Thompson, Chris - 1986 The High Cost Of Living

geoviangeovian Earth Orbit
edited August 2 in year-1986


ARTIST: Thompson, Chris
ALBUM: The High Cost Of Living
LABEL: Atlantic
SERIAL: 7 81665-1 (LP)
YEAR: 1986


LINEUP: Chris Thompson - lead and backing vocals * Nick Garvey - co-lead vocals * Phil Galdston - production, backing vocals * John Van Tongeren - keyboards, production, backing vocals * Michael Thompson, Ira Siegel, Robbie McIntosh - guitars * John Siegler - bass * Anton Fig - drums * Michael Fisher - percussion * Gary Barnacle, Martin Dobson - sax * Tim Cappello - sax (tenor) * Peter Thoms - trombone * Luke Tunney, Steve Sidwell - trumpet * Jeff Pescetto, Maggie Ryder, Eric Sheesley, Miriam Stockley, Tommy Faragher, Stevie Lange, Gail Lopata, Henry Gaffney, Robbie Nevil - backing vocals

TRACK LISTING: 01 Love And Loneliness * 02 What A Woman Wants * 03 It Don't Bother Me * 04 The High Cost Of Living * 05 Empty House * 06 It's Not Over * 07 Living For The Thrill * 08 Missing * 09 She's Dangerous * 10 This Is Not A World Of Our Making


Reading the biography of Chris Thompson is like watching the Wandering Minstrel go about his work. He's very well travelled, and an active musician since the late 60's.

Of course, the Manfred Mann Earth Band is his best known jaunt, and his two claims to fame are the voice behind the top 70's hit 'Blinded By The Light', and one of four co-writers of John Farnham's ginormous 1986 hit 'You're The Voice'.

He also led the international band Night to a couple of albums, with a hit single 'Hot Summer Night' resulting from that union.

We'll focus on Thompson's 80's discography at this point, which featured three releases, of which: 'The High Cost Of Living' being his third, and incidentally his only release for Atlantic Records.

The album did get an LP release at the time, but has yet to be reissued on CD (come on Wounded Bird, get a move-along!).

John Van Tongeren and Phil Galdston double up on production duties, with a high quality session crew in tow.

The album is very hi-tech, not surprising given the era this was produced and released in, and probably isn't very representative of Thompson's musical style, but we here at GDM will take it.. regardless.

The Songs

Things get off to racy start with 'Love And Loneliness'. Certainly this is no ballad (judging by the song-title), with pulsing bass, strong guitars and backing vocal fillers. British singer Nick Garvey shares lead vocals on this one.

'What A Woman Wants' follows, with Thompson invoking a John Farnham like vocal on this second up effort.

Gotta love the funky bass popping on 'It Don't Bother Me'. Chris taking his lead from a hi-tech bloke like Robbie Nevil, and that's not surprising as Robbie co-wrote the song.

The title-track 'The High Cost Of Living' is one of those atypical bombastic over-produced 80's affairs we are all familiar with. Can't say that I love it or loathe it.

'Empty House' is a moody piece very much in the style of Mr Mister or Bourgeois Tagg, while 'It's Not Over' returns to that OTT bombast we heard a couple of songs earlier. Many of you will remember this being a moderate hit for Starship in 1987.

'Living For The Thrill' engages that hi-tech AOR sound with a hint of upbeat West Coast. Thompson definitely has the voice for a stint in the West Coast genre should he choose to do so.

'Missing' is one of the picks on the album for mine, full-blown AOR, and judging on this one song alone, you have to wonder why this album was never released on CD. Strange but true.

'She's Dangerous' continues the bouncy keyboard and strident guitar work, and apart from the ballad intro for 'This Is Not A World Of Our Making', that song also maintains a high-press engagement of melody. The gang vocals reminds me of Mark Williamson's material.

In Summary

There's not much to dislike here, aside from the wacky cartoon art on the front cover, and a couple of those overtly 80's efforts which sounded totally over-produced. But hey, it was 1986 after all.

As mentioned, this has never been released on CD, which surprises me no end. Maybe some reissue label (one in particular) could do us the honours.

In the meantime, I am off to get familiar with Chris Thompson's remaining solo material. See you in a couple of days!

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