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Grizzly Bear Painted Ruins
Richard Thompson Acoustic Classics II
Oh Sees Orc
Iron & Wine Beast Epic
out now on CD & vinyl
out now on CD
out now on CD & vinyl
out 25 August on CD & vinyl
The long-awaited and muchanticipated ﬁfth album from the US indie rock band, produced by the band’s own Chris Taylor.
This collection features acoustic versions of classic songs from his vast catalogue, including some previously recorded by other singers.
Fresh batch of bruisers and brooders, hypnotically stirred into the cauldron of chaos you’ve come to expect.
Sam Beam returns with the ﬁrst Iron & Wine album of new material since 2013’s Ghost On Ghost. Includes Call It Dreaming.
EMA Exile In The Outer Ring
The Comet Is Coming Channel The Spirits
Gogol Bordello Seekers And Finders
Nadine Shah Holiday Destination
out 25 August on CD & vinyl
out 25 August on CD & vinyl
out 25 August on CD & vinyl
out 25 August on CD & vinyl
A deeply personal, confrontational, but ultimately redemptive album from a quintessentially American artist at the peak of her form.
Special edition of the Mercury Prize shortlisted album. Includes the Prophecy EP plus three previously unheard tracks.
The gypsy punk veterans are back with their ﬁrst album in four years. Includes a collaboration with Regina Spektor.
Written and produced with Ben Hillier, Holiday Destination sees Shah delve deeper into political statements and global issues.
Jack Cooper Sandgrown
Turnover Good Nature
Susanne Sundfør Music For People In Trouble
Nick Mulvey Wake Up Now
out 25 August on CD & vinyl
out 25 August on CD & vinyl
out 25 August on CD & vinyl
out 8 September on CD & vinyl
Jack Cooper of Ultimate Painting’s ﬁrst solo record includes nine beautiful songs inspired by his hometown of Blackpool.
Third full-length album from Turnover - infuenced in part by bossa nova, cool jazz, electronic music and psychedelic grooves.
Sundfør’s most poignant and personal album to date marks her out as one of the most compelling artists in the world.
Produced by Ethan Johns, Wake Up Now is the stunning new album from Nick Mulvey. Includes the single Unconditional.
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LONDON a MEMPHIS a R I V E R M E A D OCTOBER 2017
SPARKSâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; STRANGENESS & CHARM, P48
Lovely jubbly: Ian Dury’s journey to New Boots And Panties!!, Eyewitness, p28.
REGULARS 9 10 36 126 130
WHAT GOES ON! 12
P.P. P ARNOLD,, BARRY R GIBB & ERIC CLAPTON Can you believe that P.P. Arnold, AKA The First Lady Of Immediate, cut aan LP’s-worth of songs with the eldest Bee Gee aand Slowhand at the turn of the ’70s? Read on for how they’re finally seeing the light of day.
You can leave your hat on: Van Morrison, Lives p118.
THE ROLLING STONES A fine new pic-heavy book sheds light on the eternal rock’n’rollers’ tumultuous ’60s on TV and radio. But who was on about cutting noses off? w
C ARLOTTE GAINSBOURG CH
PETER BUCK As well as presenting his
LOU REED In 2013, Lou and lensman Mick Rock collaborated on the sumptuous book Transformer. It’s now being republished with lashings of unseen images of Reed with John Cale, Mick Ronson, and posing with a shooter. Read on for Mick’s memories of a friend.
T Gallic pop and screen inheritor talks about her The impending, luminary-packed new long-player. S Self-Portrait image, the R.E.M. guitarist has wisdom to impart regarding optimism, w embarrassment and dining with John Paul Jones.
MOJO FILTER 86 NEW ALBUMS LCD Soundsystem
turned back on, The Horrors’ V V, The National, Kelley Stoltz, Mogwai, Son Little, Ringo Starr and more.
102 REISSUES Manchester boxed, Nick Lowe, Dusty Springfield, Florian Fricke, Black Sabbath, Charlie Rich, Acetone and Ella.
114 BOOKS In Search Of The Lost Chord asks whither hippies and ’67? Plus Floyd, Ibiza…
116 LIVES Gorillaz go ape in Montreal, Van Keith Cameron
MOJO’s Contributing Editor first met Dave Grohl in 1990, shortly before the drummer joined Nirvana. Keith has been on his case ever since. “Are we going to do this for the rest of our lives?” the Foo Fighter asked during a 2007 interview. It would appear so: the pair’s latest encounter starts on p66.
A former editor of CREEM, Billboard and Yahoo Music, Dave has always wondered what that weird noise was in MacArthur Park – and asks Jimmy Webb himself about it on p38. He is currently compiling a methodically inaccurate, deliberately skewed history of rock'n'roll.
Still hands on, Wright, who illustrates this month’s Lead Album (see p87), also draws for Straight No Chaser mag, reads Alexander MacLeod, Steve Toltz and Val Wilmer, listens to Charlie Bones, Ross Allen, Suncut NTS Radio, Cherrie Flava Soho Radio and Gilles Peterson. To see more of his work go to www.mrianwright.co.uk
Ian Wright,Andrew Cotterill, Barry Plummer
Morrison’s new album cooks slowly in London.
THIS MONTH’S CONTRIBUTORS INCLUDE
CLASSIC ROCK MUSICIANSHIP ON ANOTHER LEVEL!
EXCLUSIVE EUROPEAN SHOWS WOLVERHAMPTON CIVIC HALL Tue 2 Jan 2018
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Charles Peterson (2), Danny Clinch, CM Linabury, Emily Rieman, Dim Saah, Steve Gullick, Chris Cuffaro, David Hawkes
(Reis, Reichert, Stamets, O’Beirne, Willard) Published by Mr Buttermaker Painting/Wild Wing Music and © BMI. From the album Circa: Now! www.rftc.com San Diego’s Rocket From The Crypt recorded their second LP, Circa Now, in LA in April 1992 as riots broke out near their studio. Whether this added to its urgency is a moot point, but the 11 tracker is a glorious statement, leading them to be signed by Interscope as the album hit the racks.
(Barbot, Colletta, Robbins, Wade) Published by A-1 Maintenance/EMI Blackwood Music Publishing (BMI). From the album Novelty. www. facebook.com/jawboxofﬁcial Weaned on a diet of hometown hardcore, Jawbox released a second set, Novelty, on Dischord in May ’92. Static was hailed as an underground classic and a year later the ’DC fourpiece signed to Atlantic. Two further albums followed prior to their split, but their cult status remains intact to this day, and with good reason.
(Dulli) Published by Kali Nichta Music (BMI)/Music of Big Deal (BMI) and © Sub Pop Records. From the album Congregation
(Yow, Denison, Sims, McNeilly) Published by Downtown Music (BMI) and © 1992 Touch And Go Records. From the album Liar
Three albums into their career and the Afghan Whigs gave full vent to their vast range of inﬂuences. As a result Congregation manages to sound both rich in sound and tightly focused. The suave, driving I’m Her Slave is a perfect example of this on an album that helped Greg Dulli’s men ﬁnd a wider audience.
Kurt Cobain had been a longstanding fan of David Yow’s pre-The Jesus Lizard outﬁt, Scratch Acid. This in turn led to the release of the Nirvana/The Jesus Lizard split 7-inch in 1993. Prior to that, in ’92, Yow’s men released Liar, their third and arguably their most satisfying album, which remains a fantastically intense and frenetic piece of noise-rock.
(Alice Donut) Published by Maim That Tune (BMI) adm. Alternative Tentacles Records Maim That Tune and © Alternative Tentacles Records. From the 7-inch Magdalene (Alternative Tentacles) www.alicedonut.com
(Wedren, Hill, Matthews, Russell) Published by Throwing Up Money Music. From the album Get Your Goat. https://m.facebook.com/ shuddertothinkofﬁcial/
(Brannon, Strickland, Swallla, Ries) Published by Laughing Hyenas and © 1992 Touch and Go Records, from the EP Crawl http://www.touchandgo records.com/bands/band.php?id=78
Like kindred spirits Jawbox, Shudder To Think hailed from ’DC, signing to Dischord and releasing their second LP, Get Your Goat, in ’92. The band’s melodic post-hardcore, progressive sound is evident on Shake Your Halo Down – it saw them tour with everyone from Fugazi to Smashing Pumpkins, ﬁnding fans in both camps.
Ann Arbor’s Laughing Hyenas were one of the most unrepentant acts of their generation, their sound deﬁned by the terrifying vocal performances of frontman John Brannon (formerly of Negative Approach). In the past 25 years, few people in extreme music have matched his delivery as heard on this ’92 classic.
By 1992 New York City avant-punks Alice Donut were ﬁve albums into a career, creating a world of discordant noise. Produced by celebrated noisenik Kramer, this schizoid tune remains one of their most anthemic, its infectious thrust reminiscent in parts of Smells Like Teen Spirit itself.
(Roeser/Kato) Published by King/Kato, Ltd. (BMI), King/Kato, Ltd. Publishing and © 1991 Touch And Go Records. From the album The Supersonic Storybook Chicago outﬁt Urge Overkill released their third LP, The Supersonic Storybook, in March ’91, ﬁve months before Nevermind hit the racks. Joining Nirvana on tour, they followed in Kurt’s footsteps, signing to Geffen in ’92, although their chewy, pop-rock sound was already in place – as this, the opener on Storybook, proves.
F, AS ACCORDING TO DAVE MARKEY’S CLASSIC documentary, 1991 was the year punk broke, then the following year saw it genuinely exert its grip on mainstream culture. A deﬁning moment saw Nirvana effectively curating the Reading Festival bill on the Sunday, August 30. No other act had wielded the power to do so in the history of the festival, highlighting both how huge Nirvana were but also how far the entire US alternative underground scene had come in the space of two years. This bespoke MOJO compilation is a reﬂection of that scene and of its emergence, gathering together 15 tracks whose power has remained undimmed during the course of the last 25 years or so. Some of the artists included here played Reading in that fateful year, others merely released some music. All of them, however, possess a certain sense of chaotic abandon. Teen Spirit, indeed…
(Vigil, Davis, Sargent, Agnew) Published by Heathen Temptress (ASCAP). From the 1992 7 Year Bitch album Sick ’Em Their combination of ferocious riffs and trenchant lyricism made Seattle’s 7 Year Bitch as a band to watch. Sadly, on the eve of debut album Sick ‘Em’s release in June ’92, their guitar player Stefanie Sargent passed away, aged 24. The LP was ﬁnally released in October. The band would last ﬁve more years, but they never quite caught that fearsome spirit again.
(Malkmus) Published by Domino Publishing Company. and © 1992 Domino Recording Company. From the album Slanted And Enchanted http:// www.dominorecordco.com With a sound that synthesized both American and British alternative rock, Pavement were originally conceived as a studio project. Then, spurred on by their own desire to play, they became a ‘proper’ band in ’92, their Slanted And Enchanted debut being hailed as an instant classic.
(Dresdner, Kessler, Moriarty, Zapata) Published by FishheadHotdog Burrito Music (ASCAP) and © 1992 The Gits. From the album Frenching The Bully http://www.thegits.com/
Lunachicks (Lunachicks) Published by Suck Me Off Satan Music- Sesac. From the debut album, Babysitters On Acid 1990 https://www.facebook.com/ LunachicksOfﬁcial/
The attack, brutal rape and murder of The Gits singer Mia Zapata on July 7, 1993, left the world in shock and her band in pieces. This tune showcases her remarkable way with words. Two years after Zapata’s death, The Gits recruited Joan Jett to tour under the banner of Evil Stig, raising funds to investigate the singer’s death further.
Recommended to Blast First label boss Paul Smith by Thurston Moore and Kim Gordon, NYC’s the Lunachicks won their ﬁrst record deal, and made this rough, raw debut. Their screechy teen-punk chops are evident on this clattering tune which brings to mind forerunners like Wendy O Williams’ maverick crew the Plasmatics.
(Arm) Published by Better Than Your Music (ASCAP). and © 1991 Sub Pop Records. From the album Every Good Boy Deserves Fudge The ﬁrst so-called ‘grunge’ band to plant their ﬂag on British soil, Mudhoney were but one of the many emerging acts in the ’90s championed by John Peel to good effect. Their post-Stooges invective was evident throughout their early recordings, married to a set of garage sensibilities evident on this track and which they return to to this day.
(Melvins) Published by Boner Records. and © 1989 Boner Records. From the album Ozma. https://midheaven.com/ item/ozma-by-melvins-cd Providing the bridge between the worlds of slo-grind metal and punk’s lurching tendencies, the Melvins not only provided the young Kurt Cobain with inspiration but have continued to deliver the goods for close to three decades. Bow down to this 1989 classic and read frontman Buzz Osborne’s recollections of Reading ’92 on page 78.
(Love Battery) Published by Copyright control and © 1991 Sub Pop Records. From the album Dayglo Named after a Buzzcocks tune, Love Battery emerged alongside Mudhoney as Seattle scene standard-bearers in the late ’80s. Second album Dayglo was praised for its mix of punk smarts and psychedelic intent. However, despite the impressive list of musicians who passed through their ranks, Love Battery never quite attained the success their efforts merited.
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Sly Dunbar REGGAE’S DRUM KING c are you currently o? ng that sounds good, -hop, and I love dancehall And [Sly-starring] The ll-Stars record, I love that x’ Brown, Jackie Jackson, eat musicians who have ch for Jamaican music. sh comes to shove, is me favourite album? ell [ Dave And Ansel cause we made it togethy’s first appearance on ne, Rasta Fiesta [from Sly Slick, Taxi, 1979]. We were p, we were experimenting, n uptown kind of dub. I it turned out. he first record you ever nd where did you buy it? to buy a lot, maybe it he Family Stone. From in Kingston, yeah. ician, other than yourou ever wanted to be?
Ha ha! Maybe Jackie Mittoo, or Al Jackson of Booker T. & The M.G.’s, or Earl Young of The Philadelphia International All Stars. There’s a lot I admire, but I’m glad I’m me. What do you sing in the shower? I don’t sing music in the shower. I think there’s some kind of music in the shower anyway. But sometimes I’m thinking about putting beats together, y’know? What is your favourite Saturday night record? Real Rock by Sound Dimension is great. Another one that’s good is Alton Ellis’s Laba Laba. And Jackie Mittoo’s Ram Jam. I used to go out a lot when I was younger, but now, I’ll be in the studio working, you know? And your Sunday morning record? I listen to 105.FM in New York, a hiphop and R&B station. But every day is a working day. I’m a bounty hunter, so I’ll be hunting, all the time. The Kingston All Stars’ Dubwise is out now w on Roots & Wire
IN WHICH THE STARS REVEAL THE SONIC DELIGHTS GUARANTEED TO GET THEM GOING...
Amber Arcades DREAM POP LAWYER What music are you currently grooving to? Solange! I saw her show at Glastonbury and was blown away. It’s hard to put this in the right words, but it was very moving to experience that performance and feel that that music was definitely not written for me – being a white person – but to still be so touched by it I almost cried. So, Seat At The Table, been listening to it ever since, trying to grasp it.
What, if push comes to shove, is your all-time favourite album? I have to go with Deerhunter, Halycon Digest, t it’s the record that’s been for me in a I was comin folky perio record just into a who musical un What was first record ever boug And where you buy it Nightwish I bought it I was 14 an was pretty much the o
record I listened to for a year. I think it was from a record store called Boudisque in Utrecht.
Which musician, other than yourself, have you ever wanted to be? Matthew E. White. I see a dude at least three times a week where I’m like, “Hey, is that Matthew E. White?” But then it’s just another tall, big guy with long brown hair and a beard. If I actually was Matthew E. White I would pull a lot of pranks with this ability.
TURNER PRIZE WINNER, ROCKER What music are you currently grooving to? I dunno if I’m grooving to anything, but I’m listening to a lot of different Leonard Cohen things on a playlist that I go to sleep to. It’s soothing, you know? I trust him. Quite a lot of Van Morrison too, and a song I play loads is Elvis Costello’s Country Darkness.
What do you sing in the shower? The Arcade Fire’s Everything Now. Not really the words, the Abba-esque musical intro. What is your favourite Saturday night record? Donna Summer – Bad Girls, the Deluxe Edition with I Feel Love and Hot Stuff
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Sly Dunbar’s Saturday night “jam” is Sound Dimension’s mighty 1967 track Real Rock, arguably one of reggae’s most popular rhythms ever. G On her Saturdays, Amber Arcades’ Annelotte de Graaf digs Donna Summer’s 1979 Moroder-Bellotte produced-LP Bad Girls. G Martin Creed, meanwhile, has his Saturday night rave-up to A Message To You Rudy by The Specials featuring Rico, also from 1979.
What, if push comes to shove, is your all-time favourite album? Bloody hell. Johnny Cash At Folsom Prison and At San Quentin are almost like a double album, I love them. But I’m going to say Dylan’s Time Out Of Mind, which is one I often listen to on holiday. The song Highlands, I really like that. What was the first record you ever bought? And where did you buy it? I asked my mum to buy me Little Jimmy Osmond’s Long Haired Lover From Liverpool, possibly from Woolworths. I was living in Milton Of Campsie outside Glasgow. Which musician, other than yourself, have you ever wanted to be? Oh God, I dunno. I’ve got loads of heroes but to actually want
to be someone… I think maybe I’m scared of that question, maybe because I actually do desperately not want to be me. What do you sing in the shower? Probably my own songs, when I’m working on them. It’s a good time for thinking because you’re not trying to work. Having a great idea in the shower and then forgetting it is terrible though. I’ve got a pen that’s water proof, the thing is getting the bloody waterproof paper. What is your favourite Saturday night record? A perfect party type of record is A Message To You Rudy by The Specials featuring Rico. And your Sunday morning record? Kris Kristofferson’s The Bigger The Fool. If I’m home I’ll stay in on Saturday night, and on Sunday I’ll have a slow morning and take my dog for a walk. For news and info on appearances, see martincreedmusic.com
Academic House, 24-28 Oval Road London NW1 7DT Tel: 020 7437 9011 Reader queries: mojoreaders@ bauermedia.co.uk Subscriber queries: bauer@ subscription.co.uk General e-mail: mojo@ bauermedia.co.uk Website: mojo4music.com
Editor-in-Chief & Associate Publisher Phil Alexander Senior Editor Danny Eccleston Art Editor Mark Wagstaff Associate Editor (Production) Geoff Brown Reviews Editor Jenny Bulley Associate Editor (News) Ian Harrison Picture Editor Matt Turner Senior Associate Editor Andrew Male Associate Deputy Art Editor Russell Moorcroft Contributing Editors Sylvie Simmons, Keith Cameron For mojo4music.com contact Danny Eccleston Thanks for their help with this issue:
Keith Cameron, Fred Dellar, Del Gentleman, Pat Gilbert Sarah Hampson Among this month’s contributors: Matt Allen, Martin Aston, Mike Barnes, Mark Blake, Glyn Brown, David Buckley, Stevie Chick, Andy Cowan, Fred Dellar, Dave Di Martino, Tom Doyle, Daryl Easlea, Andy Fyfe, George Garner, Pat Gilbert, John Harris, David Hutcheon, Chris Ingham, Jim Irvin, Colin Irwin, David Katz, Christopher Kennedy, Alan Light, James McNair, Bob Mehr, Ben Myers, Kris Needs, Chris Nelson, Mark Paytress, Andrew Perry, Tony Russell, Jon Savage, Victoria Segal, David Sheppard, Michael Simmons, Sylvie Simmons, Laura Snapes, Mat Snow, Paul Stokes, Jeff Tamarkin, Paul Trynka, Kieron Tyler, Charles Waring, Roy Wilkinson, Lois Wilson, Stephen Worthy, Anna Wood, Matt Yates.
Among this month’s photographers: Cover: Brantley/Gutierrez, (inset) Eyevine;Leslie Atkins, Chris Bradshaw, Danny Clinch, Andrew Cotterill, Henry Diltz, Florian Duboé, Piper Ferguson, Jill Furmanovsky, Mick Hutton, Alex Lake, Alice Ochs, Charles Peterson, Barry Plummer, Michael Putland, Mick Rock, Barrie Wentzell
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ON AU A GUST 30, 1992, NIRV RVANA HEADLINED
the Sunday night at the Reading Festival on a bill they had also curated. It was the only time an act has hand-picked the line-up in the history of the legendary festival. This issue we re-live that momentous, fractious and mud-soaked day as former Nirvana man Dave Grohl returns with Concrete And Gold, the Foo Fighters’ most expansive album to date. Indeed, the album underlines the fact that, like Kurt Cobain, Grohl comes from a generation inspired by punk but weaned on ’70s rock. Join him on page 66 as he takes Keith Cameron on a personal journey through music. And there’s also news of a festival he’s curating later in the year: 25 years on, Dave Grohl seems to have come full circle…
PHIL ALEXA X NDER, EDITORR IN-CHIEF How we’ve felt for the last 40 years Thoroughly enjoyed the Sex Pistols pieces in MOJO 286. I got tickets to see the Anarchy tour in Derby in ’76 but the Leisure Committee cancelled it. There is footage about this in The Filth And The Fury. John Peel often told the story of turning up at the venue, like me and my friends, to see a little piece of paper pinned to the door with the word “Cancelled” written on it. We went to a local pub where we sat listening to two biker types saying in loud voices that punks were the losers they used to bully at school. I moved to Finsbury Park, London in 1978 and was sitting with friends in the George Robey pub one early evening when Lydon walked in, it being his manor, and had a pint with the crowd just as normal, chatting away. He didn’t stay long and reading some of the accounts in MOJO it’s not surprising. I also saw the band at Heathrow when they were going to America after the Huddersfield Ivanhoe’s Christmas Day gig(s), which me and some friends from Derby drove over for. It was a great gig, one of my Top 5 of all time, and at one point in the film, very briefly, you can see my face in the line of people just behind the mayhem of pogoing punks.
Terry Maunder, Leeds
I don’t think so, sister! Yoko Ono has indeed experienced a whole load of racism and sexism over the years, as Andrew Male points out in MOJO 286. It is only right that her work is reappraised with that in mind. I’ve been listening again to her music and my reappraisal is that she is still shite. This goes for her artwork and her poetry, too. Because someone has
been unfairly maligned in the past doesn’t mean that in these more enlightened times we can’t judge them to be complete charlatans.
Doug Macarthur, Edinburgh
Everything’s great, everything’s grand Just a slight quibble with Mark Paytress’s otherwise fine article about Marc Bolan in MOJO 286. Forty years on, Dandy In The Underworld sounds as fresh and powerful to my ears as ever, while songs like the title track, Universe, Visions Of Domino, Jason B Sad, and Teen Riot Structure and others, sound as powerful and beguiling as Bolan’s best, closer to five stars than the three Paytress gave it, and one of the great “comeback” LPs.
Bruce Paley, Pembrokeshire
They terrify me As much as I loved the outrage caused by the Sex Pistols, and the much-underrated guitar attack of Steve Jones, I felt that the article on their court case [MOJO 286] made unjustifiable claims as to their place in the genesis and progression (sorry) of punk rock. The Stooges, the MC5 and our very own Social Deviants all had long hair but really pissed off the long-hair audiences, much to my delight. What about The Pretty Things? They were a ‘social menace’ from their inception and are still at it. Proto-punks, UK and US, included bands such as The 13th Floor Elevators, Them, The Birds and The Downliners Sect, while the term ‘punk’ was used from the mid-’60s onwards to describe such upright citizen-bothering types.Still, God Save Them All.
Dave McGowan, Usk, Monmouthshire
Are we working for the bad guy? “People telling you what you can and can’t say is unacceptable...?” says John Lydon in MOJO 286. But, in the same issue, Morrissey is “this ridiculous man” for having the bollocks to speak his mind on Brexit, Farage and immigration? The subtext here being that he disagrees with your particular world view and that makes him a pariah now. If you’re going to proudly quote from Lydon, have the grace to back it up.
Johnny Connelly, via e-mail.
You have to try Eating a Vietnamese sandwich in a Market St café on a sunny day in San Francisco, before heading out to a psychedelic poster art exhibition at the De Young for the 50th anniversary of the Summer of Love, nothing could complete a commemoration of 1967 better than a top-notch article on Hendrix and his influences in MOJO 285. Had no idea about his alcoholic mother, nor the relation between the Stones’ She’s A Rainbow and Bold As Love. Thanks for the research into details we haven’t heard a million times already about Jimi.
Stephen Conn, New Mexico, USA
Go! Be free! But, remember, no drumming! Greetings earthlings! Enjoyed the Hendrix article in MOJO 285 and good to see a different slant given such a focus. It dawns on me how much Jimi Hendrix and John Coltrane had in common. Both of these deeply spiritual men chose to extend the range of their music in reaching out to a higher octave. Jimi via the Octavia etc and Coltrane via the soprano saxophone. Both were deeply innovative and influential musicians who struggled with inner demons. They also showed signs of an almost bi-polar nature in their music in how they swung between the extremes of beautiful peaceful ballads and frenetic, chaotic music infused with rage. I see them both as having struggled to anchor a higher octave of spiritual reality into their lives and music. Jimi arrived on the world stage in June ’67 and Coltrane passed the following month. Both were pioneers who still touch so many people, due as much to their spirit as their musicianship. Jimi was my first spiritual teacher and listening to him led me to LSD and then shamanism and my whole life is now focused on Spirituality. When music is used as a channel for Love then it changes the world. Thanks guys and you all at MOJO. Peace.
flattered by the rising interest in Krautrock in the last 10 years. I’ve not forgotten how derogatory the term was meant when it was first coined, but the name stuck and time is kind, so who am I to complain? But what’s irritating is your ongoing misuse of ‘kosmische’. ‘Kosmische’ is an adjective, not a noun, and used to be part of the expression ‘Kosmische Musik’. Calling a style ‘Kosmische’ is like saying ‘new’ instead of ‘new wave’. Also, ‘Kosmische Musik’ could only be applied to groups who played mostly instrumental electronic music that headed to outer space. Tangerine Dream, early Kluster/Cluster, Ash Ra Tempel, a young Klaus Schulze etc. But you use the term almost as a synonym for Kraut, which doesn’t make sense. I’m sure if you told Ralf Hütter in 1975 he was “making ‘Kosmische’” he’d have kicked your behind. Compared to that, the mistakes in MOJO 284’s Popol Vuh feature are only minor quibbles – but I feel they’re well worth pointing out, even though I don’t want to come across as some German Language wise-ass! Firstly, Einsjäger Und Siebenjäger does NOT translate as “one hunter and seven hunters” but “hunter(s) of the one and hunter(s) of the seven”. Jäger can be both singular and/or plural. Florian Fricke was a master of creating a lingo all his own: both terms – Einsjäger and Siebenjäger – can’t be found in any German dictionary, which sometimes makes it hard even for native German speakers to decipher some of Fricke’s stuff. Next, Letzte Tage, Letzte Nächte does not translate as ‘Last Days And Last Night’ but ‘Last Days And Last Nights’. While we’re at it, you also speak of the group’s music as a ‘Gesamtkunstwerke’. Since ‘werke’ is the plural of ‘werk’, this doesn’t make sense but I hope that was just a typo, as in previous MOJOs you’ve got it right! By the way, from a musical point of view your Popol Vuh article was spot-on, and I’m very happy that you printed it, as that wonderful group is hardly ever mentioned here in their home country. I own almost all Vuh LPs of the ’70s, and I would subscribe to your readers’ selection almost entirely, except that in my book, Einsjäger… always ranked higher than Seligpreisung ggp g. All in all though g – I have to sayy that you're still one of the three best UK magazines and every month I eagerly check my mailbox to see whether the latest issue has yet arrived. Please keep up the good work!
V. Matthias Gumz (AKA Victor Matias), via e-mail
Why does everybody forget about Hobo Joe?
Being from Germany (Berlin, no less) and a musician and producer, I can’t help being a little
Congratulations on MOJO 284’s excellent Murder Ballads CD. It was very reminiscent of something that the great musicologist Alan Lomax would have put together, and highlighted your compilers’ knowledge as well as Nick Cave’s insightfulness re Americana and the haunting aspects of music. Ken Ramm, via e-mail
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Group Managing Director, Advertising Abby Carvosso Head of Magazine Media Clare Chamberlain Group Commercial Director Simon Kilby Head Of Magazine Brands Rachel Flower Head of Music Neil McSteen Music Director Joel Stephan Mediaplanner Mollie Smee Regional Advertising Katherine Brown Classified Sales Executive Philip Nessfield Classified Sales Manager Karen Gardiner Inserts Manager Simon Buckenham Production Manager Andrew Stafford Ad Production Controller Helen Mear Creative Solutions Senior Producer Jenna Herman Creative Solutions Art Director Jon Cresswell Chief Executive Paul Keenan Group Managing Director Rob Munro-Hall Publisher Patrick Horton Commercial Marketing Director Liz Martin Managing Editor Danielle O’Connell MOJO CD and Honours Creative Director Dave Henderson Senior Events Producer Marguerite Peck Business Analyst Clare Wadsworth Head of Marketing Fergus Carroll Marketing Manager Allyson Johnstone Direct Marketing Manager Julie Spires Direct Marketing Executive Rebecca Lambert Head of Communications Jess Blake Printing: William Gibbons MOJO (ISSN 1351-0193) is published 12 times a year by Bauer Consumer Media Ltd. Bauer Consumer Media Ltd is a company registered in England and Wales with company number 01176085, registered address Media House, Peterborough Business Park, Lynch Wood, Peterborough PE2 6EA Airfreight and mailing in the USA by agent named Air Business Ltd, c/o Worldnet Shipping Inc., 156-15, 146th Avenue, 2nd Floor, Jamaica, NY 11434, USA. Periodicals postage paid at Jamaica, NY 11431. US Postmaster: Send address changes to MOJO, Air Business Ltd, c/o Worldnet Shipping Inc., 156-15, 146th Avenue, 2nd Floor, Jamaica, NY 11434, USA To ensure that you don’t miss an issue, visit www.greatmagazines.co.uk for the best subscriptions offers. For subscription or back issue queries, please contact CDS Global on Bauer@subscription.co.uk Phone from the UK on 01858 43 8884. Phone from overseas on +44 (0)1858 43 8884 For enquires on overseas newsstand sales e-mail Paul.Maher@seymour.co.uk © All material published is copyright of Bauer Consumer Media Ltd. No part of this magazine may be reproduced without the prior permission of the publisher. MOJO accepts no responsibility for any unsolicited material. To find out more about where to buy MOJO, contact Frontline Ltd, at Midgate House, Midgate, Peterborough PE1 1TN. Tel: 01733 555161. COMPLAINTS: Bauer Consumer Media Limited is a member of the Independent Press Standards Organisation (www.ipso.co.uk) and endeavours to respond to and resolve your concerns quickly. Our Editorial Complaints Policy (including full details of how to contact us about editorial complaints and IPSO’s contact details) can be found at www.bauermediacomplaints.co.uk. Our e mail address for editorial complaints covered by the Editorial Complaints Policy is email@example.com.
THE HOT NEWS AND BIZARRE STORIES FROM PLANET MOJO
M MAKING WAVES
Revealed at last – P.P. Arnold’s lost album made with Barry Gibb and Eric Clapton!
Stepping up: (left) P.P. Arnold in her hitmaking years; (above) producer and Bee Gee Barry Gibb in the Cucumber Castle movie, 1970; (below left) Eric Clapton, playing Dominos, 1970; (below) P.P.’s album and (bottom) at a CND rally in London, 1969.
e w . h
“WORKING WITH BARRY I THOUGHT, MAYBE I’M AS GOOD AS THEY SAY I AM!”
But after nailing several covers and superlative Gibb originals – including Born, Happiness, Bury Me Down By The River and The Turning Tide – at London’s IBC studios, Bee Gees manager Robert Stigwood pressured Barry into rejoining the group. Her album on hold, Stigwood compensated Arnold by securing her a support slot that December on the UK and European legs of the Delaney & Bonnie & Friends tour – the ‘Friends’ famously including George Harrison and Eric Clapton. This led, in May 1970, to a session at Advision studios with Arnold backed by a group featuring Clapton plus drummer Jim Gordon, bassist Carl Radle and keyboardist Bobby Whitlock. “Those were in effect the ﬁrst recordings by Derek And The Dominos,” laughs Arnold. “We did Trafﬁc’s Medicated Goo, Van Morrison’s Brand New Day and the Stones’ You Can’t Always Get What You Want. They sounded really good.” So good, in fact, that Derek And The Dominos started work on their own album instead. Moving back to LA, Arnold then suffered the loss of her daughter, Debbie, in a car accident, which “messed me up real bad. I didn’t know what I was doing.” Help came in 1978 in the form of none other than Barry Gibb, who invited her to the LA premiere of the Bee Gees’ ill-starred Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band movie. But again, despite travelling to Miami to ﬁnish recording with Gibb, Arnold’s chance to complete her solo album once again ebbed away. Legal complexities and, says Arnold, “politics” have previously prevented the material being released, but with the singer’s help Ocean Colour Scene/Paul Weller guitarist Steve Cradock and his wife Sally secured it for their Kundalini label, with Weller’s engineer Charles Rees mixing the original tapes. Later this year Arnold will also publish an autobiography, named for her 1967 hit, The First Cut Is The Deepest, while Cradock is producing her new album for release next year. “Writing my book taught me that destiny is my manager,” she says. “There was never a plan. I went where life took me.” Pat Gilbert The Turning Tide is released on Kundalini Music on October 6.
Alamy, Getty Images (2), Rex
FIRST CUTS ARE THE DEEPEST
LET IT BEEB? New tome The Rolling Stones On Air tells how the group fought the BBC. Plus, new album news! longside the music, The Rolling Stones’ ’60s were full of incident, with Altamont, the Redlands bust, the Rock And Roll Circus and the free concert in Hyde Park just a few of the events scoured into the collective consciousness. Amidst Richard Havers’ new hardback broadcast-biography The Rolling Stones On Air In The Sixties, another ﬂashpoint is illuminated in all its weird fascination: the band’s falling out with the BBC in 1964. As well as being handsomely illustrated and providing a wealth of info about the group’s appearances on radio, TV and beyond, the book reproduces lots of supporting documentation from the archives to thrill the inquisitive. Brian Jones’s bold letter from January 2, 1963, for example, asks for a BBC audition and declares, “an exceptionally good future has been predicted for us by many people.” Their ascent is not long coming, but by May 1964 then-manager Eric Easton is
Hot box: the Stones on Thank Your Lucky Stars, June 6, 1965; (bottom) in Manchester celebrating Satisfaction hitting Number 1; (below) the book.
“WE ARE VERY, VERY SHORTLY CUTTING SOME NEW STUFF.” Keith Richards
somewhat insulting. Soon, to a swelling background of contemporary reports of brusque Juke Box Jury appearances, rows about long hair and not wearing ties – plus, on the morning of May 9, 1964, Long John Baldry describing the Stones as “those charming deviationists” during a special BBC stereo broadcast – the culture-clash comes to a head. When the Stones miss a November 1964 appearance on the Saturday Club programme, BBC light entertainment booking manager Patrick Newman talks of exiling the Stones from the airwaves, writing in an internal memo, “You may know that these gentlemen (sic) are (for a transient moment one rather hopes) third in the Top Ten… for my part I am a ﬁrm believer in noses being very occasionally cut off to spite one’s face.” (He also calls Animals manager Don Arden, “a thoroughly naughty man”.) By the following March, the unrepentant Stones were back on Top Of The Pops. Their subsequent BBC engagements included playing the last edition of Ready Steady Go! in December 1966 and making Top Of The Pops appearances on the day after Brian Jones’s death and just six days after the events of Altamont. The book coincides with other Stones activity: the group are playing European dates in September and October, while a 50th anniversary stereo/mono double vinyl/SACD edition of Their Satanic Majesties Requestt – with restored lenticular cover art – arrives on September 22. Additionally, in July Mick Jagger released the solo tracks Gotta Get A Grip and England Lost, the latter featuring north London MC Skepta: both songs are troubled blues rockers with baggy beats and lyrics which question Brexit, nationalism and how “No real passion is a national shame.” For his part, Keith Richards told an online questioner about a new group album: “We are very, very shortly cutting some new stuff and considering where to take it next. [2016 covers set] Blue & Lonesome caught us a little bit by surprise… I just think, actually the Stones will use it as a boost to their energy and their viability in this day and age… and see what we can come up with next.” The Rolling Stones On Air In The Sixties: TV And Radio History As It Happened by Richard Havers is published by Virgin Books on September 21 (RRP: £30)
SEPT 20 Photographer Trevor Key, whose work includes the cover of Mike Oldfield’s Tubular Bells, plus sleeves for New Order, Can, Sex Pistols, Peter Gabriel and more, is subject of a new exhibition at the Brodrick Gallery in Hull. Trevor Key’s Top 40 will feature 40 of his best record sleeves, made in conjunction with talents including Peter Saville and Jamie Reid.
SEPT 30 Nick Cave plays London’s 02 Arena, his first date in the capital since 2013. It’s preceded by shows in Bournemouth (24), Manchester (25), Glasgow (27) and Nottingham (28) and will be the first time UK audiences can hear material from the Skeleton Tree album live. Concerts in Europe and Israel follow in October and November.
Mirrorpix, Getty, Alamy (2), Rex
Salvador Dalí didn’t frequent any old club, but he did go to legendary NY disco Studio 54. To celebrate the 40th anniversary of its opening, co-founder Ian Schrager and author Bob Colacello look back in words and pictures in Studio 54 (published by Rizzoli International). September 19 the publication of Inside Studio 54 (Rare Bird Books) by Mark Fleischman, who bought the club in 1980, and Denise Chatman.
A RE-IMAGINING OF TIMELESS SONGS THAT INSPIRED THIS LEGENDARY COLLABORATION INCLUDING ‘HIGHER GROUND’, ‘GOD BLESS THE CHILD’ & ‘MERCY MERCY ME’ ON CD, VINYL AND DIGITAL DOWNLOAD
2 CD SET
2 CD SET
THE KINGSTON TRIO
THE FIVE #1 BILLBOARD ALBUMS This 60-track 2-CD edition compiles the five complete albums by the Kingston Trio that rose to #1on the Billboard charts: The Kingston Trio, At Large, Here We Go Again!, Sold Out, and String Along. 20-PAGE BOOKLET CD 1 – 30 TRACKS: 75.08’ CD 2 – 30 TRACKS – 76.05’
LIVE 1958-1960 + 7 BONUS TRACKS This outstanding 2-CD set presents Ray Charles’ earliest live recordings, including his complete 1958 and 1960 Newport Jazz Festival performances –the former was originally issued on At Newport (Atlantic 1289)–, and his 1959 set at the Herndon Stadium in Atlanta –originally released as In Person. 16-PAGE BOOKLET CD1-16 TRACKS – 72.51’ CD2- 17 TRACKS – 73.24’
A CRUCIAL SOURCE OF ROCK & ROLL, R&B, SOUL, BLUES AND COUNTRY, FROM MUSICAL PIONEERS WHOSE INFLUENCE IS STILL FELT TODAY.
LIVE A LITTLE + SMITH’S THE NAME + 6 BONUS TRACKS! “From the minute Carl Smith came out, I wanted to look like him, tried to comb my hair like him and learnt every song he ever recorded.”– Waylon Jennings
ALL CDs INCLUDE A
16-PAGE BOOKLET 30 TRACKS – 76.02’
THE SOUND OF THE FLAMINGOS + FLAMINO SERENADE + 3 BONU S TRACKS The sound
of The Flamingos (1962), plus Flamingo Serenade (1959) – the latter including what has become the group’s signature tune, “I Only Have Eyes for You. 16-PAGE BOOKLET 27 TRACKS – 78.13’
16-PAGE BOOKLET WITH
RARE PHOTOS, VINTAGE MEMORABILIA, DETAILED LINER NOTES AND MORE. 2 CD SET
THE COMPLETE SUN,, RCA & MONUMENT 1956-1962 SINGLES
sides) All of Roy Orbison’s 7” singles (A & B such released between 1956 and 1962 by ent. iconic labels as Sun, RCA, and Monum been have The original gems presented here most the e achiev to brilliantly remastered pristine sound. 16-PAGE BOOKLET 32 TRACKS – 77:44’
OOBY DOOBY – THE SUN YEARS + 8 BONUS TRACKS!
THE COMPLETE 1955-1961 CHESS SINGLES
All of the 7’’ singles (A & B sides) recorded for Chess between 1955-1961. “The records Chuck Berry made in the Fifties stand out as rock & roll guitar playing to the max. Especially when you add it to the songwriting and the singing and everything else. There’s your package.”– Keith Richards
LISTEN TO ME! The Complete 1962 US Singles
This collector’s edition presents a wide selection of those early recordings Roy Orbison made, between 1956 and 1958, at the Memphis Recording Service (now commonly known as Sun Studio), prior to signing with the RCA-Victor and Monument labels. In addition, this set contains 8 bonus tracks, including Orbison’s guest appearances from that period.
16-PAGE BOOKLET 30 TRACKS – 69.48’
FOR MORE INFORMATION:
HOODOO-RECORDS.COM SOULJAMRECORDS.COM CONTACT:
16-PAGE BOOKLET CD 1 – 26 TRACKS: 70.16’ CD 2 – 27 TRACKS – 64:58’
UK distribution by www.discovery -records .com / 01380 728000 – firstname.lastname@example.org
This essential CD compiles all of Buddy Holly’s 7” singles (A & B sides) released in the U.S. between 1956 and 1962. The original recordings presented here have been brilliantly remastered to achieve the best possible sound quality “Looking back over the last 20 years, I guess the guy I’ve admired most in rock and roll is Buddy Holly.” – Elvis Presley, 1976 16-PAGE BOOKLET 29 TRACKS – 72:11
CHARLOTTE GAINSBOURG Serge’s daughter brings thoughts of writing the worst song ever, and help from Macca and Daft Punk. t is 33 years since Charlotte Gainsbourg and her late dad Serge scandalised France with Lemon Incest; since then she has made her name primarily as an actress, most notoriously in Lars Von Trier’s Antichrist and Nymphomaniac. She’s also managed to record three studio albums: Charlotte For Everr (1986), with Serge writing and producing; 5:55 (2006), with Jarvis Cocker and Air; and IRM (2009), with Beck. Now, however, she’s decided to take control. “On the previous albums, I was there to say what I wanted to sing and add a few words,” she says. “In my mind, though, it was not enough, I was not a proper writer. Beck said you have to try to write the worst song ever, and that’s how you start. Well, I didn’t try to do that, but it did get me going.” A move from France to New York allowed her to focus on music and underlined how that differs from making ﬁlms. “I’d been working with [producer] Sebastian Akchoté in his personal studio and other spaces in Paris for four years, and he was willing to wait on me. Films became the priority because directors can’t wait for you. And writing your own songs is more personal, you can say what you want, but there’s no hiding.”
Light-bulb moment: Charlotte Gainsbourg, gaining confidence, sings from her notebook.
“I WAS ALWAYS EXCITED BY HORROR AND FILMS FROM THE 1970s.”
The Buzz: I wanted to try to mix my voice with something quite rough and violent, as I was always excited by horror and ﬁlms from the 1970s.”
For material, Gainsbourg raided her diaries – she has kept a journal since the 1980s (“Not very interesting things but melodrama and insights”) – and explored her feelings about the death in 2013 of her sister, the photographer Kate Barry. She then wrote the results down as poetry and wrestled with making them ﬁt the music Akchoté was sending across the Atlantic, before recording vocals in Electric Lady in New York – a new experience for someone accustomed to a script. “I didn’t think I had it in me to play with words because it’s not only putting your guts into words, it’s also trying to have a kind of fun with it, and I really wasn’t sure of myself. I got the conﬁdence very, very slowly in the end.” She had help from Daft Punk’s Guy-Manuel De Homem-Christo helped on the title track; another, Songbird In A Cage, was written by Paul McCartney after a lunch together six years ago: “I asked him, and he sent this song. It was so generous and I didn’t even have an album to put it on.” Next up is another ﬁlm, director Eric Barbier’s adaption of the Romain Gary novel Promise At Dawn, but it doesn’t feel as if she will be putting music on the back-burner for very long. “I want to release the album now and try to do some live shows,” she says. “You won’t have to wait six years for the next album. I really want to get working now.” David Hutcheon
…COURTNEY BARNETT (below) and KURT VILE release an album later this year. “It started out as, Maybe we’ll do a split 7-inch t Vile. “No major goal to length, but it came to that way ’cos the vibe strong” …we’re delig relay the news that no Chas Hodges has completed his cancer treatment, CHAS & DAVE will return to t studio for their ﬁrst
album since 2013… Dave Wakeling’s version of THE BEAT are ﬁnishing new album Here We Go Love, f i pot from The adiation. They’ll eptember … SLEAFORD MODS have on a new album. d demoing again in reveals voice liamson. “They great but they’ve n us a pointer. The cs have been
becoming more interesting and funnier.” H dds th h ’ i ki to their str sound. “Re saying, ‘Th somethin started to Andrew [ looked at to head bu need it, pe waking up …BELLY working o
follow-up to 1995’s King, “with our old f i d P l Q Kolde ie working the pect it in 2018 JACK WHITE nﬁrmed last mages of the honcho and de studios in ew York City. April, was a theme for stic baseball mpany he ns…
VELLY JOONAS STOPP, SEISKU AEG!
Recorded in Soviet Estonia in 1980, an uncanny piece of swaying Baltic soul-pop with mountain fiddle, unusual electric organ and Cold War suspicion. Find It: YouTube
GARY BARTZ NTU TROUPE CELESTIAL BLUES
Mind-deepening jazz rap from Harlem Bush Music, a 1971 LP back on vinyl as part of the Jazz Dispensary’s Top Shelf series. Also available, The Elements by Joe Henderson featuring Alice Coltrane. Find It: YouTube
TY SEGALL BIG MAN
From Fried Shallots, an EP to benefit the American Civil Liberties Union, where Segall collects nuggets from his indie-psych inner-world. This opener finds his natural melodic gift buried in a bleeped-out groove. Find it: Bandcamp/Drag City
METZ DRAINED LAKE
NICK HEYWARD BABY Y B LUE SK Y
Reviving the post-punk, pre-grunge tooth rattle of Big Black, Fugazi and more, this Canadian trio announce a third LP with a hyperventilated stinger reminiscent of Helmet’s pivotal Unsung. Find It: YouTube From Woodland Echoes, Heyward’s first album in 11 years, here are harmonies, guitar jangle and lyrics of emphatic equanimity, amounting to a Zen command to be happy. Find It: SoundCloud
SAKAMOTO ANDAT A A (ONEOHTRIX POINT NEVER REWORK)
RAMONA GONZALEZ, JULIA HOLTER, COLE M.G.N AND NEDELLE TORRISI CONDEMNATION
JOHN GRANT THE SEVENTH SEAL
Live at the Royal Albert Hall at the BBC Proms’ Scott Walker tribute in July, Grant goes for soaring, majestic broke on this spaghetti western howl of plague plague, witch-burning witch burning and playing chess with Death. Full marks to Jules Buckley’s Heritage Orchestra, too. Find It: YouTube
ALAN VEGA DTM
First taster from the late Suicide frontman’s posthumous LP, IT, T DTM (“dead to me”) is a phlegmy growl of valedictory disaffection, Vega intoning about “German engineers”, “Cobra Crips” and “days and nights of pure evil” over itchy digital noise, like some faulty EVP recording of Dutch Schultz’s deranged death-bed confessions. Find It: SoundCloud
KELLYE GRAY ALL BLUES
ERIC B & RAKIM I KNOW YOU GOT SOUL (LIVE)
Is it a human voice? Is it an instrument? Gray confuses and intrigues as she wraps her inspired Texan chops around the Miles Davis standard, creating jazz perfection. Find It: Rendering/Standards In Gray (GRR8) Live at the Harlem Apollo on July 7 at a 30th anniversary show for their landmark Paid In Fulll album, the rap legends blow minds with their James Brown-sampling classic on a milli e f ll of seasoned hip-hop heads. Find It: YouTube
DUNGEN TROLLK ARLEN OCH FÅGELDRÄKTEN (VERSION 2)
From the “Häxan” ‘Versions’’ double set, where Prins Thomas deconstructs neo-Progg-sters Dungen: here the original’s car chase-in-thewoods psych theme gets extended with bass pulses and ashram-bound bongo freaks. Find It: SoundCloud MOJO listen to all its music on Roksan equipment
Going loco with Sakamoto: (above) Ryuichi with remixer Daniel Lopatin (inset); (below) Paid In Full hip-hoppers Eric B & Rakim (left).
“ERIC B AND RAKIM BLOW MINDS ON A MILLING STAGE…”
All the contributing talents here worked with late video director Travis Peterson, and this sweet choral lament is their tribute to him. Find It: YouTube
MODERN STUDIES CURLEW
MOJO’s favourite ornithologically-aware chamber-folk quartet built their contribution to an EP of songs inspired by Bert Jansch’s avian album Avocet around the distinctive call of the titular wading bird. Find It: SoundCloud/ Avocet Revisited (EARTH RECORDINGS)
GIANTS IN THE TREES SASQUATCH
APHEX TWIN KORG FUNK 5
Krist Novoselic’s new combo connect with their inner earth spirits via moss-covered psych-pop with banjo and gob iron, ideal for raving it up in the ancient forest. Find It: YouTube RD James makes a hardware demo using a variety of analogue Korg Monologue synthesizers: think smooth rhythmic dollopings and chordal elevations of the mysterious kind. Find It: YouTube
COUSTEAUX THE INNERMOST LIGHT
Reunited demi-monde dwellers bring out the zithers for a slow-burning, noir rocker of perilous romance. From the return album CousteauX. X Find It: YouTube
STARSAILOR FIA (F**K IT ALL)
SUSAN CATTANEO FEAT. BILL KIRCHEN IN THE GROOVES
Moving beyond their plaintive indie formula, this standout from new LP All This Life, hums with dark emotion, with ideas of surrender wrestling with pulsing guitar and swirling electronics. Find It: YouTube
med Fred Dellar visited the MOJO office this month with ry rocking celebration of vinyl spinning on his Dansette. many a Dellar idol, “Cash, Hank, and Lefty too.” uTube
DAVE GOLD BIG BAND POCKETFUL OF KEYS
Brit-jazzer Gold and his orchestra transform Jimmy Webb’s sublime ballad into a gorgeous instrumental on this ’74 BBC Jazz Club recording. It: YouTube/Heaven On Their Minds (MY ONLY L DESIRE)
BRAND NEW MOON SPINNING COIN
Ex- of art-indie combo Fiction, Mike Barrett eats chips nd gets loose with stuttering beats and dreamy soft rock. bouquet not unlike Jane and Barton’s It’s A Fine Day. ind It: SoundCloud
Sakamoto’s asyncc album track is a mournful piano-and-organ instrumen tal wrapped in sheets of white noise, which add an intensity and urgency some commentators have related to the composer’s brush with terminal illness in 2014. In his ‘Re-Model’, Brooklyn experimentalist Daniel Lopatin redirects the melancholy, sending it on a long drop into some subterranean ice cave, before it briefly resurfaces via a funnel of epic electronic noise. And is that an echo of Merry Christmas, Mr Lawrence’s version of Forbidden Colours? Find It: SoundCloud
SELFPORTRAIT Man in the cartoon: How Peter Buck sees himself? Or is it unknowable? (Below) Buck for real.
PETER BUCK R.E.M.-and-beyond guitarman in his own words and by his own hand. I’d describe myself as… currently employed, which is nice, as it’s been a while. Still unmanageable though, and unknowable even to myself. It’s a long life, I still have a lot to learn. Music changed me… by completely freeing me. It was always of utmost importance. Even before I heard The Beatles I listened to the radio or my dad’s Glenn Miller records. There was something about it that touched something in me that some people might have thought of as spiritual. It’s been a great companion, a way to deal with a lot of stuff. I’ll play guitar and write songs every day. Not to name drop, but I was having dinner with John Paul Jones and he said, “No one ever asks me, ‘How many hours a day does music go through your head?’” And I said, “Pretty much every second you’re awake?” And he was like, “Yeah.” When I’m not making music… I probably walk two or three hours a day, and I read and I travel a lot. My biggest vice is… I don’t really believe in vice. I’m not saying I’m a good person or a perfect person but I don’t see anything that I do as a problem. I probably spend more time in my head than I should, but I think of all the horrible things I could be doing with my time, and y’know, books and records and guitars, I still think of those as good things. The last time I was embarrassed was… daily? Hourly? Doing interviews, being embarrassed by what I say or think is just part of my human condition. On the other hand, I don’t actually give much of a shit in a lot of ways. I don’t worry about looking stupid because I just assume that I’m gonna look stupid all the time anyway, so I just go with it. My formal qualiﬁcations are… a ‘B’ average degree from a hillbilly high school in Roswell, Georgia. And believe me, that and a shovel
“MY GUITAR GOT STOLEN AND WE HAD TO RANSOM IT BACK.”
would allow me to shovel shit anywhere in America. The last time I cried was… when we had a death in the family a few weeks ago. It was serious, different from just tearing up from just sentimental things. Vinyl, CD or MP3?… They’re all great. I take my iPod with me everywhere, CDs in the car, I listen to vinyl at home. There’s nothing better than a wellrecorded mono 45. My most treasured possession is… the black Rickenbacker guitar I’ve used since 1981 on every single R.E.M. record and tour, and every session I’ve done, that’s the only physical thing of ownership that I would miss if it was gone. It got stolen on the last R.E.M. tour and we had to ransom it back. I really didn’t like the idea of some creep-thief holding it. The best book I’ve read is… I read [Jack Kerouac’s] On The Road when I was 13 and I’m really glad I did, because I’m not sure it would have had the same effect on me if I’d have read it when I was 25. It was a huge, life changing thing – I did hitchhike round the country when I was 18 and I still hop in a van and hit all the cities when
we go on tour, so it must still be back there somewhere. Is the glass half-full or halfempty?… I deny the existence of the glass. And that box everybody thinks outside of? That doesn’t exist either. I’m always prepared for the worst and I was pleasantly surprised at how well things turned out. I don’t know if that makes me an optimist or a pessimist. My greatest regret is… I don’t really have them. I only look back when I do interviews, and I know I could have made my life easier, but it all seems to make sense, y’know, so I wouldn’t go back and change anything. When we die… I’m completely prepared for a complete cessation of everything. I would like to be remembered as… I could really care less if everyone forgets me the day I drop dead. But I guess, regarding my children and close friends, I’d like it to be like the end of Touch Of Evil, when Orson Welles is ﬂoating down the sewer and Marlene Dietrich goes, “He was some kind of a man.” Peter Buck’s new band Filthy Friends release Invitation, out now on Kill Rock Stars
Alamy, Getty Images, Photoshot
MONDOMOJO …admirers of musical theatre were delighted at repo the Seattle Repe Theatre are plann ‘grunge era’ mus Songs by NIRVANA Soundgarden a Smashing Pum (right) are expect feature – let’s hop Mudhoney and look in too …out different kind las
when the output of community station M was illegally seized by a adcaster, who played IVOR BIGGUN’s onanistic 1978 hit s Song (Misprint) eight times in June. No arrests yet, but Ivor, AKA Doc ox, has previously ended the ditty to MOJO, g, “It wasn’t ﬁlthy or coarse n’t GG Allin” …according Queen roadie Peter ce in Neil Cossar’s book I
Was There (Red Planet, £12.99), the QUEEN/ DAVID BOWIE session that yielded Under Pressu also included versions of The Hoople-recorded A Young Dudes and All The From Memphis, among other tracks. Brian May referred to unreleased Bowie/Queen songs in MOJO 284, noting, “Freddie and David locked horns” …a new
book for CAN-heads is Jaki Liebezeit: Life, Theory And Practice Of A Master D mer See unbound.com/ t for pledging her inducements eptember 12, jazz ESPERANZA SPALDING (left) will 77 hours recording 10-track album sure, and will stream whole process live acebook…
THIS IS THE KIT Gently hexing incantatory folk splendour from a Hampshire Parisian. rtists including The National, Sharon Van Etten and Elbow’s Guy Garvey have long been advocates for This Is The Kit’s spry latter-day folk music. More admirers should come ﬂying from the forest with Moonshine Freeze, the ensemble’s fourth album and their ﬁrst for Rough Trade. This Is The Kit centre on Kate Stables, who grew up in Winchester in Hampshire and who has now lived in Paris for over a decade – along with husband and group guitarist Jesse D Vernon. Kate is half of one of the two sets of twins produced by her school-teacher parents. “My father was always making and playing instruments,” says Kate. “Mum would play ﬁddle and mandolin and they’d be the band at the local barn dance. When I was learning to play guitar I’d quietly join in. That was what I grew up on – and Bob Dylan and English and American folk stuff.” Amid its calm and poise the Moonshine Freeze album quietly accrues stylistic variety. The track Hotter Colder connects with memories of swimming at Durdle Door in Dorset, set to a gentler take on a Nirvana riff. Kate’s love of non-European tribal grooves also thrums in the background, while the track My Demon Eyes draws on an album by the ethnomusicologist Hugh Tracey, who collected African songs and stories through the 1950s. But Kate’s immersion in British folk comes to the fore on All Written
AKA This Is The Kit, freezing.
“I’M A BIT OF A SCAVENGER. THINGS GET STUCK IN MY HEAD.”
Dessner produced This Is The and I end up putting them in Kit’s 2014 album Bashed Out. songs. Green Grow The Rushes With the new album he adds was totally a family song – on guitar and keyboard. family car journeys. When our G The cover image for Moonshine Freeze is a daughter was little it was self-portrait of Kate Stables, something that would get her to produced via the primitive sleep. She’s still up for a bit of photo-tech of the pinhole Green Grow The Rushes, camera. alongside Beyoncé.” KEY TRACKS The new This Is The Kit album G Bullet Proof was produced by PJ Harvey collabG Hotter Colder G All Written Out In orator John Parish, who also Numbers worked on 2008 debut Krülle Bol. The band’s name is part rooted in the group’s historic ﬂexibility. “Partly,” says Kate, “the name comes from the way a lot of people call me Kit. And also I never wanted it to be a ﬁxed project.” That said, these days the group’s personnel is more ﬁxed, with fellow Winchester singer Rozi Plain a regular foil on bass. Moonshine Freeze’s title, meanwhile, comes from a children’s clapping game – a nonsense song that’s morphed across the years. “The repetition of certain vowels and consonants just has an effect on me,” says Kate. “In the clapping song I really liked the way you had to say ‘moonshine, moonshine, moonshine’ three times and then ‘freeze’. I feel like in life we need that – we just need to freeze sometimes.” Roy Wilkinson
33.3 PLAYS MUSIC
(Aesthetics LP 2000)
BASIL KIRCHIN 1(DEMO) I START T COUNTING (from 1970 ﬁlm; available on Fuzzy-Felt Folk, Trunk, 2006) “Basil Kirchin was one of those fascinating ﬁgures and a very complete, omnivorous musician: he started in big bands, went off to India, came back and started doing all kinds of experimental music. He felt he had a philosophical duty to keep pushing. This is a beautiful demo for an l J A ﬁl
Keeping it reel: Max Richter, sucked in by Scelsi.
WALKER 2 SCOTT POLA X (Barclay LP, 1999) “He made this ﬁlm soundtrack just after Tilt, t when things were starting to go very, very abstract. His use of the string orchestra is the single ﬁngerprint that links those early Philips records with his later stuff, almost like it’s in his DNA, though it’s got more abstract and brutalist, you might say. This soundtrack has got sort of songs, but it also h hi i ll f
“I bought it for the cover – a photo of a big industrial shed – and the title. When I heard it I thought, There’s nothing around like this. It’s like a band inventing a language, sort of chamber-poppy with some classical things, a bit beardy with some math rock overtones. Without being ambient – it’s guitar, bass and drums, etc – it has a lot of space in it, and a desert-y, big sky quality. It’s a slow burner – a mindblower in homeopathic doses, in slow
GIACINTO 4PRANAM SCELSI II
SOUNDS NICE 5SIGHT LOVE AT FIRST
(Composed 1973; available Giancinto Scelsi, edition RZ, 2002)
(Parlophone LP title track, 1970)
“He’s an interesting ﬁgure – I think he was minor Italian nobility, sort of surrounded by scandal. To begin with he wrote kind of serial, atonal music, and then through contacts with eastern mystical traditions he became more and more extreme. A lot of his work feels like it hovers on the edge of silence, with extended durations. You can imagine Pranam II replacing the Ligeti music at the end of 2001 – intellectually rigorous, but also this luminous sonic object
“Result! Quality all the way. Again, bought by looking at the cover – it’s a Gus Dudgeon production, Herbie Flowers on bass… gonna be good. I didn’t know it was a cover of Serge Gainsbourg’s Je T’Aime… Moi Non Plus, without the moaning – apparently, the BBC weren’t going to play the original, so these guys just knocked this out. There’s something fundamental and magical about a group of people playing together in real time, responding to one another, that’s the mindblowing thing for
As told to Ian Harrison. Pic: Yulia Mahr
Behind The Counter: Max Richter is out now on Rough Trade Shops Records
The soundtracker selects cosmic strings, Serge covers and music for time travel.
PAUL HEATON Resurgent songsmith talks exploding Housemartins, being nationalised and only drinking when he writes. s the leader of The Housemartins and The Beautiful South, and now as half of a duo with Jacqui Abbott, Paul Heaton has been producing songs of heart, conscience and wit for more than three decades, with 16 Top 10 albums to show for it. it For all that success, he embraces a lifestyle of sane family normality in terraced south Manchester. When MOJO arrives, we take a quick look at his esoteric collection of crisp packets before moving on to a nearby pub. If the solo years that began in 2007 were low-impact, his rekindled association with former Beautiful South co-vocalist Abbott has proven more successful: their latest album, Crooked Calypso, is Heaton’s ﬁrst Number 1 since 1998. Comfortable with who he is, you can
for 2010 s Acid Countryy LP. I love my job,” he says, sipping his soft drink. Is working with Jacqui better for you? Much better. Lyrically, you can put different outﬁts on, so it’s given me more scope. And I’ve realised she has this voice that perhaps is more suited to radio than mine. Sometimes, when I sing, it can sound a bit like, oh that’s Paul Heaton making a statement. statement You can lose yourself in Jacqui’s voice and just listen to the song. Your fealty to the well-assembled, accessible pop song is unshaken? I suppose I’ve written songs and sung to an imaginary nana for most of my career. When I liked punk, I was a massive fan of the tuneful stuff like the Buzzcocks and The Vibrators. I’ve never wanted to make an arty record. You always write your lyrics in the Netherlands. Why?
in a middle-class strop.
BONES. FAT STATE, 2008)
Do you have to drink to write? There’s a cut-off point, when you start g g down the same avenue all the going time, like a repetitive drunk. But there’s a window of two or three hours when things come pouring out. Three or four years ago, when I packed in drinking, I went to Haarlem near Amsterdam and sat in this bar for ﬁve hours drinking Coca-Cola. Nothing. But after a couple of beers, it started coming out.
2 Teardrops Womack & Womack (ISLAND, 1988) 3 Various Guys & Dolls OST (MGM, 1955) 4 Hayes Carll Another Like You (FROM KMAG YOYO,
How do you view The Housemartins and The Beautiful South now? They’re stages of my career. The Housemartins was this band that
HEATON’S CROP Paul’s ﬁve to thrill to
1 Fatboy And Sarah Dawn Finer The Way We Were (FROM IN MY
LOST HIGHWAY, 2011)
5 Dawes a Little Bit Of
and I wanted to be by myself. I d go there in the winter, ﬁnd a bar, get into the mood and write from 12 o’clock ’til 10 or something. It’s similar now, I’ll do a song and a half a day. I’ll go with my wife now. It’s the only time I drink, so she sort of looks after me.
Everything (FROM NOTHING IS WRONG, LOOSE, 2011)
exploded – watching the band grow, getting a phone call saying John Peel wants you to do a session, it was great. The Beautiful South was this steady stream, spreading a lot of goodwill. There were loads of good bits – just singing was one, people singing along, each time you had a new record. You don’t see it as a chore do you? Maybe that’s why I’m not taken as seriously as some others. I’m from the sort of background where you’re supposed to enjoy things that are good. I’m not in some middle-class strop because things haven’t gone right! Should you be more famous? I’m probably one of the few artists – or certainly was, and it’s probably still the case – where my songs are more famous than me. You could ask 30 people in the pub, admittedly of a certain age, but even back in the day, and say, Do you know that song? Yes. Do you know who this is? No. That’s how it goes for me, I like it like that. My idea was to be a sort of East German, efﬁcient writing machine. Maybe I’m short of a few accolades, but I think you give accolades to people who want accolades. They’re a bit wasted on me. Is it true you wanted the government to nationalise you? I asked the Trade and Business Secretary, the MP who was re-elected in Tunbridge Wells. He hasn’t got back to me. I wanted to put the question to him on the unlikely basis that Corbyn got in. I’d put myself on a wage, so they’d take the money from my income and put it back into music. Happy Hour would be a national product! When you’d be on state radio – the BBC – everybody would get a bit of money. Where does your sense of fair play come from? From my dad, I think. He was one of those people who just spent his whole social life giving to other people. Not like, charity, but spending time trying to help other people, whether it was raising money for the school, for football teams. My sense of speaking out of turn is deﬁnitely from my mum. They got on really well. I never heard them argue. Tell us something you’ve never told an interviewer before. I was convinced, between the ages of about seven and 16, that me and this kid from school in Shefﬁeld, Robert Hapgood, had written My Old Man’s A Dustman. I still am to be honest, even if it was written before I was born. Something else I’ve never told anybody in an interview before is that I think I’m a good songwriter. I think, consistence-wise [sic] I’m probably one of the best songwriters over the last 33 years there is, in Britain. But my reward is just being able to do the job. Ian Harrison
LAST NIGHTA RECORD CHANGED MY LIFE
The rite of spring: Steven Wilson (below) thrilled by eight miniature symphonies; (bottom) Talk Talk’s album.
The progressive principal bows to Talk Talk’s 1986 The Colour Of Spring. t was 1986. I was listening to a lot of 4AD and Factory bands, and discovering a lot of music from the ’70s. I think the ﬁrst time I connected with The Colour Of Spring was the video for Life’s What You Make It, on a Saturday morning kids’ show. I responded to the extraordinarily Gilmour-esque guitar line, which wasn’t something you expected from a so-called synth pop group, because until that album Talk Talk had been seen as contemporaries of Duran Duran or Tears For Fears. So I bought the album, one of the ﬁrst compact discs I ever bought, from Our Price in Hemel Hempstead. I was entranced. I love the music of the ’80s but it did have a very processed, artiﬁcial quality. This was very natural sounding, almost something that could have been recorded in the late ‘60s, early ’70s, with this musical palate I recognised, with Hammond organs, a very organic drums and bass production, acoustic guitars,
“IT WAS EXACTLY THE KIND OF MUSIC I WAS LOOKING FOR.”
very warm analogue spring reverbs. It was surprising, but also exactly the kind of music I was looking for. It felt like a throwback but was also of its time. The idea of the ambitious pop record that was very accessible was in vogue – albums like Hounds Of Love, So by Peter Gabriel, Seeds Of Love by Tears For Fears, Parade by Prince. The Colour Of Spring is a brilliant example of that, it’s that perfect tipping point where they were still interested in writing pop, while reaching for a vocabulary that had nothing to do with pop music. I’m a believer in the album as a sequenced, conceived musical journey, and I got that feeling: it was a musical narrative that gradually unfolded. Each of the eight songs, is a miniature symphony-masterpiece – Happiness Is Easy is stunning, Chameleon Day, April 5… Living In Another World and Give It Up are perfect, timeless pop songs. And it’s exactly in the middle of the Talk Talk catalogue, where they’re beginning to move into that post-rock, almost jazz-inﬂuenced experimental realm. In the last few years I’ve remixed classic albums (Yes, King Crimson, XTC etc), and I tried to do the same with The Colour Of Spring. The message was, ‘Mark’s not interested.’ I think he’d see it as sacrilegious, which is fair.” Steven Wilson’s To The Bone is out now on Caroline International.
Kingston’s Kemetic bass commentator ﬁnds the golden mean of hip-hop/reggae fusion. espite growing up in a middle-class district of Kingston, Jamaica, Keron Salmon was a hip-hop head for much of his youth. “Music needs to be thought-provoking for me to enjoy it and really ﬁnd value in it,” he explains, “and hip-hop music, just like reggae, has its conscious side as well as its secular side. I used to listen to a lot of Dead Presidents, Wu Tang, Nas and Rakim, who deal with conscious issues in their music, even if they might touch upon some things we might not consider conscious.” Part-way through his teens, he experienced something of an epiphany via exposure to Rasta-oriented performers whose ﬁrebrand deliveries held hip-hop undercurrents. “It’s not until I got to soak in some of [uncompromising Rasta sing-jay] Sizzla Kalonji’s music that it really transformed my life completely; it transformed my outlook, my identity, and I really started to see myself as an African, as a Rastafari youth.” Re-emerging in 2010 as Kabaka Pyramid (Kabaka means ‘King’ in the east African Buganda language; ‘Pyramid’ for its cosmological associations), he shifted to an Afrocentric worldview informed by the Kemetic history of ancient Egypt, his budding locks revealing a non-standard Rastafari inﬂuence and his music now using an unprecedented blend
“THE BASS LINE… TRANSFORMS ME TO A DIFFERENT PLACE.”
on dub’ sub-genre, Kabaka’s newly-anointed hybrid style was very much his own, and collaboration with leading ‘reggae revival’ vocalist Protoje on the outstanding single Warrior, on which Kabaka declares himself a “black version” of both freedom ﬁghter Che Guevara and TV action hero MacGyver, helped bring him to the wider notice of reggae fans; Mi Alright, voiced with rising reggae star Chronixx, highlighted Kabaka’s ability to incorporate a hard-edged rap ﬂow, even on the poppiest of reggae rhythms. Last year, Kabaka teamed up with Damian ‘Junior Gong’ Marley for the castigating single Well Done, taking world leaders to task for their nefarious wrong-doings. An album, co-produced by Marley, is now in the works while a second single, Can’t Breathe, pushes against the pressures of modern urban life. “It’s been a great pleasure working with him, as he’s a genius,” says Pyramid of Marley. “He’s always working, sometimes to the wee hours of the morning, and the music that we’ve done, I’m very proud of it.” Ultimately, Kabaka sees reggae and rap as alternate forms of inspiration. “I think hip-hop has been more about wittiness, intellect and lyrical ability, but reggae music has always been the spiritual contribution, and the bass line sometimes just transforms me to a different place.” David Katz
ALSORISING ATIE VON SCHLEICHER ’s debut full-length album is the glorious, bleak and sultry Shitty Hits. “The title’s a genre to me,” she explains. “It’s music with a cheesyy quality, like some heavily melodic ’70s song, but lyrically, I’m inspired by Karl Ove Knausgård, who infuses his novels with shame and self-doubt and other unattractive features!” Schleicher also loves lo-ﬁ, to the extent that she returned to her childhood home – the lounge, speciﬁcally – in Pasadena, Maryland, to record the long-player onto gritty cassette. “I wanted to create a sonic universe for myself,” she says, “where I sound drunk on emotion.” Martin Aston
rom Úbeda in Andalusia, desert-blues trio GUADALUPE PLATA took their name from their hometown’s patron, the Virgin of Guadalupe, who, they say, “protects us as we play the Devil’s music”. More plausibly, they claim descent from six-ﬁngered Mississippi-Chicago wildman Hound Dog Taylor, whose galloping beats and twang-heavy licks ooze from their every sonic pore, alongside heart-rending local folk from the Romany, Sephardic and Moorish traditions. Where 2015’s self-titled breakthrough amped up their explosive garage energy, this year’s (also self-titled) LP ushers in ﬁlmic dustbowl twang. In either case, Guadalupe Plata are the best thing to hit punk-blues since The White Stripes. Andrew Perry
Chris Baker, Fernando F Hevia
And the Beat Goes On...
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SHOOT IT UP Mick Rock unveils more most excellent images of Lou Reed in a new edition of his Transformer book.
“WE’D JUST BE BUGGERING ABOUT TRYING DIFFERENT THINGS… IT WAS PLAYTIME.”
IAN DURY FINDS THE BLOCKHEADS, MAKES NEW BOOTS AND PANTIES 9 He was the 35-year-old pub ro k l wordsmith, straining to break fortuitous meetings led him t writing partner and the only b f job. But how did it all come to h ?
“HE SAID, ‘YOU AND I ARE GOING TO BE AS BIG AS LENNON & McCARTNEY’.”
PART 1 “LIKE A STEAM TRAIN” Dury musician and co-writer Chaz Jankel recalls ambition, anger and musical freedom. n 1976 I’d joined Ian in the Kilburns, and we’d played ogether for about nine months. He was the king of he pub circuit, but I think he felt dissatisﬁed, tired When I asked him if he fancied writing some songs, d, ‘God, yeah’. started accepting less gigs and we started writing. ere both proliﬁc, I’d go to his third ﬂoor ﬂat opposite val (nicknamed ‘Catshit Mansions’) and we’d work midday to 10, 11 in the evening. I had my Wurlitzer c piano parked there and he had this basic Olivetti writer set up on this old wooden trestle table, and of lyrics on top of his desk, which I’d wade through. e three-quarters of what became New Boots And s!!! with him over the course of a few months. lyrics were so rich and dense, so well-crafted and c, with so much information in a line. I think he saw lf as the voice of the disenfranchised, writing about n addicts and racism, as well as bringing a lot of th and humour. His strength of spirit and self-belief ke a steam train: life wasn‘t easy for him physically, se he’d had polio, so he’d grit his teeth and he had eve he was the best. was deﬁnitely, hugely ambitious. He said to me, you and I are going to be as big as Lennon & rtney.’ I also think that it was almost like no one was nging him before I met him. The Kilburns were quite tric, very ﬁred up and driven by Ian: because I was ng into American music a lot, I was coming from a very ent direction to other musicians he’d worked with. was an architect in the way that he could sense a nice shape to the record, from the songs we’d n. Wake Up And Make Love With Me was the perfect er, Sweet Gene Vincent suggested his love of billy and it all ﬂowed from there. Side two was cant, it just got more fervent and more angry as it on with Plaistow Patricia and Blackmail Man, which ery much his intent. Once he got that shape, that’s he said we were ready to go in the studio. were demo’ing the songs in Alvic Studios in West ngton, and one of the guys who ran the studio, I can’t mber if it was Al or Vic, said he knew this great rhythm n from a band called Loving Awareness, as Ian and I play drums or bass. It was Norman Watt-Roy [bass] harlie Charles [drums]; our inﬂuences were funk and nd jazz, which Ian loved, but no musician up to that had offered that as a musical environment for Ian. an and Charlie, God, they could. At this session we did Gene Vincent, Blockheads and maybe Sex & Drugs k & Roll. Also, it worked the other way – I’ve heard orman talk about how they loved the music but the al clincher was this English poet bloke as a front- man, ith lyrics like they’d never heard before. We went to a asement studio in Bermondsey where we demo’d the hole album, then re-recorded it properly at Workouse on Old Kent Road. Geoff Castle played synth, avey Payne played sax and Ed Speight from the Kilburns played guitar. The album sounds very conﬁdent because we’d had a trial run at it. With New Boots…, things got more balanced. Ian wanted musical development, with people who’d put the time into their craft. When we put the combination together we didn’t even know it was a genre we hadn’t heard before. When Charlie Gillett came down to the studio we were recording I’m Partial To Your Abracadabra. He said, ‘Ian you sound like Barry White.’’ He was like, ‘Right, fuck that.’ He went back into the London vernacular, which he never gave up. [Single] Sex & Drugs & Rock & Roll had come out [on Stiff Records], with the album following: Ian’s management wanted him out on tour. Ian brought Davey and we asked Charlie and Norman to do it, and they said, ‘Only if we can bring the rest of our band’.”
Barry Plummer, Getty Images (4)
Upminster fully: (far left)Ian Dury and typewriter in ‘Catshit Mansions’; on-stage with Kilburn And The High Roads’ alumni Ed Speight (guitar) and Davey Payne (sax); (bottom row, from left) Chaz Jankel; Dury enjoys an oily rag; the album in question; bassist Norman Watt-Roy and Charlie Charles’s kit; Stiff promo badge; Loving Awareness and Dury wax.
KEYBOARDIST MICK GALLAGHER RECALLS NATIONAL ON THE LIVE STIFFS TOUR. TURN OVER! GOING
PART 2 “LIKE THE MAGNIFICENT SEVEN”
Three days after New Boots… was released, the Live Stiffs Tour took mayhem to the regions. Keysman Mick Gallagher remembers the fun… harlie, Norman, Johnny Turnbull [g and me had played together for years, as Loving Awareness. When that ﬁnished, we all started doing sessions, and one that Charlie and Norman did was for New Boots And Panties!!! The next thing is, they wanted a band on the road, road so they brought John and me in. We did three days rehearsing in some tunnel in south London. The ﬁrst song we did was Wake Up And Make Love With Me, and the chemistry was there immediately. With Ian there was a vibe of having known him for ages. They were impressed because we were so tight tight. Add to that Ian’s Ian s lyrics and Chaz’s arranging and it was a whole package. Ian’s management Blackhill had ofﬁces above Stiff Records on Alexander Street in west London, which was the meeting point for the tour. There was us, Elvis Costello And The Attractions, Wreckless Eric, Nick
it was like a school g on a charabanc, hout the adults ound. The magic of the tour was that nothing was planned, Stiff just hought, let’s stick hese bands on a s and send them nd the country like sed to do in the y t was like The Magniﬁcent Seven coming together. We were at the back of the bus, rehearsing. Everybody else was really into alcohol, we were more tokers. We didn’t get involved with the alcohol-fuelled crazy stuff, like the ’24 Hour Club’, l b’ which h h was, ‘Let’s ‘ ’ see how h far we can push this.’ The one-upmanship caused casualties and upset [see MOJO 47 for breaking glass, blood and chocolate]. Part of our power was, we were really tight, so we became very qui cultish, ‘Have cultish Have you them? Check the When we star tour, no one had billing, we swapp order every nigh soon became ap that it either had Elvis Costello or I
, ; (from left) WattRoy, Kilburn John ‘Irish’ Earle, photographer friend Sue Robertson, Charlie Charles, Ian, Mick Gallagher, John Turnbull; (below from left) Stiff stars Nick Lowe, Elvis Costello, Wreckless Eric, Larry Wallis and Dury.
“WE HAD THE ANTHEM: SEX & DRUGS & ROCK & ROLL.”
University, Elvis was closing the show University and it wasn’t Ian’s best gig. As he was coming off stage he paused as Elvis was going on and said, ‘It’s yours tonight, Elvis.’ He conceded. But at the end of it we had the anthem, didn’t we? We had Sex & Drugs & Rock & Roll, they had I dunno, Alison. So we won when it came to the line at the Lyceum. The name was the last thing we thought of. [MC/press ﬁxer/vibesman] Kosmo Vinyl was introducing us as ‘Ian Dury and The Readers’ Wives’, ‘Ian Dury and The Dummkopfs’, different things at every gig, and one night he just said, ‘Ladies and gentlemen, Ian Dury and The Blockheads!’, and Norman said, ‘That’s a good name innit, we should be called that.’ It was a glorious tour: it had the vibe, the notoriety, and it was on the cheap! By the end, Ian’s popularity was such that Blackhill immediately said, ‘Are you boys available to go back on the road?’ They were thinking about America. The ducks were all in a row and it was magic for a while… we had the rainbow, we just had to k for the pot of gold.” As told to Ian Harrison mon release a variety of l/CD 40th Anniversary anded editions of New ts And Panties!! on ober 13. The Blockheads’ LP Beyond The Call Of ury and a new documenary follow in November. ee theblockheads.com
Rex, Getty Images
DURY FINDS BAND, MAKES NEW BOOTS AND PANTIES!!, 1977
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SEPTEMBER 1974 ...SUPERTRAMP PULL OFF CRIME OF THE CENTURY The 13th? It’s unlucky for some. Especially if Friday-connected (it was). But Supertramp didn’t see it that way. For on that date in 1974, A&M released the band’s third album, the one that was to change their lives. I’d followed the progress of the band since they’d stuck out their self-titled debut LP in summer 1970. I liked it, as did a Sounds reviewer who called it “a brilliant collection of rock songs”. Later, in an early piece on the band, I wrote, “I doubt if it did enough to keep [A&M boss] Herb Alpert in bed socks for a week. week And the band band’ss drummer had a breakdown about that time – which really didn’t help much.” Disillusioned, Supertramp re-emerged in 1971 with Indelibly Stamped, d an album most only remember for its cover depicting the bosom of tattooed lady Marion Hollier.
Guitarist Roger Hodgson admitted that Indelibly Stamped d was far from memorable, admitting, “we were ﬂoundering”. The band seemed doomed and a split seemed inevitable. Nonetheless, they decided to try a single and mix it at Soho-based Trident Studio, where they teamed up with producer Ken Scott, an ex-EMI engineer who had since worked with Elton John and co-produced s h albums as Hunky Dory, y Ziggy Stardust, t Aladdin Sane and Pin-Ups with Bowie. Scott liked what Supertramp were doing as he listened to material they had piled up on their Sony tape-deck. He began to work up the kind of
Roger Hodgson (far right); (inset) the first three LPs; (bottom) Ken Scott at the controls.
“CHRIST THIS BAND ARE GOING TO BE BLOODY BIG.” Sounds
relationship that Eddie Offord had achieved with Yes, and opted to lead them on their quest for their personal Holy Grail – an album that would gain them kudos of the gratifying kind. A trip to The Who’s Ramport Studio in Battersea was arranged and the basic tracks were laid down. When deemed ready, the band, then comprising Hodgson and co-vocalist Rick Davies, plus bassist Dougie Thomson, synth and sax man John Helliwell plus California-born drummer Bob C. Benberg, returned to Trident for overdubs then headed to Scorpio Sound in Euston for the ﬁnal mix. “Ken really became part of the band,” recalled Davies, “But he was such a perfectionist that when he tried for a drum sound we’d all walk out and leave Bob Benberg and him to it. it If we came back a couple of hours later, they’d still be working it all out.” Scott’s pursuit of perfection extended to the album’s sound effects. To get the sound o f children’s voices, Scott headed down to his daughter’s school and recorded the noise at
home-time. He spent an evening recording buskers in London’s West End, while on another occasion he and Supertramp went to Paddington Station where, amid the train-spotters, they recorded station announcements for the track Rudy, a semi-biographical song about Davies’s life at the time. With the recording complete, it remained for photographer Paul Wakeﬁeld and A&M art director Fabio Nicoli to create a suitable cover. Wakeﬁeld had the idea of a prison cell window ﬂoating in space while a prisoner silently screamed through the bars, the hands gripping said bars belonging to Wakeﬁeld’s twin brother. The band approved, and then added a ﬁnal dedication “To Sam”, their name for Stanley August Miesegaes, a Dutch millionaire who donated a portion of his fortune to supporting Supertramp between 1969-1972. When released, I reviewed the album for NME and enthused: “Crime Of The Century, y whisper it not, has the makings of a monster.” Others agreed, the Sunday Times claiming that the LP was “striking musically”, while Sounds added, “There comes a time when you listen to an album and think: ‘Christ this band are going to be bloody big.’” Just so. Crime Of The Centuryy duly hit Number 4 in the UK and 38 in the US (where it would be declared a gold seller on the back of hit single Bloody Well Right), as well as doing nicely in Europe and Australasia. The group were on the ascendant, and would enjoy a further four international hit albums, including 1979’s supersmash Breakfast In America, until Hodgson quit the group in March 1983. “By the end of the Breakfast In America tour the spirit had gone,” he told MOJO in 2007. “We made a follow-up but we weren’t uniﬁed at all, so what could have been a sensational album ended up being very limp and average. We called it Famous Last Words because Rick and I decided we weren’t going through that again.” Fred Dellar
AD ARCHIVE 1974
At a London press 6Harrison conference, George (above) launches his Dark Horse label, the first release being The Place I Love, an album by Splinter.
1, 2, 101ERS
Telegraph 7headedAtClubBrixton The 101ers, by Joe Strummer,r play their first live show.
FUN TIME AT WEMBLEY
Crosby, Stills, 14 Nash & Young, plus The Band and Joni Mitchell play a gig at Wembley Stadium
Uriah Heep bassist Gary Thain suffers a severe electrical shock during the band’s Dallas concert. One onlooker claims: “Gary leapt about three feet in the air and then collapsed unconscious on the floor.” The remainder of the band’s US tour has now been cancelled.
Guitarist Ariel Bender quits Mott The Hoople and is replaced by former Bowie sideman Mick Ronson. It’s announced that Ronson has already recorded with Mott and is on the single Saturday Gig, which CBS are to release in mid-October. His ﬁrst appearance with the group will be at London’s Hammersmith Odeon on December 6. The former Spiders From Mars leader will perform some of his own material during Mott’s act, and will be involved in production and arrangements for the live show.
EASY LISTENING US 45s SEPT 21
Robbie 23 McIntosh, 24-year-old drummer
YOU, I HONESTLY 1IDOLOVE OLIVIA NEWTON-JOHN MAN IN PARIS JONI 2 FREE MITCHELL I SAW A MAN AND HE 3CHER DANCED WITH HIS WIFE
with the Average White Band, dies from an accidental heroin overdose at a party after a show at the Troubadour in Los Angeles. McIntosh had snorted what he thought to be cocaine.
The three-day Zaire ‘74 festival in Kinshasa, featuring 17 groups from Zaire, and 14 from the US spins to an end.
Robert Fripp announces that he is temporarily disbanding King Crimson in the wake of five years and seven albums.
25 Getty Images (4), Rex, Alamy, Advertising Archives
RONNO JOINS MOTT...
JOHN AND ON
John Lennon’s Walls And Bridges album is released in the States. When Paul McCartney is asked for his opinion on the album, he replies: “It’s a very good, great album, but I know he can do better.”
26 Get your white suit with flares on, and go for that Roxy Music/Bill Nelson look with new-shaped toes! And all on HP.
Dilated Hoople: Mott with Mick Ronson (front right) and his vinyl debut with the group.
LOVE MY FRIEND 4 ICHARLIE RICH LIKE MAKIN’ LOVE 5 FEEL ROBERTA FLACK TIN MAN AMERICA 6 KUNG FU IT ALL UP TO YOU DONN Y FIGHTING AT 7ANDLEAVING MARIE OSM NUMBER 1... HELLO SUM Chopsocky8 BOBBY GOLDS SEPTEMBER 21 inﬂuenced COLUMBIA
Martial plan: Carl Douglas gives ’em the eye.
A ANTIC ATL
disco novelty Kung Fu Fighting by Jamaican singer Carl Douglas reaches Number 1 in the UK. The song was reputedly recorded in approximately 10 minutes and two takes, at the end of a three-hour session for its ostensible A-side I Want To Give You My Everything. A surprise worldwide hit, it will sell an estimated 10 million copies.
CAME 9THETHEN DIONNE WARW DETROIT SP A ANTIC ATL
STOP AND 10 SMELL TH ROSES MAC DAVIS
Nice ’n’ easy: Roberta Flack at Number 5.
6 S NTH
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LOST IN THE ECHO Chester Bennington, burning voice of Linkin Park, took his own life on July 20. nly one band have sold 30 million copies of a single studio album this century, and that is Linkin Park with their 2000 debut Hybrid Theory. y Much of their success was down to the vocal interplay between rapper Mike Shinoda and singer Chester Bennington, whose impassioned roar came from a place of honesty and unease, and transcended genres to make him the most commercially successful rock vocalist of the era. Born Chester Charles Bennington in Phoenix, Arizona in 1976, he was affected by the divorce of his parents at the age of 11; his mother was a nurse and his father a detective who worked on abuse cases. Bennington himself had already been a victim of sexual abuse by an older friend since the age of seven. He was also bullied at school, but found succour in music, art, poetry and drugs, heavily using crack, heroin, acid and methamphetamine
throughout his teenage years. He would later address such subjects in his lyrics, lending Linkin Park’s themes of alienation credibility, his skinny everyman looks making him an unlikely underdog icon. A fan of Ministry, Depeche Mode and The Doors, Bennington fronted Sean Dowdell And His Friends? before forming Grey Daze in 1993, releasing two albums and drawing a large following in Arizona. Already married with a son from a previous relationship, Bennington departed the band in 1998 and was on the point of leaving music when A&R man Jeff Blue suggested he audition for Los Angeles band Xero. Changing their name ﬁrst to Hybrid Theory and then Linkin Park (after Lincoln Park in Santa Monica), the six-piece signed to Warners. Highly polished and centred around Bennington’s melodies, Linkin Park’s music fell squarely in the overlap between nu-metal, rap-rock, alternative rock, electronica and grunge. They found themselves in an elite club of high rollers when Meteora (2003) notched 27 million album sales
Unlikely underdog icon: Chester Bennington in 2014.
“HIS IMPASSIONED ROAR CAME FROM A PLACE OF HONESTY AND UNEASE.”
Album: Hybrid Theory (Warner Bros., 2000) The sound: Korn and Limp Bizkit may have shaped the late-’90s nu-metal sound, but LP’s debut connected more widely. Tracks such as In The End and One Step Closer achieve the rare feat of capturing millennial angst by way of big pop hooks, straightforward raps, and Bennington’s emotionally heightened choruses, which, though nihilistic, are shot through with light and hope.
those who had been decades in the game. They also collaborated with many artists, including Jay-Z, Rakim, Mötley Crüe, Santana and Stormzy. At the height of Linkin Park’s success Bennington formed the grunge-inﬂuenced Dead By Sunrise with members of LA nu-metallers Orgy, and in 2013 fulﬁlled a long-held dream when he joined Stone Temple Pilots for two years. In 2006 he married former Playboy model Talinda Ann Bentley; in all, he had six children by three mothers, including twins and an adopted son. He was open about discussing mental health problems and was close to Chris Cornell; he recently sang Hallelujah at the Soundgarden frontman’s funeral. On a break during a world tour Chester Bennington unexpectedly took his own life at home in California on Cornell’s birthday. Ben Myers
Camera Press/Picture Press
Paris is burning: Pierre Henry looks to the electroacoustic future.
DR G YUNUPINGU ABORIGINAL SOUL BORN 1971 The recipient of a British silver disc for his eponymous debut album, Gurrumul,l released in 2009, the Australian singer Dr G Yunupingu made a mockery of every obstacle he came across. Born blind into a Gumatj community on Elcho Island in Arnhem Land, as a boy he taught himself piano, guitar and percussion when he wasn’t cycling around town on his own. As a teenager, he toured the world with the trailblazing Aboriginal band Yothu Yindi, but it was only later that his songwriting and otherworldly tenor came to the fore. Despite acute shyness and an aversion to questions – he rarely spoke in public or gave interviews – his three albums for the Darwin-based label Skinnyﬁsh
made him a ﬁgurehead and important crossover ﬁgure as the Australian government came to terms with the legacy of “the stolen generations” of indigenous people. David Hutcheon
PIERRE HENRY R MUSIQUE CONCRÈTE PIONEER, PSYCHÉ ROCKER BORN 1927 Pierre Henry once declared that his primary inﬂuence was the sound of nature. He would duly explore the potential of amalgamating non-musical noise and composition over a career that lasted more than six decades. Initially a percussionist, he studied under Olivier Messiaen at the Paris Conservatoire before taking a job with French national radio in 1949, where he met Pierre Schaeffer. Together they founded the GRM electro-acoustic studio, and collaborated on Symphonie Pour Un Homme Seul, a landmark in musique concrète, while in 1958
Henry founded the APSOME electronic studio. Alone and collaboratively, Henry’s 50-plus albums included 1967’s Messe Pour Les Temps Présent (commissioned by choreographer Maurice Béjart and recorded with Michel Colombier, its second track Psyché Rock became a classic of retro-modern dance pop after its rediscovery in the mid-’90s) and the 1969 collaboration with Spooky
Tooth, Ceremony. y Other releases displayed a lively, questing mind, with albums variously themed around the Apocalypse Of John, the Italian Futurist Luigi Russolo, Milton’s Paradise Lost, The Egyptian Book Of The Dead and Dracula. He declared 1997’s Intérieur/Extérieurr his greatest opus, while last album Continuo/ Capriccio was released in 2016. Ian Harrison
Getty Images (3), Livepix
MEMPHIS MAFIA mainstay RED WEST (above right, b.1936) acted as Elvis Presley’s conﬁdante, driver and bodyguard for 20 years. He also wrote songs for his employer, Ricky Nelson and Dino, Desi & Billy. After he was ﬁred by Vernon Presley in 1976, he co-wrote the big-selling tell-all book Elvis: What Happened?. Published just weeks before its subject’s death, it spoke of the King’s drug dependency and sex life, among other personal revelations. West also found success as an actor, and died less than two months after his cousin Sonny, also a Memphis Maﬁa member. WINDSOR musician MICK BUND (b.c.1966) had worked with his friend and ﬂatmate Sarah Cracknell before playing bass for Birmingham enigmas Felt on the album The Pictorial Jackson Review w and the single Space Blues in 1988. He went on to play with David Westlake, Saint Etienne, Bocca Juniors, Airstream, Large Number and Mexico 70, whose Thirty Five Whirlpools Below Sound album came out in 2006. In 2003 he released a solo LP, Astronaut Grafﬁti. In 2012 he mused, “I really hated that ‘ex-Felt’ thing at ﬁrst, but now, Christ, it’s magic.”
RAPPER FRESH KID ICE (AKA Christopher Wong Won, b.1964) found infamy and sales running into millions with lewd Miami hip-hoppers 2 Live Crew, whose 1989 album As Nasty As They Wanna Be was the subject of a celebrated obscenity trial. A founder member of the group and a US Air Force veteran, after their split in 1991 he went solo for The Chinaman album, formed his own Ice Cold Productions outﬁt, joined various partial 2 Live Crew reunions and released solo LPs including Still Nastyy and Freaky Chinese. He suffered strokes in 2008 and 2010, and published his autobiography My Rise 2 Fame in 2015. SINGER-songwriter MICHAEL JOHNSON (b.1944) played with John Denver in the short-lived trio Denver, Boise & Johnson before starting his solo career with 1973’s There Is A Breeze. In 1978 he had his ﬁrst hit with the US Number 12 soft rocker Bluer Than Blue: two more Top 40 entries followed. In the second half of the ’80s he was a US country chart regular, scoring ﬁve mellow Top 10 singles, including the Number 1s Give Me Wings and The Moon Is Still Over Her Shoulder. He continued to record – in ’97 he duetted with Alison Krauss on Whenever I Call You Friend – and recorded his ﬁnal album, Moonlit Déjà Vu, in 2012. TUXEDOMOON’s PETER DACHERT (AKA Peter Principle, b.1954) played bass and guitar with the San Francisco new wave avant-gardists from 1978, moving with them to Europe in 1981. Despite several line-up changes, Dachert remained part of the group throughout the ’80s, playing on and writing for albums including Holy Wars, You and Divine, based on
Maurice Béjart’s ballet of the same name. Though the group were inactive in the ’90s, he rejoined them in 2004. Dachert also recorded solo albums including Sedimental Journey and Idyllatry, and produced groups including Marine and Minimal Compact. He died in Brussels, where Tuxedomoon had been working on a concert tour and new recordings. LOUISIANA ambassador D.L. MENARD (b.1932) was dubbed ‘The Cajun Hank Williams’ due to his blending of Arcadian music with country. He began his career in the early ’50s with accordionist Elias ‘Shute’ Badeaux’s Louisiana Aces, and in 1962 – while working at a gas station – he wrote La Porte D’en Arrière (The Back Door), the signature song he would play for the rest of his life. A skilled chair-maker by trade, he toured internationally, was elected to the Louisiana Hall of Fame in 2009 and made his last live appearance on July 2 in his hometown of Erath, celebrating the 50th anniversary of his most famous song. Se performance on SOUTH AFRICAN guitarist and pro RAY PHIRI (b played in soul b Cannibals in th they later morp fusionists Stime whose 1986 son Whispers In The Deep was bann by the apartheid regime. Phiri wo famously lend h artistry to Paul Simon’s albums Graceland d (1985 Rhythm Of The S
(1990). He also took part in Graceland’s 25th anniversary tour. On news of his death, South African President Jacob Zuma paid tribute, saying, “He was a musical giant. This is indeed a huge loss for South Africa.” GUITARIST JIMMY NALLS (b.1951) played with Alex Taylor, Dr. John, Don McLean and Lloyd Price before joining three members of The Allman Brothers Band – keyboardist Chuck Leavell, bassist Lamar Williams and drummer Jai Johanny Johanson – in Southern fusion jam band Sea Level, who recorded ﬁve albums in their 1976-1981 lifespan. Afterwards Nalls played with B.J. Thomas, Noel Paul Stookey and T. Graham Brown. From the mid-’90s he had been suffering from Parkinson’s disease; in June he released The Jimmy Nalls Project Album, with contributions from Larry Carlton, Brad Whitford, Leavell, Joe Bonamassa and others.
BOBBY TAYLOR (b.1934), front man of Motown’s The Vancouvers, remembered not 1968 Top 30 US hit a Know About Me who that year ﬁrst o the potential of who supported in Chicago and arliest tracks he ced. Born in ngton DC, Taylor’s ocal range, control comfort in many es peaked in The ncouvers, but later o work was less cessful. He died in g Kong on July 22. ior, Ian Harrison, Geoff Brown
Freaky Chinese: 2 Live Crew’s Fresh Kid Ice.
THE MOJO INTERVIEW
From Up, Up And Away to Wichita Lineman and beyond, he turned MOR lead into gold. Meanwhile, dancing with the Devil, and PCP, P invited catastrophe. “I was up to my neck k in it!” exclaims Jimmy Webb. Interview by DAVE DIMARTINO t Portrait by PIPER FERGUSON
EAH, I HEAR IT,” SAYS A PUZZLED detailing the legendary songwriter’s start as an Oklahoma City Jimmy Webb, sitting next to me on a preacher’s son who ploughed winter wheat and listened to Glen couch in a hotel restaurant in West W Campbell on his transistor radio, then moved westward and made Hollywood. He’s holding my iPhone history writing pop jewels for Campbell himself, The 5th Dimeninches from his face and listening to that sion, Harris, Art Garfunkel, and countless others. His By The Time one sound in MacArthur Park that has I Get To T Phoenix, Up, Up And A Away, Wichita Lineman and perplexed me since ﬁrst hearing it on Galveston are among popular music’s very ﬁnest songs, and there the radio in 1968. Precisely at the 4:07 mark, as Richard R Harris is considerably more in his canon. From his mid-’60s days as a breathfully intones “I will have the things that I desire and my Rivers, as a songwriter for Motown’s Jobete Music and Johnny R passion ﬂow like rivers through the sky,” right between the singer-songwriter with more than a dozen solo albums to his credit, “things” and the “that,” there is a sound very much like a bubble and as a producer and arranger with a startling adeptness in nearly rising to the surface of what might be a carbonated, perhaps all genres, Webb has led the high life and witnessed the excesses of alcoholic, drink. rock’n’roll celebrity ﬁrst-hand. “I have no idea what that is,” says Webb. He is warm, gregarious, and on this day WE’RE NOTWORTHY “I can’t believe it was on the original, my God. in July 2017, adjusting to local time having But it could be his vocals.” As we prepare to recently returned with his wife Laura from Webb, unspun by Prefab move outside the hotel for some exterior a successful tour of A Australia. In less than a Sprout’s Paddy McAloon. photos, he’s still wondering. “He also had a month he’ll be turning 71, but he looks “I was 11 when I heard pitcher of Pimm’s No. 1 on a stand right next younger.r We talk of family – he and his kids Wichita Lineman. That line, ‘I need you more to the microphone. If he had been holding a just had dinner with old pal Johnny R Rivers (his than want you,’ where glass… It seems to come from that world of musician sons The Webb W Brothers “never suddenly it’s been thrown sound, am I right?” really ask my advice about anything,” he says into doubt, then ‘And I As well as providing nearly 50 years of with a resigned smile) – and the future. He want you for all time…’ It moved me profoundly. In his great satisfaction for fans of sophisticated and wants to make a “plain old solo album” next, songs, there’s an ear for speciﬁcs and mysterious pop, MacArthur Park also with songs “up there with the best I’ve ever an attention to language, and a great furnishes a title for W Webb’s new memoir, The written.” He orders a blackened shrimp range and humanity. And a deep, subversive musicality. I don’t care what Cake And The Rain. It’s a fascinating read, southwestern quinoa salad. “I still believe
he says, Jimmy Webb is hip.”
that in the end the good songs will win out,” he adds. Do you remember the moment it struck you that music could be your life? When I was 12 or 13 years of age we were living in Oklahoma City. I had literally lived in George Lucas towns, American Grafﬁti towns, and everybody knew everybody, and I played piano in the church, and had gained considerable expertise as a pianist by the time I was 12. And I even did evangelical stuff with my father, I went out on the road with him, and it was like… an act. The church really was my ﬁrst taste of show business, and I made a direct correlation between how well we were doing on-stage, and the amount of money that piled up on the offering plate. You could see the results of your efforts immediately. How did you start writing? I got a very bad beating in a class from a teacher for making a mistake on a paper – this guy was a nut job and he beat me with a board. I didn’t want to go to school. So I was languishing by the radio listening to songs, and I made a connection. Brenda Lee would have a big hit with I’m Sorry, and they’d come up with another record that sounded a little like I’m Sorry. Not too much like I’m Sorry, because that would ruin it. There was an epiphany; I became aware of this process that was going on behind the scenes. I divined this process on my own. Then, later, I would ﬁnd out that in the industry that was called a “follow-up”. There was a name for it. So I was writing songs. I remember writing a song called It’s Someone Else, and I thought, That would be a great follow-up for The Everly Brothers’ Let It Be Me. And 25 years later I told Artie Garfunkel the story, because he loved The Everly Brothers, and he ended up cutting it. I was 13 years old when I wrote my ﬁrst follow-up. You came along at the point where there
were two distinct camps: the Brill Building people, who wrote material and gave it to artists who didn’t write but could sing, and that next generation of artists – who could do both. Those were my heroes, the Brill Building people. And The Beatles? The night they were ﬁrst on the Ed Sullivan Show I was playing with a jazz quartet. So the guys came in one night at rehearsal and said, “Hey man, did you see those guys on the Ed Sullivan Show? They got hair like girls, they look just like girls, man.” I said, “NAHHH” (in disbelief). f They said, “Yeah, they’re all singing, man, they’re all singing and playing, and the girls are going crazy, screaming – practically tearing off their clothes.” I said, “That ain’t going to happen, man. We’re going to stay with jazz.” Because I didn’t get it. But then when Rubber Soull came out, and Revolverr came out, I got it. There were just some lovely songs coming from those guys. And the songwriter part of me had to accept The Beatles as signiﬁcant, you know? What they did as a show wasn’t as impressive to me as what they were doing on paper. Do you think that way generally – that the song has more merit than the artist? I do, yeah. Right or wrong, I do. Because I think it was Mick Jagger who said, “It’s the singer, not the song,” and I always had it exactly the other way around. Because I don’t know what he would’ve done, frankly, without the songs that he had, because he had some pretty great freaking songs. What was your biggest break, in retrospect? Your early publishing deal with Motown? There were two major breaks, OK? Motown was a break, because of the experience that it afforded me, and because they were extremely kind to me and generous in imparting their street cred and hard-learned, almost arcane
body of knowledge when it came to what constituted a hit song, what would actually give you a hit. They made a study of that, the nuts and bolts of writing a hit. What they used to stress with me was the message – “Jimmy, where’s the message?” they’d ask. They let me work with orchestras, they taught me how mixing boards worked, they spent time in the studio with me. And the other break? Johnny Rivers was very much a mentor. I went to the Monterey Pop Festival with him and I played with the Wrecking Crew, and that was an inestimable education. And experience. I sat right beside Larry Knechtel – Larry would play the grand piano, or Larry would play the organ, one or the other. Back in those days, Baldwin made an electric harpsichord, and a lot of people were using that. There were all kinds of gadgets around. We didn’t have synthesizers, we had to make everything up. But Lou Adler and John Phillips never edited us into footage of Monterey Pop. They left the Wrecking Crew lying on the cutting room ﬂoor. Well, that ﬁlm keeps getting repackaged; maybe one day we’ll see your bit. What we did was great. And the most popular act at the festival was Otis Redding. And Otis Redding was a traditional nightclub performer, just like Johnny. They were concentrating on Jefferson Airplane and all this airy-fairy, hippy-dippy stuff, and Otis Redding came out and wrecked the joint. The reason he was able to do that is because he was an experienced professional musician. He’d been doing it all his life. Most of the people on that stage were dilettantes, Johnny-come-latelies. That’s the reason Glen Campbell worked from dawn ’til dark every day on other people’s records – it’s because there were so few people who knew how to play. That’s just a fact. I mean, there were guys out there who could play – Jimmy Messina, David Crosby, you know. I don’t want
A LIFE IN PICTURES
Webb snapped: a songsmith’s scrapbook.
High School, musical. Jimmy Webb, Paciﬁc Palisades, Los Angeles, CA, 1964: “I got a very bad beating in class.”
2 Getty Images (5), Seth Poppel/Yearbook Library, Harry Nilsson, Henry Diltz
With MacArthur Park interpreter and expert hellraiser Richard Harris in 1968: “Richard and I had a real trainwreck,” says Jimmy of their Roller derby.
I still hear your seawinds blowing: offshore with partner-in-PCP Harry Nilsson, 1973.
Phoenix, his mega-hit for Glen Campbell, on the Old Grey Whistle Test, June 1971.
Still on the line: Webb and Campbell at the ASCAP Country Music Awards, 2006.
What’s the worst that could happen? The Young Prince surveys his kingdom, 1968. “I was pretty cocky.”
Up, Up And Away! Again!: Jimmy jumps for joy in May 1970 as The 5th Dimension celebrate winning a Grammy for Age Of Aquarius.
Here comes trouble: one man and his Shelby Cobra 427 Super Snake, 1969: “It was a world of opulence,” admits Webb.
The singer and d the song: essaying By The Time I Get To
to paint everybody with the same brush, but generally speaking, there were a lot of weak spots in the repertoire and they covered that with studio musicians, who they almost never credited on the albums, because that would give it away, that their artist wasn’t playing. How did you feel about that dichotomy? Resentful? I think what I’m addressing here is essentially the singer-songwriter phenomenon, which is – “I’ll write my song, I’ll play it on my guitar, I’ll sing it with my voice, and somehow or another that will achieve a wonderful result.” Well, a lot of times it didn’tt achieve a wonderful result, but nobody gave a shit. Because it was the fashion, kids didn’t want to hear anybody sing songs by other people any more, they only wanted to hear people singing their own songs. Meanwhile, there’s this whole pool of really talented singers who suddenly aren’t getting airplay and can’t get hits any more, and they were desperate for songs from the writers that were getting hits.
Wilbur Clark’s Desert Inn? Everybody from André Previn… everybody who was ever anybodyy played on that stage at the Desert Inn, but all of a sudden it wasn’t OK K to do it. You were risking your career by going up to Vegas and playing the casinos. You were. That’s the insane thing. Now nobody cares, because Celine Dion has her own nightclub or whatever. They’re all there now, because that’s where the money is. But it was a lot about your politics. It was so funny, you’ve got Gil Scott-Heron saying the theme song for the revolution will not be written by Jimmy Webb or sung by Glen
Glen and I might’ve invented the genre is kind of ironic. If you take that point of view, and I’m not sure that I do. But at any rate, we were making what we called country crossovers. d pioneer that kind And in actual fact, Glen did of record, he brought country-inspired music into the mainstream. The pop mainstream. And in so doing, he laid the foundation for Lionel Richie and Kenny Rogers and then, later on, any number of country-ﬂavoured stars. MacArthur Park is one of the most mindblowing recordings of all time. I would imagine the ﬁrst time people even heard it, they must’ve thought what the hell is this? Did people think you were nuts? Bones Howe was producing The Association and he called me up one day and said, “Do you think you could write like a pop thing, a rock thing, but it could have movements, like a symphony orchestra does, so it’s sort of like a miniature symphonic piece?” And I said, “I think I’m the onlyy person…” I was pretty cocky. So three days later I went in, they’ve got ashtrays full of cigarettes and there’s beers sitting everywhere, and you can tell this is the last day, they’re trying to get the freakin’ record done, and they’re waiting for me. I get the sheet music out and I’m playing it, (sings) “I recall the yellow cotton dress…” and it’s going over pretty good – because it would’ve been a pretty good song for them, if you think about it, right? And then I got into the second part – and the guys are kind of looking at their watches and looking at Bones, and I know what they’re thinking – that they’ve got 11 songs already, and they’ve only got room for 12 songs, and in those days there was a ﬁnite length to album sides. So I launch into the allegro, I’m really into it, I’m thinking, “These guys, they gotta be LOVING this,” I get
“I went out with my dad, and it was like an actt. The church really was my ﬁrst taste of show business.”
Your book spells out that scenario – and how it impacted you – very clearly. I think that’s where it really begins to have a pulse, and you begin to feel the frustration of somebody whose soul is really with their own generation, wanting to move forward, wanting to be a part of not just what was fashionable, but of a whole political movement. And yet… being fairly roundly criticised for being a middle-of-the-road, hack songwriter who’s just writing for anybody who’s got the money. Anything sting in particular? David Geffen said to me, “You can’t play Vegas – I thought you were just some guy who hung around in Vegas with Connie Stevens.” That hurt. And besides, what’s wrong with that?
Campbell. It was so ironic. People who know me were laughing hysterically, because I was all for putting bombs under police cars; I was one step away from being radicalised. Someone recently said some of those songs you did with Glen like Wichita Lineman, Phoenix, and Galveston might be considered forerunners of what would become the Americana movement several years later. Do you hear that in there? Well, I don’t know what Americana is, and certainly theyy don’t claim me, but that’s the story of my life. And it doesn’t fucking bother me either, and you can print that. They don’t exactly claim me as Americana, so the fact that
“I remember the parties Richard Harris would have. There’d be Rex Harrison, Michael Caine, George Best…”
right to that point at the very end of the instrumental section – and just as I pick up my hands to play that big chord, I rip out the bottom of my pants. Like Errol Flynn sticking a dagger in a sail, it was that ripping, tearing sound of the world’s most gigantic fucking fart, t do you know what I’m saying? (laughs loudly) And everybody in the room just exploded with laughter. It was one of those moments where, fuck art, fuck good manners, this is too good to be true. This guy just blew the ass out of his fucking pants! And that was it. So, combined with the fact that it was too long anyway, it sort of ended up at the bottom of my portfolio just about the same time I was getting ready to go over and play songs for Richard for A Tramp Shining.
Let’s talk about the world you were living in back then, where there was conspicuous wealth, chartered jets, celebrities everywhere. It wasn’t quite the same world as The Beatles and The Rolling Stones – it seemed more the classic deﬁnition of jet-setting. Yes, it was. And it was a little bit more traditional. For instance, one of my friends then was Sammy Davis. So it would’ve been people who were just catching the wave a little bit. But think about how long Sammy had been in the business – he had done everything, and then all of a sudden it’s the ’60s and these guys are trying to ﬁnd a way, really, to stay aﬂoat. But they’ve all done very well and they’re staying at Claridge’s, they’re staying at the Dorchester or the Four Seasons and they’re ﬂying ﬁrst class
and they’re giving each other diamond rings for party favours. It was a world of opulence – I think that’s the word you’re looking for. I took to it like a ﬁsh to water, to tell you the truth. I remember the parties that Richard [Harris] would have. There’d be Barbara Hutton, Rex Harrison, who was dating his ex-wife, Elizabeth, Michael Caine would be there, Tony Newley would be there, there’d be a couple of heavyweight champs, there’d be rugby players, George Best, Clement Freud – Sigmund Freud’s grandson who looked just like him, he’d be there. And it was all things that Richard had collected, like the king’s crown from Camelot he had on display. You and Richard had a falling out back then? Richard and I had a real trainwreck, because he
every label that Warner Brothers had – Reprise, Warners, Asylum and Atlantic – Ahmet Ertegun was my rabbi over at Atlantic, all of these people, David Geffen, believed in me, they thought I could do it, I thought I could do it. I thought we were going to do it. And again, it’s back to that deadly word: single. You’re very candid in your book. The tales about McCartney – how you were supposed to write a song for Mary Hopkin but you let it slip and he gave you some grief – or Nilsson and Lennon here in LA. Did you have any trepidation about being so honest about things, even though several of those people aren’t around any more? No, I would’ve done the same thing if Harry and John were still alive. Because I made a decision when I started out writing it that I had a peculiar and unique and privileged perch
Three-album taste of Jimmy’s range and skill. By Danny Eccleston. ORCH-POP IN EXTREMIS
A Tramp Shining (DUNHILL, 1968)
Unlike any other album in the world ever, this is the sound of two ebullient, baroque personalities (Webb writes everything, produces, arranges; Richard Harris, off the back of musical success with Lerner & Loewe’s Camelot, emotes to the edge of his vocal ability and beyond) egging each other on. MacArthur Park’s epic hymn to romance spoiled and lost forever presides, but If You Must Leave My Life is like Bacharach gone ballistic.
THE SOLO HIGH-FLIER
El Mirage (ATLANTIC, 1977)
got the idea that something was wrong with our contract, and once something like that gets started, it’s devilish hard to prove a negative. “No, no I didn’t, I wouldn’t do that to you” – it was very hurtful to me, the whole thing, and then along the way it messed up this other thing where he had promised me this Rolls-Royce Phantom V. To tell you the truth, I couldn’t give a shit about the Phantom V – all I cared about was the fact that it was his Phantom V. I was 21, 22 years old. Today it would be water off a duck’s back, we’d be laughing about it. But back in the day, I took things more seriously. Kids take things more seriously. I expected him to keep his promise to me. Meanwhile, how were you viewing your own record making? Your albums were getting good reviews, but they didn’t sell very well. What did you make of it? Yeah, I couldn’t ﬁgure it out. I kept trying to ﬁx what was wrong. I took voice lessons, I moved from producer to producer, I recorded for
All of Webb’s ’70s solo albums have something going for them, but this is the only one where his singing voice feels entirelyy comfortable (credit producer George Martin, giving it loads of America). Apologies to Willie Nelson, Kris Kristofferson & co, but Webb’s opening take on The Highwayman is the deﬁnitive performance and If You See Me Getting Smaller I’m Leaving is another of his great ‘my funny old career’ songs (cf. Song Seller from 1972’s Letters).
THE OLD FIRM MATCH
Glen Campbell And Jimmy Webb
In Session (FANTA T SY, 2012)
Every home should have a ’60s Campbell best-of, embracing widescreen, Webb-penned smashes Galveston, Wichita Lineman, By The Time I Get To Phoenix and Where’s The Playground Susie?, but this late, Songbook-style collaboration is beautifully intimate, with the country giant’s once silken delivery made vulnerable by age and oncoming Alzheimer’s. Galveston, a song about memory and more, is unspeakably poignant. Adieu to a classic combination.
from which to view this whole phenomenon, this ’60s thing, and to not take advantage of the opportunity, and spoil it, and not throw the hard pitch, that would’ve been really fucked, right? I agree. And you haven’t painted a picture of yourself that’s overly positive – as if you were above it all. I was up to my neckk in it! ( laughs) Actually, at one point in the mid-’70s, you and Harry Nilsson were extremely close to actual death by misadventure. There was an incident with PCP… We were taking a lot of drugs, but we would have never taken PCP in a million years. PCP – to put it bluntly – was beneath our station. We thought that we were snorting some Merck – we thought it was industrially manufactured cocaine, which is the very, very best. It was a dark room, we were partying, [Nilsson] said, “I’ve got this new product, it’s great.” He always had this habit of just turning the bottle over and making a mountain on the back of his hand, and then just sticking his nose in there, and then he’d hand it over to you, and you’d take whatever was left. So between us, we took about half a bottle. That was pretty normal. It wasn’t like that was a lot. I mean, we snorted it. And it turned out to be PCP. It really almost killed us both. But the truth is, I was in a coma for 24 hours, and I don’t know how long it took Harry to come out of it, I really don’t know. I think maybe he came around the next day, but he didn’t have the after-effects I did. The after-effects I had, they were just… You know you always wonder why someone would kill themselves? Well I was there. It was thatt bad. But at the end of the book, when it seemed like you might never get it all back, it comes back, a happy ending of sorts. Do you feel it came back fully? Oh yeah. It not only came back, it came back with such a ﬂood of gratitude, for my having been given a second opportunity. That was the most important moment in my life. When I looked at that piano and suddenly I remembered how to play Amazing Grace. Because I knew if I could play Amazing Grace, I could play anything. I’ve heard there’s a second volume coming. But a lot of people are going to be wondering what happens after the book abruptly ends in the mid-’70s. Any hints? I would rather just say that there’s going to be a Volume 2, and so some of those stories I’m still guarding a little, because there’s still punch lines, there are still some Agatha Christie moments that are yet to be revealed, and the Devil comes back – because think about it, the Devil always comes back, right? The Devil. He’s a character in your book, and he’s a puzzle. Is he a real, unnamed person? Is he a literary device? Well, the Devil and I have secrets, but in a sense I can say this: that we alll have a little bit of the Devil in us, some of us more than others, and it could be said about some people that they’re the very Devil himself. It would also be fair of me to say that if I used a device to cloak the Devil’s identity, it was in his interest, it was to his beneﬁt, OK? A little sympathy for the devil is what I’m talking about. When you put your life’s work to paper – two volumes of it – you’re begging for a life summation. How would you like to be remembered? I don’t know. I think more than anything else, I would like for people to say that I was a songwriter of the old mould… Maybe the last one. M MOJO 43
The beginning of rock’n’roll time: the acetate of Jimmy Sweeney’s Without You that Elvis Presley (below left in ’56) tried to echo; (opposite) Sweeney in Bradley’s Studio, Nashville, circa 1958. “He sounded like Elvis before Elvis sounded like Elvis.”
¢ Getty Images (4), courtesy Tom Salva
who the singer was. He was told it was just Negro kid hanging around a Nashville studio when the song came in.” Phillips considered releasing the demo as it was, but at Marion’s suggestion, he agreed to let Elvis try the song. The story goes that Presley listened intently to the demo, but when he tackled Without You he couldn’t rival the recording’s yearning an vulnerability. Phillips was not impressed. Durin break, Keisker said Elvis pounded on the table, sayin “I hate him! I hate him! Why can’t I sing like that?” After a break, Phillips set Without You aside and encouraged Elvis to just sing, be himself. He relaxed and sang fragments of songs in all styles, long synthesized in his subconscious. In the next few days, Phillips put Elvis together with guitarist Scotty Moore and bassist Bill Black for a proper audition. That’s All Right was released in July 1954 and shortly afterwards, Elvis became ELVIS, for better and for worse.
OR R OVER R 60 YEARS, THE STORY RY OF an unknown singer and the role his song played in the origins of the Elvis Presley phenomenon has become rock’n’roll folklore. Numerous biographies and documentaries have analysed how this mystery singer’s unique voice challenged and inspired the fledgling future King Of Rock’n’Roll. But who was he? Sam Phillips told his biographer PPeter Guralnick that the singer was an inmate at Tennessee State Penitentiary – indicating the then-incarcerated Johnny Bragg of The Prisonaires fame. Guralnick himself heard in the vocal “a cross between The Ink Spots and a sentimental Irish tenor”. In his 1975 book Mystery Train, Greil Marcus said of it: “I hear the gospel tones of Johnny Bragg and The Prisonaires, Sonny Til of The Orioles, Bill K Kenney of The Ink Spots. But most of all, anyone who listens hears Elvis… To listen now, is to be transformed back to the very instant before the beginning of the present age. The unnamed singer’s voice is full of pain and full of acceptance; gliding along the stately lines of the song, reaching for solace, falling short, reaching again.” The Without You acetate left Sun in 1957 with Marion Keisker, one of only a few mementos that represented her professional and emotional investment in Sun and Elvis. In 1978, she gave it to her friend, University of Memphis Emeritus Professor of Communication, John P. Bakke, whom she’d met in 1975. Bakke shared Keisker’s empathy for this unknown artist, who had made this extraordinary anonymous contribution to the birth of rock’n’roll but had ultimately lost out and faded away. As a lifelong Elvis fan, I was familiar with the legend of Without You and its phantom singer but it wasn’t until early 2017 that I had the opportunity to hear a fragment of the acetate. The song’s opening line – “Always at twilight, I wish on a star…” – left me thunderstruck. I immediately recognised the obscure R&B singer whose records I’ve been collecting for over 20 years, after finding a copy of Sick, Sick, Sick/Gonna Find My Sweetheart (Columbia, 1958) in a box of ran-
resley’s predecessors: Sick, Sick, Sick, the Sweeney single that tarted the author’s admiration, plus (from top) Sam Phillips, Elvis, Marion Keisker; The Prisonaires, with Johnny Bragg (centre); The Orioles with Sonny Til (back row, far right); The Ink Spots featuring Bill Kenney (second from right).
dom 45s in a Nashville record shop. The singer’s voice was ethereal and unpredictable, kindred to Elvis or Roy Orbison at their best. It was Jimmy Sweeney.y N FEBRUARYY OF 1954, JAMES J SWEENEY JR was 31 years old and a veteran of Nashville’s African-American music scene. An accomplished singer-songwriter, he had recorded for Bullet Records as early as 1947 with his group, The 5 Bars. His expressive voice was well suited to doo wop, pop and everything in between, but mainstream success always eluded him. Studio ession ﬁles from February 1954 place Sweeney and his vocal group The Varieteers at Bradley’s tudio in Nashville, recording songs for the Hickory label. It is possible that Jimmy cut he demo of Without You at this session. Born in Nashville, Tennessee on March 5, 1922 the second-eldest of 13 children seven boys and six girls), Sweeney was of West Indian descent. In adulthood he stood feet 8 inches in height, had been a gifted thlete (football) and was a self-taught guitarr st. Like Elvis, he was also reputed to possess photographic memory. In January 1941, he married Elsie Eugenia Bell and they had ﬁve children, Jimmy making ends meet by workng part-time as a carpenter. Some listeners who hear Sweeney’s records mistake im at ﬁrst for Elvis Presley. But in 1954, it was Elvis who was drawing inspiration from African-American rtists. Sweeney’s voice already possessed the fusion of enres that Sam Phillips coveted, but in the segregated outh of 1950s America a black artist would never be fforded the same opportunities of national airplay and cceptance that a white artist would. As Phillips famously noted, “If I could ﬁnd a hite man who has the Negro ound and the Negro feel, I could make a billion dollars.” Sweeney would record for umerous labels, releasing ecords under pseudonyms ncluding Jimmy Bell and Jimmy Destry: brilliant records such as Deep Blues (1954), Afraid 1958) and She Wears My Ring 1960), where Sweeney sends chills up the spine with soaring high notes and impeccable acrobatic phrasing. In 2011, long fixated, I contacted his only daughter, Eugenia Sweeney. She let me know that her father, or “Bah-Bah”, as she referred to him, retired from he music business in 1962. “I would learn that he applause, accolades and positive reviews had not been enough to make him feel secure,” he told me. “I learned that my father never elieved in himself. He never felt worthy of sucess. He quit the business to devote himself to is family. He could have done so much more nd when I asked him whether there were any egrets, he quietly said, ‘No.’” Jimmy Sweeney died on October 6, 1992, of
“It would have been enough for him to know his contribution had not been overlooked.” Sweeney sings in Bradley’s, Nashville, with Lightnin’ Chance (bass) and Floyd Cramer (piano), circa ’58.
the role played by a song he sang in the creation story of rock’n’roll, he never let on. O IS JIMMY SWEENEY UNEQUIVOCALLY the singer of Without YYou, possibly the most important demo recording in history? I spent the early part of 2017 researching music publishing recording session and copyright archives, tryin establish a paper trail link between Jimmy an Without YYou, but I could ﬁnd nothing deﬁnitive. Then I played a dub of the acetate to Eugenia. “That’s my dad singing, absolutely!” she insisted. “His voice was so crisp, clean and pure.” Their attention drawn to Sweeney’s recordings and asked to listen again to Without YYou, Greil Marcus and Elvis biographer Jerry Hopkins reached the same verdict: Without YYou was Sweeney.y John Bakk who has literally lived with the demo for 30 years on ﬁrst listen it was so obviously Sweeney that he needed no more convincing: “I never thought we would ever ﬁnd the guy!” Without Sweeney and Without YYou, it’s very possible that Elvis would have missed his chance; after all, it was Keisker’s suggestion that Presley try the song that persuaded Phillips to give him another look. A Although Elvis drew on the phrasing and mannerisms of Clyde McPhatter,r Roy Hamilton and others, those artists don’t “sound” like Elvis like Sweeney does. Listen on YYou Tube to Jimmy ’s wonder-
ful 1954 recording of Deep Blues with The Variet V eers. There are moments you’d swear you’re hearing the surefooted, exuberant Presley of Don’t Be Cruel or the sincere incarnation of Anyway n Y You W Me. “I don’t sing like nobody,” Want y Elvis had told Keisker on July 18, 1953. But the Presley who entually emerged had a precedent; Sweeney soundke Elvis before Elvis sounded like Elvis. imately,y Sweeney merited more than a walk-on part someone else’s movie. His records were the equal of many by established names – Jackie Wilson, Gene Pitney – and with his identiﬁcation as the voice of W Without YYou, we can imagine a time when he is more widely known. Beyond the stunning songwriting skills nd vocal chops, he carved out a career recording rockilly, pop and country songs in Nashville, as a person of ur, in what’s often perceived as the white music capital rica, long before Charley Pride’s 1966 breakthrough. If he had lived to experience the acclaim, what might it have meant? “Modesty was one of his qualities,” Eugenia says. ”I sincerely believe it would have been enough for him to know his contribution had not been overlooked. He wanted his work to be appreciated.” M Christopher Kennedy is a songwriter and musician with the band Ruth Ruth. His 2011 book, 1950s Radio In Color – The Lost Photographs Of Deejay Tommy Edwards was nominated for an IBPA/Ben Franklin Award. MOJO 47
Given he’s 71 (with Russell 66), Ron’s age ﬁnally matches his classic ‘grandad’ image, complete with pencil moustache (the Hitler/Chaplin tuft is long gone), and ﬁnished off today with a bulging doctor’s bag. It’s holding his camera, he explains, though further enquiries about its other contents are met by an endearing, mile-wide grin that, over the next two hours, is often a stand-in for ‘I can only go so far; please leave me some privacy…’ As the brothers settle down at opposite ends of the sofa, Ron admits he also needed “assistance” to regulate jetlag. Russell says this is their third UK visit in six months – “You’re kinda in a permanent state of fog,” he sighs. Not the ideal state in which to approach one of the pair’s least favourite tasks: the interview. “Our preference would be to just have those songs explain everything and not to have to talk to anyone,” says Ron. “Nothing personal, of course!” “Interviews are less of a nasty chore when you’ve got a 50 MOJO
purpose, like a new album,” says Russell, his grin more reserved and less revealing than Ron’s. “We’re all for spreading the word. Especially when it’s better journals and not whatever. The Idaho Gazette.” Ron: “Architectural Quarterly.” Russell: “‘How many cows perform on the latest album?’” Sparks’ new album is their 26th and, outside of 2009 “radio musical” The Seduction Of Ingmar Bergman and 2015’s collaboration with Franz Ferdinand as FFS, their ﬁrst in nine years. It’s titled Hippopotamus, a creature that resembles a cow, crossed with a pig – though the word’s Greek origin is “river horse”. The title track lists objects appearing in the narrator’s swimming pool: a painting by Hieronymus Bosch, a Volkswagen microbus, Titus Andronicus, a woman with an abacus, the titular hippopotamus… “What appeals to me is there’s no resolution to the yric,” says Russell, “and no udgement is passed on the objects in his pool. But is it a metaphor for something
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N THE TEA ROOM OF A BIJOU NOTTING HILL GATE G HOTEL, DURING A particularly violent heatwave, the ﬁrst Mael to join MOJ O O is Russell, the singing Spark. Appearing bright-eyed and bushy-tailed, he’s actually a bit discombobulated, having ﬂown in from Los Angeles the day before, and requiring sleeping pills to counter the red-eye affect. In casual, albeit carefully co-ordinated, clobber – between horizontal-striped polo shirt and socks are checked trousers, plus red-soled shoes – Russell is a marked contrast to his older brother Ron, the instrumental/songwriting Spark, who soon arrives, in buttoned-up white shirt and sombre blue tie, despite the weather, black suit trousers hoiked up past his waist, and dressy black brogues. His thinning, slicked-back hair, like Russell’s more boyish cut, is likely to be acquainted with black dye – the only visible concession to the fact he’s in the entertainment business.
Wrestling with success: (left) Ron and Russell on-stage at the Halfnelson/Sparks interface in London, 1972; (right) catching up with their pop success in 1974.
bigger? No. Despite that, I think it does tell you something about the writer. Perhaps it’s a subject for an analyst.” And how would Russell analyse that writer? “I’d say he was out of his mind! But in the best possible sense.”
I Looked A Little Better, but it’s more where you feel your situation is so important that you must reveal yourself, I don’t like that kind of pretention. I avoid self-importance.” Meanwhile, the protective layer of their surreal, oddball songs appears to have given the Maels a kind of shelter, a ‘safe space’ in this era of celebrity. “I think so,” Ron muses. “We grew up around celebrity, and idolising people, because our parents took us to the movies a lot, often twice a week. Now there’s an acceptance of celebrity, and a complacency about the status quo. It makes us feel restless, and we want to do things and say, in a way, Wake up!” Have Sparks ever written a political song? Ron: “Our only blatantly political song is (Baby Baby) Can I Invade Your Y Country.” Russell: “Some people think Let The Monkey Drive was a political statement. But sometimes a song about a monkey driving is just about a monkey driving.” One strikingly consistent thread in Ron’s lyrics is sex. han A Sexx Machine, All You Y Ever Think About Is Sextown USA, Girls On The Brain, Angst In My nts, Missionary Position: they really rack up. “But I’m not writing about sex in a boastful and macho way,” he says. “Sex interests me when you’re writing about it from a naïve standpoint. I ry to have love songs a little off-kilter, and there re many ways to talk about relationships. At ocial situations, parties,” he adds, “I feel really comfortable. Though, ironically, y I feel really Sparks start: first recording Computer al on-stage, performing.” Girl; Todd Rundgrenhat’s kinda creepy,y isn’t it?” says Russell. produced debut LP.
UBJECTS B ADDRES R SED BY THE new Sparks album include a woman so obsessed with IKEA that she ignores her boyfriend (Scandinavian Design), a woman perfect in every way but one (I Wish YYou Were Fun), a bored and impatient God (What The Hell Is It This Time?), a new reality show (Life With The Macbeths) and the virtues of the Missionary Position. Another song is titled So T Tell Me Mrs. Lincoln Aside From That How Was The Play? Quintessentially Sparks, then. Likewise, the record’s sound, which deftly fuses most of the duo’s idiosyncratic phases over the last ﬁve decades: their brittle proto-glam roots, with its threads of show tunes and European chanson, the burlier glam stomp that broke them in the T onic neo-classical miniUK, and the Teut malism and operettas that triggered their noughties revival, all united by Russell’s wonderfully hifalutin voice. It is 28 years since Sparks last breached the UK Top T 20 – with singles The Number One Song In Heaven and Beat The Clock. In the interim, the duo’s retreat into cultdom has allowed them to remain as enigmatic as they choose. They are not of the school of songwrite who are desperate to be emotionally understood. “I think we put everything into the songs and there anything more to say,” says Ron. “But obviously there is (laughs). But the fact some people think there is still mystery is something we like.” Ron will admit to admiring the occasional confessional songwriter: “One person I’ve always really liked is Neil YYoung; his vocals are human and fragile, and his guitar playing is off the wall. But I don’t have a great love for that school. We do have songs like I Wish
ON WAS OFF-KILTE L R FROM THE STAR T RT. HIS FIRST demo, Computer Girl, was written in 1967, when the brothers were fronting Urban Renewal Project, some years before Kraftwerk’s Computer Love. “The bands we really liked were The Who and The Kinks,” Ron recalls. “They wrote little vignettes, about getting tattoos, or Mary Anne With The Shaky Hand. Not MOJO 51
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that what we did ever matched up to any of them.” Russell: “We never ﬁtted in with the Laurel Canyon side of LA. Joni Mitchell is great, but we wanted to see guys coming over from Britain, wearing rufﬂed shirts, and talking funny.” This predilection may well have been inherited from their parents, also creative oddballs. Their father was a newspaper artist (painter, cartoonist), who died when Ron was 11 and Russell six, while mum was a librarian who opened a ‘psychedelic’ novelty shop with her second husband. “Our family weren’t eccentrics, or had any black sheep we can be proud of,” Russell claims. “But we were exposed to stuff that we didn’t realise what effect they’d have on us.” “I don’t know why, but our father bought us Little Richard records rather than Rachmaninov,” says Ron, adding that the family’s regular movie outings had the effect of “eliminating a need for realism in our work.” He also cites surrealistic comedian Ernie Kovacs: “He was a genius, twisting and breaking down the reality of what television was, like a Jacques Tati character – and he used a lot of music in his shows.” The Maels’ eccentric tastes first flowered on an album’sworth of demos by their next band, Halfnelson, which included Arts & Craft Spectacular, about the competitive world of quilting. Todd Rundgren loved their quirks, and produced their eponymous debut album, released in 1971 on managerial legend Albert Grossman’s Bearsville label. A year later, it was reissued under the band’s new, more accessible name: Sparks. Their second album, A Woofer In Tweeter’s Clothing turned more perverse, such as its frenzied cover of Sound Of Music highlight Do Re Mi. “It was a way of being a band,” explains Ron. “Audiences would ask, ‘Why are they doing this?’ We’d come on stage in a papier-mâché ﬂoat, supporting bands like Little Feat. We thought bands that didn’t do Do Re Mi inside a papier-mâché ﬂoat were bor Just as the British Invasion resc Ron and Russ from an LA state o mind, so Sparks – once they’d signed to Island Records, and relocated to London – helped save music fans who craved more colour and theatre than the mid-’70s had otherwise promised. After Top 10 singles This Town Ain’t Bi Enough For Both Of Us and Amat Hour, and the album Kimono My H the Maels had bigger budgets to play with, and the subsequent Propaganda launched a series of dynamic album covers, with the duo tied up on a speedboat. On 1981’s Angst In Your Pants they were bride and groom (Ron wore the dress) – a reference to the intimacy of their fraternal bond. Or something. “With Propaganda,” Russell says, “we were taking a moment out of context, so you don’t know anything prior to the scene or after, or any back story. Angst was an image class Maels: (from top) that we” – he looks at Ron, First Sparks’ breakthrough 45; who starts laughing – “was hit Island albums Kimono My House and Propaganda; provocative in its own way.” plus 1982’s Angst In My Pants, with blushing bride Ron and groom Russell.
Provocative in their own way: Ron and Russell, circa ’79, “The ’80s were almost a lost decade to us in the UK.”
“With Propaganda,” says Ron, “we wanted to do something dangerous. The ﬁrst idea was to have us skydiving for real, bound together, before we thought, maybe not… We’d planned on having a bit of a longer career.” UT LONGER DIDN’T END UP MEANING bigger. After Propaganda, the UK hits dried up, and Sparks moved back to LA in 1976 (astonishingly, their next UK show wasn’t until 1994). Assisted by electro-disco nabob Giorgio Moroder, 1979’s No. 1 In Heaven album provided a late surge, and they ﬁnally made a relative impression in the States with 1983’s Number 49 single Cool Places (helped by Go-Go’s co-vocalist Jane Wiedlin). “The ’80s were almost a lost decade for us in the UK and Europe,” says Russell. “But not in America, especially on the West Coast, where KROQ [radio] were an extremely powerful voice of a certain kind of music, British dance, which they pumped us into.” MTV helped sustain them, but by the end of the decade, Sparks were running on empty. And still they resisted the UK, as if they’d ﬂounced out after a lover’s tiff. Ron: “It might have looked like, ‘They aren’t here, they don’t want to be here.’ I don’t know why we didn’t make an attempt to come back. Maybe it was music-based, or businessbased, or just bad planning.” Finally, they got lucky again. 1994’s house music-driven Gratuitous Sax & Senseless Violins was a return to form: lead single When Do I Get To Sing “My Way” inched into the UK Top 40 and, astonishingly, sold a million in Germany. Yet the ’90s would otherwise prove lean: only two albums released compared to eight in the ’80s. “Part of that was we’d written a movie musical, Mae The Psychic Girl, based on a Japanese manga,” says Russell. “We thought, now we can step out of pop and write ﬁlms. But we had so many false hopes during that time, ﬁrst with [director] Tim Burton,
Russell: “I think it would be insincere coming from us. And it wouldn’t be appreciated by Sparks fans. We have this core audience that likes what we do, they don’t care if they’re hits or not.”
then Francis Ford Coppola’s company. We got tantalisingly close, which meant we spent too much time on it and didn’t have many other songs besides.” Despite sporadic mini-hits and obvious maverick sensibilities, Sparks have always found patrons, from Rundgren and Grossman onwards. Their UK record labels alone number 12 over the years. Why so many? “That’s something we can’t answer,” parries Ron. Are they difﬁcult to work with? “I think it’s more that we outlast the staff turnovers,” says Russell. “We keep having to ﬁnd new lovers.” Major label BMG have signed Sparks for a second time. “They think Hippopotamus has six hit songs on it,” says Russell. “They chose the title track as the ﬁrst trailer for the record, which sets a tone for the eccentricity and uniqueness of what we are, as opposed to the safer bet. Island were the same with This Town… It’s all or nothing, and we’re of the same mind.” An analyst would say Sparks are outsiders by choice, yet seek validation. “That contradiction’s true,” says Ron. “But that’s been part of our motivation all along, even in the ’70s where the reaction in the UK was so strong, and the shows were ﬁlled with screaming girls and people who were there for more artistic reasons.” He admits the end of Sparks as a pop phenomenon hurt them, “but now the reaction isn’t based on front covers, so it’s deeper, healthier.” Did they ever try and consciously write a hit? “Sometimes, you read about other writers and formulas, pre-choruses and such,” says Ron, “but I just don’t have that ability. Actually, I still don’t know how to write a song, like Elton John can, to just sit down and write. It’s an unknown, every time. One time, Giorgio [Moroder] wanted some songs for Donna Summer, so I tried. To me, they weren’t very good – and he didn’t like them either.”
T’S 2017, AND SPARKS P ’ DREAM OF BEING MOVIE movers and shakers ﬁnally looks like becoming a reality.y Their new musical, Annette – performed all in song, à la The Umbrellas Of Cherbourg – will be made this au“We keep having to find new tumn by Sparks-loving French director Leos Carax, lovers”: Sparks 2015, onwith Hollywood-approved actors Adam Driver and stage with Franz Ferdinand as FFS; (below left) director Michelle Williams playing a stand-up comedian and Leos Carax and (right) Adam his late opera-singer wife, whose two-year-old Driver, set for Mael musical Annette; the US Sparks, ’73. daughter reveals a supernatural gift. There will be a soundtrack to follow, and more touring. You have to marvel at two brothers, bonded by music for 50 years, with no outward sign of Everly or Gallagher-style feuds. Aren’t they fed up with each other? “The mission is still there, unspoken but clear,” Russell vouches. “We realise what we represent in pop music, that there aren’t equivalents. You can’t put your ﬁnger on us but it’s an attitude: the album covers, the music, the lyrics, the singing. Knowing we feed off each other, we’re fulﬁlling a function, which keeps the music fresh.” Ron: “We’re lucky, because unlike the Gallaghers or Everlys, who generally mirror each other, we don’t. And our images are completely different. And outside of Sparks, we have very separate lives.” Asked for their worst ever disagreement, they can only think of when Russell reckoned Ron’s lyric to When Do I Get To Sing “My Way”, “didn’t match the gravitas of the melody, so was there another option?” Ron: “My reaction was, You write it then!” Russell: “But he went away and did it again, and look what happened.” (from A Woofer In Tweeter’s Clothing, 1972) No solo albums yet, either.r “It seems what Redolent of Mel Brooks’ The Producers: either of us brings to the table wouldn’t be Jewish parents are traumatised by the there if it was separate,” Russell suggests. A lack nationality of their son’s new girlfriend. It wasn’t Sparks’ ﬁrst ‘taboo’ song – Fa La Fa of ego on the younger Mael’s side, perhaps? Lee (from the debut album) addressed Ron (booming comedy voice): “Oohhhhh no!” incest between siblings. Ahem. Russell: “I wouldn’t go that far. I could come up with 12 songs, but what would be the (from A Woofer In Tweeter’s Clothing, 1972) point? I’d be ridiculed, that they wouldn’t be Bob decides the best way of making as good as Ron’s.” friends in LA is to crash his car into theirs No solo piano ruminations for Ron either. – which could be a Mr Magoo sketch “I wouldn’t be able to be a musician by myself, (Magoo voice Jim Backus was one of Ron’s early inﬂuences). The jaunty string because I don’t have the certainty that what quartet and Russell’s chirpy vocal add to I’m doing is good,” he says. “If I was the keythe weirdness. board player in another band, I’d probably last ﬁve minutes.” (from Kimono My House, 1974) One last intrusion: are they happy? Among Ron’s “many ways to talk about Fulﬁlled? “That’s two separate questions!” relationships”, this botched suicide pact says Ron. “The happy part, I’m not even sure. – he jumps, she changes her mind – is But I do feel more fulﬁlled than I have in the among the most extreme. A lush melody and tumultuous chorus drive the black past, because we’re able to do what we want, comedy home. and we get a strong reaction, which we don’t take for granted. But I don’t feel fulﬁlled as in we’ve done everything I need to do. Too much (from Terminal Jive, 1981) satisfaction isn’t good for you.” Ron emulates Jethro Toll’s Aqualung with a disco song about a paedophile. But his What would your analyst say, Ron? take is fearlessly enthusiastic and “I’ve never had therapy! That’s another unapologetic (“I don’t care what they thing, trying to solve problems through analysay/I want to have you each and every day”), and written in a more PC era. sis might screw up the songwriting process. Songwriting isn’t therapy for me.” Maybe he doth protest too much? (from Lil’ Beethoven, 2002) “Do you think? (huge laugh) In which case, In later years, Ron reined in the songs I’m taking away something very important from about weird personality disorders. Yet, 28 years after writing Falling In Love With this interview. It’s my ‘Rosebud’ moment!” M Myself Again, he tied the knot on this luxurious ballad and insists, “I’m very happy together.”
Tea, anyone? Cat Stevens relaxes in the wake of early pop fame, Primrose Hill, 1970.
Creative billing: (from left) Jimi Hendrix, Stevens, Gary Leeds of The Walker Brothers, Engelbert Humperdinck backstage at Finsbury Park Astoria, March 31, 1967; (below) the tour poster; (left) Cat’s pop hits.
Rex, Alamy, Getty Images, Mirrorpix
The singer’s partying buddy (and fellow baroque popper) Paul Ryan had given him a book about Buddhism, inspired to buy it by The Beatles’ sojourn in India. During his recuperation, Stevens covered the mirror in his hospital room to block his own reﬂection and attempt to turn his gaze inward. “I made that bit up myself,” he laughs. “It was to do with avoiding vanity. The ego is dynamic with its insistence on being recognised. And to subdue that was the job.” After three months in the hospital, the singer returned home to his room in his parents’ ﬂat above their Shaftesbury Avenue café and for the next nine months dug deeper into esoteric and spiritual texts, studying Tao, Hinduism, Zen, numerology and astrology. Finding himself in an enforced period of stillness following his serious health scare, he was searching for something, even if he wasn’t entirely sure what. But he knew for certain he hadn’t found it in LSD. Having toured in ’67 as part of a bizarre bill comprising Engelbert Humperdinck, The Walker Brothers and Jimi Hendrix, he’d become friends with the Experience’s Noel Redding and, at the bassist’s ﬂat in Clapham, experienced a nightmarish acid trip. Remembering how calmed he’d felt the next morning by the sight of a blanket of snow outside the window, Stevens wrote a chiming acoustic ballad titled Lilywhite, and songs with a similar feel poured out. “I was trying to run away from the nightmares,” he reﬂects. “And I suppose that’s what made my songs drive forward so positively into a brighter dawn. That was the beginning of my new era.” LOSE TO 50 YEARS AND A HIGHLY L SIGNIFICANT name change later (after a conversion to Islam in 1977), YYusuf Islam meets MOJ O O in the lobby of the Marriott hotel in London’s Maida Vale. We’re here to discuss, amongst many other things, his latest album, The Laughing Apple – the ﬁrst since 1978’s
Back To Earth to properly bear his old name on the cover (its 2014 predecessor Tell ’Em m Gone, released under the name Yus Y uf, made o with a ‘Cat Stevens’ sticker). Pointedly, this ew record also reunites him with his winning 70s team of producer/Y /Yardbirds bassist Paul amwell-Smith and guitarist Alun Davies. But ﬁrst today, despite the threat of rain, he wants to venture into Regent’s Park. Out on the pavement, the wiry singer – 10 days shy of his 69th birthday and dressed in an olive-green quilted acket, brown jeans and cream moccasins – wonders, “Shall we get the bus?” Within two minutes, we’re on the Number 16, trundling south. None of our fellow passengers seem to recognise him. Hopping off and taking a left down St John’s Wood Road past Lord’s Cricket Ground, he asks if we can begin the interview on foot. Along with the beatiﬁc aura of calm you might expect from someone who has devoted more than half his life to religion, there is a perhaps surprisingly geezerish, twinkly-eyed charm about Yusuf/ Y Cat, undimmed by his past decade living in Dubai. There is also a spring in his step that challenges MOJ O O to keep up with him as we briskly make our way through the streets. A At a crossing we look left, right and left again and decide to take our chances with the red man. “You Y wouldn’t do this in Dubai,” he advises with a grin. “You’re Y more careful in Dubai when you see a crossing like that. It’s more like a target.” The Laughing Apple, with its self-drawn cover illustration and warm, simple acoustic sound, knowingly echoes Cat Stevens’ multiplatinum-selling 1970 behemoth Tea For The Tillerman, while being made up of some new songs, some old songs rediscovered on digitised tapes and simpler reworkings of cuts from his over-orchestrated 1967 ﬂop New Masters [see panel]. It’s as if this latter batch of songs had been recorded in ’71 or ’72, after Stevens’ transformation into a light-seeking, bearded hippy minstrel. “I’ve kind of given the songs another life,” he reasons as we approach the north-western entrance of Regent’s Park. “They have an
Stevens in 1967; (below) girlfriend and inspiration Patti D’Arbanville, 1970; with brother Dave, April ’74.
innocence about them which I loved. And the melodies of course… it was like I was discovering melodies in every corner.” There’s a strong sense that after coming out of the 25-year period when he didn’t even pick up a guitar, the singer is ﬁnally coming to terms with his past. Born Steven Demetre Georgiou (Greek Cypriot father, Swedish mother), his story is one of a long search for identity: ﬁrst as the 18-year-old Beatles fan performing under the stage name of Steve Adams, then as Cat and ﬁnally Yusuf. “You’re born, then you’re given your identity,” he muses as we sit outside a glass-walled café built on a mound in the park, before he orders a cup of no-nonsense builder’s strength tea (double-bagged, full fat milk, two sugars). “Your parents tell you who you are and in the end you’re left with your own resources to ﬁnd out exactly who you want to be. A lot of people don’t really take the time to ﬁnd out.” HE FUTURE PRODUCER R OF Cat Stevens’ classic 1970s albums, Paul Samwell-Smith still clearly remembers the day he climbed the stairs leading to a ﬂat above the Moulin Rouge R café in the W West End to meet the singer in his bedroom-cum-workroom. “There were tapes all over the place,” he recalls. “He just picked up the guitar and played a few songs and some tapes. I said, ‘Great, let’s just go in the studio and start putting this stuff down.’” Standouts on the ﬁrst album Stevens made after his post-tuberculosis period of enlightenment and his signing to Island R Records, 1970’s Mona Bone Jakon, included eerie folk ballad and Number 8 hit Lady D’Arbanville (written about his actress girlfriend
Stevens’s remarkable run of Island albums between 1970-72 that inspired the UK singersongwriter era.
g gy p g hink I See The Light (“Giving me a second sight”) and op Star, the lyrics of which found him jokingly dismissng his recent past. “Yeah, and making light of the future too,” he points ut. “It was a very accurate prediction of what was gonna happen next. It was gonna be much bigger. I remember Island R Records boss] Chris Blackwell saying, ‘YYou don’t know how big you’re gonna be.’ I said, ‘What?!’ But I’d been through the mill already once, so I’d learned how to almost tongue-in-cheek go along with the next phase. But with my eyes on something else… which was my journey.” Stevens’ new sound helped usher in the age of the singer-songwriter. But it was with Tea For The Tillerman, released later in 1970, that Blackwell’s prediction of commercial success would come true. Not that the team who entered Morgan Studios in Willesden, north London to begin recording were quite yet convinced. “We were nervous,” says Samwell-Smith, “and looking to capture some very ragile things.” “That was the kind of tension,” the singer agrees. You’d capture something that would be almost nrepeatable. And you’d have to do it right, live, then and there. Morgan was a very good studio, but you had to climb up all these steps from Studio One to the control room to actually listen back. I didn’t want to make that trip too often, so I wanted to get it right, as much as possible, while I was still on the studio ﬂoor.” Still, all involved were aware they were creating something special and recall moments of transcendence. Guitarist Alun Davies says that while recording ild World – Stevens’ soulful note f caution at the end of his relationhip with D’Arbanville – he felt almost outside his own body: “It was ust a fantastic thing. ‘Is that me laying through the headphones?’ hen you’re actually playing it.” Elsewhere, nailing a vocal take of utely sentimental Father And Son, Stevens heard a voice that was not quite his own. ““A very strange feeling,” he recalls. “I heard my father’s voice within my own voice. It was deﬁnitely my dad’s voice, and it had such power. Y’know, the son becoming the father or something.” Shining a light on his spiritual path for all to see, meanwhile, To Find Out. was On The Road T “‘You’re locked towards the future’,” he says, quoting the lyric. “That’s pretty frightening. It means you can’t go back. The door is only facing one way and you’re not quite sure where MOJO 57
it’s gonna lead.” In the song, Stevens also sang “pick up a good book now”, purposely changing it from “pick up the good book”. “There were obviously Bible bashers around,” he states. “Always, there’s people who will tend to want to own you.” The secular spirituality that ran through Tea For The Tillerman certainly chimed with a record-buying audience on the lookout for something after the comedown of the ’60s. Particularly in America, where the album entered the Billboard Top 10 for the beginning of a 79-week chart run. Chris Blackwell was blown away by it. “I’ll never forget hearing it for the ﬁrst time,” he told this writer in 2009. “They played it to me in the studio, and on the ﬁrst side, every track was incredible. And then every track on the second side was incredible.” Tillerman’s enormous success meant more demand and bigger tours, but rather than accepted or vindicated, Stevens instead found himself feeling strangely isolated on-stage. “I’d close my eyes and I’d be somewhere else, almost,” he says. “That was a way I could keep my sanity, I suppose.” He admits he was also uncomfortable with being seen as some kind of spiritual ﬁgurehead. “That was a responsibility,” he says. That’s why I couldn’t just take the pop star route all the way to Neverland or wherever. Integrity was always a priority.”
Tea For The Tillerman’s 1971 follow-up Teaser And The Firecat surpassed its predecessor’s sales at the time, and when 1972’s Catch Bull At Four topped the US chart, Stevens felt trapped. “It was getting too big,” he nods. “One of the things about the American success pattern is that you end up getting boxed and stamped and then you’re on a shelf of your own. I think it was the fear of becoming Americanised in some sense. That control thing came back in. I started to say, ‘No, I’m gonna change.’” N 1973, STEVENS MOVED TO RIO R DE JANEIRO, BEFORE R self-producing f the blue-eyed soul of that year’s Foreigner in Jamaica: “I said, ‘Hold on, you may think you know who I am, and I may think I know who I am. But I’m still a foreigner to myself and I’m still on this journey.’” Two years later, on a trip to Los Angeles to visit his US record company, he had a second near-death experience, swimming off Malibu on a day the sea appeared deceptively calm. “There was a lot of current going on,” he remembers. “You don’t necessarily see it, but it’s all going on underneath. I was maybe even further out than that tree there,” he adds, pointing to a spot in Regent’s Park at least 500 yards away. “If you’re losing your strength, there no way of getting back. I saw my manager [on the each], but he looked about as big as that lady in yelw over there. So he’s not gonna hear me, nobody’s gonna know. So the closest one to me was upstairs, y’know (laughs). And that’s who I called upon.” This is where the stor y takes on a mystical quality,
In tune with himself: in the studio, London, May 1971; (above left) Yusuf Islam speaking at Reading University, November 1985; 2014’s Tell ’Em I’m Gone stickered as Cat Stevens; paddling not drowning, in Malibu just before the near-death experience in 1975 that sparked his religious reawakening.
Danny Clinch, Getty Images (2), Mirrorpix
with Stevens remembering crying to the heavens, “If you save me, I’ll work for you.” Before he knew it, a giant wave had carried him back to the shore. For his 27th birthday that summer, his brother gave him a copy of the Quran, prompting his “gradual awakening” and decision in 1977 to become a Muslim. “I almost thought I was the only one who was discovering this thing,” he says. “It felt like I was discovering a whole new universe. That’s pretty astounding, y’know… if you’re given a chance to ﬁnd a new universe. And of course there was no pressure at that time. There was nothing like the Iranian Revolution [of 1979] happening.” Would that have changed his mind about the Quran? “That’s a good question. But, y’know, fate has it that that didn’t happen. So I was left in a way to quietly study the real contents of revelation without anybody looking over my shoulder or anybody bothering me. Pretty important.” Guitarist Alun Davies, for one, admits to being bafﬂed by his friend’s conversion, particularly when during the making of Back To Earth in 1978 Stevens was praying to Mecca ﬁve times daily and hinting that he was considering giving up music altogether. “It pains me still, that time,” Davies says. “You were trying to put a good face on it, of no longer understanding what a brother is doing and what path he’s taking.” “He was intimating all the time that he was going to stop being a pop star,” says Paul Samwell-Smith. “It felt like the end of something.” Stevens himself was hearing contradictory advice from Muslim scholars and imams: some said it was fine to continue his musical career, others said it presented a serious conﬂict. “Even though the Quran doesn’t mention music at all,” he stresses, “I was scared of doing anything wrong. So then I just took the cautious path and I suspended my musical activity. I didn’t give it up. I just suspended it.” UT SWOPPING POP STARDOM FOR RELIG devotion did not spell an end to problems with celebrity. There was controversy in 1989 when Cat/Yusuf Y appeared to support Ayatollah Khomeini’s fatwa on Salman Rushdie, whose book The Satanic Verses led to accusations of blasphemy. Later,r Stevens/Islam claimed his citing of blasphemy as a capital offence in the Quran wasn’t meant to be taken “outside due process of law” – though it’s unclear how much solace Rushdie was meant to take from that. In 2004, the ex-singer was refused entry to the United States when his name was found to be on a No Fly list. He’s now stepped back from his role as a spokesman. “For sure,” he says. “That was much harder than being a rock star. But, y’know, we’ve got to see some daylight out there. We’ve got to keep pumping out humanity and shaking more hands and joining good causes, and I think music helps do that in a wonderful and magical way.” While as Yusuf Islam he released a series of albums from 1995 onwards, they featured his voice accompanied only by drums. Then in the mid-’00s, after reading that Muslims had likely introduced the guitar, in the form of the oud, to Spain, he began to soften his stance. Around the same time, his son Yoriyos left a guitar lying around the house. “He says it wasn’t a plot,” he stresses. “It was a bit scary and I didn’t know whether I should [pick it up] or not. But then I thought, Let’s just see if I can remember where C is? Can I make F? Then it was like, W Woah, it’s all coming back. And I wrote a song almost immediately.” Trading simply as Yusuf, he released An Other Cup (2006), Roadsingerr (2009) and Tell ’Em I’m Gone (2014). Now that The Laughing Apple is to be released as Yusuf/Cat Stevens, does it mean that Yusuf has ﬁnally made his peace with Cat? “Yeah,” he decides after a moment’s thought, draining the last of his builder’s tea. “It’s a name, it’s a tag, it’s something that people recognise you as. And I think it’s a pretty good name.” Having lived through his procession of identities, what does he imagine the teenage Steven Demetre Georgiou might have thought of the sixtysomething Yusuf? “I’d have been respectful about his space,” he smiles. “And that’s
what it’s all about, being respectful. Allow people to be who they are. And I might learn a few things too if I sat down and talked to him.” Last year,r in a closing of the circle, Yusuf/Cat performed at the Shaftesbury Theatre, across the road from the former location of his family’s café. An emotional moment? “Emotional?” he wonders aloud. “I mean, it was more honest than it was emotional. I think if I’ve achieved anything or learned anything, it’s the ability to be myself, without embarrassment. I can do that these days. No M problem. I can be me.”
Yusuf Islam today: “I think it’s a pretty good name,” he says of the re-adopted Cat Stevens tag; (above) the new album.
DAVID WRITES: “We were looking around and making suggestions for new places to play because in the summer of 2015 we had done a number of lovely venues, some of which were beautiful Roman amphitheatres. Someone said, ‘Hey, why don’t we try for Pompeii again?’ We doubted that they’d allow it, but we thought we’d give it a go.”
MOJO ON THE ROAD
ECHOES... PART TWO David Gilmour Pink Floyd Guy Pratt Anna Wloch
DAVID WRITES: “It is definitely my ambition to create an event that people will remember and can revisit at home if they like and it’s hard to achieve that in a stadium. You want people to say, ‘Oh yes, that night when I saw that show’, and it was special because of the venue to some extent. For that to be part of the memory helps to anchor it.”
D AV I D R E S U S C I TAT E D T H E G R E AT G I G I N TH E SK Y AS A TR I BUTE TO
R I C K W R I G H T. G U Y P R AT T
OMING BACK AND SEEING THE STAGE T and everything, it was quite overwhelming really. It’s a place of ghosts… in a friendly way,” said David Gilmour, on his ﬁrst visit to Pompeii for a full 45 years. For Gilmour, the ghosts of the ancient Roman city were literal – in the bodies buried under volcanic ash and calciﬁed by Mount Vesuvius in AD79 – as well as spiritual: his return serving as a reminder of Pink Floyd’s visit to the same venue in 1971. That year, British director Adrian Maben had had the idea to combine sculpture, “in some kind of surrealistic décor. I naively thought it was possible to combine good art with Pink Floyd music.” Visiting Pompeii’s ruined amphitheatre, clocking the acoustics – “echoing insect sounds, ﬂying bats and the disappearing light music” – Maben asked Floyd to be ﬁlmed there, sans audience, to focus on the music and setting. The subsequent Pink Floyd: Live At Pompeii, one of the band’s most iconic performances, would play on the repertory cinema circuit for years. In 2016, Gilmour decided to tour the previous year’s Rattle That Lock album, “in the nicest, most beautiful places,” he said 62 MOJO
before the ﬁrst of two Pompeii shows. This would include other European amphitheatres and a chateau in Chantilly. “They might be much harder to play,” he opined, “but I’d rather we did something where people think, Wow, that was fantastic… it changes their memory, turns it into something greater.” The return to the Pompeii amphitheatre included an audience, “the ﬁrst since gladiators wrestled sheep!” chuckles Gilmour’s long-serving bassist Guy Pratt.
DAVID WRITES: (Taken during the soundcheck for The Great Gig In The Sky) “We did The Great Gig In The Sky, which we hadn’t done before on that tour. I hadn’t played it for years and years, but we had rehearsed it in England. Louise Marshall and our singers had put together an arrangement that was fantastic, and we couldn’t wait to try it.”
He discovered this nugget of information from Professor Mary Beard, a specialist in Roman history, and it seems, Pink Floyd. When Gilmour’s wife Polly Samson suggested they ask Beard (one of their favourite authors) to the show, they discovered that her ﬁrst ever sighting of Pompeii was in the original ﬁlm, and that she’d already bought tickets for the July 2016 shows. Like Gilmour, it was Pratt’s second time in Pompeii: in 2014, he’d taken his son, Stanley (also the grandson of the late Floyd keyboardist Rick Wright), to show off the site that the bassist had ﬁrst seen, as a teenager, in the cinema. “This time, the amphitheatre was ﬁlled with tourists like myself, and like most things, it was smaller in the ﬂesh, but it was still stunning,” he recalls. “But I didn’t imagine we’d return to play there.” Pratt, who has known Gilmour for the last 20 years, says the man enjoys reminiscing, “especially when Rick was around, they’d really go off! And David’s a fantastic
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DAVID WRITES: (from left) Chester Kamen, guitar; Polly Samson, lyricist & creative director; David Gilmour; Sarah Lee, photographer) “Polly is deeply involved in all of it with me. She has an opinion, which she will express forcefully on every aspect of everything that I do. It’s fantastic to have someone as smart and as creative as her to be my right-hand man so to speak. Righthand woman! She’s brilliant.”
raconteur.” But Pratt without high walls to bounce doesn’t recall Gilmour off. Actually, it was like a club getting nostalgic on this date, because the audience was trip: “David was really busy imited to about two thousand, too, there were lots of and when everyone rushed up people to meet, like the front, you could see the whites mayor. And though of their eyes. The nothing’s taboo, I don’t atmosphere was eerie ask him questions like that. when only a few people But as he said, the place was were in the amphi-theafull of ghosts, so it was clearly tre, because of the antiqmoving for him. And sad too, uity, but it was magical because Rick wasn’t there. during the shows.” But it was also special, The setlist incorpobecause you can’t revert to rated numerous Floyd auto-pilot on those kinds of faves, including Meddle intro One Of These shows. Unfamiliarity is good Distant echoes: flashDays, the one song to be for the music.” back to Pink Floyd’s 1971 performance carried over from Floyd’s Unfamiliarity extended to the at Pompeii’s Roman Pompeii set. “That was fucking stage set-up. “The amphitheatre amphitheatre. incredible,” says Pratt. “You can meant we couldn’t use our usual make those wind sound effects on your lighting gantry,” Pratt explains. “The top phone nowadays, but David hired a proper ring of the arena was the lighting, which old wind machine, which was turned by meant that when the lights changed, they [drummer] Steve [DiStanislao] with a changed all the way around, which was spotlight on him.” But Meddle’s side-long spectacular. So were the ﬁreworks at the end of Comfortably Numb. And the sound, epic behemoth Echoes, the centrepiece of
DAVID WRITES: (Mary Beard, Professor of Classics at the University of Cambridge, and David Gilmour) “Mary tells great stories; she brings it all really down to earth. We‘ve heard the stories that back then there would have been gladiators and lions, but she just says, ‘Well you know, gladiators are bloody expensive bits of kit and if you kill one of them off you have to get another one.’ It’s just not that easy. How the hell are you going to get a lion there? It’s more likely a couple of goats wandering around with people chasing after them.”
DAVID WRITES: “When Polly and I walked in, it brought back to me all sorts of memories of the times we had when we were there. So going back this time there were all sorts of memories and ghosts hanging around in that place.”
the Floyd ﬁlm, was avoided, “because it doesn’t make any sense without Rick. But David resuscitated The Great Gig In The Sky, which he rarely plays, as a tribute to Rick. The backing singers came up with a beautiful arrangement for it.” Pratt equally commends The Great Gig… organ part played by new band member Chuck Leavell (Allman Brothers, The Rolling Stones): “You know Rick would have loved it, and that he’d have said, ‘I wish I could play like that!’ It was really ﬁtting.” Gilmour’s new band also included guitarist Chester Kamen (who ﬁrst played alongside Gilmour in Bryan Ferry’s Live Aid band) and keyboardist Greg Phillinganes. “I’m the last man standing from the 1987 tour,” Pratt chuckles again. “And even that was in doubt for a while, which I get – Bowie didn’t have Mike Garson with him all the time, and David had a bit of a Bowie wobble, like, ‘This might be the last time I do this…’ He’s never had a name-player band, so there might have been a bit of an itch. But it’s good having players
THERE WERE A LL SORTS OF
DAVID WRITES: (Soundcheck for One Of These Days; note the small mirror, which allows David to see the visual cues in the signature round cyclorama screen) “We did One Of These Days, which we hadn’t been playing on the tour. That’s the only song that we played there with Pink Floyd back in ’71.”
MEMORIES A N D GHOSTS H A NGI NG A ROUND THE PLACE . DAV I D GI LMOU R
DAVID WRITES: “It’s more or less the same show that we’ve been doing everywhere else except there was the opportunity to put things round the rim: fireworks, flaming torches and things to help to create more atmosphere.”
DAVID WRITES: “It felt like it was a very special gig to be doing. We were in a run of fairly special gigs, but this one was more nerve wracking and more exciting. It was small because the seating around the outside, which would have held another 10,000 people or so, is still covered in earth and grass and people can’t sit there.”
DAVID WRITES: “My pedals? Electric Mistress flanger pedal, BK Butler handmade Tube Driver pedals, the Cali-76 studio compressor, a vintage Big Muff fuzz box, a Boss graphic equaliser pedal and a MIDI EQ pedal.”
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approach things differently, and the music exploded on-stage in a way it hadn’t before, because of how fresh it felt. People commented on how much fun David was having on-stage.” Another subject Pratt is unwilling to address with Gilmour is the matter of whether Gilmour had laid those ghosts to rest, and was at peace with the Floyd legacy: “I think David is, because he’d otherwise have turned his back on something like returning to Pompeii.” So – following the release of the new, commemorative David Gilmour: Live At Pompeii album and DVD – what’s next for his friend and employer? Pratt says there is half an album’s-worth left over from Rattle That Lock. “David might be pottering away,” he laughs. “And if he does play live again, it’ll be a while before he does. But we’re always in touch, and we both live in Brighton. But we tend to talk about rubbish, as friends do, rather than music. He has 10,000 people asking him about that, so I’d rather not be that guy. Maybe that’s why I’ve lasted so long in his band!” M
Grecian gurn! Dave Grohl and the Foo Fighters rock the Odeon Of Herodes Atticus in Athens, which was once destroyed by real barbariansâ&#x20AC;Ś
Greece takes preservation of heritage monuments very seriously, and so permission to perform at Herodes’ Odeon is at the behest of a government body, the Central Archaeological Council (KAS). The criteria is strict. Franco Zefﬁrelli’s 2005 production of the opera Pagliacci was approved only after the KAS vetoed the presence of live animals. Maria Callas, Frank Sinatra, Nana Mouskouri, and Elton John have bestrode the Odeon’s marble stage, while Greek new age pianist Yanni achieved international recognition with his televised 1993 concert Live At The Acropolis, but almost without exception – Sting; an acoustic Jethro Tull – rock bands are refused. Understandably: the KAS is tasked with preserving a nation’s heavy rocks; it doesn’t need heavy rockers reducing its historic buildings to dust. So whatever Dave Grohl said, and to whom, must have worked, because on July 9, 2017, under quickly darkening skies, he walks to the edge of the Herodes Atticus Odeon stage and lifts his eyes beyond the theatre’s steeply banked terraces, towards the crowning glories of ancient Greece: the Temple of Athena Nike and the Parthenon. “Let me tell you, we’ve done some crazy things over the last 20 years, but I think this might be the craziest thing the Foo Fighters will ever do,” Grohl tells the screaming crowd. “It’s an honour to be here. So I think tonight we should play for 20 years…” Not even Grohl’s persuasive powers can stretch to a stunt of that magnitude, but over the next two hours, the Foo Fighters respectfully shake the foundations of the 2000-year-old theatre and ensure that everyone leaves happy. This Acropolis show was a last-minute addendum to the band’s European tour – a three-week swing that otherwise comprised arenas or festivals, notably a widely-lauded headline set at Glastonbury – and is being ﬁlmed for US television series Landmarks Live In Concert, hosted by Red Hot Chili Peppers drummer Chad Smith. The VIP list includes Greek politicians; the US Ambassador is otherwise engaged but makes an appearance at soundcheck. Backstage, facilities at the Herodes Atticus are suitably democratic: more austere than the band have become used to, but no one’s grumbling. If some members of the rock elite are to the manor born, this lot spiritually never left the garage. The frontman’s ‘wardrobe’ amounts to the pair of identical black shirts tour manager Gus Brandt tosses him 10 minutes before stage-time. Beﬁtting one who began his odyssey from behind a drum-kit, Dave 68 MOJO
Grohl deﬁnes rock yeomanry, always taking pains to spotlight the collective effort. Twice he cedes lead vocals to drummer Taylor Hawkins, and there’s a lengthy band introduction segment where the members play cover versions to showcase their skills: guitarist Chris Shiﬂett does Bon Jovi’s Wanted Dead Or Alive; bassist Nate Mendel essays Queen’s Another One Bites The Dust; guitarist Pat Smear The Ramones’ Blitzkrieg Bop; keyboardist Rami Jaffee a Yanni-esque synth ﬁligree. But Grohl is the ringmaster. He’s grown into the role: the Dave Grohl of early Foo Fighters shows, a refugee from the trauma of Nirvana, struggled to look at the audience, let alone speak. And while he receives due credit for his showman abilities, he is less recognised for the skills as a composer, beyond the 11 Grammys and four Brit awards. Like sometime collaborator Paul McCartney, Grohl’s consensual appeal has undermined appreciation of his craft, both among the underground community that spawned him and the mainstream audience that’s embraced him. The new Foo Fighters album, Concrete And Gold, suggests Grohl felt he had something to prove to the world and perhaps even to himself. Its two predecessors were somewhat contrived exercises in form and function, grasping for a kind of authenticity eroded on the journey from clubs to arenas to stadiums. 2011’s Wasting Light was recorded analog in Grohl’s garage; then 2014’s Sonic Highways saw each song recorded in a different US city, written on the hoof to ﬁt the narrative of a documentary series. Each album had signature moments, the former especially, but neither concept seemed conducive to sharpening Grohl’s artisan’s eye for melody – the very thing that delivered the band to a mass audience in the ﬁrst place. “For the longest time we’ve been placing these restrictions round the band, boundaries,” Grohl says. “Not only in the recording process but also in the songs. Thinking, OK, we can’t go that far because we’ll never be able to reproduce that live, so let’s keep it to the simplicity of the ﬁve or six guys in the band. And this time, I thought – fuck it. Justt fuck it. I said to Pat and Taylor at one point, as we had stacked 32 vocals together, How the fuck are we gonna do this live? And Pat said, ‘Just do what Queen did – do the live version.’ So we sort of let all of that go.” To make this leap of faith required a fresh perspective from beyond the band’s traditional hinterland. After eight albums made in-house or in collaboration with simpatico rock producers like Butch Vig or Gil Norton, the Foo Fighters leapt into bed with the contemporary pop world’s foremost auteur-cum-architect. Greg Kurstin co-
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T 8.30 ON A SIMMERING ATHENS A SUMMER EVENING, THE FOO Fighters are shortly due to begin their ﬁrst ever live concert in Greece when Dave Grohl is beckoned over by the theatre manager. A grave-looking woman, she explains that her venue has hosted many notable performers, but nothing quite like his band. “Nothing so…” She waves her hands, looking for the right word. “Nothing so… ” “Loud?” offers Grohl. The theatre manager looks at him, a little doubtfully. “Please take care of our building.” Situated low on the southern slopes of the Acropolis, the Odeon of Herodes Atticus was built in the classic semi-circular Roman design between 160 and 174AD, by a wealthy Athenean intellectual in honour of his wife. Destroyed by Heruli barbarians in the third century, it lay in ruins until restoration in the 1950s, when it began staging musical and theatrical events.
Acropolis now! Foo Fighters enjoy a warm Athens reception in a 2000-year-old venue. “This might be the craziest thing we’ll ever do,” says Grohl.
Foo Fighters (from left): Chris Shiﬂett, Rami Jaffee, Grohl, Taylor Hawkins, Nate Mendel, Pat Smear.
Idols, Getty Images, Samon Rajabnik
wrote, produced and played most of the instruments on Adele’s multimillion-selling global hit Hello. He has done likewise on multiple albums by Lily Allen, Kelly Clarkson and Sia. His other credits include Kylie Minogue, Katy Perry, Charlie XCX, Lana Del Rey and Taylor Swift. Kurstin also has serious musical chops, having studied piano at New York’s prestigious New School for Jazz and Contemporary Music. His latest assignments include Liam Gallagher and Beck. But Grohl knew none of this when he ﬁrst collared Kurstin in a restaurant in Hawaii – he merely recognised the male half of The Bird & The Bee, the Latin-scented space pop duo Kurstin formed in the mid-’00s with singer Inara George (daughter of Little Feat’s Lowell). Later discovering the extent of Kurstin’s portfolio, Grohl wondered if this might be his conduit for a new model Foo Fighters album: a record to represent the full spectrum of his songwriting abilities. “For years we were just friends,” Grohl says, “we sat in the pool and talked about Sabbath and Coltrane and Sgt. Pepper and Mahavishnu… Greg has an encyclopaedic knowledge of music. Then when we started looking around to make another record, I thought this might be a perfect match: his sense of melody and understanding of music would complement these heavy riffs I’d been making. My love of Gerr y Rafferty and Andrew Gold and 10cc is only rivalled by my love of Motörhead and Sepultura and the Bad Brains, so I imagine there’s gotta be a world where those things can exist together. I think it worked.” First, however, Grohl had to tell his band their next album was going to be produced by the mastermind behind Carly Rae Jepsen’s Boy Problems. “Pat goes: ‘What else has he done?’” Grohl recalls. “I said, Well he did Adele… Pat says, ‘What does she sound like?’ So I played him Hello – which now we call, Hul-loo! – and Pat said, ‘It sounds great, but how does this factor into what we do?’ So then I played him a song, I’m A Broken Heart, on the ﬁrst Bird And The Bee record. It’s only second to God Only Knows by The Beach Boys – it’s just magical. We couldn’t have made this record with anybody else. It has Greg all over it. I mean, Greg actually is all over it – there’s synth parts here and there, and the way he’s stacked the harmonies… We did exactly what I hoped we would do.” With crushing riffage, aerated vocals and micro-symphonic arrangements woven into an overall production aesthetic that evokes the bittersweet timbres of ’70s soft-rock, Concrete And Gold affords the perfect platform from which to trace the musical evolution of this very modern, traditional, songwriter. A few hours before leading the Foo Fighters’ assault upon the Acropolis, Dave Grohl points MOJO towards a poolside sun-lounger at his hotel. “I made a list,” he smiles, scrolling through a page on his phone. “We will deﬁnitely run out of time. There’s neverr enough time…”
(Apple LPs, 1973) Dave teaches himself to play guitar, with a little help from his friends…
(Epic single, 1972) The seven-year-old Dave Grohl’s mind is blown on hearing this nine-minute slab of troglodyte synth-prog on the 1976 K-Tel compilation Block Buster. r
“The other songs on the record were KC & The Sunshine Band, [Silver Convention]’s Fly Robin Fly… When the needle got to Frankenstein, everything changed. First of all, it was an instrumental where each player seemed to get a moment of solo. This just jumped out of the record player and hit me. It was the riff and the drums, I hadn’t heard anything that heavy. Frankenstein is one of the greatest riffs of all time: instantly memorable. The keyboards sounded like voices, and the drum solo in the middle had this energy I hadn’t heard from anything else. The fact that it was an instrumental I think says something, because from then on I tried to ﬁnd music where the instrumentation was as powerful as the lyric. We didn’t have a record player – my mother would bring a record player home from school – so we had no record collection. But once I heard Frankenstein we started going record shopping on the weekends. That was the beginning of it.”
“The two greatest hits records, the early years and the ater years, the red and the blue. That was a gift given to me by my mother, along with the complete Beatles chord book. That’s really where I learned to play guitar. I would put an album on, ﬁnd the page with the song, try to play along according to this simple music sheet, almost like I was in a band in my bedroom trying to follow along with these other players. I’d have to remember an arrangement, and changes and tempo and melody. So those two albums were my music teacher when I was young. The Beatles songs that really got me when I was young were the darker ones, like She’s So Heavy – the riff in that is so sinister. It’s a beautiful song. I liked a lot of the darker Beatles stuff as time went on, and I still do. I still discover things in all of their records that I haven’t really latched onto before.”
(Warner Bros film, 1980/Atco LP, 1977) Wherein Grohl gets his rst taste of animalisc proto-punk energy, t a cinema in Washington DC.
I saw that movie when was 10 or 11 years old. t was a midnight movie hat my friend Larry Hinkle and I went to ee. His father dropped us off at the theatre, near the zoo.
Dave Grohl reclines his stack of vinyl in his studio – battered copy of K-Tel’s Block Buster compilation just out of shot; (below) AC/DC circa Let There Be Rock, and the Edgar Winter Group in their ’70s pomp.
Punk planet! Grohl’s teenage heroes (clockwise from this shot): “angular” Devo: “superior” Bad Brains: and “tight, perfect” Hüsker Dü.
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I had no idea what to expect, I had never heard AC/DC before – maybe an older brother of one of my friends had Highway To Hell. But I had never seen a performance like that. So the energy and the simplicity totally blew my mind. It was the ﬁrst time I’d ever listened to music that made me want to smash windows. Then I bought the record… The energy that the Foo Fighters try to give off is rooted in the night I saw that movie. Live performance should be all about that scene where Angus Young is off-stage sucking an oxygen tank, soaking wet, basically in his underwear… Every single one of them had something I loved. Bon Scott had that outlaw twinkle in his eye, like he could give a shit. Angus, of course, was really the front man – they had such a perfect relationship on-stage. One thing a lot of people don’t realise is the way Phil Rudd plays drums – he’s pushing. He pushes back as he plays, so it creates this swing on his hi-hat that nobody has ever reproduced. But if I could be any other musician in the world, it would have been Malcolm Young in AC/DC – laying it down on the Gretsch, standing in the back, only moving up to the mike when it was time to do the back-up vocals with Cliff [Williams] and then going straight back. It’s like a football play! Incredible. And then of course, you’ve got Cliff ’s hair… Anyway a – that was a big one for me.”
(from Q: Are We Not Men? A: We Are Devo, Warner Bros, 1978) Ohio’s nerd-punk superstars retune 10-year-old DG’s brain to middle-America’s bizarro netherworld.
“I discovered Devo ffrom a family friend in rural Ohio. Up until then I’d been listening to classic rock and AM radio but Devo was my ntroduction to the ﬂip-side. It made sense that band came from such a placid wholesome American state. I just loved the angular, rhythmic sharp edges. Lyrically they seemed to have an intellect and wit that even at 10 years old I recognised. They seemed to be making fun of pop, which was pretty much what I’d been listening to until that point. They’d taken such a different path. On Uncontrollable Urge, the guitars are just as percussive as the drums. The arrangement in the middle is almost mathematical. I can’t read music so I see arrangements and patterns in my head when I listen. Almost like building blocks. I sometimes wonder if it started with that song because when I listened to it all the patterns fell into a Tetris-like shape. Pat Smear still says Devo was without a doubt the best band he’s ever seen – at the
Whisky in 1977. Of course, later on, Nirvana covered Turnaround. And ‘Devo’ would be the nickname that you’d have shouted at you from pick-up trucks full of rednecks: ‘Fuck you, Devo!’ You can’t get much more iconic than that!”
(PVC, 1983) Teen Grohl is awoken to the revolution on his own doorstep by a Rastafarian punk band playing at ultra-velocity .
“Musically Bad Brains were far superior to most hardcore bands. HR was singing, whereas most other guys were screaming or yelping. You could tell that the bass player, Darryl, was just as percussive as the drum-set, and it’s that album I learned more drumming from than anywhere else. The energy and the production – by Ric Ocasek – raised the bar for everything else. My trip to Chicago when I was 13, when I discovered punk rock, I came back with the Dead Kennedys record, a compilation called Let Them Eat Jellybeans, and Rock For Light. And Rock For Light was the one I just couldn’t get out of my mind. Nobody could touch them live. They had this huge sense of conﬁdence. HR once told Ian MacKaye: ‘Don’t waste that
Grohl searches for that Tears For Fears cassette (right), the soundtrack to his teenage melancholia which was provided by Curt Smith and Roland Orzabal (both pictured left).
time on-stage, don’t waste it with bullshit…’ That deﬁnitely helped the music scene in DC – after that it was like, ‘Fuck, we have to make the Bad Brains proud.’ They were huge.”
dropping, your voice is changing, you’re breaking through puberty, so listening to Tears For Fears somehow soothes the burn. When Songs From The Big Chairr came out and they broke into the mainstream, they were inescapable in America. I still listen to those records often.”
(from Songs From The Big Chair, Mercury, 1985) How a mordant pop duo from Bath eased Dave through the agonies of adolescence.
“By 12 or 13, I had shelved my classic rock record collection and started building this new punk rock collection. I mowed awns all week long to make enough money to go to the record store downtown. So, I was going in the direction of faster, louder, darker… as my sister, Lisa, three years older, was getting seriously into new wave territory. We’d meet in the middle sometimes with Bowie and Siouxsie And The Banshees, but I would hardly ever dig into her record collection for fear I would ﬁnd some terrible John Hughes soundtrack. But my sister had The Hurting and Songs From The Big Chairr and I secretly fell in love with Tears For Fears. That melancholic sense of melody really encapsulated that speciﬁc place and time in my life – when you’re 13 years old, your nuts are
“IN 1985, before I joined the band, Scream made their second record, called This Side Up. Scream were one of Washington DC’s more aggressive hardcore bands, but they would branch off into rock’n’roll and even reggae sometimes. So, when that second record came out we were expecting the same sort of music from them. The ﬁrst song on that album, Bet You Never Thought, I don’t even know what to compare it to – it was the most melodic thing they’d ever done. When one of your favourite bands goes from being this strict hardcore band to pulling off something as beautiful as this song, it’s like you feel relieved. So all of a sudden you’re free. ‘Oh, it’s OK to do that now!’ It’s almost like your older brother letting you touch his record player. It was liberating. Everybody in DC was challenging each other with their music. The local music scene was more inspiring than anything else, because I was watching my friends experience that creative growth or turning into musicians. So when a band like Scream writes a song as beautiful as Bet You Never Thought, it seemed attainable or tangible. That was the thing about the DC scene: people were trying to inspire the next person. I think Bet You Never Thought is the most beautiful song that Dischord Records has ever released.”
(SST, 1984) A Minnesota trio destroy the hardcore rulebook and show noisenik Grohl a new direction.
“My favourite guitarists, whether it’s Jimmy Page or Bob Mould, or Alex Lifeson, or Mike Hampton of Faith, another DC punk rock band, there’s similarities in all of them. Something I Learned Today by Hüsker Dü is not too different from something Alex Lifeson would play in Rush. And the droning note on In The Light by Led Zeppelin is not too different from something you would hear on a Rites Of Spring record. I don’t think the genre matters, it’s the emotion you get when you hear it. Hüsker Dü is a perfect example. Zen Arcade was the ﬁrst Hüsker Dü record I bought. A quote-unquote hardcore band making a double album seemed MOJO 73
odd. Then having the songs go from straight-up Yardbirds on meth to Current 93/Psychic TV noise, to tight, perfect almost Ramones-like punk rock songs… everything that I needed was on that album. Pink Turns To Blue – that’s like a Mamas & The Papas song, but the guitar tone is so brutal, the drums are so great. That was the ﬁrst meeting of my love of ’70s melody and the energy of ’80s hardcore. I love a good hook, whether it’s a Britney Spears song or a Hüsker Dü song. And Hüsker Dü wrote hooks, man. Grant Hart and Bob Mould – they had two awesome songwriters. I had gone from studying the songbooks of The Beatles to hunting for absolute noise, and Zen Arcade was my coming back around again, and then looking for both.”
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(from Houses Of The Holy, Atlantic, 1973) Dave inhales deeply and reappraises the deﬁnitive ’70s rock classic rock band.
“Barrett Jones was my ﬁrst friend to get a CD player, and the ﬁrst CD he bought was Houses Of The Holy. This was ’86. I was now getting into weird industrial music and post-punk, Mission Of Burma, Television… nowhere near any classic rock. Barrett puts in this CD. The clarity of it, so much that you could hear the kick drum pedal squeak, mixed with generous amounts of marijuana… we became obsessed. I realised there were elements of all these different bands that I loved in Led Zeppelin. The sense of musicality that Edgar Winter thing had, where each player was a virtuoso on their own, that sense of composition that The Beatles had, the reckless distortion of punk rock bands – Led Zeppelin had all of that.
me. You realise it has little to do with their quipment, it’s mostly just dynamic and heir hands on the wood and strings. onic Youth were masters at that eautiful dissonance. When we perform live we have songs hat have sections that are open to interpreation. Taylor and I focus in on each other, reating a dynamic, and the other guys ollow along. That deﬁnitely comes from Sonic Youth. Nirvana did the same thing with songs like Endless Nameless and Aneurysm. We learned it from the best!” The Song Remains The Same blew my mind. That’s when I really became a drummer: listening to that album and realising how poor a drummer I actually was. I’d been learning to play drums on pillows, listening to the Bad Brains and Minor Threat. When I heard the power and the clarity of John Bonham on that CD, I thought, I’ve got a lot of work to do.”
(Homestead EP, 1985) NYC art-punks plus Lydia Lunch hymn the death of the ’60s dream; on a California beach, 17-year-old Grohl gets chills .
“I listened to Sonic Youth for the ﬁrst time on a Scream tour when we were staying with some hippies in Santa Cruz. Death Valley ’69 just takes you by storm. It was nice to be near the ocean, near gigantic waves, while I was listening to this music. The epic swells in that sinister breakdown section, to me that was the Dazed & Confused of CBGB’s. That was something no one else did or could do. Having toured with them with Nirvana, to watch them do it every night differently was pretty amazing. It gave me the chills every
(Roadrunner, 1996) Brazil’s metal kings provide DG with an unsurpassable benchmark for heaviness.
“When I was young, my best friend was Jimmy. We were discovering music together, but we split paths around the time I discovered Devo and he discovered Loverboy. That’s not exactly a two-way street. So as I was buying my GBH singles, Jimmy ordered a record by Metallica. Three weeks later I get the phone call: ‘Dude, get the fuck up here right now.’ He had just got the cassette of Kill ’Em All. That’s where Jimmy and I met in the middle. At one point he discovered Sepultura – Arise was the ﬁrst one he got. I loved them. The ﬁrst time they played Seattle, they were just ferocious. It wasn’t that groomed heavy metal aesthetic, there were dreadlocks everywhere and the guitars were tuned down to Z. [Krist] Novoselic started getting into them too, and at one point we entertained the idea of having them open up for Nirvana. It never happened… Then Roots came out, produced by Ross Robinson and mixed
Dave Grohl at his 606 Studio which still houses much of his early music collection; (left) Led Zeppelin’s John Bonham; Sonic Youth; Sepultura’s Max Cavalera. “We learned from the best!” says Grohl.
Mark Lanegan (above): (right) 10cc in a rare ‘guitar-mageddon’ moment; Kyuss (below, right); The Bird And The Bee (below, far right) featuring “encyclopaedic” current Foo Fighters producer Greg Kurstin.
by Andy Wallace: sonically the most powerful album I had ever heard. Made everything else sound like a ﬂea-fart. That record became the gauge for every studio album Foo Fighters did for 10 years. ‘That sounds pretty good, but see how it stands up to that Sepultura record…’ There’s no way we ever got anywhere close. But it gave you perspective – this is heavy. What you’re doing? It’s OK, but this is heavy.”
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(Sub Pop, 1990) Nirvana’s new drummer meets Seattle’s solitary man and enters his kingdom of rain.
“When I moved up to Seattle to join Nirvana, I lived with Krist Novoselic in his Tacoma apartment. Krist is six foot eight, iving with his wife in this tiny attic space, and after three weeks they asked me very politely: ‘Do you wanna live with Kurt [Cobain] in Olympia…?’ After a few weeks, Kurt said, ‘Let’s go up to Seattle for the night, a band is playing and we can stay at my friend Dylan’s house.’ I woke up in the morning on this couch, and there was someone sitting in a chair, smoking and staring at me. I said, Hey. And he said, ‘Who the fuck are you?’ I said, I’m Kurt’s new drummer, Dave. And he said, ‘Oh.’ It was Mark Lanegan. I didn’t know anything about the Screaming Trees, I didn’t know anything about his music at all, but we talked for a while. He’s a great guy – intimidating, some would say, but it was a nice way to get to know him.
Mercury single, 1975) he sweet melancholy of ’70s soft-rock has ew resonance for the older Grohl.
The record collection we had in Kurt’s tiny apartment was a Devo record, a Divine single, The Winding Sheet… and that was it. So I put on The Winding Sheet – and I still listen to that album on a monthly basis. That cold, hard, rainy winter that I spent in Olympia just as I joined Nirvana couldn’t have been complemented better. His voice, the arrangements, the songs, his lyrics… It’s such a beautiful record. I hold it to the same standard as Tom Waits or Nick Cave. Mark Lanegan is one of America’s greatest music heroes. Unsung, for sure. But he’s still proliﬁc and still makes great records. That album changed the way that I listened to music. He’s one of the greats Nirvana’s arrangement of Where Did You Sleep Last Night comes from The Winding Sheet. There’s another song on there that Kurt and Krist play on, with Mark Pickerel on drums, Down In The Dark. Hearing Kurt’s backup vocals on that, it was so different from Bleach, it made me wonder what was coming next for the three of us. It was exciting to imagine the possibilities of what we could come up with together.
“In the ’70s my mother would always have the radio on in the car, so I was brainwashed with 10cc and Helen Reddy, Phoebe Snow, Andrew Gold, Gerry Rafferty… I loved that music, it’s part of my foundation. I can still close my eyes and see it, in the back seat of my mom’s Ford Maverick, with my arm out of the window on a summer day, and 10cc’s I’m Not In Love is on the radio as we’re coming back from swimming at the lake. That music became the soundtrack to my childhood. Maybe because when I was a kid I felt alone in this little world I had created – and I always liked being alone – that songs would become imaginary friends. If I felt a certain way I would listen to a certain song, just so I had something or someone to be with. And a lot of that ’70s sense of melody is melancholy. In the ’80s I lost that to the noise, then I came back to it in the ’90s. It seemed that sound made its return in bands like Dinosaur Jr and My Bloody Valentine – Only Shallow on Loveless made me feel the same as I did as a kid listening to 10cc.”
(Dali, 1992) In Seattle, as Nirvana are exploding, Grohl ﬁnds the future Queens Of The Stone Age.
“After Scream was over, my friend Pete Stahl stayed in Los Angeles and started a band called Wool. This was back in the days when we would write each other letters, and Pete said, ‘You’ve got to hear this band Kyuss, they’re from the desert and it’s the heaviest groove I’ve ever heard.’ I went to the Off Ramp in Seattle to see them perform – this is 1992. You were lucky if you found a punk rock band with a drummer that could actually swing – usually it was just full-on aggression. Kyuss had groove in spades. I bought Blues For The Red Sun, and the production is so perfectly natural, by Chris Goss, and recorded at Sound City. I bought at least 50 copies and gave it to people. And I didn’t know them at all – I’d just seen them play. They’re musical bullies in the best way: if you don’t have what it takes to jump up on-stage then don’t do it. Josh [Homme] and Nick [Oliveri], they’re the sweetest people in the world, but you don’t wanna cross that line. I think growing up in the desert made them the way they are. I remember playing the album for Kurt, saying, We should have this guy produce the next record. And Kurt looking at me: ‘Really?! You really think so?’ And of course I backed down, started thinking, God, maybe’s it’s too noisy… And then we make a record with Albini…((laughs) But Kyuss were a force to be reckoned with.”
(Blue Note EP, 2006) Endless space-age summer from a serious jazz dude and the daughter of ’70s rock royalty give DG the key to a new chapter.
“I was in my car istening to some satellite radio station, and a song called Again & Again came on. From the intro I was immediately sucked in, it had this sense of almost jazz melody mixed with ’70s AM gold, but modernised into electro dreampop. Inara George, her voice is smooth and beautiful, but the chords were unconventional in my simple rock world. You could tell there was some deeper musicality. I became obsessed – listening to it three times a day, trying to pick apart the ﬁve-, six-part harmonies, trying to ﬁgure out why he would modulate from this key to that and then back and then to a higher key… it was way above my head. I think I was trying to ﬁnd someone that
could help me uncover a lot of that ’70s pop aesthetic. Within the band, we all love that genre… but it’s hard to ﬁnd it. A lot of musicians from that era were heavy studio cats. And I think Greg Kurstin’s one of the only people that could ﬁgure that out.” ROHL HAS ANOTHER PAGE OF names on his phone screen, but as he predicted at the outset, there is never enough time. He needs to shower before joining the band’s motorcade to the Acropolis, where the Foo Fighters’ show has a strict curfew. The Central Archaeological Council’s rules for performances at the Acropolis also stipulate no high heels and no alcohol. The Foo Fighters are duly respectful of the ﬁrst, but a bottle of Jaegermeister is soothing some dressing-room nerves as they prepare to reintroduce the Herodes Atticus Odeon to the notion of barbarianism. With a capacity of 4,000, the ancient venue is the smallest Foo Fighters will play in 2017; intimate compared to Glastonbury’s 150,000 or the 60,000 who will attend Cal Jam, the band’s self-curated festivalcum-album-release party in San Bernardino on October 7. [see panel] Grohl says they approach every show the same way, but admits Glastonbury was different. Taylor Hawkins, in particular, felt especially nervous. Then, ﬁve minutes before stage-time, Liam Gallagher appeared in the dressing-room, marched directly over to Hawkins and complemented him on the opening song on the drummer’s 2016 solo album. “Liam goes to Taylor, ‘Man, your song Range Rover Bitch, I fucking love that!’” Grohl laughs. “Taylor is like, ‘Wha-?!’ Then, Liam starts singing it to him! Then he turns to me, goes, ‘Yeah, y’know, your stuff ’s OK, but man, Range Rover Bitch…’ Liam coming in and singing that to Taylor relieved any anxiety or tension. I love Liam…” Gallagher will perform at Cal Jam, as will likes of Bob Mould and Queens Of The Stone Age, taking his place among the pantheon of Grohl’s musical heroes, the people who shaped his musical DNA and made him who he is. “A lot of what I do is go with my gut feeling and let things happen.” Easy for him to say – but even if you’re Dave Grohl not everything goes to plan. “There was a song on the new record that I thought would be amazing if Roland Orzabal sang on or helped produce. I emailed him – and never heard back. It would have been a dream come true, to get together with the singer from Tears For Fears.” He smiles. “There’s always next time.” TURN OVER FOR DAVE GROHL’ L S MEMORIES OF READING ’92 – AS CURATED BY NIRVAN V A.
“JUST AS Sonic Highways was coming out, I had this idea that I wanted to write and rehearse an entire album in our studio, and then book one night at the Hollywood Bowl, build a recording studio on the stage of the Hollywood Bowl – reel-to-reel machines, isolation booths, control rooms, the whole thing – invite 20,000 people to watch us record our album live in a studio that we’ve built on the stage at the Hollywood Bowl, and have it go out live around the world. We would be recording our record live from the studio and people could watch us do it. We were going to ﬁlm a making-of documentary that would be shown just before we walk on-stage, when the audience got to their seat there would be a package with lyrics, there was going to be a visual presentation that would go with every song. A really elaborate plan. So we booked the Hollywood Bowl, two years in advance. Then I heard P.J. Harvey did something similar in London… I thought, Shit! Someone’s done it. We’ll shelve that. But we held the date at the Hollywood Bowl. So once e started recording the new album, omeone said, ‘We still have that date held at the Hollywood Bowl, would you like to have your record release party there?’ I said, Sure. Then I thought, The Hollywood Bowl, as legendary and iconic as it is, maybe isn’t the best place to have a whiskey-soaked trailer party, it’s more like California rolls and Zinfandel. So I said, Why don’t we ﬁnd a big open space somewhere and have a festival of our own? So we started looking, and the ﬁrst thing that we thought was a speedway. There’s a few massive speedways outside of Los Angeles. There’s Ontario Speedway, Montana Speedway… Ontario Speedway is where the ﬁrst two California Jams were held. So we went and looked at one of them – it held 80,000 people. I thought, This will be fucking massive! And someone said, ‘What if we resurrect Cal Jam?’ In America it was famous in the mid-’70s for these legendary line-ups [1974: ELP, Deep Purple, Black Sabbath, Eagles et al; 1978: Aerosmith, Ted Nugent, Foreigner, Santana et al]. So I thought in the spirit of the original Cal Jams we should put together a massive rock festival. Then we found out how much it would cost at the Ontario Speedway: like $5 million – it was so much. OK, let’s look for another place where we don’t have to build a stage [or] a grandstand… let’s look for an established venue. We found Glen Helen Amphitheatre – which I think is 60,000. It’s a gigantic amphitheatre and then there’s also a fairground, a water park and an RV place for camping, and a lake…! I just imagined this would be the most wonderfully white trash ridiculous beautiful celebration of rock’n’roll. I could see people drinking beer in the woods and swimming naked through a man-made lake… nothing makes me happier! We started making a list. A lot of these bands are friends, a lot are people we’ve toured with, people we’ve lived with, our heroes – Bob Mould is playing. And Queens Of The Stone Age – I love playing with Queens Of The Stone Age because I think that we represent ﬂipsides of the same coin. There’s something dark and mysterious about that band and then our band come on, the lights come up and it’s partying on a sunny day. The Kills are playing, I love them so much and Allison is a sweet, true friend of the band, she’s all over our new record… Liam Gallagher is playing. We are huge Oasis fans, and love Liam. I basically wanted to have a day of music where there was a guitar every which way you turned. I’ve seen a lot of festivals in America chase that carrot where you wind up with tents full of glowsticks and DJs – and nothing against that, but if your rock bands are getting squeezed out of mainstream festivals you can always come ours. I think it’s going to be pretty fucking cool…”
USHED ON-STAGE IN A WHEELchair, clothed in a surgical gown and blonde fright wig, Kurt Cobain’s chaotic arrival at the 1992 Reading Festival was the punkest happening so far in an already tumultuous year. It was 11 months since the release of Nirvana’s second album, Nevermind, had established the trio as their generation’s deﬁning band, but their procession had already turned into a catalogue of crises. The February 24 wedding of Cobain and Hole’s Courtney Love had sparked a tabloid feeding frenzy, fuelled by the couple’s barely concealed drug use. The six months since had regularly called the future of the band into question and would feed into the bleak symbolism of their third and (it would prove) ﬁnal studio album, In Utero. But in the meantime, Nevermind couldn’t stop selling, and such was Nirvana’s eminence by the summer of ’92 that Reading’s ﬁnal day line-up would be, in effect, curated by them – artists including Mudhoney, Melvins, L7, T Teenage Fanclub and Aussie A Abba 78 MOJO
The Entertainer: Nirvana’s Kurt Cobain enjoys the headline view, Reading Festival, August 30, 1992; (opposite page) Cobain’s will he-won’t he entrance.
space of time, but it felt like an event with Nirvana. There weren’t many big UK festivals around in the early ’90s, only really Reading and Glastonbury, so getting Nirvana to headline that year felt special. We were all really excited.”
tribute band Björn Again appearing at Kurt Cobain’s request. This was new territory for the festival, a heavy metal showcase for much of the ’80s until bans by the local council (when the site was temporarily reclaimed for a proposed development) and the fading clout of the genre had resulted in an identity crisis, epitomised by 1988’s disparate mix of acts, including Squeeze, Starship, Bonnie Tyler and Meatloaf, who was bottled off the stage. It was a new world for Nirvana too. They had played fourth on the main stage bill on the ﬁrst day of the 1991 festival, a year headlined by Sisters Of Mercy, Iggy Pop and James. Sandwiched between indie-punk four-piece Silverﬁsh and shoegazers Chapterhouse, a chaotic 30-minute blast of anthems-in-waiting had reconfirmed Nirvana’s visceral power, and helped set the seal on Reading’s franchise-saving alternative-rock reincarnation.
Eugene Kelly, The Vaselines, Captain America/Eugenius: “Backstage in 1991, K [Novoselic, Nirvana b and said, ‘Hey! You w 1988 single] Molly’s L When I got up there, i thought, God, what h were powerful, a tota live band, and seeing connection with the c was unexpected.” Dave Grohl: “[Afterwards] I was
od Stephen, creator, Björn Again: “We were playing a show in Richmond Melbourne, Australia] and Nirvana were own the road [at The Palace, January 1-February 2, 1992]. They caught the tail nd of our set, bought all our T-shirts and uggered off. The next thing, they’re on MTV and Dave Grohl is wearing a Björn Again T-shirt. Then we got the call: Nirvana wants you to play with them at Reading. Moreover, Kurt has said, Unless jörn Again are playing, they’re not doing he gig.’ I thought, Oh God, we could get ottled d up there.”
ke, Wow, I pulled that off. wasn’t thinking about the and becoming gigantic, was just happy I didn’t hit my pants on the rum stool.” ugene Kelly: “Later that ear, my new band Captain America supported Nirvana on their Neverr mind d tour in the UK November 1991]. There were queues around the block to get in, and they hey , great rth, e in V room Like rvana fe. Kurt oing
ot om ding a short
uzz Osborne, Melvins: “The best part r us was realising that we were [being invited] at Nirvana’s request. But opening for an Abba covers band? That wouldn’t be the benchmark for our career.”
Y THE MORNING OF SUNDAY, A August 30, the stakes had been raised in more ways than one. The birth of Love and Cobain’s daughter, Frances Bean, only 12 days before, had toxified media interest in the couple, peaking with Lynn Hirschberg’s notorious profile in the September issue of Vanity Fair (published earlier in August), which alleged that Love had taken heroin in the early days of her pregnancy. Meanwhile, Cobain had overdosed at least once and attempted rehab. On Friday 28, the festival kicked off successfully with a day tilted towards Anglo-indie (Mega City Four, The Charlatans, The Wonder Stuff), while Saturday brought a thrilling ﬁnale: Public Enemy on the main stage, winning over rock fans with an imperious performance. Sunday promised the much-discussed, Nirvana-endorsed main stage line-up (in order: Melvins, Screaming Trees, Pavement, Björn Again, Beastie
Charles Peterson, Barry Plummer, Getty Images (2), Mark Wagstaff
Dave Grohl, Nirvana, Foo Fighters: “Reading seemed like a festival curated by that corner of the record store I’d always frequent. That hadn’t happened yet in America. When I ﬁrst moved up to Seattle to join Nirvana, I asked Dan Peters from Mudhoney, ‘What’s the biggest show you’ve done?’ And he said, ‘Maybe 35-40,000 people…’ I said, ‘Where the fuckk was that?’ He said, ‘There’s this thing called the Reading Festival.’ When I found out that we were going to be playing there, I woke up in a cold sweat every fucking day for months because I realised I was going to have to play in front of 40,000 people.”
Dave Grohl: [On Nirvana’s “curation” of the Sunday line-up] “When you’re given the opportunity to take control of a bill you’re only going to invite your best friends, bands you love, or bands we thought would open other people’s minds. We thought Björn Again was hilarious, this Australian band speaking in terrible Swedish accents and nailing the songs… It sounded like Abba! We immediately thought, We have to take these guys on tour – because who fucking oesn’t like Abba?”
Eugene Kelly: “I bumped into Kurt at the hotel [the Ramada in central Reading]. He was with Eric [Erlandson] from Hole. He wasn’t smiling or saying hello, he seemed a bit reserved. It was only later that we started reading about what was going on in Kurt and Courtney’s life and the things they were going through.” Dave Grohl: “I remember bumping into people who were saying, ‘What are you doing here?’ I said, ‘We’re fucking headlining!’ They’re like, ‘Oh I thought you cancelled!’ I’m thinking, What the fuck is going on?!” Rod Stephen: “Kurt was closed off. We were doing a cover of Smells Like Teen Spirit in our show and backstage, I spoke to Dave and Krist and said, ‘Maybe it’s best if we leave it out?’ They said, ‘No way, you’ve gotta do it. We should ask Kurt…’ He was behind one of the Portakabins and I could see him saying, ‘Yeah, that’s why they’re here!’ It was really evident that with Kurt, no one went near him. It was a strange atmosphere. It felt like something was gonna happen.” Donita Sparks, L7: “I don’t want to get myself in trouble here, but I don’t think [the rumour mill] was a problem for [Cobain and Love], personally. I think it was a possibly a clever thing going on… I don’t think they lost sleep over that.” Buzz Osborne: “Nirvana were pretty isolated from everything. They had already changed quite a bit from “It was a strange what they had been earlier – which atmosphere”: Cobain I guess isn’t surprising… I’d known gives his weather Kurt since he was a little kid and he report during a break went from nothing to having a lot of in Reading’s Sunday money – that’s quite a headfuck for afternoon deluge. s of piss were being thrown anyone. But he was also into drugs, at them, that’s for sure.” and that was before Courtney [Love] Eugene Kelly: “The wind blew away the [second was around, but she didn’t help matters.” stage] tent and our show was cancelled. We were Norman Blake, Teenage Fanclub: “The night hanging about, up to our knees in mud, when before, the heavens opened and I remember Teenage Fanclub saw us and said, ‘Play a song in getting thoroughly soaked. I think that added to our set!’ I only recently just saw a clip of it on the experience, though. The site was boggy, but YouTube. Up until then I thought, Did that people didn’t care, they went for it and it made it actually happen?” memorable. You can only get so wet.” Norman Blake: “We got to go to the loo and Scott Kannberg, Pavement: “It was so windy have a beer when Eugenius [the new name for I couldn’t hear anything on-stage. I was just Captain America] played. I’d like to think it made hoping for the best, but I remember us being it more memorable.” kinda good that day… It was like the last gasp of Donita Sparks: “We were pelted with mud the non-corporate rock, before people took whole show. Why did I pull my tampon out themselves too seriously.” and throw it into the crowd? [An incident in which Sparks shouted, ‘Eat my used tampon, Rod Stephen: “There were puddles of mud everywhere… As we were about to go on-stage fuckers!’] I like absurdity when I’m not having we thought, We really shouldn’t be here. It had a good time. I thought, It’s getting weird. I’m been a whimsical thing with Kurt Cobain wanting gonna get weirder.r It was a ‘Fuck you’ in a it. I just hoped that everyone in the crowd got it, performance art style.” but we nailed Smells Like Teen Spirit, cranked it Mark Arm, Mudhoney: “I thought, Oh fuck, our up to 11. There’s even a ﬁlm taken by Krist name’s Mudhoney. y That’s a magnet. I said, ‘In Novoselic’s wife [Shelli] of Nirvana dancing America we have this game called baseball and around to it.” people learn to throw accurately…’ Right then a dirt clod hit me in the face. Of course, I had Dave Grohl: “Not a lot of bands had the balls to do something like that. The audience went nuts. forgotten all about cricket. Did we throw it back? 82 MOJO
Yeah, but that was a losing situation: four people against 40,000…” Donita Sparks: “The mud was mixed with sheep shit. I got hit and picked up a big pile of it and put it on my head, shouting, ‘Hey! You got me!’ Then I realised, This is fucking dung. I could smell it. Later, I’m watching Nick Cave and someone had thrown my tampon back. It was dangling off his monitor but he couldn’t see it. I was mortiﬁed. It was such a bizarre sight. Now I’m not mortiﬁed by it because it’s been so lovingly embraced by young feminists.” Nick Cave: “Everywhere you looked you saw people in plaid and shorts with steam coming off their heads. We didn’t have a clue why we were there. It was all about Nirvana and Mudhoney, that noise rumbling in endless waves, this sea of people just leaping around. Amazing, but absolutely nothing to do with us.”
HEN KURT COBAIN ﬁnally arrived on-stage later that night, he resembled an asylum escapee. “This is too painful,” joked Krist Novoselic of his bandmate, slumped in a wheelchair. “With the support of his friends and family he’s gonna make it…” Cobain reached for the microphone, sang the opening line from The Rose – the Gordon Mills song made famous by Bette Midler: “Some say love, it is a river…” Then he collapsed dramatically to the ﬂoor. It was only once Cobain had pulled himself upright nd launched into the acerbic, ounding thrash of Breed, backed by berserk male dancer in a dress (this was Antony AKA K “Dancing Tony” Hodgkinson, the drummer with Derby rock trio Bivouac, a sometime irvana factotum and familiar terpsihorean distraction at European irvana shows since 1990) that any oubts regarding their appearance ere laid to rest. nton Brookes, Nirvana PR: “The wig, e surgical gown and the wheelchair were all part of the ‘Kurt’s dead’, or ‘Kurt’s not playing’ rumours. I think he’d heard them too and was taking the piss. Kurt had the cheesiest grin ever. He had said to me, ‘Man, you’ve got to wheel me out on this…’ My only regret is that I bottled it [the role went to Nirvana-supporting Melody Maker journalist Jerry Thackray, AKA Everett True], but it was intimidating. The crowd stretched back and back and back. When they walked on-stage the noise was like a jet engine taking off.” Dave Grohl: “Getting up to play, it was one of those moments where it was the music that brought the three of us together in that moment. And Tony, the dancer, of course.” Antony Hodgkinson: “Me and Dave got on real well. I was well into their music, but it was like a dare to dance to it. Kurt thought it would be a good idea. Suggestions ﬂew around. I was ﬁnally like, ‘Fuck it. I’ll do it.’ And they were like, ‘Well, you’re gonna have to wear ladies’ clothes.’ And I was like, ‘Whatever.’ I’m not proud, you know? I think Leeds in 1990 was the ﬁrst show I did for them. From what I remember, [that] was quite a heated show, really. It seemed quite violent.” Norman Blake: [On set opener Breed] “They were loud and visceral – a power trio.
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Boys, L7, Teenage Fanclub, Mudhoney and Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds) but febrile backstage gossip had it that the embattled headliners were nowhere to be seen and might not play after all. It was even said that pun-ﬁxated Brixton indie duo Carter The Unstoppable Sex Machine were warming the subs’ bench. Meanwhile, a heavy storm that turned the site into a mudbath, and unleashed tent-lashing winds, only added to the ominous mood…
“A simplicity everybody could identify with”: Nirvana’s Krist Novoselic nails the low end; (below) Teenage Fanclub (from left) Raymond McGinley, Norman Blake, Brendan O’Hare, Gerard Love.
Mud, honey: L7’s Donita Sparks and peace offering; (clockwise from left) Nick Cave stays clean; Kurt wigs out; festivalgoers undaunted by Carter USM’s no-show.
Something the DVD [Nirvana: Live At Reading] didn’t capture was the energy. You’re not getting the same volume levels on your computer or TV. The songs had such a big sound, from just one guitar. The dynamics of going quiet to really fucking loud [on Aneurysm, Sliver and Lithium], especially at a festival, sounded incredible.”
happened. We had these incredible highs and lows. Kurt had been in rehab, we hadn’t played together; Kurt was living in Los Angeles, Krist and I were up in Seattle. The band was just fractured in more than a few ways. We were expected to come back together to do this gig, and it was touch and go. It was a huge relief when it was all over, that we made it through the entire set.”
Kurt Cobain: [before All Apologies] “This song is dedicated to my 12-day-old daughter and my wife. There’s been some pretty extreme things written about us, especially my wife, and she thinks everybody hates her now. So, this is being recorded, so I want you to give her a message and say, ‘Courtney, we love you…’”
Norman Blake: [On Nirvana trashing their gear on-stage] “Kurt really gave it everything. I have memories of Krist chucking his bass up in the air. The chaos at the end – you didn’t know what was going to happen next.” Anton Brookes: “Everyone was on a high afterwards, but Nirvana’s highlight was meeting John Peel for the ﬁrst time – they had so much to thank him for, he’d given them a leg up with the Peel Sessions. But Peel was as in awe of meeting them as they were meeting him.”
Scott Kannberg: “This was before [In Utero] came out and the new songs sounded great. With All Apologies it was like they were a completely different band. I’d seen them a bunch before Nevermind d and I was like, ‘These guys are actually a lot cooler than I used to think.’ They were more like the Pixies meets Led Zeppelin, with a little Replacements humour thrown in.”
Dave Grohl: “I remember going to the hotel bar d I was standing by the guy from EMF – u know, the Unbelievable band? A hotographer from a magazine said, ‘Can I et your picture taken together…?’ And e guy from EMF looked at me and went, fftt. Oh, I suppose so…’”
Norman Blake: “I remember they played the riff to Boston’s More Than A Feeling before going into Smells Like Teen Spirit. That was the thing that people forget about Nirvana: there was a lot of humour in what they were doing. Kurt was an angsty guy, but he could also be a fun guy as well. Doing that showed that they weren’t taking things too seriously.”
Norman Blake: “It wasn’t surprising that their earlier stuff [Blew, School, Negative Creep] connected too, because it was riff-based. People sing White Stripes songs at football terraces because of that riff-based sound – there was a simplicity everybody could identify with.” Scott Kannberg: “There was a chill in our bones because ﬁnally it felt like our music was winning.Yeah, we were part of that whole scene who grew up around indie rock. Now that music was headlining festivals. It didn’t last long…” Dave Grohl: “In the 12 months since we had played the 1991 Festival so much had
This is the end: Dave Grohl and Krist Novoselic amid the climactic carnage of Nirvana’s performance.
Unbelievable scenes: EMF’s Ian Dench (left) with Mudhoney’s Dan Peters and Nirvana’s Dave Grohl; (below) Pavement (from left) Mark Ibold, Stephen Malkmus, Gary Young, Scott Kannberg, Bob Nastanovich.
uzz Osborne: “It’s very difﬁcult to think bout Nirvana without it being a very ragic memory for me. If I helped create what was going on with all that stuff – Nirvana getting involved in those sort of things – I also helped to create his death. That is not something I take lightly. would much rather have him unsuccessul and alive.” Rod Stephen: “Kurt wore our T-shirts because he wanted to. It was bit of a augh, but he was a really nﬂuential person, and we’ve ad a massive career pretty much based on Kurt obain.” uzz Osborne: “The last hing he ever said to me, at he very last show they ever ayed… He was on-stage, e looked at the other two uys in the band, and he oked back at me and said, hould just be doing this lo.’ So you tell me what at means… Reading t val was another nail in the cofﬁn and I’m not M happy about any of it.” Dave Grohl and Nick Cave material from Keith Cameron. Dancing Tony courtesy of Paste magazine.
Field trip: writer Matt Allen enjoys the calm before the storm of Reading 1992.
Camera Press, Charles Peterson, Barry Plummer, Matt Allen
Donita Sparks: “The reaction that night was not a shock; it’s exactly where they should have been with their momentum and their assault. I was sitting side of the stage – I was next to Dave Grohl’s mother – and it was just steam in front of us, coming up off the audience. It looked incredible.”
cott Kannberg: “My father-in-law was at he Isle Of Wight and he always talks about [Original Pavement drummer] Gary oung was at Woodstock and always talks bout it. Now I can say I was at Reading 992. I think it’s probably the same thing.”
YOUR GUIDE TO THE MONTHâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;S BEST MUSIC. EDITED BY JENNY BULLEY
ALBUMS s s s s s
102 REISSUES s s s s s
112 HOW TO BUY s
BOOKS s s
116 LIVES s s
PAT GILBERT HYMNS MARTIN HANNETT, REISSUES P102
RATINGS & FORMATS CD MC
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Do the collapse New York scene-makers consign early retirement to the dust with dark uplifting album borne of entropy and death, says Victoria Segal. Illustration: Ian Wright.
American Dream COLUMBIA. CD/DL/LP
here can be few better justifications for making a controversial decision than “David Bowie told me to do it”. In 2011, after nine years of uniting the millennial tribes with a modish blend of dance and post-punk, the vintage and the box-fresh, James Murphy called time on LCD Soundsystem. The band played out in decisively showy style: there was a Madison Square Garden farewell, a concert film called Shut Up And Play The Hits, and tying it all up, the box set The Long Goodbye. Murphy kept busy with his Renaissance man projects after the band went dark – launching his own brand of coffee, opening a wine bar in Brooklyn, planning to re-record the noise of New York subway ticket barriers. Most significantly, he played percussion on Bowie’s Blackstar, a record he was in the frame to co-produce with Tony Visconti until he decided getting in the middle of that working relationship might be “overwhelming”. He did, however, receive advice from Bowie – if the idea of reforming LCD Soundsystem made him uncomfortable, do it. By the start of 2016, the band had released a single, Christmas Will Break Your Heart, and announced they would headline that year’s Coachella. Despite Bowie’s wisdom, however, uncomfortable feels very much within Murphy’s comfort zone. While American Dream, the first LCD Soundsystem LP since 2010’s This Is Happening, wakes up in some of the coldest, darkest corners of the band’s career – the clanging gothic hate-song of How Do You Sleep?, for example, or the disturbing psychotic break of Other Voices – Murphy never lets the songs be swamped by pointless negativity. BACK STORY: There’s always a point. Aging, LOVING THE death, time, built-in obsolescence: ALIEN they have all been on Murphy’s G American Dream was “beefed up” in London at mind since 2002 debut Losing My the studio of Hot Chip’s Al Edge, that tragicomic howl of Doyle. “My wife was despair from a scenester suddenly taking classes in London, aware that the “kids are coming up so we just packed up the family and moved there,” from behind” and all the cool says Murphy. “The records in the world (“The England that’s seeped into Sonics!”) can’t insulate against this record is from my childhood. It was a time. All My Friends was a heartfelt mythical place that I burst of middle-aged alienation; visited in 1986 and was Dance Yrself Clean, from 2010’s shocked to find that “final” record This Is Happening, everyone was not listening to the same things I was. I observed “everybody’s getting didn’t know anything younger”. On American Dream’s about the lad culture – the fabulous Tonite, Murphy rings the pub, punch-uppy style that was also part of changes slightly: “You’re getting England in the late ’80s. older,” he says, a disco preacher As far as I was concerned keen to get his wordy message of everyone was The Smiths gloom out, “I promise you this/ and The Cure – it was a real eye-opener to get off You’re getting older.” This, at least, the plane and be like, Oh, we’re all in together. that is not what it’s like”. It makes sense that this was the
KEY TRACKS G G G
I Used To Tonite Call The Police
“THE RECORD FEELS BACKDROPPED BY CHAOS, A WORLD WRENCHED OUT OF JOINT.”
last album to be recorded at Murphy’s DFA studio in New York before it was sold: American Dream feels destabilised, slippery, in between worlds no matter how earthy the beats, no matter how engagingly conversational Murphy’s phrasing can be. He dismisses the idea that people might expect this to be LCD Soundsystem’s grand political statement given the satirical potential of the title – “For me that would be stunning if you’ve ever heard anything that I’ve made,” he tells MOJO, “like, ‘here comes the social commentary and politics from a glib jerk’” – yet the record does feel backdropped by chaos, a world wrenched out of joint. Call The Police, New Order in Pulp suiting, hurtles by in a hectic whirl of sickness, conflict and “some questionable views”, Murphy crying out for “the Leonards and the Lous” as if they are missing compass points, the balances needed to restore order. Elsewhere, the conflict is more personal: distortions coming from unhappy brain chemistry and dropped connections. “You took acid and looked in the mirror/Watched W the beard crawl around on your face,” sings Murphy disarmingly on the sickly-sweet, see-sawing torch song of the title track, while the Breaking Glass convulsions of Change Yr Mind layer Kabbalistic guitar squall with a terrible inertia: “I ain’t seen anyone for days /I still have yet to leave the bed.” I Used To, with its martial bleep, stares down the barrel of selling out: “We’re talking tough/But on suburban lawns/In prone positions”, before a cry of “I’m still trying to wake up”. The “Dream” of the title feels quite literal, the songs often afflicted by a trance-like sense of disconnection, a woozy unreality. Opener Oh Baby beats with a drowsy pulse, a song about waking up from a bad dream into another form of nightmare, while the record ends with the clean Eno lines of Black Screen, a song of grief, a tiny pixel absorbed into a vastt humming network. In between, there are rebirths and losses, from the dot-dash guitar thrash of Emotional Haircut, a spiky act of aggro and destruction, to the alarming Other Voices with its sudden vocal distortions, a robotic spoken-word segment from Nancy Whang and Murphy’s unnerving insistence that “you’re just a baby now”. (“You should be uncomfortable,” shouts the singer at the end, possibly echoing Bowie’s advice.) The bleakest track, though, is How Do You Sleep?, a miserable hate song to a former friend who leaves the narrator with the very Mark E Smith-sounding “vape clowns” while they are off doing cocaine. It sounds like Cabaret Voltaire and Joy Division being boiled with The Cure (“Standing on the shore getting old”), a cold grey electronic vista very far from anything like a good time. Yet like all the best downbeat music, American Dream is oddly uplifting, the brilliance of the music turning lyrical misery into a bonding experience rather than a bludgeon. Its compelling qualities suggest the decision to regroup was less to do with Bowie, boredom, or commercial impulses, rather the inability to leave LCD Soundsystem alone when there’s still so much to thrash out. Thus American Dream feels like a strong re-statement of what they do, and what they can mean, a record that, despite its fear of death, feels very much alive. Those kids coming up from behind, haven’t chased James Murphy down yet. ON BOWIE, DEATH, AND THE LIKELIHOOD OF QUITTING AGAIN… JAMES TALKS! MURPHY
But this is proper pop, too – songs that will make you dance and sing along while you feel the seedy, swirling force. Anna Wood
### Foo Fighters
Concrete And Gold COLUMBIA. CD/DL/LP
Dave Grohl’s troupe reach out in new directions on brilliant, expansive ninth LP.
“I can never quit the band again…” LCD Soundsystem’s James Murphy talks to Victoria Segal. You refer to “the Leonards and the Lous” on Call The Police – what was their place on this record? “So much of the record was being made during a period when a lot of people that I really admire died. I was working on a piece for the record a long time ago and I was like: It would be really great if Lou Reed could come in on this, but Lou Reed’s gone and it’s fucking heartbreaking. And I was thinking, What about Leonard Cohen? And then he died – I mean, that week. So no, I don’t want to ask anyone who’s not in 100 per cent tip-top shape because I feel like it’s cursed. It feels like it’s just going to start raining people I care about – it’s going to get worse before it gets better.” You stepped out of working with David Bowie – do you now regret that? “I don’t think about things in that way. It’s not that I don’t care, but I don’t feel regret because it still doesn’t feel real that that was a possibility. Doing anything with David Bowie – even just being able to e-mail David Bowie – was one of the more unreal things in my life. It seems preposterous, equally preposterous as it would have seemed to me as a teenager. Possibly more preposterous now. Back then, I might have been: I bet I could write a letter to Lou Reed and he would want to do something.”
How does all this mortality connect to the line “I never realised that these artists thought so much about dying” on Tonite? “When I take a taxi in New York is about the only time that I hear the radio. There was a proliferation of songs that were like, ‘We’ve only got one night’, and everyone’s answer to that is, ‘We should drink a bunch of vodka and Red Bull!’ If you only have one night, should you sleep with this creepy guy who wants to get you loaded? If I only had one night, there’s a lot of shit that I would like to get done that is not being in some giant superclub drinking champagne with a sparkler in it. It seems like a really sad use of the awareness of your mortality. Like, ‘Let’s do the most inane, mundane shit that you should only do if you were definitely not dying tonight.’”
Have you got an escape route if you decide to end LCD Soundsystem again? “I can never quit the band again; you can only cry wolf once. If I ever stop doing the band, it just has to be that we aren’t doing it. After a few years people say, ‘You haven’t done a record in a while’, and you say, Oh, we’re just doing other things for now. And maybe, at some point, that’s just how it is for the rest of your life. Like you go to the corner for a gallon of milk and you never come back.”
In conception and execution, Concrete And Gold d stands as Foo Fighters’ most beguiling record to date. There is much to admire here as they grind rock and pop’s tectonic plates together in a deliberate gamble to widen their sound. Throughout, the Foos operate with a charming exploratory giddiness, be it the audacious layered harmonies on T-Shirt or the surprise piano coda on Sunday Rain. Producer Greg Kurstin (Adele, Sia) handles this sonic repositioning expertly, finding cohesion among all the duelling elements. Indeed, his borderline-pathological attention to detail adds melodic richness even when the band are dispatching the screamed assault of La Dee Da. Best of all is the title track containing strangled notes, choral sequences and one of Grohl’s most affected – and affecting – vocal performances to date. Rarely have the Foos sounded this big, or this bold. George Garner
The Punishment Of Luxury 100%. CD/DL/LP
Classic Coke comeback by the group hardly anyone still calls Orchestral Manoeuvres In The Dark. Their recent Royal Albert Hall tour de force, showcasing 1983’s Dazzle Ships masterpiece in full, appears to have reconnected the Wirral synth duo with their pre-’84 mojo. So much so that classic OMD tropes are almost overdone on this, their 13th studio album. There’s the familiar nod to futurism – a song named after Christopher Nevinson’s 1915 painting La Mitrailleuse; another for Otto Neurath and Gerd Arntz’s pre-war pictorial language, Isotype – and a panoply of vintage keyboard sounds that make like Crush never happened. Goofy pop craft shows through on One More Time, while their techno-ambivalent sound-art facet returns in the haunting Precision & Decay. If there’s a caveat, it’s that OMD’s culture-critiques used to be more subtle than the title track’s, “It’s ugly now, and it’s getting worse every day.” In fact, the album’s least dogmatic track – the dreamy, birdsong-strewn Ghost Star – cuts deepest. Danny Eccleston
Madonnatron TRASHMOUTH. CD/DL/LP
Spooky, raucous gothabilly pop from these south London label-mates of Fat White Family. When they formed a year or so ago, Madonnatron could not, in any traditional sense, play their instruments. By the time they supported The Moonlandingz last September they were a compelling about-to-collapse live act, and now, with their debut album, they have claimed a sweet spot round about where The Cramps meet The Go-Go’s. There is sass and spookiness in their louche guitars and bass, in the thudding, syrupy drums, and in the vocals. The band almost chant, then croon, revelling in their witchy renditions of female archetypes, from the murderous mother in Headless Children to the getting-angry groupie in Secrets, lamenting and threatening over a benzo’d Hal Blaine drumbeat that leads us right into a wailing, cathartic frenzy.
Hippopotamus BMG. CD/DL/LP
An emphatic show of Ron and Russell Mael’s late-period genius. “We have to outdo ourselves this time,” says Russell Mael in the cartoonstrip ‘biog’ sent out with
Hippopotamus. That’s exactly what he and big brother Ron have done here – and not least on the articulate daftness front. Underpinned and beautifully offset by Ron’s offbeat pop-classical arrangements, the lyrical conceits and come hither titles of songs such as What The Hell Is It This Time? and I Wish You Were Fun (in the latter, the found-wanting partner’s fave colour is brown) don’t disappoint. With the preposterous title track raising the bar for rhyme-scheme daring verse by verse, Missionary Position hymning the sexually unadventurous, and Probably Nothing squeezing poignancy from the act of forgetting something trivial, Hippopotamus is never anything less than wildly entertaining. Two hundred years from now, the dictionary entry for brilliantly eccentric pop will remain the same: Sparks. James McNair
Native Invader DECCA. CD/DL/LP
Album number 15 from Myra Ellen Amos. Native Invader purportedly explores Mother Nature’s gift for renewal and the question of whether we can follow suit, but for all its typically Torian billing, the more prosaic if fertile topic at the heart of these songs seems to be love in crisis. “I am not giving up on us,” sings Amos on Cloud Riders, while even the pleasingly daft chorus of Chocolate Song comes after she’s declared, “Now consonants and vowels are weaponry/We vowed to love eternally.” With its gospel intro, animate-sounding electronics, creepy string runs and motorik groove, Up The Creek is an ace oddity, but there’s a renewed emphasis on quality-controlled, sat-atthe-piano singer-songwriting here. With its classy intro and graceful modulations, Breakaway is one of Amos’s finest late-period ballads, while Bang (as in The Big), recalls happier times and an explosive love “so bright, it blinded me.” James McNair
Raiding the ’80s closet: The Horrors embrace futurism.
The future’s bright Rock changelings’ synth-pop conversion. By Stevie Chick.
#### V CAROLINE. CD/DL/LP
AFTER THREE years of golden slumber and suave side-projects, canny five-man pop collective The Horrors awaken in their communal clubhouse, rub the kohl out of their eyes and ask themselves that burning question: what next? Their answer is a lusty, decisive “The future!”, but when you’re gifted with an encyclopaedic knowledge of pop and immaculate taste, the plethora of potential routes can leave one a little spoilt for choice. Their magpie eyes scanning wildly, they junk the dusty garage gear that launched their career and redraw their Year Zero as 1979, specifically the point where Gary Numan and his Tubeway Army fired up their synthesizers and aimed Are ‘Friends’ Electric? at an unsuspecting singles chart.
There are synthesizers all over V, V The Horrors’ fifth full-length, but the group aren’t just copping Numan’s icy throb (though the album’s excellent opener Hologram is definitely the sincerest form of flattery). Greedily drawing inspiration from decades of imagined futurism, V looks towards the early ’80s dawn of synth-pop, the writhing squelch of Björk’s Army Of Me (another inspired filch woven into Hologram), the brash kinetics of electroclash, even the infernal throb and wub of EDM. But, as ever with The Horrors, the catalogue of their inspirations is never as important as what they do with them, and for much of V V, it’s in the service of grand, windswept melancholia, heart-wracked and slaked with ennui. Even its bolder, brawnier moments – like Machine, a dirty, sexy dancefloor banger that should make indie clubs infinitely more appealing – are possessed of a darkness, an in-the-shadow-ofthe-bomb hedonism/nihilism dichotomy that seems apt in this dystopia of Trump and Brexit; if you’ve no hope then there’s no harm in an apocalyptic hangover. World Below’s overdriven
modern-world blues is all rubbery low-end judder and shiny surfaces, collapsing into a thrilling – nay, inviting – selfdestructive noiseout. It’s the ‘ballads’, for want of a better term, that provide V’s definitive highlights, Faris Badwan’s world-weary croon evoking the lived-in textures of the young Scott Walker or Efterklang’s Casper Clausen. Weighed Down is stunning, a seven-minute epic of complex longing, Badwan singing, “Don’t let love bring you down”, over a production that takes the slithering, eerie disquiet of Roxy Music’s Avalon and sets it to wall-shaking beats. The closer, Something TTo Remember Me By is another triumph, a soupçon of Once In A Lifetime to its restless synth bustle, a little of New Order’s lightness of touch leavening its bruised romanticism. The track has a widescreen poignancy perfect for movie soundtracks, and there’s a clarity, an ambition and a confidence to V that suggests the album might drag The Horrors from cultish concern to genuine pop star crossover. More to the point, The Horrors’ alchemical sticky-fingered raid through the ’80s closet delivers some of the most thrilling, most substantial pop you’ll hear all year.
The National: it’s all going on under the surface.
Coming clean The US quintet’s first offering in four years, mainly recorded at Aaron Dessner’s new home studio. By Mike Barnes.
Sleep Well Beast 4AD. CD/DL/LP
THERE HOPEFULLY L comes a point in every band’s life where they suddenly hit their stride, where their instrumental chops and creativity are in sync, and all this chimes with the expectations of their audience. For The National
Black Country Communion
it was 2010 when they released the big selling High Violet. As a stylistic template it was a curious mix of the introverted and the epic, a shadowy and brooding sound with guitars and electronics stirred by Bryan Devendorf’s circling drum patterns into an inward-looking dynamic that makes the group’s considerable power feel oddly internalised. The follow-up, 2014’s Trouble Will Find Me, had much in common with its predecessor, although it had a bittersweet, lighter, more open sound. In anticipation of Sleep Well Beast, t all The National’s upcoming UK tour dates are sold out. But this time round they made a point of looking at their music from different angles – even inviting members of the public to jam along with backing tracks in some Berlin
– just a little – on Sway and Wanderlust. Rather than a summit meeting between gifted but otherwise disconnected musicians, BCCIV sounds like it was created by a real band. For that alone, you can forgive them pilfering the riff to Led Zeppelin’s The Wanton Song on Love Remains. Here’s hoping for a fifth album. Mark Blake
Fourth album from pedigree hard rock collective. As an occasional outlet for blues guitar hero Joe Bonamassa, Deep Purple’s former singing bassist Glenn Hughes and heir to the Zeppelin throne, drummer Jason Bonham, it’s been hard to form a lasting attachment to Black Country Communion. It’s as if every album might be their last. But four records on, they’re making their best music yet. The hokey fiddles on The Last Song For My Resting Place are the only misstep on a fine brooding semi-ballad. Unlike on his solo albums, the mighty-lunged Hughes also reins himself in
Canadian singer gets soul makeover courtesy of Joss Stone’s Soul Sessions team. Toronto’s Elise LeGrow first sung in guitar pop group Whale Tooth before issuing her 2012 self-titled solo EP which placed her firmly in MOR territory. On her debut album, she joins ’70s soul singer Betty Wright and label boss/producer Steve Greenberg to revisualise the Chess songbook. LeGrow’s choices to cover lesser known gems like The Radiants’ Hold
On and Bobby Moore’s Searching For My Baby, are to be applauded and her voice is suited to singing the emotional complexities of the genre with its natural richness and tone, at times, like on the aforesaid Bobby Moore track resembling Amy Winehouse’s tremble. Her band, featuring The Roots’ Captain Kirk Douglas and Questlove plus the Dap-Kings’ horn section, provide the expertise for such an exercise. A follow-up of her own material bodes well. Lois Wilson
Spokeswoman Of The Bright Sun GLITTERHOUSE. CD/DL/LP
Ex Jayhawk’s follow-up to 2014’s Goodbye Lizelle. There has always been something wide-eyed and whimsical about Mark Olson’s solo work. The albums he made in Joshua Tree with his first wife, Victoria Williams, as The Original Harmony Ridge Creek Dippers, were the epitome of wide-eyed whimsy.
sessions to generate ideas. Although they haven’t, to use a phrase, fucked with the formula exactly, this new material finds them in more experimental mode Nobody Else Will Be There is a sombre pianobased overture and then we are into more familiar territory on Day I Die, with perpetual motion drums and ornamental guitar architecture from Aaron and Bryce Dessner. There’s high drama on Turtleneck, with its sweeping choruses and wah-wah guitars mouthing licentious kisses, but Sleep Well Beast is generally less overtly guitar based, with a lot of activity going on under the surface – particularly keyboards, samples and Bryce Dessner’s strings. On Born To Beg a piano plays simply against an electronic pulse with vocalist Matt Berninger backed by what sounds like an eerily processed gospel choir. Berninger says that, lyrically speaking, Sleep Well Beastt is about “coming clean with things you’d ather not” and he certainly seems o have dredged up some emarkable stuff from his subconscious. Over the gently hrobbing drums and synths and finely etched guitar lines of Walk It Back he sings, “I’ll walk through Lawrencetown, along the tracks/My own body in my arms but I won’t collapse”, intoning the song as if perplexed by his own findings. Berninger seems in touch with his id once more on the sinister but breezily melodic I’ll Still Destroy You Y , and mutters his way through similar lyrical concerns on the title track like an actor in a mumblecore movie. Synthetic and real drum beats bounce around like basketballs in an intricately wrought soundscape of looped flute and helium-high vocal phrases, electronics, piano and some creaky guitar playing. It’s all beautifully put together and closes the album with The National gazing further into the future.
OK, things turned more melancholic and reflective on Salvation Blues and Many Colored Kite. But since marrying for a second time – to singer/multi-instrumentalist Ingunn Ringvold – the whimsy’s returned. Their first collaboration, Goodbye Lizelle, recorded around the world, fused psych-folk Americana with world music. This one, recorded in their desert cabin home or on the porch, is more about psych folk with whimsical lyrics and string arrangements. Imagine Syd Barrett flash-mobbed by an orchestra. It’s a bit over-egged at times but always goodnatured and sincere. Highlights: Time Of Love; All My Days; and Seminole Valley Tea Sipper Society. Sylvie Simmons
Give More Love UMC. CD/DL/LP
Includes contributions by Macca, Edgar Winter, Joe Walsh and Dave Stewart.
Last year, a well-known drummer friend advised me to listen to the All-Starrs, saying “Ringo’s still really got it.” He
was right. What stands out most about Give More Love is that Ringo’s vocals have matured stylistically from his trademark amiably blokeish tones, and are stronger and more expressive now, as on the ballad Show Me The Way. He plays with a great feel – and a live sound – on the svelte, funky Electricity, adding some delicious fills on the rocking Speed Of Sound, which features Peter Frampton on talkbox guitar. Some of the songs are a tad unremarkable, but all carry plenty of positive energy and good vibes, particularly the gently skanking King Of The Kingdom, a paean to Bob Marley and Haile Selassie, on which Ringo avoids the possible pitfalls of white reggae by playing a graceful non-reggae groove that somehow fits beautifully. Mike Barnes
Kelley Stoltz: losing his studio tan.
I Tell A Fly
reveal another hidden capital, a misty tapestry of late-night urban idylls, laced with a rapturous melancholy magic. Andrew Male
BEHIND/VIRGIN EMI. CD/DL/LP
Second, uniquely charged album from the 2015 Mercury Prize winner.
Clementine takes no prisoners. The lead track here, Phantom Of Aleppoville – six proggy jack-knifing minutes, incorporating martial drumbeats, sudden pauses and choral whoops, constructed around the man’s alternately towering and pealing voice/piano – is exhilarating and volatile, his own Paranoid Android. The reference to beleaguered Syrian city Aleppo fits the LP’s concept: an otherwise oblique commentary on the alien/ migrant/refugee outsider, from the point of view of two flies circling over humanity. Jupiter (Michael Kiwanuka by way of Gilbert O’Sullivan) and the classical-romantic piano of Quintessence are easier entry points, but Clementine, like Nina Simone, approaches songwriting like Brechtian theatre. By The Ports Of Europe could be Simone, Brel or Harry Belafonte, while a Radiohead comparison applies to Ode From Joyce’s ghostly cadences and One Awkward Fish’s strange currencies, where soul lament, choir and drum’n’bass collide. Follow Clementine’s muse, and the pay-off is huge. Martin Aston
Out Of All This Blue
Music For The Age Of Miracles TAPETE. CD/DL/LP
London art-pop trio return after seven years with more dreamy suburban wonder. Alasdair MacLean hasn’t been quiet since The Clientele’s Minotaur EP in 2010. The band’s singer and main songwriter has recorded two LPs as Amor De Días, with his wife, the artist Lupe NúñezFernández, as well as overseeing Clientele LP reissues and a Best-Of, Alone And Unreal,l that introduced new fans to MacLean’s Orphic dream-pop. However, a fresh Clientele LP feels like an event. The band’s ability to conjure wistful psychedelic dream-states feels oddly comforting in these beleaguered times. Based around the pizzicato delicacy of the santoor, a Persian dulcimer played by MacLean’s old friend Anthony Harmer, yearning string and horn arrangements, and MacLean’s sequestered echoing voice, the gauzy seductive songs feel like euphoric conjuring, chinks in the doors of perception that
Head boy Mike Scott’s oldschool double album of testifying blues’n’soul. One word sums up Out Of All This Blue: “expansive”. The Waterboys’ 12th studio release contains 23 songs, while the deluxe triple-CD/ vinyl edition includes a further 11, mostly alternative takes and mixes. Mike Scott’s passion for music spills out of almost every note, poetic couplet and soaring hook. Like its 2012 predecessor Modern Blues, the blue-eyed soul influence is strong. But for every fine song such as Do We Choose Who We Love, Sante Fe and Girl In A Kayak, there are two or three that miss the mark. For all its good intentions, Nashville, Tennessee, Scott’s spirited salute to Music City, is as perfunctory as its title, while Hiphopstrumental (Scatman) amounts to little more than a studio doodle. Mike Scott still has something worthwhile to say, but on Out Of All This Blue you wish there was a little less of it. Mark Blake
The Laughing Apple DECCA. CD/DL/LP
The singer songwriter’s 15th album, arriving 50 years since his debut. On Cat Stevens’ conversion to Islam in 1977, he gave up making music but has recently admitted that he ran so far in the other direction he rather lost his way. And so, since resuming in 2005, his career has started to arc back round, even in his use of a double name. After 2014’s bluesy Tell ’Em I’m Gone, produced by Rick Rubin, for The Laughing Apple Yusuf/Cat is working again with Paul Samwell-Smith who produced his classic early-’70s albums, and four songs – including the title track – featured on his second album New Masters (1967) and reappear here in spartan form. New material like See What Love Did To Me sits well alongside these, while the haunting Grandsons and the previously unreleased Mighty Peace muse on how growth soon becomes time passing, and that there is always work to be done. Mike Barnes
Weird science San Francisco-based boffin comes up with the goods yet again. By James McNair.
Que Aura CASTLE FACE. CD/LP
LIKE BOBBY ‘Boris’ Pickett singing the Monster Mash, Kelley Stoltz always comes on like he’s “been working in the lab late one night”. One of the great studio tinkerers, he is forever hatching psych-pop thrills, the sonic cousins of dry-ice wreathed test-tubes bubbling with garish elixirs. That superannuated technology and skewed musical formulae are dear to Stoltz’s heart might be guessed from the backwards guitars and offbeat imagery of the otherwise Motown-ish Tranquilo, track two on Que Aura. “Don’t put me out to pasture with the old machines,” sings Stoltz, “I’ve seen how they die/Ugly and slow/And nobody can find the remote control.” Lyrically speaking, this is certainly a more opaque and playfully arcane outing than 2015’s In Triangle Time. But on the fabulously-named No Pepper For The Dustman as elsewhere – does that title flag a failed drug score, or did Kelley simply misplace the Fabs classic he’d hoped to lend his refuse collector? – the melodies are
every bit as immediate and indelible as last time out. All meaty plectrum bass and fizzing analogue synths, exemplary opener I’m Here For Now finds Stoltz behind his own distinctive wall of sound, “looking for meaning in quotations from the dead”, while Get Over weaves magic from an echoing, two-chord guitar vamp, and For You packs a rubbery riff with a strange gravitational pull and a vocal reminiscent of Devo’s Mark Mothersbaugh. Possessor, meanwhile, doesn’t so much start-up as beam Stoltz down, his strummed acoustic guitar ushered in on a wave of sci-fi ambience. “I’m the proud possessor of all these little things I’ve carried home,” he sings, “blowing smoke rings at the kitchen table.” But what are those things that Stoltz has brought home? And where, exactly, has he been, other than well over the herbaceous border? These 11 songs never let the beats-perminute lag, and this – coupled with the easy abundance of melody with which our host continues to leaven his left-field powerpop – makes for some deliciously easy listening. On funked-up, loved-up closer Empty Kicks, moreover, we even get that rare thing, a Stoltz confessional: “No more empty kicks/No more late nights alone/ No little bag of tricks gonna see me through until the dawn.” Stoltz mixed Que Aura at his Electric Duck studio in San Francisco after a stint playing rhythm guitar on tour with Echo & The Bunnymen, a band he loves so much he once covered their Crocodiles album in its entirety. Losing his studio tan for a few months seems to have done Stoltz a power of good, sharpening his instincts, and enabling his refreshed ears to make exactly the right judgement calls.
Bring the noize, spread the calm: Mogwai will shake your bowels.
Solar powered Now a quartet, the Scots’ ninth album adds heat to their soundtrack serenity. By Andrew Perry.
Every Country’s Sun ROCK ACTION. CD/DL/LP
TWENTY YEARS on from their debut, post-rock cornerstone Mogwai Young Team, this Lanarkshire-hatched massive have lately sculpted a tasty sideline as film soundtrackers extraordinaire. Since scoring 2006’s Zidane: A 21st Century Portrait – an abstract affair which triumphed commercially, thanks to its FrancoAlgerian star’s infamous head-butt in that year’s
World Cup Final – they’ve clinched a succession of plum commissions, including Atomic, Mark Cousins’ 2016 documentary about life under the nuclear shadow. Airing that one live, alongside Cousins’ visuals last year in Berkeley, California, 16 audience members were apparently stretchered out. The once-lairy Scots’ high-volume potency remains beyond question. In the beginning, Mogwai took the artfully poised experimentalism of US ‘posties’ like Tortoise and blasted it heavenwards with punk-metal energy, alongside powerfully contrasting blissful passages. Along a topsy-turvy career path, 2011’s Hardcore Will Never Die, But You Will,l as per title, saw them smashing it guitar-wise with amps at 11-plus, but this ninth album sees their cinematic explorations feeding back into their ‘main’ work – initially, at least. Every Country’s Sun reunites them with Dave Fridmann, their
also exist in another ghostly world of psychedelic harmonics and shifting depths. At times, it recalls the late-’60s acid blues experiments on Leigh Stephens’ Red Weather and Peter Green’s The End Of The Game but with a shimmering summer optimism and textural complexity all MacKay’s own. Andrew Male
DRAG CITY. CD/DL/LP
Chicago-based folk-blues guitarist, with a psych edge. If you first heard Bill MacKay’s playing on Land Of Plenty, y his 2015 collaboration with Ryley Walker, or his work with Chicago quartet Darts & Arrows, you might be forgiven for thinking he was a guitarist most at home with in the restless world of exploratory jazz-folk and improvisational ragas. If so, listening to Esker will come as a definite yet delightful surprise. Bearing more similarity to his gorgeous 2015 LP Sunrise, covering the intimate, melodic compositions of Chicago folk guitarist John Hulbert, Esker seems to inhabit two worlds, formal electric folk-blues instrumentals that, through MacKay’s innovative playing,
Mathias Heise Quadrillion
Decadence GIANTT SHEEP MUSIC. CD/DL/LP
Fusion fashionable again? Fast-rising Danish jazz-rock combo’s second album. For some, fusion is a dreaded F-word, while for others, it’s jazz’s highest mode of expression. Though its halcyon days are long gone, the spirit of its chief ’70s architects (think Return To Forever, Weather Report and Head Hunters) are invoked by a quartet led by 23-year-old Mathias Heise. The young Dane is an award-winning harmonica prodigy (like the late Toots Thielemans he blows the hard-to-master
chromatic variety) but also plays keyboards and uses a vocoder à la Herbie Hancock circa I Thought It Was You Y . His band describe their music as FuRoJazz (shorthand for Future Rock Jazz) though one listen to Decadence – which is replete with dazzling, combustible solos, complex time signatures, and intricate group interplay – reveals that the band feed off the past for their main inspiration. Nevertheless, this LP, is a feast for fusion fanatics. Charles Waring
Love What Survives
producer circa 1999-2001, whose analogue-cum-digital wizardry is a better fit than ever for the latterly computerised, synth-friendly Mogwai. Coolverine opens proceedings at a glide, as a burbling synth is soon deftly woven upon with chiming arpeggiated guitars, deep-bass anxiety, further keyboard textures and a mangled nonbeat of textbook post-rock avoid-theobviousness. Second up, Party In The Dark is, says keysman/guitarist Barry Burns, “as close to a radio hit as we’re likely to get”. Here, nutty guitarist Stuart Braithwaite almost-sings in a breathy psychedelically multitracked whirl – like a plangent Dinosaur Jr whipped through a wind-tunnel. It’s probably more 6Music than drive-time. Going forward from there, Mogwai indulge their more filmic side: Brain Sweeties layers sunny synths on thumping trip-hop drums; Crossing The Road Material barrels along a sublime motorik groove, with skyscraping crescendos; then into the moodier drum-free ambient atmospherics of aka 47, and 1000 Foot Face’s uneasy, Eno-esque serenity. All this sets the listener up for a sucker-punch not unlike the one in Robert Rodriguez’s From Dusk Till Dawn, where a bank-job flick suddenly left-turns into vampire horror, as Don’t Believe The Fife quietly simmers until four minutes in, when it suddenly unfurls into a widescreen epic, and, after a further 30 seconds, massive power chords arrive, for a coda of elevated riffing. This whole ruse, akin to key early track Like Herod’s quiet-loud dynamic spun out over an album’s duration, leads from more guitar heaviosity through to a revelatory finale on the title track, which builds and builds to bowelshaking proportions. One might suspect that Mogwai, forever enthused by the binary options of extreme noize and mind-mashing calm, would’ve run out of steam by now. In a word: wrong.
saturnine guitars. The rudimentary electro rhythm and doleful reverb of Audition shares DNA with Seventeen Seconds-era Cure. On SP12 Beat, Mount Kimbie consult the New Order playbook for its lo-fi indie/synth stylings. Elsewhere, a clutch of trusted vocal contributors add weight. King Krule colours Blue Train’s motorik groove with rasping poetics, Micachu’s distinctive croon embellishes Marilyn’s swooning loop of melodica and sub-Saharan melodies, while old pal James Blake lends his vocal acrobatics to the organ-doused devotional of We Go Home Together. Raw yet warm, Love What Survives has a distinctively comforting setting. Stephen Worthy
Lo-fi synthery spliced with alt rock DNA. Mount Kimbie’s Kai Campos and Dominic Maker like to keep moving. Between their first two albums they travelled from ghostly bass explorations to songbased outings encased in quasi-techno, jazzy alt rock and ambient. Here, Mount Kimbie adopt early-’80s indietronic’s swirling analogue synths, Hooky-esque bass and
Art In The Age Of Automation GONDWANA. CD/DL/LP
Mercury Prize-nominated post-jazz quartet’s genredefying fifth album. Restored to a four-piece after 2015’s Living Fields album, recorded as a trio, London’s Portico Quartet return with an ambitiously rejuvenated sound that, while still largely
based on the part-ethnic, part cosmic sound of Duncan Bellamy and Keir Vine’s variously iterated Hang drums, is nothing if not capacious. Always navigating toward poignant, ineffably cinematic uplands by way of richlytextured, dub-infused electronica, urgent percussion and lavish, melancholy-tinged chamber orchestrations, Art In The Age Of Automation sits snuggly in the Venn diagram where latter-day Radiohead, Cinematic Orchestra, Polar Bear and Thomas Newman soundtracks overlap. Whether it’s opener Endless’s glitchy keyboard loop gradually ceding to clouds of dreamy woodwind and soaring phalanxes of strings, or Luminous Beam’s wonky, lo-fi drum groove being inexorably buried in gorgeous synth floes and stately clarinets, this is vaulting, widescreen soundscaping of the first water. David Sheppard
SUNDAY A BEST. CD/DL/LP
Genre-straddling singersongwriter – sister of Adele producer Paul Epworth. Mary Epworth’s 2012 debut, Dream Life, was a curious beast, with one foot in progish psych-folk and another in experimental pop. Named after a beetle’s translucent wing-covering carapace, the follow-up is a marginally more focused update, but the innovative essence remains. Granted, the opening brace of Gone Rogue (pedestrian Goldfrapp) and Last Night (minimal synth pop with gratuitous avant-noise section) suggest a wandering muse, but the succeeding Me Swimming effectively hones proceedings, with Epworth’s empyrean, occasionally vocoder-enhanced vocals cresting an infectiously simple, electronic handclapemblazoned groove à la Bat For Lashes. Watching The Sun Go Down develops the formula, with an antediluvian drum machine and wobbly organ supporting a curiously disquieting chorus (“You should be watching the sun go down with me”) that cedes to an oblique, woodwindadorned coda, like an offcut from the first Roxy Music album. Big, brave and laudably odd it is, then. David Sheppard
Wake Up Now FICTION. CD/DL/LP
Stirring second solo album from one-time Portico Quartet member. After playing silvery percussion instrument the Hang with mode ensemble Portico Qu Nick Mulvey compac music into blockier, m traditional singer-son shapes with 2014’s so First Mind. Wake Up N next stage in the resu David Gray reboot, h wholesome cold-pre songs spiked with wh electronics and earn of-the-globe philoso The humane, multila narrative of Myela, hi admirable charity sin Help Refugees UK, is clearest statement of intent; there’s also a reference to fracking We Are Never Apart, while Transform You Y Game (We Remain) o Mountain To Move call for active enlightenment. How much consciousness can be raised by songs that
occasionally sound like Jim O’Rourke reinterpreting Dancing In The Moonlight or a busker’s Bon Iver is open to question, but at least Wake Up Now w lifts its voice in protest during turbulent times, rising even when it doesn’t quite shine. Victoria Segal
Micah P. Hinson
Presents The Holy Strangers FULL TIME HOBBY. CD/DL/LP
A “modern folk opera”, according to its maverick Texan creator. If Hinson is Americana’s Hunter S. Thompson – political views that predate Trump’s, a press photo of the artist beside a topless woman holding a gun – his sound avoids confrontation. His eighth solo album is typical Hinson, parched, cracked and deep-set, like his tar-coated voice, equal parts country-noir and Nashville. Except this time, Hinson has a tale to tell, an hour-long saga of a wartime family, birth to death (suicide and d murder) via war and betrayal. The fire-andbrimstone oratory of Micah Book One and the finale Come By Here – aka Kumbaya, the ageless entreaty to God – might infer a Biblical reading but think of it more as a heady slice of deep Southern gothic. “Took the steps into the street and smelt the burning of horses through the smell of kerosene” runs The Lady From Abilene. Tragedy and regret, all captured in beautifully glowering analogue. Martin Aston
Broken Homeland ZAMORA/PIAS. CD/DL/LP
Parisian collective’s nocturnal adventure. Cousins Hervé (guitar) and Thierry (bass) Mazurel think globally: their first band was Jack The Ripper, inspired by Nick Cave’s song; then the one-off Fitzcarraldo Sessions, with members of Tindersticks and Calexico. Now they’ve adopted the Chilean port of Valparaiso – a historic stopover between the Atlantic and Pacific oceans – for another floating collective. Y Yet the Mazurels’ Gallic DNA informs their every move; a filtering of Gainsbourg through Cave and, more than likely, Portishead, whose Bristolian pal John Parrish produces here. Guitars coil like cigarette smoke, while Adrien Rodrigue’s violin and vibraphone reinforce the midnight-blue, backstreet bar aura, as Valparaiso’s singing ‘travellers’ come and go: Phoebe Killdeer (Nouvelle Vague) and Howe Gelb lascivious on Rising Tides, an anguished Shannon Wright on Bury My Body, Josh Haden over the dying embers of Constellations, Gelb again on the Tex-Mex-simmering The Allure Of Della Rae. Martin Aston
Wolves In The Throne Room
##### Eye Chant
RVNG INTL/FREEDOM TO SPEND. CD/DL/LP
Debut release on Pete Swanson’s new imprint – a reissue of an ’80s minimal electro-wave head-trip from US animator and sound designer. ORIGINALLY RELEASED in 1986, under her married name of Michele Musser, and produced with a grant from The Pennsylvania Council on the Arts, Eye Chantt is a strange and wonderful LP that inhabits a glittering sound world between the air-light kosmische ambience of Germany’s Sky Records, New Y k electro, the rhythmic and vocal experiments of Laurie Yor Anderson, the lucid waveforms of Suzanne Ciani, and the avantclub grooves of Arthur Russell. Yet Y , in its playful manipulation of sound and language, a pulling apart of the very influences that inform it, Eye Chantt also sounds ruthlessly modern, with tracks like Proteus And The Marlin and 100% Bridal Illusion pointing towards the melodic abstractions of Aphex Twin and the conceptual collage-pop of Kaitlyn Aurelia Smith, while retaining a vital powerful identity all of its own.
Thrice Woven ARTEMISIA. CD/DL/LP
Wilderness-worshipping black metal crew steeped in pagan lore on latest epic.
Since selfreleasing their first demos in the early ’00s, Wolves In The Throne Room have become high-profile ers of Cascadian al, a singular subed in the Cascade he US North-west. y the forests and of their Washington the group’s entally-focused d darkly c sound set the bar any like-minded With Anna Von f and Neurosis’s Till guesting, Thrice s Norse and Gaelic to a bewitching e of arboreal-metal and black-winged ht, somewhere ween early hrone and peed You Y ! Black peror, that tells of the owed return of ring, the birth of enrir Wolf and the omnipotent power of mother nature. Mary Epworth: Andrew Carden she’s big, she’s brave, she’s odd.
AURAL ASSAULT. L CD/DL
Named after the Cornish word for ‘lullaby’, the fourth album from the Cornwall-born, Brighton-based ‘slurtronic’ folk musician is like an aural haunting: drifting electronic unease punctuated by skittering beats and nervous ballads recounting tales of Cruel Coppinger, a Danish privateer who terrorised the Cornish coast in the late 18th century.
Formed by ex-Crispy Ambulance frontman Alan Hempsall with fellow Manchester musician David Clarkson, Scissorgun create Northern electronic shanties and sound collages that feel like snapshots of a city at night, moving from drunken chaos to minicab grime reveries to a new-dawn electronic beauty.
R. Andrew Lee
Randy Gibson: The Four Pillars… IRRITABLE HEDGEHOG. CD/DL
Using the overtones of just intonation, Randy Gibson’s compositions for piano have an immersive hallucinatory quality. Playing just the D notes, their resonances looped back through speakers, this collaboration with expert long-form pianist Lee is a near psychedelic experience, new instruments, harmonies and voices created within these delicate reflected sounds.
Utopian Tales HUBRO. CD/DL/LP
Inspired by the ’60s Norwegian utopian community of Selegrand, Bergenbased guitarist Stein Urheim’s third Hubro release develops concepts of microtonality to record soundtracks for imagined utopias. These are worlds that inspire anthems as varied as Headhunters-style fusion, Floydian soundscapes, John Fahey Americana, and Caravanesque prog ballads. A magical realm. AM
Now MERCURY. CD/DL/LP
Canadian country music’s queen back after 15 years.
Weightless pop, serious undertones: Deerhoof deliver.
Wilder Shores EDSEL. CD/DL
Former Go-Go’s frontperson invites us all to chant and be very happy. Given that it’s largely based around chanted mantras linked to Carlisle’s Kundalini yoga practice, it would be a cinch to take a few flip pops at Wilder Shores, a record that pairs sitar, tablas and Zen flute flavours with a kind of slick, work-out pop aesthetic. There is, however, an undeniable vitality to the absolutely top-drawer vocal performances Carlisle brings to this set, so that, instead of sharpening the knives, you just chill to the sweet flow of Humee Hum Brahm Hum, Rakhe Rakhan Har and the like and end up feeling kinda centred. “I am bountiful, I am beautiful, I am blissful,” sings Belinda with clear-skinned radiance on Light Of My Soul, and there is also a pristine piano-and-strings reworking of Heaven Is A Place On Earth. Come and be purified, come shake it all away. James McNair
Mountain Moves JOYFUL NOISE. CD/DL/LP
Collabs, covers and welcome weirdness from SF experimentalists. Over (at least) 17 albums, Deerhoof have never played things straight, penning songs about pandas and bananas, collaborating with Brazilian composer Marcos Balter and, this year, releasing five LPs of new material under various
guises. The closest to a ‘proper’ album of the bunch, Mountain Moves juggles duets with fellow leftfield luminaries and unexpected cover versions, and while uneven, it gives good Deerhoof. Neither the rap/skronk face-off with actress/MC Awkwafina nor the opera-emboldened cover of Chilean folklorist Violeta Parra’s Gracias A La Vida should work, but do, while bassist Satomi Matsuzaki’s unlikely cover of Bob Marley’s Small Axe is a moving highlight. Elsewhere, Stereolab’s Laetitia Sadier drops medievalist science, while Satomi and Wye Oak’s Jenn Wasner deliver deliriously weightless pop with deadly serious undertones on I Will Spite Survive. Still, the best moments find Deerhoof unadulterated, like the angular tropicalia of Begin Countdown, or drummer Greg Saunier’s Prefab Sprout-like Ay That’s Me. Stevie Chick
Damon Albarn on keyboards; Graham Coxon contributes to Laidback), while Kicked Outta School most recalls an Essex Beastie Boys, and Knock Knock Knock has already been sampled by Kendrick Lamar. Largely, Scum is a joyous mash-up of cheap beats, precinct-loitering aggro punk and youthful vim; it’s by no means a classic, but you suspect Cardy may well have one in him soon. Ben Myers
The Dream Syndicate
How Did I Find Myself Here?
The kind of comeback album you always want your favourite band to make.
Highly promising provincial punk/Essex rap one-manband soundclash. Like Jamie T and The Streets before him, 21-yearold Jordan Cardy’s debut is a young man’s state-of-thenation address. As Rat Boy he presents an England of polluted air, prescription drugs and pressing dilemmas such as crap fake ID; that he was fired from Wetherspoons makes sense. “I was all right until they took me off my medication,” Cardy sings on highlight Revolution. “Started slagging off my generation…” Opener Turn Round M8 echoes dub-like with the same sardonic smalltown humour of The Specials (and features
Their 1982 debut, The Days Of Wine And Roses, was recorded over three days. Their fifth, and first since their live reunion of 2012, took an extra two to put down. Recorded in Richmond, Virginia, with founder members singer/guitarist Steve Wynn and drummer Dennis Duck, plus long-time collaborators Mark Walton on bass and Jason Victor on guitar, its eight tracks share much with that first album. Remaining loyal to Laurel Canyon and the NY underground, the collision of ’60s classicism and noise is joyous. The centre-piece is the title track, an 11-minute psych rock jam, where bass, drums and guitar become one in a transcendental groove.
Kendra’s Dream, the album finale, transfixes too, with original bassist Kendra Smith adding Nico-ish vocals to a haunting hypnotic drone. Lois Wilson
Felled by poor health and a split from producer/ husband Robert John ‘Mutt’ Lange, Shania Twain disappeared after 2002’s Up! Lange, who masterminded Twain’s ’90s hits You’re Still The One and Man! I Feel Like A Woman!, ran off with his wife’s best friend, and this betrayal simmers through new songs like Poor Me and Who’s Gonna Be Your Girl. While Now’s back story is textbook country music fodder, the songs still adhere to Lange’s taste for studio gloss and perfect pop. Producers Ron Aniello and Matthew Koma stick to the formula. And it’s not enough. Now’s second half deals a winning hand with the breezy You Can’t Buy Love and Life’s About To Get Good (a reminder to Taylor Swift etc that Twain did that burnished country pop thing first). But, sadly, the rest of the album slips by almost unnoticed. Mark Blake
Come Play The Trees LEAF LABEL. CD/DL/LP
Post-punk merrie men mix an olde English aesthetic with futurist electro. If the famed Green Man of English folklore wandered from the ancient woodlands of Epping Forest into a modern day East London warehouse, Snapped Ankles would surely be his band of choice. Primordial-looking in their ghillie suits, yet plugged into the 21st century power supply, these nine “log jams” (their words) are the perfect symbiosis of old and Neu!. Opener Come Play The Trees updates This Heat’s protoelectro experimentations, and I Want My Minutes Back is nothing less than an angular floorfilling anthem, LCD Soundsystem gone feral in the edgelands. There’s a taut economy and primal energy to True Ecology, and single Jonny Guitar Calling Gosta Berlin is a kosmische-punk wonder. Despite such source material and influences, Snapped Ankles manage to avoid pastiche and/or homage, and instead sound contemporary, fresh and vital. As debuts go, it might be one of the best you’ll hear this year. Ben Myers
Ununiform FALSE IDOLS. CD/DL/LP
Trip-hop maverick spars with Russian rap royalty, revisits past on 13th studio album. Tricky has long been a confounding character. For an ever-shifting songwriter who sheds labels as swiftly as they’re applied, his studio aesthetic has changed little since 1995’s career-defining debut Maxinquaye – spare rhythmic arrangements and almost comically throwback synths cushioning that alienated voice, now a battered husk of a scoured whisper. Tricky still mixes it up on Ununiform, tag-teaming with trenchant Kazakhstan rapper Scriptonite on three hard-hitters and belatedly revisiting early standout Hell Is Round The Corner on stringsodden slo-mo stroll The Only Way. Thereafter, Tricky effectively goes missing as sultry vocal proxies Avalon Lurks, Mina Rose and Terra Lopez take the weight, before beautifully briny closer When We Die, with original foil Martina Topley-Bird, reminds us of his peculiar strengths. Andy Cowan
Climb Sheer The Fields Of Peace MEGADODO. CD/DL/LP
Irish folk veteran favours ambiance over genre tropes. As Climb Sheer The Fields Of Peace begins, the Nico of The Marble Indexx and Desertshore springs to mind. Although O’Donnell’s voice is warm rather than doomy and deep, her songs are underpinned by sparse accompaniment from pump organ and a Suzuki Omnichord. When acoustic guitar, analogue synth tonal wash, brass, percussion and other voices arrive as colour, the comparison lingers. Ireland’s O’Donnell was a founder of folk titans Mellow Candle and this, by default, is a folk album. However, over the past decade and following a lengthy hiatus from music, she has collaborated extensively with the boundary-pushing United Bible Studies. Accordingly, the John Martyn/ Vashti-esque The Road We Know – as close to singersongwriter folk as it gets – is balanced against album opener Sylvia’s Deadbolt’s sepulchral rumination on karmic fragmentation. Musical definitions are rendered irrelevant. Move fast, the vinyl edition is limited to 250 copies. Kieron Tyler
New Magic EPITA T PH. CD/DL/LP
Superb follow-up to 2015’s eponymous debut by former Mavis Staples producer.
A desire to keep the old traditions alive while redefining them for the 21st century drives Son Little, AKA Aaron Livingston, and with his excellent second album, he’s achieved that. Some songs were written in Australia’s Northern Territory on an acoustic guitar lent to
Son Little: magic out of thin air.
him by Geoffrey Gurrumul, a blind Indigenous Australian musician: see Kimberly’s Mine, a declaration of love in the form of a cracked ballad and the delicious neo-soul of Mad About You. Others, as with Blue Magic (Waikiki) and Demon To The Dark, came “out of thin air”. The former is a Philly soul inspired song, capturing Little’s uplifting vocal surrounded by female backing vocals and glockenspiel. The latter is a rousing redemption song built around an imagined conversation with musician/ deacon Washington Phillips and featuring eerie Omnichord accompaniment. Lois Wilson
Where The Gods Are In Peace DAPTONE. CD/DL/LP
Outer-space concept trilogy from Brooklyn’s finest Afrobeat ensemble. And now we know the answer to the question: “What if Silent Running had been a Fela Kuti track rather than a Bruce Dern film?” Twenty-strong at last count, Martin Perna’s Afrobeat orchestra here deliver a sixth album that only contains three “arrangements” – they are definitely not just “songs” or “tunes” – but has an impressive grandeur and symphonic sweep. There is also, hidden among the solos, a message it’s hard to ignore: thanks to opportunism and greed, the system we have is broken, can we return it, please, and start again? The 11-minute Gold Rush explores how America’s indigenous people were shafted; Hook & Crook devotes nine minutes to dissecting colonialism; and the threemovement Tombstown addresses a possible future. Heavy matters, but eminently danceable, too, thanks to
some glorious playing and an adherence to the spirit of Kuti. David Hutcheon
Winwood: Greatest Hits Live WINCRAFT. CD/DL/LP
Impeccably performed career retrospective. The credits on this first-ever live solo album from the Spencer Davis Group/Traffic/ Blind Faith man neglect to note when its 23 tracks were recorded. That omission serves to amplify the remarkable truth that Winwood’s voice, consistently strong here, displays only the slightest trace of diminishment at 69. He was still in his teens when he made his initial mark – the set acknowledges those days right off the bat with the SDG’s I’m A Man opener – and this set reveals a still youthful tone and range. The tracklist offers crackling performances of material spanning the career, thankfully heavy on the Traffic content (Glad, Medicated Goo, 40,000 Headmen, John Barleycorn), with representative sprinklings from the decades since. The two expected Blind Faith inclusions, Can’t Find My Way Home and Had To Cry Today, are particularly shimmering, and the musicianship throughout is superb. Jeff Tamarkin
The Young ’Uns
Strangers HERETEU. CD/DL
A passionate celebration of unsung heroes and three-part harmonies. TEESSIDE’S misleadingly named Young ’Uns have finally made an album to match the formidable live reputation. There is nothing intrinsically new in what they do; their roaring three-part harmonies follow a lineage of Swan Arcade and Coope, Boyes & Simpson, while – from Ewan MacColl on – social commentary has long been an intrinsic part of folk song. But what differentiates this is the exceptional songwriting quality – searingly contemporary, but firmly rooted in a glorious tradition. Great songwriters currently abound in modern Brit folk, and Sean Cooney is right up there with them, with brilliantly crafted narratives of ordinary people doing extraordinary things. Dark Water is the emotional tale of a Syrian refugee’s tortuous swim to freedom and Be The Man is an anti-homophobia anthem with an outrageously uplifting chorus, celebrating the uncelebrated with warmth, vigour and passion.
Trails & Tribulations
Three Minute Heroes #HearMeOut WARREN. CD/DL
From the Warren Youth Project to raise awareness of issues around mental health in adolescents. The brief: to tie in with Hull’s year as UK city of culture, local school kids were asked to write about their feelings, fears and concerns, then give them to the alt-indie community to turn into songs. The results are both impressive and poignant with interior workings poetically expressed over pysch-funk (The Froot ’67’s Egg), Pumpkin-esque whine (False Advertising’s It’s Been A While) and sea shanty folk (Hillbilly Troupe’s Dead Langer). But Fronteers’ Mamma’s Boy and Ruth Scott ft Kristian Eastwood’s Paint A New Picture are the ones that truly stand out. On the former, over a classic Oasis/Arctics Britrock beat, singer Andy Towse laments a mother’s absence; on the latter, Scott imagines a conversation with a lost loved one over cathartic torch soul. Lois Wilson
“A collection of songs about nature, travels and real life stories,” says Simpson of this consummate exhibition of skill and desire. With deliriously fine banjo on Emily Portman’s Bones & Feathers, an inspired exhumation of Jackson Frank’s Blues Run The Game, a stirring re-telling of the John Hardy legend, a lamenting St James Hospital, a couple of cracking originals of his own and a beautiful production. You have to doff your cap.
How do you follow an epic double album like 2015’s The Rose Of Roscrae? You just carry on doing what you do best. As ruggedly romantic as ever, Russell reverts to his inner outlaw, paying homage to Dylan Thomas, Hank Williams and Jack Kennedy, evoking the spirit of the maverick traveller recounting road stories from Belfast to El Paso, plus a Joe Ely duet. The man is a treasure.
Commoners Choir NO MASTERS. CD/DL
The Commoners Choir are “a rag bag assortment of ne’er-do-wells, misfits, and troublemaking cake eaters who have come together to sing harmonious insurrection, rouse the rabble and raise a smile.” Boff Whalley of Chumbawamba launches a set of topical missives and satirical hand grenades aimed at our leaders, amid bits of news clips and interviews parcelled into an exhibition of choral singing. Salient points made with elegance, style, humour and no little anger.
Inventions ROOT BEAT A . CD/DL
Sam Sweeney (fiddle), Andy Cutting (accordion) and Rob Harbron (concertina) are revered for a multitude of other activities, but with Leveret they are giving English instrumental music a comparable profile to its Celtic cousins. This third album sources tunes from their own imaginations rather than dusty old books, but the instinctive interaction between them is still magical. Where others meticulously shape and arrange tunes, Leveret just sit down and do it. They are that good. Their joy of playing is infectious. CI
Seekers And Finders COOKING VINYL. CD/DL/LP
Seventh album from Eugene Hutz’s global punk nontet.
Antisocialites TRANSGRESSIVE. CD/DL/LP/MC
Gleaming second album from Toronto indie-popsters. There’s alvvays time for a rainbowcoloured splash of ’90s-style irony, and this foursome do it with class, brio and brains. They offer a more humane version of The Primitives’ glittering, sulky soulsearching, itself born out of an obsession with Blondie. But Alvvays don’t make a fetish of their frontwoman, prime mover Molly Rankin, whose incendiary wit is the fulcrum around which the crystalline jangle shakes and shimmies. In Undertow is an explosion of crashing drums, fuzzed-out synths and Rankin’s droll vocal: “What’s left for you and me? I ask that question rhetorically, can’t buy into astrology…”; Dreams Tonite crosses dark, Velvet Underground cool with The Shangri-Las’ hopeful glow; and Forget About Life is simple and heartfelt (“Did you want to forget about life with me tonight?”) as Pulp. Just occasionally the jangle gets repetitive; sometimes, good things do go on too long. Glyn Brown
Invitation KILL ROCK STAR T S. CD/DL/LP
Successful supergroup formula found: S-K + R.E.M. = solid R’n’R. There’s a sense of now and then on Invitation. It’s as if songs about America’s current state of
affairs – police killings (No Forgotten Son), the coming end of white supremacy (Despierta) – sparked lyricist Corin Tucker, of Sleater-Kinney, to envelop herself in the emotions of her younger days. There are songs that explicitly refer to 1988 and ’92; Windmill creates family out of scene fanatics; “Music freaks”, mix tapes, songs and stages are scattered across the lyrics. Indeed, the album’s guitardriven melodies could slip comfortably into ’80s college radio. While the solos have the creative sharpness you’d expect of co-leader Peter Buck, of R.E.M., the more aggressive songs seem to bear Tucker’s sonic stamp. Joy, longing, the concern of a friend, the fear of a parent, Invitation’s rushes of feeling are rich and real. Filthy Friends are a genuine supergroup surprise. Chris Nelson
Eden (war, big business, decaying social fabric), amid fresh instrumental epiphanies in the dark walls of squalling noise conjured from Mike Manteca’s feed-backing guitars and producer rEK’s sludgy, headnodic beats. MC Dälek’s indignant imagery can be tricky to unpick, yet his barbed lines are hard to dislodge on Weapons and Battlecries. If we take as read David Hepworth’s assertion that we live in a hip-hop world, Dälek remain its perpetual outsiders; batting back reactionary forces while finding rare transcendence through static and noise. Andy Cowan
Every Man For Every Man RAMROCK. CD/DL/LP
Adrian Sherwood-produced LP for Jo Wallace’s Ramsgatebased Ramrock Records.
Endangered Philosophies IPECAC. CD/DL/LP
Newark hip-hop noiseniks stretch their pioneering sound to the limits. Twenty years since their debut EP Negro Necro Nekros successfully married industrial, metal, shoegaze and ambient with clattering breakbeats, Dälek’s dense soundscapes sound more vital than ever. On their seventh studio outing the toxic subject matter rarely strays from the modern horrors outlined on last year’s strident comeback Asphalt For
A former football hooligan, who found Rastafarianism in prison, on his release Ghetto Priest used reggae as a force for social change, first as a member of the On U Sound collective and then with Asian Dub Foundation. Every Man For Every Man, recorded in London’s Red Bull Studios and Livingstone Studios, with a band featuring former Aswad bassist George Oban, Roots Radics and Dub Syndicate drummer Style Scott, keyboardist Carlton ‘Bubblers’ Ogilvie and guitarist Tony Phillips, continues that good work. I Murder Hate is a compelling re-versioning of Robert Burns poem of the same name; covers of Peter Tosh’s Babylon Queendom and Judy Mowatt’s Black Woman are passionate and potent; the title track, a
message of equality and unity and Good Lord, a tender hymnal, reaffirm his position in the UK roots reggae vanguard. Lois Wilson
Electric Trim MUTE. CD/DL/LP
Ex-Sonic Youth embraces old influences and new friends on finest solo LP yet. Lee Ranaldo was always the Youth least reticent about what he calls his “’60s damage”, an unabashed lover of the Beats and the Dead back when both were deeply uncool. His second solo album, post-Sonic split, succeeds on Ranaldo’s own terms, scrubbing clean his former day job’s no-wave atonality in favour of open-tuned acoustic ragas, acid-guitar slithers and even, on closer New Thing, a redemptive vamp on the piano chords from Lennon’s Imagine, but never risking mere pastiche. Instead – aided by notables including Sharon Van Etten (who sings background, and duets on the lovely Last Looks), Nels Cline and novelist Jonathan Lethem, who co-writes six lyrics – Ranaldo makes like a post-psychedelicised singer/ songwriter, his songs earthy, earnest and resonant, and suggesting he’s fully escaped Sonic Youth’s detuned shadow, and located a path all his own. Lee is free – and it sounds wonderful. Stevie Chick
Though 2005’s brilliantly ragged breakthrough album Gypsy Punks: Underdog World Strike saw an energised melding of Balkan folk, klezmer and western punk that suggested instant renown for Gogol Bordello, they’ve not quite matched it since. Here, urgent opener Did It All attempts to rectify that while the title track sees Regina Spektor join Eugene Hutz for a Jewish-gypsy campfire duet, and Saboteur Blues is an air-punching, vodka-swilling anthem custom-built for circle pits worldwide. Few bands recall both Rancid and Weill & Brecht’s fruitful collaborations and Hutz is a big top ringleader of considerable talent, but tracks such as Love Gangsters and the reflective Clearvoyance are a little clunky, and Gogol Bordello’s passport-abusing, transcontinental musical journeying occasionally feels like being faced with an overambitious tapas plate – a reminder that you don’t always need all the flavours, all the time. Ben Myers
Prophets Of Rage
Prophets Of Rage CAROLINE INTERNAT A IONAL. CD/DL/LP
Rap-rock pioneers combine; revolution is the aim. A group comprised of Rage Against The Machine, Chuck D and Cypress Hill’s B-Real on vocals (and Public Enemy’s DJ Lord too) comes with certain sonic expectations and Prophets Of Rage’s slamming hard-funk doesn’t under-deliver. Collectively influencing a generation has its downside, and though this debut might lack any real moments of surprise, guitarist Tom Morello still manages to squeeze unholy sounds out of his instrument while Chuck D’s apoplectic anchorman baritone reminds us of his lyrical power and unique timbre. That America’s angriest protest band have a combined age pushing 300 is really not their problem, and though Living On The 110 and the daft pro-weed Legalize Me mine deep melodic seams, the sheer musical drama of Unfuck The World is Prophets Of Rage’s best weapon – that forceful rhythm section can still summon the smell of burning flags and tear gas. Ben Myers
EXTRA DATES ADDED DUE TO DEMAND
18 SEPTEMBER NORWICH THE WATERFRONT 19 SEPTEMBER NEWCASTLE BOILER SHOP 20 SEPTEMBER SOLD OUT EDINBURGH QUEENS HALL 22 SEPTEMBER SOLD OUT MANCHESTER RITZ 23 SEPTEMBER NOTTINGHAM ROCK CITY
24 SEPTEMBER BIRMINGHAM O2 INSTITUTE 1 26 SEPTEMBER BRISTOL O2 ACADEMY 27 SEPTEMBER LONDON O2 SHEPHERD’S BUSH EMPIRE EXTRA DATE ADDED DUE TO DEMAND
28 SEPTEMBER LONDON O2 SHEPHERD’S BUSH EMPIRE
OFFA REX THE QUEEN OF HEARTS Offa Rex is Olivia Chaney & the Decemberists
AXS.COM AEGPRESENTS.CO.UK TICKETMASTER.CO.UK ALLSPARKS.COM
THE NEW ALBUM “HIPPOPOTAMUS” OUT 09/2017
AEG PRESENTS IN ASSOCIATION WITH SEARCH LYTE
‘A sublime collection of old songs given contemporary heart transplants without ever betraying their essential original truth and spirit.’
Independent, Album of the Week +++++ ‘Chaney has a magical voice, full of heft, soul and sunlight, reminiscent of Sandy Denny and Maddy Prior, while feeling refreshingly heartfelt and true. Add Colin Meloy’s brilliant band, and this collection of traditional songs sounds stirringly new. Everything works, loudly and proudly.’
Guardian ++++ ‘The Queen Of Hearts stands with the highlights of British freak folk.’
Financial Times ++++ ‘Chaney has never sounded better and sounds completely at ease with a rock band behind her. Beautifully recorded, there’s something inspirational and electrifying when the band kicks off in earnest.’
OUT NOW nonesuch.com
Bodies Of Water
Death From Above
Spear In The City
Keep You Safe
Hearts That Strain
Outrage! Is Now
THOUSAND TONGUES. CD/DL/LP
LAST GANG. CD/DL/LP
Arcade Fire ensemble annoyances over, husband and wife duo Meredith & David Metcalf craft slow-rolling CA ghostballads, beguiling end-of-days stories with the same mournful beauty as The Triffids’ Born Sandy Devotional. AM
Long-established Kentish brother-sister folk unit commit to record at last, Charlotte’s woozy, celestial tenor and pickin’ bro Marc tickling perfection on lush, backing band-enhanced When We Were Young and yawing Fake. PG
After patchy On My One, Bugg regains his tender, Denver-ish country-pop hinterland, here lent added warmth by collaborator Dan Auerbach. The sumptuous How Soon The Dawn and gently rock’n’rolling I Can Burn Alone shine. PG
Now without their 1979 suffix, vocalist/drummer Sebastien Grainger and bass/keysman Jesse F Keeler follow 2014’s The Physical World d with a supercharged, hook-heavy popmetal attack that impresses but rarely convinces. CP
Fourteen years after Mansun’s end, their singer maintains his sense of grandeur, now in the 1980s dept. of studio-buffed über-pop. Strong synth tunes and beats, bristling with vocal angst: a “Head’s exploding, life’s imploding” sort of thing. JB
Chris Forsyth & The Solar Motel Band
The Loved Ones
The Gradual Progression
All The Light Above It Too
Exile In The Outer Ring CITY SLANG. CD/DL/LP
From South Dakota, Erika M Anderson’s third album calls for a rapprochement with middle-America, warning of patriotism turned venal. Clever, unflinching, experimental and catchy, as in Aryan Nation. JB
Dreaming In The Non-Dream NO QUARTER. CD/DL/LP
Following 2016’s The Rarity Of Experience, Forsyth’s twinguitar power-quartet present a more focused excursion. AM
Young London-based quartet schooled on Brit classicism – Nick Drake, Beatles etc – their debut LP reveals thoughtful, concise songwriting with nice three-part harmonies. Weirder moments of Talk Talk asides make them ones to watch. JB
RVNG INTL. CD/DL/LP
Using software developed with avant-garde jazz drummer Milford Graves and technologist Tlacael Esparza, Fox spins electro-acoustic polyrhythmic patterns and grooves of a deep-space spirituality. AM
More gently strummed cosmic beach philosophy from former pro-surfer turned actor and eco documentary maker. His socially conscious lyrics can be clunky but never overwhelm the light, acoustic setting. JB
Benjamin Gibbard Bandwagonesque ####
Big Intruder NEVADO MUSIC. CD/DL
This fourth LP from Vancouver singer-songwriter might be his finest to date; well-crafted songs of worry and doubt, wrapped in a baroque pop cocoon, like Eric Matthews and Nilsson singing the songs of Daniel Johnston. AM
The Surfing Magazines
The Surfing Magazines MOSHI MOSHI. CD/DL/LP
Wave Pictures/Slow Club join in languid, warm, West Coast psych set. David Tattersall’s reedy voice on Voices Carry Through The Mist is so Cowgirl In The Sand Neil. Lovely. JB
SUB POP. CD/DL/LP
SACRED BONES. CD/DL/LP
Consummate Canadian artist, producer and songwriter’s sixth. Anxious, tightly wound songs packed with breathless synth and guitar drama, yet still sounding deceptively simple. Reminiscent of a less over-inflated Arcade Fire. JB
Nika Roza Danilova’s treatise on grief and frailty, recorded at her home in the Wisconsin woods. Booming gothic vocal, metallic percussion and harsh electronic production are powerful to the point of brutality, but affecting. JB
ne of the joys of Teenage Fanclub’s 1991 masterpiece Bandwagonesque was the way they adapted West Coast Americana to tell their own stories. So it’s a bit ‘coals to Newcastle’ (or Glasgow?) that Death Cab For Cutie frontman Ben Gibbard – who actually hails from said coast – has covered the long-player in full. As a native of Washington state Gibbard knows about rain, so while he keeps that album’s bittersweet melancholia, he doesn’t try to recreate its jangle, offering instead a more muscular take. But the temptation to switch to Teenage T Fanclub’s original is constant. Find it: Various streaming services from July 28.
Lemon Twigs Night Songs
Wolf Parade Valley Boys
From the duo’s forthcoming Brothers Of Destruction EP, the New Yorkers merge anti-folk lo-fi charm with Cheap Trick chug. Find it: Various streaming services.
A reminder of Montreal’s rich music scene, this quartet’s first material in six years is a shimmering, bombastic blast. LP Cry, Cry, Cryy out in October. Find it: Various streaming services.
TICKETS AVAILABLE AT MYTICKET.CO.UK
Recommended Retailers Here’s the exclusive monthly guide to the country’s most mouthwatering independent record emporia. Chosen for their knowledge of both current releases nd specialist areas, they’re guaranteed to provide e personal touch you won’t find elsewhere. And h y stock MOJO too. All where you see this sign. V l e
SCOTLAND Assai 241-243 King Street, Broughty Ferry, Dundee, DD5 2AX Contact: 01382 738406 Assai 1 Grindlay Street, Edinburgh EH3 9AT Contact: 01382 477443 Barnstorm Records 128 Queensbury Court, Dumfries DG1 1BU Contact: 01387 267894 All genres
Coda Music 12 Bank St, Edinburgh EH1 2LN Contact: 0131 622 7246 firstname.lastname@example.org Europa Music 10 Friars Street, Stirling FK8 1HA Contact: 01786 448623 Love Music 34 Dundas Street, Glasgow, Lanarkshire, G1 2AQ Contact: 0141 332 2099 / email@example.com / www.lovemusicglasgow.com Maidinvinyl 7 Rosemount Viaduct Aberdeen, AB25 1NE Tel: 07864 547203 All genres
Huddersfield HD1 1ER Contact: 01484 517720 / , hurch Street www.vinyltap.co.uk Manchester,M4 1PW Open Mon-Sat 9-6 and Sun 11-4 Contact: 07793 054481 IRELAND X Records 44 Bridge St, Bolton BL1 2EG Head Liffey Valley Contact: 01204 384579 / Unit 15, Liffey Valley Shopping firstname.lastname@example.org Centre, Fonthill Road, Clondalkin, Dublin 22 NORTH EAST Contact: 00353 (0)16236661 / www.facebook.com/ Bug Vinyl 11 Ladygate, Beverley HU17 8BH Headliffeyvalley/ Head Contact: 01482 887293 Unit 12 (Level 1), Corbett Court Crash Records Centre, Williamsgate 35 The Headrow, Leeds LS1 6PU Shopping Street, Galway Contact: 0113 2436743 Contact: 091507963 All genres Earworm Records Powells Yard, Goodramgate, York YO1 7LS Contact: 01904 627488 All genres
The Inkwell 10 Gillygate, York YO31 7EQ Contact: 07846610777 Jumbo Records 5/6 St Johns Centre, Leeds LS2 8LQ Contact: 0113 245 5570 / info@ jumborecords.co.uk / www. jumborecords.co.uk J.G.Windows 1-7 Central Arcade, Newcastle upon Tyne NE1 5BP Contact: 0191 232 1356
N. IRELAND Head Belfast Unit 28, Castlecourt, Belfast BT1 1DD Contact: 02890 237226 All genres
NORTH WALES Vod Music 28 New Street, Mold, Flintshire CH7 1NZ Contact: 07904688739 / email@example.com / www.vodmusic.co.uk
81 Renshaw Street Liverpool L1 2SJ Contact: 01517071850 Vinyl
A&A Records 12 High St Congleton, CW12 1BC Contact: 01260 280778 wwwaamusic.co.uk firstname.lastname@example.org Action 47 Church St, Preston PR1 3DH Contact: 01772 884 772 / email@example.com / www.action-records.co.uk P&C Music 6 Devonshire Place, Skipton Rd Harrogate, HG1 4 AA 01423504035 Piccadilly Records 53 Oldham St, Manchester M1 1JR Contact: 0161 839 8008 Award winning independent record shop in the heart of Manchester, stocking an eclectic, carefully curated mix of music indie/psych/ funk/house/bass/avant/balearic/ disco and more
Tangled Parrot Hay-On-Wye 5 Market St, Hay-on-Wye, Hereford, HR3 5AF Contact: 07817781493 www.tangledparrot.com Soda Music 28 Starrord New Road Altrincham, WA14 Contact: 0161 929 1432 Vinyl Cafe 44 Abbey Street, Carlisle CA3 8TX Contact: 01228 522845
Muse Music 40 Market St, Hebden Bridge HX7 6AA Contact: 01422 843496 Psychedelic, progressive old & new, jazz, classic rock and metal specialists
Record Collector 232 Fullwood Road, Sheffield S10 3BA Contact: 0114 266 8493
Rock, Dance, Jazz, World, Reggae
Record Revivals 18 Northway, Scarborough Y011 1JL Contact: 01723 351983 / info@ recordrevivals.co.uk Reflex 23 Nun St, Newcastle, NE1 5AG Contact: 0191 260 3246 / info@ reflexcd.co.uk / www.reflexcd. co.uk Rock, Indie, Pop, Dance & Back Cat
Roots2Music 67B Westgate Road, Newcastle NE1 1SG Contact: 0191 230 2500 / firstname.lastname@example.org / www. roots2music.com Traditional music specialists, world, country and blues. Mailorder & online
Skipton Sound Bar 15 Swadford Street, Skipton North Yorkshire Contact: 01756 793543 Vinyl Eddie 86 Tadcaster Rd, York YO24 1LR Contact: 07975899839 Vinyl Tap 42 John William St,
Terminal Records Unit 25, Courtyard Shops, Old Bridge, Haverfordwest SA61 2AN Contact: 07796987534
MIDLANDS The Attic 7 Market Street, Ashby De La Zouch LE65 2QQ Contact: 01530588381
Chart CDs & DVDs/Jazz/Soul/Rock/ Pop/Dance/Books/T-Shirts
Head 14 Lower Mall, Royal Priors, Leamington Spa CV32 4XU Contact: 01926 887 870
Chart CDs & DVDs/Jazz/Soul/Rock/ Pop/Dance/Books/T-Shirts
Dales Records 40 High St, Tenby, SA70 7HD Contact: 01834 842285 Derricks 221 Oxford St, Swansea SA1 3BQ Contact: 01792 654 226 / www.derricksmusic.co.uk Rock, Pop, Indie, Blues, AOR, Imports
Diverse Music 10 Charles St, Newport NP20 1JU Contact: 01633 259 661 / www.diversevinyl.com
Vinyl/cd/tickets- all genres stocked used and new product
Seismic Records Spencer Street, Leamington Spa CV31 3NF Contact: 01926 831333 All genres
ST Records 165 Wolverhampton Street, Dudley, West Midlands DY1 3HA Contact: 01384 230726 Rock – Metal
Strand Records Unit 15, The Strand, Longton ST3 2JF Contact: 0759 29208319
Haystacks & More 2 Castle Wall, Haye-on Wye HR3 5EQ Spillers 31 Morgan Arcade, Cardiff CF10 1AF Contact: 02920224905
Off The Beaten Tracks 36 Aswell Street, Louth LN11 9HP Contact: 01507 607677 / info@ beatentracks.co.uk / www. offthebeatentracks.org
Tangled Parrot Carmarthen Upper Floor, 32 King St, Carmarthen SA31 1BS
Rapture Unit 12, Woolgate Centre, Witney OX28 6AP Contact: 01993 700567 / www.rapturewitney.co.uk 60 years of experience under one roof
Rise C15B, Chapel Walk, Crowngate, Worcester, WR1 3LD Contact: 01905 611273 / email@example.com / www.rise-music.co.uk All genres
Contemp, folk, roots, jazz, rock, vinyl
Rock, Blues, Indie, Real Country, 7-inch
Truck Store Left For Dead 101 Cowley Rd, Oxford, OX4 1HU 14 Wyle Cop, Shrewsbury SY1 1XB Contact: 01865 793866 / www. Contact: left_for_dead@ truckmusicstore.co.uk outlook.com / 01743 247777 / All genres www.leftfordeadshop.co.uk
Music Mania 4/6 Piccadilly Arcade, Hanley, Stoke On Trent ST1 1DL Contact: 01782 206000 / firstname.lastname@example.org / www.musicmaniauk.com / facebook.com/musicmaniauk / @musicmaniastoke
Rock, Folk, Jazz, Alternative, 60s, 70s, new releases and rare vinyl. Open 10am - 5.30pm (Friday till 6pm) (Closed every Thursday and Sunday)
Rough Trade 5 Broad St, Nottingham NG1 3AL
SE27 9NR Contact: 0208 670 9568 Casbah Records The Beehive, 320-322 Creek Rd, Greenwich SE10 9SW Contact: 0208 858 1964 / www.casbahrecords.co.uk or www.facebook.com / casbahrecordsatthebeehive
Vinyl Lounge 4 Regent St, Mansfield, NG18 1SS Rock n’ Roll to Soul, Punk, Psych, new Indie, Old Skool Hip Hop and Contact: 01623 427291
Badlands 11 St George’s Place, Cheltenham GL50 3LA Contact: 01242 227 725 / Terry’s 8 Church St, Pontypridd CF37 2TH email@example.com Two-storey shop, M/O, Brill Contact: 01443 406421 selection
Andys 16 Northgate, Aberystwyth, SY23 2JS Contact: 01970 624581 / firstname.lastname@example.org AW Jazz 26 Market Street, Haverfordwest SA61 1NH Contact: 01437769618
All genres. Find us on Facebook & Twitter
Music In The Green Rutland Square, Buxton road, New & Used Vinyl , CD’s, DVD’s, Merchandise & Accessories. RSD and Bakewell DE45 1BZ Contact: 07929 282 950 BLACK FRIDAY participator!
Second Hand & New Vinyl/CD’s/ Books/Merch
Contact: 0115869 4012 Tallbird Records 10 Soresby Street, Chesterfield S40 1JN Contact: 01246 234548 / email@example.com
Compact Music 89 North St, Sudbury, C010 IRF Contact: 01787 881160
Eel Pie Records 45 Church Street, Twickenham TW1 1NR Contact: 07817756315 Flashback Records 131 Bethnal Green Road, Shoreditch, E2 7DG Contact: 0207 735 49356 Flashback Records 50 Essex Road, Islington N1 8LR Flashback Records 144 Crouch Hill, Crouch End N8 9DX Intoxica Records 11 Cecil Court, Charing Cross, London, WC2N 4EZ Contact: 44 207 836 6563 / firstname.lastname@example.org / www. intoxica.co.uk 20th C. Vinyl - Originals & Reissues
Nightfly Records 52A Windsor Street, Uxbridge UB8 1AB Contact: www.nightflyrecords. com Rough Trade 130 Talbot Road, W11 1JA Contact: 020 7229 8541 / email@example.com / www. roughtrade.com Across the board
Rough Trade East ‘Dray Walk’ Old Truman Brewery, 91 Brick Lane E1 6QL Fives Contact: www.roughtrade.com 22 The Broadway, / 0207 392 7788 Leigh On Sea SS9 1AW Sister Ray Contact: 01702 711 629 / pete@ 34-35 Berwick Street, W1V 3RF fives-records.freeserve.co.uk Contact: 0207 7343297 / Blues, Jazz, Indie, Country, Rock www.sisterray.co.uk Holt Vinyl Vault Over 24,000 items in our Soho store 1 Cromer Road, Holt NR25 6AA Soul Brother Contact: 01263 713225 1 Keswick Road, SW15 2HL Intense Records Contact: 020 8875 1018 / 33/34 Viaduct Road, firstname.lastname@example.org / Chelmsford CM1 1TS www.soulbrother.com Contact: 01245 347372 Soul /Jazz, Reissues, Rarities, M/O The Nevermind The Music Store SOUTH 10 Church St, Boston PE21 6NW 101 Collectors Contact: 01205 369419 Records All genres 101 West St, Farnham, GU9 7EN Relevant Contact: 01252 734409 / 260 Mill Rd, Cambridge CB1 3NF email@example.com / Contact: 01223 244 684 www.101collectors records.co.uk Rock, Pop & Blues, incl. ‘Classic Sounds’ for Classical, Jazz, instruments and M/O
All genres but vinyl only
Slipped Discs 21 High St, Billericay, CM12 9AJ Contact: 01245 350820 Across the board
Vinyl Hunter 56 St Johns Street, Bury St Edmunds IP33 1SN Contact: 01284 725410 Vinyl only
LONDON Audio Gold 308-310 Park Road, Crouch End, N8 8LA Contact: 0208 341 9007 Book & Record Bar 20 Norwood High Street,
Rare, second-hand & new vinyl and CDs, inc. major re-issues, across all genres
Beyond the Download Home Grange Craft Village, Heathlands Road, Wokingham RG40 3AW Contact: 0118 996 2965 Black Circle Records 2 Roebuck Mews, 2a Hockliffe Street, Leighton Buzzard LU7 9BG Contact: 01525 839917 / www.blackcirclerecords.co.uk / Facebook - Black Circle Records UK / #spintheblackcircle The Compact Disc 57 London Road, Sevenoaks
TN14 1AU Contact: 01732 740 889
Blues, Jazz, World, Rn’B, Back Catalogue
Crows Head Records Unit 1, Garamonde Drive Milton Keynes MK8 8DF Contact: 07780031804/ firstname.lastname@example.org Davids Music 12 Eastcheap, Letchworth SG6 3DE Contact: 01462 475 900 / email@example.com / www.davids-music.co.uk Open 7 days a week. Across the board
Elephant Records 8 Kings Walk, Winchester SO23 8AF Contact: 078711 88474 All genres
Empire Records 21 Heritage Close, St Albans AL3 4EB Contact: 01727 860890 All genres
Gatefold Record Lounge 61 Hermitage Road, Hitchin SG5 1DB Contact: 0779 3029754 Vinyl only
Gatefold Sounds 70 High Street, Whitstable CT5 1BD Contact: 01227 263337 / firstname.lastname@example.org All genres
Hot Salvation 32 Rendezvous Street, Folkestone CT20 1EY Contact: 01303 487657 / email@example.com Vinyl store – All genres
House of Martin 60 High Street, Broadstairs Kent CT10 1JT Contact: 01843 860949 Hundred Records 47 The Hundred, Romsey SO51 8GE Contact: 01794 518655 All genres
Music Box 14 Market Place, Wallingford OX10 AD Contact: 07704 637789 All genres
Music’s Not Dead 71 Devonshire Road, Bexhill On Sea TN40 1BD Contact: 07903 731371 All genres
Pebble Records The Basement, 14 Gildredge Rd, Eastbourne BN21 4RL Contact: 01323 430 304 / www.pebblerecords.co.uk / firstname.lastname@example.org Pie & Vinyl 61 Castle Road, Southsea PO5 3AY Contact: 07837 009587 l pies)
The Record Centre 37 Hill Avenue, Amersham HP6 5BX Contact: 01494 433311 / email@example.com The Record Corner Pound Lane, Godalming GU7 1BX Contact: 01483 422 006 / firstname.lastname@example.org / www.therecordcorner.co.uk Broad spectrum of music available in stock and to order. Also stocking sheet music and accessories + mail order.
The Record Store Kiosk 4-5 Park Mall, Ashford TN24 8RY Contact: 01233 660360 Resident 28 Kensington Gardens, Brighton, BN1 4AL Contact: 01273 606312
Friendly Records 8 North Street, Bedminster, Bristol BS3 1HT Contact: 07701 027824 Vinyl only
Forest Vinyl 1 Pavilion Business Park, Speculation Road, Cinderford G14 2YD Contact: 07751 404393 Vinyl only
Jam 32 High Street, Falmouth TR11 2AD Contact: 01326 211722 / email@example.com / www. jamrecords.co.uk Jam is an independent retailer of music, books, DVDs and exceptional coffee
Longwell Records 36 Temple St. Keynsham BS31 1EH Contact: 077954 72504 Phoenix Sounds Revolution Vinyl Café Unit 6, Pearl Assurance House, 8 Trinity Road, Weymouth DT4 8TJ Queen Street, Newton Abbot TQ12 2AQ Contact: 01305 788664 Contact: 01626 334942 / Vinyl only firstname.lastname@example.org Slipped Discs We are able to order any CD or DVD 57 High Street, Billericay CM12 9AX available anywhere in the world. Smugglers Records Raves From The Grave 9 King Street, Deal Ct146hx 20 Cheap Street, Frome BA11 1BN Contact: 07500114442 Contact: 01373 464666 / South Records email@example.com / www. Southend ravesfromthegrave.com Contact: 01702 826166 / vinyl and all types of music firstname.lastname@example.org / Red House Records www.southrecordshop.com 21-23 Faringdon Road, All genres Swindon SN1 5AR The Vault Contact: 01793 526393 / info@ 1 Castle Street, Christchurch redhouserecords.co.uk / www. Dorset, BH23 1DP redhouserecords.co.uk Contact: 01202 482134 Vinyl only - new and second hand All genres Replayed Records The Vinyl Frontier 3 Daisy May Arcade, Swanage, 35 Grove Road, Dorset BH19 1 Eastbourne BN21 4TT Retro Sounds Contact: 01323 410313 Unit 7, Morfa Hall, Cliff Road Vinyl Matters Newquay, TR7 1SG Bakers Lane, Chapel Street, Contact: 07964 043364 Petersfield GU32 3DY Room 33 Records Contact: 07720 244849 2, Market House Arcade, All genres Bodmin, Cornwall PL31 2JA Vinyl Revolution Contact: 01208 264754 33 Duke Street, Brighton BN1 1AG Rooster Records Contact: 0333 323 0736 98 Fore Street, Exeter EX4 3HY Vinylstore Jr Contact: 01392 272009 / jaimie 20 Castle Street, Canterbury CT1 2QJ @jaimiefennell.wanadoo.co.uk / Contact: 01227 456907 / www.roosterrecords.co.uk email@example.com Huge selection of new & used Vinyl, Across the board, new releases and extensive back catalogue. Friendly, helpful staff.
Viva Vinyl 63 Queen Victoria Avenue, Hove BN3 6XA Contact: 07786 332975
CDs & DVDs. All genres covered esp. psych, prog, jazz, soul, folk, blues, punk, metal & indie. Ordering service
Shiftys 169 High Street, Street BA16 0ND Contact: 07722 906366 SOUTH WEST Sound Knowledge The Collectors Room 22 Hughenden Yard, 3 Endless Street, Salisbury SP1 1DL Marlborough SN8 1LT Contact: 01672 511106 / Contact: 01722 326153 / sales@sound knowledge.co.uk firstname.lastname@example.org Folk/ Jazz/World/Blues
The Drift Record Shop 103 High Street, Totnes TQ9 6SN Contact: 01803 866828 www.thedriftrecordshop.co.uk All Genres
Crows Head Records nit 1, Garamonde Drive, ton Keynes, MK8 8DF act: 07720 765822 / Crowsheadrecords@gmx.com / www.crowsheadrecords.co.uk Monday 11am-3pm Tuesday - Wednesday 10am-3pm Closed Thursday - Friday Saturday 2pm- 6pm Established 2016
2 floors, all genres, open 7 days
Vinyl Collectors and Sellers Cross Keys Arcade, Queen Street, Salisbury SP1 1EY Contact: 01722410660
Based on the first floor of a unit on an industrial estate the shop offers a vinyl haven for the music fans of Milton Keynes. As well as vinyl they have musical instruments and also offer guitar tuition. The shop displays a sign saying, ‘This is our Happy Place’. For vinyl fans, it is an oasis of joy in what is a dull industrial estate.
NEW FROM PROPER MUSIC TOM RUSSELL FOLK HOTEL Tom Russell’s Folk Hotel, will be released worldwide on 8th September. The new album features 13 new Russell originals plus bonus tracks, including a cover of Bob Dylan’s ‘Just Like Tom Thumb’s Blues’, a duet with Joe Ely. Augie Meyers and Eliza Gilkyson also make special guest appearances on the album. UK / IRELAND TOUR NOVEMBER & DECEMBER www.tomrussell.com PROPER RECORDS
PAUL BRADY UNFINISHED BUSINESS With a career spanning five decades, Paul Brady, singer, songwriter and multiinstrumentalist is one of contemporary music’s most enduringly popular artists. His latest album Unfinished Business features nine new compositions and two traditional folk songs and mirrors the eclecticism of his long and varied musical journey. Paul Brady is not only part of the cultural fabric of Ireland but a beacon to songwriters the world over. PROPER RECORDS
RODDY WOOMBLE THE DELUDER Following on from the quirky, melodic single ‘Jupiter’, comes the highly anticipated fourth studio album from Idlewild frontman Roddy Woomble. The Deluder is available on CD and 180g LP including download code. Also available on super limited pink vinyl gatefold edition in select indie stores only. UK TOUR SEPTEMBER & OCTOBER www.roddywoomble.net A MODERN WAY
OVEREND WATTS HE’S REAL GONE Angel Air presents Overend Watts long awaited solo album. The Mott The Hoople legend completed the recording shortly before his passing earlier this year having been promising its release for over a decade. As a bonus track for fans, Overend provided his own demo of his song ‘Born Late 58’ which he sang on the seventh and final album from Mott The Hoople back in 1974. ANGEL AIR
FOR MORE MUSIC NEWS VISIT: WWW.PROPERDISTRIBUTION.COM
So much to answer for… Vast box set unfolding “A Story Of Independent Music, Greater Manchester 1977-1993” is one hell of an interesting journey. By Pat Gilbert.
Manchester North Of England CHERRY RED. CD/DL
n the interest of full disclosure, this writer didn’t set foot in Manchester until he was 20 years old. The occasion was the July 1986 ‘Festival Of The Tenth Summer’, an event staged at the newly inaugurated G-Mex Centre and featuring, with hindsight, a quite staggering cast including New Order, The Smiths, The Fall, Pete Shelley, A Certain Ratio, Cabaret Voltaire, John Cooper Clarke, Sex Pistols provocateur Bill Grundy, and more. It was, indisputably, a moment of self-realisation for the city: not only had it evolved in the 10 years since punk into the UK’s premier musical metropolis, but now it was perhaps the cultural epicentre of the world. Manchester back then was still very much the derelict, post-industrial landscape of Joy Division’s records – “a science fiction city,” as its famous sonic architect, Martin Hannett, once observed, “all industrial archaeology, chemical plants, warehouses… roads that don’t take any notice of the areas they traverse.” The locals were almost impossible to impress, but exhibited a commendable municipal spirit by participating in a new thing called a Mexican Wave (popularised by that month’s World Cup). That summer of ’86 roughly marks the midpoint of this epic 7-CD, 146-track survey of Manchester’s music scene, spanning the birth of punk to the arrival of Oasis, with a great deal of pioneering cold funk, pop, jangly indie, techno and psychedelic rock in between. That a single city should have produced such an ocean of music, as well as arguably the greatest British bands of the ’80s – The Smiths, New Order, The Fall, The Stone Roses – and several more unimpeachably brilliant ones either side – Buzzcocks, Joy Division, Oasis – isn’t immediately explicable. But the DIY, anti-London music biz ethic promoted by Buzzcocks’ January 1977 Spiral Scratch EP BACK STORY: certainly appears to have appealed THE ORIGINAL CASSETTE to the tough, independently G The Manchester North Of minded Mancunian and Salford England box set takes its temperament. There were other name and cover image from a 1988 compilation crucial factors at work too: one tape assembled by local was the fact that local ’70s pop journalists Jon Ronson and j craftsmen 10cc had built their Sarah Champion (both of state-of-the-art Strawberry studios whom went on to bigger things). The box includes in Stockport, which together with several of the artists on Pennine in Oldham and Cargo in the original comp, Rochdale meant Manchester had including The Man From Delmonte(whom Ronson excellent facilities to capture its managed), The Waltones torrent of punk-inspired sounds. Inspiral Carpets, Jean Go Local music nut Tosh Ryan was Solo and Johnny Dangerously. Mark the unsung hero of Manc’s postHardman, the striking punk blossoming. His hand-toMoz-alike cover star, mouth Rabid label was soon home passed away recently. to a raft of eccentrics including
KEY TRACKS G
Buzzcocks – Breakdown (demo) G New Order – Temptation G Happy Mondays – 24 Hour Party People G Oasis – Columbia (demo)
"IT WAS AFTER THE CITY’S EARLY PUNK HAND GRENADES THAT IT REALLY DEVELOPED ITS OWN SOUND AND IDENTITY."
Slaughter & The Dogs, The Nosebleeds, Jilted John and John Cooper Clarke, before he co-founded the artier Absurd imprint featuring even quirkier acts uch as 48 Chairs and the wonderfully Manc selfeferencing Bet Lynch’s Legs. Translating much of this early stuff onto vinyl fell o Manchester’s secret weapon – producer Martin Hannett, an aural scientist with a forensic ear for ound and a drink-and-drug problem. It was after the punk hand-grenades that pepper this set’s first disc hat the city’s music began to develop a distinctive ound and identity, primarily through the dark, Expressionistic recordings of Joy Division (She’s Lost Control here), to which Hannett’s glassine production ent icy grandeur. Yet, as the sequencing shows, the chilling, fatal beauty of Joy Division was already there n Magazine’s The Light Pours Out Of Me, recorded a year earlier in the first half of 1978. Manchester’s story takes flight, of course, with the arrival of Tony Wilson’s Factory Records and Haçienda club, his label dominating Discs 2 and 3 with the meticulously constructed soundscapes of Durutti Column and frigid synth-dance experiments of Quando Quango, Stockholm Monsters, Section 25, et al. But labels like Richard Boon’s rejuvenated New Hormones (of Spiral Scratch EP fame) offered an interesting counterpoint with the fey proto-jangle of the Pete Shelley-enhanced Tiller Boys and glistening new pop of Dislocation Dance’s Rosemary – though it’s the dystopian guitar noise of Discipline by the relative unknowns Gods Gift that mightily thrills here. Manchester’s industrial heritage seemed powerfully synergetic with the city’s metronomic early ’80s electro vibe, but the arrival of The Smiths – the only major band not represented here (though their DNA is captured on Morrissey’s Last Of The International Playboys and Electronic’s Getting Away With It) – inevitably fuelled an indie guitar explosion. But while the likes of James, Easterhouse, Bradford and The Waltones proved that melancholic Northern ruminations didn’t exclusively belong to Moz and Marr, they also telegraphed that greatness couldn’t be bestowed by a ‘M’ postcode alone. Happy Mondays, The Stone Roses and Inspiral Carpets thereafter revitalised Manchester’s dance and indie strands, before the two genres merged with the shortlived Madchester ‘baggy’ movement, crowned here by The Charlatans’ nervy Sproston Green, itself followed by the raw, modern, MDMA-suffused techno/dance essays of A Guy Called Gerald, 808 State, Ruthless Rap Assassins, Sub Sub and The Chemical Brothers. Curiously, Disc 7, with its early ’90s psychedelic rock/pop contributions from World Of Twist (the peerless Sons Of The Stage), The Days (Fly) and Wonky Alice (Caterpillars) is probably the most enjoyable; and it all poignantly ends with the seeds for a new beginning, with the rough-hewn, trippy 1993 demo of Oasis’s Columbia. To bring together such a vast set with so many bighitters is a real feather in Cherry Red’s hat; and though it isn’t necessarily that conventionally playable, it is dizzingly comprehensive and nuanced (Ludus, Suns Of Arqa, Johnny Dangerously, Jean Go Solo, Smack, The Weeds, Life). And to discover tracks like Thirst’s exhilarating Let Go or Laugh’s Time To Lose It is an edifying, exciting and educative experience – just like Manchester itself.
Manchester united: (clockwise from top left) Happy Mondays; John Cooper Clarke; New Order; The Fall; Easterhouse; Durutti Column; World Of Twist; Oasis; Slaughter & The Dogs.
qawwali motto: “We do not sing, we are made to sing.” David Hutcheon
SOUL JAZZ. CD/DL/LP
Johnny Guitar Watson
The mid-’70s motherlode.
The Complete 1960-61 Ella In Berlin ESSENTIAL JAZZ CLASSICS. CD
The jazz legend’s classic live LP expanded and reissued. On February 13, 1960, Ella Fitzgerald performed in Berlin as part of jazz impresario Norman Granz’s Jazz At The Philharmonic tour. Her concert there was recorded and ended up winning two Grammys. Those awards aside, the original album remains one of the best live jazz recordings of all time. Now enlarged with an extra disc of contemporaneous live material, its undoubted keystone is a sensational cover of Mack The Knife, where Fitzgerald forgets some of the lyrics and then substitutes them with her own hilarious words as well as doing a riotous impression of Louis Armstrong. While nothing on the album can top that, her version of How High The Moon is also remarkable because it shows her peerless scatting ability, where she delivers a vocal solo in the style of a bebop horn player. Charles Waring
Listen CULTURE FACTORY. CD
Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan
Mustt Mustt REAL WORLD. LP
Jeff Buckley called Nusrat “his Elvis”. Khan died on August 16, 1997. Coincidence? When Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan played his first Womad festival – in 1985 – he was already acknowledged as one of the great singers of qawwali – the devotional music of south Asian Sufis. After recording an album for the festival’s sister label (Shahen-Shah, also reissued on vinyl in this first wave from the Real World archives), he returned in 1990 keen to experiment with electronics and western musicians. Mustt Musttt both opens and closes with the title track, the second version a club hit remixed by Massive Attack; Nothing Without You, meanwhile, offers as beautiful a melody as you’ll ever hear. Most of Khan’s singing consists of vocal exercises, a trick suiting the nature of the recordings (or saving true songs for more reverent settings), but transcendent moments are abundant as the singer lives out the famous
‘Gangster of Love’s’ forgotten 1973 album makes CD debut. Despite this album’s title, not that many people were listening to Johnny Guitar Watson when it was recorded in the early ’70s. That, of course, would all change in 1976 when the smooth-voiced, Houston-born axe-slinger joined the DJM label where he funked-up his music, pimpedup his image and started to taste fame and substantial commercial success. Here, though, both Watson’s music and persona lack the braggadocio flamboyance of his later work. Nevertheless, Listen – the first and least successful of two LPs he recorded for Fantasy – is a slick and well-produced album, its overall tone mellow and introspective. You Bring Love and You Stole My Heart, both mid-tempo groove ballads, are by far the best cuts on a solid but fairly tame set that lacks the wit and humour of Watson’s late-’70s work. Charles Waring
Palace Of Light
Beginning Here & Travelling Outward “We’re making a wreck, oh what a wreck, of Mack The Knife…” sings Ella, lost in Berlin.
Soul Of A Nation
In 1976, Neil Young quickly cut a set of solo, acoustic songs that he’d mostly dole out in different settings to albums across the decades. As Hitchhiker,r the original recordings present restless and lonely souls whose only respite is music or movement. “The happier you fly, the sadder you crawl/The laughter in your eyes is never all/Give me strength to move along,” Young sings in Give Me Strength, one of two songs that weren’t poached later. Side by side in this unfamiliar setting, well-known songs become unsettling. The fluid time of Pocahontas is less novel, more unstable. Ride My Llama’s grip on reality is tenuous. On Human Highway, our defining trait isn’t love, but cruelty. Only Powderfinger (though it lacks the heft of Crazy Horse versions) skirts the unease, its singer confused by circumstance rather than inner compass. Chris Nelson
HANKY PANKY. CD/DL
Thirtieth anniversary of folky pioneers’ only album, plus rarities. Even by 1987, R.E.M. and The Smiths’ folk influences had yet to affect a music underground clogged with C86 and post-hardcore. Which left Palace Of Light marooned. There wasn’t a more melancholic record that year than this; Mark Brand and Geoff Smith’s soft-chime guitars bridged Fairport, Felt and The Go-Betweens; Smith’s mahogany tones resembled a less stentorian Scott Walker; occasional strings gilding the lily. City Of Gold and Bitter Seal are rival for finest song: the latter strongly recalls The Walker Brothers’ mid-’70s cover of Tom Rush’s No Regrets, also covered by Palace Of Light for an unreleased mini-album. It’s restored here, as are postalbum originals such as 1991 single Books (first released after the band’s name-change to Mabel Joy), and 2017 reunion Theory Of Everything, a delicate epilogue, and no longer out of time. Martin Aston
Released in conjunction with the Tate Modern exhibition of the same name. Spanning 1968 to ’79, Soul Of A Nation provides a snapshot of the music that shaped and was shaped by the black power movement. Musically, the emphasis is on the post-new thing period, when avant-garde jazz collides with JB funk, street poetry and African rhythms. The lyrical focus concentrates on political uprising and spiritual awakening. Gil Scott-Heron’s The Revolution Will Not Be Televised, despite its familiarity, has lost none of its power and ferocity. Neither has Philip Cohran And The Artistic Heritage Ensemble’s Malcolm X, the Sun Ra collaborator’s expression of consciousness through mesmeric vocal chants and hot brass. On Sweet Songs, Sarah Webster Fabio uses spoken word and jazz percussion to explore the African American experience; Doug Carn celebrates collectivity via soulful rare groove and an irrepressible spirit on Suratal Ihklas. Lois Wilson
Titanium Flag MARKET SQUARE. CD/DL
Harper’s bold Arctic expedition sails into the unknown. Originally a limited issue release in 2010, as an instrumental exploration of the mysteries of the Arctic, Harper dedicated his labour of love to inspirational Dutch guitarist Jan Akkerman. Now beautifully expanded, remastered and lavishly presented (with a 16th century map of the region included), Akkerman himself explodes into action as the voyage bursts through its enigmatic soundscapes into Greenland: East To West. Violins, clarinets, piano, guitars, percussion and flutes meander and cascade evocatively through Harper’s homage to an alien, ancient land, the centrepiece of which is an Ice Suite scattering contrasting moods of beauty, solitude, fear and danger in a variety of free-form styles. Against this timelessness, the four vocal tracks not featured on the original album do initially jar, but Gold Rush is particularly persuasive, further sucking you into a genuinely fascinating and absorbing ideal that quietly seduces. Colin Irwin
Ultra Lowe Geoff Brown picks Basher’s best from six solo album reissues. How hard can it be?: Nick Lowe, a rare talent.
Nick Lowe Solo Albums 1982-1990 YEP ROC. CD/DL/LP
NICK LOWE’S self-deprecating ’70s nickname Basher nodded to his no-nonsense, one-take “bash it out” production style. He could function that way because of his deep understanding of how songs worked, as revealed during his time as the driving force behind pub rock’s early tenants, Brinsley Schwarz, and Dave Edmunds’ Rockpile as singer/ bassist/guitarist/songwriter/enthusiast, at which time he was also producing Elvis Costello, Graham Parker, The Damned, Dr. Feelgood, The Pretenders, Carlene Carter, John Hiatt and more. After the Brinsleys, Lowe had recorded The Jesus Of Cool (1978) and ’79’s Labour Of Lust, t enjoying Top 12 singles with I Love The Sound Of Breaking Glass and Cruel To Be Kind, the latter also hitting 12 in the US. The next three years were gobbled up, mostly, by Rockpile. But when that quartet had run its lively course, Lowe found he had rocks of his own to break and began this run of six albums, now released in pairs. The best, 1982’s Nick The Knife (####) and ’83’s The Abominable Showman (####), are out now on all formats and represent his many fortes: racing rock’n’rollabilly (opener Burning); light reggae (Heart); ’50s/early ’60s pop-rock (Queen Of Sheba); doo wop (Ba Doom); sweet, swelling ballads (Couldn’t Love You Any More Than I Do);
ear nods to Buddy Holly Raining Raining); light oul (Too Many Teardrops, written with then-wife arlene Carter). All these re on Knife, where his istinctly English popock sound, despite the mid-Atlantic twang, soaks nto the musics of merica (reggae aside). Showman visits the same influences, and showcases his winking wordplay – Time Wounds All Heels – while his road band, Noise To Go, make a tight studio unit and keysman Paul Carrack’s soulful co-lead lifts Wish You Were Here. By 1984, Noise To Go had indeed gone, renamed for Nick Lowe And His Cowboy Outfit (####), a good-time, optimistic set in which The Springfields’ Break Away appears as a jaunty countrybilly romp. There’s a Duane Eddy-style instrumental (Awesome), Philly harmonies
the pseudonym Bobby Sheridan to avoid confusing rock partisans. Besides rocker Lonely Weekends – his one hit from this period – future fan faves include the country Sittin’ And Thinkin’ and R&B Who Will The Next Fool Be. All Rich originals, they showcased his mastery of the panoply of American music. Michael Simmons
Midnight Blue: The Early Recordings 1958-1960 JASMINE. CD/DL
Early classic rockers from the Silver Fox. Before becoming a 1970s countrypolitan superstar, Charlie Rich’s first recordings were produced by the visionary who discovered Elvis – Sam Phillips. Phillips had worried that jazz fan Rich was too sophisticated for the rock’n’roll gravy train, but Charlie applied taut rockabilly phrasing and vibrato to his honeyed, soulful blue croon and these sides are among the finest early Memphis rock. All his singles with Phillips are here, along with album tracks and two novelty instrumentals highlighting Rich’s virtuosic piano chops, released under
The album that inspired writer Simon Reynolds to coin the phrase, “post-rock”. Noiseniks when they formed, by their 1994 debut album Hex, x Bark Psychosis’s thoughtful, moody, sui generis recordings mapped out a diverse constellation of references. Key among these was Talk Talk, evoked by Graham Sutton’s glum, aching songcraft and understated vocals, but like that group the kitchen sink heartbreaks were the launch pad for inspired excursions, establishing a sound that drew on jazz’s most
potent blues, dub’s spectral soundscapes, and the avantgarde’s oft-overlooked ability to move. Hex’s groundbreaking genre splices never feel forced: Kind Of Blue ambience, low-end noise and hypnotic coda combining for Absent Friend’s graceful mourn; Big Shot’s echoing snares, rumbling bass and blissed-out vibraphone, suggesting trip-hop anchored by a broken heart. But Hex’s whole is more than the sum of its inspired collage of unexpected parts, a bewitching album that still retains its ability to surprise, two decades on. Stevie Chick
(L.A.F.S.) and Rockpile redux (Stand Up And Say That). He returns to those themes on ’85’s The Rose Of England (###), adding Tex-Mex (Darlin’ Angel Eyes), and the ’77 hit he’d written for Dave Edmunds, I Knew The Bride, recorded here with Huey Lewis’s News. Out digitally now and on CD/LP in October, ’88’s Pinker And Prouder Than Previous (###), sparer of sound and length (34 minutes), is his least successful LP. 1990’s Party Of One (####), produced by Dave Edmunds, is more energised and satisfying, Lowe sounding wholly engaged by his material again (no cover versions here). No wonder the basic band – Lowe, John Hiatt, Jim Keltner, Ry Cooder – decided to form Little Village. Nick Lowe’s charm and curse is that he makes what he does sound so easy you think he’s not trying. But it’s a real and rare talent.
This aptly-titled collection spans the years 1967-2017 and presents six themed CDs focusing on different aspects of the 80-year-old singer’s recorded output. Though her work with both big bands and small ensembles is wellrepresented, arguably Krog shines brightest on the CD titled Art Of The Duos, where, in a more minimalist and harmonically less-cramped context, she is able to find the space and freedom to give full rein to her unfettered creative impulses. Her more avantgarde and experimental work, found on fourth CD New Paths, is similarly compelling. Though Georgie Fame, Archie Shepp, Dexter Gordon, and John Surman provide star cameos, they’re all eclipsed by the chameleonic Krog. Charles Waring
The Many Faces Of… ODIN. CD/DL
Kaleidoscopic box set chronicling the career of Norway’s premier jazz singer. With her varied repertoire, which ranges from bebop to free improv and covers all jazz bases in between, Osloborn Karin Krog has always resisted easy categorisation.
Pet Shop Boys
seemed to have had an ironybypass. Nightlife is clearly a sonic and sartorial two-fingers to that earnestness; witness fortysomethings dressed in modern Samurai Chic and orange fright-wigs and songs written in character. The album is a song cycle exploring the ups (and more often) downs of relationships. New York City Boy recreates the sleaze of Studio 52 with a Village People pastiche, Vampires operates on a showtune grandness, while You Only Tell Me You Love Me When You’re Drunk’s pedalsteel loveliness are all worthy of re-evaluation, yet, in truth, there’s nothing here to match PSB at their absolute best. Full marks, though, to a genuinely creative reissue with two CDs of extras, including an excellent Elton John collaboration on a remade Believe/Song For Guy. David Buckley
Nightlife (Catalogue Reissue) PARLOPHONE. CD/DL/LP
Expanded 3-CD edition of the 1999 album. Release 2001-2004 and Fundamental 2005-2007 also out. The ’90s were many things but most of the music produced
1992-2001 LIGHT IN THE ATT A IC. CD/DL/LP
Career-spanning overview of these unsung kings of quiet, includes a host of unreleased gems. Their gently drifting course cut tragically short by the death of bassist Richie Lee in 2001, as this anthology shows, Acetone left behind a laidback yet exquisitely engaging musical legacy. Garnering scant mainstream praise during their nine-year existence, the LA trio’s mellow mingling of country, blues and jazz-tinged sun-gaze rock still succeeded in making lifelong fans out of Jason Pierce, Richard Ashcroft and Hope Sandoval. Adding nine unreleased cuts to tastier tracks from all four of their studio albums, through blueeyed gospel (How Sweet I Roamed) and bittersweet dream-pop (Louise, Too Much Time) to cool choogling (Chew) and fluid instrumentals (Pico) it’s easy t h those indie lum deeply seduced languid and eve drawing togeth Yule-era Velvet and Low.
Clark Sisters And Elbernita ‘Twinkie’ Clark
You Brough Sunshine: T Sound Of G Recordings
The Rudy Calvo Collection/Cache Agency
Round-up of the five Detroit siblings’ recordings for the Westbound label. Under their mo Mattie Moss Cla tutelage, they s traditional hym on signing to T Sound Of Gosp imprint in 1976 Clark Sisters pu the musical per redefining contemporary
by fusing it with modern soul, blues and jazz. At the centre of their transformation was Elbernita ‘Twinkie’ Clark, whose huge voice was equally predisposed to belting ballads as to frantic funk. The hallelujah moments, then, are many. 1976’s My Mind Is Made Up is a powerful blues shout over piano; 1978’s Patience is a frenetic soul clap-along; 1981’s You Brought The Sunshine (Into My Life) captures the coming together of the church and dancefloor. Its inspired Master Blaster (Jammin’) type reggae beat was picked up at New York’s Paradise Garage and issued as a single that made the US dance Top 30. Lois Wilson
new, some borrowed, some found – that had either influenced him while working on the film or appeared in significant scenes. The result is a whole that demonstrates how culture acknowledges no border, hymns from Pakistan flow into a Senegalese call to prayer; north, east and west Africa mingle seamlessly with India, Turkey and Armenia, and the driving percussion of Guinea’s Fatala is as thrilling as drinking songs found in an Ethiopia shebeen circa 1971. If this is what the inside of Peter Gabriel’s head sounded like, it still hangs together remarkably well. David Hutcheon
Passion – Sources
the late ’60s, Dusty Springfield turned for inspiration to American soul, aligning with the Atlantic Records production team and waxing the 1969 masterpiece Dusty In Memphis. To follow it, she looked north to Philadelphia, hooking up with relative newcomers Kenny Gamble and Leon Huff. The pair produced an album’s worth of songs they wrote either together or individually with other collaborators, utilising the funkiest musicians in town. Like its predecessor, it wasn’t appreciated fully until years later. Now, with several bonus tracks tacked on, A Brand New Me re-emerges as a highlight of a brilliant career, Springfield’s dynamic delivery an ideal match for the masterminds whose own genius would fully emerge in the decade to come. Jeff Tamarkin
REAL WORLD. LP
Part soundtrack, part worldmusic primer for Peter Gabriel fans. The soundtrack the evertinkering Peter Gabriel handed in for Martin Scorsese’s The Last Temptation Of Christ in 1988 was significantly different to the one released a year later (for legal reasons, titled Passion) to launch his own l b l H f ll d it ith thi
A Brand New Me: The Complete Philadelphia Sessions REAL GONE. CD
Early Gamble & Huff masterpiece is better appreciated today.
Spellbound: Rare A d U leased Gems
A Little Magic, A Little Kindness: The Complete Mono Albums Collection REAL GONE MUSIC. CD
The early recordings of New York City’s princess of the streets. Blending R&B, soul, girl groups, gospel, Broadway show tunes and jazz, homegirl Laura Nyro re-created New York’s soundscape with unequalled feeling and openhearted love for the city and its music. Her sometimes enigmatic, sometimes celebratory, yet always sensitive and empathetic lyrics revealed secrets and desires of the bustling Big Apple’s natives. This set combines Nyro’s first two albums More Than A New Discovery and Eli And The Thirteenth Confession along with bonus tracks, including the single version of her anthemic Save The Country – all in mono. She preferred mono to stereo and checked mixes on a cheap radio speaker – the authentic sound of the street. Others had bigger hits with her songs – tunes with hooks on par with the Brill Building’s best – but there was only one Laura. Michael Simmons
Thrilling treasure trove of obscure Motown sides spanning 1963-66. way sung a material for h of which he vaults, for the to unfortunate me of age just as nia took hold. As otown though, of such forgotten dibly high; of the y unissued here, our Love Growin’ n’t Hold The eally could have The former is a City mini itten and William n with sweet shioning blime lead. ur-to-the-floor sperate vocal y cascading aring horns. outs: Deep effusive ning of the as’ Heatwave day I Sing The on which way sounds haracteristically gh. Lois Wilson
Brenda Holloway, she couldn’t hold the feeling back.
The Treasure Isle Story: The Soul of Jamaica TROJAN. CD/DL
Box set of essential Duke Reid productions, including 20 unreleased tracks. Former policeman Arthur ‘Duke’ Reid is one of a handful of figures who indelibly changed the direction of Jamaican popular music. His Treasure Isle label and recording studio will always be associated with rock steady, the influential Jamaican soul sound that ruled the island in the mid1960s. Yet this 4CD box set reveals him to be a major ska player and a keen reggae innovator also; there is even a smattering of mento and some top-ranking DJ music too. With every track an absolute winner, you can’t go wrong with discs one, two and three and whether you’re an old reggae fan or new to Reid’s back catalogue, disc four is a real bounty of previously unreleased and very rare material by Justin Hinds, Stranger Cole, Hopeton Lewis and Alton Ellis. Comprehensive linernotes and archive images too. David Katz
VINYL PACKAGE OF THE MONTH ####
DAS IST DAF GRONLAND. CD/DL/LP
German new wave frontrunners’ second-tofifth albums, 1980-82. Deutsch Amerikanische Freundschaft (DAF) began as an industrial/ post-punk dismantling of Krautrock, the studio/live sides of second LP Die Kleinen Und Die Bösen kickstarted a minimalism that culminated in 1981’s Alles Ist Gut. By now, only Robert Görl (drums, sequencer, synths) and Gabi Delgado-López (vocals) remained of the original quintet, just as the sound has transformed into a relentless, fearsome barrage of drums, pulses and chants, like militaristic disco. Melody was eschewed too, except the creepy nursery-rhyme motif underpinning Der Räuber Und Der Prinz. The album is DAF’s definitive statement, which the Conny Plank-produced Gold Und Liebe and Für Immer – albums that marginally sweetened the pill (the latter’s Kebabträume even qualifies as pop) couldn’t quite emulate. The best of the remixes is Giorgio Moroder and Denis Naidanow’s Der Mussolini, a heady clash between Germany’s godfathers of ’70s and ’80s techno. Martin Aston
Year Warr boxes up their first eight albums (from Black Sabbath’s self-titled 1970 debut to 1978’s Never Say Die!), now remastered and pressed on 180-gram vinyl, and comes with a crucifix-shaped USB stick containing MQA highdefinition versions of the same. For non-audiophiles, though, the biggest draw is simply the music. While Sabbath’s early albums are routinely regarded as the holy grail, all eight have their moments (see: the otherwise patchy Never Say Die!’s barrelling title track). Though few begin as brilliantly as their debut, with Tony Iommi’s funeral-march guitar matched by vocalist Ozzy Osbourne howling as if he’s being buried alive and has just heard the first shovel-load of dirt hit the coffin lid. Like that deathless vampire, Black Sabbath’s music never gets old. Mark Blake
The Ten Year War BMG. LP+DL
Heavy metal royalty’s 1970s albums on vinyl in a limitededition box. Black Sabbath may have retired, but, like a vampire condemned to immortality, their legacy lives on. The Ten
Florian Fricke Die Erde Und Ich Sind Eins WAH WAH.
T Judy Henske
The Elektra Albums ACE. CD
Early sides by the overlooked Beatnik Queen.
Done By The Forces Of Nature GET ON DOWN. LP
relished in skirting establis hip-hop archetypes and stereotypes. Mike G and A Baby Bam’s interlocking staccato verses spurned th well-worn to celebrate bla femininity, positivity, consciousness and spirituality, offering up meat-free dietary advice between “a whole lot of t about the Red, Black & Gr Highbrow without being on humour or fun, it’s up with De La Soul’s 3 Feet H And Rising or The Beastie Paul’s Boutique. Andy C
Double vinyl repressing of NY duo exploring hitherto uncharted hip-hop territory. By their second album, Jungle Brothers were comfortably leading the pack. If 1988’s Straight Out The Jungle stood out by virtue of its imaginative sample choices (Manu Dibango, Mandrill, The Headhunters), its zippy, selfproduced sequel spiked their intricate mosaics of jazz, R&B, funk and African music with a fresh lyrical confidence that
“This is a little children’s song that comes from the red-light district of Chicago,” chuckles Judy Henske while introducing the tuneful Hooka Tooka as her audience cracks up. This reissue combines her initial two solo albums – one live, one studio, both recorded in 1963 – and her bawdy banter is refreshingly politically incorrect. Though oftdescribed as a folk singer, the term is limiting for the bluesy, belting, brassy broad who nails torch songs, Tin Pan Alley and Hoagy Carmichael and Billie Holiday covers. There’s loads of sex, most effectively in the gorgeous ballad You Are Not My First Love in which she hopes her new sweetheart “… won’t mind the scratches/You can hardly see the patches.” Henske’s bohemian free spirit was no doubt why producer
he highlight in the ongoing series of niche kosmische reissues from the Spanish Wah Wah label is the 1983 solo debut recording by the Popol Vuh frontman, previously only available as a limited private pressing for friends. With co-Vuh partner Daniel Fichelscher adding guitar on just one track, the LP is given over to deep, Tuvan-style drone-chants from Fricke and friends. “Body-space-music” that, like Pauline Oliveros’s Deep Listening Music, reverberates and resonates in ways that are hallucinatory and psychedelic, resulting in an immense sense of astral calm. To help with the desired effect, the album comes complete with a wall-chart showing the best position for “singing along inside the body… so that every cell starts to vibrate”, plus a facsimile copy of Fricke’s book on music therapy and voice training, The Alphabet Of The Body. Andrew Male
Jack Nitzsche dubbed her “The Queen Of The Beatniks”. Michael Simmons
Naturally/ Steppin’ CHERRY RED/ DOCTOR BIRD. CD/DL
Superb 1978 and ’79 albums from JA’s first lady of song. If she’d been born in the US, she’d have been a sweet soul singer; instead, from st Kingston, Jamaica, Marcia fiths graduated in soulful gae, performing solo, as a with Bob Andy and as a mber of Bob Marley’s the rees. In ’78, she delivered of the quintessential ale reggae vocal albums. urally, y recorded at Treasure studios and produced by a Pottinger with rhythms he Revolutionaries, ures her sublime delivery ockers updates of Studio classics Feel Like Jumping, y and Tell Me Now plus rs of Bob Marley’s esome Feeling and Bunny er’s Dreamland. The 1979 w up Steppin’,’ features the e crack crew; the douts are Steppin’ Out Of lon, a peaceful protest , and her potent cover of ey’s I’m Hurting Inside, in ands, sincere roots. Lois Wilson
Shirley Collins & The Albion Country Band
No Roses TALKING ELEPHANT. CD/DL
A folk-rock classic and high point of her epic back catalogue. While her adventures with Davy Graham, sister Dolly and a myriad of widely contrasting solo albums remain immensely significant, this must surely rank as Shirley Collins’s finest hour. More even than that, its overall importance to the whole folk music milieu is as crucial as Fairport’s Liege & Lieff and Lal And Mike Waterson’s Bright Phoebus. Released in 1971 and produced by her then husband Ashley Hutchings, it gathered together the leading British folkies of the day – members of The Watersons, Steeleye Span, Fairport Convention and Nic Jones included – in a glorious, tightly produced, imaginative and at times dramatic celebration of the epic ballad tradition. Tracks like Claudy Banks, Banks Of The Bann and Just As The Tide Was A ’Flowing still sound magnificent, and deserving of rather more fulsome packaging than the sketchy inlet provided. Colin Irwin
The Beau Brummels
I Thank God
The Very Best Of
SOUL JAM. CD/DL
V ÉSE VINTAGE. CD VAR
On this 1960 release Cooke shares space with The Original Blind Boys and Dorothy Love Coates’ Gospel Harmonettes, their thrilling voices blowing away his strings/choir-soaked tracks. Generous. But four Soul Stirrers bonuses save Sam. GB
’64-68 singles comp from San Fran’s British Invasion riposte, plus solo sides by singer Sal Valentino. First four tracks produced by Sly Stone. Smart, folk-leaning beat-pop, but why is there no Magic Hollow? IH
Silly love songs y 11-year-old son recently heard 10cc’s Dreadlock Holiday playing at a skate-park. “Dad, what’s THIS?! “ he asked, affronted. “It’s horrible.” I could totally see his point. That record marked the moment when I parted company with one of my favourite bands. I’d previously considered them a rich playground of chops and humour, like a British Steely Dan, loving the salty playfulness of Sheet Musicc and forever in thrall to them for the peerless I’m Not In Love, which still catches my breath, but Dreadlock Holiday showed me I’d become allergic to the wit-overemotion formula. Like the “clichés, toupées and threepées” gag in Silly Love, its moment had passed. That “you had to be there” quality of I0cc’s legacy hasn’t endeared it to subsequent generations. Rubber Bullets’ rewrite of Jailhouse Rock as a bubblegum bopper about screw brutality must be headscratching for millennials. They were strong meat even for pop-pickers at the time. Gleefully breaking the form’s most cherished rules, they seldom, as they note in the notes to Before, During, After: The Story Of 10ccc (Universal) ###, “stay with one great groove and milk it”. But their highlights – usually occurring when they engaged both head and heart – are still attractive. Only one of the four discs here features
themselves into a corner” (from left) Graham Gouldman, Lol Creme, Kevin Godley, Eric Stewart.
“STAY WITH ONE GREAT GROOVE AND MILK IT.”
j y collection of hits – the other discs concentrate on the various members’ subsequent endeavours, plus a fun fourth disc summarising their route to 10cc: Eric Stewart fronting The Mindbenders’ delightful Groovy Kind Of Love, Graham Gouldman’s work as hit pedlar for The Hollies, The Yardbirds and Herman’s Hermits represented here by his own versions of the songs, taken from a 1968 solo album arranged by John Paul Jones, plus some early productions from Eric’s Strawberry Studios in Stockport – the unlikely Hotlegs smash and its flop follow-up and their work for eccentrics as varied as Ramases and Neil Sedaka, who came to Stockport in a Bentley looking for his answer to Carole King’s Tapestry. y Godley & Creme’s hits Cry, Wedding Bells and Under Your Thumb still crackle with pop nous. Gouldman’s work with Andrew Gold, as Wax, sticks like barnacles to the hull of yacht rock, but it’s not surprising they still think most fondly of their four-year collaborative heyday as an art’n’smarts hit machine. This was an intelligent way to re-present the brand, treating the band as four individuals with much to offer beyond those years. Longterm adherent Paul Lester provides excellent notes with fresh interviews. (I thought it poignant that Stewart wishes he could have been involved in Godley & Creme’s famously bonkers triple album, Consequences.) But even he has to admit that 10cc “clevered themselves into a corner”. It’s hard to gauge exactly who’d fancy a box such as this, but whoever you are, you’re in for a treat.
Foxx, Budd, Garcia
Stan Getz/ Charlie Byrd
STATE OF ART. CD/DL
John Foxx said working with minimalist composer/pianist, Harold Budd for two albums taught him as much about music as studying Satie. Reuben Garcia’s piano on Nighthawks is also a highlight. SW
West Coast cool meet pulsing samba on this softly swinging 1962 collaboration by saxman Getz and guitarist Byrd, the last gasp of mainstream lyrical jazz, before pop and the avant-garde took over. AM
Any Way You Wanna
A Beautiful Friendship
SOUL MUSIC. CD/DL
A 1971-81 anthology of Frankie Brunson’s admirably funky, in-your-face Philly team, a bit like hearing Rufus Thomas on Gamble & Huff. There’s a strong will to connect with the feet and spread good times, at all times. Two CDs, 33 tracks. GB
Best of jazz voice’s 1971-76 stay at the Kudu label on 2-CDs via 33 tracks of love, pain, joy, regret, anguish and hope. From grit (Home Is Where The Hatred Is) to the disco of What A Diff’rence A Day Makes, any sun is temporary, you feel. GB
4 To Go
Music For Commercials
COLUMBIA LEGACY. CD/DL
The German-American pianist’s one-off 1963 Hollywood jazz session with Herb Ellis, Ray Brown and Shelly Manne is abstract, lyrical, groovy and weird. Happiness in 12/8 time and unconventional structures. AM
CRAMMED DISCS. CD/DL/LP
Long-sought after 1987 LP in which Japanese saxophonist and electronic artist Shimizu references Carl Stalling, YMO, Cluster and Japanese classical music over 23 pieces for ads and computer games. AM
The echoes of four years of chartbound art’n’smarts. The legacy of 10cc. By Jim Irvin.
In Love’s Time
Sing Lesley Sing
The Quiet Passion Of…
CHERRY RED. CD/DL
Double-disc 1976-1983 comp of the Brit-soul group who had a US hit in 1977 with the suave Oh Honey. Includes smooth Chic-like dance tracks and ballads, all recorded with hit-making Real Thing/Billy Ocean producer/songwriter Ken Gold. IH
First two LPs from the absolute godfather of UK rock. Debut Showcase (’56) is at the blues-skiffle-folk-jazz cusp; Lonnie (’58) is broader, more daring. He started to sound like a real believer. Among five bonuses, hits like Puttin’ On The Style. GB
Every single and B-side remastered on a 2-CD version; or add an extra disc of the ’73 best-of on Blu-ray; or limited edition vinyl 7-inchers box from LA’s legends of light/ dark, hip/square dichotomy. Includes post-Jim years rarity, Robby Krieger’s Treetrunk. CP
Though partly down to her own retiring nature, Lesley Duncan’s skills still remain overlooked. These sweetlysung ballads from 1968-72 suggest a Laurel Canyon Julie Covington, a Teesside Judee Sill; devotional gospel-soul goodness, edged with loss. AM
CHERRY RED. CD/DL
Chance Encounters In The Garden Of Light
3-CD anthology of the master pianist’s collaborations and guest session recordings with such as Chet Baker, Lucy Reed and George Russell, peppered with a nice selection of Evans trio and duo recordings. AM
GET ON DOWN. LP
SOUL JAM. CD/DL
CHERRY RED. CD/DL
NYC duo, late of Gang Starr, offered uncompromising dispatches from the meaner end of the street on their 1995 debut. Production from an at-his-peak DJ Premier delivers an overlooked gem of ’90s East Coast rap. SC
His take on the title track and ’62’s Let’s Stick Together (recut as Let’s Work Together, a 1970 US hit) epitomise slinky bluesman Harrison’s easy-gliding Fats Domino style. Pop (Little School Girl), boogie, ballads and cod-calypso all here too. GB
2-CD reissue of Tim Booth & co’s first two Sire LPs, Stutter and Strip-mine, plus singles. A glorious re-education in just how wild, angular and strange their debut album was, and how Sire sucked the life out of their follow-up. AM
Lee Mavers’ all-too-few song gems, plus rarities, in various 1987 forms (some produced by late Bunnyman Pete de Freitas). Is revisiting the same material proof of Sisyphean folly or a reminder of one of British music’s best? A bit of both. IH
First out in ’87, here’s Nelson’s two-part ambient exercise in Gnostic “magical vacuity”, expanded. It reveals its vintage in parts, but their author’s beyond-time suites make it a transport of hermetic delight. IH
Let Me Be Your Boy: The Early Years
Spanning 1957-62, the 29 tracks cover the Wicked one’s tracks with The Falcons, The Violinaires and The Spiritual Five plus eight solo tracks such as It’s Too Late and If You Need Me. The real raw power. GB
Not as essential as last month’s Complete Singles 1952-62 set, this ’61 album found the R&Bbluesman working with a big band, but he’s got rock’n’roll edges that can’t be smoothed. With 15 bonus tracks, Lloyd is always worth the price. GB
Noise Reduction System
SOUL JAM. CD/DL
CHERRY RED. CD/DL
Subtitled Formative European Electronica 1974-1984, this 4-CD mini-book, curated by Richard Anderson, is an aural terror and delight, from the wellknown (Cluster, Yello) to the WTF (Anar Band, Stratis). AM
Twenty years from its legal and personnel dramas, The Verve’s mega-seller is a flawed piece of wish-fulfilment: epic songs struggling to mend a broken heart. Deluxe box adds B-sides and DVD/audio of 1998’s huge Wigan homecoming gig. KC
Acetone Alvvays Amos, Tori Antibalas Bark Psychosis Black Country Communion Black Sabbath Carlisle, Belinda Clark Sisters Clementine, Benjamin Clientele, The Collins, Shirley & The Albion Country Band DAF Dälek Deerhoof Dream Syndicate, The Epworth, Mary Filthy Friends Fitzgerald, Ella Foo Fighters Fricke, Florian Ghetto Priest Gogol Bordello Griffiths, Marcia Harper, Colin Heise, Mathias Henske, Judy Hinson, Micah P Holloway, Brenda Horrors, The Jungle Brothers Kahn, Nusrat Fateh Ali Krog, Karin LCD Soundsystem LeGrow, Elise Little, Son Lowe, Nick MacKay, Bill Madonnatron
106 96 88 95 105 90 107 94 106 91 91 107 107 96 94 94 93 96 104 88 107 96 9 10 10 9 10 9 10 89 107 104 105 86 90 95 105 92 88
Mercure, Michele Mogwai Mount Kimble Mulvey, Nick National, The Nyro, Laura O’Donnell, Alison Olson, Mark OMD Palace Of Light Pet Shop Boys Portico Quartet Prophets Of Rage Ranaldo, Lee Rat Boy Rich, Charlie Snapped Ankles Sparks Springfield, Dusty Starr, Ringo Stoltz, Kelley Three Minute Heroes Tricky T Shani
93 92 92 93 90 106 95 90 88 104 105 92 96 96 94 105 94 88 106 90 91 95 94
VA: Manchester North Of England VA: Passion – Sources VA: Soul Of A Nation V VA: The Treasure Isle Story Valparaiso Waterboys, The Watson, Johnny Guitar Winwood, Steve Wolves In The Throne Room Young ‘Uns, The Young, Neil Y Yusuf/Cat Stevens
102 106 104 106 93 91 104 95 93 95 104 91
COMING NEXT MONTH The Replacements, Wolf Alice, Liam Gallagher, John Foxx, Blow Monkeys, Saint Vincent, Dhani Harrison, The Smiths, Courtney Pine, Carla Bruni
[Twlight Zone’s] Rod Serling say that if you really want someone to care about your writing put a little mystery into it.” Riddles, poems, parables, McMahon’s lyrics dealt with depression, suicide, meditation, alienation and society’s self-destruction. The title track, with its bleakly beautiful opening line, “I was born like a star/Whose light had gone out long ago”, derived its name not from some ancient Asian myth, but from a sipping whiskey, I.W. Harper bourbon. “That was the most popular drink in South-east Asia with the group I ran with,” says McMahon. “There were times when we went totally crazy on it.” Recorded in two days in PD Sound Studio in the San Fernando Valley, …Juice is a hypnotic collection of wise, mournful, introspective folk songs, that all move at the same gentle, narcotic pace, embroidered with spiralling guitar and delivered in a voice that possesses the same weary beauty as Fred Neil or Tim Hardin, yet with a lonesome warmth at its core. “The drummer was a guy CREDITS from CBS called named Junior Tracks: Sister, Brother / The Road Back Home / Nickles, and John Uzonyi Early Blue / Black Night from [local psych group] Woman / One Alone Peacepipe on bass. John and I Together / Five Year worked on the songs for one Kansas Blues / Enough It night, then Junior tracked us Is Done / The Learned in the studio. I played all the Man / The Spirit Of The rhythm parts on a tiny Guild Golden Juice Personnel: F.J. G40 and did the overdubs McMahon (guitar, vocals), with a Martin D-28 straight John Uzonyi (bass), Junior out of the factory.” Nickles (possibly Nichols) The album was released (drums), Scott Seely on the Accent label, and (organ) McMahon waited. He Producer: Scott Seely thought he might get a TV Recorded: PD Sound spot or two. “Accent had no Studio, California A trainee military Released: 1969 budget,” he says. “They policeman, stationed at Chart peak: none mailed it to people they’d Current availability: Hamilton Air Force Base in normally send their stuff to, Mexican Summer San Francisco, McMahon stuff like Lawrence Welk. (CD/DL/LP) spent his evenings at the They got my record and they artists’ community later were like, ‘Huh?’” After about known as Haight-Ashbury. “I had the six weeks, McMahon realised it wasn’t military haircut,” he says, “but there was happening. “It was a let-down,” he says, still a lot of short hair. August 7, 1967, “but look at 1969. Creedence, Led George Harrison was at Golden Gate Zeppelin, Crosby, Stills And Nash… my Park. OK, I said, this is where I want to be. little album never had a chance.” The next day I got my orders.” McMahon went back to playing Because McMahon was military covers. In 1972 he moved to Hawaii, police, he didn’t go out into the ﬁeld in playing “tourist stuff for grandmothers” Vietnam but he still remembers the until til he h couldn’t ld ’t take t k it any more. He H rocket attacks, the gunﬁre, the loss, the moved back to California, married and corruption. “You’d see guys coming back got a job as a computer ﬁeld engineer. from the ﬁeld with body bags of their Then, around 2001, the past came buddies, while senior NCOs sold stuff knocking. McMahon typed his album’s right off the plane to the Vietnamese title into a search engine. Results came black market. I saw people getting rich back from record collectors in the US and and people getting dead. I’m thinking, the UK: the LP was an underground What are we doing here?” sensation. McMahon began selling CD-Rs Invalided home with hepatitis, – he sent one to this writer at MOJO – and McMahon becomes part of the anti-war reissues followed, the most recent, on movement. After a few months playing Mexican Summer, followed by a live gig Hoyt Axton covers on the Santa Barbara at the LA Sanctuary, the ﬁrst time coffee-house scene, he was talent-spotMcMahon had ever played the songs live. ted by a small production company “I had to re-learn the entire album,” he ereye. “I’m not sure where says. “It was the most work I’d done in ot their money and I didn’t years. But after we played the ﬁrst song ” says McMahon. “They we got such an ovation. It shook me. It d, ‘You need songs.’ So, for took me back to ’69. I’m looking at the e last six months of 1969 audience, a lot of them 25-35, and I’m m at home frantically thinking, If we were alienated in 1969, riting. About two-thirds look at these guys. Look at their e what you’d now call government, their jobs, their future. ost-traumatic stress They’re just as alienated as we were.” sorder. But I remember Andrew Male
Bourbon legend This month’s shiny pebble in the tidewrack of plastic sea debris, a PTSD folk meditation inspired by Vietnam, sipping whiskey and Western corruption.
his return from army service; (inset right) surf band days, McMahon is on the left; (below) the album.
F.J. McMahon Spirit Of The Golden Juice ACCENT, 1969
left California in the Summer Of Love,” explains Fred McMahon. “When When I got back from South South-east east Asia it was the end of 1968. The country I’d grown up in – Ozzie And Harriet, Leave It To Beaver – was history. Now it was hitting the streets, ‘down with the pigs’. We were tearing ourselves apart.” When McMahon enlisted in the US Air Force in 1964 he was an 18-year-old highschool graduate who’d already lived a charmed West Coast life. Born in Santa Barbara in 1946, he’d been raised on Doris Day and Dean Martin records, with junior high dreams of riding a motorbike, and getting the girls, just like Elvis. His teenage years were spent surﬁng in Ventura and playing bass and singing in local surf bands. Then, whe McMahon graduated from high school in 1964, he enlisted in the air force. “There was a good chan I was going to get drafted,” explains. “I didn’t want to go the army. The air force had
“LOOK AT 1969… MY LITTLE ALBUM NEVER HAD A CHANCE.”
Richard 10 Thompson You? Me? Us? CAPITOL, 1996: DOWNLOAD £8.99
You Say: “The most underrated thing in his canon.” Ben Watcher, MOJO Facebook Any list of Thompson records needs one stripped-down recording, because that is where the songwriter’s most intimate experiments lurk. Honorable mentions have to go to 2005’s wonderful Front Parlour Ballads, and the acoustic demos that came with 2010’s Dream Attic, but lend an ear to Disc 2 on the hugely ambitious 19-track double CD collection, You? Me? Us?. The grungy “Voltage Enhanced” tracks are terrific (especially Razor Dance), but it’s nine complex, troubling and exquisitely detailed short stories on the “Nude” CD that make this a desert island disc. Yes, you could edit it all down to a perfect single LP, but everyone’s edit would be completely different.
Richard Thompson aised in north London’s Muswell Hill in the 1950s, Richard Thompson was a shy kid with a pronounced stutter, who spoke through his guitar. His father, a Dumfries Presbyterian who worked as a Scotland Yard detective, gave him two signiﬁcant gifts, a love of Django Reinhardt and Scottish folk music, and the cold eye of the secret observer. Through a friend of a friend, Thompson was invited to play guitar with a pair of local grammar school kids, Simon Nicol and Ashley Hutchings who practised above Nicol’s father’s dentist’s surgery, in a gabled Arts and Crafts house called Fairport. Thompson’s work with Fairport Convention combined the romance and mythology of indigenous British musics, with a unique guitar style that seamlessly bent, blended and interweaved a travelogue of different modes, scales and genres. Growing up fast, after surviving the tour-van crash that killed his girlfriend, Jeannie Franklyn, and the band s drummer, band’s drummer Martin Lamble, Lamble Thompson looked for new spiritual directions on the shelves of Watkins’ esoteric bookshop in Charing Cross, before settling on Suﬁsm. Illuminated by poetry and mysticism, and his
aches: solo Richard Thompson with the tool of his trade.
“THE STRANGE LANDSCAPE OF HIS SONGS CAN BE REPEATEDLY REVISITED.”
f described as “beautiful tragedy”, with dark meditations on romantic defeat elevated to rapturous heights by his effortlessly lucent guitar and Linda Thompson’s sweetly mournful harmonies. The high standard of the ﬁrst three Richard and Linda albums, and Thompson’s own self-effacing manner, has, on occasion, tended to overshadow the astonishing solo career that followed the couple’s divorce in 1982. His voice has become a nuanced and often ﬁery instrument that perfectly echoes and answers his preternatural guitar playing, while the strange landscape of his songs – a Middle England of dark gothic imagination bordering an abyss of pain and despair – is a world that can be repeatedly revisited without ever losing its peculiar magic or giving up its secrets.
CAST YOUR VOTES! This month you chose your Top 10 Richard Thompson albums. Next month we want your Kevin Ayers Top 10. Send your selections to www. mojo4music.com or e-mail your Top 10 to email@example.com with the subject ‘How To Buy Kevin Ayers’ and we’ll print the best comments.
4ShootRichard Thompson Out The Lights HANNIBAL, 1982: RYKODISC REISSUE 2006, £12.10
You Say: “The haunting end of a marriage, on vinyl.” Keith Dennis, via e-mail Begun then scrapped with producer Gerry Rafferty in 1980, when Shoot Out… was eventually finished at Olympic Studios, with old Fairports pal Joe Boyd, Richard and Linda’s marriage was on the rocks. And while Richard had always written about doomed relationships, enwreathed in sinister metaphor, Shoot Out’s songs carry an extra weight and cohesion thanks to circumstances of their creation. Aided by fellow Fairports Dave Mattacks, Dave Pegg and Simon Nicol, Richard and Linda perform on a knife-edge of emotional pain, while Boyd’s of-its-time production lend this already emotionally fragile record a brittle, claustrophobic potency.
Photoshot, Getty Images, Rex
Inimitable guitar and songwriter. By Andrew Male.
Richard 9Grizzly Thompson Man
Richard 8Sweet Thompson Warrior
7TheRichard Thompson Old Kit Bag
Richard 6Rumor Thompson And Sigh
Richard 5Henry Thompson The Human
COOKING VINYL, 2005: £14.48
PROPER, 2007: DOWNLOAD, £7.99
COOKING VINYL, 2003: £13.75
CAPITOL, 1991; DOWNLOAD, £4.99
You Say: “Scary, beautiful and expansive.” Andi Gisler, MOJO Facebook
You Say: “A Gulf War album? He can do that too.” Dave Gross, via e-mail
You Say: “Stark and brilliant… absorbing.” Michael O’Neill, via e-mail
ISLAND, 1972: DOWNLOAD, £7.99
As illustrated by the ‘making-of’ DVD that accompanied the initial CD release, this guitar score for Werner Herzog’s 2005 documentary about the life (and death) of American film-maker and bear enthusiast Timothy Treadwell was largely improvised by Thompson in just two days. Accompanied at significant points by Henry Kaiser’s big-noise electric guitar, Jim O’ Rourke’s musicbox piano, John Hanes’ unobtrusive percussion, and the double bass and cello of Damon Smith and Danielle DeGruttola, RT’s guitar moves from Celtic romanticism to unresolved modal melancholy and churning avant noise seeking out the “ecstatic truth” of Herzog’s film, and Treadwell’s tragic story.
A near-concept album about conflict (war, relationships, etc), written under the shadow of the second Gulf War, Sweet Warriorr is one of Thompson’s most politicallyminded albums and one of his most satisfying. Ranging from joyous electric rockers (Needle And Thread, Mr Stupid, Bad Monkey), to fluent ballads (Take Care The Road You Choose, She Sang Angels To Rest), the album is raised above the merely great by the pitchblack Dad’s Gonna Kill Me, which uses GI slang (‘dad’ = Baghdad) to document war through soldiers’ eyes, and Guns Are The Tongues, a tense, swirling love story about the sinister seductions of terrorism.
For this self-financed, stripped down LP, recorded live at Hollywood’s Capitol Studio “B”, Thompson enters into an intense communion with his electric guitar, aided by Michael Jerome on drums, Danny Thompson playing upright (and often bowed) bass, and Judith Owen adding sweetly sorrowful backing vocals. On the first half of the album, titled The Haunted Keepsake, the feel is of some existential power trio, lamenting the human condition while tearing up the floor. For the second half, The Pilgrim’s Fancy, Thompson tunes into the tangled thoughts of losers and loners, singing blues for all those caught “between the chaos and the dream”.
You Say: “That’s how 16-year-old me got into him.” Christopher Lavery, MOJO Facebook Although now living in America, with Rumor And Sigh, Thompson began to craft a new language for British rock’n’roll. Mitchell Froom’s chunky Sunset Sound production hasn’t aged particularly well, but the songs are many of Thompson’s best, tales of mental illness, heavy drinking and unrequited love told by ex cons and spurned lovers, grim parables of Thatcherism (Grey Walls, Mother Knows Best) and, with 1952 Vincent Black Lightning, one of Thompson’s finest ever songs, a Shangri-Las motorcycle tragedy, unfolding out on the A3 from London to Box Hill, yet played as if it were a 19th century folk song that has always been with us.
You Say: “The key markers of his musical Zeitgeist.” Cody Lee, MOJO Facebook “I used to talk to Lal Waterson about songwriting,” Richard Thompson told me recently. “There was a feeling we were both a bit eccentric and quirky, a bit out on the margins.” Very much a companion work to Lal And Mike’s *Bright Phoebus, Henry… is also an album out of time. With backing vocals from Sandy Denny and Linda Thompson (then Peters), and droning accompaniment from Barry Dransfield’s fiddle and John Kirkpatrick’s accordion, this unholy dance of rock’n’roll chordings and macabre border ballads, conjures up a chilly folk netherworld of drunkards, prostitutes and gamblers all scrabbling to survive in their blasted Albion.
3MockRichard Thompson Tudor
Richard & 2Thompson Linda
CAPITOL, 1999: £8.22
Pour Down Like Silver
You Say: “One of Richard’s finely achieved yet underappreciated gems.” Richard Emmitt, via e-mail Following 1997’s Industry, y in which Richard collaborated with bassist and long-time friend Danny Thompson on an album about the decline of the machine age, came this conceptual magnum opus set in 20th century English suburbia. Grouped into three categories (Metroland, Heroes In The Suburbs, and Street Cries And Stage Whispers) these 12 wise, lyrical, complex and human songs move from the remote outskirts to the venal city, an inky Kinksian portrait of failed romances, doomed hope and class division, made warm and spacious by Tom Rothrock and Rob Schnapf’s production and Thompson’s high E drone guitar sound.
First, have an internet delve for bootlegs/burns of Gerry Rafferty’s earlier production of Shoot Out The Lights. RT’s best live recordings include Small Town Romance (acoustic at The Bottom Line, NYC, 1982), and Two Letter Words Pete ks on n the history s Of
ISLAND, 1975: EXPANDED REISSUE 2004, £5.80
You Say: “Intimate and austere, but also beautiful.” Ian Poole, via e-mail The cover shows Richard in a white turban and with a beard; on the rear is wan-faced Linda, head wrapped in pale-blue hijab. Both stare with beatific intensity. Recorded at Chelsea’s Sound Techniques before the pair’s three-year retreat in a Norfolk Sufi community, … Silverr transforms Thompson’s songs of booze, romance, and final reckonings into lean metaphysical allegories, the chordal Renaissance tones of Thompson’s guitar, John Kirkpatrick’s button accordion, and the stalking rhythms of Dave Pegg and Dave Mattacks combining with Richard and Linda’s forlorn harmonies for an album of eerie power.
Richard & Linda T 1Lights I Want to See The Br Tonight ISLAND, 1974: EXPANDED REISSUE 2004, £7.52
You Say: “The duo’s great begin David Paddy, MOJO Facebook
As with 1972 solo debut, Henry The Fly, y Thompson’s first album record his wife Linda is informed by fears ing apocalypse and the cheerless ratives of the Child Ballads. Howev Lights’ undeniably misanthropic v cruel country populated by drunks and bohemians, with nothing at t the rainbow, is countered by Richa electric playing, glistening like silv on black water, and Linda Thomps soaring vocals, coming together in euphoria of ecstatic despair.
nd dio erforher es’ Affair 96) is due ate. Richard & Linda: rich playing, sad, soaring vocals.
WHAT WE’VE LEARNT G
Be-In boiled Highly readable dissection of a remarkable year. By Mark Paytress.
In Search Of The Lost Chord: 1967 And The Hippie Idea #### Danny Goldberg ICON. £14.99
967 was the year that smiled, the high point of pop’s cultural revolution when youth, music and public displays of warmth and pleasure gave everything a psychedelic glow. The world was anew, “a place where happiness reigned … and music played ever so loudly”, whispered a young girl on Trafﬁc’s Hole In My Shoe. Who could not believe? Danny Goldberg’s In Search Of The Lost Chord is fancifully titled and comes with a raised-text, ‘all about the feeling, man’ cover. It’s vivid, passionate and told in a warm, Book At Bedtime manner. It even begins with cosy familiarity, late in 1965, as The Charlatans arrive in San Francisco’s bohemian Haight-Ashbury quarter. By page 20, it’s January 14, 1967,
Photo by Peter Simon
Chasing the white rabbit: Jefferson Airplane (standing, from left) Jorma Kaukonen, Jack Casady, Grace Slick at Mount Tam, Marin County, CA, ’67.
“SHINING A TORCH INTO EVERY COUNTERCULTURAL CORNER, GOLDBERG REVEALS A KIND OF WARFARE.”
witnessing the Human Be Be-In. In All aboard the Magic Bus to Pepperland… But Goldberg, then a pleasure-seeking 17-year-old dropping acid to Country Joe & The Fish, is now on a different trip. He’s out to discover the gap between dream and reality in “the hippie idea”. And it’s right there at the Human Be-In, the so-called ‘Gathering of the Tribes’, which begins with monkish poet Gary Snyder blowing into a conch shell and continues with left activist Jerry Rubin haranguing the crowd. Then came the rock’n’roll bands. Different tunes everywhere. “In the eyes of the counterculture,” Goldberg writes early on, “the ‘establishment’ had created a materialistic and inhibited society that trapped many of our parents, a society which we, with the help of The Beatles, were determined to change for the better.” In 1967, tangible g evidence of that change was everywhere. A revolution in sound, fashion, argot and anything else that the use of LSD could turn upside down, blew through the Western world. But Goldberg, later a leading music industry executive bossing major labels and steering Nirvana through their stratospheric years, is out to ﬁnd all that he missed ﬁrst time round. As one would expect, he ﬁnds “the moral imperative to ﬁght for civil rights and against the [Vietnam] war”, spirituality, and a shared revulsion of all things ‘plastic’. From the seed of
Police were first dubbed “pigs” in September 1967 at a Students For A Democratic Society (SDS) meeting. G Jefferson Airplane’s White Rabbit was on Senator Robert Kennedy’s jukebox. G After his first acid trip, Allen Ginsberg called the White House, suggesting that President Kennedy take LSD with Soviet chief Nikita Khrushchev. G The great ‘banana skin’ hoax began at a Country Joe & The Fish concert in Vancouver.
between the tribes at the Be-In, a narrative unfolds that calmly lays waste to the delusion that 1967 was in any way Eden Year Zero. Shining a torch into every countercultural corner, Goldberg reveals a kind of warfare. Even Martin Luther King, the era’s patron saint of nonviolence, got short shrift. King, who preferred a suit and tie to a kaftan and beads, was largely invisible among the lost chord seekers and dismissed as “too Sunday school”. Forget about Scott McKenzie. The Hippie Idea journeys into more perilous territoryy than anyy punk p rock chronicle could ever do. When Jefferson Airplane record an ad for Levi jeans, they’re soundly chastised. But recriminations on the rock scene are nothing compared to the scenarios of rage, violence and paranoia that unfold among the ever shape-shifting counterculture. Despite it all, Goldberg maintains that good came out of an extraordinarily difﬁcult era and returns to Jack Kerouac for his conclusion. “Walking on water wasn’t built in a day,” cautioned the Beat guru. But, Goldberg twinkles, he didn’t say it could never happen.
Complicated Fun: The Birth Of Minneapolis Punk And Indie Rock 1974-1984
Cyn Collins MINNESOTA HISTORICAL SOCIETY PRESS, £15.50
In-depth love letter to the scene which birthed Hüsker Dü, The Replacements et al. While a familiar arc – mid-’70s musical doldrums inspire misfits to create their own scene – the setting and many of the names here are less well known. This punk-era oral history begins with a pivotal New York Dolls show and ends with the arrival in Minneapolis of national labels and the cocking of international ears. Early prime movers were the book’s title inspiration, Suicide Commandos, whose main man, it is revealed, gave Hüsker Dü’s Bob Mould guitar lessons. As the story unwinds, Hüsker Dü’s work ethic contrasts with The Replacements’ chaotic progress, with Prince ducking in and out as he saw fit. This prequel to Replacements’ bio Trouble Boys is largely about the pioneers and their adventures: including playing on flatbed trucks for drunken famers. Though it could use closer editing and tidying of the sometimes confusing chronology and massive cast list, Complicated Fun keeps the pages turning. Kieron Tyler
Feel The Music: The Psychedelic Worlds of Paul Major
Paul Major with Johan Kugelberg and Mark Iosifescu
© Alice Ochs
ANTHOLOGY Y EDITIONS, £45
Endless Boogie guv’nor’s alchemical treatise on deep record collecting. Some books give up what they have speedily. But there’s something about this one that might just be inexhaustible. Presenting, from the ’70s on, reflections, reminiscence and telling artefacts from the Endless Boogie leader and dealer in the rarest vinyl
antimatter, it illuminates a rare mentality and attitude to life, namely that real musical action is to be found in the privatepress cut-out bins of the lost, the amateur or simply bent of shape. Next to fond memories of stinky ’70s NYC and essays by like-minded devotees, Major’s free-form purple-prose record catalogues make for hypnotic reading (one disc is described as “bad enough to be interesting”). Add to this lashings of mindbending LPs whose covers you can almost smell – plus a bonus Endless Boogie 7-inch – and he can take his smoke break with honour, reflecting on a job well done. Ian Harrison
authenticity. Indeed, this is no unctuous love letter to the island – Donlon and her interviewees (DJs, musicians, socialites) can be as deeply critical of its commodification, (the arrival of clubland’s moneymen and the fashionled ‘lifestyle pundits’) as they are wildly approving of the natural beauty, openness and special ‘vibe’. Throughout, Donlon’s attention to detail is astonishing, whether she’s recalling key characters, events or nights on the tiles, as she deftly paints a picture of Ibiza as this “portal” to a place that continues to enthral and appal in equal measure. Matt Yates
The Cake And The Rain
Jimmy Webb OMNIBUS, £20
Shadows Across The Moon
Helen Donlon JAWBONE, £14.95
Forensic social and cultural history of the fabled Balearic party island. “Ibiza is the black sheep of society. It encourages people who don’t fit into anything else,” says former socialite Tina Cutler, just one of a seemingly endless procession of bohemians and bon viveurs who have, through time, fallen under the White Isle’s spell. Writer and former resident Helen Donlon is another; for several years, she immersed herself in Ibiza’s culture and nightlife, and it’s this idea of first-hand encounters that gives her book its compelling
“Beware the creeping meatball”: Jerry Rubin (left) and Phil Ochs.
terms, Webb terminates the book in the year 1973, leaving the reader with visions of a sequel yet to come. Fred Dellar
Inside Out: A Personal History Of Pink Floyd
Nick Mason WEIDENFELD & NICOLSON, £12.99
Updated version of longserving drummer/ ambassador’s memoir.
Did It! From Yippie To Yuppie: Jerry Rubin, An American Revolutionary
Pat Thomas FANTAGRAPHICS, £48.99
Entertaining autobiog of the youngest inductee into The Songwriter’s Hall Of Fame.
The first biography of the co-leader of the Youth International Party.
Webb dealt with most aspects of his songwriting in Tunesmith, his previous book. This time around he’s opted to detail the more personal side of his career and does so in almost cinematic fashion, frequently utilising fastforward whenever early life might seem a little routine. Cars frequently roar off the pages, Jimmy loves cars, befitting a composer who wrote In Cars. He’s also loved an array of beautiful women, has had word-worthy encounters with Elvis, Louis Armstrong, Harry Nilsson, Richard Harris, Ringo Starr, Joni Mitchell and a countless array of other star names, slotting in stories of a drugtainted Brazilian song fest, memories of the Monterey Festival and how, having penned MacArthur Park for The Association, the group promptly rejected it. Then, once more in best cinematic
Jerry Rubin was 30 when the Democratic Party’s national convention rolled into Chicago in 1968, a ripe old age considering he was encouraging his followers to kill their parents, stop the Vietnam War and elect a pig as president. Five years later, he began the journey to healthfood guru and Wall Street, on a road that took in Dylan, Phil Ochs and John Lennon. So what went wrong? In fellow New Left veteran Stew Albert’s eyes, Rubin realised during his post-Chicago trial that the prosecution painted a better picture of him – “courageous, audacious, imaginative” – than his own lawyers. Thomas’s coffee-table book – how the Yippies would love that – argues that the rise of feminism, not heat from The Man, did for left-wing chauvinists. Perhaps Rubin just knew which way the wind was blowing in the battle to “beware the creeping meatball”. David Hutcheon
First published back in 2004, Nick Mason’s account of the Pink Floyd story achieved what many had considered totally impossible: it humanised this most remote of rock groups. This latest edition picks up where the original ended: telling the tale from 2005’s Live 8 reunion up to the current, much-praised Floyd exhibition at London’s V&A Museum. Inside Out reiterates the notion that besides playing drums, Nick Mason’s role in Pink Floyd was as passive observer/peacemaker, often stuck between the forthright Roger Waters and the immovable David Gilmour. The book’s charm lies in the fact Mason doesn’t take things too seriously. After presenting old friend Waters with the original manuscript and inviting his comments, the drummer discovers that on one page “Roger had simply scrawled ‘bollocks’ across the whole text.” What Inside Out lacks in scientific, anorakfriendly detail, it more than makes up for in personal anecdotes and great humour. Mark Blake
Great Apes! The cartoon rock band ditches the screens and brings the funk to world’s longest-running festival. By Andy Fye.
Gorillaz Festival D’Été De Quebec, Quebec City, Canada
Renaud Philippe (6), PA
o you think he’ll play that ‘woo-hoo’ song?” the dude in front asks his girlfriend, clearly referring to Blur’s Song 2. The side-eye she shoots at him suggests it’s her, rather than him, who is the fan here, while the look our doubtful ‘bro’’ gives her back suggests he’s less than convinced about Damon Albarn’s artier incarnation in Gorillaz. By the time M1A1’s punky opening blast has kicked down tonight’s door, bro’ has pretty much lost his shit, spending the rest of tonight’s festival set picking his weed-slackened jaw off the ground and apologising for ever questioning his girlfriend. It’s a reaction shared by any other doubters, because tonight Gorillaz simply stun the 70,000 ppeople p in front of them. The Festival D’Été De Quebec (FEQ) predates Woodstock and is the longest running rock festival in North America, possibly the world. In its 50th year, the many stages dotted around a park in the city centre host about 1.5 million people over its 10-day run. Two years ago, you could see The Rolling Stones (and everyone else on the entire bill) for just $Can95, less than any single show on their 2015 tour. This year, the headliners include Metallica, The Who, Muse, Kendrick Lamar and Lady Antebellum. In short, FEQ is not mucking about, unlocking the full potential of every cent of its government arts funding. Tonight, however, is all about Damon Albarn’s loose-limb d t lli h couldn’t be more di spectacles they are s headliners. Where M dimensional, Gorill where Muse can dis Gorillaz show restra any power or impac The rough-hewn Richman glory of M short-lived moment and trash as Ascensi across its drum’n’ba clatter and Gorillaz into a Casiotone dub groove that sees Alb variously dragging o a keytar, melodica a sitting at the piano. For all the toy-town beats and cartoon back projections, however, when he b we the last living so teetering on the lip there’s nothing part playful about his an
Humanz being: “Are we the last living souls!” Damon Albarn in Quebec, Saturday, July 15: (centre row) the one-man Damon show; (bottom, from left) Albarn takes the keytar weight; fronting up to the audience; Peven Everrett walks the walk; the crowd, getting lost in heaven.
“THIS IS A ROCK BAND TACKLING FUNK AND DISCO LIKE NO OTHER.”
The sweaty hair and beard, twinkly rumpled trousers and refusal to remove expensive-looking Harrington for the e show suggests the 49-year-old Damon fully enjoying his time on the road awa the family. He might want less of the lo delicacy poutine (essentially cheesy chi gravy) and more showers, but there’s no doubting Albarn’s commitment to the performance as he transforms 19-2000 DIY Primal Scream into a monster dub himself at the barriers during El Mañan then into the audience for On Melanch when Strobelite’s disco funk kicks in th is truly on its way. With vocal assistance from Peven Ev (on Strobelite and Stylo), Kelela (Buste Blue and Submission) and Danny Brow (Submission), the only difficult note is by Jamie Principle’s ‘Pussy Not War’ Tjarring slogan that even within the cont Sex Murder Party’s frivolity, makes no sense than his knee-socks-and-kilt ense Unfortunately, there was also no sig ‘special’ special guests tonight, as when Simon turned up for Ticker Tape in Bo just a week before. Shaun Ryder, howev appears on the back projection for Dar raises a huge cheer, but even he comes second best when the Stylo car appears screen for the encore. The now-traditio end of Don’t Get Lost In Heaven meldi ding into the gospel glory of Demon Dayz le the audience ascendant, wafting homee their own green happy smoke. In creating a mobile party monsterr, has also created what is very much a on how, albeit backed by anythinng ple. By stepping out from behh f the earliest Gorillaz gigs andd audience, this a rock band taac disco like no other. Art rockk f ho wouldn’t normally venturee near such a concept. For all h magpie personas, Damon Albaa e job compartmentalising thhe ng by the grin on bro’s face as rlfriend depart, one Damon a more than enough for anybodd
M1A1 / Ascension / Last Living Souls / Saturns Barz / Tomorrow Comes Today / Rhinestone Eyes / Sleeping Powder / 19-2000 / El Mañana / On Melancholy Hill / Busted And Blue / Submission / Strobelite / Andromeda / Sex Murder Party (Jamie Principle) / Dare / We Got The Power / Stylo / Kids With Guns / Clint Eastwood / Don’t Get Lost In Heaven / Demon Dayz
Prepare for lift-off Can Van the Man transcend at a ﬁlmed show to promote his forthcoming album? asks Mat Snow.
Van Morrison Porchester Hall, London scaping a sultry summer’s monsoon, Van fans pack what Historic England describes as a “double-height assembly hall” boasting “tripartitle coffered ceiling with hefty modillion plaster decoration and original light ﬁttings. Oak and walnut panelling, the sides treated as two tiers of arcading. The whole effect exceptionally sumptuous and surviving remarkably preserved.”
Andrew Cotterill (3)
yp voice of Van Morrison, at 72 just two decades younger than this august listed venue near his west London roost. Exceptionally sumptuous too is much of his forthcoming new album, Roll With The Punches (tonight’s show is being ﬁlmed to promote it), especially the superb covers of Jimmy Rushing and Count Basie’s Goin’ To Chicago and Bo Diddley’s I Can Tell and Ride On Josephine, all of which will get a live airing this evening. We should have been in for an absolute treat. But as shows go, it’s glass half full. Van the Man can be transcendent. Into the pot goes everything that shaped Van the Boy: home where East Belfast’s streets end and green County Down begins; dad’s record collection showcasing big city and backwoods America; poetry and the alchemy of words in rhythm, rhyme
(bottom left) the musicians, the sumptuous hall.
“WITH THE BAND NOW COOKING, PLEASURES ABOUND HEREAFTER.”
Too Late / Have I Told You Lately / Roll With The Punches / I Can Tell / Transformation / Too Much Trouble / Ride On Josephine / Bring It On Home To Me / Goin’ To Chicago / Vanlose Stairway / Sometimes We Cry / Fame / Baby, Please Don’t Go / Parchman Farm / Don’t Start Crying Now / Custard Pie / Help Me / Gloria
Arcadian Amer can visions of Saturday night and Sunday morning, of earthly joy, spiritual fervour and healing balm, in a voice with soil under its nails but the wings of a dove. But when Van’s not feeling it, we don’t have lift-off; fans don’t expect the sublime every time. Tonight, in trademark black chalkstripe and trilby, Van is affable and engaged; it’s the band not feeling it. For seven tepid numbers they play as if watching the clock at a diamond wedding celebration gig, punch-pulling drummer Mez Clough even contriving to defunk Diddley. With nary a smile nor even a glance at each other, this septet of Van vets who swing on disc go through the motions on stage. Backing singer Dana Masters’ cameo on Have I Told You Lately offers a rare ﬂame of warmth. The show turns on two tunes. On Bring It On Home To Me, Van does his hero Sam Cooke passionately proud. , Goin’ To Chicago my old china” Georgie e stage, his suave presence xing the band on this assic, and on Vanlose y the two past masters’ rplay likewise evokes Rushing and Joe Williams Williams. th the band now cooking, ures abound hereafter: ﬁeld-recording-alike vocal ave Keary’s slide guitar Leadbelly’s Baby, Please Go, Van’s blueswailing d harp on Sonny Boy mson’s Help Me, and a c encore of Them’s Gloria, s solo a thrilling blast from r heroism’s past. Then and out after 80 minutes. ave achieved lift-off – just.
THU 28 SEPT .
Brighton, Concorde 2
FRI 06 OCT .
SAT 30 SEPT .
Norwich, Arts Centre
THU 12 OCT .
Manchester, Gorilla Leeds, The Wardrobe
WED 04 OCT .
SUN 15 OCT .
Newcastle, Academy 2
THU 05 OCT .
Bristol, The Fleece
M E HALL
MY TS’ UNION ME LL Y2 TRAL TE
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ORTHING ASSEMBL HALL
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GREAT EXPECTATIONS TOUR PLUS SPECIAL GUESTS
WEDNESDAY 4 OCTOBER
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GLASGOW THE GARAGE
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LEEDS BRUDENELL SOCIAL CLUB
Wed 11 BRIGHTON Dome Thu 12 GUILDFORD G-Live Fri 13 POOLE Lighthouse Sat 14 BRISTOL Colston Hall Sun 15 CARDIFF Wales Millennium Centre Tue 17 EDINBURGH Usher Hall Wed 18 GATESHEAD Sage Gateshead Thu 19 SALFORD Lowry Sat 21 SAFFRON WALDENS O L Saffron D O U T Hall Sun 22 COVENTRY Warwick Arts Centre
WEDNESDAY 11 OCTOBER
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LONDON ELECTRIC BRIXTON
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EXTRA LONDON SHOW! Monday 23 October LONDON Cadogan Hall Wed 25 SHEFFIELD City Hall Thu 26 LEICESTER De Montfort Hall Fri 27 BASINGSTOKE Anvil Sat 28 NORWICH Theatre Royal T L D O UTheatre Mon 30 LONDON S OBridge
2018 PERFORMING IN THE ROUND April 08 MANCHESTER ARENA April 11 LONDON THE SSE ARENA, WEMBLEY April 12 LONDON THE SSE ARENA, WEMBLEY EXTRA DATE ADDED April 13 LONDON THE SSE ARENA, WEMBLEY April 15 BIRMINGHAM GENTING ARENA April 16 GLASGOW THE SSE HYDRO axs.com — ticketmaster.co.uk — goldenvoice.co.uk A Goldenvoice, Live Nation, PCL and Parallel Lines presentation in association with CAA
The Rails Other People new album and UK tour September Mon 11 Tue 12 Wed 13 Thu 14 Fri 15 Mon 18 Tue 19 Wed 20 Thu 21
Glasgow - King Tuts Wah Wah Hut Leicester - The Musician Hull - Adelphi Hebden Bridge - The Trades Club Manchester - Deaf Institute Cambridge - The Junction 2 Norwich - Arts Centre London - Borderline Newbury - Arlington Arts
‘Other People’ is the long awaited follow up to The Rails debut album ‘Fair Warning’ that was voted Mojo’s No1 Folk album in 2014
Released on September 1st 2017 available to pre-oder now on vinyl and CD as limited signed or unsigned editions at http://smarturl.it/TheRailsOtherPeople tickets available at www.therailsofﬁcial.com
A DHP & Friends presentation by arrangement with Neil O’Brien Entertainment
Academy Events present ACADEMY EVENTS and STAR SHAPED presents
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SATURDAY 2ND DECEMBER 2017 O2 SHEPHERDS BUSH EMPIRE
FIRST LONDON HEADLINE SHOW IN 19 YEARS
Star Shaped DJs A MANIAC SQUAT RECORDS &
Tom Clarke from The Enemy A celebration of 10 years of The Enemy including the album We’ll Live And Die In These Towns in its entirety 24.11 25.11 26.11 01.12
GLASGOW O2 ABC MANCHESTER O2 RITZ BIRMINGHAM O2 INSTITUTE LONDON O2 SHEPHERDS BUSH EMPIRE
JOIN BOWIE’S PIANIST MIKE GARSON AS HE PERFORMS B OWIE’ S MASTERPIECE ALBUM IN ITS EN TIRETY IN ADDITION TO A SECOND SET OF BOWIE FAVOURITES FEATURING SPECIAL GUEST SAT 25 NOV BIRMINGHAM GABY MORENO VOCALIST - LATIN GRAMMY WIN, O2 INSTITUTE2 GRAMMY NOM WITH SPECIAL GUEST: STEVE HARLEY
A WORLD CLASS BAND
GUITAR - DAVID BOWIE, IGGY POP
SUN 26 NOV
GLASGOW O2 ABC WED 29 NOV
TERRY EDWARDS SAX/GUITAR - PJ HARVEY, GALLON DRUNK
SHEFFIELD O2 ACADEMY
THU 30 NOV
LIVERPOOL O2 ACADEMY
BASS - IGGY POP DRUMS - IGGY POP
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ALONG WITH GUEST
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TUE 24 OCT GLASGOW O2 ABC2 WED 25 OCT LIVERPOOL O2 ACADEMY2 THU 26 OCT BIRMINGHAM O2 ACADEMY3 FRI 27 OCT LONDON O2 ACADEMY2 ISLINGTON SUN 29 OCT BRISTOL THEKLA presents
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2017 Fri 16th Sept SHEFFIELD O2 ACADEMY2 Sat 23rd Sept GLASGOW O2 ABC2 Fri 29th Sept LEEDS O2 ACADEMY Sat14th Oct LIVERPOOL O2 ACADEMY2 Sat 21st Oct BIRMINGHAM O2 ACADEMY2 Fri 17th Nov LEICESTER THE SCHOLAR @ O2 ACADEMY Sat 18th Nov LONDON O2 ACADEMY2 ISLINGTON Fri 1st Dec NEWCASTLE O2 ACADEMY
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The deﬁnitive tribute to
A classic Oasis set of their biggest hits & best known recordings SEPTEMBER SAT 09 GLASGOW O2 ABC2 FRI 22 LEEDS O2 Academy SAT 23 LIVERPOOL O2 Academy2 OCTOBER SAT 07 BIRMINGHAM O2 Academy3 NOVEMBER FRI 17 BOURNEMOUTH Old Fire Station SAT 18 OXFORD O2 Academy2 FRI 24 LEICESTER The Scholar @ O2 Academy SAT 25 LONDON O2 Academy Islington DECEMBER FRI 15 MANCHESTER O2 Ritz SAT 16 SHEFFIELD O2 Academy2 SAT 23 NEWCASTLE O2 Academy
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WHY DID OPRY SACK SKEETER? You’re waiting for a knock and the turning of a lock – until then, enjoy Dellar’s space, TOTP and C&W lore! from the Grand Ol’ Opry in the ’70s? Marilyn Black, via email Fred says: Skeeter raised the ire of the Opry hierarchy in December 1973 after an incident in which she criticised the Nashville police force. The row began when the Christ Is The Answer Crusade and their 30 trucks hit Nashville. On Saturday, December 8, on a break between spots on the Opry, Skeeter saw several Jesus people arrested at the local shopping centre, where they were accused of harassment. When she returned to the Opry stage, she told the audience, “This is really something that I should share… they’ve arrested 15 people just for telling people that Jesus loves them. And that really burdened my heart, so I thought I would sing you all this song.” Skeeter launched into Amazing Grace. She refused to apologise and was later suspended indeﬁnitely. But a year later she was back, remaining until her death, aged 72, in 2004.
Getty Images (2), Alamy (2)
WHO WAS LIVE FIRST ON TOTP? I know artists mimed on early editions of Top Of The Pops, but who was the ﬁrst to actually perform live? Jim Harvey, via email Fred says: The honour goes to Edinburghborn blues vocalist Tam White, who sang a live cover of Jack Scott’s hit What In The World’s Come Over You on the show’s March 13, 1975 edition. A member of The Boston Dexters in the ’60s, he recorded
with The Buzz in 1966 but then faded until scraping into the Top 40 with his Mickie Most-produced RAK single. In 1987 he sang the vocals for Big Jazza McGlone (played by Robbie Coltrane) in John Byrne’s TV series Tutti Frutti. A stonemason by trade, he played minor acting roles on TV and appeared in the Mel Gibson ﬁlm Braveheart.
WHO FIRST COVERED THE BEATLES? How soon after Love Me Do appeared was the ﬁrst Beatles soundalike 45 released, and who recorded it? An obscure Tin Pan Alley chancer tipped-off, or a Merseybeat insider? And what about the US? Thom Chippendale, via email Fred says: The ﬁrst performer in the UK to cover a Beatles song was Kenny Lynch, who, on March 15, 1963, released a version of Misery (HMV, POP 1136), with an orchestral backing by Harry Robinson. Lynch had been on various bills with The Beatles and later graced the cover of Macca’s Band On The Run in 1974. The ﬁrst North American cover is believed to be Del Shannon’ i fF Me To You, which su Big Top label and on Qua 1963. That year, Shannon The Beatles, Lynch, The S others at a concert series Albert Hall,, presented p byy under the title Swinging Sound ’63.
MORE SPACE ODDITIES Your Ray Bradbury question caught my eye with its picture of Mercu astronaut, Wally Schirra and the bit about hearin music in space. This all fa
All God cons: (clockwise from top) Skeeter Davis feels the spirit; Sputnik’s Martin Degville and his mum in happier times; Fabs early adopter Kenny Lynch; TOTP live trailblazer Tam White; the ever-interstellar Ray Bradbury in his Tardis.
astronomy as well as my long interest in the American manned space program. Wally said the music he heard had been around for 12 years, so there is no way it could be ﬂoating around Earth (so to speak) since, if in the form of radio broadcasts, it would have been 12 light years out in space. Maybe he was being pranked by some terrestrial broadcaster or even people at NASA. One other Ray Bradbury-related incident from when I was [working] at the Washington Planetarium. We were trying to come up with an idea for a new [[ﬁlm] show in the late ’70s/early ’80s, and so omeone suggested a script to be written w by the bard of sci-ﬁ. We agreed on o a topic – the origin and development o of the universe – and he began writing it. When it came back – and after an extenssive in-house review adhering to the Sm mithsonian’s strict guidelines of being factual and scientiﬁcally correct – the ere were some things we felt had to be co orrected. Bradbury did not agree, since scientists changed their minds all th he time. At that point, we parted company y. Tom C Callen, Stockholm Fred says: One more Scandinavian note on the Ray Bradbury question n. Reader Arild Strømsvåge emailed to add that there’s a Norwegian band called Sin ng My Body Electric, led by one of Norw way’s foremost contemporary poets, Terje e Dragseth.
WERE THE SPUTNIKS FRENCH FRIED? Whenever the name Sigue e Sigue Sputnik comes up, a good but unre eliable friend will remind us of the time he ssaw them booed off at a French festival. An nd he insists they were the support for The Forest F Hillbillies. Please conﬁrm or bury the e story. Blaise Thompson, via email Fred says: This was the Traans Musicales festival in Rennes, just prio or to Christmas 1985. It seems Sputnik, the en little known, did not please the punters. Soon after, the South London Mercury intterviewed guitarist- singer Matt Andrrews, one of the three Forest Hill brothers, w who recalled: “We were headlining that n night. Everyone i g th t Sputnik we ere going to be me, they hadn’t brought e was a ne ear-riot on-stage dn’t go on n.” Happily, the placated th he Gallic . So, yes, it did happen.
CONTACTFRED Write to: Ask Fred, MOJO, Fourth Floor, Academic House, 24-28 Oval Road, London NW1 7DT. OR email Fred Dellar direct at firstname.lastname@example.org www.mojo4music.com for daily Ask Fred discussion
ANSWERS MOJ O O 285 Across: 1 Patti Smith, 6 Ocean, 10 Unknown Pleasures, 12 Mr Soft, 14 Miaow, 18 Iron Butterfly, 20 The Move, 21 Eaten Alive, 22 Joanna, 23 Arena, 27 Johnson, 29 Hey Ya, 31 Yorba, 33 Wichita, 34 Argent, 36 Route, 38 Ivory, 39 I’m A Tiger, 41 Victim, 42 Isaak, 43 Dixon, 44 Exodus, 46 Herman, 47 Tee, 48 Heat, 50 Captured, 51 Solo, 52 Raydio, 53 O.M.D., 55 Lake, 56 Raitt, 58 T-Shirt, t 59 Hit, 60 Opera, 61 Oklahoma, 62 Love, 63 Two. Down: 1 Paul Simon, 2 Take Five, 3 Idol, 4 Mondo Bongo, 5 Talbot, 7 Crucify, 8 Nas, 9 Taste, 11 Emmylou Harris, 13 Treat Her Right, 15 Alan, 16 Woyaya, 17 Steamy Windows, 19 Triplicate, 24 Ear,r 25 Aja, 26 Sting, 28 Sweet Dreams, 30 You Can’t Do That, 32 Barton Hollow, w 35 Time And Tide, 37 Elkie, 40 I Go Ape, 45 U.S.U.R.A., 49 Ackles, 50 Cotton, 54 Ditto, 56 Real, 57 Ivor, 58 Tal.
LICENSED TO JILL Ooh la la! A signed Jill Furmanovsky print could be yours.
n the pantheon of great rock photographers, Jill Furmanovsky holds an honoured place. A pro since 1972, her subjects include The Rolling Stones, The Who, Led Zeppelin, Bob Marley, Pink Floyd, Chic, Leonard Cohen, Miles Davis, Queen, Blondie, The Clash, Tom Waits, The Jam and Oasis. In 1998 she founded Rockarchive.com, the premier online destination for gallery-standard prints of stars from rock’s greatest years, with contributors including Bob Gruen, Ed Sirrs, Sheila Rock, Kevin Cummins, Don Hunstein, Gered Mankowitz, Janette Beckman, Jørgen Angel, Sheila Rock, Kevin Westenberg, Philip Townsend, Robert Whitaker, Storm Thorgerson and Mick Rock. This month’s crossword prize is a signed 16x20 silver gel Furmanovsky print worth, including VAT, a cool £1,440! A joyous June 1973 image of Faces Rod Stewart and Ronnie Lane mid-laugh on-stage at the Sundown Ballroom in Edmonton, imagine it on the wall of your record den – and then complete Funky President Fred’s crossword and send it to Licensed To Jill, MOJO, Academic House, 24-28 Oval Road, London NW1 7DT. Please include your home address, email address and phone number. The closing date for entries is October 2. For the rules of the quiz, see www.mojo4music.com.
Winners: Malcolm Waters of Melton Mowbray and Dil Longstafff of Reading both win a Being For The Benefit Of Mr Kite reproduction poster.
Jill Furmanovsky, Getty Images (3)
1 Her early LPs included Runnin’ Out Of Fools and Laughing On The Outside (6,8) 8 Mick Harvey’s drunken females (11,5) 10 Linked with peppermints by Strawberry Alarm Clock (7) 13 Influential ’70s folk band formed by Dónal Lunny (5,4) 14 Grateful Dead founding member Phil (4) 16 For Emma, Foreverr --- (Bon Iver LP) (3) 17 ----- Your Soul (Elton John) (7) 19 ---- -- The Wolves (Dio album) (4,2) 20 Lloyd Cole’s immaculate skin (7) 22 Turned over like a Diesel Park West long-player (7) 23 Samuel T. Herring’s Future archipelago (7) 24 The Light ---- Syndrome (The Fall) (4) 25 Where to go for Amy Winehouse’s autobiographical hit (5) 28 The Tymes sang her praises in 1974 (7) 31 Paul Simon’s quite apparent child (7) 33 ---- And The Gladiators (4) 34 He once led The Belmonts (4) 35 Snow covered country that Laura Marling said goodbye to (7) 36 Pet Shop hit partly inspired by a T.S. Eliot poem (4,3,5) 39 Could be Cara, could be Reid (5) 40 Simple Minds did it in the rain, albumwise (7) 41 She claimed to be Def, Dumb & Blonde in 1989 (7,5) 42 Pete Bardens’ ship of the desert band (5) 44 Band once fronted by Michael Hutchence (4) 46 A song from the past perhaps? (5) 48 This harmonic act went groovin’ all the way to Number 2 in 1970 (2,4) 50 The Cult’s 1987 album seemingly full of power (8) 51 The kind of deadly Joke that involved Jaz Coleman (7) 54 Curtis or Gillan possibly (3) 55 ---- -- A Mountain (Donovan) (5,2) 56 This made the Kalin Twins one-hit wonders (4) 57 Abba’s plea for assistance (3) 58 It has rows and rows of disused milk floats, according to The Jam (4,6,6)
1 He played Father Sun in the 1978 movie of Sgt.Pepper’s (5,6) 2 Blues singer Sleepy John (5) 3 Hendrix album that introduced If 6 Was 9 (4,4,2,4) 4 Route once taken by David Ackles (4,2,5) 5 Fleetwood Mac’s desire for romance (4,4,4,2,3) 6 Sounds normal, The Strawbs final album for A&M (9) 7 See photoclue A (6,5) 9 Duo found in Newham (4) 11 This Searchers hit was penned by Jack Nitzsche and Sonny Bono (7,3,4) 12 This ’60s band on Harvest had a Third one (3) 15 A John Renbourn release – pressed on transparent vinyl maybe? (2,5) 18 Her name graced an Alan Parsons Project album (3) 21 One more time or an Eminem album (6) 26 Actor and writer who once fronted Black Flag (5,7) 27 Thin Lizzy placed them back in town (4) 29 Johnny Horton went north to this US state (6) 30 Heinz saluted this pioneering rocker in 1963 (5,7) 32 --- But True (Metallica) (3) 36 6 Folkie Fred, oldest swinger in town (7) 37 Close like Holly (4) 38 See photoclue B (1.1.1.) 43 See photoclue C (7) 45 Six-piece band (6) 47 Record company located amid Willie Mitchell (1.1.1.) 48 Scots who once provided Happy Songs For Happy People (6) 49 Tubb, country legend (6) 52 The kind of Race connected with Jeff Lynne’s first band (4) 53 Return mail for this former Oasis member (4)
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CHRIS MERRICK HUGHES AND ADAM AND THE ANTS HELLO JAN 1980 Dalek I Love You, learning the ropes in production. When I was waiting to meet the head of A&R [at Phonogram], I got chatting to Ian Tregoning, who along with his brother Max ran Do It Records. I went to see him in Camden and he played me a few bits and pieces by the then-line up of Adam And The Ants – he played cassettes through an old Ansafone – and asked me if I wanted to see if I could do anything with them. When I came back with my tape it was the week that Adam had fallen out with Malcolm McLaren: Malcolm had got the rest of the band onside and basically they said they were going to leave Adam and do Bow Wow Wow. Ian must have mentioned what I was doing there, and Adam came in and just said, “Hello. Dunno who the fuck you are but if you think you’re any good we’re ready to go, I’ve got Marco [Pirroni, guitar] in tow, let’s record.” I’d been working at Rockﬁeld with [producer] Hugh Jones, who I’d actually been at school with, so I gave him a call and by the end of the week we’d arranged to go there and do a couple of tunes, Cartrouble and Kick, with Jon Moss playing drums. Adam knew he had to put a band together, and from day one he wanted two drummers. I’d been playing drums for years, and when Adam talked about Burundi, heavy thug drums, I knew what he was talking about 130 MOJO
Hughes, Terry Lee Miall, Adam Ant, Marco Pirroni, Gary Tibbs; (bottom) in 1980; (below) Merrick today.
I sat in on one of the kits, and when we were leaving, Adam just said, “Oh fuck it why don’t you do it?” I said, Yeah! And he said, “Well, you have to get a new haircut.” I had this averagely medium length, nondescript middle-class haircut at the time, so he took me to the then-Ken market where he knew various stylists and groovers that had an idea about the look. Very early on we used to meet up in a café at Highbury & Islington before rehearsals, and one day we were there early. Adam said, “Chris, Chris, right now you have to lump all your own gear and all that, but in six months we’ll be household names.” Six months later, we were on Top Of The Pops.
GOODBYE MAR 1982 “ADAM SAID, ‘IF YOU THINK YOU’RE ANY GOOD WE’RE READY TO GO’.”
The band was fried. There came a point where we’d do a concert somewhere in Europe, ﬂy back to do Top Of The Pops and then ﬂy back to Sweden and do another. It was a crazy period but not unique, and there came a point when Adam needed to take time off. The last thing we did was probably a live gig on the Prince Charming Revue. It was ﬁne, but the tour before that, when we were doing Japan, was a bit more like our performance on the Old Grey Whistle Test, doing Ants Invasion – I look at that and think, The band were pretty ﬁne then. Since then, young kids had got into it and it was a pop sensation more than an underground Camden punk thing. Adam wanted to take it to a ﬂamboyant, vibrant, pantomime, fantasy place,
There’s no doubt that Terry [Lee Miall, drums] was a bit lost and upset by it, and I don’t doubt that Gary [Tibbs, bass] was disappointed too, but he came from a bigger world and had worked with Roxy Music, so he dusted himself down and carried on. Adam invited me to his club on Curzon Street and explained that he still wanted to work with me and Marco. At this point I was quite interested in getting back in the studio and recording, so I said, Sounds great. We did [Adam [ Ant solo debut and Number 1 hit] Goody Two Shoes in Abbey Road, and a couple more things, but Goody Two Shoes was the last thing I did that was successful. There was no acrimony. Afterwards, I went headlong into doing some Tears For Fears stuff [including 1985’s global smash Songs From The Big Chair], r so the ball rolled on. Since then we’ve talked about doing something, and there have been a couple of occasions when it’s almost-sort of-possibly happened, but you know, he’s a busy guy. As told to Ian Harrison Chris Merrick Hughes’s album Eirenic Life is out now on Helium Records.
LFI/Photoshot, Scope Features, Rebecca Cleal
It began with a moment of swashbuckling destiny. But pop exhaustion spelled the end.
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