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Kevin Coyne & Dagmar Krause

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In 1976, Kevin Coyne wrote songs for a drama he conceived, and which was later staged on four occasions in England. Virgin released the material in 1979 as “Babble:Songs for Lonely Lovers”. Coyne had a background as a social worker/psychiatric nurse, and set out to capture the dynamics of a destructive and self-destructive relationship. This would be depicted by himself opposite German avant-garde chanteuse Dagmar Krause (Slapp Happy, Henry Cow et. al…), as the couple exchanged emotionally raw and intense songs and dialogues on a stripped down stage. The musical drama was set for a medium-term run, but courted controversy when Kevin Coyne suggested, in the theatre presentation of the piece, that the destructive relationship between the two lovers could have been based on The Moors Murderers. Two performances at The Royal Theatre at Stratford in London were then cancelled on short notice by Newham Council following negative press reports in The Sun and The Evening Standard. The show was eventually staged, for four nights, at the Oval House in Kennington. Reviewing the show for the NME, Paul Du Noyer wrote:
`
‘’Babble’ is a particularly thorough, painstaking exploration of the reality of one relationship, stripped of romance and artifice. The format employed is correspondingly stark. Against a stage-set of light-bulb, table and chairs Coyne and his partner Dagmar Krause stand at either side; the only accompaniment comes from Bob Ward and Brian Godding, playing electric and acousitc guitar in the gloom behind. ”
American singer/songwriter Will Oldham claimed that the Babble album had “changed my life” and he went on to record two of the songs himself.

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