Peter Murphy – ‘Bare Boned And Sacred’ (Metropolis Records) Print
CD Reviews
Written by Dom Daley   
Friday, 24 March 2017 04:00

Pete Murphy BBS artworkRecorded in New York City in the early half of last year, this record does exactly what it says on the tin by offering the listener a front row seat at one of Murphy's acoustic shows. 

 

I was lucky enough to catch the man when he supported The Mission last year and he's lost none of that charisma or colossal stature and manages to hold the listener in the palm of his hand and command absolute silence in the audience who had the utmost respect as he performed a captivating set of old new borrowed and black tunes.

 

Whilst the 'Wild Birds' live album offered the full electric show, this in contrast is most certainly a more reverent affair as Murphy, holding back and in reflective mood, turns in a stunning set.  Beginning with the jarring offering that is 'Cascade' before the more laid bare 'Secret' where Murphy gives his vocals a real workout as he soars whilst the guitars keep things simple and the violin lays somewhere in between. 

 

The oriental sounding 'All Night Long' is up next and whilst stripped bare to bass and some synth effects and samples this really works as Murphy has clearly laboured over the arrangements of these songs both new and old reworked favourites. Having been at this for forty years it’s a staggering achievement to think an artist still has the verve and passion in his work that shines like a beacon.  The reworked arrangement for 'Marlene Dietrich's Favourite Poem' is stunning.  

 

The tribute to the deceased David Bowie, whose career was intertwined with Pete Murphy's, is a fitting one and a great choice of songs it is too, as the trio take on 'Bewley Brothers' which stretched every sinew of Murphy's voice to the max: the hairs on my arm stand to attention as I listen to a classic rendition of a classic song.  

 

There is inevitably a Bauhaus medley that will no doubt split fans down the middle with purists saying it should be left well alone and then people like myself who are quite happy for Murphy to embrace his past.  As I mentioned earlier he's been at this for too many years to be bogged down with holding a time in his career as something so sacred he should leave it well alone in some vault never to be opened.  Enjoy it for what it is folks… a guy reworking some songs he wrote a long, long time ago and playing them for fans of that band many decades later: I certainly enjoyed it both live and on this here record.

 

I thought 'Lion' was a stunning record and am happy to report that the inclusion of the title track here as the penultimate song is a splendid way to close this really impressive record.  It must also be noted that the efforts of John Andrews and Emilio Zef China on guitars and violin/bass respectively are a huge part as to why this stripped bare recording is so good.  Having performed and recorded with Murphy for a while now these guys really connect and inspire the writer and add that X Factor.

 

A mesmerising and touching performance, captured forever on this recording, easily worthy of being labelled beautiful and artful, as these masters of their craft deserve every ounce of kudos for this collection of songs. No doubt about it.

 

‘Bare Boned And Sacred’ is out now. You can get your copy HERE.

 

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