“Ivor Cutler Of Y’Hupː Oblique Musical Philosopher” by Ivor Cutler - album review

features in: Album Chart of 1959Album Chart of the Decade: 1950s

TJR says

Cracking mini-debut from the 36-year-old Glaswegian humourist, immediately revelling in his own brand of absurd surrealism, with even the “Y’Hup” of the title being a fictional, isolated island of Cutler’s own imagination. Says Ivor: “I didn’t settle down to really composing until I was 34. I was a school teacher, I had a wife and a couple of kids. I wanted to be a painter and I thought I wouldn’t be able to leave teaching because I needed the money. So I thought, “I’ll compose a song and somebody else can sing it and I’ll just cash in on it, and then I’ll be able leave teaching”. Pathetic, isn’t it? For about three years I wrote songs and went around to Tin Pan Alley and gave about three songs to each person with a stamped addressed envelope. They’d send them back in a couple of weeks so they wouldn’t hurt my feelings. Eventually, in 1957, I said the seven words that changed my life: Perhaps I ought to sing them myself.” < Preposterous tales in the life of Ivor Cutler! However he came to be, there’s a sizeable cult following that are truly grateful that he did – to admit that you’re over your child-like sense of wonder is to admit that you’re near the end. And who wants that?

The set consists of 7 songs – all sung by Ivor and all featuring him on the harmonium – a set-up which would become his familiar trademark in the years to come. “Size 9½” is an instant classic: “Do you remember when you were young and your feet were narrow and splayed, Do you remember when you were young you used to play with your feet all day, Size nine and a half or ten metres in French, Size nine and a half or ten metres in French”. My inner lunatic just finds that verse and chorus irresistible.

Ivor took his works to the BBC who, in Cutler’s words, “found them to their taste”. Cutler was invited to read his idiosyncratic poems and stories on the forerunner of Radio 4, the old Home Service. As with this release, he performed to the accompaniment of a pedal-driven harmonium which could only play, as far as listeners could tell, in a depressive minor key. In all, he broadcast thirty-eight stories on the BBC’s “Monday Night At Home” between 1959 and 1963. An unlikely new star was born…

The Jukebox Rebel

A1 [01:30] 8.8.png Ivor Cutler - Here’s A Health To Simon (Ivor Cutler) Avant-Garde
A2 [02:57] 10.0.png Ivor Cutler - Size 9½ (Ivor Cutler) Avant-Garde
A3 [01:30] 6.2.png Ivor Cutler - Mary Is A Cow (Ivor Cutler) Avant-Garde
A4 [02:02] 8.6.png Ivor Cutler - Pickle Your Knees (Ivor Cutler) Avant-Garde
B1 [02:22] 6.6.png Ivor Cutler - Gravity Begins At Home (Ivor Cutler) Avant-Garde
B2 [01:21] 7.0.png Ivor Cutler - A Cowpuncher And A Bird (Ivor Cutler) Avant-Garde
B3 [03:54] 6.4.png Ivor Cutler - The Boo-Boo Bird [ep version] (Ivor Cutler) Avant-Garde
© The Jukebox Rebel 2005-2020 All Rights Reserved