Tuesday, 8 February 2011

Reparata & The Delrons - Captain Of Your Ship (1968/ No. 13/ 10 weeks/ Bell)

(Try to cast the early 1990s advertisement for rice puddings from your mind)

It starts with a few blaring atonal foghorns and chiming bells to set up the shipping theme. then a springy bassline with a few choppy things on top of it. And then a crisp and instructive voice calls out to the listener;

This is the cap-tain of your ship!
Your heeeaaart speaking

The tone of authority is impressive, and makes the following development less alarming than it might be;

We've run into a little storm!
The boooaaat's leaking

This works upon the listener as both a tannoy announcement and an internal monologue, as much the superego as the heart...

And if you have-n't guessed -
This is an S-O-S!
If you still love me -
answer yes

A particularly great thing about this record is how the arrangement manages to convey the sensation of being adrift in treacherous waters; the bass bobs and lurches from side to side, a morse code blips a jolly distress call, while some rinkydink keyboards gush and spill.

And then the Delrons echo the thoughts of Captain Reparata;

Yoooooouuuuuu're GO-ING to LOSE a GOOD THING!

There's real duality to the division of vocals here, I think. If Reparata is the sound of internal thought, then the Delrons act as pure feeling, calling out to the desired man like sirens;

You got to love!
You know that you need him!
You got to love!
You know that you love him NOW!

The second verse marries together the two streams of voice at the point of greatest crisis and conclusion:

REPARATA: You're run-ning off your course!
You've got your signals crossed!
And now the com-pass points to love
DELRONS: looooooooooooove!

There's a universal feeling being evoked here: I'm a terrible mess at the moment - help me out, lover-boy! It's rarely been created with such concision and elation, though.


  1. (Try to cast the early 1990s advertisement for rice puddings from your mind)

    First. Thought. :(

    Terrific blog - I've been going through it page by page for the last few hours, so this seems as good a time as any to express my gratitude!

  2. Why, thank you very much. It's reassuring to know that someone is reading this, let alone appreciating it!

  3. Good analysis. You probably know that there is one extant live recording of them doing the song on German Tv on YouTube