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Before beginning his career as a solo artist, Kevin Coyne was the centerpiece of Siren. The group recorded two albums in the late '60s and early '70s for Dandelion, the British underground-oriented indie run by DJ John Peel. The paths that Coyne would follow on his many solo albums are much in evidence in Siren's work, which spotlight his pained, scraggly, and soulful vocals, as well as his funny, sometimes bitter lyrics. Guitarist Dave Clague (who was once in the Bonzo Dog Band) and pianist Nick Cudworth helped Coyne pen much of Siren's material, and provided much of the low-key bluesy, folksy arrangements. Siren's slim discography was doubled and then some in the mid-'90s, when DJC came up with three albums of mostly unreleased material.
Kevin Coyne was a musician, singer, composer, film-maker, and a writer of lyrics, stories and poems. The former "anti-star" was born on 27 January 1944 in Derby, UK, and died in his adopted home of Nuremberg, Germany, on 2 December 2004.
Coyne is notable for his unorthodox and unforgettable style of blues-influenced guitar composition, the intense quality of his vocal delivery, and for his bold treatment of injustice to the mentally ill in his lyrical songcraft. Many influential music figures have called themselves fans of Coyne's work - notable among them are Sting and John Lydon. In the mid-1970s his band included guitarist Andy Summers prior to the formation of The Police. Prominent BBC disc jockey and world music authority Andy Kershaw described Coyne as, variously, "a national treasure who keeps getting better" and as one of the great British blues voices.
As a teen and young adult Coyne studied at the Joseph Wright School of Art from 1957 to 1961 and then studied graphics and painting at Derby School of Art from 1961 to 1965. His love of American bluesmen developed, as did his songcraft and his guitar and vocal talents.
At the conclusion of his arts training, Coyne began the work that would change him forever - he spent the three years, from 1965 to 1968, working as a social therapist and psychiatric nurse at Whittingham Hospital near Preston in Lancashire and then for "The Soho Project" in London as a drugs counsellor. During this period of working with the mentally ill, he performed regularly. Subsequently, his musical aspirations took precedence and he signed a record deal in 1968.
Coyne's early break was the result of John Peel releasing recordings by Kevin's first band Siren in 1969 on his Dandelion Records label.
01. Ze-Ze-Ze-Ze Clague, Coyne, Cudworth 3:01 02. Get Right Church McDowell 3:17 03. Rock Me Baby Josea, King 3:26 04. Wake up My Children Clague, Coyne, Cudworth 3:34 05. Wasting My Time Clague, Coyne, Cudworth 2:18 06. Sixteen Women Clague, Coyne, Cudworth 3:45 07. First Time I Saw Your Face Clague, Coyne, Cudworth 2:50 08. Gardener Man Clague, Coyne, Cudworth 3:30 09. And I Wonder Coyne, Cudworth 2:28 10. Asylum Coyne, Cudworth 3:42 11. Bertha Lee Petway 3:10 12. I Wonder Where Coyne, Cudworth 5:00