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It's funny how some songs are so strongly reminiscent of a particular time in your life. In the mid 90s I was studying at Sussex University, and often listened to one of the local radio stations. For some reason, 'Looking Back (Over My Shoulder)' was frequently played and stuck in my head. Fast forward to last November when I am being asked if there's anything I'd like for Christmas and this song pops into my head. And a few weeks later a small square CD-shaped present lurks under the tree. The question is, will it live up to my memory? The second track on this greatest hits album is indeed this song, and it is just how I remember it. Quite poignant, telling a somewhat sad story of lost love, wondering how things could be reversed. It's sung well, with a great deal of feeling by this talented group of musicians. Worth getting the album by itself! I was quite surprised that I actually knew (in the sense of having heard them before enough to recognise them) several more of the songs on the CD. I hadn't really been aware of Mike and the Mechanics being especially influential or 'big', but I suspect they are more well known than I realised. There aren't really any dud songs on the album - as you should expect from a greatest hits collection, even though the inside cover states, in a slightly weaselly way, that the songs have been "major hits in one part of the world or another." They are mainly in a similar sort of style, and there isn't a huge variation, but they are all well performed so if you like one or two of them the chances are you'll like the rest. Curiously enough when I put the CD for the first time, the whole family were sitting round a table playing a game, and all three children starting unconsciously tapping away to the beat and humming along. So there must be something attractive enough to appeal to different generations. Since then my middle son has been listening to it by himself, a strange state of affairs when the kids like your music! If you are a keen fan of Mike and the Mechanics then no doubt you would prefer to get separate albums; but if you just like one or two of their more famous songs and are casually interested in hearing some more, this is a good buy.
Mike & The Mechanics Hits is one of my favourite CD albums. General information The compilation CD was released in 1996 and is a collection of the most successful songs recorded by Mike and The Mechanics during the course of their eleven year association. Mike & The Mechanics, also known as Mike + The Mechanics + Paul Carrack, were a British rock/pop band, which formed in 1985 and ended in 2005 following the death of Paul Young. Its main former members were Mike Rutherford (Guitar), Paul Carrack(Vocals/keyboards), Paul Young(Vocals), Gary Wallis(Drums), and Adrian Lee(Keyboards). The life and the soul of the band was Mike Rutherford, who was born in 1950 in Guilford, Surrey, UK. He is one of the founder members of Genesis. He plays both bass and lead guitar. Before he founded Mike & The Mechanics he had already released two great albums under his own name. As 'Mike & The Mechanics' he and his band mates had many successes in various part of the world. The album song list: 1. All I Need Is a Miracle'96 2. Over My Shoulder 3. Word Of Mouth 4. The Living Years 5. Another Cup Of Coffee 6. Nobody's Perfect 7. Silent Running (On Dangerous Ground) 8. Nobody Knows 9. Get Up 10. A Time And A Place 11. Taken In 12. Everybody Gets A Second Chance 13. Beggar On A Beach Of Gold If you like the band you might also enjoy these other albums by the band: 1. Mike & The Mechanics 2. Living Years 3. Word Of Mouth 4. Beggar On A Beach Of Gold 5. M6 6. Rewired My opinion I like the band and its music. I think the songs from the group always offer something innovative to fans of its music. I feel these 13 singles were telling 13 stories and every story had the singer's personal experiences inside. The lyrics are meaningful and in depth. They represent the classical music of 1990s and have already become a lasting memory to people of that time. One of my favourite songs in this album is The Living Years. Every time I listen to it I'm moved a lot by the lyrics and the story behind it. From the song I have learnt to cherish what I have and to care about people who love me. Note: might be posted by myself on other websites under username happysh2009 or Blossom.
Mike & The Mechanics - Hits I am still busy transferring CD's to iTunes and I am getting to the last 100 or so now. This is a CD that my wife originally bought, one I had already purged for 'Living Years' so I have taken the opportunity to listen to it again, though from memory it was not great. I like the fact that in the inner booklet they state clearly that these 'hits' were hits in various places in the World, not just UK. The 'Hits' span 11 years from 1985 (Silent running) - 1996 (All I need is a Miracle '96). The band were/are: Paul Carrack (used to be in Squeeze) Paul Young (used to be in Sad Café), Paul died of a heart attack in 2000. Mike Rutherford (used to be in Genesis) Adrian Lee Peter Van Hooke Gary Wallis So, we have a high class and well connected line up, but what about the 'Hits'? ~~~The Tracks~~~ 1. All I Need Is a Miracle '96 Has a distinct Genesis feel to it, and could in fact be Genesis, very late 70's/early 80's soft rock feel. It is musically very good, the lyrics are so 80's, this is no surprise as it was first released in 1985....sure it was in a film, too cheesy for me by far, terrible opener. 2/10. 2. Over My Shoulder Very Genesis inspired again, though this has it's own distinct feel. Again a bit too soft rock for my liking, catchy, but not catching, 3/10. 3. Word of Mouth Another soft rock, anthem like start which promises much, and actually the vocals are quite good, the lyrics okay and the tempo and rhythm quite catchy. Almost, but not quite political. 5/10. 4. The Living Years One of my all time favourite songs and guaranteed to bring a tear to my eye every time. I remember listening to this the night after my dad had survived (just) a massive heart attack, I was told to 'say goodbye' and yet he pulled through. I went home and put this on. One of the most realistic and heartfelt 'stories' of lyrics ever penned. The chorus is hypnotic and unforgettable. The music is perfectly matched to the vocals. Brilliant 10/10. 5. Another Cup of Coffee Awful, especially after the last song...pop/rock trash, trying to be meaningful, lyrics related to domestic/mental abuse, yet it just does not work, at all. 2/10. 6. Nobody's Perfect Awful, terrible, horrid, electronic 80's American soundtrack. 0/10. 7. Silent Running Interesting start, quiet, and sounds like, I guess, what it is supposed to be, 'silent running' is what submariners call it when they glide quietly underwater to avoid detection. This song is very familiar and has an almost 'Tubular Bells' feel to it. The vocals are not so good, the lyrics clearly about wartime, it feel like it could, should be better, as the sentiment and music are okay, but it does not quite 'get there'. 7/10. 8. Nobody Knows (what we had) Nice start, pleasant musically, more of a ballad type song, in the same vein as 'Living years' but not as good, actually it's okay. Not too sure about the tempo changes, but it makes it interesting I suppose. 6/10. 9. Get Up Love the start to this, piano, guitar, drums, quite fun, then in comes the awful vocals and spoils it, prog rock at it's worse. 3/10. 10. A Time and Place Oh no, serious ballad, power rock, could be Foreigner, but it aint, really cannot stand this. 1/10. 11. Taken In Please no, no more, I want to throw myself from the nearest bridge "You say I'm the only one when I look in your eyes, I want to believe you, but you know how to lie".....agggghhhhhh. Even the saxophone solo (which is good) cannot save this. 0/10. 12. Everybody Gets a Second Chance At least this is a bit more up tempo and bright, but again that horrid 80's prog/soft rock. 2/10. 13. A Beggar on a Beach of Gold I cannot even begin to describe this naff, cheesy tosh. 0/10 ~~~Finally~~~ So having given this album a second chance, I know why I only uploaded 'Living Years' before. I would recommend everyone to have 'Living Years' in their collection, but there is not one other song here that does anything much for me than make me wanna chuck. Do NOT waste your money. It gets one star, and that is for 'Living Years'. How can a band have a classic song like that and so much else is just dross?
Over a 10 year period Mike and The Mechanics have produced some fine music. Their Hits album contains all the singles from 1985 to the remixed 'All I Need Is A Miracle' in 1996. Mike is of course Mike Rutherford of Genesis fame and the concept of Mike and The Mechanics came from the stop-go nature of the later Genesis as Phil Collins pursued a parallel solo career and even dabbled in the old acting game. The stop-go nature of Genesis also led to the same lack of continuity about Mike and The Mechanics. There have been periods of productivity with long gaps in between. Whether this has helped or hindered the band depends on your point of view. It can be argued they never allowed themselves to get stale or feel the pressures of having to record and release an album a year. Conversely you could argue they never built up a momentum or continuity to develop beyond a certain level. The gaps were sufficiently long however to mean that the band had to effectively relaunch itself every three years and to do so needed a good product to achieve it. This hits album confirms they achieved continued success with the strength of the songs. Mike and The Mechanics were an ensemble band who used well known band members to combine on this infrequent basis. Rutherford was undeniably the founder and leader but in Paul Carrack he found the perfect voice for his lyrics. Carrack has a strong voice but not too overpowering for the sound Rutherford wished to create. The band also used Paul Young as a vocalist. The bands sound was usually very polished. In many ways they are similar to what you would to hear from Don Henley or The Eagles. There is a distinct American feel and of course they were hugely successful there. The fact that many of the tracks like 'Nobody Knows' and 'Time and Place' lack the sharp edge of a Genesis track there is sometimes a feeling that the songs used as a Mike and The Mechanics track were Genesis rejects, somehow not good enough for the real band. All the tracks have Rutherford credited as songwriter in combination with other writers. BA Robertson features as co-writer of many tracks as well as popping up on keyboards a couple of times. In fairness this means many of the better tracks such as the cathartic 'The Living Years' and the excellent 'Silent Running'. Two tracks feature Carrack as the co-writer, the rather average 'Get Up' and one of the best tracks 'Over My Shoulder'. The remainder feature Christopher Neil who penned 'All I Need Is A Miracle' as well as pouring out 'Another Cup Of Coffee'. The band musically can not be considered challenging. The production is neither understated nor over produced. They do sound a little clinical on occasion and just a shade lacking in feeling or emotions. It is music you can listen to as you drive along in the car, perhaps singing along but certainly unlikely to be getting overexcited. This is a good album and, if you have not collected the singles over the years, worth having as background music when friends are round.
There is just one word for this CD - brilliant. It's the first album I have ever bought that has not had the must-skip tracks - every track is magnificent, from the fast-moving and louder 'Word of Mouth' to the soft rock of 'Beggar on a Beach of Gold' and 'Looking Back Over My Shoulder' to 'The Living Years', possibly the most poignant track ever recorded. Although the album was released in 1996, and some of the tracks date back to the mid-late 80s, it has dated unbelievably well - it is as fresh today as the day it was produced. Although this is essentially a secondary project after Genesis, many of the tracks are remarkable, and for my money eclipse the works of Genesis. Often, we buy a CD just for the actual music, or less often, for the lyrics, but this album has a collection of perfectly moulded-together lyrics and music, with the music of 'The Living Years' perfectly in sympathy with the magnificent, moving lyrics. This is, for me, the best CD in my collection, and I have just one piece of advice for you - buy it!
Mike and the Mechanics first got together in 1985 during the recording of Genesis’ “Invisible Touch”, when Mike Rutherford made contact with two of his old mates, Paul Carrack and Paul Young. Not that Mike Rutherford was tired of making music with Genesis, - oh no. What it was was, he thought that if the three of them got together they could write in a different, more melodic manner. As a result of this collaboration, and as this album clearly demonstrates, the music of Mike and the Mechanics is focused on easily remembered melodic rhymes which reflect “life, the universe and everything”, to paraphrase the much missed Douglas Adams. Anyone who has looked at my ‘Top Ten Artists’ opinion will know that I rate Paul Carrack as one of my all time favourites. I’ve not always been aware of his fine vocal and song writing talents, but the burgeoning popularity of Mike and the Mechanics has helped to advanced my appreciation of this fine musician by an almost tangible amount. Ever since this three-piece put their unique brand of music on record they have been responsible for some of the most ‘listenable’ music I can remember hearing. In that time I have spent many happy hours listening to what I believe are some of the most musically gifted people it has ever been my good fortune to add to my music collection. The tracks I am going to revue in this instance are those from their 1995 release, “Mike and the Mechanics Hits” as I think this album, which sold 1.5m copies and also led to a hugely successful tour, is a good an introduction to the band, especially for anyone unlucky enough to have missed out on them to date. ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ALL I NEED IS A MIRACLE How many times have I sang along with this magic track? It must now rate around a hundred times. All I need is a miracle was no t their first hit, but it is possibly their best. Then again, it’s possible that I will have changed my opinion - yet again - by the time I have finished this opinion. I do that a lot with this band. For example; Paul Young's vocals are quite excellent on this track and each time I hear Paul singing (there’s two don’t you know) I think to myself, “Now that has to be their best track yet.” - every time, - never fails - so you’ll have to forgive me if I contradict myself as to which is in fact their best number. “All I need is a miracle, all I need is you.” It says it all - don’t you think? Mike Rutherford has left all traces of Genesis behind in this excellent up-beat track. The musical content of this number has a catchy hook that gets hold of you and doesn’t let go. It really is a fast-paced song with a distinctive ‘I-can-make-it if-I-just-try-that-wee-bit-harder’ feel to it. 8/10 OVER MY SHOULDER Writing credits on this wistful track go to Mike and fellow ‘Mechanic’ Paul (I really rate this man) Carrack. Not one of the tracks to set-the-heather-on-fire but an all-round good un all the same. 6/10 WORD OF MOUTH I know Mike Rutherford has a music degree, but, judging from the lyrics of this track - a slower more ballad like track - he’s likely got a degree in psychology too! Don’t believe all you hear - you might say - but then again - believe you are hearing the best - when you are hearing these three excellent musicians. Come to think of it, Mike and the boys reflect today’s popular culture in another interest fashion as, when I think about it, they must be the most popular ‘part-timers’ of any music genre. The wonderful musicianship of the trio is reflected in their melodic and memorable track, with Word of Mouth being just one of their best. 8/10 THE LIVING YEA RS All right, you can tell me - you’ve done it too, right? You’ve had a quite wee weep to this one, haven’t you. If there was ever a piece of music that most of mankind could associate with (and womankind in this instance) this must be one. When someone dies, it’s always a difficult time. This track takes that ‘difficult time’ and expresses just one of the many often deeply painful feelings which can be experienced by those who are ‘left behind’. “I just wish I could have told him, in the living years.” So full of pathos and yet so full of hope, the lyrics on this delicate topic are here negotiated with ease, the wonderful professionalism of Paul Carrack, balancing restraint with emotion. A truly wonderful, uplifting song. 9/10 ANOTHER CUP OF COFFEE This is a track which I particularly enjoy. It didn’t do much ‘chart-wise’ for the boys but it received a lot of ‘air-play’ on Radio2, - which is just one of the reasons I listen avidly to that radio station. This ballad is just a little different from others in the same vein. It highlights the loneliness experienced by so many women. And loneliness is, in my opinion, a disease on a par with others such as AIDS and Cancer. “And she pours herself another cup of coffee as she contemplates the stain across the wall And it's in between the cleaning and the washing , - that's when looking back's the hardest part of all.” I don’t know about you, but these words reach into my very soul. The lyrics even pay heed to the feelings of the male participants when they relate how; “As he packs away the pieces of his life. They all love him but they always try to change him - That's what happens when a girl becomes a wife.” Is that how it is? I wonder? 8/10 NOBODY’S PERFECT Another crackin’ track from this super band of ‘real musicians’. “Nobody's perfect all of the time, nobody's perfect, we are what we are” - oh how right they are. One interesting fact about this track - it’s co-written by Mike and BA Robertson. Remember him? I had the pleasure of meeting that young man - when he was a young man - and it was a pure delight, let me tell you. 8/10 SILENT RUNNING Another one of Mike and the Mechanics excellent ballads. With Paul Carrack on lead vocals, this track was the theme from the film “On Dangerous Ground” and made number two in the American charts. However, as this is the one everyone knows. - I won’t keep you back from your ratings with my inane gossip about the time when .... 9/10 NOBODY KNOWS This album is a ‘live’ one and on this track you can feel the way the boys have the audience in the palm of their hand. This track reflects their expert touch with the melody and their overall craftsmanship. Another poignant ballad. 6/10 GET UP Not one of my favourite tracks. I think the boys are not at their best on this one - but that’s just my opinion, you give it a listen and see what you think! 4/10 A TIME AND A PLACE All in all not a bad track. The lyrics are what I tend to go for rather than the actual music - and in this instance the lyrics are a bit weak - in my opinion. “There is a time and place for you to have your dreams, though here and now may not be the time and place for you and me.” However, if I’m honest, this album has it’s ‘better side’ - and this is not it. 5/10 TAKEN IN As above, although maybe it’s its negative content that puts me off this track? “Oh, there's one born every minute, you're looking at him.” Mmmm, - could be. 5/10 EVERYBODY G ETS A SECOND CHANCE Saved! Just when you might think the boys have let their standards slip. they come back with this ‘clincher’. The lyrics are soo good, I won’t spoil it things by putting them here - oh, all right, here are just a few of them. “Everybody gets a second chance, the Circumstance to say I'm sorry. I'd like to tell you in advance, - take my chance and tell you - I'm sorry too.” Ahhh nice, eh? Just get yourself a listen and you’ll see just what I mean. Then give it another listen - after all, Everybody Gets a Second Chance. 7/10 BEGGAR ON A BEACH OF GOLD This is a fine ‘finisher’ for this excellent album. 8/10 The standard across the board on this particular album is less than a true fan of Mike and the Mechanics might expect - but if you have not had a ‘good listen’ to this band as yet - give this album a try - You’ll see (or rather hear) what it is that makes this trio so popular - on a world-wide basis. Part of their appeal is their pure ‘musicianship’ and they hold a pedigree which is undeniable. Paul Young - vocals - was lead man with seventies group Sad Cafe - (therein lies yet another dooyoo opinion me thinks) and as most of you will know, Mike Rutherford - guitar - was/is lead guitar with Genesis - while Paul Carrack did a stint on vocals with Ace and also served his time in Squeeze with Jools Holland. (those new country fans among you might/might not know that Nancy Griffith’s latest pressing, “Clock Without Hands”, includes a track from the pen of Paul Carrack by the name of “Where Would I Be?”) All in all- this talented band are one of the most musically gifted in today’s music scene and as Rutherford, Carrack and Young have now recorded their fifth, and judging from the tracks I have heard on Radio2, t heir best studio album to date, I must be off and try it out - (give it a listen) If, like me, you enjoy M&TM’s lyrics - then here’s a great site that has them all. http://www.sing365.com Enjoy. GG
This is the fifth album form Mike Rutherfords so called side project. Like earlier albums and songs such as the living years this album manages to pull at the heart strings while sending off a laid back vibe. With “Ordinary Girl” the band affirm once again that they are regular guys just like the restof us. “Open Up” is a sentimental number which is succeeded by the anthem song “When I Get Over You”. The album is rounded off by musings on the common man’s place in the great scheme of things on the haunting track “Dreamland”. The songs all fit together seamlessly on the album and are well crafted. Arrangements are kept to a minimum acoustics mainly being used. This allowed both Paul Carrack and Paul Young on vocals to display their sheer excellence in delivery.
Disc #1 Tracklisting
1 All I Need Is A Miracle
2 Over My Shoulder
3 Word Of Mouth
4 Living Years
5 Another Cup Of Coffee
6 Nobody's Perfect
7 Silent Running
8 Nobody Knows
9 Get Up
10 Time And Place
11 Taken In
12 Everybody Gets A Second Chance
13 Beggar On A Beach Of Gold