison (drums), Peter Blegvad (narration) and the Amorphous Choir of Wales.
On ‘Green and Blue’ there are touches of Dave & Barbara’s musical past on some tracks, but there are elements of many other styles that have evolved into music that can’t really be pigeon-holed – it’s just exceptionally classy stuff that I know you and I are going to enjoy for many years to come.
This is the most varied Stewart & Gaskin album to date, combining heart-rending ballads, poppy toe-tappers, lengthy musical explorations and some heavier stuff as well.
In a departure from style, the album contains only one cover version: ‘Good Morning Good Morning’ - a manically cheerful take on the Beatles song featuring some excellent animal sampling that brought a smile to my face on more than one occasion.
The other 8 tracks are all Dave Stewart originals and they formulate a superb range of pieces.
Along with a copy of the CD, Dave & Barbara kindly supplied me with their personal descriptions for each track and having twice listened to the album from start to finish, I found myself agreeing with virtually everything they said, so rather than set off on one of my epic reviews that might risk you dozing off after the first paragraph, I though it better to keep it as brief as possible by using the S&G guidelines (they say it all really) interspersed with any comments I felt need adding…
‘Jupiter Rising’ is an upbeat toe-tapper on inspiration lost and found, ‘Walnut Tree Walk’ is a semi-biographical song exploring the psycho-geography of London and ‘Let Me Sleep Tonight’ is a dreamy piano-led ballad. The title track is a lengthy slow-building, anthemic ecological soundscape, ‘Any Guru’ is quirky, fast tempo song with extended instrumental passages and ‘Bed Of Leaves’ is another slow, atmospheric ballad. ‘Rat Circus’ is where they get heavy with a rock-rant about the music biz and to close the album ‘The Sweetwater Sea’ offers up a dream journey into surreal poetic realms, with part 2 featuring words and narration by Peter Blegvad (Henry Cow / Slap Happy).
‘Green and Blue’ is a thoroughly recommended album of timeless music from one of the finest keyboard player / vocalist pairings ever produced – It goes through a range of moods that rocks in a feel-good way one moment, becomes sombre and serene the next, then moves into some stunning ethereal atmospheric passages, always with a strong sense of melodic charm and with the occasional sprinkle of humour along the way.


GREEN & BLUE Track List:

Track List:
01. Jupiter Rising (6:32)
02. Walnut Tree Walk (8:01)
03. Let Me Sleep Tonight (4:39)
04. Good Morning Good Morning (4:31)
05. Green & Blue (10:31)
06. Any Guru (8:47)
07. Bed Of Leaves (7:36)
08. Rat Circus (7:35)
09. The Sweetwater Sea (9:01)

TPT: 67:36