Christopher Loque was a poet, edited columns True Stories and Pseuds’ Corner for Private Eye and even wrote a pornographic novel too. He protested with Bertrand Russell against nuclear weapons and is an all-round “true original”.

“Loque Rhythms” (1963) is his poetry set to music arranged by Tony Kinsey, Stanley Myers and sung by British female vocalist Annie Ross. The album was recorded at Peter Cook’s Soho jazz club The Establishment and here comes with the EP Red Bird (1959) on which Loque himself reads his poetry over music by the Kinsey Quintet. Topping off this CD (out now on El in association with Cherry Red) are seven tunes sung by Annie Ross herself and so you get no less than 27 cuts for your money …with this being the first time many have been available on CD.

Loque Rhythms could easily have descended into a Pseuds’ Corner of its very own but it doesn’t! Loques poetry is funny and brilliantly observed (The Liberal Man is hilariously funny as the right on liberal young man succumbs to conformity) and socially aware. Annie Ross’ vocal is clear as a bell and beautifully toned matching the laid back musical arrangements perfectly. The recording is “live” and sounds fab…though very much of its time.

“Red Bird” begins with the upbeat rhythms of “Little Girl, Brown Girl” with Loques reading the lyric in a very English and deadpan manner which adds to the charm of the recording. Other tunes are more slow in tempo, but this works and conjures images of late 50’s black and white movies.

The seven Annie Ross tunes are to my mind the weakest on the here. There’s nothing wrong with them and her voice is beautiful but they just don’t seem to gel with the rest of the Loque related recordings…good stuff to have though to play in isolation.

 

 

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