Neil - Neil's Heavy Concept Album (Music CD)

Release Date: 02 June 2014
Artist: Neil
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Nigel Planer (vocals) revives "Neil" from the short-lived yet highly influential BBC-TV program The Young Ones on Neil's Heavy Concept Album (1984). Although the show was set in the 1980s, Neil's lifestyle centers around the mid- to late-'60s hippie culture, an exceedingly antiquated notion directly contrasting his ultra-mod housemates. This explains the inclusion of the fairly wide selection of psychedelic and progressive nuggets amidst the spoken links and occasional originals. The idea for the long-player stemmed from his version of Traffic's early side "Hole in My Shoe" -- which came out as a single. When Planer appeared in character to promote it on BBC 2's Top of the Pops, he lost his footing, resulting in the backdrop falling apart and causing general mayhem on live television. The tune is given a lighthearted romp with notable session musician Rick Biddulph (guitar) working in phrases of the Beatles' "Strawberry Fields Forever" during the waning moments. Other fun covers are Tomorrow's "My White Bicycle," Syd Barrett-era Pink Floyd on "The Gnome," Donovan's "Hurdy Gurdy Man," and "The Amoeba Song," aka the Incredible String Band's "A Very Cellular Song." Caravan's "Golf Girl" is worth additional mention, as it features a cameo voice-over from Dawn French -- half of the comedy team French & Saunders -- as (of all things) a policewoman. Instrumentally, Planer is supported by an all-star cast that includes Dave Stewart (keyboards/bass/drum/guitar), Barbara Gaskin (backing vocals), Pip Pyle (drums), Jakko M. Jakszyk (guitars), and jazz heavy Annie Whitehead (trombone), as well as Jimmy Hastings, who at one time was a primary contributor to the aforementioned prog rock outfit Caravan. "Lentil Nightmare" is a tremendously amusing Planer-penned composition that, among other things, quotes "In the Court of the Crimson King" by King Crimson amidst the proto-heavy progressive metal madness. The connecting bits of dialogue provide an outlet for Planer's quirky and earthy humor. Also of note is "Neil the Barbarian," a parody of a movie advert where Neil -- a strict vegan -- eats a hamburger, which transforms him into this superhero-type character. All said, Neil's Heavy Concept Album is thoroughly entertaining and recommended for inclined parties. ~ Lindsay Planer
Release Date: 02 June 2014
Artist: Neil
Catalogue No: ECLEC2444