VIP: VERY INTERESTING PERSONS - FINDLAY NAPIER
LCM ALBUM OF THE MONTH - JANUARY 2015
Release date: 17th January 2015
Record Label: Cheerygrove Records
VIP: Very Interesting Persons is an is an excellent concept album written about 'very interesting people' by Scottish singer-songwrter Findlay Napier, who co-wrote most of the album with the great Boo Hewerdine. All the central characters have a great and very interesting story to tell and the album pitches those stories perfectly.
The album starts with a great song about Hedy Lamarr. Interestly not only was Hedy Lamar a superstar actress and model, but she invented the process which later became Bluetooth and subsequently Wi-Fi. During WW2 she was asked specifically not to work as a scientist as she had far more worth to the government as a model and actress. Probably our favourite song on the album The Man Who Sold New York rocks along with some great percussion, tremolo guitar and lap steel. George C Parker was a well known American con artist who sold the Brooklyn Bridge at least twice a week for thirty years. He sold other famous New York landmarks such as The Tomb of General Grant, The Statue of Liberty and Madison Square Garden.
An Idol in Decline is the very sad story of Mickey Mantle who was one of the greatest baseball players of all time. He played for the New York Yankees. His football playing nearly ended his athletic career and indeed his life. Kicked in the left shin during a practice game during his sophomore year, Mantle's left ankle soon became infected with osteomyelitis, a crippling disease that was incurable just a few years earlier. A midnight drive to Tulsa, Oklahoma, enabled him to be treated with newly available penicillin, saving his swollen left leg from amputation. Despite being among the best-paid players of the pre-free agency era, Mantle was a poor businessman, making several bad investments. His lifestyle was restored to one of luxury and his hold on his fans raised to an amazing level, by his position of leadership in the sports memorabilia craze that swept the USA, beginning in the 1980s. This piano led song has a real classic retro feel to it and fits the era perfectly
Eddie Banjo is the story of a tramp who lived in a cave outside Wick. Teddy was a shell shock victim during WW2 and abandoned by the state. Teddy only played one song on his banjo 'You are My Sunshine' by Jimmie Davis
What a Shame About George is about American singer-songwriter George Jones. Findley and Boo wrote the song a few days after "The Possum" died.
Rising Sun is a sun about Japanese soldier Hiroo Onado who keep fighting WW2 well into the 1970's. His commanding officer left him on a an island in the South Pacific and ordered him 'not to surrender until I come back for you'. He evaded many attempts at capture until 1974 when his commanding officer, who was now a bookseller, returned to the island to order his surrender. There is a great flute line in the song which drive the song and give it an oriental feel.
Sweet Science is the sad story of Jimmy Garcia who died during a boxing match in Las Vegas killed by fellow boxer Gabriel Ruelas. After Garcia's death Ruelas swore each time he stepped into the ring he saw the ghost of Jimmy starring back at him. 'He ignored the preminition, lit a candle, said a prayer. He sees in every boxers face the ghost of Jimmy's stare. Valentina Tereshkova was the first woman in space. She came from a poor family and worked in a uniform factory. She trained to be a cosmonaut via a correspondance course. Inspired by the obituary of Sir Henry Cecil, The Sport of Kings is a story of horse racing and gambling. The song with its lap steel and piano has a real country sound
The final song on the album Angel Falls is a song dedicated to Jimmie Angel a WW1 fighter pilot who accidently discovered Angel Falls in Venezuela. The falls are named after him. 'From the devils house a river fell, and they called it Angel Falls'
We really love this album by Findley. Very cleverly written and right on point.