Cock Robin: To The Far Edge of Time

Posted by in Music

This blog is an edited version of that which will be presented in the COCK ROBIN E-BOOK of the same name ‘TO THE FAR EDGE OF TIME.’ Contact me on the MEDIA page if you want to be kept informed of its progress. Your privacy will be highly regarded, I have no interest in using your emails for other purposes. Thankyou, KH.

INTRO

Around the turn of this century I was working with All Music Guide writing music biographies and album reviews. Some of those pieces remain while others have been replaced. AMG has a rather strange modus operandi of paying another writer for a new biography even if there’s nothing wrong with the existing one, thus effectively paying twice or more for the same thing when there are plenty of holes and gaps that could be written anew.

Sometime ago I was trawling through the pages purely as an online journalist database in America asked for links to some of my work. I soon found my original Cock Robin biog had been replaced with another by writer Mark Deming.

My original biography had already been plagiarised for one of the many CD compilations, which in my opinion is nothing less than sloppy and lazy research by the record company who couldn’t be bothered to search me out  (I have been highly visible on the internet since 1999 so there were no excuses). Deming’s efforts again borrow from my originating artefact though he is no doubt writing for his life the same as I was/am. 

I should add that I liked working with AMG and hold no grudges with the team such as Stephen Thomas Erlewine, however my offer to work with them again has met no response. Existing as a writer is hard at the best of times and though I hold AMG with fond regards their ethics could easily be brought into question.

Here follows my original biography for those interested if nothing else to see the origins of the piece now presented. *NB at the time of writing my reviews of After Here, Through Midland and First Love, Last Rites remain but who knows how long before they themselves get replaced.

ORIGINAL BIOGRAPHY: BRITISH INVASION AND THE AMERICAN NEW WAVE

During the early ’80s, the American charts were subjected to what was known as the British invasion. Bands such as Duran Duran and Culture Club seemed to dominate. From this a new breed of US new wave act emerged among others: The Motels, Cyndi Lauper, ‘Til Tuesday and Cock Robin.

Led by singer/songwriter Peter Kingsbery, who also played bass and keyboards, the band were complimented by singer Anna LaCazio (so named as she played a Casio keyboard during the bands early years), guitarist Clive Wright and drummer Lou Molino III.

Like their contemporaries, Cock Robin matured fast, releasing only three albums. On their first album sleeve, the four members look to imitate the mix of romantacist art rock of Roxy Music and disco funk of Chic, that Duran Duran had not so long before them.

LaCazio looks like the proverbial high-school prom queen, however by the time of their final record in 1989, she had transformed into the sophisticated woman found on glossy fashion magazines.

EUROPEAN PROMISE

Their first self titled album (CBS, 1985) produced by Steve Hillage, was the most basic outing. Tracks like the opening ‘Thought You Were On My Side’ ooze all the charm of a band in the studio together for the first time.

The sparkling single ‘The Promise You Made’ became an instant hit in Europe – where they were to become huge – and gave them their only British hit no.28 in May ’86, though it did hang around for 12 weeks.

Unbelievably, they fared little better at home – only no.35 with ‘When Your Heart is Weak.’ From this point on Cock Robin were essentially the duo of Kingsbery and LaCazio. (Mysteriously, Wright appears on every succeeding album sans ‘First Love’ as a session player!)

AFTER HERE

Opening their second album, After Here, Through Midland was its precursing single ‘Just Around the Corner,’ which again did nothing other than in Europe where a steady fan base had built up, especially in France.

A grittier sound was evident, a hallmark of producer Don Gehman (reknowned for his work with John Mellencamp). Third, (at the time) final and most impressive of Cock Robin’s albums was 1989’s First Love/Last Rites, this time mastered by veteran producer Rhett Davies (Roxy Music, Eno, Icehouse).

Guest musicians included drummer Pat Mastelotto (Mr. Mister, The Rembrandts, XTC and King Crimson!) and the Mariachi Horns who helped authenticate the Latin pop/rock blend as featured on the gorgeous closing single ‘Worlds Apart.’

Once again, sense of space was a promenant feature of the album sleeve, which also boasted a poem by US underground writer Charles Bukowski. One more single, ‘It’s Only Make Believe,’ graced a greatest hits package – a final farewell from a band that deserved more attention. The Best of.. also included a live performance of the Bob Dylan song ‘Don’t Think Twice, It’s Alright.’

In their wake, Kingsbery has gone on to produce four fine albums, vastly different to his previous work. In 1992, he contributed to Tim Rice’s adaptation of the stageplay Tycoon, guesting alonside Cyndi Lauper, Nina Hagen, Celine Dion and Tom Jones to name a few.

His outstanding vocal on ‘Only the Very Best,’ showed just what an underrated performer he is. A shame that as yet, his classy excursions have gone unnoticed, other than by the French, who have known just how good, both with Cock Robin and solo, a singer/songwriter Kingsbery has been all along.

PLAYLIST AND CREDITS

Thanks for reading here, should you be interested in my work; principally writing, photography, and teaching, check out the MEDIA page, and/or the UNIVERSITY page for my teaching ethos.

Meanwhile, stay tuned with things here at Kulture Kiosk via THE ATLAS or on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram where you can see some of my photos from around the world.

Playlist and credits follow…

PLAYLIST
Thought You Were On My Side (from Cock Robin) – Cock Robin
When Your Heart is Weak (from Cock Robin) – Cock Robin
Just Around the Corner (from After Here, Through Midland) – Cock Robin
Just the Way it is Baby (from The Rembrandts) – The Rembrandts
Man of a Thousand Dances (from Go On) – Mr Mister
Worlds Apart (from First Love, Last Rites) – Cock Robin
It’s Only Make Believe (from The Best of) – Cock Robin
Only the Very Best ((from Tycoon) – Peter Kingsbery
The World is Stone (from Tycoon) – Cyndi Lauper
The Promise You Made (from Cock Robin) – Cock Robin

Photo Credits: Discogs retouched by KH