Des de Moor
Water of Europe

"A unique take on English Euro Cabaret" fRoots
Water of Europe Water of Europe
The most recent completed studio album.
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Des after taking serious steps

Des by the river
Photos: Jo Minton

Released on Monday 22 September 1999 on Irregular Records (IRR 038), Des de Moor's first album in seven years, Water of Europe, is a superb showcase for his distinctive style of English chanson and musical cabaret.

Des is one of the few British singer-songwriters developing new material in a broadly European tradition of chanson, cabaret and theatre song, inspired by masters like Brecht, Weill and Eisler, Brel and Brassens but with a distinct sensibility of his own that also touches on Latin music and Romantic lieder as well as the more familiar sounds of pop, folk and jazz. Des sets witty, pithy and perceptive lyrics to inventive and sophisticated music, creating songs that are provocative and adult but at the same time highly accessible and entertaining, dynamically and dramatically delivered in a unique and powerful voice.

Des's portfolio of 'songs with something to say' has earned him a glowing reputation on the London scene in the past few years, both at one-off appearances and with his monthly musical cabaret club, Pirate Jenny's at the Vortex, which since 1993 has been providing one of London's most interesting nights out. It's well past time for this repertoire to make the jump to CD, and the result is far from disappointing, including not only many original live favourites among its 15 tracks but also two of Des's own translations of key works by Brel and Brecht/Eisler.

For a full track listing, click here. Click on the pic for a high resolution copy (114KB)
Main photo: Jo Minton; Montage: Kev Hopper

Des is joined on the album by his regular trio of pianist David Harrod and bassist Julia Doyle, and many of the songs are presented in expanded arrangements featuring a cast of top guest world music and jazz players such as Stanley Adler, Russell Churney, John Piper and Daniel Teper. This is sparkling new acoustic music, in exemplary performances and warm, atmospheric recordings (produced by Des himself), complete with a stunning cover collage by Kev Hopper, who also contributes musical saw!

For full personnel details, click here.
For production credits, click here.

  • Stanley Adler cello, electric bass, voice.
    USA-born but British based, Stanley is one of the most innovative cellists around, working on everything from pop sessions to collaborations with Mike and Kate Westbrook, from trad jazz bands to solo performances of blues and Hendrix pieces. With Deb Swallow as DebnStan, he delivers sets of quirky cabaret originals mixed with Balkan tunes and operatic arias.
  • Russell Churney keyboards, piano
    Erstwhile sidekick of comic Julian Clary, member of Band of Gold and longtime collaborator with British jazz, blues and cabaret diva Barb Jungr, with whom he has recently released some of his best work ever on her splendid Bare album. Russell has provided piano for a number of gigs with Des.
  • Des de Moor voice, acoustic guitar, percussion.
  • Julia Doyle double bass, violin, voice.
    Julia is a veteran of all kinds of offbeat jazz and world music projects, having worked with The Happy End, The Guest Stars, Donna and Kbb and Carol Grimes among others. She's a regular collaborator with improv singer Maggie Nichols, with whom she performs in their band, Cat's Cradle, and a mainstay of the British tango scene as one of Los Mareados, as well as a long-standing member of the Des de Moor trio.
  • David Harrod piano.
    David is a specialist in cabaret music and one of the best accompanists around. He's been a regular collaborator with Eric Presland, with whom he's written two full-length musicals, and is now a mainstay of British chansonnier Philip Jeays' band. For the past few years he's also been the principle pianist with Des's trio.
  • Kev Hopper musical saw, cover art.
    Kev first came to prominence in the 1980s as the distinctive electric bassist in cult 'quirky' indie band Stump, and later moved onto the improv scene where he's worked with luminaries like Charles Hayward and Steve Noble and in the band Ticklish. With two acclaimed solo albums to his credit and a third on the way, he's recently taken up musical saw and already made a name on rock sessions with bands like Stereolab as well as in a cabaret duo with accordionist Janie. He keeps up a second carreer as an artist and is responsible for the album's striking photomontage cover. Visit his website
  • Dave Keech trombone.
    Dave was for many years a mainstay of The Ray Gelato Giants and now leads his own band, well-known on the London jazz circuit for their eclectic repertoire of hard bop, R&B, funk, soul and ska.
  • Hamish Orr percussion.
    Hamish is one of Britain's leading Afro-Latin specialists, having worked with all the big names on the circuit like Roberto Pla, Robin Jones and La Clave. He's also in-demand as a session player on Latin, soul and dance and is known as one of the leading teachers of Cuban percussion.
  • John Piper drums. John first came to prominence as a member of early 80s swing revivalists The Chevalier Brothers, and stayed behind the kit when that band evolved into The Ray Gelato Giants. At the time of recording John had been freelancing as one of the most respected and sought-after jazz and swing drummers on the scene, but sadly he died unexpectedly in 2000.
  • Daniel Teper accordion. One of a growing number of young, innovative players re-establishing the reputation of a much-maligned instrument in this country, Dan was one-third of the brilliant Anglo-French pop cabaret band Boum! Wearing another hat, he makes a living as a film composer and a jazz pianist.

All words and music by Des de Moor unless otherwise stated.

Click on the title to read the lyrics and more notes on the songs, or on the speaker icon where shown to find an MP3 download of that track.

  • Dirty Pictures.
    Piano: David; Accordion: Daniel; Cello: Stanley; Guitar: Des; Bass: Julia; Bongos: Hamish.
  • Heart of a Heartless World.
    Piano: David; Cello: Stanley; Guitar, bass drum, tambourine: Des; Bass, violin: Julia.
  • To Those Born After (Bertolt Brecht; Hanns Eisler).
    Guitar: Des
  • Joey's Dreams.
    Organ: Russell; Guitars, backing voice: Des; Bass, backing voice: Stanley; Drums: John.Acoustic and electric guitars, bass, organ, drums.
  • Margins.
    Accordion: Daniel.
  • Big Sister. Click here to visit the Downloads page for an MP3 file of this song.
    Piano: David; Bass: Julia; Shaker egg: Des.
  • Sleaze City.
    Piano: David; Bass: Julia.
  • Sharp Contradictions.
    Piano: David.
  • Ordinary Joe (Andrew Brooks/Michael Hodges).
    Guitars: Des; Trombone: Dave; Bass: Julia; Drums: John.
  • My Father Said (Jacques Brel).
    Guitar, cymbal: Des; Cellos: Stanley; Musical saw: Kev.
  • Grandmother was a Hero. Click here to visit the Downloads page for an MP3 file of this song.
    Piano: David; Guitar: Des; Bass: Julia; Drums: John.
  • Avocado. Click here to visit the Downloads page for an MP3 file of this song.
    Piano: David; Guitar: Des; Accordion: Daniel; Bass: Julia.
  • Last Orders Please. Click here to visit the Downloads page for an MP3 file of this song.
    Piano on prelude: David; Piano on salsa section: Russell; Bass, coros: Julia; Gu´ro, claves, coros: Des; Congas, cascara, cowbell: Hamish; Coros: Stanley.

Production credits

Arranged and produced by: Des de Moor
A Pirate Jenny Production.

Recording, Avocado, Heart of a Heartless World (part)
Pathway Studios, London N5 on 1" analogue 8-track July 1998
Recording engineer: Justin Underhill

Recording and mixing, Margins
Nine Elms Pier, London SW11 direct to hard disk using Logic January 1999
Recording engineer: Daniel Teper

Recording and mixing, all other tracks
Pathway Studios as above, December 1998 and January-February 1999
Recording engineer: Mark Brophy
Mixing assistance: Ian Harris

Post-production, CD editing and mastering:
Soundsense, London N7 using Pro-Tools March-April 1999
Postproduction engineer: Richard Lee

Cover photography
Greenwich riverside, London SE10, March 1999
Photographer: Jo Minton

Cover art, typography and layouts
Deptford, London SE8, June-July 1999 using Photoshop for photomontages and Quark Express for DTP, running on a Mac
Cover artwork and layouts: Kev Hopper
Cover concept and texts: Des de Moor
Chromalin proofs and litho films: Keith at Printout, County Durham

Production and distribution
CD manufacturing: Koch Digitaldisc, Austria
Released by: Irregular Records, Hounslow, 20 September 1999
Catalogue number IRR039
Label manager: Robb Johnson
Distributed by: Proper Music Distribution

 On this page
Production credits

 See also
Downloads: some tracks from this album are available as MP3s.
Reviews: don't just take our word for how good it is!
Lyrics: all the lyrics are available on this site
Recordings: index of this and other recordings
About me: an overview of my work

Irregular Records
Proper Music Distribution