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Richard Jobson \ The Ballad of Etiquette [LTMCD 2427]

An expanded edition of the first spoken word album by singer, writer and director Richard Jobson, originally released in November 1981 on Bill Nelson's boutique label Cocteau Records.

The Ballad of Etiquette combines Richard's own poetry with music performed by Virginia Astley, Josephine Wells and the late, great guitarist John McGeoch (Magazine, Siouxsie and the Banshees, The Armoury Show). Stand out tracks include India Song (an homage to Marguerite Duras), Orphée and The Night of Crystal, the latter an imagined conversation between Albert Speer and Josef Goebbels. Other parts of the music score quote from Erik Satie and Claude Debussy.

The six bonus tracks include versions of India Song and Orphée recorded for Les Disques du Crépuscule with members of Tuxedomoon, as well as two tracks recorded live at Richard Strange's legendary Cabaret Futura in 1981, and a poem recorded at a Crépuscule event night at London venue Heaven in July 1981.

The total running time is 70 minutes. CD booklet features photos, images and a biographical note.


1. India Song
2. Don't Ever Tell Anybody Anything
3. Joy
4. Etiquette
5. Pavilion Pole
6. Thomas
7. Anonymous
8. The Night of Crystal
9. Orphée
10. Stormy Weather
11. Armoury Show
12. India Song (Crépuscule version)
13. Orphée (Crépuscule version)
14. Daddy (live at Cabaret Futura)
15. India Song (live at Cabaret Futura)
16. Etiquette: The Ballad (live at Heaven)

Available on CD and digital download. To order CD please select correct shipping option and click on Add To Cart button below cover image, or else contact LTM by email for other payment options.

The Ballad of Etiquette [LTMCD 2427]
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"A superb listening experience. As usual LTM have done a superb job with added tracks and meticulous sleevenotes. It's worth the price of admission for the beautiful evocative backing tracks courtesy of Virginia Astley, Josephine Wells and the late John McGeoch on guitar. Add to this Jobson's lilting Scottish brogue, his inspired reading of his own poetry, and the adaptions of other's work (Cocteau's Orphée being a prime example). Among the extras here is a deliberately hilarious live version of Daddy, with Jobson unafraid to mock himself. Chill out with Jobson in the afternoon!" (Record Collector, 6/2006)

"Jobson always fancied himself as a renaissance man, and it turns out he was. Thanks to the musical accompaniment it is a very likeable album with an unexpected sophistication, and Jobson's tongue leaves his cheek long enough for some touching, serious moments" (Exclaim!, 05/2006)

"Working in a field so ripe for parody as spoken word efforts takes, then as now, not a little bit of guts to see it through. Richard Jobson was barely out of his teens when The Ballad of Etiquette started coming together, but as his first full-length effort outside of the Skids it's an often entrancing release, not least because of his excellent backing band. Virginia Astley's flute and piano parts and the multi-instrumental work of Josephine Wells, notably on clarinet, as well as the brilliant John McGeoch's acoustic guitar work, provided a lovely, reflective bed of music suggestive of 1920s-style elegance more than beatnik coffeehouse jams. In a way Jobson wasn't even taking center stage on his own album - the first things you hear are piano and clarinet on India Song for about a minute and a half, and unlike so many would be Allen Ginsbergs (or, more aptly, Jim Morrisons) he works with rather than against the accompaniment. Perhaps the beautiful drama of Anonymous is the best example, with his wordless singing setting the initial tone rather than his poetry. That said Jobson's own delivery is often strikingly harsh - not shouted or ranted, certainly, but roughly declamatory, a surely intentional contrast to the music. His poetic imagery is defiantly dreamlike, portraying sketches of romantic melodrama in strange settings or internal monologues. One of his most striking efforts is the stark, percussion-only Night of Crystal, an imagined dialogue between Nazi leaders Albert Speer and Josef Goebbels, while selections by Debussy and Satie were reworked on the album - not to mention a surprising take on the jazz standard Stormy Weather. LTM's reissue adds six tracks, including various pieces, live and studio, recorded before The Ballad of Etiquette and released on compilation albums, notably including Armoury Show, which would eventually provide the name of Jobson's post-Skids band, and a fierce version of Sylvia Plath's Daddy (with some hilariously timely references to Ultravox's Vienna to boot)" (All Music Guide, 2006)