This is Richard O'Brien's first solo album. It was originally intended to be a studio recording of the Disgracefully Yours stage show, which featured him as Mephistopheles Smith. But then he apparently had a burst of songwriting inspiration while in Australia filming Dark City (1998). The forthcoming album was re-announced as Five Card Tarot, which would include six songs from Disgracefully Yours combined with other original songs. It was eventually re-titled Absolute O'Brien, and a common jazz element was used in all the songs. The result is a very eclectic album, which has frequently been called 'Apartment Jazz'. Here's what Richard himself had to say about it:
Well, it's a bit Chet Baker meets Willie Nelson. It's bluesy kind of stuff. I tried to sing it as ego-free as I possibly could, I didn't want any ego in the voice. I wanted it to be as pure as I could possibly make it and it's a bit hit and miss, and um, I'm very pleased with what I've got at the end of the day. But whether there's a target audience for it or not, I have no idea, but we had no idea with Rocky either. So that's the way I work. All I can do is do the things I enjoy doing, and hopefully, there'll be somebody out there who appreciates it.
Six of the songs are from Disgracefully Yours. Five were written while I was in Australia filming Dark City. I didn't want to make an album of songs which differed wildly in style and so consequently, even though a couple of them have a slight country feel, the jazz element remains to tie the album together.
But I've got no idea how the album will be received. It's the kind of album that people might hear at a dinner party, ask what it is and then go and buy it, as opposed to rushing out to the stores.
I think it will have quite a long life - it's not locked into what's hot at the moment. I'm a big fan of Chet Baker and Willie Nelson and I think the album is somehow between those two. It's a very sexy album. I like to describe it as so cool you'll want to take a warm bath with a friend.
The six songs from Disgracefully Yours are: "Incubus of Love", "It's up to you", "Ain't that to die for", "The Dance of Love", "Rhythm of the Heartbeat", and "Angel in Me". Though "It's up to you" and "The Dance of Love" were not sung by Mephistopheles Smith in the original stage show. "Angel in Me" was chosen as the single for the album and a promotional video was actually shot for it by Noel Donnellon, with Richard in full Mephistopheles Smith costume. You can see stills from this in the CD liner notes.
As of this writing in 2009, at least the Oglio Records CD is available direct from Oglio for $1.00 plus shipping (which I can only really interpret to mean that they're desperate to get it out of their warehouse). It is also available digitally in MP3 form from Amazon MP3 Downloads.
The actual CD contents are identical between releases (in fact my CD-ROM can't discern any difference between the two). Only the packaging was changed. The original Medical Records release in the UK featured the extremely magenta color throughout both covers and liner notes, and was designed by "Andy at GJGG". The later Oglio Records release in the US was completely redesigned by Lisa Sutton, who had previously designed Rocky Horror box sets for Lou Adler and Rhino Records. Both releases feature a full set of song lyrics in the CD liner notes.
|Angel In Me - 5 minutes 19 seconds (662x360, 30 fps, 45.0 MB). Richard O'Brien appears in this 1998 music video to promote his Absolute O'Brien album. The Angel In Me song was originally performed for his Disgracefully Yours stage show, and he appears here in full costume as Mephistopheles Smith. During the sidewalk scene, keep an eye out for various U.K. Rocky fans walking through the crowd in their lingerie.|
Produced by Pip Williams for Pachuco Management
(Original Backing Tracks 4,6,8,9,10 directed by Richard O'Brien and Hugh Burns)
Recorded and Mixed at Route One Studios, London, England
Engineer - Damian Korner, assisted by Eli Devonte and Euan Hill
Additional Recording and Mixes of "Incubus of Love", "The Dance of Love" and "Angel in Me" at Chapel Studios, Lincolnshire, England
Engineer - Pip Williams, assisted by Ewan Davies
Digital Editing - Bias Boshell
Mastered by Tony Bridge at Whitfield Street Mastering, London
All Music and Lyrics composed by Richard O'Brien
Published by Druidcrest Music
Special Thanks to
All our wonderful musicians, Damian, Eli, Euan, Sappho, Helen and all at Route One, Ewan, Steve, Andy, Louise, Munch and all at Chapel, Tony, Graham Carpenter, Neil Warnock, Chris Malcolm, Jill Sinclair, Tony Lewis, Andy Leighton and of course the lovely Nina.
The Copyright in this sound recording is owned by Medical Records.
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