Norway - Full Moon 247 - 10/16/16
A Mouse In A Crowded House : Forever Unfinished
'"St. Thomas" is among the most recognizable instrumentals in the repertoire of American Jazz Tenor saxophonist Sonny Rollins.' (Wikipedia)
It is strange to listen to the remaining songs of St. Thomas. Thomas Hansen died on September 5th 2007, after releasing 6 (mostly) splendid studio albums (and a live recording entitled
Live In Europe). The songs included on A Mouse In A Crowded House are the unfinished 'leftovers' when Hansen died. A Mouse... is launched now as the documentary film about
St. Thomas, Burn The Place You Hide just was premiered, on September 22nd.
A Mouse In A Crowded House presents 12 unfinished songs Hansen had been working on and had recorded demos of [probably performed and recorded soley by Hansen] before he passed
away. These 12 songs [only 10 of the 12 songs had given titles] were planned as a new studio album [with a given title], with plans for songs recorded with grandiose, magnificent horns and all.
These remains are mere sketches, rough cuts of songs as 'work in progress'. His friends and co-players have prepared and 'restored' these little songs with respect, and they work indeed fine,
presenting the last chapter of Hansen's songbook. Just a year after he died, a box set simply called St. Thomas was launched, but at the time his family
and friends didn't want to include these demos among the rarities. Now, the time has come, and it's well worth the wait.
Just a few seconds into the opening "Adorable Golden Teeth" when Thomas sings 'Hey-na-na, hey-na-na..', you know that this will be a pleasant and enjoyable listen. The cause was:
'Let's make this a special record with an interesting sound. Not so straight.' Well, this is in fact the 'sum up' of all of St Thomas' records:
Interesting, not so straight. Maybe this was (almost) how the songs was meant to be, to sound like. Sparse, naked, stripped. Thomas with his acoustic guitar (plus some extra, discreet electric
guitar as topping, or seasoning) and his far from 'perfect' voice. Here are songs straight from the heart and mind of Thomas Hansen and his troubled life. "Song on Pills" and "Medication".
He was never afraid to 'sing his life.' Like he sings in "Song on Pills": '...every word is sing is true!' Included, you'll find songs of hurt,
songs of trouble, but also songs of (some) joy - including a good portion of humour. The harsh bittersweetness is highly present. In "Singing for the Monkey" he sings '(I'm)
31 years old now, getting grey in the hair', and where he sings about missing having a wife, leading a 'normal' family life, he also adds 'it
may be smarter than you' when telling about all possible rights and wrongs (decision-wise) in life. Is Hansen the monkey he sings about...?
Among the highlights are "Sheer Wonderer #2" (related to "Sheer Wonder" off his 5th album, Children Of The New Brigade), the jangly "Song for Pstereo",
the touching "Medication", the sore "Bring my best Friends", "Adorable Golden Teeth", and "Up in the Morning High".
To quote the title of his last album: 'There's Only One Of Me'. Yes, there is only one St. Thomas. A Mouse In A Crowded House : Forever Unfinished is the sound of an authentic and
almost perfect post scriptum. R.I.P. Thomas Hansen.
Copyright © 2016 Håvard O.