Neill Solomon & the Uptown Rhythm Dogs
All songs by Neill Solomon
- A Stranger Within You
- Magic Man
- Roxy Lady
- The Occupant
- Junk Food & Disposable Ladies
- Don't Go Away
- Little Friend
- Cries of the Sea
Produced and arranged by Christopher Ghelakis
Engineered by Phil Audoire
Recorded at Satbel Studios
- Neill Solomon: Ovation Acoustic guitar, Yamaha grand piano, Prophet 5 Synthesizer, all Vocals
- Dan Chiorboli: Congos, bongos, timbales, berimbau, cuica, ektara, kalimba, syndrums and assorted percussion (honest that's what it says)
- Tony Hunter: Tenor Saxophone
- Jose Alves: Electric guitar
- Neil McKellar: Drum kit
- Trevor Gordon: Additional Piano, synthesizers and musical co-ordination
- Ken E Henson: Acoustic guitar on 'Junk Foods & Disposable Ladies'
- Chris Ghelakis: Bass Guitar
LP: 1981, WEA records (WIC 8005)
CD: 1997, NSCD001 - available from Fresh Music
Generally letters addressed to 'The Occupant' are from estate agents desperately trying to sell your house for you in as impersonal a manner as they can manage. It's almost as though they want to sell your house, but don't really want to deal with you the person.
It seems to be this faceless, desolate lifestyle that one associates with modern inner city living that Neill Solomon has tackled with his album 'The Occupant.' It's a quite bleak and brooding album that would provide a great soundtrack to Hillbrow. With the quite aching sound of 'Junk Food and Disposable Ladies' and the starkness of the title track, the mood is sombre and conjures up images of people living the bedsit life. Unlike Leonard Cohen, Al Stewart and the like who made music for the bedsitter occupant, Solomon made music about them.
Musically this is a tightly produced album, with some notable guitar work from Solomon (especially on 'Magic Man') and outstanding sax throughout from the sadly departed Tony Hunter. A guest appearance by Ken E Henson of Finch and Henson fame adds to completeness of 'Junk Food...' Solomon's distinct vocals have a desperate edge to them at times, adding to overall feel of the album.
However it's not all doom and gloom. Rather than get bogged down in the depressive side of bedsit life, Solomon seems to turn this into a sort of celebration of this style of living. There's no hint of pity in the album and with some of the rhythms being sufficiently upbeat it ensures that this does not degenerate into music to slit your wrists to.
Neill Solomon really shines on this album, both lyrically and musically. He has also surrounded himself with top class musicians to create a polished album that has aged well, sounding as good today as it did in the early eighties. Not for the fans of sugary pop, but if you like your rock somewhat bleak, somewhat upbeat but never sweet, give 'The Occupant' a listen.
-- John Samson, September 2001
All info supplied by John Samson, July 2001.
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