Others will do the retrospective and the obituary, but for me Crouch was one of those natural greats, picking out tunes on his father’s piano (reputedly following his father’s prayers for a piano player) at the age of 3, being dyslexic and unable to read music, but still able to form the most wonderful arrangements in which the deep spirituality of Gospel was brought into mainstream pop music without compromising its purity.
Crouch and his singers worked on two songs on “Langley”, including my very favourite Prefab Sprout song, “The Venus of the Soup Kitchen”. It would be a touching song without his contribution, but when the gospel choir comes in at the end, as if from nowhere, it’s genuinely transcendent. It’s subtle and beautiful, and even after over-familiarity has blurred the impact of much of my favourite Prefab Sprout material, never fails to induce a shiver.
And then “I Remember That”, which is far more conventional, underpinning the chorus section and back in the mix. But in this case we can compare the finished track with the original demo to see how it’s lifted by Crouch’s contribution.
So for me, two of the songs that most define Langley, and sad to think that the creative heart that contributed so much to them has now stopped beating time.