Ian McNabb – Head Like a Rock (Expanded Edition)

Having done a good job of reissuing the Icicle Works CDs, those nice people at Cherry Red have now made a start on Ian McNabb’s solo career. This was his second solo album, noted for being nominated for the Mercury Prize, and featuring Ralph Molina and Billy Talbot, members of the extremely loud Crazy Horse, best known for being Neil Young’s backing band when he’s in serious rock mode.

The original album has been remastered, and there’s a second CD which includes the extra tracks from the singles. So, nothing altogether new, but there are some nice notes inside about how the collaboration came about. Ian apparently wasn’t all that keen on going to the US to record with American musicians, so dropped in the suggestion that he’d do it if he could work with Crazy Horse. Now those guys are not noted for working with other people who aren’t actually Neil Young, so he was expecting that not to happen. But they heard his songs, then agreed to meet him. And the rest is rock and roll…

The songs include the autobiographical Fire Inside My Soul:

My dad died when I was 20, I didn’t cry but it tore me up inside
I got a band and wrote some music, Wasn’t bad and we went on a long ride
Started out in Sausolito, They said “You talk just like the Beatles”
Listening to the Flying Burritos, Made a call to my mother
Got a great big hit, And a fire inside my soul

then there’s the uplifting You Must Be Prepared to Dream, and much more.

These are some of Ian’s best-known and loved songs, and it’s a good opportunity to get to hear them again. The bonus CD includes some solo version of Icicle Works songs such as When it all Comes Down, the slightly bonkers I Stood Before St Peter and the ubiquitous Love is a Wonderful Colour.

Well worth a listen or ten, and just the thing to put you in the mood for Ian’s forthcoming Eclectic Warrior album, due quite soon now…

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