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Friday, November 18, 2005

Ian Bairnson

Ian Bairnson

I'm listening to the new Kate Bush double album but my head is spinning more from listening to the CD of The Kick Inside which I've never actually owned, having collected later albums along the way.

Because 'The Whole Story' had a version of the sublime Wuthering Heights I didn't bother to go back and acquire 'Kick', despite its inclusion of her triumphant celebration of menstruation as 'Strange Phenomena' and the enchanting 'Man with the Child in His Eyes'.

kickI say "a" version because it always irked me that the play-out solo on 'Wuthering' in no way matched the joyous effortless expertise on the original (not to mention some misplaced wailing by Kate on the re-take that again jarred with anyone raised on the original).

Like the wailing sax on Gerry Rafferty's seminal 'Baker Street' (Ralph Ravenscroft for La Triviata), it was one of those triumphant sounds that would halt us mid pint down the boozer as we nodded at each other and drummed our fingers in rhythm and eyed the pretty totties lined along the bar.

kick insideEarly 1978 saw me at one of my happiests: dynamite job with expense account for what exactly I loved doing most; single, plush apartment in not-yet-over-gentrified London's Clapham; friends galore; taut abs and the loveliest lovingest girl friends that walleted youth attracts.

My kitchen was the largest room and the acoustics did full justice to the sound of the Wharfedales I ran from the main unit in the sitting room.

I was making my usual mess of dolchelatte gnocchi and bopping along to the radio's airing of early chart entries when on came extraordinary voice delivering an absolutely hypnotic song.

kate bush 2005I stood entranced: that ridiculous tinkly piano entry.

That tinkly treble voice.

Great tune, granted.

Then in slides that bass, to herald the dynamite chorus.

The whole thing takes off.

"Heathcliffe, it's me - Kathee - come home ... ". And so forth

What's remarkable about Bairnson's solo is that his guitar plays no part in the song, only swooping in at the end to tease and tantalise. The ultimate luxury, saving the best wine til last. Or, like being at a killer party where every pretty girl has lingered and laughed at your jokes and you've chatted to them all and are ready to go. As you exit, in walks a 'real' stunner ... I mean in walks Kate Bush, K?

A snaking python of a solo that twists and grows until everything that went before is forgotten and you're asking where can you get an album of *this*.

Even 30 years on, my neck-hair bristles as the skin on the face pulls tight.

So, yonks later, I finally check this hero out - Ian Bairnson.

bairnson_guitarI say "an" but his provenance is impressive:

  • Born 1953, Lerwick, Shetland Islands, Scotland (I shall now spell him Iain)
  • Guitarist for the Alan Parsons Project, no less (slap on wrist for not picking up on that. I had many APP albums but was clearly too distracted by exotic cheroots to read the fine print)

    I search for that feeling: in music, on rambles, in composing my own songs.

    I look at my own children, multi-messaging across the continents, Sennheiser cans clamped to angelic ears.

    Are *they* feeling that same buzz, being borne aloft by their own songster favorites?

    I hope so.

  • Comments:
    where do I start? the summer of 1967. I met the most beautiful girl in the world,called LYNDRIS Waterton, a few weeks later I met the rest of her family including her brother Sandy. Iain by that time was a very close family friend spending many weekend withthe Waterstons rather than withhis own family. During this time,Iain,sandy and myself got onstage at a local hall and "entertained" the crowd while the band had their break. We were absolute rubbish!!
    I know that Iain's first female attraction was to Lyndris.
    Over the years we all separeted.
    Fortunatly for me I was lucky enough to marry Lyndris and have a son together.
    Around 1992 we got tother with Iain and renewed the friendship.
    Unfortunately Lyndris died 1997.
    Iain married a wonderful girl from Brazil 1999.
    if this refers to the same Iain i am celebrating in the post, this is a dynamite comment, so thanks.
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