Gil skill means Ville's just brill

Source: The Sunday Mirror

Date: 16 January 2011

Gilbert O'Sullivan's public image is freeze framed in the early 1970s with his postwar schoolboy shorts and baggy cap.

The ridiculous get up meant he would always struggle to free himself from being labelled just another novelty act.

But beneath ther pants and hat lurked a writer of astonishing gifts - with carefully crafted tunes and clever lyrics.

And nearly 40 years after giving us Alone Again (Naturally), Clair and Nothing Rhymed, Gilbert is still recording excellent albums.

It must have been tempting for him to rest on his laurels and keep releasing Best Of compilations of his many No.1 hits.  But he trusts his writing talents - and his latest release Gilbertville is no disappointment.

There are love songs like Missing You Already and offbeat tunes like Where Would We Be (Without Tea).

And there is a bitter-sweet lament to the victims of the 9/11 Twin Towers attacks in New York called All They Wanted To Say.

The tunes on Gilbertville are fabulous.

But it's his lyrics - awash with astute and wry observations - that make him stand out as one of our greatest singer songwriters.

Gilbert grew up in an Irish family in Swindon, Wilts, and dreamt of being a boxer.  he even racked up 50 bouts as an amateur fighter before taking up the piano.  And Gilbertville proves the pugilist turned musician can still pack a punch.