You probably have never heard of Kimberley Rew before, but the veteran singer and guitarist wrote one of the most popular songs of the 1980s, “Walking on Sunshine,” which became a big hit for his band at the time, Katrina and the Waves. Before joining the Waves, Kimberley Rew was also a member of the legendary Soft Boys, the British band that included songwriting genius Robyn Hitchcock (the maker of many fine solo albums himself).
In between stints with the Soft Boys and Katrina and the Waves, Rew recorded a short but tasty little album called The Bible of Bop in 1981. Members of the dBs and the Soft Boys backed up Rew on the album, clearly leaving their musical stamp on many of the songs. The songs on The Bible of Bop incorporate the lively guitar sonics of the Soft Boys, along with an astute pop sensibility that reminds me a bit of Wreckless Eric. It’s an exhilarating concoction that sticks in your head. Don’t be surprised if you find yourself shouting “Hey War Pig” at the top of your lungs while the song of the same name is playing.
The Bible of Bop is one of those lost classics that music addicts talk about with reverence and appreciation. And like so many neglected gems, it evaded the attention of all but the most tuned-in music fans at the time it was released. The CD reissue, which was finally released just last year, has three bonus tracks that were not on the original album. It’s a shame that Rew didn’t make any more solo albums after this one — at least not for another two decades — but at least he found some level of fame and fortune with Katrina and the Waves.
In the past decade, Kimberley Rew finally got around to resurrecting his solo career, releasing three other solo albums, all of them fairly difficult to find. Reviews that I’ve read online indicate they are all worthy of purchase, so once again my intended listening list is likely to expand. Underwater Moonlight, the classic 1980 Soft Boys album that Kimberley Rew played on, was also reissued last year. There is a two-disc version called Underwater Moonlight … and How it Got There that looks very tempting. In addition to the original wonderful album, it includes unreleased rehearsal recordings from 1979.