People Don’t Stop Believin’ – Ian McNabb

What’s this? You wait ages for an Ian McNabb CD, then two come along in the same year? Back in May, I reviewed Before All of This[1], and now there’s a strictly limited special release, People Don’t Stop Believin’. You’ll need to order this one from those nice people at Townsend Records, rather than any of the larger suppliers, but don’t let that put you off.

This is a companion piece to the earlier album, containing a mixture of alternative versions, B-Sides[2] and some previously unreleased songs, with comments from Ian on all of them, which are almost worth the price on their own. :grin:

There’s a heavier guitar version of Picture of the Moon, a cover of the Racing Cars classic They Shoot Horses Don’t They, and a version of The Lonely Ones[1][3] with a “clean” vocal. There was a lot of discussion about that one on the Ian McNabb Yahoogroup, with comparisons being drawn with Cher’s vocal on whatever song it was she did with a weird vocal effect[4]. Ian’s comment on this one is a gem:

The autotone vocal split the voters. Hope this version pleases some of you. Why did I use the ‘Cher’ effect? Because I can do whatever I want to!

And that is just one of the reasons why Ian McNabb is a national treasure: like his idol Neil Young, you never know what he’s going to do next, and that makes him altogether more interesting. And fun.

But the main items of interest are the new songs. Some were left off Before All of This because they just didn’t fit in. The title track is a McNabb classic. Nearly eight minutes of story telling, allusion[5], unlikely rhyming, and some nifty guitar work and an overall message of hope. Then there’s The Absentee

he carries something with him something from which he cannot break free
and he’s always going to be the absentee

This is another classic McNabb song – in his own words

I’m in Dylan/Neil Young territory again here. My favoured pasture.

That’s Neil Young in Crazy Horse mode, I should add. Which is always a Good Thing.

All good stuff. And remember, it’s a limited edition – the last time Ian produced a limited release it sold out. And now goes for silly prices on eBay, or so I hear.

[1] See that review for background information on Ian
[2] CD singles have one side. But the extra tracks are still called B-Sides. Quite silly, but there you go…
[3] That being the one with the treated vocal on the original CD
[4] Like I’d remember…
[5] References to earlier Ian and Icicle Works songs dotted here and there. Nice.