And the eponymous new album comes with an endorsement from one of the UK's finest writers, Jonathan Coe...
Gilbert O’Sullivan has released a new single, entitled ‘The Same The Whole World Over’. Described as “an upbeat song, introduced by an electric guitar, with prominent hammond organ throughout”, the track muses on the inevitability of mortality, and how we should all make the most of the time we have on earth.
Gilbert's recent single ‘Where Did You Go To?’ proved to be a popular daytime track on BBC Radio 2. Both songs feature on Gilbert’s self-titled, 19th studio album, which will be released digitally on 10 August and on CD and vinyl on 24 August.
Gilbert O’Sullivan is Gilbert’s 19th studio album since his 1971 debut Himself, which yielded his first hit, the poetic and powerful breakthrough 'Nothing Rhymed'. Producer Ethan Johns (Ryan Adams, Laura Marling, Kings of Leon, Ray LaMontagne and Paul McCartney) has encouraged a live feel on the new album. It was recorded on analogue equipment at O’Sullivan’s Frobisher Drive Studios, Jersey, in easy-going sessions with players hand-picked by Johns. The band features guitarist Paul Stacey (Oasis, Finn Brothers), bassist Nick Pini (Johns’ The Black Eyed Dog), drummer Jeremy Stacey (Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds, The Waterboys), Stephanie Jean, AKA Ida Mae (hammond organ, Fender Rhodes, mellotron, harpsichord), and O’Sullivan on vocals and piano. There are also guest appearances from Andy Fairweather-Low (guitar), Chas Hodges (piano) and Geraint Watkins (piano – Van Morrison, Nick Lowe).
"The resulting album is a collection of some of the finest songs Gilbert has ever written and recorded,” a press release says. "They range from the melancholy charm of At The End Of The Day or I’ll Never Love Again to the brisk, buoyant Penny Drops, What Is It About My Girl and what is described as Ethan John’s favourite, the rollicking This Riff. There are musings on ageing and mortality, and also, of course, crisp comic touches, something Gilbert attributes to his love of Spike Milligan."
The album has been described as a “Brilliant bit of reinvention,” by the novelist Jonathan Coe. “(It’s) relaxed production, great small band, and analogue ‘70s vibes make him sound like a British Randy Newman,” he adds. Paul Weller, meanwhile, has praised O'Sullivan highly. "'Alone Again (Naturally)' and 'Nothing Rhymed' are two of my favourite songs," he said. "Great lyrics, great tunes.”
• Pic of Gilbert O'Sullivan is from the Hot Press Archive
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