Sunday, July 6, 2014

"Tempted" - Glenn Tillbrook

I was looking at some videos when I ran across this live, impromptu version of the old Squeeze hit "Tempted". Glenn Tillbrook was backstage, getting ready to perform in New York City when he did this for an interviewer from "Culture Catch!" What an impressive vocal performance; with no special acoustics provided; simply a guitar and an incredibly clear voice. But then again, he and Jools Holland always did amaze me with their vocals; as well as their writing.

I was in the Middle East for the entire year in 1981. I only made it home for a month in April and then again in late November. I used to miss out on a lot of new music while at sea. There was no satellite radio, VCR's etc. to keep us abreast of the new music, or even the news. Actually, when I think about it, it was pretty cool to not be bothered by the daily blitz of what's going on.

But, when we did get to a port we devoured everything we could find. I found Squeeze on a bootlegged cassette tape in an Arab souk in Alexandria. The guy had a whole cart full of every type of music you can imagine. And I mean a cart; as in horse drawn.

The whole market was strung with bare white light bulbs, like a state fair. There was music coming from the numerous boom boxes; which were for sale; and the music was a cacophony of sound from everywhere imaginable. There were African drums, Muslim calls to Prayer, Pop music like Squeeze, Symphonies and even Gregorian Chants; all available on these bootlegged tapes.

Food was another commodity which all sailors were eager to sample ashore. We ate well aboard ship, but steak and eggs; lobster and all the western foods paled beside the mysteries of something new. Spices filled the air and smoke from all the cooking fires made the night a bit hazy; the bare lights notwithstanding.

To this day, whenever I hear a song by Squeeze, I am instantly transported back to the time and place where I first heard their music. The cassette tape I bought that night became one of my favorites. 

I'm not sure, but I think it has a lot to do with the fact that "Argybargy"; the album I had purchased; was largely about the Middle East and the Mediterranean coast; which is exactly where I was working at the time. The album was probably already over a year old. Sometimes being the last one to learn about something new can be very timely.

To compare the quality of Mr. Tillbrook's voice in the studio with his performance above, hit this link;

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