These Foolish Things

These Foolish Things

by Bryan Ferry
     
 

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Roxy Music, perhaps the smartest of the early '70s British glam-rock bands, comprised two powerful personalities, Bryan Ferry and Brian Eno, who collaborated as intensely as they clashed. Both had ideas and ambitions too big for a single band, however, and Eno departed after two albums for a solo career as an eccentric artiste, while Ferry continued to front a more

Overview

Roxy Music, perhaps the smartest of the early '70s British glam-rock bands, comprised two powerful personalities, Bryan Ferry and Brian Eno, who collaborated as intensely as they clashed. Both had ideas and ambitions too big for a single band, however, and Eno departed after two albums for a solo career as an eccentric artiste, while Ferry continued to front a more progressive-rock-styled Roxy Music and make solo records that pursued the archest attitudes of Roxy's brash early work. THESE FOOLISH THINGS is Ferry's audacious solo debut, and it is an unusual compendium of covers. The infallibly stylish Ferry -- who includes clothes, hair, and makeup credits in his production notes -- has the temerity to blithely interpret serious rock classics ("A Hard Rain's A-Gonna Fall" and "Sympathy for the Devil") alongside some of pop's sweetest and silliest ("It's My Party" and "I Love How You Love Me"). This was a far more subversive attack on the rock status quo than going onstage in sparkly clothes and makeup; Ferry was challenging a hip audience to reconsider what was cool. More conceptual art than mere camp, this album is a hilarious romp and a blueprint for many retro-looking, forward-thinking artists to come, including modern Brit-poppers like Blur and Pulp.

Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - Ned Raggett
Much like his contemporary David Bowie, Ferry consolidated his glam-era success with a covers album, his first full solo effort even while Roxy Music was still going full steam. Whereas Bowie on Pin-Ups focused on British beat and psych treasures, Ferry for the most part looked to America, touching on everything from Motown to the early jazz standard that gave the collection its name. Just about everyone in Roxy Music at the time helped out on the album -- notable exceptions being Andy Mackay and Brian Eno. The outrageous take on Bob Dylan's "A Hard Rain's A-Gonna Fall," with Ferry vamping over brassy female vocals, sets the tone for things from the start. All this said, many of the covers aim for an elegant late-night feeling not far off from the well-sculpted Ferry persona of the '80s and beyond, though perhaps a touch less bloodless and moody in comparison. In terms of sheer selection alone, meanwhile, Ferry's taste is downright impeccable. There's Leiber & Stoller via Elvis' "Baby I Don't Care," Lesley Gore's "It's My Party" (with narrative gender unchanged!), Smokey Robinson and the Miracles' "The Tracks of My Tears," and more, all treated with affection without undue reverence, a great combination. Ferry's U.K. background isn't entirely ignored, though, thanks to two of the album's best efforts -- the Beatles' "You Won't See Me" and the Stones' "Sympathy for the Devil." Throughout Ferry's instantly recognizable croon carries everything to a tee, and the overall mood is playful and celebratory. Wrapping up with a grand take on "These Foolish Things" itself, this album is one of the best of its kind by any artist.

Product Details

Release Date:
03/28/2000
Label:
Virgin Records Us
UPC:
0724384759827
catalogNumber:
47598
Rank:
86267

Related Subjects

Tracks

Album Credits

Performance Credits

Bryan Ferry   Primary Artist,Harmonica,Piano,Vocals
Eddie Jobson   Synthesizer,Violin,Keyboards
Phil Manzanera   Guitar,Electric Guitar
Henry Lowther   Trumpet,Horn
Jesse Ed Davis   Vocals,Background Vocals
Angelettes   Vocals,Background Vocals
Roger Ball   Saxophone,Alto Saxophone,Baritone Saxophone,Bass Saxophone
Malcolm Duncan   Saxophone,Tenor Saxophone
Robbie Montgomery   Vocals,Background Vocals
Ruan O'Lochlainn   Alto,Saxophone
John Porter   Bass,Guitar
John Punter   Drums
Dave Skinner   Piano
Paul Thompson   Drums

Technical Credits

Bryan Ferry   Producer
Roger Ball   Producer,Horn Arrangements
Malcolm Duncan   Producer
Steve Nye   Engineer
John Porter   Producer
John Punter   Producer,Engineer
Nicholas Deville   Cover Design
Harry Link   Composer
Jack Strachey   Composer
Holt Marvell   Composer

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