Thursday, October 30, 2008

Trick or Treat: Babooshka

A babushka is the traditional head scarf worn by Russian women, and by the nesting dolls shown here.

Kate Bush: Babooshka


Kate Bush broke onto the British music scene while still in her teens. (Does this sound like anyone you’ve heard about recently? Apparently, it happens all the time over there.) Bush’s first two albums were full of lush, to my ears way over-produced, romantic ballads. The quintessential example was “Wuthering Heights.” Bush could have continued in this vein forever, and her record company would have been happy.

But Peter Gabriel has always heard things no one else can, and Kate Bush’s voice was no exception. Gabriel hired her to sing the backing vocals on “Games Without Frontiers”, and she evidently stayed around for some of Gabriel’s recording sessions. There she encountered possibilities for what music could be that had apparently never occurred to her before. And she has embraced those possibilities and run with them ever since.

“Babooshka” comes from Kate Bush’s third album, Never Forever. The liner notes include the dedication, “To Peter Gabriel, for opening the windows.” The song is a “trick”; I will leave the rest to the listener.

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