B.a Robertson - Wringing Applause

B.A Robertson – Wringing Applause

82 / 100

A concept album based on life on the stage, the material from B.A Robertson is clever and slightly cheeky, those familiar with the style of Gilbert & Sullivan will find this a fun listen.

Written by: Eric

ARTIST: B.A Robertson
ALBUM: Wringing Applause
LABEL: Ardent
YEAR: 1973
CD REISSUE: Discogs Reissue List

LINEUP: Brian Alexander Robertson – lead vocals, keyboards * Barry Morgan – drums * Herbie Flowers – bass * Alison J. – piano * Stephen Saunders, Paul Beer – backing vocals

TRACK LISTING: 01 Tramp (How It Is) * 02 Crazy * 03 A Letter * 04 Chevrolet * 05 Speak Of The Devil * 06 Slave * 07 Rocky Mountain Suite (Bad Road) * 08 Worldwinds * 09 Right Track * 10 Chevrolet (Live)



Glory Daze trainspotters will recognize the abbreviated B.A. Robertson on songwriting credits ranging from Cliff Richard‘s ‘Carrie’ to Mike+The Mechanics‘ mega-hits ‘Silent Running’ and ‘The Living Years’.

Adding to his resume, B.A Robertson released a number of solo albums none of which I’ve heard, other than ‘Wringing Applause’ purchased only because I read a dealer description comparing the album to Queen.

Produced by Sailor‘s Georg Kajanus and surprisingly released on the Memphis, Tennessee label Ardent – home of power pop legends Big Star; ‘Wringing Applause’ features a gatefold sleeve in thick cardboard stock made to look like an old theatre program.

The Songs

A concept album based on life on the stage, the arrangements are clever, progressive and slightly cheeky, although lyrically it’s a bit too wordy for my tastes and I’m not all that thrilled with B.A Robertson’s Scottish brogue either.

I suppose those more conversant with the ‘show tune’ style of Gilbert & Sullivan will find this a fun listen, but ‘Moira’s Head’ and ‘Cowboys’, while interesting musically are just too dense in the lyric department for this reviewer to enjoy, making Yes‘ ‘Tales From Topographic Oceans’ sound down right rudimentary and dare I say – more welcoming.

The Queen comparison I can live with, but even Freddie Mercury the master of over-the-top excess knew when enough was enough. Henry Gaffney whose ‘Waiting For The Wind’ album was in a similar style, is a better comparison but even with that record, a catchy hook or two did not go amiss which is something Robertson obviously had no interest in.

In Summary

B.A Robertson attempted to release ‘Wringing Applause’ on CD at one point, only to find Ardent had destroyed both the masters and artwork. A tragedy, despite my misgivings over the record but that’s the breaks. Not a big recommendation here, but if in the mood for something truly different – proceed with caution.

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