Wednesday

David Byrne

The Catherine Wheel - 1981
With his career as a solo artist nearing a third decade, it's incredible to hear David Byrne's first fully fledged solo effort sounding remarkably fresh and massively influential. Commissioned as the aural accompaniment to a Twyla Tharp Broadway production of the same name, The Catherine Wheel was recorded with a number of musicians from the Talking Heads' then-current touring band (Adrian Belew, Bernie Worrell, Steve Scales), features contributions from Eno, Jerry Harrison and percussionist Yogi Horton, and serves as a bridge between the brooding churn of Remain in Light and the dense funk of Speaking in Tongues. The Catherine Wheel isn't a light affair by any means, but the focus is less reliant on Byrne's lyrical prowess and directed more so on minimalist funk, spacious polyrhythms and creating an atmosphere of dark tension and general unease. The Talking Heads worked a few of the songs here into their live repertoire, including the magnificent "What a Day That Was" and "Big Business", which was often worked into a medley with "I Zimbra," and could've counted The Catherine Wheel as one of the finest additions to their catalog, had it bore their name along the top. The fact that it's a Byrne solo affair only heightens its impact. The version here includes the complete score.

12 comments:

Anonymous said...

This Album is ace! Pick it up @ Oxfam
a couple of weeks ago. It is well worth diggin' for!

Anonymous said...

Dear JR:

Thank you for an always interesting and eclectic mix of music. Many many many of us appreciate you and other bloggers who give their time to spread music they love. I wish more of them would write. I'm not so good at saying thank you myself, but Thank You.

Gianni said...

wow! I like it!!!
great sounds!
thanks...

Orpheus said...

Thanks for this one JR. You continue to bring the light of day to recordings I have long forgotten about.

Cryogenic said...

Hey JR-
I meant to drop a line about this one while it was still at the top of the page.

We must share a musical brain, since this record (first as the pictured "selections", then as the complete score, has been one of my favorites for years. No doubt that this is a high point in Byrne's career. His compositions are at once free flowing and focused, and the musianship (especially the drumming) is tight and precise.

This is one of those albums that gains power as it goes along, with the musical narrative reaching a magnificent climax that manages to move the booty and the soul in equal measures.

I've always found this record to be less than well known and definitely underrated-- especially when compared to "My Life in the Bush of Ghosts"-- frankly I think it's better than that record, which is saying something.

I hope that your post spreads the word on this fine, fine album.

By the way, if you ever see the video of Tharp's production (I saw it years ago on videocassette from the library)--it's wierd... and worth watching.

Anonymous said...

many thanks, i've got an old & chewed tape copy. As you say the 'heads worked a number of songs into their act at one point. somewhere I've got an old tv videoshow of a uk gig where they featured them...

Anonymous said...

the link is out---if you could kindly re-up this album it'd be appreciated beyond time and space and many other elements yet unknown to physics as we know it--
THANXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX

Anonymous said...

PLEASE REUP THIS ALBUM
WOULD BE VERY VERY VERY VERY VERY VERY APPRECIATED
THANXXXXXXXXXX

JR Heat Warp said...

Get a hold of yourself, Anonymous! It's reupped.

Andrew'52 said...

Thanks so much. I had this on CD some time back (lost in the mist of time) and stumbled on a movie clip which uses the track Once in a Lifetime sending me on a search. Great Music! Thanks so much for your efforts.

august242 said...

Thursday, September 10th, 2009

Hello ...

Just wanted to thank you for uploading this album to your blogspot so that others out here in cyberspace may enjoy it. It is a classic David Byrne project which unfortunately, many Talking Heads fans do not know about. Glad to hear it once again ... been 20 years or so since I last heard it. Thanks. :-)

Take care,

august242

Les said...

This piece of music is an old friend, and I can't tell you on how many road trips it has accompanied me. It is something I can't just listen to one piece from, it has to be played from start to finish.