The Wonder Of It All
The Wonder Of It All
Released in 2004 on Louis's own Wonder Records label, Wonder was entirely financed by the generousity of fans. Ken Brake produced and Sean O'Hagan of The High Llamas contributed guitar and banjo on a few tracks. While Louis's lyrics have always been emotional, they have perhaps never been so undisguisedly personal as on this album.
Released in France on Bertrand Burgalat's Tricatel label, 9th & 13th combines music by Louis and myself with the spoken words of novelist Jonathan Coe. Highlights include reworkings of Destination Moon (from Delta Kiss) and Fires Rise And Die (from Appointment With Venus), and amongst other things I contribute a piano backing to the short story which gives the album its title and a setting of Somniloquy from Jonathan's novel The House Of Sleep.
Louis' most orchestrally ambitious album was released in France by XIII Bis Records on their Les Belles Promesses label, and in Japan on the Trattoria label. Azure involved several months' sweating over computerised manuscript paper, and a four-day trip to Prague to record sixty members of the Czech Philharmonic. Back in London, everything else was overdubbed at The Sound Suite in Camden Town, with various old and new musical friends popping in to ice the cake. These included singers Cathal Coughlan and Count Indigo, David Longdon, and guitarist Dave Gregory, who had just left XTC after twenty years.

The results range from the lush and symphonic to more intimate acoustic moods. They include what are, for my money, two or three of Louis' finest songs to date, and - continuing the XTC connection - a cover of Andy Partridge's I Can't Own Her. (His own version is on XTC's Apple Venus Volume I.)
Francis Poulenc has been a favourite composer of both Louis and myself for many years. This voice and piano album (released on the Japanese label L'Appareil Photo and by XIII Bis Records in France) features a selection of his exquisite songs plus a couple of solo piano pieces.

("Nusch", by the way, was the wife of poet Paul Eluard, and the subject of several of the lyrics.)
MMy Favourite Part Of You
Released in 2003 by XIII Bis Records, My Favourite Part marked something of a return to the intimacy of Louis's first solo album, Appointment With Venus. Richard Preston produced, and the familiar team of David Longdon and Dave Gregory (guitars), myself on piano and keyboards, and Andy Lymn on drums was joined by the groovesome bass guitar of John Mackenzie.