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Pip Pyle

Canterbury Scene

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Pip Pyle Seven Year Itch album cover
3.52 | 14 ratings | 2 reviews | 7% 5 stars

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Studio Album, released in 1998

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. Seven Sisters (8:48)
2. Chinese Whispers (4:10)
3. Strawberry Fields Forever (4:53)
4. Seven Year Itch (3:33)
5. I'm Really Okay (5:10)
6. Once Around The Shelves (4:07)
7. Long On (7:18)
8. Shipwrecked (7:44)
9. L'Etat Des Choses (7:51)
10. 10.Foetal Fanfare Fandango (2:52)

Total time 56:26

Line-up / Musicians

- Pip Pyle / drums, keyboards, programming, cymbal (5), sampler & loops (9), producer

- Richard Sinclair / vocals (1,8)
- Jakko M Jakszyk / vocals (2,4,7,8), guitar & flute (6)
- Barbara Gaskin / vocals (3,5)
- John Greaves / vocals (3,4), fuzz bass (4)
- Phil Miller / guitar (1-3,8)
- François Ovide / acoustic (7,8) & electric (4,7,8) guitars
- Dave Stewart / keyboards (1,3,5,8), programming (3)
- Lydia Domancich / piano (3,6)
- Elton Dean / saxello (1,10)
- Yves Fabre / trombone (1,7,8,10)
- Jean-François Canape / trumpet (1,3,7,8,10)
- Yvon Guillard / trumpet (7,10)
- Michel Godard / tuba (1,3,7,8,10)
- Alain Guillard / tenor sax (7,10)
- Didier Malherbe / alto sax (10)
- Paul Rogers / double bass (1,3,7)
- Freddy T Baker / bass (2,4,6-8)
- Hugh Hopper / bass (3,9)
- Pierre Marcault / percussion (1,2,5,6,8,9)

Releases information

Artwork: Giraffe with Yves Hamon (photo)

CD Voiceprint - VP198CD (1998, UK)

Thanks to alucard for the addition
and to Quinino for the last updates
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PIP PYLE Seven Year Itch ratings distribution

(14 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(7%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(50%)
Good, but non-essential (36%)
Collectors/fans only (7%)
Poor. Only for completionists (0%)

PIP PYLE Seven Year Itch reviews

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Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by fuxi

Contrary to what you might expect, this isn't jazz-rock but a collection of (mostly) wonderful songs in very different styles, similar in concept to Kevin Ayers's WHATEVERSHEBRINGSWESING and Robert Wyatt's COMICOPERA. Pip Pyle has drawn from an astonishing pool of musicians and united a number of highly disparate elements, and the result will be a very pleasant surprise to all 'Canterbury' fans.

It took Pyle about seven years to record this album and get it released (hence the title!) but 'its conception goes even further back' (he says in the liner notes) 'maybe twenty years', which means it must have been on his mind ever since the break-up of the extraordinary National Health.

A large number of 'Canterbury' stalwarts appear on the album. Apart from Pyle himself (who never once pushes his drumming to the foreground), there are significant contributions from Dave Stewart, Barbara Gaskin, Phil Miller, Richard Sinclair, John Greaves, Hugh Hopper, Elton Dean, Didier Malherbe and others. The (almost) nine-minute opening track, 'Seven Sisters', provides us with a de facto reunion of the Hatfields, even though apparently they never got together in the studio. 'Seven Sisters' must be the most beautiful track on ITCH, and it alone warrants purchase of the album. Starting off majestically, like something out of ROCK BOTTOM, it turns into a typically Hatfieldesque melody (sung by Richard Sinclair, of course!) and features a delicate piano solo by Dave Stewart, as well as a highly exciting one on guitar by Phil Miller.

Another highlight is 'I'm Really Okay', a floating pop song, sung with great finesse by Barbara Gaskin and featuring a classic Canterbury-style fuzz-organ solo by her life partner, Dave Stewart.

Like two other tracks on the album, 'Shipwrecked (with idle hands)' has lead vocals by Jakko M Jakszyk: he sings in the civilised South-English manner so typical of the Canterbury Scene but there's an edge to his voice which makes me uncomfortable since it reminds me of Andy Tillison, whose band Jakszyk has now joined - is that a coincidence? Anyway: all praise to Phil Miller for bringing 'Shipwreck' to a grand climax with yet another superb solo.

I have merely concentrated on the album's highlights, but at some stage I hope to provide detailed reviews of every single track. Oh, it's been so good to have you all back one more time, guys - nearly an hour of your incomparable music was something I hadn't hoped for! I only wish there were more Pip Pyle albums to look forward to... Judging from this one, it sounds as if Pip might have kept surprising us with delightful new products every four years or so (every SEVEN, perhaps?) just like Robert Wyatt tends to do, but unfortunately Pip's untimely death (in 2006) has put an end to such hopes.

By the way, it came as a surprise to me that this album (released in 1998!) had never been reviewed here. In fact, I only found out about ITCH because it was called one of the best 'Canterbury' albums by Jonathan Coe, author of that highly readable novel, THE ROTTERS CLUB.

Soft Machine, Health & Hatfield freaks, you need not hesitate: SEVEN YEAR ITCH will brighten up your day.

Review by Mellotron Storm
3 stars I'll always remember when Pip Pyle passed away because it was the day after I joined this site. I have experienced so much joy from this genre over the years and Pip Pyle has been a big part of that. On this particular solo album he enlists the help of the "who's who" of Canterbury. John Greaves, David Stewart, Barbara Gaskins, Richard Sinclair, Hugh Hopper, Phil Miller and Elton Dean to name a few.

"Seven Sisters" is maybe the best track on here. In fact the lineup for this song includes all four members of HATFIELD AMD THE NORTH, together for the first time since 1975 ! It's very laid back to begin with. Vocals from Richard Sinclair 1 1/2 minutes in. It starts to pick up and the piano and bass become prominant 4 minutes in.They all sort of improvise to end it and the guitar is fantastic from Phil Miller. "Chinese Whispers" is a mellow track with the vocals of Jakko Jaszyk being the focus.The highlight is the angular guitar from Phil Miller 3 minutes in. "Strawberry Fields Forever" is of course a BEATLES cover. Barbara sings lead here. Lots of horns and it changes 3 1/2 minutes in to a fairly loud and busy soundscape to end it. "7 Year Itch" is where John Greaves shines both with his theatrical vocals and fuzz bass. A lot of negative energy in this one. Pyle says this song is his "Life's a bitch and then you die song, and I tried to make it as violent and scary as I could".

"I'm Really Ok" features Barbara on vocals with percussion leading the way. Pierre Marcault from MAGMA does the percussion work here. The highlight though is Barbara's vocals. "Once Around the Shelves" has a good rhythm to it as guitar plays over top. It settles 2 minutes in with some nice bass coming out of that. "Long On" is a good track with Jakko on vocals. I like the guitar to end it.

"Shipwrecked (With Idle Hands)" features Jakko on vocals with Richard Sinclair backing him up. Freedy Baker is on bass and is outstanding. Lots of slide guitar on this one. "L'etat Des Choses" is my favourite.This one is completely different from the other tracks. And yes this is where Hopper does his thing playing fuzz, wah wah, double speed & backwards bass. Haha. Pip used a "battery of ancient lo-tech effects pedals, wah wahs, harmonizers, flangers, an old WEM copycat that Dave Stewart left lying around and something called a Synthi Hi Fi which Alan Gowen gave me..." This is soundscape music that is dark and experimental. A very cool track. "Foetal Fanfare Fandango" features 3 sax players, 2 trumpet players, along with trombone and tuba, with Pyle playing military drums. He says this was included almost as a joke. For me this sounds like a high school marching band and joke or not it's brutal in my opinion. I know I should lighten up right ?

This certainly has it's moments just not enough of them.The songs for the most part are nice but not Canterbury or even jazzy, just pleasant songs for the most part.

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