Hugh Cornwell & Robert Williams – “Nosferatu”

1-19-12          Hugh Cornwell & Robert Williams

Singer Janis Joplin born 1943, Singer Dolly Parton born 1946; I was always a super-fan of Big Brother & The Holding Company!

Disc o’ the day:  Hugh Cornwell & Robert Williams “Nosferatu” (United Artists UK LP, 1979)

This ‘79 debut Cornwell solo LP came out right around the time of “The Raven”, so I was fully awakened to The Stranglers.  However, this album was partially recorded in Los Angeles – right around the time Cornwell was making fun of it (Dec. ’78 – Jan. ’79), with “Dead (Loss) Angeles” (on “The Raven”).  Drummer Williams had worked with Captain Beefheart.  Mark & Bob from Devo guest on one track (“Rhythmic Itch”).  Former Zappa keyboardist Ian Underwood is on 4 tracks.  The single from this LP was a cover of “White Room” – the venerable Cream classic (with Pete Brown lyrics, no less).  One of the highlights is Ian Dury (billed as “Duncan Poundcake”) as a fairground barker – I don’t think we knew for sure it was Dury at the time, but – he’s now credited in the 1992 CD re-issue.

Nosferatu

Losers In A Lost Land

White Room

Irate Catterpillar

Rhythmic Itch

Wired

Big Bug

Mothra

Wrong Way Round

Puppets

If anything, this album was a gnat’s arse ‘stranger’ than anything The Stranglers had released up to this point.  It certainly showed that Cornwell’s personality (by itself) could carry an entire album – without the help of Burnel, Greenfield etc.

A decade after this LP, Cornwell left The Stranglers – after having another solo LP in 1988 with “Wolf” (Virgin UK), a great solo album!

But “Nosferatu” certainly didn’t detract from Cornwell’s work with The Stranglers; if anything, it signaled the rise of The Stranglers, their records got demonstrably better etc.  I remained a Stranglers fan until Cornwell left the band.

I’ve seen Cornwell live a few times, too.  He’s quite a good solo performer.  Go – if you get the chance!

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