Monday, February 06, 2006

cult of the week - Duffo

artist: Duffo

title: Bob the Birdman

year: 1981

label: PVK Records

personnel: Duffo (vocals), Rob Adams (drums), Sev Lewkowicz (keyboards, vocals), Dick Middleton (guitar), Tim Wheatley (bass guitar)

tracklisting: bob the birdman, slave of marakeesh, daddy is a mushroom, le posuer, walk on the wild side, elephant man, (i am) the fly, new york is the moon, crazee man

cotw say…

the post-punk era is of course littered with mysterious, unclassifiable individuals. so, what to make of someone who has made well in excess of a dozen albums, spent a period signed to Beggars Banquet, and yet remains a relative unknown - or least virtually forgotten?
'Bob the Birdman' was already Australian Jeff 'Duffo' Duff's fifth album. his fifth. musically, Duffo's album has a somewhat uncomfortable feel, largely due to the fact that it sits between genres. something like Bowie crossed with Andrew Lloyd-Webber, the album consistently leans towards musical theatre thanks to the use of strings and colourful, expansive production (synths are used to give the album a 'spacey' feel). usually it works, making songs like 'Bob the Birdman' and 'Le Posuer' genuinely affecting, and others such as 'Elephant Man' at least highly distinctive. however, some may find the album too Broadway to stomach. Duffo also dabbles in reggae ('Slave of Marakeesh') and disco on his utterly bizarre take on 'Walk on the Wild Side' - in equal parts hilarious and horrific. and before you ask, no, '(I am) The Fly' is not a cover of the The Wire classic, but a fine ballad in its own right.

generally more renowned for a series of publicity stunts and the occassional practical joke played on unsuspecting journalists, it's high time that Duffo's considerable body of work was reappraised.

erik -

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