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(2-CD) Angel Air SJPCD288 (2008)

Sir John Betjeman/Mike Read

This is a re-issue which was originally released by another label back in 2002. Mike Read is the former Radio One DJ who has always been a big fan of Betjeman's poetry. On this double CD (all the songs are based on Betjeman's poems) he gathers together a very varied and talented collection of vocalists including Jon Anderson (Yes), David Essex, Gene Pitney and Marc Almond (Soft Cell). Mike Read even sings a few as well.

Highlights on disc one include Cliff Richard on 'November Night', a nice slow number suited to his vocal. Colin Blunstone on 'In Memory' and David Essex on 'Myfanwy' which was a hit single. But avoid the cod disco/Latino track 'Indoor Games' featuring Leo Sayer and Mike Read.

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' and Cantabile are an acquired taste.

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.


Review by Jason Ritchie

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November Night (Cliff Richard)

© 2008 Angel Air Records. All rights reserved.

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***** Out of this world | **** Pretty damn fine |
*** OK, approach with caution unless you are a fan |
** Instant bargain bin fodder | * Ugly. Just ugly

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