Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Kate Bush - "The Kick Inside" : strange phenomena from 1978

U.S. cover, the one I had.
The first LP by Kate Bush came out in 1978, one of the most extraordinary years in recorded popular music. Dozens of brilliant long players were released that year and it might be easy to overlook this  excellent debut. Bush was only 19 when this was recorded and it only made a small splash in the U.S. It was much bigger in her native England where her first single "Wuthering Heights" went to the top of the charts. Ostensibly a singer songwriter, she sounded nothing like the North American singer songwriters, certainly not like Joni Mitchell , Carole King or Carly Simon.

U.K. cover.
Kate Bush has a way of combining childlike wonder with an overt sensuality, especially evident in several songs here, "Moving", "Strange Phenomena" and "Oh To Be In Love" come to mind as being especially alluring. The first time I heard this it was like discovering a previously unknown forbidden world.

Japanese import.

As good as this recording was it only hinted at the genius that would emerge in subsequent releases. She'd get better each time as her songwriting became sharper and stranger, and the production and arrangements more wild, peaking with the incredible '80s albums "The Dreaming" and "Hounds of Love".

Of the three album covers pictured I definitely prefer the U.S. cover, maybe because it was the one I owned, but I think it's a great photograph. I find the U.K. cover too busy, and Kate is too small. The Japanese cover is okay but kind of boring. Her album covers would get better along the way.

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