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 Post subject: OLYMPIA & AVONMORE
PostPosted: Fri Oct 06, 2017 1:39 pm 
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Joined: Sun May 29, 2011 7:23 pm
Posts: 967
Hedonistic Hipsters & Debauched Dilettantes,

As time goes by, Windswept has been reflecting on the relative merits of our hero's two most recent vocal albums.

W2 says 'relative' because consistent with his mantra that 'all Ferry is good Ferry', we are of course comparing the sublime with the sublime.

That said, when the dust settles, IWNSHO, the following tracks are really golden:

OLYMPIA: Alphaville. No Face, No Name, No Number. Reason or Rhyme and Tender Is The Night.

AVONMORE: Loop Di Li, Soldier Of Fortune, Avonmore and Johnny & Mary

It interests W2 that after multiple x multiple listenings it all comes down to four tracks on each. Furthermore, on both albums one of the star tracks is a 'ready made'.

It also interests W2 that when he is ultra strict with his taste-meter the two tracks that just miss inclusion on the golden list are also ready mades: 'Song For The Siren' on Olympia and 'Send In The Clowns' on Avonmore. Both for the same reason - they both just miss Ferry greatness by being a little overblown.

Despite the fact that the marketing and packaging effort behind 'Olympia' was huge, it appeared that at least in the UK, it was 'Avonmore' that seemed to garner more critical acclaim.

Not that life is a competition en fin de compte W2 thinks that 'Olympia' slightly has the edge by virtue of the fact that with 'Me Oh My' and 'BF Bass' it has a couple of split decisions on it.

Valuable as W2's opinion is, it is just his opinion and he was wondering what you other elegantly ageing hipsters out there think?

Qu'est-ce vous pensez ?

a bientôt

Windswept


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 Post subject: Re: OLYMPIA & AVONMORE
PostPosted: Sat Oct 07, 2017 8:06 am 
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Joined: Sun Jul 18, 2010 7:13 pm
Posts: 257
Thank you Windswept for raising this topic. It’s 7 years since Olympia came out and I had great hopes for it to be a commercial and critical success , made giddy by the extensive promotion and marketing. (Plus I secured a signed copy of the book edition at Selfridge’s... showing off , here, but hey... ).
The album is still a favourite , despite the fact that it wasn’t received so well outside of the Ferry base.
There are exceptional tracks on it , but as a whole it doesn’t hold together as earlier albums have done, and I think Avonmore does a better job at this.
Perhaps it was the gestation time, the Roxy links , the collaborations with Scissor Sisters and Grooove Armada that made it so - it was just trying so hard.
Possibly the track listing is not quite right. Maybe the 2 bonus covers should not be there. (WGYTHN, One Night).
No matter, I still go back to it . Tender is the Night is a great Ferry closer.
And I like the re-mix album that came with it.

Avonmore, three years with us, is equally well produced and runs happily at a brisk pace; it knows it’s trajectory , slowing down in its last 2 tracks., both ready mades as Windswept has noted, with one having been released earlier in the year on Todd Terje’s It’s Album Time. As Windswept has also reminded us, Avonmore , was better received outside the base, but I think many on here feel it to be Ferry dilute. Some great songs , but nothing, not even the title track , is like Great Indisputable Peak Ferry.


Last edited by avalon_eyes on Sat Oct 07, 2017 2:55 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: OLYMPIA & AVONMORE
PostPosted: Sat Oct 07, 2017 10:42 am 
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Joined: Sun May 29, 2011 7:23 pm
Posts: 967
avalon_eyes wrote:


...There are exceptional tracks on it , but as a whole it doesn’t hold together as earlier albums have done, and I think Avonmore does a better job at this.....
Perhaps it was the gestation time, the Roxy links , the collaborations with Scissor Sisters and Grooove Armada that made it so - it was just trying so hard....

No matter, I still go back to it . Tender is the Night is a great Ferry closer.....

Avonmore, three years with us, is equally well produced and runs happily at a brisk pace; it knows it’s trajectory .....nothing, not even the title track , is like Great Undisputable Peak Ferry.


Hipsters,

Some great points from the ever insightful avalon_eyes.

With regard to 'Olympia' perhaps it does suffer from being too long in the hopper.

'Tender Is The Night' is a great Ferry closer. What a beautiful song it is and it constantly surprises W2 how few mentions it gets. When he plays it at cocktail parties even the Philistines like it!

Concerning 'Avonmore' W2 respectfully disagrees insomuch as he does think that the title track and Loop-Di-Li approach 'Peak Ferry' and that indeed, 'Johnny & Mary' reaches it.

Time having passed, it would be interesting to know what our other learned brethren think ?

Salutations,

W2


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 Post subject: Re: OLYMPIA & AVONMORE
PostPosted: Sat Oct 07, 2017 2:29 pm 
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Joined: Fri Jun 12, 2009 11:39 am
Posts: 23
I'm an infrequent poster but this thread caught my eye, as I was musing on the same topic recently.

The two albums have many similarities, both containing songs that had many years in gestation, both have a layered and sophisticated production style and each has two "ready mades".

My favourite tracks on Olympia are Reason or Rhyme, Alphaville, and Shameless (which I thought I'd hate) and on Avonmore are the title track, Driving me wild and Send in the clowns.

Of the two, however, its Avonmore that I come back to far more. I'm not sure why and there's nothing specific - maybe it's a touch more pacy or maybe the songs have a little more to discover. I do think though that the covers are more distinctive.

On a side note I do think that Heartache by numbers was a lost opportunity. Most of it I find very ordinary but it suddenly comes into its stride during the outro with the soaring backing vocals. If it had come with a bang in this vein an maybe featured more Scissor Sisters and Eno it may have been a winner....


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 Post subject: Re: OLYMPIA & AVONMORE
PostPosted: Sat Oct 07, 2017 3:31 pm 
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Joined: Sun May 29, 2011 7:23 pm
Posts: 967
Vinny wrote:
I'm an infrequent poster but this thread caught my eye, as I was musing on the same topic recently.....



...On a side note I do think that Heartache by numbers was a lost opportunity. Most of it I find very ordinary but it suddenly comes into its stride during the outro with the soaring backing vocals. If it had come with a bang in this vein an maybe featured more Scissor Sisters and Eno it may have been a winner....


Cher Vinny,

You should muse more often - a brilliant observation. W2 has just played 'Heartache by Numbers' and would second your opinion. Perhaps we should offer our services?

Salutations, W2


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 Post subject: Re: OLYMPIA & AVONMORE
PostPosted: Sun Oct 08, 2017 12:10 pm 
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Joined: Sun Jul 03, 2011 10:40 am
Posts: 275
Location: Lancaster
It seems likely the long gestation period for these albums will be a common theme here because I concur entirely with what's been said so far. It must be hard for even someone as creative as our hero to make a disparate collection of songs, some of which have been lying around for decades, to sound like a coherent whole. Anything further removed from the intense writing & recording periods of the early 70s is hard to imagine and therein lies the reason why, after some intense post-release listening, Olympia and Avonmore defer to those earlier recordings that hang together as much more seamless works.

None of that implies I'm not grateful for these additions to the BF portfolio, I'm merely saying the albums feel disjointed in a way earlier works didn't. If an album doesn't flow, some songs will rise to the top and others be largely forgotten about. For me, on Olympia, the songs with Ferry gravitas are Alphaville, Shameless, Song to the Siren, Reason or Rhyme and Tender is the Night. On Avonmore it's - to varying degrees - Loop De Li , Soldier of Fortune, Driving Me Wild, Avonmore, Send in the Clowns and Johnny and Mary. The rest, on both albums (though especially so on Avonmore) feels like nothing more than filler.

I assume there aren't too many more songs gathering dust in the vaults of Studio One but if there are I'd prefer them to either stay there or be dusted off as bonus material / B sides because I'd dearly love to have an album that reflects BF in the here and now both lyrically and in performance. If our hero's creative juices are in full flow - and the diversity of his activity in recent years gives no reason to suspect there's cause for concern on that front - there could still be an album or two possessing real longevity to come.


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 Post subject: Re: OLYMPIA & AVONMORE
PostPosted: Mon Oct 09, 2017 1:26 pm 
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Joined: Sun May 29, 2011 7:23 pm
Posts: 967
UKRichard wrote:
It seems likely the long gestation period for these albums will be a common theme here because I concur entirely with what's been said so far. It must be hard for even someone as creative as our hero to make a disparate collection of songs, some of which have been lying around for decades, to sound like a coherent whole....

None of that implies I'm not grateful for these additions to the BF portfolio, I'm merely saying the albums feel disjointed in a way earlier works didn't. If an album doesn't flow, some songs will rise to the top and others be largely forgotten about. For me, on Olympia, the songs with Ferry gravitas are Alphaville, Shameless, Song to the Siren, Reason or Rhyme and Tender is the Night. On Avonmore it's - to varying degrees - Loop De Li , Soldier of Fortune, Driving Me Wild, Avonmore, Send in the Clowns and Johnny and Mary. The rest, on both albums (though especially so on Avonmore) feels like nothing more than filler......

If our hero's creative juices are in full flow - and the diversity of his activity in recent years gives no reason to suspect there's cause for concern on that front - there could still be an album or two possessing real longevity to come.


Forensic Ferryistas,

Windswept loves UKRichard's analysis of affairs. He is spot on. The extensive gestation period for both really does show in the flow of both albums.

W2 also shares UKRichard's optimism for the future albeit, given that UK gig dates have just been announced for next year, one wonders when he'll find time to record anything ?

Perhaps it's time to have an LP of ready-mades ? TAXI 2 peut etre ?

Salutations,
W2


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 Post subject: Re: OLYMPIA & AVONMORE
PostPosted: Mon Oct 09, 2017 4:39 pm 
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Joined: Sun Oct 11, 2015 1:20 am
Posts: 384
Location: USA
Ahahaha :lol:

Debauched Dilattantes...

My Current Favourite is Lost from Avonmore

I cannot listen to it enough lately,
The Sweet Otherworldly Melancholy of it is So Perfect...
And it matches my current feelings about life so well

And Reason and Rhyme
Some of the Best Ferry Ever
IMNSHO...
Is on these last two Collections

Sublime Indeed

All Ferry
Is
Brilliant Ferry
Ahahaha
Including IYLSE
:lol: :lol: :lol:

Lost...
https://youtu.be/GIxxnTKQw4E


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 Post subject: Re: OLYMPIA & AVONMORE
PostPosted: Thu Oct 12, 2017 9:29 am 
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Joined: Thu Feb 10, 2011 4:32 pm
Posts: 170
Cher W2,
Comme c'est intéressant! Mais por moi, c'est facil; Olympia!

In my ears, Olympia is one of BF;s three most intertesting albums (alongside Bête Noir & Mamouna.) I guess I am one of the few that enjoy You can dance (s large dosis of wine helps, so to speak) with its great video, Alphaville is Ferry at his best, Song to the siren one of his best covers, Heartache by numbers, Shameless, No face no name no number are all innovative, avantgarde; their alternative versions being also interesting, Me oh my and Tender is the night indeed good Ferry and the we have the pearl, Reason or rhyme. BF bass, though, requries a lot of wine to enjoy...
I think Ollie Thompsons guitar helps this record to sound so fresh and vivid. The late Dave Williams also makes an important contribution, as he did on Mamouna. And the cover is great.

As for Avonmore, I understand that is has been more successful. It is much more mainstream and easy to listen to. Probably it is my own fault, but I feel strangely insignificant to it. I don't like to say this, but I was also very disappointed by the cover; an old photo surrounded by black. The inner sleeve is ok, but why all this black? The album as a whole is good, the song that stands out as original is Johnny & Mary. Many songs have nice melodies, like Midnight train, but the lyrics... suitable for Elton John.
Bonne journée à tous!


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 Post subject: Re: OLYMPIA & AVONMORE
PostPosted: Thu Oct 12, 2017 12:10 pm 
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Joined: Sun May 29, 2011 7:23 pm
Posts: 967
Oberon wrote:
Cher W2,
Comme c'est intéressant! Mais por moi, c'est facil; Olympia!

In my ears, Olympia is one of BF;s three most intertesting albums (alongside Bête Noir & Mamouna.) .....
I think Ollie Thompsons guitar helps this record to sound so fresh and vivid. The late Dave Williams also makes an important contribution, as he did on Mamouna.

As for Avonmore, I understand that is has been more successful. It is much more mainstream and easy to listen to.......The album as a whole is good, the song that stands out as original is Johnny & Mary. Many songs have nice melodies, like Midnight train, but the lyrics... suitable for Elton John.
Bonne journée à tous!


Hipsters,

Comme d'habitude Oberon makes some great points.

W2 agrees that 'Olympia' is the better album and the guitar work is certainly superb albeit he doesn't share his enthusiasm for 'You Can Dance'. IWNSHO it is one of the weaker tracks and thinks 'Alphaville' or 'Reason or Rhyme' would have made better singles. If indeed singles are important in this day and age?

With regards to 'Avonore' - its accessibility seems to be a reoccurring theme throughout this thread and it is certainly more commercial. Oberon makes a great point regarding lyrics - they are much less poignant and certainly not 'Peak Ferry'. For Windswept the crowning glory of 'Avonmore' remains 'Johnny & Mary' and the video made to accompany that song is worthy of an Oscar - it is absolutely sublime.

All Ferry remains good Ferry (sauf IYLSE) but it looks like 'Olympia' is edging ahead of 'Avonmore' - it will be interesting to see how many tracks from either album are featured in next year's set list.

a bientôt ,

Salutations.


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