CD Amateur Night At The Big Top (CD 4510687),
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Amateur Night At The Big Top

  • 1. Story, The
    2. Long Legs, Pts. 1, 2, 3
    3. Scooter Girl
    4. Clowns
    5. Murder
    6. Northern Soul Brother (Shapeshifter)
    7. Monster
    8. In 1987
  • Additional Info
    Manufacturer Part Number (MPN): 1

  • Credits
    ProducerShawn Norton; Stephen Mallinder
    EngineerShawn Norton; Porter Carroll, Jr.

    Recorded in Perth, Australia.
    Personnel: Shaun Ryder (vocals); Lucky Oceans (accordion); Chad Hedley (percussion).
    Recording information: Pete Carroll's Garage.
    The Happy Mondays' greatest moments weren't always about the words, but it was always hard to separate Shaun Ryder's surrealistic, primitive genius lyrics from the beat, thrust, and import of the music. Ironic, then, that on his first official solo outing, the charmingly named Amateur Night in the Big Top, his inspired, mad verse takes second billing to the echoing club beats of it all. Not that this is entirely a bad thing. Ryder, or his producers, have kept a keen ear on the upheavals and turmoil of club culture, sometimes arriving at bracingly atmospheric beats equal parts dub and trip-hop that are never held to any one doctrine. In his glory days, Ryder would use this as a launching pad toward lunacy, but here, he rides the beat, never once propelling it with his exquisite bad taste and absurd pan-cultural irreverence. Sure, it's more interesting than the still-born, awkward, second Black Grape album Stupid, Stupid, Stupid -- largely thanks to its intricate, layered production -- but the end result is calculated without reaping the rewards of its precision. When all is said and done, it's not bad; but it's hard to call it good, either. ~ Stephen Thomas Erlewine

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