TAS Super LP List! Special Merit: Informal
Nigel Lived is a groundbreaking classic and one of the boldest, most inventive albums of all time. Recorded by the great recording engineer Phill Brown, Nigel Lived hearkens back to the golden era of all-analog recording, a sonic and musical masterpiece that every music lover and audiophile simply must have.
In Spring of 1972 Murray Head was just 25, coming off amazing success on the stage and screen, when he recorded his debut album, Nigel Lived. And Nigel isn't just any album, it's an ambitious, experimental album full of great songs that required stunningly diverse recording techniques and instrumentation on every track. There are beautiful acoustic works that draw a straight line to Murray's later albums like "Ruthie" and "When You Wake Up In The Morning," there are straight-up rockers and amazingly innovative tracks like "Religion" and the sprawling "Junk."
Nigel's story arc unfolds as a three-act play in which Nigel leaves a small town for the big city, finds love and success before crashing into addiction and despair. The background locations, characters and scenes change sonically throughout as Nigel was a adventurous & pioneering effort in blending studio recording with an incredible array of location recordings captured all over London's West End.
In the same way that films today operate on the "found footage" motif, Murray's ahead-of-its-time conceptual treatment for Nigel consisted of hand writing a "diary" for Nigel that was then "found" by Murray, who put Nigel's life to song. It's a brilliant narrative tool that allowed Murray to weave aspects of his own rich experiences in the whirlwind of late 60s London into the songs. Murray saw great success, making a splash on stage in Hair and on-screen in films like The Family Way and John Schlesinger's avant-garde Sunday Bloody Sunday. And he saw the depths working in a drug-addiction clinic and watching friends disappear into and eventually succumb to heroin.
Nigel Lived is driven by Murray's tremendous energy, and the songs are witty, intense, achingly beautiful and exceptionally well-recorded.
IR's 45rpm Double-LP set is packaged in a beautiful film-laminated gatefold with an amazing reproduction of the 8-page book from the original LP release that represents the fictional Nigel's diary.
Nigel Lived was mastered 100% analog by Kevin Gray at CoHEARent Audio from recording engineer Phill Brown's original master tapes. The sound quality on these tapes is a revelation, with deep but tuneful bass, sweet highs, gorgeous vocals and VERY WIDE dynamics! Murray and the musicians put so many fascinating sounds and textures down, and the tapes are simply stunning!
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