Dr. John Cooper Clarke + Hugh Cornwell: This Time It’s Personal UKCD 
- It’s Only Make Believe
- Way Down Yonder In New Orleans
- Spanish Harlem
- Johnny Remember Me
- MacArthur Park
- She’s A Woman
- Love Potion No. 9
- Sweeter Than You
Holy Toledo! This just in from my wife, who stumbled onto this news before I did, but there exists a new project in the pipeline that promises to undermine any pre-conceptions we might have of it on first blush. John Cooper Clarke [Poet Laureate of Punk] and Hugh Cornwell [ex-Stranglers] have united for an album project where all is not as you would assume. The forthcoming album, “This Time It’s Personal,” will be set free on October 14th and it’s a selection of covers. No, Mr. Clarke is not writing the lyrics or giving his usual spoken word performance on it. Nor is Hugh Cornwell doing his usual singing. Instead, Mr. Clarke is singing [for the first time ever] a series of classic [read “old”] pop tunes from the US and UK songbooks of the 1960s.
The genesis of the project was recounted on Hugh Cornwell’s news feed. Apparently, Hugh had indulged one evening as he listened to Richard Harris’s recording of “MacArthur Park.” A while earlier, he had dined with Mr. Clarke and suddenly got the idea of that distinctive Mancunian voice delivering the song instead. He rang Clarke up and asked if he was interested and with that the game was on. The tune snowballed into full album and it’s currently on pre-order [CD/LP] here for what are sensible asking prices [£10/£17].
I have to say that being a fan of Conway Twitty’s seminal single “It’s Only Make Believe” [Robert Gordon’s cover is tops] makes me wonder what this can possibly sound like. Hugh is strictly the musical director here, and lead guitarist. We all should be familiar with Clarke’s distinctive delivery, but this time all bets are off as he is singing. Let’s raise a toast for old dogs learning new tricks, and finger our chins thoughtfully as we ponder what effect this may have on the further career of Dr. John Cooper Clarke [hon. University of Salford ca. 2013].
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