The thing about being so productively creative that you make an excess of material, is it offers plenty of alternative career paths. Robyn Hitchcock, whose prolific output suggests he forces the Muses to work for him, has reached a point where he can, with equal facility, turn out new songs (Goodnight Oslo), raid the archives (Luminous Groove) or refashion old work into something new.
This CD/DVD combo documents a superb refashioning. When The Soft Boys broke up, Hitchcock’s first solo album was I Often Dream Of Trains and …In New York is a record of its re-creation at that city’s Symphony Space in 2008. The album is a straight recording of the concert but, on the DVD, songs are intercut with an interview done, fittingly enough, on a train. It’s also topped and tailed with a much earlier music video made for I Often Dream Of Trains. (Now do you see the value of productive creativity?)
How does that first solo work stand up? Some of it seems juvenile (Uncorrected Personality Traits) and some of it is hauntingly beautiful (the title track). Hitchcock was then writing for Captain Sensible, so perhaps the former is understandable, while the latter has been consistent throughout his multi-faceted career.