Morning Music: Tim Curry’s Read My Lips

Read My Lips - Tim CurryTim 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?

6 thoughts on “Morning Music: Tim Curry’s Read My Lips

  1. If I correctly recall, I bought this the first time I saw it in Backdoor Records (Cotati, CA). Slow Gin was indeed the track I played the most. No, the police siren is in the original track and, I think, fits the mood of this very moody piece quite well.
    He is such a powerful, lustful singer. Throaty but not harsh and selective in his volume.
    My recollection was you were not entirely happy with the way Harlem is done.
    Though very scattered, I think the LP is pretty solid and, of course, displays amazing production skills.
    Were you the one who bought this and I, once again, swiped it from you>?

    • No. I never owned it. It was yours. But we listened to it a lot together. “Harlem” is just such a shocking interlude on that album. But I think it is brilliant. At the time, probably not.

  2. Been watching some of the Tim Curry live stuff from 1978 (all looks to be from the Waldorf) and the condition of the tape footage is really bad. But damn. He had Dick Wagner for that tour and that might be Phil Collins on drums. [You know how it usually works, you generally don’t get the big names you did the studio tracks with, to go on the tour.]

    • Yeah, but Dick Wagner did seem to like to perform live. I think he spent years touring with Alice Cooper. He gave up on touring with Lou Reed because it involved being around Lou Reed. Really, it’s not just our personal experience with the man. Basically everyone who ever worked with him ended up hating him.

  3. I had to look up some of his other songs since that one didn’t charm me and I do enjoy his singing but he has a voice that requires a particular song to make it work.

    So I enjoyed “I Put A Spell On You” and “Betty Jean.” The music for “She’s Not There” pretty much trashed it for me which is depressing since I love that song not just for how good the original is musically but for the fact it is clear there is something very strange going on. Of course those are third album but meh.

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