Strange Hobby: Lucassen 20 Years Later

1996; Remastered and Rereleased, 2016

A little over twenty years ago, Arjen Anthony Lucassen anonymously released an album named, STRANGE HOBBY.  The artist spot on the CD was left as a “?”  A love letter to the psychedelic-pop era of music, 1965-1970, STRANGE HOBBY was recorded in Abbey Road studio and contained a total of eighteen covers.

It came out at roughly the same time that his ACTUAL FANTASY did.  A totally different style, though, one that allows the perfectionist to let loose.

For those of you wise enough (and, let’s be honest, blessed) to have followed the career of this gigantic Dutch musical demigod, you know that Lucassen never shies away from honoring those who influenced him.  His solo album from 2012, the spectacular LOST IN THE NEW REAL covers Pink Floyd, Alan Parsons, Frank Zappa, Led Zeppelin, and Blue Oyster Cult.  Three years earlier, as Guilt Machine, Lucassen had covered Leonard Cohen and 23rd Turnoff on the bonus DVD.  Not surprisingly, his covers are every bit as good as the originals and often, amazingly, even more interesting.  His cover of Pink Floyd’s “Welcome to the Machine” is especially good.

Just last year, to commemorate the 20th anniversary of STRANGE HOBBY, Cherry Red Records released the cd, remastered and with an additional four tracks—this time, covering The Rolling Stones, The Monkees, and Kaleidoscope.  The first of the new tracks is an original, “Pretty Girls,” by Lucassen.  I’ve had the original version of STRANGE HOBBY for a long time, but I didn’t know about the re-release until last night.  My copy is on the way from amazon.  So, while I’m not able yet to review the remastered original eighteen tracks or the four additional ones, I can state that I’m eagerly awaiting its arrival on Monday!  More to come.

Until then, make sure you order your own copy.


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