KamerTunesBlog

Revisiting my extensive music collection, one artist at a time

Satur-debut – DANNY WILSON “MEET DANNY WILSON”

Scottish trio Danny Wilson released two albums at the tail end of the 1980’s, scoring two Top 40 hits in the UK and just one in the US, so American audiences would only remember them as one-hit wonders courtesy of their gorgeous single “Mary’s Prayer.” For those of us who dove into their albums, though, they were a brilliant band with numerous songs that should have been mega-hits. Their music still brings us joy whenever we play them, even 30+ years later. I previously wrote about their “cross between Steely Dan and Burt Bacharach, with hints of lounge music” in my TWO AND THROUGH post back in December 2014, and you can read the portion about their 1987 debut, Meet Danny Wilson, below.

For more information on this series, please read the opening paragraph of the first post, which featured the debut album from Led Zeppelin.

 

 

From TWO AND THROUGH – My Favorite Two-Album Artists:

The first time I heard “Mary’s Prayer,” the debut hit single by Scottish band Danny Wilson, I fell in love with their slick, slightly jazzy pop sound and especially the lead vocals of frontman Gary Clark. A friend of mine who was also a fan rightly described them as a cross between Steely Dan and Burt Bacharach, with hints of lounge music as well in some of the drum & keyboard sounds they used on their debut album. The other tracks on Meet Danny Wilson are in a similar vein, at least sonically speaking, but they’re stylistically diverse and they certainly don’t deserve their one-hit-wonder status. On the debut alone there are at least five songs that could/should have been hits: “Davy,” “Nothing Ever Goes To Plan,” “Steamtrains To The Milky Way,” “A Girl I Used To Know” and album closer “I Won’t Be Here When You Get Home.”

I still play both Danny Wilson albums frequently, and although they make me nostalgic for that era they never sound dated to me. That may not be the case, however, if you’re hearing them for the first time, but hopefully you’ll appreciate the quality of the songs.

 

For anyone hearing them for the first time, how does their music sound to you? Fresh or dated? If you’re already a fan, do you agree that these songs have held up extremely well over the decades?

19 comments on “Satur-debut – DANNY WILSON “MEET DANNY WILSON”

  1. christiansmusicmusings
    February 1, 2020

    I definitely knew “Mary’s Prayer,” which I can see why it became a hit. I’m just listening into “The Second Summer of Love,” and it does sound vaguely familiar as well. Both of these tunes and the other tracks you highlighted sound pleasant. I may check out that band more closely.

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    • Sarca
      February 1, 2020

      “Everything is wonderful. Being here is heavenly…” I was 12-13 when this came out and would listen to the 45 over and over.

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      • That’s such a great opening line. Positivity usually isn’t considered cool in the music industry but these guys pulled it off. Glad I could give you a blast from your past with this one.

        Liked by 1 person

    • Christian, I know you’re a Steely Dan fan so I think you’ll find a lot to love if you listen to these guys. Lyrically they’re not in Dan’s league but musically they should appeal to any Dan fans who don’t have an aversion to ’80s productions.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Jim S.
    February 1, 2020

    i never heard of these guys or any of their songs. As to whether they sound dated, no. I’m not automatically thinking ’80s. I like, if not love what I hear. A little too poppy for me but they sure have a big sound. This is a snap judgment and I think I’ll spin them again to see if they grow on me. As a pretty big Broadway fan, I gotta say these guys could write in that genre in a heartbeat.

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    • Good call on the Broadway comparison, Jim. That’s certainly one element in their arsenal. I hope you give them a shot at some point as I think you’ll find some killer tunes in their brief discography.

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  3. 80smetalman
    February 1, 2020

    That takes me back! I haven’t heard “Mary’s Girl” in ages. Thanks for the memory.

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  4. Aphoristical
    February 1, 2020

    I’ve been listening to this recently on the recommendation of blogger Matt P from Moving the River. I love Prefab Sprout, and this definitely shares a lot of the same 1980s sophisti-pop traits.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I know Matt P has interviewed Gary Clark and he’s done an excellent job shining a light on Danny Wilson at his blog. Prefab Sprout is a great comparison. Love them both, although I discovered the latter toward the end of their hit-making years so I have a more emotional connection to Danny Wilson’s music.

      Liked by 2 people

  5. Alyson
    February 3, 2020

    A rare occurrence in this series so far – An album we have in common and I wrote about Danny Wilson in my first year of blogging!
    https://jukeboxtimemachine.com/2016/07/30/danny-wilson-marys-prayer-scottish-bands/

    Those songs feel timeless somehow and not dated at all. I spent four years at University in Aberdeen and Gary wrote a song about his trips up north to visit his brother/friends (can’t remember which now). Anyway, I had a boyfriend who remembered him from those days and for that reason I’m really fond of the “Aberdeen” song. Glad he did well in the music industry for the long-term.

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    • Hi Alyson. I hope things have been better in your world lately. Thanks so much for checking in as it’s always a pleasure to hear from you especially when I write about something Scottish (this isn’t the last time your country will be featured in this series). I remember your Danny Wilson post. That band, and Gary Clark, deserves much wider recognition. Sure Mr. Clark has done well for himself writing & producing for others, but his voice is so beautiful and more people should hear it. Have you ever listened to anything he recorded after Danny Wilson split up, either his solo album or King L? As for “Aberdeen,” that’s one of his/their best songs. I’m glad it brings up fond memories for you.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Alyson
        February 6, 2020

        Yes indeed – Have enjoyed the digital detox but hard in today’s world to keep it going long-term. Just checked out his solo album and was reminded that I bought it back in ’93 in cassette tape format. Sadly I got rid of most of the cassette tapes a while back but I do remember the song Freefloating which I’m sure made it into our singles chart – I remember the video for it anyway. Yes, he had a beautiful voice but back in those days we seemed to have an awful lot of REALLY good looking pop singers and perhaps Gary just didn’t fit the mould enough. Fortunately the looks side of things doesn’t seem to matter as much nowadays and it’s more about the songwriting and performance.

        Ah, Aberdeen – yes I’ll always associate that song with my decade spent living in that city.

        Hope to return with some more posts over at my place in due course but have actually been enjoying other hobbies of late which had been great. Looking forward to seeing what your next few posts showcase!

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      • Great point about Gary’s “look” not meshing with the video-genic stars of the era. His music & voice are timeless which is more than can be said for a number of his contemporaries. Continue to enjoy your real-world hobbies. The cyber world will always be here to welcome you with open arms.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Alyson
        February 11, 2020

        Ha ha – love that phrase video-genic but it was an era of slick visuals featuring glamorous people wasn’t it. Thankfully I think it’s the music itself that’s more important again. Yes I’ve really been enjoying my real world hobbies but once you’ve cut your teeth as a music (?) blogger, it’s hard to give it up.

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      • Yep, one of the positives that’s emerged during the era of downloading & streaming music is that visuals are no longer an essential element of success, other than Top 40 of course.

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  6. Bill P
    February 3, 2020

    I know “Mary’s Prayer” from somewhere, but I couldn’t place it. A search of my collection shows it turns up in the “Something About Mary” soundtrack. I’ll side with you on the timeless sound. I swear that I would listen to current music on BBC2 radio a few years ago and it would fit right in with that.

    As to the other linked tracks, they remind me a bit of Martin Fry and ABC. The big orchestration and laid back, almost lounge beat groove. They would fit in with Lexicon of Love or its later sequel.

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    • Hi Bill. I only saw There’s Something About Mary once so I don’t remember the music from that movie, but “Mary’s Prayer” was an excellent inclusion. Your comparison to ABC is a good one. That whole “New Romantic” scene from the early 80s (ABC, Spandau Ballet, Culture Club) was among the inspirations for later-80s artists like Danny Wilson, Simply Red, Sade, etc.

      Like

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