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 Savoy Records
In The Air Tonight

The Savoy Holman Hunt
African Orchestra


1990

Savoy Majestic Sound

PJS8

12"

In The Air Tonight

  A 45rpm

In The Air Tonight
(Collins)

B 45rpm

I'm On Fire
(Springsteen)

Recorded and mixed in the UK at Square One Studios, Bury.

Sleeve art: The Lady of Shalott (1886) by William Holman Hunt

In The Air Tonight and I'm On Fire available on the Savoy Sessions and the Savoy Wars CDs


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Record sleeve text:

Dedicated to Dan Proby Child (29th July 1964—9th May 1989)

Record label texts:

"I step from a land no eye has seen
To a land no hand may ever hold."

Henry Treece

"Mere incident is nothing...it only becomes something when it is a symbol of an interior meaning."

Arthur Machen

"The art of ironic comedy is the highest art of all."

Michael Moorcock

"Logic is a mere servant of the imagination."

Colin Wilson


 
In The Air Tonight
The girl from Voodoo Ray makes a guest appearance and delivers some fine wailing vocals (reminiscent of Kitty White on Elvis's Crawfish) on the intro to this Phil Collins song. African drums play a haunting cross-blended rhythm before a full orchestra strikes up. Proby's singing better than he ever did on his big hit records—just listen to his ridiculously charismatic voice as the orchestra falls away and he sings a capella. The Arabian minor melodic scale is a pastiche of Umm Kulthum.

The bassline on Sign O the Times hummed by D'nise Johnson (Primal Scream) heralds I'm On Fire, Jim Proby's fine Elvis impersonation. This is a honey-dripper version of Bruce Springsteen's classic song. The string arrangement by Stephen Boyce-Buckley is stunning. Yvonne Shelton (Evolution) leads the passion-filled backing vocals. Irish music paper Hot Press made it Single of the Week. Somebody should play this for Bruce and be ready to catch him when he falls. Breathtaking.


 

Reviews

"Haunting, off-beat cover of the Phil Collins dirge complete with sparse African percussion and Proby in suitably unhinged vocal mood."

THE FACE

 

"PJ takes on Phil Collins and Bruce Springsteen (the flip is I'm On Fire). The A side has a beautifully full arrangement / orchestration. It craps over that orribly balding berk like the damp squib he really is. Revitalising the song to gigantic proportions and 6 minutes of heaven in the process. Flip over to a thrusting beat, disco dance with a magnificent return to vocal form and now where the hell is the full blown album that us Probe fans are dying to listen to?"

TREVOR FAULL, Outlet

 

"PJ, baby, you're back—and what an entrance! Through the massed Manc ranks of the city's top musos your voice glides into Phil Collins's (only) classic track and rides it to another dimension. Soul, gospel, dance and trance bow before your lilting intonations as D'nise, Rowetta et al provide the blissful backdrop. An absolute track that's way, way out. Not to be missed. And then there's PJ's lucid interpretation of Springsteen's I'm On Fire on the other side. It's all too much for one music page..."

UP TOWN

 

"I must say this is a big disappointment. A recent newspaper article led me to believe that Mr Proby was completely washed-up for the nth time, but there's plainly someone there. This version of Adamski's favourite record by wadjamacallit-what-looks-like-that- Bob Hoskins is in fact quite stunning. A totally crass strings-laden arrangement, a production worthy of Trevor Horn at his overblown best, and PJ, who caused me to pee myself when his slacks split at the Barking Assembly Hall in 1965, can still sing as much as he ever could, which isn't saying much. Anyone willing to destroy the works of Gods (the flip is Bruce Springsteen's I'm On Fire) gets my vote.""

IAN McCANN, NME

 

"Aware as I am that PJ Proby is a very, very sick man in every sense of the word this is a truly remarkable record. Accompanied by a 25-piece orchestral ensemble he takes Springsteen's I'm On Fire and turns it into a monster, intent on marauding any dancefloor smart enough to play it.

Unlikely as it may seem, the record begins with the drumbeat from Sign O the Times, two female members of the orchestra giggling and mouthing Prince's bassline for a few seconds before a loose groove develops á la Isaac Hayes. Then comes Proby's grand entrance.

Booming across the mix with the utterly lacivious-sounding opening line 'Hey little girl is your daddy home?' and sounding for all the netherworld like the ghost of Elvis returning to add the track to The Memphis Record as an afterthought, Proby twists and turns the song beyond recognition, pushing it into places where only the most tormented souls and voices dare to venture. Not content with that, the band—the unlikely sounding Savoy Holman Hunt African Orchestra (I kid you not!)—subsequently unleash the strings in earnest, the result that the middle section mutates into a Philly-buster of awesome impact.

I'm On Fire crosses musical lines as easily as most of us cross the road and, believe me, this is one single well worth crossing the road for, even if the other side is a cover of In The Air Tonight. Needless to say, PJ tips that one over the edge as well."

GEORGE BYRNE, Hot Press

"A wondrous record."

HOWARD JACOBSON

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