Percy “Thrills” Thrillington – Thrillington (1977)

History: This album was originally recorded in 1971 not long after the original Ram was recorded, but shelved when Paul and Linda decided to form Wings. In 1976 Paul came up with the idea for the Percy character and paid for ads in UK music papers about him in an attempt to drum up interest. The album was released with little notice, though critics of the time did assume that this was most likely Paul’s doing. He finally confirmed it in 1989. Technically Paul and Linda do not appear on the album at all, as it was arranged by Richard Anthony Hewson and performed by musicians he chose. This is not a 100% instrumental album as backing vocalists do some choral type sounds throughout, but there aren’t any lyrics included.

My own personal history and initial prediction: So, I had to break code here. Hurricane Ida past over our area and left us without power for 8 days, non-drinkable water from the tap for 10, the inability to put too much water down our drains for 12, and no internet service for 15. Fortunately my home and my family are okay, with only minor repairs that need to be attended to. But as far as this blog goes, that left my Thirty Three and 1/3 review sitting as a draft for a few weeks, and while I was able to listen to this album after I had power back, I didn’t even think to write this section first in the way I normally would. But I can tell you that my main thought going in to this was wondering if this would change my mind about Ram as a whole or not.

Review: I feel like this may be a tougher challenge to review as compared to the typical rock albums. For one I’m not as well versed in these styles of music, and for another this is an interpretation of an existing work rather than something completely new. I found myself unable to make notes for every song, as while they may have been fairly pleasant to the ear they otherwise weren’t speaking to me in any particular way. The style is primarily what I would call a big band sound, though with the vocalizations it occasionally floats into the realm of something like a barbershop quartet or doo wop sound. “Dear boy” in particular ends up sounding more like something done by the Beach Boys with the “doodoodoo” that the chorus is doing for it.

One item I found a little lacking was during “Admiral Halsey,” it made me realize just how essential I find the echo on “Hands across the water – water” in the original because the song felt a little more empty without it. “Smile Away” also had some odd instrumentation choices to it, but really I only have minor complaints like that to give it. My dislike of “Back Seat of My Car” on this version probably has a lot more to do with the repetitive nature of the song than anything they chose to do with it. I think the lack of lyrics is what hurts it more than anything. I also found it interesting that when “Eat at Home” came up it rang no bells in my memory for the original at all. “Monkberry Moon Delight” is just as fascinating of a song here, and I think I’m leaning more toward liking it this time around.

For the heck of it, I decided to give the original Ram another listen to see if maybe either listening to this or just time had changed my opinion of it, and no, I’m afraid not. While I had some fond feelings for “Too Many People” that made me think maybe I had been too harsh, the fact is I still feel like most of the album is just not my thing at all. “Monkberry Moon Delight” may be the only song that has grown on me. But two good songs do not make a good album by themselves.

As for this album, it might be something worth throwing on if you are studying, working, or otherwise doing something where instrumental music is more fitting at the time. Even without particularly loving Ram, I would still be okay with using this as background music in the future.

Next Time: Ringo’s 6th album, Ringo the 4th.

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