Keith Fabrique is a name familiar to very many local music lovers: not least because with the many roles he plays in our music, he has so many opportunities to engage with us. So many tune in each week to hear him on HillzFM, whether for his acclaimed Wednesday Rock Show, regular stints hosting "Good Morning Hillfields" or other shows, listened to far beyond the city limits of Hillfields itself as what touches that community, touches us all.
On the other hand, there is also Keith Fabrique producer, based at Coventry's Tinkle Studio: and don't forget Keith Fabrique, Glasslips Records supremo. If you have ever heard artists as vital & popular as Danny Ansell or Huffy, Keith's the man helping put their material on record.
Now however, we have Keith's own album, or more accurately "Talk on the Radio" (wonder what the reference there might be?) by ‘Keith Fabrique & the Missing Links'.
The ‘Missing Links' cast list reads like a "who's who" of locally (and beyond) respected players: the aforementioned Huffy, Christopher Sidwell, Tracey Skarzynska, Al Dubber, Eddy Bruneau, Liz Maxted, Les Bromfield, Chris Worsley, Cathy Beech, Steve Clarke, Pete Rupik & very many more... which surely attests to Keith's level of respect among his fellow musicians.
The album is really eclectic. Part of this is due of course to the varied input which gives most tracks a pretty individual aural fingerprint (though to be honest all these great contributions only serve the songs: there is no grandstanding here). The other part must surely lie in the range of Keith's musical tastes & inclinations. Keith has been in a number of bands & has been performing in a variety of permutations of musicians: I think the songs in this collection have been written over a period of some time too... The one thing they probably do have in common, apart from Keith's general "less is more" restrained & tasteful approach, is a very "adult" lyrical theme: these are grown up emotions being described & ones which come with experience alone.
Album opener "In Out Song, Voyeur" (which pops up incidentally on the new "Alternative Sounds, Volume 2" in the guise of "Inside Looking Out": in fact it's interesting to note that at least seven of the artists on "Talk on the Radio" have already appeared on the "Alternative Sounds" series) grooves itself insidiously into your head, with a surefooted swinging feel, with beautifully interweaving vocals, guitar lines & sax (plus lascivious indrawn breaths). You can easily tell why "Alternative Sounds" requested use of it..
At the opposite end of the scale & album, "Slum Kid Blues" has a beauty too & the same confidence, but is bleaker in tone with starker instrumentation (you can probably gather from the title that the story it tells is somewhat different too) which suits the tale being told here....
The "Ballad of Black Ice" as the name suggests, haunts the album with a darker narrative (fans of Keith's work will recognise this as a variation on a song he previously cut with the GunShock Big Band as "Blackice". I like both versions, but this stripped down & quieter one, with almost whispered vocals is certainly a much more macabre take, which justifies the re-arrangement in my book)
"Five Fifteen: Ode to Bowie" is delivered a la Dame both vocally & in arrangement (think early 1970s): a pretty ambitious song I suppose, but they certainly pull it off very nicely with a succinct & incisive Ronsonesque guitar solo. I think you'll like it....
In a collection often characterised by quietness & space, perhaps the most extreme example is "Oh Yeah, I'm Walking". Goodness knows how can I describe this one: it's another sort of rock song but delivered at ballad speed & volume, yet most of the instrumentation, especially the exquisite sax by Liz Maxted could be defined as the dubwise style, floating ethereally in and out of the mix...
"Sweet Talking Blues" is a curious one too, underpinned by a sort of "Walk on the Wild Side" bassline, more spacey acoustic guitar, unexpected chords, a mixture of male & female harmonies.
There are four more songs on the album but I'm not going to go into them in depth, not because I don't like them (I do), but because I see my job as a reviewer is the encourage readers to go & listen themselves, which I doubt they will if I spoil all the surprises: so go on. You know it makes sense.
I have the first details of my photo exhibition taking place in Leamington Spa this autumn and hope some of you will put it in your diary and there will be more details later.
Wednesday 17TH October
7pm until 10-30pm
VENUE (and big thanks to them for the use of the room)
The Upstairs Function Room
The Oak House Sports and Social Club
87 Upper Holly Walk
All proceeds will be spilt 50/50 between
Zoe's Place Baby Hospice - Who have a branch in Coventry.
The Cinnamon Trust - The National Charity for the elderly, the terminally ill and their pets.
My exhibition has been kindly sponsored by Leamington Spa company (and my work place) Presto Classical.
My exhibition which will be free entry will consist of prints covering my favourite images from my years of music photography along with a slide show of those that just missed the cut, and will be mostly local to this area (Leamington Spa) and many will be previously unpublished.
I will also have live acoustic music provided by a couple of my local musician friends - news to follow and there will be a bar in the room.
To raise money for the good causes all exhibited prints will be available for purchase on the night along with possibly a few more images with all proceeds to the charities and there will also be a raffle which will hopefully include signed items be some of the artists in the exhibition and other prizes - again more info to follow.
Hope some of you will come along and I am very much looking forward to celebrating my 10 plus years of gig photography and raising money for two great charities.
Another very proud moment for the team at "Alternative Sounds" who can now announce the tracklisting for Volume 2 of "Alternative Sounds": more of the cream of Coventry & Warwickshire music, past, present & future.
Wild Boys; "We're Only Monsters"
We Are A Communist "The Silent Bugler"
The Flys "Program"
Mysterious Monks "First Call At Dawn"
I "I Am I"
Digital Dinosaurs "The Sideways Man"
ENGRAM "Karl Marx"
Resurrection Men "Regular Parrot"
Tracey Skarzynska "She-Devil-She-Machine"
Johnny Wild and the City Centre Shakers "What Could I Do Now?"
Warriors of the Dystotheque "We're Taking Control" (featuring Pop Will Eat Itself)
Blush "Seven Years"
Stress "Elizabeth Selwyn"
Stavely Makepeace "I Want You Want Love"
Polly Bolton "The Lake Isle of Innisfree"
Rod Felton "Take Me Away"
King of the Alps "You Smile"
Keith Fabrique & the Missing Links "Inside Looking Out"
Courtiers of Fashion "Courtiers of Fashion"
Morocco Dave "You May Not Be the Coolest Person Here"
Pre-orders of the album are now being taken at
with a free download of the Wild Boys track at:
We are also proud to dedicate "Volume Two" to the memory of Rod Felton (24th August 1942 - 26th March 2014) and John Millar Thomson (14th January 1959 – 15th October 2013) ("Johnny Wild Boy")
As a taster to the extremely imminent release of "Alternative Sounds: Volume Two", the latest compilation showcasing "the cream of Coventry & Warwickshire music, past, present & future", the team are releasing a free taster download of one of the tracks, "We're Only Monsters" by the Wild Boys, written by Roddy "Radiation" Byers whose band it originally was before he joined the Specials. The lead singer on this track is the late Johnny "Wild Boy" Thomson, to whom "Volume Two" is co-dedicated.
You can download the track at:
In the words of "Alternative Sounds" creator & producer, Martin Bowes who mastered & compiled the album & its predecessors in his studio The Cage:
"The first time I ever sang on stage... if you can call it that... a while before ATTRITION was born... was at my 21st birthday party, at the old Hope n Anchor pub in Coventry in 1979... I had local punk band The Wild Boys play that night... their single at the time was "We're only Monsters" (written by The Specials' Roddy Radiation)... I got up on stage and sang "We're only Martin's"... I was very drunk... :)"
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