Album: Mike Hart, Mike Hart Bleeds (Dandelion/Cherry Red)

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The Independent Culture

In the late Sixties, Mike Hart was a member of The Liverpool Scene, the poetry and music collective that had guitarist Andy Roberts and poet Adrian Henri as members.

Though seemingly the best-equipped for solo success, with songs marrying emotional themes to singalong hooks, Hart's unreliability and fondness for alcohol ultimately torpedoed his chances – but not before he recorded a couple of albums, the best being this solo debut for John Peel's Dandelion label in 1969. The gallows humour of the title is typical of the self-mocking, Lennon-esque tone of bruised sincerity underpinning most of his songs, which are ripped from the pages of his personal life: in the heartbreaking "Arty's Wife" he reflects, perplexed, on the cooling of his ardour for his spouse (the woman whose defaced visage accompanies Hart's on the cover).

"Yawny Morning Song" and "Disbelief Blues" ape Dylan's electric style, and references to Harold Wilson, Ian Smith and the Aberfan disaster date some tracks, but the mood of abandonment and distraction remains powerfully affecting. With highlights such as "Arty's Wife" and "Almost Liverpool 8" augmented by Scene highlights like the single "Son, Son" and the bittersweet odes "Palms" and "Gliders and Parks", this is a welcome reminder of a significant pop talent.

Download this: 'Arty's Wife', 'Almost Liverpool 8', 'Gliders and Parks', 'Son, Son', 'Palms'