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Sunday, February 9, 2014

Bryan Ferry - "These Foolish Things" Virgin CD

Bryan Ferry - These Foolish Things
CD, Album, Remastered, 1999 (original recording 1973

For me personally, the year 1973 was a major time for new music.  Glam reached its peak, and David Bowie and the Spiders were non-stoppable.  But also the dark mirror image of Bowie, Roxy Music was making revolutionary music.   It was virtually a shock that around the time of the second Roxy album, Bryan Ferry released a solo album.  An album of song covers on top of that.  At the time, I thought of These Foolish Things as a creative notebook for Ferry.  Perhaps influences, both iconic and sonic wise.  The majority of the songs were taken from the 60’s with a touch of the 50’s and even something from the classic American songbook.

When I first heard the album, I was shocked by Ferry singing a Bob Dylan song for some reason.  Even more surprise by his glam/experimental arrangement of “A Hard Rain’s A-Gonna Fall.” An incredible version of the song that first rendered this protest song into a camp level.  Now hearing it many years later it seems to me to be more of a poetic approach to this iconic piece of work.  On one level the album sounds like a collection of b-sides, but that is a part of its great charm.  Ferry’s focus on turning these pieces into something more personal for him, yet the distance between his voice and the material is quite a distance.  It is, and still is, a very strange album.