DIESEL PARK WEST – SHAKESPEARE’S ALABAMA: Forgotten Albums

The late 1980’s were a time of a stagnating music industry and the continuing mantra from some music journalists predicting the death of the “guitar” in music, and so it was against this backdrop that Diesel Park West arrived on the scene.

Shakespeare’s Alabama

Track listing

Like Princes Do
All the Myths on Sunday
Bell of Hope
Out Of Nowhere
The Walking Hour
When the Hoodoo Comes
Opportunity Crazy
Jackie’s Still Sad
Here I Stand
A House Divided

The album arrived in 1989 to much critical acclaim in the music press and managed to get some decent airplay of their single “When the Hoodoo Comes” on late night radio shows, but despite this they failed to dent the top 40 with either their singles or album.

It would be a familiar story throughout their career, the nearly men of indie/alternative/rock music.

The band came from Leicester, England, learning their trade playing live through the 1980’s and finally getting a record contract in 1988. The band consisted of John Butler )Vocals, Guitar and main songwriter; Rick Wilson Guitar; Geoff Beavan Bass; and David Smith Drums.

The most remarkable thing about this album is how it did not become a massive hit at the time.  No doubt with mainstream radio play by Radio 1 it would have been.  However, the stranglehold on the music industry at the time of this radio station meant little could enter the charts without it’s seeming approval.

The album is full of superb song writing and sound incredibly confident throughout.  The music was reminiscent of REM/Birds feel to the music yet with an individualistic sound.  The songs on this album are memorable and have extremely catchy choruses, and the vocal performance from Butler is searing and superb. This has to go down as one of the best debut albums of this genre.

There are simply too many highlights on this album – but for what it is worth must listens are When the hoodoo comes; Like Princes Do; All the Myths On Sunday; and Jackie’s Still Sad.

Some would have said it was perfect timing for an album like this in 1989, however, soon the music scene would change beyond recognition, as the Manchester and Dance scenes took off in earnest and Diesel Park West were to be left in the cold by EMI.

Nevertheless, this album is a testament to “classic” albums not necessarily being ones that sold in high volume.  A remastered version is now available including bonus tracks and is well worth a listen.

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