Lost And Found by Malcolm Morley

Recorded in 1976. Released in 2002

Andy and I were supposed to be going to the second day of the Test Match at The Oval yesterday but it was cancelled because of the death of The Queen. Instead, we decided to go to watch Crawley play today, but that has been postponed for the same reason. Dave and I were debating whether or not to go to the ludicrously named “A23 derby” next Saturday when Brighton play Crystal Palace but that has also been cancelled because of the train strikes. However, the strikes have been called off now but the premier League games may all be postponed next week anyway.

Managing expectations has been a way for me to maintain equilibrium ever since the pandemic hit 30 months ago. I have consciously and deliberately lowered all my expectations to a bare minimum in order to deal with disappointment. This has had the effect of not really caring when events, which I should have been looking forward to, don’t materialise. It also puts me in a state of constant mild dejection.

I remember that a few months after lockdown was imposed on all of us plebs (but not the ruling classes, obviously), the local fish and chip shop advertised that they would deliver. Roo and I ordered two large pieces of haddock and chips with mushy peas and eagerly waited for the knock on the door. When it came, we tucked in greedily but, to be honest, after a few mouthfuls of deep fried grease, the enjoyment waned and we threw half of it away.

I occasionally get completely obsessed by one song and play it on repeat. Currently, the song “Fish And Chips” from “Lost And Found” is the only song I want to hear. The singer works in a fish and chip shop. He is hard working and appears happy and cheerful to his customers but, inside, he is heartbroken. “I smile so much but I’m just like a chip out of grease. I leapt in the crowd but my heart’s in a big deep freeze“. The music is jaunty and delightful with a strummed acoustic guitar enhanced by subtle Spanish guitar playing.

Malcolm Morley was the lead singer and songwriter for the wonderful Help Yourself, who only released five albums, including the wonderful “Beware The Shadow“, in which the “shadow” referred to Malcolm Morley’s depression. The title track, “Lost And Found”, is just over two minutes long and is a sad reflection on a lost love and the impossibility of rekindling it. “Maybe a love can be lost and found. Maybe the world ain’t round“.

“Romance In A Tin” was released on Help Yourself’s fifth album, imaginatively titled “5”. Eight of the 11 songs on the album were recorded in 1973 but “Romance In A Tin” and two other tracks were recorded in 2003/2004, just before the album received a belated release. The version here features some of Malcolm Morley’s best vocals accompanied by a haunting 12-string guitar. It’s another song about a failed relationship in which the singer wonders how his romance has been taken from him and locked away in a tin. His so-called friends have made trouble for him by spreading lies. “I know that there’s a rumour. It’s been growing like a tumour as they often will. I know that it’s been spread by some poor fool that I misread. Could it be you? Tell me that I’ve been deceived with kind concern I don’t believe is genuine. But I don’t care but they say about her. She’s done all right by me. Loved me tenderly and held me tight.” I think that his expectations were too high.

There are 11 songs on this album and they are uniformly excellent. The Spanish guitar work on the opening song, “Without A Word” is enchanting; “Burning Love” and “Honey Please” are more country-rock oriented and the simple “Grace” with a sensitive piano accompaniment is simply lovely.

After Help Yourself split, Malcolm Morley joined Bees Make Honey in 1973, who were a highly influential pub rock band from the early 70’s. In the YouTube clip, Malcolm Morley is the cool dude playing keyboards, wearing a great hat.

Malcolm Morley left Bees Make Honey and joined Man in 1974 but only stayed for the recording of one album, “Rhinos, Winos And Lunatics”. Finding the touring demands too much, he left the Welsh rockers and moved into an attic above The Hope & Anchor, in Islington, which was about to transform from being at the centre of the pub-rock movement to being the centre of the punk movement. In 1976, Malcolm Morley met a band called Plummet Airlines and they were the backing band for his first solo album, “Lost And Found”. The tapes for the album were believed lost until Ian Gomm, who had been a late recruitment to Brinsley Schwarz in 1970, discovered the tapes and helped Malcolm Morley complete the songs, playing guitars and providing backing vocals on some of the tracks. After failing to find a record company willing to release his album, Malcolm Morley became a musical advisor to Wreckless Eric and played guitar on Kirsty MacColl’s first album, “Desperate Character”.

In 2001, Malcolm Morley released a solo album called “Aliens”. I haven’t heard it yet but I’m going to download it after writing this. I have high expectations of it.

Published by wilfulsprinter

Music lover

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