I bought this CD when Duke Special (AKA Peter Wilson) was using Pledge.com to raise money after a recent split from his record label and needing to pay for costs of being awesome. At only £15 for a signed copy, I just couldn't leave this! Duke Special is no longer on Pledge, but you can still buy the CD from his official store for £12.
'The Silent World of Hector Mann' is based on a book by Paul Auster called "The Book of Illusions" about a silent movie star called Hector Mann that mysteriously disappeared just as his career was taking off. Hector made 12 films in a year, and while he couldn't afford fancy effects, his films were brilliant. His most notable feature was his moustache, which plays a big part in this CD. It is on the album artwork and mentioned in many of the songs.
Each of these songs were written by a different person and based on one of Hector Mann's 12 films. The main vocals are all by Duke Special.
1. Hearth and Home (Written by Ronnie Mintor)
"Home, oh home is where my heart is. Oh! My hearth and home."
A lovely little song about where Hector's heart lies and how he could "rekindle our love to where it was once before, even though I'm not with you anymore" This is a very nice song that sets the mood for the rest of the CD. Not my favourite song, but it's very nice.
2. Wanda, Darling of the Jockey Club (Written by Neil Hannon)
This song also goes by the name "A Bitch Called Wanda." I had heard this song before I read about it in Paul Auster's book and once I read it I could see that it was very well written and kept to the description Auster gave perfectly. It is about a waiter that got to wait on the Darling of the Jockey Club, Wanda. He spots a thief and hits him over the head with a bottle of Veuve Clicqot, which accidentally sprays over the head waiter and he is fire. Wanda didn't like that one bit, and offered the young waiter a chance to come with her on her travels.
3. Jumping Jacks (Written by Ed Harcourt)
One of my favourite songs on this album. Hector Mann is a door-to-door salesman trying to get people to buy his wares, but "Convinced this is a good life, I cheated with a housewife. Her husband's in the police, keep it quick, make it discreet"
4. Mister Nobody (Written by Duke Special)
A beautiful song. "He's mister nobody - he doesn't see that his moment won't last. Oh! Mister nobody - soon he'll be slipping off into the past" The description of the film was Hector was given something that made him invisible to everyone. He hated being invisible, so "We'll have to be cruel, and hope that he disappears."
5. Tango Tangle (Written by Ben Castle)
A very catchy song. Hector has a dancing school, in which "Mann teaches man, to do as he can-can, anybody can, can you?" I know what I can do, listen to this song on loop. Because of it's catchy music line it gets stuck in your head, but you don't care.
6. You'll be Detective (Written by Clare Muldaur Manchon)
I've never really noticed this song much, but it is lovely. I can't remember the description of this film in the book, so I can't comment on how accurate the lyrics are. It's a nice song though.
7. Double or Nothing (Written by Phil Wilkinson)
A well written song. When you notice it, you really notice it. I think the description of this in the book was that it was all of the snippets of film left over compiled into one, but I'm not entirely sure. Either way, this was the last film made by Hector Mann. Lovely song that could hit you at any moment if it hasn't done so already.
8. Country Weekend (Written by Paul Pilot)
Lovely catchy song. Hector plays a chauffeur who wishes to win the heart of the girl he drives, even though "My father always told me, that the rich don't love the poor, I still believe my sweetheart you can love your poor chauffeur." I particularly like the line "Oh tell me there is love! Across the class divide." Not sure why, but I do.
9. Old Folks and Cow Pokes (Written by Rea Curran)
I can't remember the description of this in the book, but it's lovely. I can't pick out the story from the lyrics either, but it's a very nice song anyway. I imagine if I could remember the description given in the book it would be better, but oh well.
10. The Prop Man (Written by Thomas Truax)
One of my favourites in this album. Hector is a prop man, but when the "travelling troupe" arrives, the props have all gone and the director has passed out. Hector takes it upon himself to steal every prop that they need before the show that night, with one small hiccup. "I heard he stole a gun right out of the sheriff's holster ... He stole the necklace off a neck whilst doing a little jig, and all the while upon his back a stolen roasted pig! But oh! The town belle and her lavender smell. She flickers and blinks and he smiles and he winks. And just when you think he's lost the game to distraction, he steals her very heart! Mann. He's back in action!" When everyone realises that their stuff has been stolen for the show "we couldn't help but feel sad, 'cause we all know a good story is worth more than gold. He knows that we know that he did it for art. And when they cuffed him, he smiled." This is a fantastic song that I would happily keep on loop for an hour or so.
11. Scandal (Written by Pete Noback)
"It's not a scandal, just a misunderstanding." Probably my favourite song in the whole album. I can't remember where the description of it in the book is, but regardless, it's a well written song that I could keep on repeat and loop for hours. For the story to work properly, you have to remember that Hector's appearance is a moustache and white suit. The storyline is; "Hector Mann plays a business man, who checks in an old hotel." He goes to check how he looks and "thinks there's something funny with the mirror. But really it's a jewel thief wearing the same suit and staring back from outside a window" The opera singer down the hall says the jewel thief was wearing a white suit and moustache, just like Hector, so he runs around the room trying to make his suit filthy. In the end, "He's done with the double takes, pratfalls and acrobatics; you can tell he's done with them for good." This one is my favourite songs of this album if my iTunes play count is anything to go by.
12. Teller's Tale (Written by Matt Hales)
I can't say I've noticed this song very much, but from people I've spoken to that have noticed it, it hits you when you least expect it. I can't remember the description, nor can I pick out the story line from the lyrics. It's a slow song with lovely lyrics, and makes a nice end to the album.
So in conclusion, this is a fantastic album and I would recommend it to anyone that likes music. It has many changes in lyrical style, which adds to how great it is. If you would like to buy it, it costs £12 from Duke Special's official shop, which you can access from his website: http://www.dukespecial.com this is well worth the money, so go get it!
Disc #1 Tracklisting
1 Hearth And Home
2 Wanda Darling Of The Jockey Club
3 Jumping Jacks
4 Mister Nobody
5 Tango Tangle
6 You'll Be Detective
7 Double Or Nothing
8 Country Weekend
9 Old Folks And Cow Pokes
10 Prop Man, The
12 Teller's Tale, The