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ancient heart is the 1988 debut album from Tanita Tikaram. It was issued on WEA, produced by Peter van Hooke and Rod Argent. The words and music are all by Tanita Tikaram. The cover is a sepia shot of her standing alone on some windswept moor.

Some of it is slow and lugubrious, other songs are very boppy, though with her voice the blasphemous thought "Leonard Cohen sings Abba" has once crossed my mind. Some of the tracks have a light, jazzy feel. This was one of my favourite albums, constantly replayed, when I first got it, and still brings a lot of pleasure when I play it now. There are no tracks I press skip to avoid, which is unusual for me.

  1. good tradition
  2. cathedral song
  3. sighing innocents
  4. i love you
  5. world outside your window
  6. for all these years
  7. twist in my sobriety
  8. poor cow
  9. he likes the sun
  10. valentine heart
  11. preyed upon

twist in my sobriety is the hit, a curiously complex tune, creeping and hypnotic, immediately seductive and appealing. The oboe is the instrument that makes it, with an almost renaissance sound at times. I can't say I understand what the words are getting at: "Look my eyes are just holograms, / look your love has drawn red from my hands, / from my hands you know you'll never be, / more than twist in my sobriety."

The opening track good tradition is also very upbeat, packed with trumpet and trombone, mandolin and violin and sax. "There's a good tradition of love and hate staying by the fireside, / and though the rain may fall - your father's calling you / you still feel safe inside."

valentine heart is a haunting ballad, slow and almost minimalist, with the same few notes circulating on keyboards, gradually modulated and strengthened, and echoed and grounded on cello. "If I was a Londoner rich with complaint / would you take me back to your house / which is sainted with lust and the listless shade." - Sainted with lust, wow! This is perhaps the most directly heartfelt of the songs, with further words "It's a shame I'm so dumb" and "As I visit the friendships which meant everything to the girl / with the clown's face."


wertperch preens himself on having won a prize in a radio competition for "most ingenious wrong answer". Asked where the cover picture was of, he suggested Agincourt, as a corruption of ancien cour.

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