MIKE READ & SIR JOHN BETJEMAN ‘Songs’ (NMC Music 2002)
Mike Read is the former TV and Radio One DJ who has always been a big fan
of Betjeman’s poetry. On this double CD he gathers together a very varied
and talented collection of vocalists from Jon Anderson (Yes) to Marc Almond
(Soft Cell) and Mike Read sings a few himself. All the songs are based on
Betjeman’s poems with some excellent musical backing.
Highlights on disc one include Cliff Richard’s (and no I am not having
you on1) mellow delivery on ‘November Night’, the late Paul Young (ex-Sad
Café/Mike & the Mechanics) sublime vocal on ‘Greenaway’ and Colin Blunstone
on ‘In Memory’. But avoid the cod disco/Latino track ‘Indoor Ganes’
featuring Leo Sayer and Mike Read, who is okay but no great shakes in the
Highlights on disc two include Moody Blues’ vocalist Justin Hayward on
‘Tregardock’, Annie Haslam (Renaissance) brings the jaunty ‘Hunter Trials’
to life and Ian McNabb (ex-Icicle Works) on ‘Slough’. Again there are some
weaker tracks like 70’s glamster Alvin Stardust on ‘Christmas’!
A very enjoyable couple of CD’s, lovingly crafted by Mike Read and there
are some real gems in here. Yes and Moody Blues collectors will want the Jon
Anderson and Justin Hayward songs.