June 8, 2009
ITEM: I’ve often been known to champion the underdog here. Wait, wasn’t that a TV show circa 1956 (and a comic strip in “Buster” ten years later) ???……no that was Champion the Wonder Horse or am I thinking of Rex the Wonderdog !!)
John Otway has continued to snatch defeat from the jaws of success for thirty years. His first “hit” Really Free may have ended up as his only hit. However he has always had a loyal following of fans. For a birthday treat a few years ago they decided to get him another hit record. This was achieved by releasing a CD with a “live” B side (Yes I know CDs don’t actually HAVE B sides! …Track Two then…) which featured the voices of all the audience at an (excellent) live recording of “House of the Rising Sun”. The NAMES of everyone at the concert were included on the sleeve also. Consequently all participants bought multiple copies. That was sufficient to propel the A side “Bunsen Burner” into the lower reaches of the top 20.
Anyway despite having graced the UK pop charts with two “hit” singles John Otway still prides himself on being the world’s most successful failure. This quite interesting audio file in hissy mono from the radio gives some background details.
Perhaps It’s just me but I find all John’s music very enjoyable, particularly the ballads like “Place farm way”,the up tempo stuff like “Beware the flowers because I’m sure they’re gonna get you yeah” and especially the aforementioned live version of “House of the rising sun” which could well be the best ever version of this much-recorded tune. This CD has been playing in my car for the last 2 weeks and I’m still not fed up with it!!