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Groovy Uncle - Meanwhile Back in Medieval Britain

  by Malcolm Carter

published: 26 / 11 / 2018



Groovy Uncle - Meanwhile Back in Medieval Britain
Label: Trouserphonic Recordings
Format: CD

intro

Fabulous seventh album from 60's pop influenced act Groovy Uncle which features songwriting contributions from Andy Morten and members of the Senior Service, but which at another level proves to be business as usual


Although there’s not a great musical shift from the previous half-dozen Groovy Uncle albums, there are a few major differences behind the usual excellent cartoon cover that adorns this album. For the first time on a Groovy Uncle album main man Glenn Prangnell has given over some songwriting duties to other songwriters. But these are not unknowns; Andy Morten who played with Bronco Bullfrog and who is a major part of the excellent 'Shindig!' magazine contributes ‘She’ll Never Be Mine’, a classic slice of 60's inspired pop (of course) with the opening lines “She wants a dipshit and a deadbeat and a loser/The kind of guy who’s never owned a home computer.” As with much on this latest Groovy Uncle album although the sound can be traced back to the golden, carefree era of the 60s, lyrically the songs deal with current matters. ‘She’ll Never Be Mine’ is one of those songs that make you glad to be alive and in the moment. With elements of power and sunshine pop it’s exactly what you’d expect from Prangnell’s Groovy Uncle handling an Andy Morten tune. Brilliant. There are a brace of songs from Jon Barker (The Senior Service), ‘Days Like These’ is another slab of 1960's inspired pop, recalling all of your favourite beat-combos as does the Hammond driven ‘You Think Too Much of Me’ while Barker’s bandmate Darryl Hartley also contributes two songs. The title track which belies its innocent 60's pop sound with lines such as “the borders are closing and the deal they’re proposing is the best that we’ll get,” which leave the listener in little doubt as to where Hartley is coming from. Hartley’s other song closes the album. ‘Astronauts’ is heartwarming, a gorgeous melody - “I tried to write a song just like that guy that you like/But being someone else is something I can’t get right/So I do my usual thing and hope it sounds much better than him.” No worries, Darryl! With this song you’ve not only caught the spirit of Groovy Uncle but just possibly contributed the finest song on an album chock full of shiny pop songs. The other change concerns a couple of new singers to Groovy Uncle. So far all the tracks mentioned feature male vocals (all by Prangnell?), although it’s not the first time female vocals are heard on ‘Meanwhile…’ (more of that later) ‘It Wasn’t Me, It Was Yesterday’ features for the first time Ani Graves and Rachel Lowrie on lead vocals. This Prangnell penned tune, complete with flute flourishes lends an almost folky sound that comes as something of a pleasant surprise. The vocal performance from the duo is outstanding. But when it comes to a Groovy Uncle album there’s one female voice that’s a must and it’s that of Suzi Chunk. What’s a Groovy Uncle album without Suzi’s soulful contributions? Thankfully Suzi gets the chance to show her vocal skills on the opening song, ‘20/20 Hindsight’. It’s a driving, dance floor classic in the making and the very reason many fell for the sound of Groovy Uncle in the first place. ‘Jennifer Knows’ is Prangnell in his best Billy J Kramer and The Dakotas mode. With a little of the Hollies thrown in for good measure. It compliments the opening cut perfectly, displaying both sides of Groovy Uncle’s initial appeal. Another Prangnell song, ‘Howard Eno’, shows that Prangnell can also set topical lyrics to classic 60's inspired tunes. “Got the greatest, biggest button in his tiny hands” leaves little doubt as to whom the song is directed at. It’s another Prangnell classic. ‘Lie to You’ finds our Suzi in ballad mode and is simply gorgeous. For all the fine work that the other vocalists have contributed to this album something magical happens when Suzi puts her vocals to a Glenn Prangnell song. ‘Reading Between the Lines’ is another track where Suzi takes on a Prangnell song and wrings the life out of it. These two were made to make music together. Miss Modus, however, makes a return appearance (her first since the ‘Persuaded’ album) on Prangnell’s ‘Goodchild’ and proves that Suzi isn’t the only one that can belt out a Prangnell tune with passion; the lively brass complimenting her vocals perfectly. Over the course of seven albums Prangnell and company have developed their own style even down to the amusing cover art. With one eye firmly on a certain era they’ve nonetheless bought that music bang up to date. There were reservations as to if bringing in outside help with the songs that the Groovy Uncle sound we’ve come to love would be diminished slightly, but instead it’s kept the spirit created on previous albums and added new life and dimensions. This album ranks up there with Groovy Uncle’s best so far.



Track Listing:-
1 20/20 Hindsight
2 Jennifer Knows
3 Howard Eno
4 Days Like This
5 Lie To You
6 Good Child
7 You Think Too Much Of Me
8 It Wasn't Me, It Was Yesterday
9 She'll Never Be Mine
10 Meanwhile Back In Medieval Britain
11 Reading Between the Lines
12 Astronauts


Band Links:-
https://www.facebook.com/pages/Groovy-Uncle/355746567693
http://craftweb.org/web/glenn/index.html
http://craftweb.org/web/glenn/index.html
http://groovy-uncle.co.uk/


Have a Listen:-






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Interview (2014)
Groovy Uncle - Interview
Malcolm Carter talks to Glenn Prangnell, the front man with 60's-influenced Medway-based act Groovy Uncle's recently released third album, ‘One Vowel Away from the Truth'

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One Vowel Away From the Truth/Life's a Gift (2020)
Groovy Uncle - One Vowel Away From the Truth/Life's a Gift
Malcolm Carter reflects on the reissue of two of 60's pop-influenced Medway-based band Groovy Uncle’s finest albums on extremely limited vinyl.


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