Robin Auld
Z-Astaire

Z-Astaire

Tracks:

  1. Cleaning Up My Act (4:41)
  2. Going Down (3:51)
  3. Leave Your Light On (3:52)
  4. Ego Airlines (2:55)
  5. Baby You've Been Good (4:21) Radio 5 Top 20 #8
  6. Violent Stairs (5:35)
  7. Little Girls (3:32)
All songs composed by Robin Auld

Produced and engineered by Kevin Shirley
Recorded at Spaced Out Studios, Cape Town

Musicians:

  • Robin Auld: Guitars, Vocals, Keyboards
  • Robert Hack: Bass
  • Michael Bush: Drums
  • Murray Anderson: Keyboards on 'Leave Your Light On' and 'Ego Airlines'
  • Kevin Shirley: Bass on 'Going Down' and Linn Drum Programme on 'Cleaning up my Act'
  • Brian Sepel: Keyboards on 'Cleaning Up my Act'
  • Richard Pickett: Drums on 'Violent Stairs' and 'Going Down'
  • Gary Horne: Sax on 'Violent Stairs'

Release information:

1984, Mountain Records MOULP(M) 38 (cassette L4 MOULP (EM) 38)

Review:

My first introduction to Robin Auld was hearing the single 'Baby You've Been Good' on the radio. The song spent 9 weeks on the Radio 5 charts and reached number 8, but I never really liked the song. Even today as I listen to the 'Z-Astaire' album with this track on, I am not convinced that this a brilliant song, and with some angular sentence constructions in the lyrics, I suspect that Auld only had his learner's poetic licence when he wrote this.

Now that introduction may seem like I'm going to go on to trash the album, but I won't and that's because the rest of the album is a whole lot better than the single. The funky opener 'Cleaning up my Act' or the smoochy, smoky 'Leave Your Light On', would in my opinion, have made better singles. These songs more clearly demonstrate the talent that we know Auld to be.

What 'Baby You've Been Good' does do though, is lay down the ground rules for the album. Its mellow rock sound dominates throughout with a few excursions into reggae vibes, harder guitar led rock and warm funk. Leaning nonchalantly up against this laid back sound is the nicotine stained innocence of Auld's voice, effortlessly riding the gentle waves of sound.

But it's not all surf, sand and sun. In amongst these easygoing songs is one that lyrically stands out and is at odds with the rest. On 'Violent Stairs' he launches an attack on the apartheid propaganda that was rife in the 80's. Lines like 'They say that hate is okay, so put your love away' clearly show his dislike for the system of the day. Even the music takes on a more foreboding sound.

So despite the single probably being the weakest track, this is an album of solid laid back rock, with a touch of vitriolic politics thrown in for good measure. The relaxed sounds are unlikely to have you jumping up and dancing to 'Z-Astaire', that is unless you can find someone called Zinger Rogers.

John Samson, SA Rockdigest #146, March 2002

Webpage:

All info supplied by John Samson, March 2001.


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