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The Cockney Rebel: A Steve Harley Anthology - Steve Harley

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Genre: Rock - Pop Rock / Artist: Steve Harley / Box set / Audio CD released 2006-10-02 at EMI

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      24.10.2008 22:19
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      A great collection spanning Steve Harleys earliest music to his more recent.

      As a teenager in the 70's, I used to get my music fix listening to Radio Luxembourg late at night in the kitchen while everyone else was watching the television in the living room. When I look back, some of the music around then was pretty awful, and not what I would listen to now. But for me, one band that really stood out, and that I'm still listening to, is Steve Harley and Cockney Rebel. Unusually for the time there was no rock guitarist in the band, but instead a violinist. I never knew anyone else that liked them, but I think everybody must be familiar with their hits Mr Soft, Judy Teen, Make Me Smile and gothic love song Sebastian. These were the more commercial of their tracks, but some of their other tracks were decidedly more edgy and disturbing. I loved Steve Harley's husky voice. The backing music was weird and fantastic, the lyrics sometimes romantic, sometimes anarchic, but always sheer poetry. I dragged my boyfriend off to see them at Sheffield City Hall and it was the high-point of my teens. Even my boyfriend began to like them. Good job really, because now he's my husband, and I'm still playing Steve Harley!

      Steve Harley went to America and then disappeared from the scene for a few years and when he re-emerged in the late 80's I was too busy working and bringing up a family to take much notice. No more Radio Luxembourg in the kitchen late at night! Eventually I gave away all my albums and switched to cd, never really replacing all my old music. Then a few years ago, I picked up The Cream of Steve Harley and Cockney Rebel, which had some of their best tracks on it, including old favourite Sebastian with its fabulous violin backing. Much better on cd without the crackle of well played vinyl! I've played that cd to death. It's really great to listen to when I'm doing something mind-numbing like decorating, probably because the lyrics are really worth listening to. I'm not sure I've figured out what they all mean though!

      Recently I decided to browse through Amazon to look for another compilation, and discovered The Cockney Rebel, a Steve Harley Anthology at £10.47, a great price for a three disc set. There were tracks on there I hadn't heard before, but were a great discovery.

      THE TRACKS
      CD 1
      Sebastian
      Rock n Roll Parade
      Hideaway
      Loretta's Tale
      Death Trip
      Judy Teen
      Spaced Out
      Psychomodo
      Bed in the Corner
      Ritz
      Mr Soft
      Sling it.
      Tumbling Down
      Big Big Deal

      CD 2
      Make Me Smile
      The Best Years of Our Lives
      Mr Raffles
      Mad Mad Moonlight
      Red is a Mean Mean Colour
      Understand
      All Men are Hungry
      (I Believe) Love's Prima Donna
      (Love) Compared with You
      Here Comes the Sun
      Innocence and Guilt
      Roll the Dice
      Living in a Rhapsody
      Riding the Waves (For Virginia Woolf)

      CD 3
      Freedom's Prisoner
      One More Time
      I Can't Even Touch You
      Irresistible (remix)
      Star for a Week
      The Lighthouse
      New Fashioned Way
      All in a Life's Work
      That's My Life in Your Hands
      The Last Time I Saw You
      The Coast of Amalfi
      Journey's End (A Father's Promise)
      A Friend For Life
      Only You (live)

      It's kind of a journey through time, beginning with the early years on cd 1. Harley's style has matured by cd 3. It's less edgy and rebellious and more mellow and relaxed. My new favourite is The Last Time I Saw You, with its romantic lyrics:

      "Last time I saw you my eyes were red from constant crying.
      The moon was at my door.
      You read my hand and told me all romantics go to heaven, to heaven or to war."

      If you're a long time Steve Harley fan, it's well worth revisiting his music with this collection.

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    • Product Details

      Disc #1 Tracklisting
      1 Sebastian
      2 Rock And Roll Parade
      3 Hideaway
      4 Loretta's Tale
      5 Death Trip
      6 Judy Teen
      7 Spaced Out
      8 Psychomodo
      9 Bed In The Corner
      10 Ritz
      11 Mr Soft
      12 Sling It
      13 Tumbling Down
      14 Big Big Deal

      Disc #2 Tracklisting
      1 Make Me Smile (Come Up And See Me)
      2 Best Years Of Our Lives
      3 Mr Raffles (Man It Was Mean)
      4 Mad Mad Moonlight
      5 Red Is A Mean Mean Colour
      6 Understand
      7 All Men Are Hungry
      8 I Believe Love's A Prima Donna
      9 Love Compared With You
      10 Here Comes The Sun
      11 Innocence And Guilt
      12 Roll The Dice
      13 Living In A Rhapsody
      14 Riding The Waves (For Virginia Woolf)

      Disc #3 Tracklisting
      1 Freedom's Prisoner
      2 One More Time
      3 I Can't Even Touch You
      4 Irresistible
      5 Star For A Week (Dino)
      6 Lighthouse
      7 New Fashioned Way
      8 All In A Life's Work
      9 That's My Life In Your Hands
      10 Last Time I Saw You
      11 Coast Of Amalfi
      12 Journey's End (A Father's Promise)
      13 Friend For Life
      14 Only You