Friday, 17 January 2014

Corky Laing Review

Laing, Corky & the Perfect Child - Playing God
Review by: Donald Strachan

Year: 2013
Produced by: Corky Laing
Label: Selfrelease

1. God’s March
2. Luke’s Blues
3. Terrace Of The Gods
4. Perfect Boy
5. Tony’s Return
6. College Girls
7. Silent Dream
8. My Brother’s Gonna Die
9. Open Up Your Imagination
10. Here Is Our Blood
11. Jupiter
12. Tim’s Requiem
13. Not Good Enough
14. Father’s Lament
15. Crying Shame
16. Journey
17. Sisterhood
18. Vital Stream
19. Revelations I
20. meltdown
21. Revelations II
22. Eyes In The Mirror
23. Revelations III
24. Mr. C’s Demise
25. In This World

On ‘Record Store Day’ a couple of years back I visited ‘Media Mania’ in Berwick upon Tweed and came away with a number of items; included was a copy of the double vinyl of The Who’s ‘Tommy’. Although this had been preceded by some ‘concept albums’ I seem to remember it being promoted as the first ‘Rock Opera’; I certainly remember how excited we were around the time of its release. With the appearance of ‘Playing God’ it seems that the concept of ‘Rock Opera’ is still alive. Legendary drummer from Mountain, Corky Laing, has thrown his hat in the ‘RO’ ring, and with his pedigree I was expecting something special. Initial listening helped to remind me how important it is to avoid trying to review anything on only one hearing. I found it hard to muster any enthusiasm at all, around twenty minutes in I was tempted to eject the disc and move on to something else but I persevered and soon found myself beginning to appreciate the instrumentation. I remained less impressed by the vocals, and wondered about the wisdom of seeking to link everything with the narrative.

“The good people of Happyville, set back in a 1970s version of tomorrow, have enjoyed the advantage of genetic engineering for decades without any thought, but the day of judgement is near. When Luke comes to town, and gods develop an interest in Mr. C’s science peddling, the secrets of the townspeople are about to be revealed, and their lives may never be the same again.”

Having returned to listen again I find that my appreciation is growing, the instrumentation is extremely professional, as I expected from Mr. Laing and his colleagues. I still remain to be convinced of the absolute necessity of the ‘opera’ storyline but will continue to return to give a fair hearing. Returning to ‘Tommy’, I have to record that the closing number ‘We’re Not Going To Take It’ used to energise me so much, but on returning to it over forty years later I found myself rather underwhelmed – the song that had once seemed so cutting edge and radical, now felt rather twee and non-challenging. I wonder how ‘Playing God’ will ‘play’ in forty years time.

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