Get this crazy baby off my head!


The Beautiful South

The Beautiful South - Choke - 1990 - Go! Discs

Choke (released October 1990) is The Beautiful South's second album. It was pushed to number 2 in the charts after the release of the South's first and only number 1 single "A Little Time". The album was followed by two more singles, both of which were flops. "My Book", which became the band's first non top-40 single, peaked at number 43 and finally "Let Love Speak Up Itself", the last release from this album, only managed to reach number 51. Earlier versions of the album, regardless of format, contained only 11 tracks. The twelfth track (appearing at the end of later presses of the CD) was intended for the album from the beginning, but was removed at a late stage of production. Only in much later editions of the CD did the track finally appear, added without explanation to the end of the album. Original copies of "Choke" on cassette tape feature a long silence at the end of Side One, possibly indicating that this would have been the location originally intended for the track. [ from Wikipedia ].

"Choke" is an excellent album from "The Beautiful South". All the tracks were written by the great songwriting team of Paul Heaton, & David Rotheray. As is the case with so many albums, many critics compared it to the band's debut album, "Welcome to the Beautiful South", an album that was very hard to live up to in terms of songwriting, and musicianship. Some critics also moaned that the songs were becoming too cynical and clever for their own good. The songs ARE "cynical and clever", and that is part of The Beautiful South's quality. Listen to the great "A Little Time" track. It's a brilliantly written pop song, and there are more like it on the album. N.B: Some later CD issues of the album contain the bonus track, "What You See Is What You Get", composed by Paul Heaton, & David Rotheray. The band's "Welcome to the Beautiful South" album is a masteriece of well crafted, catchy, melodic pop rock songs with clever lyrics, and is well worth buying


1 Tonight I Fancy Myself
2 My Book
3 Let Love Speak Up Itself
4 Should've Kept My Eyes Shut
5 I've Come for My Award
6 Lips
7 I Think the Answer's Yes
8 A Little Time
9 Mother's Pride
10 I Hate You (But You're Interesting)
11 The Rising of Grafton Street

All songs composed by Paul Heaton, & David Rotheray


David Rotheray - Guitar
Sean Welch - Bass
David Stead - Drums
Paul Heaton - Vocals
Dave Hemingway - Vocals
Briana Corrigan - Vocals


Damon Butcher – Piano, Keyboards
Pete Wingfield – Piano
Jody Kitson – Percussion
Gary Barnacle – Flute, Saxophone
Kevin Brown – Saxophone
Tony Robinson – Trumpet


Their 1989 debut was hailed for reinserting cynicism, doubt, and biting sarcasm into pop music. But when Choke arrived a year later, Paul Heaton and the Beautiful South encountered a good amount of critical blowback. "Too clever!" they cried. "Too cynical!" It was true -- kind of. As before, tales of codependence and things seen that should never have been unfolded over the course of irresistible little pop songs. But "I Hate You (But You're Interesting)" twisted the knife even deeper. While the main thrust of the song suggested sitting on a beach lost in painful memory, sprightly piano kept drowning out the seagulls like a memory too strong to shake. Maybe this sort of thing hit too close to home for some; for others, it was just an extension of the Smiths' self-love/hate. So even if Choke wasn't as successful as its predecessor, that it would give people fits at all probably pleased Heaton to no end. A lounge-y cover of "What You See Is What You Get" smirked with its own effeteness, "Tonight I Fancy Myself" gave the band's three vocalists a peppy arrangement over which to harmonize and numerous songs showcased the bracing vocals of Briana Corrigan playing off of Heaton's ironic croon. All of Choke's light, jazz-tinged arrangements had a great time concealing the Beautiful South's ghastly tales in their own way. Perhaps the only reason they were accused of being too clever was because their skewering of society was too accurate. © Johnny Loftus, All Music Guide

The follow-up to the Beautiful South's lauded debut, WELCOME TO THE BEAUTIFUL SOUTH, 1990's CHOKE furthered frontman Paul Heaton's vision of equally tuneful and cynical pop. Whilethe standout track is "A Little Time", a breezy-yet-bruising duet with Briana Corrigan that managed to top the British singles chart, CHOKE also presents a number of other Beautiful South classics, including the lively "My Book" and the soulful "Let Love Speak Up Itself". Given that Heaton and company lost a little momentum after this outing, CHOKE is widely deemed to be the end of the U.K. ensemble's first golden era. © 1996-2009, Amazon.com, Inc. or its affiliates

A collection of eleven acerbic, pointed songs that is over and done in 37 minutes. The group's disgust with just about everything but its seductive music — tinged with horn parts straight from the Bacharach/David songbook and distinguished by a loping, easy groove — is palpable from the very first cut, "Tonight I Fancy Myself," where the singer recoils from the sight of icky-cooey lovers and bluntly states, "I choose / self-abuse." Vocalist Briana Corrigan, who isn't given much to do, brings a welcome edge to "Should've Kept My Eyes Shut," which sets harrowing lyrics of domestic abuse against bouncy pop dynamics: "I should have kept my eyes shut / My mouth should've closed / But the mixture of vomit and blood / Just crept up through my nose." In "I've Come for My Award," a disgusting, thieving captain of free enterprise allows that "Jesus was my greatest accomplice." Choke makes it clear that the Beautiful South has ample pop sense and pure venom to keep its unique act going for quite a while. © 2007 Trouser Press LLC


Following the disbandment of the British indie pop group the Housemartins in 1989, vocalist Paul Heaton and drummer David Hemmingway formed the Beautiful South. Where their previous group relied on jazzy guitars and witty, wry lyrics, the Beautiful South boasted a more sophisticated, jazzy pop sound, layered with keyboards, R&B-inflected female backing vocals and, occasionally, light orchestrations. Often, the group's relaxed, catchy songs contradicted the sarcastic, cynical thrust of the lyrics. Nevertheless, the band's pleasant arrangements often tempered whatever bitterness there was in Heaton's lyrics, and that's part of the reason why the Beautiful South became quite popular within its native Britain during the '90s. Though the group never found a niche in America — by the middle of the decade, their records weren't even being released in the U.S. — their string of melodic jazz-pop singles made them one of the most successful, if one of the least flashy, bands in Britain. Their popularity was confirmed by the astonishing success of their 1994 singles compilation, Carry on Up the Charts, which became one of the biggest-selling albums in British history. Heaton and Hemmingway formed the Beautiful South immediately after the breakup of the Housemartins, who were one of the most popular and well-reviewed British guitar pop bands of the mid-'80s. The Housemartins had earned a reputation for being somewhat downbeat Northerners, so the duo chose the name Beautiful South sarcastically. To complete the lineup, the pair hired former Anthill Runaways vocalist Briana Corrigan, bassist Sean Welch, drummer David Stead (formerly a Housemartins roadie), and guitarist David Rotheray, who became Heaton's new collaborator. In the summer of 1989, they released their first single, "Song for Whoever," on the Housemartins' old record label, Go!. "Song for Whoever" climbed to number two, while its follow-up "You Keep It All In" peaked at number eight in September, 1989. A month later, the group's debut, Welcome to the Beautiful South, was released to positive reviews. "A Little Time," the first single from the group's second album, Choke, became the group's first number one single in the fall of 1990. Choke was also well-received, even though it didn't quite match the performance of the debut, either in terms of sales or reviews. In particular, some critics complained that Heaton was becoming too clever and cynical for his own good. The Beautiful South released their third album, 0898, in 1992; it was their first record not to be released in the United States, yet it maintained their success in Britain. Following the release of 0898, Corrigan left the group, reportedly upset over some of Heaton's ironic lyrics. She was replaced with Jacqui Abbot, who made her first appearance on the band's fourth album, 1994's Miaow. While both 0898 and Miaow were popular, they were only moderate successes. Their respectable chart performances in no way prepared any observers, including the band themselves, for the blockbuster success of Carry on Up the Charts, a greatest-hits collection released at the end of 1994. Carry on Up the Charts entered the charts at number one. It was one of the fastest-selling albums in U.K. history and its success outlasted the Christmas season. The album stayed at number one for several months, going platinum many times over and, in the process, becoming one of the most popular albums in British history. Its success was a bit of a surprise, since the popularity of the Beautiful South's previous albums never indicated the across-the-boards success that greeted Carry on Up the Charts. The album wasn't released in America until late 1995, after it broke several U.K. records. The Beautiful South released their follow-up to Miaow, Blue Is the Colour, in the fall of 1996. Quench followed three years later, then Painting It Red in fall 2000, and Gaze in 2003. © Stephen Thomas Erlewine, allmusic.com