All-Time Albums: #96



Standing At The Gates 6:51
Good Intentions 4:15
A Change Of Heart 4:10 (UK single)
On The Way 4:24
Sleepwalking 3:51 (UK single)
Cat And Mouse 5:03
The Right Moment 3:24
As Wise As A Serpent 5:15


Very few albums in this list have been discovered quite so posthumously as Sleepwalking. I first heard three of its tracks in 1989, on the wonderful Right Down The Line best-of collection, and they were among my favourites on that CD, yet I didn’t get to hear or own the whole LP until more than 20 years later. First, on vinyl via an Oxfam purchase, and then eventually once I’d tracked it down, on CD.

Rafferty’s catalogue has been largely out of print for years, fetching silly money on the used market at times, and Sleepwalking was one of the rarest (until EMI reissued it as a budget “twofer” with 1980’s Snakes & Ladders a couple of of years ago).

City To City (1977) has the iconic Baker Street, Night Owl (1979) has my top Rafferty track Get It Right Next Time, yet for overall brilliance this is the album of his that I always turn to. The trio of tracks I was first exposed to in 1989 were a good barometer of what to expect from the rest; his commercial stock had fallen significantly, and it was his only album for Liberty Records, there were reports that Rafferty was tired of the industry and eager to jack it all in for a different kind of (creative) existence. He was quoted as saying something to that effect, and it shows in the lyrics; the title song takes a swipe at the machinations of the “music business”, but he sets it to a joyful, cascading celtic riff that has arguably dated better than even his best-known hits.

The final two songs are utterly sublime, the McCartney-esque beauty of The Right Moment (better than “Yesterday”? Hell yes), and then the snakey atmopsherics of “As Wise As The Serpent” see the album out.


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