Tim Curry’s debut album, Read My Lips, was an amazing thing. Produced by Bob Ezrin with the same crew that did Lou Reed’s Berlin and Alice Cooper’s greatest work, it has an amazing musical core. But over the years, I’ve come to see Berlin as a deeply disappointing album because much of the writing is weak and then there is Lou Reed’s voice, which I will call bad when I’m feeling charitable. But here we have Tim Curry singing. How it isn’t a classic or at least a huge hit, I can’t say.
Of course, I feel this way a lot. Great work isn’t ignored by accident; it is ignored because it is great. I feel the same way about Jules and the Polar Bears’ first album, Got No Breeding — interestingly released the same year. But that was the year of the Bee Gees and Saturday Night Fever. Don’t get me wrong. I think there is some incredibly great disco music. I just don’t think that the Bee Gees made any of it.
One thing that doubtless would have killed Read My Lips even if it were produced to sell was the variety of the material. How’s this for a collection of songwriters: Paul McCartney, Roy Wood, Irving Berlin, Joni Mitchell, and Bacharach & David. I’ll get to that last one tomorrow. Today, we’ll listen to a song I assume was written especially for Curry by Ezrin and his frequent collaborator Michael Kamen, “Sloe Gin.” For those not into the art of mixology, sloe gin is a sweet liqueur that is used to make the kind of drinks consumed by people who are “so fucking lonely” that they feel like they’re gonna die. The song itself feels gin soaked. And I love the false ending. I don’t remember that police siren at the end, so maybe someone created that or the song was re-released or something?