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Elvira: Songs from the Archieves 1979-83

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Album Review

A combination of two separate sessions, one from 1979, one from 1983. The 1979 tracks were originally conceived as a one-woman show about Elvira Barney, an English debutante who shot her boyfriend, although it never went into production. Almost all of the tracks feature no instrumentation save Coyne's acoustic guitar. It's suitably harrowing stuff, typical of Coyne's fine walk between sanity and instability, though here he is taking on the persona of another character (the fact that it's a female character adds another level of strangeness). The 1983 sessions, by contrast, have abrasive, sometimes chaotic backing that sometimes skirts free jazz, though Coyne's lyrics remain chillingly sardonic and neurotic. It's worth searching for if you liked Coyne's early, sparse recordings.


Born: 27 January 1944 in Derby, England

Genre: Rock

Years Active: '70s, '80s, '90s

Many singer/songwriters have been more heralded, but few produced more good work or did so for longer than Kevin Coyne. While virtually unknown in America, Coyne released dozens of records, most of them very good, that dealt primarily with outsiders: men, women, and children arbitrarily shunted to the fringes of society, or worse, locked away and left alone. His songs could be extraordinarily compassionate and, in the blink of an eye, angry, anguished, and accusatory. Perhaps the most durable and...
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Elvira: Songs from the Archieves 1979-83, Kevin Coyne
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