Up until the early 2000's, I thought I knew every pop and rock record ever recorded. Even if I had never heard a note of the music, like say, the Ramatam album, I'd at least seen the record 1,000 times and could tell you a little bit about it. Once the internet took over and thousands of records were being released each month, I gave up. I feel like I know nothing about a good portion of popular music released in the last 15 years, though I try.
So, it was a real surprise, a pleasant one at that, to come across a record called "Bored Civilians," released in 1972 in the U.K. on Decca Records, by Keith Cross and Peter Ross. Never saw it before. Never heard of it. Doing some research, I found that Keith Cross was in a band called Bulldog Breed--never heard of them-- and was also a bit of a guitar wizard with his band T2, who also had records out in England. Never heard of them either. Some of the musicians helping Keith and Peter out on "Bored Civilians" are Richard Thompson, Jimmy Hastings, B.J. Cole, Nick Lowe and Dee Murray. What the hell?
It didn't take long for me to fall in love with this record, certainly not as long as it has taken me to decide how to describe it. There is an absolutely English folk thing going on, but on more than a few songs, the melodies and harmonies remind me of Big Star. Musically, especially the opening track, "The Last Ocean Rider," the songs seem to dip their toes into shallow prog waters, though nothing gets chaotic. The feel throughout is almost a laid back, Laurel Canyon thing. One track, the first video above, "Story To A Friend," almost turns into late period Steely Dan.
So to recap, "Bored Civilians" sounds like Fairport Convention, Lindisfarne, Big Star, Jackson Browne, Yes and Steely Dan. Again, what the hell?
Give it a listen and tell me what you hear.