Rock G.P.A.: The Blow Monkeys [part 34]

Monks Road Socialists convene for album number one

[…continued from last post]

In the year following “The Wild River,” we first heard of a project Dr. Robert was throwing himself into that was very different to The Blow Monkeys. Minks Road Social was a collective project in the vein on 4ADs This Mortal Coil projects. With Dr. Robert holding court with luminaries like Matt Deighton. The artists signed to Monks Road Records got together to groove and the first album “Down The Willows” was the result. The first single teased was a new version of “Lost In Rasa” from Dr. Robert;s last solos album, “Out There.”

The album followed in early 2019, and it was always my intention to buy a copy of this, but life being what it is, this never happened, though I did post about it! The album was released in February of 2019 and held the following delights.

Wonderfulsound | UK |CD | 2019 | WSD60CD

Monks Road Social: Down The Willows – UK – CD [2019]

  1. Lost In Rasa
  2. Golden Day
  3. This Is Nowhere
  4. The Coming Of Grace
  5. Head Down To Love
  6. Make It All Better
  7. Still Got A Lot To Learn
  8. The Last Laugh
  9. Fern Of Dean
  10. Rivers Of Gold
  11. 12 Bar Remote
  12. Three Miles Left
  13. Bronwen
  14. Sycamore Tree
  15. Adi Shakti
  16. Hello Though
  17. Bright River
  18. So Long Soho

I se a handful of Dr. Robert solo titles there getting a new lease on life with a larger band behind  them. The sessions were ten days at a residential studio in Wales and the eighteen tracks were analogous in form and length to the This Mortal Coil project of the 80s, albeit with a more eclectic slant. There was no attempt at defining the “house style” of the label in its making.

Little did I know at the time that there was a second Monks Road Social album just five months later made in a similar 10 day residential session in Wales carrying the title of “Out Of Bounds.” I swear that I did not get a peep out of the Blow Monkeys mailing list for this one, so I only found out about it very recently! This album was let out into the world in July of 2019 and yes, one can still spot pre-existing Dr. Robert and even Blow Monkeys material on offer anew.

Monks Road Records | UK | CD | 2019 | MonksRoad201

Monks Road Social: Out Of Bounds – UK – CD [2019]

  1. Tumble Hill
  2. Bottomless Pit
  3. If It Was All Down To Me
  4. OK! Have It Your Way
  5. 12 Bar Edit
  6. I Ain’t Running Anymore
  7. Lost In Strings
  8. Jesse
  9. Autumn Leaves
  10. The Float Tank
  11. Nobody Knows Anything
  12. Nowhere
  13. Bird Calling
  14. Sycamore
  15. Honey Rise
  16. Rasa Chateau
  17. Monday Morning
  18. Rivers Of Gold (Edit)
  19. May You Give It All Away
  20. Birds Eye View
  21. Golden Evening
  22. Cover Me
  23. Soho Lo Fi
  24. The Walks

By 2020, The Blow Monkeys were beginning their crowdsource campaign for their 40th anniversary album, but that didn’t stop Dr. Robert from making a third Monks Road Social album; this time in his Granada locale, using friends and neighbors…like famous Scot actor Peter Capaldi.

Dr. Robert jamming with Peter Capaldi

Dr. Robert knew that Peter Capaldi had musical roots and invited him over to join in on the sessions. Capaldi enjoyed the roots check and wrote a song [“If I Could Pray”] for the third Monks Road Social album, “Humanism.” This was released in April of 2020 and due to lockdown, most of the usual collective managed to fit in thanks to working remotely.

Monks Road Records | UKK | CD | 2020 | MRS20201

Monks Road Social: Humanism – UK – CD – [2020]

  1. New Arrivals
  2. Said Too Much
  3. On The Wings Of The Morning
  4. Me, Mrs Jones & You
  5. El Alba
  6. Egyptian Magic
  7. If I Could Pray
  8. Give It All A Mix
  9. City Lights
  10. Bottomless Dub
  11. Step By Step
  12. El Granadino
  13. I Wish You Well
  14. I’m Gonna Try (Edit)
  15. Stolen Road
  16. Apricot Glow
  17. Running Blind
  18. Sequiso
  19. Sunny Side Up

All of this music was released in a very brief time. Long 60 minute CDs and double LPs were popping up like daisies after a spring rain, but that wasn’t the end of it. Peter Capaldi enjoyed the experience so much that he carried it forward to a full album as produced by Dr. Robert and released later that fall. His first solo album “St. Christopher.”

Monks Road Records | UK | CD | 2021 | MR211CD

Peter Capaldi: St. Christopher – UK — CD [2021]

  1. Beautiful And Weird
  2. It’s Not Over Until It’s Over
  3. Impossible Youth
  4. A Little Bit Of Class
  5. The Great Magnificence
  6. Atlanta Vacant Lot
  7. In Person
  8. In Every Face
  9. St. Christopher
  10. Take What You Need

Admirably, Capaldi didn’t try to recycle his contribution to the Monks Road Social album! I was especially happy to see that Dr. Robert was putting his prodigious production chops down on wax with other people. As far as I was concerned, the world should be beating a path to Dr. Robert’s door all trying to get a piece of his taste, talent, and experience. He produced modern The Blow Monkeys albums under his nom du disque Spill Factor, and therein lay his wisdom. He made records that allowed for messy humanity to seep into the proceedings. Anything he made was the antithesis of an antiseptic, “producer’s record.”

The 40th anniversary Blow Monkeys album was crowdsourced and was said to be due by the end of 2021. Yet all of this restless activity meant that Dr. Robert had produced three double LPs and a single album in the ensuing four years following the last Blow Monkeys album. Was that wise? Did he have any mojo left to put into his own primary project?

Next: …Incredible Journey

About postpunkmonk

graphic design | software UI design | remastering vinyl • record collector • satire • non-fiction
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2 Responses to Rock G.P.A.: The Blow Monkeys [part 34]

  1. You mentioned the cleverness of the nom de producer “Spill Factor” much earlier in this series, but I didn’t quite “get it” until this mention, when my brain finally sounded it out: a play on Phil Spector! Delicious!

    Like

    • postpunkmonk says:

      chasinvictoria – But it’s a doubleplusgood reference because “spill factor” is the element of recording wherein the drum mics might also pick up traces of the lead vocals if the band are actually together in a room while recording! It adds unity and power to a recording even as it makes separation and the possibility of mix choices narrower down the line. A recording with “spill” will not have that antiseptic sound that can be so deadening.

      Like

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