UK ©1989 King of England B.V. (SCENE CD 17)
Released by First Night Records
CD reissue. Added liner notes by record producer Jonathan King. Licensed from Jonathan King Enterprises.
Total running time: 37:20
Missing songs: "Charles Atlas Song", "Charles Atlas Song (Reprise)", "Eddie's Teddy", "Planet Schmanet, Janet".
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I was drowsily sipping my morning coffee and perusing the Daily Mail when I came across Jack Tinker's rave review of a tiny, amateur show in the 50 seat Theatre Upstairs at the Royal Court Theatre. There was nothing in the write up to indicate this was a musical. I rang up and booked seats for that night solely for pleasure.
I took a friend. Together we rocked with laughter and fell in love with the performance. I went straight backstage and said I'd like to invest in the show and produce and release a cast album. They gasped. It was unheard of for a play to make and release an LP until it had at least transferred to a real Theatre.
I did the deal within hours. I also backed the show - forking out 20% of the cost for a similar share of the profits. Michael White was the only other angel - and the producer.
We made the album in 24 hours. We all went into Sarm Studios and bashed away until it was recorded, voiced and mixed. I wanted to capture the spirit of enthusiastic tackiness that embodied the play. And I think it did - and does. Unlike all subsequent versions, this has innocence, hope, wonder.
We didn't know it was a hit. Tim Curry had only sung his songs a dozen times or so on stage, likewise the rest of the cast. You see - I would have made the movie in black and white, a cheap "B" feature with collapsible scenery. For me, the soul of the musical is its magnificent repertory feel. So I tried to convey the emotions of those desperate early days. Would it catch on? Who cares, we're having fun!
I don't think there's ever been such a natural, happy, and relaxed Original Soundtrack Recording. It's not slick or polished or expensive - but it's so lively and ebullient! Any true Rocky Horror fan must own this - the first and definitive version. "It was great when it all began" & "It's not easy having a good time".
Richard O'Brien's spangled piece of erotic fantasy is so funny, so fast, so sexy and so unexpectedly well realized that one is in danger of merely applauding it without assessing it. That would be a pity. Because besides enjoying the whole non-stop 90-minute entertainment hugely, I believe Mr. O'Brien has something quite nifty to say about the present state of nostalgia. He has taken all the innocent kitsch fantasies of the 50s - horror movies, Charles Atlas muscle-bound ads, sequined pop stars - and turned them into the high camp sensuality of the 70s. The magic wand he uses is the maxim: Don't dream it; be it.
Thus the familiar horror kingpin of the piece is transformed into a gloriously imperious transvestite. Instead of sucking the blood of his innocent victims (that well worn sex-substitute of yore) he does the real thing and deals them fates worse than death. The effect on Brad and Janet, an all-American teenage pre-Pill couple, is something akin to the liberation that Mrs. Whitehouse, Canute-like, is at this moment trying to hold back. From Bill Haley to David Bowie is one hell of a time leap. Mr. O'Brien measures it effortlessly, illuminatingly, and wittily.
'I made you - and I can break you,' snaps the Master (Tim Curry, all suspenders and suspense) to Rocky Horror, his muscular man-made slave (Rayner Bourton in a G-string). It speaks wonders for Jim Sharman's vivid direction which takes the action round, up and over his audience, that, for all its highly sensual ambiance as a piece, it is far too joky to ever be accused of practicing the corruptions it pretends to preach.
Richard Hartley - Piano and Organ
Count Iain Blair - Guitar, Electric and Acoustic
Dennis Cowan - Bass Guitar
Martin Fitzgibbon - Drums
Phil Kenzie - Sax
Narrator - Jonathan Adams
Frank-N-Furter - Tim Curry
Riff-Raff - Richard O'Brien
Brad Majors - Christopher Malcolm
Janet Weiss - Belinda Sinclair
Rocky Horror - Rayner Bourton
Magenta and Usherette - Patricia Quinn
Columbia - Little Nell
Eddie and Dr. Evrett Scott - Paddy O'Hagan
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