Robyn Hitchcock: The Man Upstairs

Folk-tinged remakes of personal favourites.

You can trust Louder Our experienced team has worked for some of the biggest brands in music. From testing headphones to reviewing albums, our experts aim to create reviews you can trust. Find out more about how we review.

It was veteran folk producer Joe Boyd’s idea that the idiosyncratic Mr Hitchcock record what he referred to as “a Judy Collins album” – a collection similar to the records the bright-eyed chanteuse made in the 60s, comprising well-known covers, under-the-radar discoveries and a couple of originals.

As such, The Man Upstairs is perhaps the only folk album ever to mine the back pages of Roxy Music and The Psychedelic Furs. Those two bands are represented, respectively, by To Turn You On and The Ghost In You, both stripped to their pastoral bones – they sound uncannily like Nick Drake gone glam, but it works.

Covers of Grant Lee Phillips and I Was A King aren’t quite so radical, but The Doors’ The Crystal Ship is pared down to a sinister lullaby, and there’s a similar fragility to originals Comme Tojours and Trouble In Your Mind.

Terry Staunton was a senior editor at NME for ten years before joined the founding editorial team of Uncut. Now freelance, specialising in music, film and television, his work has appeared in Classic Rock, The Times, Vox, Jack, Record Collector, Creem, The Village Voice, Hot Press, Sour Mash, Get Rhythm, Uncut DVD, When Saturday Comes, DVD World, Radio Times and on the website Music365.