Black, Black! (or WSTISNAITMB Part Two)

Readers of a more, shall we say, greater number of years on this sweet Earth may recall a dapper chap with the voice of a particularly morose angel named Black (or, to give him his proper name, Colin Verncombe), who released a pair of singles in the late ’80’s. The best known was “Wonderful Life” was one of those wonderfully miserable, yet uplifting songs, and was something of a European hit. On a (largely non-musical) forum I frequent, I mentioned this song and people of all ages and musical preferences united to say what a great song it was.

But my preference was for the preceding single, “Sweetest Smile”. This is the kind of song you’d always hoped Leonard Cohen would write but never quite did. Starting with the none-more-forlorn line “I think my heart must be made of clay\’cause everyone said it would be broken someday”, this defiantly minor-key song tells the tale of a broken heart in the starkest terms, all sitting on the floor with your head in your hands. A less talented musician than Colin could have made a real mess of this, but it’s beautifully judged, just the right side of maudlin, and quite perfect.

Hearing that he’s still releasing records was one of those pleasant surprises that makes you suspect that there’s still hope for the music industry. Indeed, Colin’s re-recorded some of his older songs, and as you can hear, his voice has got even richer, what with an extra twenty-odd years of living under his belt.

There’s a new compilation of his work being released in early September called “Any Colour You Like”. More info on his website here. Lovely to hear his songs again, and especially that voice. What a voice. Personally, I’d like to hear what he could do if he reworked these songs completely, rather than re-record them (even if he’s done it very well), but you know what? I’m not complaining. Superb stuff.

MP3: Sweetest Smile (2011 Re-Recording) by Black

Oh, and talking about Black always makes me think of this:

We crawl on our knees towards our doom, indeed.