published: 15 /
Tommy Gunnarsson looks at acclaimed Irish singer-songwriter Gilbert O'Sullivan's recently reissued second album, 'Back to Front'
Just a few months after the re-release of Gilbert O’Sullivan’s debut album, 'Himself', Salvo now returns with the follow-up, 'Back to Front', which was originally released back in October 1972. Six months earlier, the single 'Alone Again (Naturally)' became a smash hit almost everywhere, and Gilbert became a superstar in no time. Also, if you compare the sleeves for 'Himself' and 'Back to Front', you can see a very drastic change in style from the Chaplin inspired outfit of the former to the unbuttoned shirt of the latter. Believe it or not, Gilbert O’Sullivan was a sex symbol back then.
There have also been some changes made musically between the two albums too. There are few examples of the playfulness shown on the debut album on 'Back to Front', and instead we get a whole bunch of really good, piano-based pop songs. The “tradition” of intro and outro songs (where he at first welcomes the listener to the album, and then later waves goodbye), however, continues on this record as well.
Among the original album tracks, 'Clair' is probably the most well-known, a song written about a girl that Gilbert used to babysit (actually, his manager’s daughter). Unsurprisingly, there are three added bonus tracks on this re-release, all of them singles or B-sides: the aforementioned smash hit single 'Alone Again (Naturally)', its B-side 'Save It' and the oddly named 'Ooh-Wakka-Doo-Wakka-Day' single, all of them brilliant.
Hopefully, these re-releases (which are very nicely presented as well) will bring Gilbert back in the spotlight, and also get him some credit for all the great songs he wrote forty years ago.