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Release Info: Siren - Strange Locomotion (2nd Album UK 1971 w. Kevin Coyne)
Size: 102 MB
Ripped by: ChrisGoesRock
Source: Japan 24-Bit Remaster
Formed in Bradford in the late sixties they moved to London and signed for John Peel's Dandelion label. Mick Gratton replaced Chichester on lead guitar for the second album, but soon afterwards the group disintegrated. Coyne made a further album for Dandelion, Case History, and later a series of albums for Virgin, which did not attract the attention they deserved. Many of Coyne's recordings were influenced by his experiences as a social therapist in a Preston psychiatric hospital and later, upon his move to London, as a social worker in Camden. Despite plugs by John Peel, neither Siren or Coyne's solo recordings sold well, although most are now sought-after by record collectors. They also recorded two 45s as Clague.
Given all that Kevin Coyne went on to achieve in his own right, his apprenticeship in Siren remains just that, a learning curve that brought out only occasional flashes of his later acerbity, while the band blues-boogied along behind him. But what flashes they are, from the effortless churn of "Relaxing With Bonnie Lou," with its invocation of Coyne's later "Eastbourne Ladies" shamelessly doing the can-can behind it, to the Stax-y soul of the title track, an R&B shouter in everything but the R&B.
And the shouting. Both are models to which the singer would eventually return, but it's the all-but-unaccompanied "Some Dark Day" and the slurring folk of "Soon" that best pinpoint Coyne's solo ambitions, with the suggestion that his cracked tone and twisted vision need nothing more than the most spartan accompaniment to drive their point home. Indeed, the occasions when the rest of the band does stretch out — the (possibly overlong) seven-minute "Fetch Me My Woman," for example — effectively sideline Coyne altogether, as Mick Gratton's guitar chases the quaalude rhythm and the singer simply yowls around him. "Squeeze Me," meanwhile, closes the album with the kind of heads-down rock'n'rave routine that probably went down fabulously in concert, but quickly wears out its welcome on wax. The majority of the album's deficiencies, however, are those detected only after years spent listening to Coyne's later work.
Placed in the context of its time, in a world where Led Zeppelin had already taken the post-blues boom as far as it could go, Strange Locomotion at least flags a few interesting side roads and makes a couple of dark diversions as well. The U.S. edition, incidentally, drops "Gigolo" and "Fat Moaning Minnie" in favor of "Lillian" and, for who knows what reasons, the 1969 Coyne/Dave Clague "here's a new dance you can do" single, "The Stride." It stands out from its surroundings like an extremely sore thumb, but does save you hunting down the original 45.
01. Relaxing With Bonnie Lou (3:23)
02. Some Dark Day (3:33)
03. Hot Potatao (4:09)
04. Soon (3:48)
05. Gigolo (4:26)
06. I'm All Aching (3:04)
07. Strange Locomotion (2:56)
08. Shake My Hand (3:17)
09. Lonesome Ride (2:21)
10. Fat Moaning Minnie (2:51)
11. Squeeze Me (2:37)
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