Search - Harley, Cockney Rebel :: Human Menagerie

Human Menagerie
Harley, Cockney Rebel
Human Menagerie
Genres: Pop, Rock, Classic Rock
  •  Track Listings (12) - Disc #1

Japanese paper-sleeve pressing. EMI. 2009.


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CD Details

All Artists: Harley, Cockney Rebel
Title: Human Menagerie
Members Wishing: 3
Total Copies: 0
Label: Bgo
Release Date: 2/23/2004
Album Type: Import, Original recording remastered
Genres: Pop, Rock, Classic Rock
Styles: Album-Oriented Rock (AOR), Glam
Number of Discs: 1
SwapaCD Credits: 1


Album Description
Japanese paper-sleeve pressing. EMI. 2009.

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CD Reviews

When artsy was "in" and "glam" was a good thing
R. D. Waters | Newton, NC United States | 06/17/2004
(4 out of 5 stars)

"Released 30 (gulp!) years ago, "The Human Menagerie" barely created a ripple on the American music scene, but in England and much of Europe it created a sensation. I was into all things Bowie, Roxy Music, and New York Dolls then, so when a friend played this for me I was hooked. It sounded fresh and rather daring in its time - it still does to some extent.Singer Steve Harley wrote artsy, fey lyrics that worked well with the unconventional instrumentation of the early Cockney Rebel recordings. "Hideaway" kicks off the CD with a bang. The formula of drums, bass, acoustic guitar, keyboards, and violin is introduced in a tight, driving song that Harley punctuates with campy phrasing and clever lyrics. Let's just state right up front that Harley's voice was limited, but he was very good at phrasing and could deliver some memorable moments. "What Ruthy Said" and "Loretta's Tale" are the perfect follow up songs - catchy, dramatic, and original. These two songs also introduced Harley's lyrical technique of storytelling using names like Ruthy, Sebastian, Mona, and Loretta that he continued using for many years."Crazy Raver" is a completely over the top, well, rave if you must. It is one of the weaker songs on the CD, but not a complete loss. "Sebastian", the notorious hit single, is Harley at the height of his drama queen stance, complete with full orchestra and choir. Listening to it then and now, I could never believe it was ever played on the radio in Europe or anywhere else much less America. It is slow, long, and unconventional. It was the signature song of their concerts for many years."Mirror Freak", one of the best songs on this CD, was the real hook. It worked its way into my brain and I would find myself mentally replaying it or remember snippets of the lyrics for years and years. "My Only Vice" and "Muriel the Actor" are standouts as well with their vaguely Gypsy-esque, outdoor carnival style using violins and marimbas. "Chameleon" and "Death Trip" closed the original album with a dark, dramatic ending. The remastered CD includes the modest hit "Judy Teen" and "Rock and Roll Parade".While "The Human Menagerie" was an impressive, original debut, the follow up work, "Psychomodo" solidified Harley and company's reputation as a major act. Harley's influences were many, including David Bowie, Nico, and Lou Reed, but his willingness to try unconventional, offbeat instrumentation and lyrics set Cockney Rebel apart from so many other arty bands in the early and mid-70s. For those wanting to explore the music of the early 70s, "The Human Menagerie" is a less explored path that deserves to be followed."
Their Most Consistent Album!
Morten Vindberg | Denmark | 01/13/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)

"This was Steve Harley and Cockney Rebels' first album - originally released in 1973. Cockney Rebel was a glam-rock act ; somewhere between David Bowie and Doctor's of Madness. At least their first 3 albums were really great; from then Harley's songwriting seemed to be somewhat exhausted.

This album, probably their most consistent, contains their first classic single "Sebastian", which was a hit record in several countries, though never made it to the top 20 in Britain. The song may appear a little dated today ( maybe because of its 7 minutes playing time ) - but their follow up single "Judy Teen", which is included as a bonus-track, is still among my favourite Rebel songs.

The album contains many great tracks; both ballads and rockers - quite impressive considering that this was their debut-album. Songs like "Hideaway", "Loretta's Tale" and "Mirror Freak" have obvious hit-potential. "My Only Vice" and "Muriel the Actor" are simply charming tracks.

"Death Trip", like Sebastian, is an ambitious piece of work, with a lot of inspiration from classical music.

A great album!"
The not-so-humble beginning of Steve Harley resonates 30+ ye
Paul Allaer | Cincinnati | 11/05/2005
(4 out of 5 stars)

"Steve Harley made a huge impact in the mid-70's, with 1975's "The Best Years of Our Life" as the exclamation point. But his band, Cockney Rebel, came on the European music scene with this album, originally released in 1973, with a "new" concept: no electric guitars, but instead a violin as the lead instrument, what a concept!

"The Human Menagerie" (12 tracks, 51 min., including 2 bonus tracks) is mostly famous for its hit single "Sebastian", a 7 min. beautiful epic, yet slow and mostly quiet song, truly an enigma that this somehow found an audience (try imagine this today: not gonna happen!). But the album offers a lot more: the opener "Hideaway" is a delicious starter that perfectly introduces the band's "revolutionary" sound. "Mirror Freak" is another stand-out track, but the closer of the original album looms larger than any other: the 10 min. epic "Death Trip", with full-blown orchestration, just beautiful. This reissue comes with 2 bonus tracks: "Judy Teen", the great hit single released after this album and before the subsequent "Psychomodo" album, and "Rock and Roll Parade", the B-side.

Cockney Rebel is often classified as a "glam" band of the mid-70's era (based on their looks--check the album cover of "The Human Menagerie"), but that is just plain wrong. Their sound is unique. "The Human Menagerie" is a good album, but to hear Cockney Rebel at their peak, check out 1974's "Psychomodo", truly a classic."