Peter Wyngarde 8 ( 1970 ) Come In / You Wonder How These Things Began / Rape / The Way I Cry Over You / Unknown Citizen / It's When I Touch You / Hippie and the Skinhead / Jenny Kissed Me and It Was / Neville Thumbcatch / Once Again (Flight Number 10) / Pay No Attention / April
There are two or more versions of actor Peter Wyngarde's life. His real name was Cyril Louis Goldbert and he may have been born in either 1933, 1924, 1937, 1927 - you get the picture. He once claimed to have been born in Singapore yet later denied ever having been there. Whatever his real biographical details, his fame arose from his acting career, specifically as character Jason King, a novelist/detective and purportedly based on James Bond author Ian Fleming.
RCA Victor released this LP, recorded in 1970 to capitalise of the fame of Peter Wyngarde at the time. At the time, especially in the UK, he was a big TV star. ‘Peter Wyngarde’ was released in 1970 and reissued by RPM Records titled 'When Sex Leers Its Inquisitive Head' in 2009. The album never sold many copies in any issue yet is revered by those that know it. The original 1970 LP release sold out its initial pressing quickly according to Peter, albeit he often fabricated or exaggerated the truth. He said he was fuming that the label would not press more copies. A different version of what happened was the record label released the LP without even listening to it first. The label finally heard the record and songs 'Rape' and 'Hippie and the Skinhead' disturbed them and the LP was withdrawn. I need to be careful now, but there are a couple of lyrics here that would likely have led to the record label getting cold feet. Please skip if easily offended.
1) "Rape rape rape, rape, rape! Rape rape, rape, rape! It's utterly amazing how many kinds of rape there are!"
2) "We're called Bovvers, Mods, Peanuts and a variety of other names"
The sound of the album for the quieter songs (roughly half the album) consists of richly arranged strings striking home imaginatively. A few songs though are tougher musically, nosier. Peter only ever sings during a couple of moments here and there - otherwise he speaks over the musical backing like an insane Leonard Cohen. The bass guitar is good in places reminding this listener of Serge Gainsbourg. If you like the Peter Wyngarde recordings, consider buying 'Histoire de Melody Nelson' by Serge Gainsbourg.
A brief overview to end that I want to highlight. The drums during 'Come On' are faintly hard hitting. 'Rape' is not at all politically correct, yet it is clear Wyngarde (being an actor) is not taking himself seriously. Yes, he does do the accents of the different countries! It makes for extremely uncomfortable listening, warts and all. He namechecks Jason King at one stage to push this towards fiction - at least, I hope. Following 'Rape' with the quite frankly gorgeous string laden 'The Way I Cry Over You' is inspired. 'When I Touch You' is of a similar vein, Peter speaking, whispering and caressing. All the songs have merit and, oh, one more thing - 'Neville Thumbcatch'. Wyngarde is telling a story here and the music and backing vocals are stupendous.
Artwork – Ley, Dower Associates Ltd.
Engineer – Alan O'Duffy, Jeremy Boys
Orchestrated By, Conductor – Cy Payne
Photography By – Peter Rand
Producer, Arranged By – Hubert Thomas Valverde
Producer, Mixed By, Arranged By – Vic Smith