Alison's Solo Discography
I fought with this record for a long time. I resented the 'star' it made of me as though I didn't have a hand in it myself. I like Swain and Jolley. They were nice blokes. We had some issues but they could be solved with a little care from the record company. They were getting what they wanted then so didn't help.
After working with Vince who never used a chord, it was really interesting to work in a different way. I was glad to be working again. Everything I had done had been so different from the previous projects I though this would be more of that. I wasn't prepared for the way it was going to define me. It was well received but in many ways it is not helpful to have so much success early on... before you understand the game and your own part in it.
Along with making a record that appealed to the mass market, I had grown decidedly fat during a year of legal wrangling. All of this presented an image of unthreatening cosy womanliness that would haunt me forever. I was a dark and tortured individual and I was expected to be a very fat retiring lady.
Blah Blah Blah. Record sold loads. Record company wanted another single. I didn't want to sell my supporters more of the same and so suggested recording That Ole Devil song that I did live and was loved by the punters. This was at a time when these old songs were not everywhere. It was not supposed to be a safe move. As it transpired, it sold massively all over ... all the old records were re-released, many more re-recorded and there was I, in the middle of the road. To boot I was heavily pregnant and the video of me lounging in velvet, diamanté and bouffant sealed the deal. Bugger. Even here I am attributing that to Alf... it all became one time.
So... I blamed that album and that time for everything. Yes... there are sounds and production values that have dated considerably. I'm not fond of many of my performances...but there are a couple of fine songs (see All Cried Out recorded by Fink... stripped of the production values that have dated and the original bombast...Fink refocuses on chord structure, melody and lyrics...which are to my mind well formed. A good song can stand alone without bell trees and hooky samples. This is how I judge a song well written. Great "tracks" and "records" are a different thing. A big distinction. It is always said for a lyric to work...as simple as it may be..it has to be sung like you mean it. On Alf, my production team always wanted me to be singing at the very top of my range. That I could make a big noise was milked.
It is often received that yelling equals angst. The singing experience then becomes one of physical exertion alone. That passion gets read into is a mirage. My vocal on All Cried Out is one of the better ones on Alf but I lost my enjoyment of it through years of performing it. The vocal in his recording has an honesty. It reminds me what I liked about the song.It was a time of relative freedom. It does not deserve the approbation I heaped upon it...and it supported me in leaner years. Hoorah that Alf!Alison, writing here, in May 2007
Producers: Steve Jolley & Tony Swain
Everything to prove.
This album contains songs that Pete and I had written over a good few years and that had latterly been knocked back by new AandR at Sony as nothing special. This was patently wrong and I wasn't going to let it go. By now no one wanted us on the UK label and neither would they release me from my contract. Horrible time. Years. Finally I called them myself and said it had to be sorted. Paul Russell the last sticking point and yet ironically the last one standing to believe my days were not yet numbered, then set out a deal whereby i was free for the UK and stayed with them for Europe. (This was not ideal as any label wants the lot but it was movement) They would fund my recording and provide an AandR team and we could make a start. Whilst my tastes were not that of Nigel and Steve, the independent AandR advisers i was given, eventually they presented us with a show reel by The Insects. It was what i had been looking for. We met, agreed and got to work.
It was a long and costly process but I could not have been happier with the results. It was a perfect combination at just the right time. We had the songs, the determination and now the sound courtesy of The Insects. I love this album and it gave me what just i needed. Finished!
Not quite there yet. Sony Europe didn't want it. Love 'em. There followed a trawl by Deb trying to secure a release for it. Very few would take meetings and there were no takers. I meanwhile took a job in the West End doing Chicago to pass the time and Deb was involved managing DJ Andrea Parker. After a year and a heightened profile we had three Indies interested. One was chosen, unfortunately the wrong one being that it was in the process of imploding¦ another wait to retrieve the rights and then we signed it to Sanctuary. Through John Williams - who thankfully didn't hold against us our rejection of them a few months earlier.
The reception for the record was wonderful and it went Gold. It was never going to get the support it would have benefited from, through such a small label but I remain eternally thankful that it was released at all. It is to my mind a great record that gives me much pride and satisfaction and laid many a ghost to rest.Alison, writing here, May 2007
Producers: The Insects
Back to the studio with Pete and a collection of songs we have written. Debbie, who has worked for me on and off for sometime in many guises, takes over as manager. A new AandR Rob Stringer who later becomes Sony Main Man. We wanted to move on quickly. An album that was rawer more crunchy weird BV's. Songs that could be stripped bare to guitar and still be recognisable...all went well until it was delivered and rejected.
I was then sent in to record it again. This time with Ian Brody producing. I had lost a little of the energy in having to do it twice but Ian is a clever bloke and it was another interesting experience. Too wordy in places but still there were parts that worked. Some really good songs. Worst sales performance but no regrets. No supporters left at the label and the beginning of the most arduous wrangling to date.Alison, writing here, May 2007
Producers: Ian Broudie, Pete Glenister
On my own now. No longer CBS's baby. They had become tired of the obstacles. They read laziness into what was mental ill health. They did not understand why I seemed to want to scupper the commercial success I had. I began writing with Pete Glenister. A guy who had a short stint as guitarist on the raindancing tour and who was 'let go'. Pete and I make a good team. He is a gentleman and a scholar and a great writer. We were excited by each others' ideas. I suggested perhaps that he produce me. Muff Winwood AandR told me to do what I liked. I did.
In making Hoodoo, we were left to our own devices and found some passion and aggression again. It is not a flawless record...but I know of few that are... and none that I have made... but it became a road that lead to my understanding myself much better. It has some songs on it that I am very proud of and favourites, It wont be long, This House, Hoodoo and chunks of Footsteps.
Mixed reviews. The record company were disheartened by the decline in sales and lost interest and faith. I was just getting back it again.Alison, writing here, May 2007
Producer: Pete Glenister
Hmmm. Not a happy time. Bad move, someone so very European in her influences making an album with an American producer and an album that was ultimately left to engineers. I had a manager at the time who was going good business in the states and saw it as the place to be. I had become very unsure of my own instincts and went with the flow. I do like some of the songs but the conception of them was all wrong...what was written as jangly, English irony got the American session, pop treatment. I didn't involve myself in the "sound".
I was on my own out there for many months without anyone from my camp. Missing home and the things that mattered. I was not the full shilling all the time and wasn't interested in recording or records. I was driving on cruise control. It was made and not felt. It sold well but was received as the filler that it was. The first time I ever recorded a song because I knew it was a hit. Not good. A bad time all in as much as I liked LA. There followed a lack-lustre year-long tour that was equally uncomfortable and signalled the break down in my relationship with the label. I was coerced into releasing Love Letters - a cynical shower. I didn't recognise myself or my tastes in the sounds and serves me right"Alison writing here, May 2007
Producers: Jimmy Iovine, Jess Bailey & Alison Moyet, Joseph Hughes & David Freeman, Jean Guiot
After the slog that was Hometime I was in no frame of mind to be writing. I was battle-fatigued. I had, however and joyfully, retrieved my interest in singing, something that seemed to take a back seat for so many years.
I had long had an interest in Chanson and orchestrated classic song and now was the perfect time to set my hand to it. No great surprise really...everything I had done to date had been a departure from something....
On my own again and now with the help of old friend and PR, Nick Fiveash, I approached John at Sanctuary: it seemed fitting after he was the only one that seemed to get Hometime, before the reviewers said otherwise. John Williams, as before, was extremely supportive and we set about finding a producer.
Anne Dudley was the perfect choice. Never worked with a woman creatively before and never had only to travel to the next village to do it!!
It was just what I needed. A freeing, quick process that was all about singing and scores and bird watching. Therapeutic even.
That it went in the charts at number 7 and sold more than 250,000 and still sells is gratifying but more than anything, I had a lovely time recording it and a fab times touring afterwards. It was one of the happiest times in my working history.Alison, writing here, May 2007
Producer and Arranger: Anne Dudley