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Delving into the sweaty world of Edward Barton
South Manchester Reporter - Delving into the sweaty world of Edward Barton South Manchester Reporter
12th August 1994
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South Manchester Reporter - Delving into the sweaty world of Edward Barton

ONE CAN'T be sure whether it's the legacy of an exotically itinerant childhood or simply living in Hulme's Charles Barry Crescent for too long that has inspired the musical whims of Edward Barton, Manchester's favourite folk hero.

"It's supposed to sound romantic, I suppose, but actually I'm not really from anywhere." said Edward, in what could only be described as a phlegmatic manner.

Having spent his infancy and toddler hood listening to the strains of Libyan traditional and pop music and singing hymns and folk songs at school, his earliest experience of serious performing obviously had a bit of a stunning effect on the young Barton: "I was asked to mime at a carol service when I was 11. I think my whole career has been retribution for that embarrassing experience."

Hmm, well. I hardly think so, because our Edward has actually done rather well for himself over the years, gaining that all-time favourite musical hall cliché, national and international acclaim and a cult following. He's even been on the telly, and I bet he didn't have to do anything untoward to get there, either.

Appearing on the Tube launched him onto more of a get-noticed plane, and in the following years, he released a bevy of songs, both solo and collaborations, including the likes of "Me and my Mini," "Belly Box Brother Gob" and most notably "It's a Fine Day," the 1992 hit for Opus III.

Fifteen years in Manchester has obviously I been enough time to get to know a fair few musical types. "I've waved in passing to half of Manchester's musical world, but I'm a peripheral odd bod," he said.

A bit on the modest side, if you ask me, because one glance at the list of names on his "Edward not Edward" album would suggest that at some point he's been closeted in a soundproofed room with almost every famous name in Manchester.

But with his latest oeuvre, "5 Songs 4 Voices," released on his own Wooden Records label, he's launching into a bit of a new phase: "This time I tried to write songs that people would enjoy," he said. "Before I wrote music people needed but didn't like. Now I'm writing stuff that they enjoy but don't need."

This collection consists, as you may expect, of five songs sung a cappella. a musical form with which Edward has always been a bit taken.

"A cappella is the first form of musical utterance, I'm sure babies sing, aren't you?" He mused. "In a complicated world I like uncomplicated things. It's like one voice against the world, I suppose."

I commented that he seems to go for the female soul singer genre on "5 songs 4 voices". "I like anyone with a good gob," came the retort.

Apart from his individualistic music, Edward is probably unique in several other ways. Not only did he gain a degree from Manchester University in History of Art, but also managed to sit it out in his condemned Hulme abode until, as he said: "The council gave me a nice house."

Edward now lives in a Chorlton semi along with his closest companion, Osboume, who provides a bit of background percussion on occasion and no doubt shares Edward's bed.

Being far too busy running around and sniffing, the rather attractive hound declined to appear alongside his companion and doggedly refused to answer any questions.

"I live in a dysfunctional household," said Osbourne' s room-mate. "And anyway there's more to life than washing up." Ah, I'm getting the picture... "The English place far too much importance on cleanliness, and not enough on sweating."'

Right. . . but when he mentioned the film "Withnail and I" in the same phrase as his kitchen, the picture was complete.

You can actually catch a bit of Le Barton tonight (Thursday) if you add your number at 10pm to those who still listen to Radio One FM, when he'll be doing a live session on the Mark Ratcliffe show. He's also doing a session on Kiss FM's 'The Word" and is currently thinking about releasing his next album, "Oblong."

[Author: South Manchester Reporter]