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NOBODY DIES IN DREAMLAND - Home Recordings From 1972

Black Cloud / A Distant Desert / One More Drink / Bitch / Marlene / Now That I Am Getting Old (Need Somebody) / Baby Man / Tramp’s Song (Uggy’s Song) / Mad Boy / Hypnotism / Georgia / Mean Molecatcher Man / Araby / Mandarin Mirror / Evil Island Home / I Love You Baby Baby / Sleepwalking / Night Man


‘It was the gift of a tape recorder which prompted him to creative action. “I’m not the world’s greatest guitarist,” he stresses, “But the tape recorder gave me the opportunity to get some songs down – about forty in one week. I just sat down and it all poured out.”’

From Kevin Coyne: Singing For Adults by Al Clark

Recorded entirely live, the 19 songs on ‘Nobody Dies In Dreamland’ were probably recorded at my Mum and Dad’s rented flat in Clapham ahead of the release of his first solo album, ‘Case History’, in December 1972 (unfortunately, apart from the song titles there is no information on the tape box). Listening to them, you’re hearing almost exactly what was on the single reel of tape: apart from one very brief edit between songs, nothing has been changed.

While all the recordings are unreleased, some songs will be familiar. ‘Uggy’s Song’, ‘Need Somebody’, ‘Evil Island Home’, ‘Araby’ and ‘Mad Boy’ all appeared on ‘Case History’, while ‘Marlene’ appeared on its 1973 follow-up, ‘Marjory Razor Blade’, and ‘Bitch’ (re-titled ‘Witch’) on ‘Blame It On The Night’ in 1974. ‘Black Cloud’ finally surfaced on ‘Legless In Manila’ in 1984, while ‘One More Drink’ exists as a loose, horn-driven outtake from the ‘Blame It On The Night’ sessions.

Of the remaining songs, ‘A Distant Desert’ features Dad playing rare slide guitar, while my mother remembers ‘Georgia On My Mind’ (or simply ‘Georgia’ as it’s listed on the tape box) as a song that he would regularly perform at talent nights in the local pubs. ‘Mean Molecatcher Man’ name-checks the Northern Line, perhaps inspired by ournearest Tube station, Clapham Common, while closing song ‘Nobody Dies In Dreamland’ features myself, then six years old, accompanied by Dad on harmonica.

A remarkable record of a unique artist, ‘Nobody Dies In Dreamland’ features my 28-year-old father at his most urgent, drawing on the Delta blues and Derby, George Formby and John Lee Hooker. Many albums would follow but few are this stark or this intimate. Later, he would record the bulk of ‘Case History’ in three or four hours (how long, he wasn’t exactly sure) “at a little studio in Wimbledon, an old church or something” and later still, ‘Marjory Razor Blade’, his first (double) album for Richard Branson’s fledgling Virgin Records.

But this is where it all began. In a rented South London flat with Dad, his acoustic guitar and a reel-to-reel tape recorder





  Eugene Coyne, 2012  
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