The Bride Stripped Bare
Studio Album - September 1978
Bryan Ferry on his fifth solo album had a mixture of his own songs and other artists songs. The album reached number 13 in 1978. Although critically acclaimed, the album didn't acheive the success it expected as it was released in the peak of the Punk Rock Boom. The first single What Goes On only reached number 67, Sign Of The Times at 37 and Carrickfergus didn't reach the top 100.
There was no supporting tour for this album but in subsequent tours in the years after this album was released Bryan has performed 7 of the 10 songs in concert.
There were several track listings and different artwork to what had
initially been intended to be a double album. Some of the unused songs eventually appeared in later years on EPs and b-sides. Broken Wings, Crazy Love, Feel The Need, He'll Have To Go, Four Letter Love.
The original tracklisting was:
Sign Of The Times
Can't Let Go
The Same Old Blues
This Island Earth
Four Letter Love
Take Me To The River
What Goes On
When She Walks In The Room
What Bryan Says...
The production of the album, he intimates, was an intense and emotional experience: its pervasive mood of melancholia being especially enhanced by the remote atmosphere of Montreux and its out-of-season desolation. "The only thing to do there was to make music. There were no distractions. It turned out to be the strangest album I've ever done . . . There was such a crazed atmosphere in Montreux. There was this band of musicians just stuck there. Like an Everest expedition of something. A real Men Without Women number," he smiles. "We just moved out there and dug in. I'm really searching for the words to describe it. It was possibly the most soulful musical experience I've ever been through. It was very remote and very lonely and very crazed."
The Montreux sessions provided, he adds, enough recorded material for a double album, and it was during the selection of the final tracks to be included that he began to nurse some lingering doubts about some aspects of the project.
"After the album was finished," he explains, "I became unsure about it. I wondered, for instance, whether we'd put the right tracks on it. And when I finally came back to England I became more certain that I had to make some changes. Obviously, I wanted the album out six months ago. But, really, it just meant so much to me that I couldn't face putting it out not feeling happy with it. Now I feel that it's right. It was worth the delay. I really wanted this album to stand out, you know. I think it does . . . Of course, as always, it means that it isn't a good background music album. My records never are. And that's something the listener has to contend with. In America they do like albums to be background music; that seems to be the formula for success.
"That's not what I'm interested in. Especially, at this time, with this album. I wanted it to be extracts, if you like, of various styles and moods. And to get into the kind of art-conceit of the title (which is taken from a work by the painter Marcel Duchamp), the original Bride Stripped Bare was full of strange elements adding up to one thing, one statement. To me, that' s what this album is. It has an Irish folk song, some early kind of Memphis things and an Al Green song and a Lou Reed song-I've always wanted to do a Lou Reed song. I like playing about with other people's songs. And, I hear, he was very pleased with this version."
"It's a very, very emotional album," he stresses, as the shadows crowd around him. "It's rare that I'm actually moved while we're recording, but this felt like the real thing. It seems strange to sit here talking about it, so long after the event. One is in danger of almost waxing sentimental about it. But just to see these guys virtually crying through their instruments was extraordinary. It's not something I've experienced before. It's what music is really all about."
I admit to some surprise at his abundant confidence in the album: it had been suggested by some of his more scornful detractors-"an ever growing club," he adds-that the delay in the record's appearance might be attributed to his own lack of conviction in its worth.
He is aghast at the notion. "It's absolutely untrue. God, no . . . I've been dying for it to come out. I wish it could have come out the week I came back to England. I just didn't want to put my name to anything that I wasn't sure about. That's why I changed it. Now, I'm sure about it. I don't have to defend it. I would never put out anything that I wasn't convinced about. Sure, this is a commercial art, but I'd never just put something out because pressure was being asserted on me . . . No, I couldn't do it . . .
"You know, this is such a funny business. It creates all kinds of predicaments. You make an album because you have to: because you feel that impulse . . . But at the same time, you want people to like it and to buy it, so that you become rich through it. But you can't let those factors overwhelm you. You have to squash them . . . you have to concentrate on the work, and believe in it, you know. And sometimes it's depressing, because there are certain records that you do which you feel totally right about, but they don't get through to people. They don't like them, or for some reason they simply don't want to involve themselves in the record. I feel in a sense that perhaps some people don't want to be involved with my career.
"It probably seems to a lot of people that I've been away for too long. They aren't to know that I've been working on this album. They probably feel that I've deserted them. They probably feel I've been off on somebody's yacht."
Album Track Listing
- Sign Of The Times
- Can't Let Go
- Hold On I'm Coming
- The Same Old Blues
- When She Walks In The Room
- Take Me To The River
- What Goes On
- That's How Strong My Love Is
- This Island Earth
Other Tracks of Interest
- Four Letter Love Used as the b-side to 'Sign Of The Times'
- Crazy Love Recorded during these sessions and completed in 1981
- Feel The Need Recorded during these sessions and completed in 1981
- Broken Wings Recorded during these sessions and completed in 1981
- He'll Have To Go Recorded during these sessions and completed in 1981
Album Musicians & Credits
- Bryan Ferry Vocals On "Sign Of The Times", "Can't Let Go", "Hold On I'm Coming", "The Same Old Blues", Vocals Backing Vocals And Piano On "When She Walks In The Room", Vocals On "Take Me To The River", "What Goes On", "Carrickfergus", "That's How Strong My Love Is", "This Island Earth"
- Waddy Wachtel Guitar "Sign Of The Times", "Can't Let Go", Slide Guitar And Backing Vocals On "Hold On I'm Coming", Guitar On "The Same Old Blues", backing Vocals On "When She Walks In The Room", "Take Me To The River", "Guitar And Backing Vocals On "What Goes On", Guitar On "Carrickfergus", "This Island Earth"
- Neil Hubbard Guitar On "Sign Of The Times", "Can't Let Go", "Hold On I'm Coming", "The Same Old Blues", "When She Walks In The Room", "Take Me To The River", "What Goes On", "That's How Strong My Love Is", "This Island Earth"
- Rick Marotta Drums On "Sign Of The Times", "Can't Let Go", "Hold On I'm Coming", "The Same Old Blues", "When She Walks In The Room", "Take Me To The River", "What Goes On", "That's How Strong My Love Is"
- Alan Spenner Bass On "Sign Of The Times", "Can't Let Go", "Hold On I'm Coming", "The Same Old Blues", "Take Me To The River", "What Goes On", "That's How Strong My Love Is",
- Herbie Flowers String Bass On "Carrickfergus" & "When She Walks In The Room"
- John Wetton Bass On "This Island Earth"
- Ann O'Dell Electric Piano And String Arrangements On "Sign Of The Times", Piano And String Arrangements On "Can't Let Go", Piano On "Hold On I'm Coming", String Arrangements On "When She Walks In The Room", Organ On "What Goes On", String Arrangements On "This Island Earth"
- Mel Collins Saxes On "Hold On (I'm Coming)", "That's How Strong My Love Is"
- Martin Drover Trumpet On "Hold On (I'm Coming)", That's How Strong My Love Is"
- Steve Nye Electric Piano On "The Same Old Blues"
- Preston Heyman Drums on "This Island Earth"
- Mountain Studios Recorded At
- Steve Nye Engineer
- Dave Richards Assistant Engineer
- Martin Pearson Assistant Engineer
- Chris Kettle Q.M.
- Peter Revill A.D.C.
- Atlantic Studios Remixed At
- Lew Hahn Engineer
- Jimmy Douglas Engineer
- Randy Mason Assistant Engineer
- Ahmet Ertegun Counsel
- Waddy Wachtel Co-producer
- Rick Marotta Co-producer
- Simon Puxley Co-producer
- Steve Nye Co-producer
- John Swannell Photography
- Antony Price Design
- Cream Artwork
- Brian Harris Typography
- Anthony Clavet Make Up
- Yvonne Gold Make Up
- Barbara Allen Cover Star
- Bob C. Ludwig Remastered The 1999 Remaster Edition
- Gateway Studios Portland Maine 1999 Remaster