Page 1

INCLUDES

CSNY WARS!

15-TRACK CROSBY FIGHTS BACK

CD!

THE BAN REVISIT BIG PINK

142

REV I

EWS

THE ONLY INTERVIE EW!

THE RE

FACES HIS DEMONS

NILE RODGERS CHIC FREAK TELLS ALL

PRIMAL SCREAM MEMPHIS MELTDOWN

CAT POWER HER BRILLIANT RETURN

MARIANNE FAITHFULL QUEEN OF BOHEMIA

JOE STRUMMER FOUND! THE UNHEARD CLASH


CON T EN T S LONDON OCTOBER 2018

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MEMPHIS

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ALLERTON Issue 299

FEATURES

34 NILE RODGERS The R&B magician behind Chic, Daft Punk, Let’s Dance and more on Roxy, Aretha, and cleaning Frank Sinatra’s plane!

40 DAVID CROSBY How the angel voice of CSNY is on a roll. If he can just keep it buttoned about his pals’ choice of girlfriends…

46 FATOUMATA DIAWARRA On the run from an arranged marriage in her native Mali, Africa’s newest superstar shreds like Hendrix, blends trad with mod.

50 MARIANNE FAITHFULL Love and loss are the big themes explored on the Diva of Dark’s 21st album. Kris Needs rides shotgun throughout its writing and recording.

56 THE BAND Fifty years

MARIANNE FAITHFULL, P 50

62 PRIMAL SCREAM The indie-dance débauchés went to Memphis in 1993 on a soul pilgrimage. The LP they made emerges in its true colours at last.

COVER STORY

68 PAUL McCARTNEY A fascinating glimpse of the conflicted man behind the ThumbsUp Macca mask. And yes, he really does have Beatles wallpaper…

Getty

“There’s nothing like real hardship to give you some depth.”

since Music From Big Pink broke out of Woodstock to change music, its surviving players relive its creation.

MOJO 3


Pearl Jam’s Eddie Vedder breaks curfew, Lives, p114.

REGULARS 9

ALL BACK TO MY PLACE Nana Mouskouri, Low and Pete Shelley get up, get down and get over. But who’s Ween-crazy?

30

REAL GONE Richard Swift, Vince Martin, Dean Webb and more… we salute you.

124 ASK FRED That old ’56 wing-ding between Basie and Alan Freed rolls again.

130 HELLO GOODBYE It was love when their eyes met through the Players No.6 smoke in pub-rocking 1975 London. But then? Graham Parker remembers The Rumour.

WHAT GOES ON! 14

JOE STRUMMER He hoarded everything, including tapes of unreleased songs. Now a new box of the late Clash lightning conductor’s solo work collects them, and more. Confidants reveal what’s coming.

18

ALDOUS HARDING Hanging out in Cardiff, New Zealand’s most intriguing new talent breaks silence to discuss the making of her next album in Wales and Bristol .

20

BILLY F GIBBONS ZZ Top’s ambassador of the blues gets in Confidential mood, talks floods, fun south of the border and the undying joy of Howlin’ Wolf.

Chip off the old blues block: Cecil Burnside, p29.

22

SOUL! Photographer Bruce Talamon covered the biggest names in R&B from 1972 to 1982. Then he moved on and sat on his archive. Now he shares his fantastic images of Sly Stone, Stevie, Rick James, Earth, Wind & Fire and more.

26

IAN HUNTER Mott’s eternal rock’n’roll diarist creates his Self-Portrait. He regrets the “piddling about” – but don’t we all?

MOJO FILTER 82

NEW ALBUMS Cat Power fleshes it out, Christine And The Queens question, plus Weller, Wayne Shorter, Mudhoney and more.

98

REISSUES Tom Petty and Bobbie Gentry get boxed, Alice Coltrane ascends.

112 BOOKS Françoise Hardy, Swans, Wayne Kramer, Robert Pollard and beyond. Cat Power: Chan Marshall, she was born under a wand’rin’ star. Lead Album, p82.

114 LIVES Pearl Jam come back to London to bust the curfew, while Natalie Merchant strips it down in church in Cambridge.

4 MOJO

Mary McCartney

Michael Simmons

Kris Needs

Mary McCartney’s photographic work has focused on discovering those rare moments of unguarded, emotionally charged intimacy that offers us a new insight to the subject. Which is how she got the magnificent shots of her dad Paul for this month’s cover and story (see page 68). Instagram – @MaryaMcCartney

Teenager Michael Simmons remained glued to his local rock radio station in 1968, waiting to hear and re-hear “Take a load off Fanny”. Simmons has written about The Weight, among other great songs by The Band, in our Eyewitness feature (see p56) this month, as well as countless other times over the past 50 years.

For 40 years Kris Needs has enjoyed a close relationship with Marianne Faithfull that got emotional when she invited him behind the scenes of her new album (see p50). He’s now back to writing his next book, Just A Shot Away: Killers, Angels, Dreamers & Memories Of 1969, and plotting his recording career return.

©Mary McCaryney, Andrew Cotterill

THIS MONTH'S CONTRIBUTORS INCLUDE...


THE NEW ALBUM OUT 31.08.18 LP/DLX LP/CD/DL


A heroic start, from an irrepressible master of the Liverpool anthem. Is That What Love Is All About? is a fiery rallying cry in the best tradition of Wah! classics like Story Of The Blues, Come Back and Heart As Big As Liverpool. From Wylie’s first album since 2000, Pete Sounds!

Deafschoolmusic.com, Ronnie Rabdall/Avalon, Jake Walters, Tom Sheehan, Getty (2)

Is That What Love Is All About? by Pete Wylie (Wylie). Produced by Pete Wylie at Disgraceland. Mix PW+Anders Johnsen. Taken from the forthcoming LP ‘Pete Sounds!’.

A Liverpool institution thanks to his work in The Pale Fountains, Shack and The Strands, Head’s melodic and observational genius remains strong on this acid ramble through his hometown off the Artorius Revisited EP (2013). Lucinda Byre? It was the name of a swinging ’60s boutique. Lucinda Byre by Michael Head & The Red Elastic Band (Michael Head) published by Michael Head and ©2013 Violette Records, from the EP Artorius Revisted (Violette Records); http://www. michaelhead.net/

6 MOJO

From the west bank of the Mersey, Birkenhead’s Half Man Half Biscuit have spent a good third of a century setting droll social commentaries to robust indie rock. This highlight of their 14th album sees Nigel Blackwell critiquing the values of the artisanal bread and Strava set… “Get your fuckin’ hedge cut!” Every Time A Bell Rings by Half Man Half Biscuit, (N. Blackwell) published by Nigel Blackwell, licenced by Probe Plus, from the album No-One Cares About Your Creative Hub So Get Your Fuckin’ Hedge Cut.

Hart’s eccentric career began with Cavern-era band The Roadrunners; George Harrison, in ’63, claimed The Rolling Stones were “almost as good as The Roadrunners”. Hart was in Boho poetry gang The Liverpool Scene, then climaxed with solo gem Mike Hart Bleeds on John Peel’s Dandelion label. A magnificent Liverpool analogue to Dylan’s Most Likely You Go Your Way And I’ll Go Mine. Almost Liverpool 8 by Mike Hart (Hart) Publisher Uncle Doris Music ᝈ1970 Dandelion Records ISRC Code GB BLY 06 05138 Licensed courtesy of Cherry Red Records Ltd

A mainstay of the Liverpool post-punk generation, Paul Simpson formed The Wild Swans in 1980 after leaving The Teardrop Explodes. This 2009 jangler references the Rodney Street bedsit where both Teardrops and Swans were formed.“That bittersweet, happy sad chorus,” says Simpson, “can be traced back to the early Beatles.” Liquid Mercury (Album Version) by The Wild Swans (P. Simpson) published by Reverb Music ᝈ &©2011 Occultation Recordings from the album The Coldest Winter For A Hundred Years (Occultation Recordings): http://www.occultation.co.uk

Unstable pivot of the second Liverpool beat boom, it’s now 28 years since Lee Mavers released any new music; an unprecedented hiatus, for even the most capricious musical geniuses. Callin’ All is a reminder of why Mavers and The La’s remain so venerated; a spindly, intimidating acid-skiffle demo from the very start of their career. Callin’ All by The La’s ( Mike Badger/Lee Mavers ), copyright control, licensed from The Viper Label, available on The La’s 1987 -87 ‘Callin’ All album Viper cat no 062. The track appears courtesy of the Viper Label. www.the-viper-label.co.uk

Hard to believe that latter-day Wirral mystics The Coral have been a band now for 22 years, and recording for 17. This elegant strumalong from their new, ninth album, Move Through The Dawn, marks a shift away from darker psychedelic inclinations. “I used to think of Merseybeat as a swear word,” admits keyboardist Nick Power, “but I like it now.” Eyes Of The Moon by The Coral (James Skelly) published by Domino Music Publishing. ᝈ &©2018 Ignition Records Ltd, from the album Move Through The Dawn; http://thecoral.co.uk

Where Lee Mavers has been elusive, one-time La’s member Edgar ‘Summertyme’ Jones has more diligently carried the torch for chemically-adjusted Liverpool ramalam. Before the collaborations with Weller and Marr, Jones’s trip began with this 1991 debut from The Stairs, a song perfectly designed to sit alongside The Seeds on Lenny Kaye’s classic Nuggets comp. Weed Bus by The Stairs ( Edgar Jones) published by Centric, licensed from The Viper Label. Track available on The Stairs Right In The Back Of Your Mind album Viper cat no CD034.


“In the whole history of Liverpool music two bands matter most,” wrote MOJO founding editor Paul Du Noyer. “One is The Beatles and the other is Deaf School.” The ’76 debut 45 by the latter radical cabaret troupe features guitarist Clive Langer – AKA Cliff Hanger – who later produced hits for Dexys, Madness and Morrissey.

Mysterian-flavoured garage rock meets Augustus Pablo uptown on this 2000 ripper. Clinic’s single-minded, surgeon’s-masked trajectory through music began in the mid-’90s with a debut as Pure Morning. Evil Bill, from Clinic’s Internal Wrangler LP, reveals their core strength: nagging tunes at frequencies to make fillings vibrate.

What A Way To End It All by Deaf School (Langer/ Allen) Publisher – Warner Chappell Music ISRC Code – GBBLY0901993 ᝈ1976 Steve Allen exclusively licensed to Cherry Red Records Ltd Licensed courtesy of Cherry Red Records.

The Return Of Evil Bill by Clinic (Blackburn, Campbell, Hartley, Turney) published by Sony/ATV Publishing ᝈ &©2000 Domino Recording Co., from LP Internal Wrangler (Domino Recording Co.); www. dominorecordco.com/

A measured tirade against global evil and pet hates, this haunting 1990 one-off came from one-time Wah! member Josie Jones and Morrissey associate Jake Walters, commissioned for a dance piece by Michael Clark. Imperfect List would be re-recorded by Robin Guthrie, remixed by Andy Weatherall and used by Morrissey as his entrance music. Jones died in 2015.

While The Beatles revolutionised pop music, a bunch of local contemporaries had a heroic stab at doing something similar to poetry. Foremost among them, Adrian Henri here takes charge of anarchic collective The Liverpool Scene for an hallucinogenic beatnik vision of his hometown.

Imperfect List by Big Hard Excellent Fish ᝈ1990 One Little Indian Records ©1990 One Little Indian Records Available at: http://www.indian.co.uk

The Entry Of Christ Into Liverpool by The Liverpool Scene (Henri/Roberts/Evans/Dobson/Jones) Publisher Cloud Cuckoo Songs ᝈ1969 Liverpool Scene. ISRC Code – GBBLY0901055 Licensed courtesy of Cherry Red Records Ltd.

Andy McCluskey/Paul Humphreys’s revitalisation of their trailblazing synthpop project has been one of the recent great Liverpool reunions. Here, in 2017, they evoke Kraftwerk’s Radioactivity. The Punishment Of Luxury by Orchestral Manoeuvres In The Dark (Andy McCluskey/Paul Humphreys) published by BMG. ᝈ &©100% Records under exclusive license from White Noise. Taken from the album The Punishment Of Luxury (100% Records) http://omd.uk.com

A bedroom singer-songwriter who recorded her Nick Drakeish debut album for the grand total of £80 and released it on her own label, Kathryn Williams has spent the ensuing two decades expanding and perfecting her folk-pop vision. Heart Shaped Stone, from her 11th album, 2013’s Crown Electric, places Williams’ intimate voice and acoustic guitar into a rich chamber strings setting. Heart Shaped Stone by Kathryn Williams (Williams, Maccoll) ᝈ2013 Caw Records / One Little Indian Records © 2013 Caw Records / One Little Indian Records. Available at: http://www.indian.co.uk

©Mary McCartney

MONG THE MANY SIGNIFICANT DREAMS OF CARL GUSTAV JUNG, few have had such resonance as this 1927 vision recorded in Memories, Dreams And Reflections. The “dirty, sooty city” revealed itself to be a “vision of unearthly beauty”. “Liverpool,” Jung realised, “is the ‘pool of life’.” Soon enough, The Beatles and a host of other bands would bring further mythical heft to this northern port, establishing it as the most uncommon of cultural epicentres. The music they made was disparate, eccentric, fiery, poetic – from psychedelia to synthpop, and many points in between. But as MOJO’s latest CD proves, an abiding love of their hometown, and a strong sense of its otherness, runs through the work of many of these artists, not least that of this month’s cover star, Paul McCartney. Often, as in Jung’s dream and Penny Lane, there is “pouring rain”. But just as often, there’s transcendence, too: “In my ears, and in my eyes…”


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Nana Mouskouri THE VOICE OF GREECE What music are you currently grooving to? I listen to music that comes fresh and new. Music for me is a moral law and I respect it very much. What, if push comes to shove, is your all-time favourite album? I have many memorable albums, by Bob Dylan, Ella Fitzgerald, Billie Holiday… Leonard Cohen’s You Want It Darker is a hard record to listen to but very special. I’ll say Amy Winehouse’s Frank. That album was a big lesson for me. A song I have followed in my life is Over The Rainbow, sung by Judy Garland. I saw that film [The Wizard Of Oz] when I was a little girl in the cinema where my father was a projectionist, and from that point I wanted to be Dorothy. What was the first record you ever bought? And where did you buy it? Billie Holiday’s Strange Fruit and Elvis Presley’s Blue Suede Shoes, from a shop in Athens. I still have them.

Which musician, other than yourself, have you ever wanted to be? I learned so much from other singers, but I had to make my own way. What do you sing in the shower? Ha! I don’t. What is your favourite Saturday night record? For a party, a Greek song, Hartino To Feggaraki, or Paper Moon. It speaks about how, even if you wish for something under a false moon, if you are real, anything can be reality. The great actress Melina Mercouri sang it. And your Sunday morning record? I will not listen right away. I will call my children and my grandchildren, I will look at my mail, then I will find songs that will cheer me up. For instance, Leonard Cohen’s Bird On The Wire. Nana plays London’s Royal Festival Hall on October 17. Her new album Forever Young is out now Wrasse Records.

A LL B AC K TO MY PL AC E THE STARS REVEAL THE SONIC DELIGHTS GUARANTEED TO GET THEM GOING...

Low SLOW IT GOES What music are you currently grooving to? Mimi Parker: I mostly skip around on the radio in the car. Anything from classic rock to ’70s country to new/ indie radio. Alan Sparhawk: Alice Coltrane’s Turiya Sings and Huntington Ashram Monastery, EMA, Richard Youngs, Colleen, Magrudergrind, Peter Tosh. What, if push comes to shove, is your all-time favourite album? Mimi: So hard to choose, but I guess I’d pick Linda Ronstadt’s Heart Like A Wheel. Alan: T.Rex’s Electric Warrior is just so perfect. The Slider is right there with it. Wait! No! Talk Talk’s Laughing Stock. We both love Neutral Milk Hotel’s In The Aeroplane Over The Sea.

What was the first record you ever bought? And where did you buy it? Mimi: Chicago’s Baby What A Big Surprise single at Dave’s Stereo Shop, Bagley, Minnesota. Alan: The first Cars record. Columbia record club mail order. It came with a Supertramp record I never liked and AC/DC’s Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap which is handsdown the greatest rock record ever. Which musician, other than yourself, have you ever wanted to be? Mimi: Not even sure I want to be me but I would say David Bowie – the hair, the clothes, the androgyny – love it all. Alan: Is it weird to want to be Santigold? She always looks three notches above it when she performs. P.J. Harvey and Erykah Badu, too. Mick Ronson if I have to be a dude. What do you sing in the shower? Mimi: I make up songs in the shower, or sometimes Harry Nilsson. Alan: Roy Orbison, Human League – and Roberta Flack if I’m taking my time.

Leonine Collinane, Getty, Shelly Mosman

What is your favourite Saturday night record? Mimi: Ween, Quebec. Alan: Ween, La Cucaracha. And your Sunday morning record? Mimi: Big Star’s Third. But there would have be a hymn or two, too. Alan: Staple Singers’ Uncloudy Day. There are a few early Staples records that are great, but this has all my faves. Maybe some Charlie Parr instrumentals too. Low’s Double Negative is released by Sub Pop on September 14. They tour Europe in October.

Pete Shelley BUZZCOCKS’ HOMOSAPIEN What music are you currently grooving to? The American minimalist composers. I first started listening in the late ’70s. I love how simple ideas spawn such complex pieces. I prefer listening to instrumental music while reading as my mind gets too distracted by lyrics. My current playlists include Terry Riley’s In C, Philip Glass’s Music In Twelve Parts – Parts 1 & 2 and Steve Reich’s Music For 18 Musicians. What, if push comes to shove, is your all-time favourite album? Commercial Album by The Residents. Forty tracks all one minute long. Each one packed with their special brand of strangeness but at the same time each one different. What was the first record you ever bought? And where did you buy it? Hey Jude by The Beatles, months before my brother and I got a record player for Christmas to play it on. I think I purchased it from the record department in the basement of Leigh Co-op. Which musician, other than yourself, have you ever wanted to be?

“I wanted to be all The Beatles except for Ringo. Even Yoko!” PETE SHELLEY

I suppose all The Beatles except for Ringo. Even Yoko! Also, Bolan and Bowie were great influences. But I’m happier being me. What do you sing in the shower? I grew up taking baths and so never got into singing in the shower. I like to listen to Chinese traditional guqin music while I soak – Thinking Of An Old Friend is a favourite of mine. What is your favourite Saturday night record? It would have to be Lust For Life, Iggy Pop. Such an infectious beat. And your Sunday morning record? One Sunday in 2005 I went to visit the Centre Pompidou in Paris and was entranced by Altai Khairkhan, a Mongolian overtone singing ensemble performing outside. They were selling their CD, Whistle In The Wind, and I bought a copy. Perfect for any Sunday morning. Pete Shelley’s Collected Lyrics book is available from store.eyewearpublishing. com.

MOJO 9


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 John Mulvey Senior Editor Danny Eccleston Art Editor Mark Wagstaff Associate Editor (Production) Geoff Brown Associate Editor (Reviews) Jenny Bulley Associate Editor (News) Ian Harrison Picture Editor Matt Turner Senior Associate Editor Andrew Male Associate Deputy Art Editor Russell Moorcroft Contributing Editors Phil Alexander, Keith Cameron, Sylvie Simmons For mojo4music.com contact Danny Eccleston

Theories, rants, etc. MOJO welcomes letters for publication. Write to: MOJO Mail, Academic House, 24-28 Oval Road, London NW1 7DT. NEW E-mail: mojoreaders@bauermedia.co.uk

IT’S COMFORTING, SOMETIMES, TO

discover that even a genius can be assailed by self-doubt. Paul McCartney has long been adept at passing off his gifts in an unassuming way. But his bonhomie and natural ebullience have still rendered the business of writing pop’s most enduring songs seem effortless. This month, MOJO discovers that the truth can be a little more complicated, and that even the fabbest of the Fabs has dark nights of the soul. “Sometimes in your life, you’re not a god on Olympus,” McCartney tells Keith Cameron in a startling series of interviews. “I have a great life. But from time to time, reality intrudes.” Marianne Faithfull agonises over every detail, as MOJO follows the making of her new album from concept to completion. David Crosby tells us, “Man, I did everything wrong.” And Paul McCartney writes songs as purgative therapy. “I’m a grandfather, a father, a husband,” he says, “and in that package there’s no guarantee that every minute’s gonna go right.” There’s a thousand songs, give or take a few. He’ll be writing more in a week or two…

Thanks for their help with this issue: Mark Blake, Fred Dellar, Andrew Male Among this month’s contributors: Martin Aston,Mike Barnes, Mark Blake,Glyn Brown, Keith Cameron,David Cavanagh Stevie Chick,Andy Cowan, Max Decharné,Tom Doyle, David Fricke,Andy Fyfe,Pat Gilbert, David Hutcheon,Will Hodgkinson, Jim Irvin,Colin Irwin,David Katz, James McNair,Ben Myers, Kris Needs,Chris Nelson, Lucy O’Brien,Mark Paytress, Andrew Perry,David Quantick, Tony Russell,Jon Savage, Victoria Segal,David Sheppard, Michael Simmons,Mat Snow, Ben Thompson,Kieron Tyler, Charles Waring,Paddy Wells, Lois Wilson,Stephen Worthy

Among this month’s photographers: Cover: Mary McCartney; (insets) Henry Diltz, Elliott Landy Dan Asher, Andrew Cotterill, Timothy Duffy, Grant Fleming, Eliot Lee Hazel, Shelly Mosman, Yann Orhan, Emily Rieman, Steve Roberts, Tom Sheehan, Letitia Smith, Bruce W Talamon, Mattia Zoppellaro

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JOHN MULVEY, EDITOR Really, it all happened Many thanks for publishing David Katz’s article on 50 years of Trojan Records in MOJO 298 – it’s great to see the label getting the credit it deserves for making so much brilliant music available to us. I was surprised to see Don Letts being quoted as claiming that the original skinheads of the late-’60s were a “fashion” movement, in contrast to the the “fascist version” that would emerge in the mid 1970s. While it is true that skinheads adopted Jamaican music and often mixed with West Indian teenagers, one of their trademark activities, from at least 1969, was attacking members of Asian immigrant communities. For instance, an article in The Police Journal in 1972 by Alfred Horobin, a Coventry police inspector, describes in detail a number of such incidents which took place in the city as early as 1970. Here, local skinheads with a “deep hostility” towards those of Asian origin sought to copy the racist assaults which had been carried out by London skinheads – although they often found that the Asian community was not the easy target that they had imagined it to be. If skinheads started to be linked with fascist groups in the mid-’70s, this was partly because many of them had been associated with racist violence from the start.

Steve Rigby, Manchester

I wish I could come, but I have to do some shopping Whilst reading your article on Trojan Records I was surprised to see that Dave from Dave & Ansel Collins was referred to as Dave Collins. Surely you must know that his name was Dave Barker, not Collins? In fact, one of Trojan’s most sought-after vinyl LPs is Prisoner Of Love by Dave Barker with The Upsetters. Apart from that, another great magazine.

Bob Finch, via e-mail

It was a marvellous show Jon Hiseman was described in his obituary [MOJO 298] as a “drum mage”. He was a magician at the art, the best I have ever seen live, along with Carmine Appice. So good he got me grounded for two weeks by my dad. I’d gone to the Marquee Club to see his band, Colosseum. It was the effortless flow, technique and feel of Hiseman blurring around his kit which really held me – and my mates – spellbound, open-mouthed. Now, I was about 16 and living at home. My dad had set a deadline for my return; I knew the consequences of missing it and had to make a decision. We knew Hiseman did a mind-blowing solo, but I would be late home if I stayed ➢ MOJO 11


to experience it. I stayed. It was worth the grounding. Thank you, Jon Hiseman, for one of my life highlights.

Mick Donovan, via e-mail

Hello Mr Butterfly, what are you doing here? I was enjoying John Mulvey’s review of The Rolling Stones at the London Stadium [MOJO 297], until I reached his absurd remarks on the “vile” sentiments of Under My Thumb. Mulvey has obviously been spending too much time on social media, where his comments would be affirmed and sustained by stars, hearts and thumbs-ups. It’s a song, a work of art, a story. Did I miss the missive that all works of art must now satisfy the politically correct, narrow worldview of social justice warriors? My beloved MOJO was the last place I expected to come across such conspicuous virtue signalling. If this is the future of music criticism, where lyrics are taken literally, and if they offend the reviewer’s politically correct sensibilities they cop the literary equivalent of a slap with a wet tea towel, then we are surely in for some grim reading. If that’s the case, the next Nick Cave And The Bad Seeds review will make for intriguing reading. What will Mulvey have to say re: “I was cut from her belly with a Stanley Knife/My daddy did a jig with the drunk midwife”?

Adam Gordon, South Coogee, Sydney

Mum, you should’ve seen what I saw In Roger McGough’s wonderful accounting of the story of Yellow Submarine [MOJO 297], he states that “the know-all Nowhere Man Jeremy Boob was [Lee] Minoff ’s parody of British theatre director Jonathan Miller….” Not so fast! I was at Yale at that time where Erich Segal, co-writer of the original script, taught – as did the professor of medieval history Jeremy Adams, who Erich Segal clearly used as the model for Jeremy Boob.

Bob Bookman, Los Angeles, California

And I have to look after baby brother It’s a shame that Guy Pratt, when given the opportunity to discuss David Gilmour, decided to pull the “who did what first” argument [MOJO 296]. You would think a professional musician would know better than that. If he really wants to put The Edge and Gilmour to the test, The Division Bell was released in 1994. Achtung Baby was released in 1993. Boy, October, War, Unforgettable Fire, and The Joshua Tree all came before that. There is an awful lot of triplet delay on those albums, well before The Division Bell. I wonder if either of them ever thanked Les Paul?

This only happens once every couple of hundred years I have been a faithful MOJO subscriber for years and still fondly remember and listen to your MOJO Machine Turns You On CDs from 1997. Repeated listening led to subsequent purchases of CDs I would otherwise not have been aware of. Consequently, I have always wondered why you discontinued the tradition for so long, but am extremely happy to see that you finally relented. The new 2018 CD [MOJO 295] is great. Please keep up the good work and give us as many Turn-On Machines as possible!

Richard Kersten, Frankfurt

You be careful, son, and take notice of what your mother tells you. Thanks for a long overdue piece on Grace Slick [MOJO 294], whose wit I remember from David Letterman interviews in the ’80s has not diminished in the slightest. I had no idea of the influence of Miles Davis on the Eastern tonalities of White Rabbit, and I always thought the Dead were the ones who recommended the Hell’s Angels do security at Altamont. A few years ago, while in San Francisco for a family wedding, I walked by a gallery beneath the St Francis Hotel and noticed the opening night of one of her oil shows, a cavalcade of White Rabbits, Hendrixes and other ’60s totems. That she somehow made it out the other side when so many others didn’t is a testament to a true survivor with so much more wisdom to impart. I hope she does someday.

Stephen Conn, Las Cruces, New Mexico

If you don’t pipe down, I will not bring you again I was happily surprised to see Savoy Brown included in your Heavy Weather feature in MOJO 295. I saw them perform with Jethro Tull and Terry Reid in Dublin about 1968 and was blown away, like a lot of my mates at school. They have been running continuously as a band, albeit with ever-shifting line-up changes, since 1962, so don’t you think they deserve a feature in MOJO? I recently discovered and bought their latest CD, Witchy Feelin’, and it is excellent, so how come I never saw it reviewed in MOJO? Or was there no space after reviewing The Vladnik Thargs from Finland or something? Please give Kim Simmonds his due, and get onto it!

Paul Martin, Adelaide, South Australia

That’s all for now Thank you for the great, in-depth interview with Brother Wayne Kramer [MOJO 297]. I’m gonna see him on his tour. I also loved the Steve Marriott buying guide. Thank you for all you do. I will continue to renew my subscription until I die.

James Adkisson, via e-mail

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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 complaints@bauermedia.co.uk.


Teenage Fanclub Vinyl Reissues

Each album has been remastered from the original tapes at Abbey Road Studios and will be packaged in a faithful re-production of the original vinyl artwork. Each LP will be pressed on 180gsm black vinyl and will include a 7� single which will feature two tracks and will only be available with the initial pressing of each album.

OUT NOW

THE GODFATHER OF ELECTRONIC MUSIC 41 HAND-PICKED WORKS FROM HIS EXTENSIVE CATALOGUE, RE-MASTERED PLUS

2 PREVIOUSLY UN-RELEASED AND

2 BRAND NEW TRACKS

AVAILABLE 14 SEPTEMBER TH

2CD I VINYL BOOK ULTIMATE BOX SET


W H AT G O E S ON! THE HOT NEWS AND BIZARRE STORIES FROM PLANET MOJO

“Empowering, invigorating, inspiring”: Joe Strummer, shredding emotions and guitar on-stage; (insets) ephemera from the archive.


Revealed! Secret Strummer Joe’s secret vaults yield a cross-career box set of rarities and unheard treasures.

URING THIS summer’s World Cup football coverage, former Clash manager Bernie Rhodes contacted MOJO to demand that This Is England, the band’s valedictory 1985 hit, “should replace God Save The Queen as our national anthem”. The famously radical-thinking Rhodes may be pleased to learn that two extraordinary and previously unheard early versions of the song form the centrepiece of Joe Strummer 001, the first-ever compilation of the Clash frontman’s solo work. Together with familiar studio material by Strummer and his pre- and post-Clash groups The 101’ers and The Mescaleros, the 2-CD collection, released on September 28, features a rarities set spanning home demos, film soundtracks and unreleased Clash demos from the period after Mick Jones’s dramatic departure in 1983. Several of the tracks were discovered among the vast trove of unfiled tapes, lyrics, letters, stage clothes and other ephemera Strummer left when he died unexpectedly in December 2002. “Joe kept everything in an open-sided barn at our home in Somerset, in old tea chests and suitcases,” explains Strummer’s widow, Lucinda Tait, who curated the set with artist and Clash sleeve designer Robert Gordon McHarg III. “Our front room was a dumping ground for the plastic bags he brought back from touring or the studio. I would try to tidy them up every now and again, but he would say, ‘No, leave them. I know exactly where everything is!’” Visiting Joe and Lucinda’s home soon after the singer’s death, artist and family friend Damien Hirst was so taken at the strange, anarchic beauty of Strummer’s artefact-filled home studio that he received permission to dismantle it for future reconstruction as an art installation and set his archivist to work on preserving Joe’s ephemera, now stored in a special facility in Dublin owned by U2. “I was blown away by the way Joe annotated everything he did in his notebooks, even jotting down the time he would enter or leave a studio,” says McHarg, who is indexing the archive. “You get a sense that he was interested in documenting his own story.” Among secrets surrendered so far are demos made by The Clash – Strummer, Paul Simonon and drummer Pete Howard – after Mick Jones’s exit, including a reggae

D

“Joe kept everything in an open-sided barn at our home in Somerset.” prototype of This Is England, titled ‘Czechoslovak Song/Where Is England’, dated August 1983, the month of Jones’s sacking. Among other gems: unreleased Clash songs Pouring Rain and (on the deluxe special 7-inch single) Before We Go Forward, both recorded in July 1984, and another version of This Is England from that session. “Hearing Joe’s lyrics is very poignant,” says Lucinda. “He was great at empowering, invigorating and inspiring. They’re still so relevant. Imagine what he’d come up with today about Trump.”

Pat Gilbert Joe Strummer 001 is out in Deluxe and standard formats on Ignition, September 28

Bob Gruen, Getty

LUCINDA TAIT

MOJO 15


W H AT G O E S O N !

Lonnie Holley, fixing the mothership we’re all on; (inset) “Thumbs up for Mother Universe.”

patronising Holley as an outsider artist, fetishising his untutored technique, harrowing back-story and indestructible sense of wonder. That would, though, underestimate the potency of his work, in whatever context it appears. “I’m considering the life yet to come, that’s what the arts are for,” he explains down the line from Austin, where he’s on tour with Animal Collective. “People disregarded me as an artist, they just thought I was an outsider; because of the colour of my skin I wasn’t worthy to be who I am. It made me cry a lot of times.” “Everyone always assumes that Lonnie must be weird or strange or difficult to work with,” says Arnett, who makes a note of the “100 ideas a day” that Holley will incorporate into his spontaneous live performances. “Lonnie is the most normal person I know and it’s all of us who are fucked up. He’s rational but confounded by how messed up mankind is. He’s spent his whole life planting seeds that he hopes grow into a world that’s better. I hope he succeeds.” In conversation, Holley tends towards elaborate cosmic homilies, that begin with a request to “Think about…”, end with a “Thumbs up for Mother Universe,” and roll on as lengthily and unpredictably as his songs. One involves climate change; another the nature of sand; a third pivots compellingly from Dylan’s Gotta Serve Somebody to Holley’s 2013 magnum opus, Six Space Shuttles And 144,000 Elephants, written as a birthday gift for Queen Elizabeth II. “I see myself as a living human, concerned like my grandmama and my granddaddy, who were doing “The life yet pretty much the same thing to come, that’s I was doing without being called artists,” says Holley, what the arts referencing the birth family are for.” that he rediscovered when he was 14. “I care so much LONNIE HOLLEY about the mothership that we’re all on, and the whole universe. If it’s fucked up, let’s fix it.”

CULT LEGEND LONNIE HOLLEY EVOKES VAN THE MAN, TRIES TO HEAL HUMANITY ON VISIONARY NEW ALBUM

I

T CAN BE hard making sense of Lonnie Holley’s life. The seventh child of 27, he was born in Birmingham, Alabama in 1950. “I came out of my mother’s womb in a time right after war,” he says. “There were a lot of tears, a lot of suffering. I came out of her womb in a fucked-up America.” At one and a half, his story goes, he was stolen by a burlesque dancer-cum-wet nurse, who took him around carnivals and state fairs, trading him for a bottle of whiskey by the time he was four. He was, he says, “always listening to music. Up until around 10 I was sleeping right next to a Rockola jukebox.” This cumulative trauma, along with a spell in a brutal juvenile detention centre called the Alabama Industrial School For Negro Children, feeds into the visionary art that Holley – a father of 15 himself – has been making since 1979. His sculptures of found junk and twisted wire have found their way into the Metropolitan Museum Of Art and the White House, while this past decade

has seen him expand into equally radical and surprising music. “My two careers are running like Siamese twins,” he explains, “and to separate them would be like killing one.” Holley’s levitational third album, MITH, comes out this month and showcases a stream-of-consciousness approach to words and music that recalls Arthur Russell, Sun Ra and Van Morrison at his most spiritually unfettered. “It’s as if he has to make art and sing to stop thinking about the things he witnessed,” says Matt Arnett, Holley’s co-producer, tour manager and general facilitator. There’s a risk of

John Mulvey MITH is released on September 21 on Jagjaguwar.

The Buggles

Joy Division

Deerhunter

The Normal

Bug Vs. Earth

Video Killed The Radio Star

Atrocity Exhibition

Leather And Wood

Warm Leatherette

Concrete Desert

(FROM CLOSER, FACTORY, 1980)

(FROM FADING FRONTIER, 4AD, 2015)

(MUTE, 1978)

(NINJA TUNE, 2017)

(ISLAND, 1979)

Ballard’s horrorshow sequence of ‘condensed novels’ from 1970 gave the opener of JD’s second album its title, lyrical inspiration and voyeuristic sense of uncontrollable terror and madness. See also Magazine’s assassinationfixated Motorcade.

Slow, etherised and overgrown with weeds, this meditation on a road accident becoming spiritually transformative and death-transcending echoes Ballard’s almosttoo-disturbing 1979 novel The Unlimited Dream Company, among others.

Ballard’s descent into auto-paraphilia Crash (1973) inspired this industrial whipcracker by Daniel Miller. See also Bowie’s Always Crashing In The Same Car, Gary Numan’s Cars and John Foxx’s Burning Car for other examples of Ballard’s toxic osmosing into pop.

Distortion and drones depict a West Coast dystopia, mashing up 1974’s Concrete Island and Ballard’s mad-climate fiction of the ’60s. Close your eyes and imagine those drained swimming pools and deserted motorways baking in the dust.

A nostalgia-for -the-future synth-pop superhit, this song was inspired by Ballard’s 1960 story The Sound-Sweep, where a mute youth hoovers up rogue noises in a world where music is replaced by “ultrasonic” sense-impressions.

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Timothy Duffy

GIMME FIVE… RECORDS INSPIRED BY J.G. BALLARD


discover the best new releases

Oh Sees Smote Reverser

Anna Meredith ft. Scottish Ensemble - Anno

Animal Collective Tangerine Reef

The Lemon Twigs Go To School

out now on CD & vinyl

out now on CD & vinyl

out now on CD & vinyl

out 24 August on CD & vinyl

California’s Oh Sees up the ante once again, with an infectious blend of explosive prog driven garage rock. Two drummers? WHY NOT?

The award-winning composer has teamed up with the Scottish Ensemble, re-working her own pieces plus Vivaldi’s Four Seasons.

An audio-visual album, in collaboration with Coral Morphologic, to commemorate the 2018 International Year of the Reef.

The band’s most ambitious work yet; a conceptual musical, which tells a heartbreaking story of a chimpanzee raised as a human boy.

Interpol Marauder

Nothing Dance On The Blacktop

Candi Staton Unstoppable

Tunng Songs You Make At Night

out 24 August on CD & vinyl

out 24 August on CD & vinyl

out 24 August on CD & vinyl

out 24 August on CD & vinyl

Long-awaited sixth album from the New York post-punk icons. Includes the storming single The Rover.

Tales of confusion and despair set to lush soundscapes of angelic beauty juxtaposed with reverberating walls of shimmering sound.

A celebration of Staton’s legacy and a bold step forward, with a sound that’s contemporary, but still steeped in Southern soul and blues.

The folk-pop outfit have returned to their original line up for the release of their sixth album. Include the single ABOP.

Stone Foundation Everybody, Anyone

White Denim Performance

Neil & Liam Finn Lightsleeper

Passenger Runaway

out 24 August on CD & vinyl

out 24 August on CD & vinyl

out 24 August on CD & vinyl

out 31 August on CD & vinyl

11 new songs with collaborators including Kathryn Williams, Dr Robert, Mick Talbot, Steve White and Paul Weller.

This unique talent are back with nine songs with clarity and renewed purpose as well as a truckload of attitude.

Debut album from this father and son. Features collaborations with Connan Mockasin and Fleetwood Mac legend Mick Fleetwood.

Following on from his No.1 album, Runaway sees Passenger drawing on Americana. Includes the singles Heart To Love and Hell Or High Water.

home of entertainment


MOJO WO R K I N G

The Glass Kiwi: Aldous Harding, July 26, 2018, by Huw Evans, AKA H. Hawkline.

“I guess I’ve turned into a bit of a workaholic.”

FACT SHEET

ALDOUS HARDING

“I

’m volunteering three days a week at a dog grooming parlour, just for a while,” says Hannah Harding, on the phone from Cardiff. “It gives me something to do during the day – hanging out with some animals that don’t say a word.” You can understand why she’d like things quiet. Life got busy around the 2017 release of her second LP, the rich, strange and magnetic Party. Its vocal shapeshifting, acute emotional states and heightened perceptions gained international critical acclaim, and she played over 100 shows across the continents. As she toured, she was also writing most of the songs destined to appear on her third album. She started the record in late June, with 15 days recording and 10 days mixing, at Rockfield Studios in Monmouth and J & J Studio and The Playpen in Bristol. As on Party, John Parish produces. “My initial feeling was I should try somebody else if only to do

A L S O WO R K I N G …Kevin Parker says he devoutly hopes there’ll be a new TAME IMPALA album next summer, if only to give him new songs to play live… THE THE’s comeback dates are set to carry on until October, and the long awaited follow-up to 2000’s NakedSelf is hoped for thereafter. “I want to record with the new band,” said Matt Johnson

18 MOJO

something different, but we got speaking and after that I didn’t really see the point,” says the singer. “We’ve got a good thing going on. We didn’t muck around, we didn’t do it with any drama. The songs are full of drama or whatever, but we just kind of got it done… when I’m doing it, I’m quite stressed, you know. It doesn’t feel like it too much at the time, but when I look back I realise I am.” Guest musicians were Cardiff-based multi-instrumentalists H. Hawkline and Stephen Black from Sweet Baboo, plus drummer Gwion Llewelyn and Bristol violinist and regular Parish player Clare Mactaggart. “I had to coordinate personalities and instruments,” says Harding. “It’s quite a bit bigger than the last record in terms of instrumentation. Party was a jump that way, and we’ve jumped again.” This being her first interview in some time, she apologises that she finds it hard to be

(below). “But I don’t want to rush it… there are some good songs”… MUSE’s new album will be released in November… the NEW POWER GENERATION, Prince’s backing group from 1990 to 2013, are to record new music. Keyboardist Morris Hayes told the Bang Showbiz site, “We’re going to set up shop and just jam… it would be unfortunate if we didn’t have anything to show from all

more specific about the songs and what they sound like – she even texted Parish for “some tips, some buzzwords” to help her out – though she does proffer that one track she wrote in the studio “has lots of different parts, with a lot of male backing vocals”. “One thing I will say about the record is, I don’t know that it’s lighter, but it feels lighter,” she adds. “The first two came from a kind of place of desperation, a little bit, y’know? And this just feels, I dunno, warmer. John said something like, you sound like somebody who’s comfortable in the music. I listen to it and I go, yeah, I understand that.” She adds that her songwriting is also in a healthy state. “When I finished [the album] my first response was to keep writing,” she says. “I guess I’ve turned into a bit of a workaholic. My kick comes from, y’know, making the music. I wrote three or four songs while we were recording that I didn’t use, and in my mind I’m going, that’s half an album. It’s fucking mad, but you know…” Ian Harrison

we’ve learned”… MARK RONSON has been making tracks with fellow producer Diplo under the name Silk City…THE PRODIGY release No Tourists in November. “This album is equally aggressive as the last records, but in a different way,” promises producer Liam Howlett. “[It’s] ultimately about escapism and the want and need to be derailed”… ex-BETA BAND man Steve Mason is

recording his first solo album since 2016’s Meet The Humans, with Stephen Street… techno auteur JEFF MILLS’ (left) collaborative explorations continue: as well as playing drums with the Spiral Deluxe project with Buffalo Daughter’s Yumiko Ohno on Moog and Kenji ‘Jino’ Hino on bass, he’s also recorded the Tomorrow Comes The Harvest EP with Tony Allen. Both are released in September…

Getty (2)

PRETERNATURAL NEW ZEALAND TALENT ALDOUS HARDING GETS READY TO JUMP TO ALBUM THREE.

Title: TBC Date: 2019 Production: John Parish Songs: The Weight Of The Planets/ Heaven Is Empty/ Pilot The Buzz: “It’s interesting, I feel a lot less intense than I did. I feel like I’m growing up. I don’t want to over analyse what I do and I don’t know [if I] recognise the change, but other people do.” Aldous Harding


discover the best new releases

Darwin Deez - 10 Songs That Happened When You Left Me With My Stupid Heart

Wild Nothing Indigo

The Kooks Let’s Go Sunshine

out 31 August on CD & vinyl

out 31 August on CD & vinyl

Tom’s first official release in a decade, and his most searingly personal work to date, performed entirely solo on guitar and piano.

out 31 August on CD & vinyl The crux of Darwin’s fourth album is his singular songwriting. It is fiercely original, catchy and accessible.

The project of LA-based Jack Tatum is back with his fourth album which marks a bold, new leap into a bigger arena.

This is a bold record that distils the band’s timeless sound into its purest form while pushing it forward into a more expansive and mature space.

Idles Joy As An Act Of Resistance

Mogwai KIN

Jonathan Jeremiah Good Day

Juanita Stein Until The Lights Fade

out 31 August on CD & vinyl

out 31 August on CD & vinyl

out 31 August on CD & vinyl

out 31 August on CD & vinyl

Taking aim at everything from toxic masculinity, nationalism, and class inequality - all while maintaining an infectious positivity.

Soundtrack to the pounding crime thriller with a sci-fi twist and it’s the band’s first feature film soundtrack.

Good Day showcases the depth of Jeremiah’s craft, with his voice carving out haunting melodies amid sophisticated arrangements.

Second solo album from the former Howling Bells front-woman, concerned with feelings, stories and characters rooted close to home.

Paul Simon In The Blue Light

Chilly Gonzales Solo Piano III

Teleman Family Of Aliens

Sauna Youth Deaths

out 7 September on CD & vinyl

out 7 September on CD & vinyl

out 7 September on CD & vinyl

out 7 September on CD & vinyl

The album features a talented cast of musicians who have joined Simon to lend fresh perspectives on 10 of his favourite songs.

Solo Piano III completes the Solo Piano trilogy and its musical purity is a reflection of all the beauty and ugliness around us.

Glorious pop songs fluent with electronic textures and united by the sharp lyricism, buoyant guitars and melodies synonymous with Teleman.

The final part in a trilogy of albums, the songs that comprise Deaths are collectively about the act of finishing, an ode to ‘the ending’.

Tom Baxter The Other Side Of Blue out 17 August on CD & vinyl

home of entertainment


On an excursion into enjoyment: Billy F Gibbons.

was ferocious, terrorising!

FUNKY GIBBONS Billy’s big five 1 Jimmy Reed

What blues song or songwriter always makes you laugh? Howlin’ Wolf. He was fearsome – and what a sound on those early records.

Honey Don’t Let Me Go (SINGLE, VEE-JAY, 1956) 2 Bobby Bland Stormy Monday Blues

Ever feel like doing a Gibbons husband and wife bluesy duo? Ha ha, yeah man! My lovely (FROM HERE’S THE MAN!, sweetheart Gilligan paid a visit to DUKE, 1962) 3 The Rolling the studio one afternoon. She was Stones Start Me Up scribbling away, and I was sure she (SINGLE, ROLLING STONES, was taking notes from the Gucci 1981) 4 Mike Henderson and Chanel catalogues. She took & The Bluebloods a break and left her notepad lying I Need Me A Car (FROM THICKER THAN WATER, about, and I said, “Gee whiz, this COMPENDIA/TOPIC, 1999) looks like poetry – I think we can 5 The Jimmie make a song.” The engineers said, Vaughan Trio Frame For The Blues “Take a shot – read from the paper (FROM LIVE AT C-BOY’S, 2017) and light up the microphone then we’ll put it to music…” They said, “Missin’ your kissin’? You’d better hope she’s writing about you!” Then again, it’s two whole albums now without Dusty and Frank… We have the luxury of two recording studios in Texas, and while I’m slaving away on the solo stuff, they’re making new ZZ Top starter kits, pushing the pencil in all directions. After all these years together, either by design or more likely mistake we stumble into an excursion into enjoyment – we call it going to the Bahamas!

ZZ Top’s guitar burner on the blues, stormy weather and missing Mexico.

P

ARKED UP on the tour coach at the Chateau Ste. Michelle Winery in Woodinville, Washington, where ZZ Top have a summer date, Billy F Gibbons is idling before showtime. Seldom one to kick back despite his easy and unhurried Texan courtliness, Billy has recorded two solo albums since the last Top opus, 2013’s tremendous La Futura. While his Perfectamundo delightfully percolated blues-rock licks with Afro-Cuban rhythms in 2015, today The Big Bad Blues brings it on back to classic covers, industrial-strength boogie grooves and the lope and leer of Billy’s oak-aged voice. Are there blues singers whose way of handling a song inspires you? Top of the list, Jimmy Reed. I was talking to my guitar-slinging pal Jimmie Vaughan, who

20 MOJO

holds the same admiration. Simple as it seems on the surface, there is a complexity he and I find baffling, and that’s what keeps it fresh. We can listen to a Jimmy Reed song we’ve heard hundreds of times and something will jump out we’ve never heard before.

What do you feel about what’s happening on your border with Mexico? We’ve lost a really enlivening experience. The days of just going over the borderline are over. I have a little house on the border and on Friday night we’d go over and wouldn’t come back ’til Monday. I could rattle on for days about those excursions. We miss the music, the food, and hanging out with our Spanish-speaking pals across the line.

On your new album there are two songs each from the canons of Muddy Waters and Bo Diddley. What were they like? They were genuine. Muddy Waters travelled on tour with ZZ Top in the late ’70s, Bo Diddley too. I remained friends with both those guys until the day they died. One of the first gigs ZZ Top did was backing up Bo Diddley. He was a character. Bo Diddley gave me a couple of those BILLY F GIBBONS oddball guitars that Gretsch made for him in the ’50s. We used one for a couple of solos on the ZZ Top album Rhythmeen – plug it in and it

“In Houston saw motorboats going down streets I knew.”

Tell us something you’ve never told an interviewer before. I’ve got very little to complain about. However, if I could find the guy who invented the hands-free water faucet I’d like to wring his neck. You find yourself waving your hands in thin air waiting for the water to flow. The concept is lofty and that would be fine if the damned thing would function. They don’t work! Mat Snow

Blain Clausen

BILLY F GIBBONS

Did the Houston floods affect you? Remarkably, no. When the storms hit, we were in California and watched it unfold on the news. I saw motorboats going down streets I knew. The city was deluged, under siege by the rising waters. Though my neighbours to the left and right took on a heap of water, my condo remained high and dry. And our recording studio didn’t take a drop. ZZ Top had a show booked in Houston for months, and by the time of the date the waters had receded and we were able to raise $100,000 for a charity which got the ball rolling and rallied the city.


Marc Ribot The guitar alchemist genuflects before the Albert Ayler Quintet’s Live At Slug’s Saloon May 1, 1966 (Base, 1982) It was the mid-’80s. I was playing in the Lounge Lizards, living on East 16th Street in New York. I was playing compositions that were to do with harmonics, they sounded kind of like bugle calls. And [NY pianist] Anthony Coleman said, “You should listen to Albert Ayler’s Bells.” I knew he was part of the pantheon of jazz geniuses, and very controversial, but I’d never done a close listen. Then I did. And I’ve been doing that ever since. When I put the album on it was, “Oh yeah… all right.” I wasn’t analysing it – it was an artefact of a very intense quasireligious experience, like you’re standing in the back of a room in which there’s a strange ritual going on, you hear a chicken squawk and see a bloody knife, and you’re not sure what going on but you’re certain something is! Ayler was influenced by bugle calls, church music, hymns. The first part is a hymn, but what it’s praying for is what happens when the song progresses. It’s like a diving board into something else, the chords come at you a mile a minute. It’s a virtuoso/intellectual/ physical feat. It was the missing link between jazz and punk rock and made me understand everything I most needed from both. It made me understand that music can be a ritual in which musicians and audience engage, and how it can take people up and put them down in a different place. You have to have listened to the stuff that came before it, and to have reached a point of frustration, in order for it to feel necessary. When I listen to it I find it incredibly funny and tender, with the desire for honesty and revelation. One thing Albert Ayler gives me is courage. Something clicked when I heard it. Before that I didn’t know what I was gonna do. And after that, I did know. Marc Ribot’s Songs Of Resistance 1942-2018 is out on September 14 on ANTI-.

W H AT G O E S O N !

SPACE ROCK PSYCHONAUTS HAWKWIND CONNECT WITH CLAPTON AND… MIKE BATT?

T

Eric Clapton. Reconnection was made when HE INCONGRUOUS collaboration Brock contributed to Philip Norman’s new has a noble history in rock, from biography of Clapton. Stanley Unwin guesting with the “They wanted to know all the bits and Small Faces to Karl ‘Wimoweh’ Denver’s pieces about our background and the blues, team up with Happy Mondays. Yet few have when we used to sit around in Richmond the double-take quality of Hawkwind’s new playing our guitars,” says Brock. “And we album Road To Utopia, where reimagined thought, Wouldn’t it be good if we got Eric to songs from the group’s first decade are given play on The Watcher? It was really nice to see new orchestral frames by Mike Batt, the him – I probably hadn’t seen him since he producer behind hits for Steeleye Span, was in Cream. What did we talk about? Not Vanessa Mae and, of course, The Wombles. the next project, this one.” The next project, “We met him when we were queuing up wonders MOJO? What’s that? “Oh I dunno, for visas at the American embassy in 2007,” says chief Hawk Dave Brock. “I probably met who knows?” says Brock. (Intriguingly, Hawk manager/Brock’s partner Kris Tait chips in him when he was working in the office at with, “He’s coming down next week.”) [early Hawkwind label] Liberty in 1970. Another old comrade the record salutes is Strange how your paths cross. Some fans late, great Hawkwind poet/ probably won’t like it but you frontman Robert Calvert, have to do something who died 30 years ago this different, don’t you?” month: four of the nine Batt got involved after songs are co-written by him. a proposed Hawkwind The Road To Utopia’s acoustic album began to cricket-themed cover art also acquire electric elements. references Calvert’s 1979 Though Hawkwind weren’t release Cricket Star. “On the present when he added sleeve Mike Batt’s the strings and brass to the umpire, Eric’s in the pavilion tracks, their collaborative coming out to bat, and Bob’s preparations for concerts there too,” says Brock, “in reveal a lively creative the silver machine/flying dynamic. “Mike’s a very “I hadn’t saucer in the sky.” clever, eccentric character,” seen Eric Still capable of surprise says Brock. “When we were nearly five decades into their rehearsing he was saying, since he was voyage, Hawkwind’s ‘Oh, you’re two bars out…’ in Cream.” orchestral tour begins in he gives you a bollocking if DAVE BROCK October Following past things go wrong. And th trics – we’re first time we’re goin Calvert’s steamwith the fucking orc er ace outfit or when we do it live! I cia’s psychedelic right though. Is he a t – might there of Hawkwind? I sho or a Womble bloody well hope no We ad-lib a lot.” inly not!” retorts Batt plays piano o Hawkwind bass/ version of The Watc s could put a Lemmy composition on though.” 1972’s Doremi Fasol L the track also featur ad To Utopia is released the unmistakable Cherry Red on guitar of Brock’s eptember 14. See early-’60s busking p eview on page 93. The road to Utopia is paved with Batt and no-balls: Eric Clapton and (right) Dave Brock; (above) Mike Batt and the album.

Getty (2), John Chase

L A ST N I G H T A RECORD CHANGED MY L I F E


W H AT G O E S O N !


RICK JAMES: Los Angeles Coliseum, 1979. BT: “There’s 100,000 people out there! We had total, complete access to the stage, backstage, to everything that happened. Rick had these knee-high – I call them seven-league – white leather boots, and he’d strut across the length of the stage, so I thought, All right, when he comes my way I’m gonna walk out just a bit and make him big in the frame. It was a call-andresponse: he was cupping his ear to hear what the crowd was saying.”

Up-close and funky, a new photobook makes R&B’s golden years come alive.

“I

CONSIDERED myself a scribe, a visual scribe, and as a protector of black folks’ history and music, all right?” says photographer Bruce W. Talamon, speaking from his home in Los Angeles. “I couldn’t worry about who might come along to do it – I knew I was going to do it, and we’ll sort it out later. And now, looking back 40 years later, maybe I did do something right. Maybe it was important.” He’s talking about his roof-raising new book Soul. R&B. Funk. Photographs 1972-1982, an extraordinary trove of images amassed while working for the LA-based music weekly SOUL (‘America’s Most Soulful Newspaper’), US major labels and other “Then media outlets. he asked Containing almost 300 practically unseen, me, What gold-standard photographs, else did it left MOJO’s resident soul expert Geoff Brown you shoot gobsmacked. Artfully during that assembled into nine period?” thematic chapters, the excitement and the star BRUCE TALAMON names are unrelenting to an almost hysteric degree.

Greats in their prime, including James Brown, Aretha Franklin, Marvin Gaye, Diana Ross, Stevie Wonder, The Jackson 5, Barry White, Isaac Hayes, Earth, Wind & Fire, Donna Summer and many more, are vividly present in unmitigated moments on-stage and off-, and everywhere there’s proof of Talamon’s close proximity to subjects who are comfortable in his presence. “I’ve had adventures,” he says. “I like to say for a 10-year period I got to photograph R&B royalty. It’s a time that will never come again and I’m fortunate I was able to document it.” The idea for the book originated in 2014 when journalist Herb Powell, who was working on the official biography of Earth, Wind & Fire leader Maurice White, came to view Talamon’s archive of the great spiritual funk-jazzsoul outfit. Talamon, who moved into national magazine and film-set photography in the 1980s, had toured with the group three times, and shared what he calls “the good stuff”. “Then he asked me, ‘What else did you shoot during that period?’” says Talamon. “So I pulled out Parliament/ Funkadelic, Chaka Khan and Rufus, Marvin Gaye, The O’Jays… and all of a sudden it was like, Well, maybe we’ve got something here.” Incredibly, he says several large publishing houses turned his book proposal down, but in 2015 he found a warmer welcome at Taschen Books. From Talamon’s meticulously maintained and annotated archive, an edit was ➢

Bruce W. Talamon

The Soul Chronicles

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W H AT G O E S O N ! ➣

made in consultation with Taschen’s editor Reuel Golden, who devised the thematic presentation. As well as the stars of black music, the book also explores less obvious stories and situations. “I didn’t want it to be just a book of people screaming into microphones,” says Talamon, citing the chapter on producer/host Don Cornelius’s groundbreaking TV show Soul Train, and examples of the flamboyant soul costumes devised by designer Bill Whitten in his West Hollywood shop, Workroom 27. Other evocative images include Al Green in a state of post-gig exhaustion in 1978; an all-female stage invasion at an Isley Brothers show in ’73; Michael and Jermaine Jackson checking out their support act Ohio Players in ’74; a 1977 close-up of The Brothers Johnson’s bass king Louis ‘Thunder Thumbs’ Johnson’s blistered and bloodied business digit, and Harold Melvin & The Blue Notes mid-choreographed dance move in 1973. How did he get this close to his subjects? “I was raised by my mother and my father to look ’em in the eye and shake their hand firmly,” he says, “to let people know you respect them and that you’re there to do a job. I’ve really never had a bad incident. They welcomed me to take their pictures.” Talamon, whose first artist shoot was Miles Davis live in Tivoli Gardens, Copenhagen when he was an exchange student in Berlin in 1971, gives much credit to SOUL’s encouraging publisher Regina Jones. “The book is basically a love letter to her,” he says. Talamon is currently working on a book of Second World War photography. But when MOJO hears that one preliminary selection ran to 1,000 images, we have to wonder, could Soul. R&B. Funk run to a second volume? “We couldn’t include The Main Ingredient, Rose Royce, The Whispers…” he ponders. “But let’s sell volume one first.”

EARTH, WIND & FIRE: Luna Park Stadium, Buenos Aires, Argentina, 1980. BT: “A little pre-planning goes a long way. I got to understand the choreography – when they do September, ‘Rice [White] is gonna be here, Ralph [Johnson]’s going to be there… So I waited for something fabulous to happen. Verdine [White] is a showman and he will definitely deliver, and, sure enough, he’s smacking the hell out of that bass and everything came together. You wanted to freeze the action but you didn’t want to make it so frozen they looked like mannequins.”

Ian Harrison Soul. R&B. Funk. Photographs 1972-1982 by Bruce W. Talamon is published by Taschen.

“I didn’t want it to be just a book of people screaming into microphones.” BRUCE TALAMON

MUHAMMAD ALI AND GIL SCOTT-HERON: The Roxy, Los Angeles, 1977. BT: “These guys were the biggest flirts with the ladies, but that night they were talking about how to bring international pressure to bear, for the release of Nelson Mandela. They knew that the music was about protest as well as ‘shake that ass’. This was a time, remember, when PR had not yet taken over. They weren’t worried about some publicist saying, ‘Oh my goodness, you shouldn’t talk about this – you’re going to damage your brand.’”


Bruce W. Talamon (4)

STEVIE WONDER: Hollywood, 1977 BT: “That was at the original Roscoe’s House Of Chicken And Waffles on Gower Street. A wonderful place to eat. We were doing a cover for SOUL and we proposed doing it at about 11 o’clock, midnight. Stevie is a night owl, his time clock is maybe a little bit different, all right? We took over the whole place. People were walking through the shot, talking and saying hi to Stevie. It was wonderful. I wanted chaos – and we got it!” BOBBY WOMACK, SLY STONE AND B.B. KING : ABC Television Centre, Hollywood, 1973. BT: “That was at the In Concert TV show. Sly was just getting ready to go on, and B.B. King and Bobby had come to stand in the wings to watch him perform. They’d seen me around from working with SOUL and they said, ‘Bruce, take a picture!’ Then someone said something and they all started to laugh. And it was just wonderful. These cats were all at the top of their game. They had nothing to prove.”

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W H AT G O E S O N !

“I had over 40 jobs in the ’60s, living in lodgings for three quid a week.” IAN HUNTER

“That ginger bloke with the glasses… now who was he with?” Ian Hunter by Ian Hunter.

Mott The Hoople’s chairman of the board, in his own words and by his own hand. I’d describe myself… I don’t know. I really don’t. Somebody once said to me, “You hang in.” I don’t think that’s too complimentary, but I do hang in. It’s reverse psychology from when you were a kid, when everybody’s telling you you’re useless. That’s the motivation. I don’t really take that much time to self-examine, I’m not trying to be modest, I just don’t. I do what I do, I guess other people are better judges, from the outside. I mean, who knows what they’re like?! Music changed me… by opening up the door of my life for me. It took a little practice, but I’m quite good at it now. Jerry Lee Lewis, Little Richard, Chuck Berry, Fats Domino – these were the greats with whom I grew up. Of course, the parents felt a little differently about them, so I had to decamp. Amazing times, the ’50s and ’60s. Not at all like now. When I’m not making music… there is never a time when music isn’t in or around me. It doesn’t necessarily mean I’m playing it all the time, but it’s in my head. Family and friends haul me to the surface now and again and that’s most enjoyable. My biggest vice is… I smoked, but managed to give it up three or four years ago. I always like a drop of Champers – it’s been in the rider for years! Never was much of a druggie chap though – that’s why I’m still here. 26 MOJO

The last time I was embarrassed was… I dunno. Questions sometimes embarrass me. My formal qualifications are… guitar, piano, harp, bass’n’vocals – which are all A levels in my neck of the woods. And a spot of ego to boot. The last time I cried was… dunno. I’m not maudlin in the slightest. Just as well really, because I’m still here, a lot of people are gone. I’m not optimistic, I’m right down the middle. I can as depressed as the next bloke, and I can get as optimistic as the next bloke. Vinyl, CD or streaming? Obviously, vinyl, but the idiotic corporate advance into self-immolation continues. It does seem like everyone’s hell-bent on ruining something when it’s good. Vinyl was great. And now you can’t even touch anything. I don’t like that, but I’m a crabby old chap. My most treasured possessions are… not possessions. They are my family – my friends – and my band. I am not sentimental about ‘things’. If I had to choose an inanimate object to drool over – the Maltese Cross that Joe Elliott gave me for my 70th birthday – all those years ago! – would probably fit the bill. The best book I’ve read is… anything by Joseph Roth. Don’t know why, but that period between the two world wars fascinates me. I have quite a lot of books – my memory isn’t great – so I take them out and read them again

once in a while. Got to be in the mood for a book. Is the glass half full or half empty… I prefer it full, especially before a performance. Loosens me up a tad. My greatest regret is… that I didn’t mature sooner. I have so much respect for girls because they mature much sooner than blokes. I was a bit of a wild arse. I could have done with being a tad more aware of the financial aspects of things. It’d have been nice if I’d stopped piddling about and got on with it sooner. I was quite lazy. But if I’d have gone into a band straight out of school, I would have had nothing to write about. I had over 40 jobs in the ’60s, living in lodgings for three quid a week, working in factories, out with the chaps every night of the week… I got lyrics out of it. I had a lot to write about. When we die… you don’t hear too much about where you were before you arrived here. Not much money to be made out of that – but where you’re going – a lot of people have made pots of money out of that. The truth of the matter is no one has a clue, so everybody believes what they want to believe. I would like to be remembered as… “That ginger bloke with the glasses… now who was he with?” Highly underrated!!! As told to Ian Harrison An updated version of Ian’s Diary Of A Rock‘n’Roll Star is published by Omnibus on October 11.


M OJ O PROMO T I O N

The 2018 Hyundai Mercury shortlist in all their albumsleeve finery.

WIN A VIP PACKAGE TO THE 2018 HYUNDAI MERCURY PRIZE

Adventures in sound

Photos: JMEnternational

To celebrate the musical talent and innovation shortlisted for the 2018 Hyundai Mercury Prize, we are offering you the chance to win tickets to this year’s Awards Show, courtesy of Hyundai. WHETHER IT’S 21-year-old newcomer Jorja Smith or 51-year-old veteran Noel Gallagher, the Lewisham grime stylings of MC Novelist or the shapeshifting indie-pop anthems of Wolf Alice, the shortlisted artists for the 2018 Hyundai Mercury Prize all have one impressive thing in common: a love and a reverence for the majesty of The Album. From Sons Of Kemet and Florence + The Machine, to Nadine Shah and Lily Allen, and from Richard Russell’s Everything Is Recorded project to the Mancunian art-pop of Everything

Everything, all of this year’s shortlist have fully embraced the glorious, freeing potential of the long-playing listen – the carefully spun narratives, the emotional journeys and musical adventures that you just don’t get anywhere else in music. So whether you’re rooting for previously shortlisted artists such as the Arctic Monkeys or bright young tearaways like King Krule, here is your chance to participate in the 2018 Hyundai Mercury Prize Awards Show on September 20 at the Eventim Apollo, Hammersmith, an evening devoted to the celebration of the artistry and innovation of music’s finest format of expression, the long-playing album.

SIMPLY HEAD TO ABSOLUTERADIO. CO.UK AS WE ARE GIVING AWAY A VIP PACKAGE FOR THE 2018 HYUNDAI MERCURY PRIZE FOR TWO ADULTS, INCLUDING TICKETS, ONE NIGHT’S FOUR-STAR ACCOMMODATION AND £150. THE PRIZE IS COURTESY OF HYUNDAI. Terms & Conditions: Open to UK residents aged 18 or over. Enter before 11:59 on 12/09/18 for 2018 Hyundai Mercury Prize VIP tickets. Visit absoluteradio.co.uk/competitions for full T&Cs

Listen to Pete Donaldson on Absolute Radio every Monday in association with Q to catch The Road To The Hyundai Mercury Prize, highlighting the shortlisted artists from this year and past years.

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MOJO R I S I N G

“Everything we have ever spoken about has actually happened.” LOUIS FORSTER

FACT SHEET For fans of: Belle & Sebastian, Orange Juice, The Vaselines ● James and Louis met in a band called The Miriams, amongst other “almost all bad” names. ● The Goon Sax refers to Goon, the cheap wine favoured by Aussie youth. But it goes further. Riley: “I think when Louis was about 14, someone said to him, ‘You’re a bloody goon,’ which is sort a foreign insult, but it really stuck with him. And I think maybe they intended to have a saxophone player at one point.” ●

Wouldn’t it be lava-ly: The Goon Sax with their purple indoor volcanoes (from left) Louis Forster, James Harrison, Riley Jones.

from inside somehow. The worse you are at your instrument, the better it is!” Their respective musical gateway drugs make for a fragrant mix: Dylan (James), The Pastels and future, its 30 minutes, written and the Marine Girls (Riley) and boldly sung by all three members, seem Australian indie rock supergroup much longer. Boomgates. Brisbane pop “Everything we have ever spoken aficionados may also discern the about has actually happened,” says artful narratives – and even the KEY TRACKS Louis. “All the music’s been made look – of early Go-Betweens, one of ● Make Time 4 Love out of necessity.” whose singer-songwriters was ● Strange Lights ● Get Out James, whose frankness is acute Louis’ father, Robert. Is he a fan of on songs like Love Lost and Losing dad’s old group? Myself, concurs. “I try and be honest,” he says. “Not more than anyone I think is into their “I think that’s pretty easy if you’re bringing parent’s jobs,” he says. “I heard it around, but I yourself to it. Everyone has emotions.” was never a fan per se.” Formed by James and Louis in high school “I think a lot of people want to relive in 2013, their original plan to start a punk band something that they really enjoyed,” Riley tells MOJO, diplomatically. was stymied by their not owning electric Until then, there’s the future to think guitars, obliging them to follow a folkier route. about. The group bring their endearingly “We were just mucking around,” says non-slick live show back to the UK in Louis. “It wasn’t as serious as other bands September, the better to build on unexpectwe’d been in. James was the first person I felt ed anthems like Make Time 4 Love. comfortable playing music with and showing “I know what you mean about it being songs to. Riley was the second person.” anthemic,” says Louis. “When I wrote it I just When their drummer made up the magic couldn’t stop laughing. I thought the number, things took on more import. “I could play a beat, maybe two,” says Riley, melody… I didn’t even think we could play it, it was so ridiculous. But then, we did.“ who admits to two weeks of lessons. “But Ian Harrison y’know, it feels like it comes more directly

INDIE ROCK AUSTRALIANS THE GOON SAX PLAY SONGS OF DOUBT, HOPE AND NECESSITY

Ryan Topez

I

F MELBOURNE and Sydney are the London and Manchester of Australian music, what’s Brisbane? Speaking from their practice room in their hometown’s northern suburb of Stafford, The Goon Sax – that’s Louis Forster (guitar, voice), James Harrison (bass, voice) and Riley Jones (drums, voice) – argue the toss. After toying with Leeds and, curiously, Dover, Riley hits on Glasgow. “It’s a dream land!” she says of the city’s status as birthplace of indie rock, as her bandmates murmur their agreement. “Very fertile soil.” Their formidable new album, We’re Not Talking, offers a convergent, sunlit take on the Glasgow School’s long-established principles, in accents Australian. Romantic doubt, cautious optimism and the broadening horizons of the late-teen years come wrapped in smart-yet-loose rhythmic guitar pop which, in an advance on 2016’s debut Up To Anything, now comes decorated with strings, brass and castanets. Opening with Make Time 4 Love’s swooping, Latin-flavoured rumination on the heart’s awkwardness and confusion, and ending with Til The End’s bittersweet reflection on books and the unknowable

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Helter skelter Delta: Cedric Burnside, staying on the straight and narrow.

MOJO PLAYLIST

FACT SHEET

KEY TRACKS ● ● ●

We Made It Get Your Groove On Hard To Stay Cool

C

unmathematical logic. “My newfound love is EDRIC BURNSIDE, the 39-year-old guitar,” he enthuses. “People are used to grandson of wildcat Mississippi Chicago blues, Texas blues, even Delta blues, bluesman RL Burnside, has as much and I like all of those styles, but when it comes right as anybody to keep its often-unfathomable traditions alive. From the age of six, he down to hill country, it’s just different. There’s lived in ‘Big Daddy’ RL’s house in Holly a very unorthodox style of rhythm. People are Springs, Mississippi: his fate was sealed when used to eight bars, or 12 bars, but with this he jumped in on drums at one of grandad’s music, there’s no bars, you know? The old regular house parties. cats, they like to change when they get ready.” “I just knew deep down The record’s 12 tracks find inside of me,” he says today, Burnside Jr talking about his barking into his cell phone by life in disarmingly no-nonsense terms. We Made It the roadside in a remote part relates to his impoverished of Mississippi, “that’s what origins. “We grew up with no I wanted to do for the rest toilet, no bath tub,” he says, of my life.” “we had to haul water for At 14, he replaced his father, Calvin Jackson, as RL’s years, so the song’s saying, live drummer, and soon You can make it through.” toured Europe supporting the Equally unflinching are Hard Jon Spencer Blues Explosion, To Stay Cool, about the pain of CEDRIC BURNSIDE as his ‘Big Daddy’ blew minds losing his parents, uncle and in alt-rock circles. After brother in close succession, Burnside Sr passed away in ’05, Cedric played and, at the other extreme, the carnal Give It To You. It’s all as old as the hills themselves, with the North Mississippi All-Stars, cut CDs but equally, fresh as the morning. with associated axeman Lightnin’ Malcolm, “I want to definitely keep the music alive, and repeatedly won the Best Drummer gong and not forget my roots,” he says, “but also at America’s Blues Music Awards. keep evolving with time.” He’s doing ‘Big At the start of the ’10s, though, he started Daddy’ proud. toying with songcraft, and this month Andrew Perry releases sophomore set Benton County Relic, an album of hazy, transfixing alchemy where Benton County Relic is out on September 14 on Single Lock Records. beats and song structures follow a peculiar,

“Eight bars, 12 bars… with this music, there’s no bars, you know?”

ALSO RISING

A

mong the early 2010s bass-heavy British house music that brought the likes of Disclosure and Bicep to popularity, Brightonian LEON VYNEHALL (right) was a club connoisseurs’ favourite. However, as he puts it: “I would get exhausted doing the same thing. I don’t like to repeat myself.” Which is why from 2016 he took time away from the rave treadmill to conceptualise and construct a stunning debut album. Based on stories from his grandmother of his

grandparents’ steam ship emigration to New York in the 1960s, and full of live instruments, Nothing Is Still weaves together wistful supperclub jazz, Philip Glass string quartets, Burial’s crackly games with sonic memory, and yes occasional upwellings of house oomph, into a remarkable soundtrack to an imaginary film. “But,” he says, “I have no idea how it turned into this!” It’s a testament to balancing happenstance and ambition, and his recent live band shows suggest he’s still smartly walking that line. Joe Muggs

Do the watusi to the month’s best indie rock, rap and space jams.

1 KURT VILE LOADING ZONES

Coming over not unlike Johnny Marr under the influence of Gimme Shelter, Vile (above) narrates an ambiguous rumination on small town life. B ell for a new LP. Find It: streaming ser

HILL BAND OF GYPSIES 2 CYPRESS With an Arabic voice talking about hashish, a Middle Eastern hip hop hybrid finds the West Coast rap crew in spine-tingling effect. Find It: streaming services

RHYTHM & STEEL BAND I THING 3 BACO A funk-driven steel band covering Amerie’s 2005 R&B hit, which in turn sampled The Meters’ cover of Oh! ta!? Unreal! Find It: streaming ser

MODS GALLOWS HILL 4 SLEAFORD Visions of the hang-’em-all past under the urban present, to stripped, oppressed punk hop. Find It: streaming services

DA SILVA AND PHEW DARK BUT BRIGHT 5 ANA Raincoats guitar/voice meets the Japanese avant-singer for nearly eight minutes of pulsing, spatial sound art. From their LP Islands. Find It: SoundCloud

6 CAVE SAN’ YAGO

From the Chicago space-jammers’ new album Allways, a rolling jazz/rock head-charger with added psych-chorale and Roland 303 bass machine. Find It: dragcity.com

7 PARCELS LIGHTENUP

From Australia via Paris, Eau de Cologne’d smooth disco-yacht which grooves endlessly into Daft Punk’s exclusive champagne room of the mind. Cool jazz flute too. Find It: SoundCloud

TEACHERS OF POP AFTER DARK 8 INTERNATIONAL The Moonlandingz side project present pumping Bobby O-style retro-electro for those who find themselves single, at night. Find It: SoundCloud

9 MATT BERRY WILDTRAK

The BBC kids’ nature show music, reimagined with breakbeats. From Berry’s circa 1980 TV memoir, Television Themes. Find It: SoundCloud

BLUE ORCHIDS INCANDESCENT 10 ARTILLERY Fall co-founder Martin Bramah’s band herald October’s new LP Righteous Harmony Fist. Rollicking, obdurate and organ-driven, with much scrabble and twang. Find It: SoundCloud

Marina Chavez, Phil Sharp, Abraham Rowe

MISSISSIPPI BLUES SCION CEDRIC BURNSIDE KEEPS THE RAW, TRANCEINDUCING SOUND ALIVE

● For fans of Junior Kimbrough, RL Burnside, The Black Keys ● Benton County Relic was made in a two-day binge in Brian Jay’s Brooklyn home-studio. ● He earnt a Grammy nomination for 2014’s collaborative Descendants Of Hill Country, but wasn’t too fazed. “Whatever happens, happens,” he says, “I just try to stay on the straight and narrow, and keep my nose clean”.

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RE AL GONE “My name will go missing, but the songs’ll be here”: Richard Swift, 1977-2018.

THE LEGACY

Producer, solo artist, player with The Black Keys, The Shins and The Arcs, Richard Swift died on July 3.

D

ESPITE THE fact that he managed to build up a fine catalogue of his own albums, Richard Swift always seemed happier to operate as a producer and sideman. He confessed as much on record, with his declaration in The Songs Of National Freedom on 2007’s Dressed Up For The Letdown: “I made my way into the spotlight/ Just to realise it’s not what I want.” It was a typical everything-on-the-surface statement from this hugely talented and self-deprecating figure who in many ways seemed to be Harry Nilsson reborn in the indie age; his deft ways with a melody often recalling Paul McCartney, his pointed and knowing lyrics reminiscent of Randy Newman. Born March 16, 1977, in California into a Quaker family, Swift had an itinerant childhood moving between Utah, Oregon and Minnesota. Settling aged 24 in Hunting-

ton Beach, southeast of Los Angeles, he began operating out of Green Room Studios, starting up a cottage industry of independent releases that led to him being signed by Secretly Canadian. Enjoying the support of Jeff Tweedy, Swift made 2009’s The Atlantic Ocean at Wilco’s The Loft Studios in Chicago, co-producing with Mark Ronson and bringing in pals Sean Lennon and Ryan Adams for cameo roles. While the album didn’t hit the mark commercially, it showcased the full range of Swift’s talents, from the loping piano shapes of R.I.P. to the Sly Stone soul moves of Lady Luck. All the while, he pursued a parallel career of more esoteric releases, including the garage rocking Richard Swift As Onasis in 2008 and the same year’s Krautrockinspired sonic voyaging of side project Instruments Of Science & Technology’s Music From The Films Of R/Swift. Lack of mainstream success forced Swift out onto

“He seemed to be Harry Nilsson reborn in the indie age.”

30 MOJO

the road as a sideman, as keyboardplayer for The Shins, bassist with The Black Keys and drummer with Dan Auerbach’s The Arcs. But it was as house producer for Secretly Canadian that Swift really shone – his studio style a hybrid of the best elements of the past along with possible sonic futures – helming albums by Foxygen, Kevin Morby and particularly Damien Jurado’s psychedelic soul/ folk trilogy that began with 2012’s Maraqopa. A longtime sufferer from anxiety and depression, Swift self-medicated with alcohol, leading to failing health. In June this year, he was admitted to hospital in Tacoma, Washington, with a then- undisclosed “life-threatening condition”. Six days after his death on July 3, aged 41, his family released a statement detailing that his demise had been due to “complications from hepatitis, as well as liver and kidney distress.” Forever wry and self-aware, in Artist & Repertoire from Dressed Up For The Letdown – a track imagining an A&R man poking fun at the singer’s uncommercial songs and even his size – Swift managed to write his own epitaph: “My name will go missing/But the songs’ll be here.” Tom Doyle

Alamy

The Spotlight Kid

Album: Dressed Up For The Letdown (Secretly Canadian, 2007) The Sound: A playful, masterful blend of Nilsson, Newman, McCartney and Van Dyke Parks. Elsewhere, Bacharach & David would likely have been happy to have penned the regretful Ballad Of You Know Who, while the rolling-grooved, strummy guitar pop of Most Of What I Know remains the hit that never was.


Vince Martin: tore down walls into folk pop.

Vince Martin Folk voice and guitar BORN 1937 Backed by folk trio The Tarriers – who at that time included in their ranks the actor, Alan Arkin – Vince Martin had a Number 9 US hit with Cindy, Oh Cindy in 1956. Years later he was introduced to Fred Neil by Dino Valenti in a coffeehouse on New York’s Bleecker Street. The two teamed up, and after Elektra producer Paul Rothschild caught their set at the Gaslight, Elektra would release the duo’s only album, Tear Down The Walls, in 1964. A way forward into folk pop admired by The Byrds, the Grateful Dead and Tim Rose, among others, it would be the pair’s only collaboration. Though a live album was mooted, Neil went it alone with 1965’s Bleecker & MacDougal and refused offers to reunite with Martin, including one from Johnny Cash in 1971. Also a mover on south Florida’s Coconut Grove folk scene, Martin went on to record solo albums: his first, 1969’s If The Jasmine Don’t Get You… The Bay Breeze Will, was recorded with Dylan’s Nashville Skyline band, while his farewell LP Full Circle was released in 2003. Clive Prior

Dean Webb Bluegrass mandolin master

Getty (3), Shutterstock (2)

BORN 1937 Born in Independence, Missouri, Dean Webb graduated from entertaining rural honky tonks to playing his mandolin on radio and TV with The Ozark Mountain Boys. In 1959 he joined Rodney and Doug Dillard in bluegrass band The Dillards. A move to Los Angeles in 1962 brought a recording contract and releases including 1968’s electrified Wheatstraw Suite, which blended bluegrass and rock in ways which influenced the Eagles, John Paul Jones and their tourmates The Byrds (Webb also remembered assisting Roger McGuinn’s then-emergent folk-rock group with the vocal harmony arrangement of their version of Mr. Tambourine Man, while Doug Dillard would take his Rickenbacker electric banjo to join ex-Byrd Gene Clark in Dillard & Clark). The Dillards also toured with Elton John, and in the earlier ’60s were familiar to US viewers as The Darlings band on The Andy Griffiths Show. Webb stayed with the group into the ’80s, and took part in reunions thereafter. Ian Harrison

THEY ALSO SERVED POLISH trumpeter TOMASZ STANKO (b.1942) developed his free-jazz instincts under communism, listening to Voice Of America broadcasts. Inspired by Ornette Coleman and Miles Davis, in 1963 he joined the Krzysztof Komeda Quintet, taking a central role on the highly-regarded 1966 album Astigmatic. He later led his own quintet and worked with players including Cecil Taylor and improv super-ensemble the Globe Unity Orchestra. From the ’90s he released music on the ECM label, including a 1997 tribute to Komeda entitled Litania, and two albums with his New York Quartet. In 2014 his Polin Suite was performed at the POLIN Museum of the History of Polish Jews. BASSIST JOSEPH MAUS (b.1988) played in the live band of his brother John, which he also road managed. He passed away on tour in Latvia. GUITARIST/ PRODUCER SAM MEHRAN (pictured above, b.1987) played in indie-dance punkers Test Icicles in 2004 with Rory Attwell and Dev Hynes. They

quiet life thereafter, raising their children Nancy, Frank Jr and Tina, and doing charitable work. Frank Sr continued to confide in her until his death in 1998.

À Mort, his interpretations of Jean Genet’s prison poems. He won the Grand Prix du Disques twice and in 1983 was made a Knight of The Ordres Des Arts Et Des Lettres.

SCREEN COMPOSER PATRICK WILLIAMS (b.1939) arranged for jazz ensembles before moving into TV and movie work in 1968. For the former, he wrote memorable, big band-with-beats themes for shows like Columbo, The Mary Tyler Moore Show, Lou Grant, The Streets Of San Francisco and The Bob Newhart Show. In 1976 he wrote the jazz-symphonic piece An American Concerto

ASBURY PARK singer/ songwriter GEORGE THEISS (b.c.1950) was dating Bruce Springsteen’s sister Ginny in 1964, when he asked him to join his band The Castiles as lead guitarist. In 1966, the two co-wrote and recorded their first songs, with Baby I finally getting a release on Springsteen’s 2016 compilation Chapter & Verse. Though tension caused the group’s split, the two remained on good terms. Theiss later played in Rusty Chain, Doo-Dah and Cahoots.

JOURNALIST JERRY HOPKINS (b.1935) contributed to Rolling Stone from 1967. Best known for the 1980 Jim Morrison biography No One Here Gets Out Alive, co-written with Danny Sugerman, he also wrote books on Bowie, Hendrix and Yoko Ono, plus travel writing on his experiences in Asia and Hawaii. When writing Elvis’s biography in 1969, he later recalled potential interviewees asking, “Why do you want to write about him?”

CONSORT NANCY SINATRA (below, b.1917) was married to Frank from 1939 to 1951, the phase that marked his transformation from a singing waiter into the first pop-era heartthrob superstar. Frank married Ava Gardner days after their divorce: Nancy led a

CHANSONNIER MARC OGERET (above, b.1932) began singing outside Paris’s cafes in the mid ’50s. Soon regularly appearing in cabaret, he released his first record in 1955, his albums including recordings of historic revolutionary songs, sea shanties, and Le Condamné

released their James Ford-produced sole LP For Screening Purposes Only in 2005, and split the year after. Mehran went onto record as Outer Limits Recordings, Matrix Metals and Wingdings. He also worked with Ariel Pink on Puro Instinct’s 2016 album Autodrama.

ACTOR TAB HUNTER (b.1931) was a screen teen idol in the late ’50s, appearing in movies with Natalie Wood. Inevitably, he also cut records, enjoying US and UK chart success with Young Love in 1957. When success slowed in the ’60s, he moved to Europe and had an affair with Rudolf Nureyev. In 1981 he appeared with Divine and Stiv Bators in John Waters’ movie Polyester. Clive Prior

MOJO 31


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THE MOJO INTERVIEW

With junkie parents, classical chops and hippy hinterland, he was the unlikeliest R&B superstar, let alone AllKnowing Pop Sage of the 21st century. But hey, man, c’est Chic. “Timing is everything,” insists Nile Rodgers. Interview by GEOFF BROWN t Portrait by TOM SHEEHAN

Tom Sheehan, Getty

L

OOK AT THIS,” NILE RODGERS INVITES – and factual: the title was suggested when he shared a stage with MOJO to inspect his phone’s footage of the Chic the late Stephen Hawking to discuss time, the universal measure. guitarist, songwriter and producer to the stars It’s this writer’s sixth meeting with Rodgers, the first was in chatting to Paul McCartney at an outdoor event. 1978. He’s always full, frank and fascinating, ideas coming thick “We were talking about how musicians are always and fast. On his New Projects wish list: a Three Tenors-style the first artists charities approach because musicians collaboration on The Barber Of Seville but with guitars – Rodgers, are altruistic. We’re happy to share riffs and teach what we know Slash, Peter Frampton. He’s also at that stage when awards and in a way painters, actors, are not. They like to keep their secrets.” citations seem to arrive daily. He’s proud to now have three We are in Beatle-blessed Abbey Road studios, where Rodgers now co-compositions in the US Library Of Congress – Le Freak, We has an office as Chief Creative Advisor, sharing his secrets and acting Are Family, Rapper’s Delight (based on his Good Times) – and has as a lure to attract young talent to the famed recording complex. Who been appointed chairman of the Songwriters Hall Of Fame. So, it’s wouldn’t want advice from the man who, after launching Chic’s about time MOJO caught up with Rodgers again. revolutionary jazz-R&B-soul dance sound in the ’70s, co-wrote and Numerous singers guest on It’s About Time, from Janelle Monáe and Elton John – on Queen, inspired by Diana Ross, but a homage produced Diana Ross’s biggest studio album and made relative to Thom Bell – to Debbie Harry, back in the fold after a rare Chic unknowns Sister Sledge worldwide stars with We Are Family, broke failure, 1981’s KooKoo. Two songs not on the album: Prince Said It into the white rock and pop markets by chaperoning David Bowie and a song about Bowie, written before both deaths but ultimately through Let’s Dance, Madonna through Like A Virgin, and enlivened Duran Duran, right up to Daft Punk’s 2013 supersmash Get Lucky? omitted: “It just felt wrong,” he says. Nile Rodgers’ achievements Dressed in a flamboyant jacket patterned following an unstable upbringing have been nothing less than triumphant, but that with tropical flora and postage imprints, jeans WE’RE NOT WORTHY childhood also conspired, from the start, to ripped, patched and studded, a personalised Johnny Marr: still develop an inquisitive independent spirit. white beret and silvery slip-ons, the New Freaked by Nile’s mastery. Yorker looks fit and, despite his second battle How did your somewhat chaotic upbringing “He says so much on the with cancer in recent years, is back at work and shape your life? guitar with so little. He’s inexhaustible. The night before we meet, There were lots and lots and lots of good parts, sophisticated, precise, and the bad was actually helpful too. My parents Rodgers and Chic performed their dance music harmonic and grooves like were heroin addicts and their entire inner circle. crazy – quite a combination! celebration at a Serpentine Gallery event, The word wouldn’t be dysfunctional. They were People think of the chinkatickets £4,000 a pop, he says. The next Chic highly functional, but in an intellectual way. They chink – his right hand – LP, It’s About Time, due in September, is both but his chord changes are so beautiful, so were…(laughs) They were really wacky, they were unique. When you hear Nile play, he has his not cut out to be parents. ironical – the previous release came in 1992 ➢ heart in one hand and his soul in the other.”

MOJO 35


Was there much music? Oh, continuous music. Modern jazz was around my house all the time and because of heroin and the lifestyle and our neighbourhood those musicians were also my mom’s friends, who all used to call me ‘Pud’. I played one of Nina Simone’s last performances [Sting’s Benefit Concert For Rainforest Foundation, Carnegie Hall, 2002], and she was sort of losing it. She was sitting at the piano and she wouldn’t play. And I went over and I whispered in her ear, I said, “Nina, it’s Pud.” She said, “Pud?” I said, “Yeah, it’s Pud, I’m in the house band, and we gotta play,” and she played! (Laughs)

American curriculum at the time so they would assign you whatever instrument was lacking in their symphony orchestra. So I learned how they all functioned even though I couldn’t play any of them really well.

the coffin, but they’ve got me blocked. By now the audience is crying, laughing their heads off, and the band is crackin’ up, they‘re all in on it. I’m the only one that doesn’t know ’cos I wasn’t at rehearsal. Oh man.

You took up guitar at 15, 16. Did you immediately feel, This is my instrument? Only after I learned how to tune it! One day my mum’s boyfriend came home and tuned it for me and then I played the first chord to The Beatles’ song A Day In The Life and I went, “Oh man…” and I played the second chord and it was beautiful. And at that moment I felt like, This is it. I want this feeling.

You learned a lot, though? The old-school guys taught me about reading and interpreting R&B music. They say, “It may be written like this, but you feel it like this.” I was like, Aaah. They taught me about the swing and the swagger.

You were well-known as ‘Pud’, then? When I was a kid I used to work at [Los Angeles’s Van Nuys] airport, I used to clean Frank Sinatra’s plane. [Much later, in 1984] he was being produced by Quincy Jones, who wanted to use this new technology, a Sony digital tape recorder. There were only two in America. Frank Zappa owned one and I owned the other. So they came to New York to use mine. I said, “Mr Sinatra, it’s great to see you again.” And it was, “Again?!” I said, “Mr Sinatra, it’s Pud.” He said, “What are you doing here?” He’s probably thinking I’m cleaning the recording studio. I said, “Oh no, I’m the Number 1 producer in the world.” He looks at Quincy and he goes, “Hey Q, I thought you were the Number 1 producer in the world!” I said, “No, Thriller was last year.”

It was a fast learning curve. You worked in the Sesame Street house band and then at the Harlem Apollo. Carlos Alomar had the job at Sesame Street right before me. So I was working with Sesame Street in the second year [1970]. They said, “Man you won’t believe this kid. He’s weird, he dresses weird, he’s got freaky hair, but he’s the fastest guitar reader you’ve ever seen,” because guitar readers are notoriously bad in general. You had to learn fast at the Apollo. The audience was hardcore, the bandleaders were hardcore, the musicians were pretty tough on you ’cos they felt like you had to earn that spot.

When did ‘Pud’ start playing music? I was playing music my whole life. I wasn’t playing jazz or pop, I was playing classical. I started on flute, I ended symphonic classical on the clarinet. Because my parents were heroin addicts they moved a lot so I never went to the same school for more than a few weeks. But you learned to read music… Right, music was part of the standardised

Your first Apollo date was with Screamin’ Jay Hawkins. How was he? They told me, “We hear you’re so good you don’t even have to make rehearsal.” So I didn’t know Screamin’ Jay Hawkins’ routine. The first song was I Put A Spell On You. I didn’t even know a coffin had been rolled in from stage right. Then the coffin opens up, Screamin‘ Jay pops his head up: “Bleuuurgh!” He comes runnin’ after me and scares me to death. I snatch my big jazz guitar out of the amplifier and try and run off the stage! Now, the Apollo theatre is a really small, vaudevillian-type of theatre, so I try and run to stage right around

A LIFE IN PICTURES

And you also met Bernard Edwards around that time? My girlfriend’s mother worked at the Post Office with Bernard. She never heard him play, but she just said because of his vibe she had a good feeling about him. [But] when he and I first spoke on the phone I was like a superhippy and told him the band I wanted to put together was (pretentious ‘muso’ voice) “a cross between Fairport Convention, man, and, man, y’know, Country Joe & The Fish and a little bit of the Dead.” Bernard was so turned off he said, “Yo, my man, lose my number.” And he hung the phone right up on me. Then it just so happened I got called for a pick-up gig and the bass player was phenomenal. So I said to him at the end of the night, “Every gig I play on I want you to play with me.” And he said, “I was thinking the same thing about you.” So we started calling each other for gigs and became friends. One day Bernard and I were riding the subway together. My girlfriend’s mum got on the same car and walks past me and says hello to Bernard: “I see you cats finally hooked up together.” And he looked at me and said, “That was you? What happened to all that Country Joe & The Fish and Fairport Convention?” What was the next step towards Chic? Bernard and I toured England in the band backing a group called New York City who had

2

Rodgers’ route: Nile goes with the flow.

1

Source of the Nile: with mother Beverly, who was 13 when she had her son. “My parents were really wacky.”

2

Native New Yorkers: Nile (second right) in the Big Apple Band with singer Bobby Carter and Bernard Edwards (far right).

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Material guy: on-stage with Madonna at Live Aid, Philadephia, July 13, 1985.

Honeydrippers Robert Plant and (centre) Jeff Beck.

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Hats on!: Daft Punk with the other guys who got lucky, Pharrell Williams (far left) and Nile at the aforesaid Grammys.

9

Savoir faire: Rodgers solos in Chic’s prime, Palladium, NYC, 1979. “Live dance music sounds different and good and people really like it.”

3

Courtesy of Nile Rodgers (2), Avalon (2), Getty (5)

Late-’70s Chic (from left) Rodgers, Luci Martin, Tony Thompson, Alfa Anderson, Edwards. Rockers Kiss hid behind make-up; Chic hid behind style.

5 6

They’re notorious: Nile with Duran Duran in the mid-’80s.

Altruistic guys: with Paul McCartney at the 56th Grammys. Daft Punk’s Get Lucky and parent LP both won awards, Staples Center, LA, January 26, 2014.

7

36 MOJO

Rockin’ at midnight: Rodgers and fellow

1 4


one hit record. When the second album failed they broke up after another tour in England [1974]. When they were loading up the coach to take us to the airport someone stole my bag. It had all my money and my passport in it. So I couldn’t get on the plane ’cos they wouldn’t let me back into America. So I had to wait until Monday when the American Embassy opened. The girlfriend I had at the time says, “I got the night off. I wanna go see my favourite band called Roxy Music.” We went to see Roxy Music and I was blown away because they were dressed in, like, couture clothing and it was all, like, gorgeous and I had only been in rock’n’roll bands that wore whatever we woke up in. I couldn’t believe how fabulous this whole Roxy Music thing was. I called Bernard and said, “Man, we gotta do the black version of this.”

named Googoosh. She was, and she still is, the biggest star Iran has ever had. This was before the revolution so everybody was partying and cool and Persian girls were fabulous, Iran was amazing. We were just international dudes… And combined with your New York friends… Right. So now, Luther [Vandross] hires The Big Apple Band. We were gigging with Luther at Radio City. And we had one original song I’d written called Everybody Dance. We couldn’t afford to record it so my friend, who was the maintenance engineer at a studio, paid the

technique, this dampening effect called étouffée, which I still do now. A lot of the pieces I played were percussive pieces by composers like Boccherini, like “dink donk dink dank”, very, very percussive so you’d have to cut the sound off. And the intro of Dance, Dance, Dance is exactly that – it’s dampening the strings. And the record worked, somehow it stuck and we picked up the radio stations so the record company [Atlantic] exercised our option. The early albums – Chic, C’Est Chic and Risqué – came thick and fast… Since I’d already been writing songs, we recorded the rest of the first Chic album in less than a week. A song like At Last I Am Free, on the second Chic album, I had written that as a teenager when I went to Woodstock. So we had a lot of material, but Bernard had never really co-written with me. So after Dance, Dance, Dance was so successful, I said, “Hey man, let’s do all this stuff together.” So he and I got signed to Atlantic. I still have our original contract and it said we were The Big Apple Band. But then Walter Murphy [& The Big Apple Band] came out with A Fifth Of Beethoven [US Number 1 single, 1976] so we did a lot of pencilling on our original contract and it said we would provide the services of an entity called Chic. Chic was basically built to perform our compositions. It was like Steely Dan or something like that.

“We went to see Roxy Music and I was blown away. I called Bernard and said, ‘Man, we gotta do the black version of this.’”

Back in the US, did you start the project straight away? As New York City‘s band we were called The Big Apple Band, and we got this singer named Bobby Carter who had just come off the road from doing Jesus Christ Superstar and he was doing the role of Judas and that’s an incredible vocal role, so we were killing. We were so good people could not believe this unsigned, unknown band. We were basically a trio with a singer. The only reason there’s four guys in the video [see YouTube] is because we hired one white guy, hoping that if we had a white guy we’d get the high school proms. Tony Thompson was playing drums, so we still hadn’t added a keyboard player yet but we didn’t need one. We really sounded good as a trio. You were still busy doing sessions too? Yeah, we were all gigging. Tony Thompson, he was with Labelle and had just gotten fired, so I had played with Tony in a number of ‘Persian’ bands. I used to play with this superstar

elevator operator $10 to ferry us up and down and not tell the boss we were recording after hours. He made two copies of Everybody Dance and played it at this one club, the Nite Owl, for a couple of weeks [then] told me, “Nile, you’ve got to come down and check this out.” It was the most unbelievable experience of my life. From that first drum fill when Tony goes “tuch-tickka-tuch” and Bernard “dum-bada-doo-dum” the crowd just let out a blood-curdling scream and started singing, “Everybody dance, do-do-do-do…” Your distinctive chording guitar style was very different for pop. Where did that come from? That’s because I was mixing this classical

9

5 7

6

8

Le Freak was enormous… The biggest-selling single in the history of Atlantic records is Le Freak. The label told us that it sucked and did we have anything else on the album that was better? We played I Want Your Love, which is clearly better compositionally but is it gonna make people go crazy? We didn’t think that. We didn’t think it would be anywhere near as successful as ➢


“The concept of needing other people and saying thank you became a big deal to me.”: Nile Rodgers in his comfort zone, Abbey Road Studio, London, June 20, 2018.

“The biggest-selling single in the history of Atlantic is Le Freak. The label told us that it sucked and did we have anything better?” ➣

Le Freak and we were right. But because we were right it was almost like, “You guys are smart alecs and you think you know more than we do and we’re in the record business and we do this all the time, you just happened to be lucky…” Over and over and over again.

Were C’Est Chic and Risqué conceptualised or just collected tracks? They were planned as albums because we were still in the era of the concept album, we were still in the era of The Beatles‘ ‘White Album’ and Disraeli Gears and the Cream double album Wheels Of Fire, the long-assed Ginger Baker solo and stuff (laughs). We were into that sort of thing. But we also were at the beginning of the disco era and clubs were starting to put in sub-woofers and we wanted our records to have more bass than other

38 MOJO

records. When we listen to ’em now they’re like thin-sounding but in those days, you put a Chic record on the whole place would be booming. The first Chic album, Atlantic wouldn’t even put out here because we only had seven songs on the record and they said, “We can’t put out a record in the UK with only seven songs on it. There’s no way we can do that.” So [it] came out in the UK as an import and they waited until the second album and they put both records together [Très Chic was C’Est Chic plus the first two hit 45s]. It was weird. They had that girl [on the cover] with that neon tube. Totally didn’t represent us. Soon everyone was trying to sound like Chic. Flattering or annoying? Didn’t even think about it. We’re just musicians, everybody was influenced by everybody else.

The only time I really paid attention to it was when Good Times came out and all of a sudden there was Another One Bites The Dust [Queen], Radio Clash, Need You Tonight [INXS], Bounce, Rock, Skate, Roll [Vaughan Mason & Crew] and all of a sudden every record went “dun dun dun, da-da-da-da da da-da”. All right, already! For us it was fun and flattering because we would do it in the show, we’d go into Another One Bites The Dust and the crowd would go bananas. Was it always your plan to produce others – starting with Norma Jean Wright and Sister Sledge – or did that happen because artists wanted a sprinkling of Chic magic? It was always our intention. The original concept of the Chic Organization was it was a production company and we were gonna


make records. Atlantic suggested The Rolling Stones, Bette Midler, and we thought, If we got a hit with The Rolling Stones, people are gonna think it’s just another really good Rolling Stones record. So we said, We’ll take a complete unknown and if we give them a hit record then the record company’s gonna treat us like gold. But in fact in a weird way [the success of Sister Sledge] created a huge amount of animosity because we were like this independent entity within a very organised, structured company. When Sister Sledge worked, they were shocked. But one thing they knew was that one day it wouldn’t work. And they were all waiting for that day. We couldn’t understand why our own record company, which we had made gazillions of dollars for, had so much animosity towards us. The racist/homophobic backlash of Disco Sucks enabled them? The Disco Sucks thing happened in ’79, so they didn’t have to wait that long. Our whole reign was just two short years. It was just two short years we came up with all those hit records.

THREE CHEERS!

Did producing others become a refuge after that furore? After, certainly. Even though we had been doing other records all along, because we liked the sound of dance music. I like doing dance records. I like uptempo music played by a live band. I like the way it sounds, the way it feels.

Nile Rodgers, dancing thru’ the decades, by Geoff Brown.

You were offered Aretha. What happened? That was funny. We met with Aretha and she sort of tells the story, (whispers conspiratorially) not really the truth. She says I’m Coming Out and Upside Down would have been her songs. But they would not have been her songs. They were specifically composed for Diana Ross.

ATLANTIC, 1979

How far down the line with her were you? We only had one meeting but she wanted to write the songs. And she played this song I’m Gonna Be The Only Star Tonight Down At The Disco [later recorded as Only Star], because for some reason somebody had convinced Aretha Franklin that disco was so happening she had to do a disco record. And I told her, point blank, “There’s no way I’m going down in history as the guy who wrote Aretha Franklin’s disco hit,” at least not that one. She had written it and the guy who did The Hustle, Van McCoy, a terrific arranger, he did the album [1979‘s La Diva with co-producer Charles Kipps]. I couldn’t believe he did it. It’s just not a good song… [but] I gotta tell you, that one meeting with her I don’t think I ever experienced anything so beautiful in my life. Just sitting next to Aretha Franklin at the piano and have her sing. As much as I hated the song, it sounded like an angel was singing in my ear. After Believer in 1983 Chic stopped. How hard were the years after? The drinking and the drug problem between us had gotten out of control. The thing is, I was probably a bigger drug addict and had a higher tolerance level therefore I missed fewer jobs. And it shows in the work. Like, why would I not have Bernard and Tony playing on every song on Let’s Dance? [Madonna’s] Like A Virgin was like the last real Chic album. And the only reason why that was so successful was because the days that they didn’t show up I had an instrument called the synclavier and I would still get the work done. Madonna would force me. She would say, “Well hell, you’re Nile Rodgers, why don’t you play the damn thing?” Tom Sheehan

musicians and as composers and as people… Also, at that point Tony had had a really bad accident, he almost died, so he wasn’t quite the same musician. I was embarrassed because I didn’t know. I had gotten better and they were on a different arc. When we got together to do [1992’s] Chic-ism Bernard finally told me. “Tony is not really the way he should be.” And we looked for a different drummer. Bernard now had real serious credits on his own. Out of all those James Bond films and all those great themes, there’s only one person who’s produced a [US] Number 1 – that’s Bernard Edwards with View To A Kill [Duran Duran, 1985], and he had a real career with Robert Palmer. So now we’re like, real guys without each other, what would we be together? Because we saw that that experiment had gone awry with Debbie Harry. On paper KooKoo [1981] should have been the biggest record in the world, because Blondie was amazing and Chic were amazing. Us coming

You reconnected with Bernard at the start of the ’90s. How was everyone? That was Bernard and I reconciling our relationship. We knew we had grown as

THE CHEF-D’OEUVRE

Chic Risqué

★★★★★ Nile Rodgers once told me his band’s third studio album was “the perfect Chic album” and certainly the balance between dance ecstasy (much sampled/ stolen Good Times), breathily burnished ballads (A Warm Summer Night), inventive orchestration (one of the legendary Nicholas Brothers tap-dancing on My Feet Keep Dancing) and svelte production can’t be faulted. Nice sepia cover shot too – country house drawing room Cluedo scene, Bernard Edwards the victim, Rodgers the gumshoe, butler Tony Thompson the suspect.

THE PEAK PRODUCTION

Sister Sledge We Are Family

★★★★ ATLANTIC, 1979

After Saturday, Norma Jean Wright’s compelling call to dance, written by Edwards and Rodgers with Bobby Carter, the duo chose Sister Sledge as their next production project. With two unexceptional, identity-free LPs to their credit, We Are Family changed everything for Kathy, Joni, Debbie and Kim. Its anthemic title track, He’s The Greatest Dancer and Lost In Music were UK hits. “We were creative R&B, jazz, funk kind of musicians that found this fabulous outlet in nightclubs,” Nile told me.

THE POP COMEBACK

Daft Punk Random Access Memories

★★★★ COLUMBIA, 2013

Rodgers has continued to embrace the latest dance moves in the 21st century. In 2013 he was admiring of Avicii’s work and, more significantly, had been invited aboard Daft Punk after the French duo, to universal surprise decided to embrace musical instruments. Two of his three co-writes are sung by DP and Pharrell Williams: the light and fizzy Get Lucky, and the chunkier Lose Yourself To Dance, both audibly chips off the Chic block; Nile’s guitar a dominant driver of both.

together should have been incredible but for some reason it did not work. So we tried to figure out how do we work together again. And we were getting there. Soon after Chic-ism, Bernard died on tour in Japan in 1996. How did that affect you? That changed the course of my life. I didn’t feel the need to play Chic songs without Bernard. If I was gonna do live gigs I had enough of a repertoire with other artists… But when Bernard passed away a Japanese promoter called and said can we come back to Japan and pay tribute to Bernard? I was like, “OK, but what are we gonna play?” He said, “You’re gonna play the music that you play with Bernard – that’s how you pay tribute to him. It’s just as much yours as it’s his.” I had never thought of it that way. Once I played that show I went, “Wow! People like this. It actually works. It sounds different to people than a DJ playing.” Live dance music and pre-recorded dance music sounds different, makes people feel different, I’m gonna try and keep doing that. In 2013 your three co-writes on Daft Punk’s Random Access Memories brought you up to date with the most contemporary sound possible, yet Get Lucky et al were still definably Chic. Daft Punk recognised what I recognised. That live dance music actually does sound different, and it does sound good and people really like it. I remember so many DJ friends getting really nervous because Daft Punk seemed to set this new bar that these other guys couldn’t do. And I said, “No, it’s just different.” Daft Punk proved that live dance music is really cool and does make you feel different than the dance music they had done. The title of your new record, It’s About Time, is ironic because it is about time a new Chic record appeared. What’s been the delay? I was gonna do it the year before last and it wasn’t gonna be about the anniversary of Chic really, it was about the people that had helped me get to become me. A long time ago Bernard and I wrote a song that Fonzi Thornton sang on a Chic record called You Can’t Do It Alone [Real People, 1980]and that’s what we’ve always felt like. I’ve always been a part of this community of musicians, this ensemble-oriented group of musicians that we needed. We needed Luther Vandross to make those records, we needed Sister Sledge to prove that we didn’t have to work with stars. We needed Diana Ross to prove that we could work with a star. I needed Bowie to prove that I was not just the Disco Musician. So the concept of needing other people and saying thank you became a big deal to me. A few years ago I did this speaking engagement with Stephen Hawking and we talked about A Brief History Of Time, and time as the important measurement in the universe, and everything in my life has really been about time and about the timing. Meeting Bernard, having lost my passport and seeing Roxy Music… Convergence, these things that happen out in the universe that I have nothing to do with. All I do is make the best record I can make and then all this other stuff out there happens that either makes it a hit or not. When we finished Random Access Memories, we all thought the monster single was Lose Yourself To Dance. It’s just so incredible, a guitar trio, with no keyboard on it, and it’s just funky as hell, an amazing sound, but Get Lucky wound up being the monster, the smash monster. Timing is everything. It’s all about time. M Chic’s It‘s About Time is released on September 21 on Virgin/EMI.

MOJO 39


IS ON A ROLL – WRITING WELL, SINGING GREAT, RECORDING FINE SOLO ALBUMS, THE LATEST, HERE IF YOU LISTEN, DUE NEXT MONTH. IT’S A CORNUCOPIA OF BLESSINGS HE CONCEDES HE MIGHT NOT DESERVE. IF ONLY HE COULD REMEMBER TO PLAY NICE WITH GRAHAM, WITH ROGER AND WITH NEIL, TO NAME BUT THREE. “I DON’T SEE ANY NEED TO BE GENTLE,” HE TELLS

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PORTRAIT BY MOJO 41


Long time gone: (clockwise from left) David Crosby with fellow Byrd Roger McGuinn, 1965; with CSNY 1969 (from left) Neil Young, Greg Reeves, Cros, Graham Nash, Stephen Stills, Dallas Taylor; post-drug and gun bust, Dallas, Texas, 1982; Byrds, CSN, CSNY and solo landmark albums.

HERE ARE WAR STORIES AND then there are war stories. “Let me swap with you,” says David choose our seats at the restaurant table, eft ear is my best one.” I tell him, switching seats. Filling a car n the ’90s, it exploded, and there went explain. e deal,” says Crosby as we sit. “Mine’s me.” 130dB.” He smiles, thinly. “Him and n play louder than you can.’” ing lunch at the Four Seasons Biltmore a Barbara, California, our table offering w of the Pacific at high noon: sun blazly rolling in. Crosby has learned to take ot ears, drug addiction, jail time – with this kind of smooth. Besides, he may just be having the time of his life right now. The 76-year-old has released four albums, each better than the last, in the last five years. He made them with two distinct, youngish bands, respectively dubbed the Lighthouse and Sky Trails bands. His latest album, Here If You Listen, arrives in October and is polished, timely, and politically challenging. Most remarkable of all: his singing voice remains an object of wonder. “Look, man, I did everything wrong,” Crosby says. “I did it all wrong. So there’s no excuse for me to be singing the way I am right now. I know that. My partners? My current partners that are so good I have to paddle faster to keep up? Those ones? They all tell me that I’m singing as good as I’ve ever sang in my And I don’t think they’re buttering my toast; they’r not that kind of people.” But doesn’t age take a toll on every singer? “Mostly what you hear, man, is hearing issues,” says Crosby. “Pitch is a feedback mechanism. In order to sing in pitch, you have to be able to hear yourself.” He starts warbling, deliberately off-key. “So when you can’t 42 MOJO

hear very well, you can’t sing in parts with other people very well.” He pauses for a beat. “Does that sound like anybody you know?” He smiles, a bit of mischief in the air. “I didn’t say any names.” No, Crosby did not mention Stephen Stills, a man whose reliance on hearing aids is public knowledge, and, along with Graham Nash and Neil Young, his partner in the astronomically successful Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young. Nor did he mention Roger McGuinn, whose hearing – we will hope – remains just fine, and who with Crosby was a founding member of the celebrated Byrds. But both performers and both groups came into David Crosby’s life early in his career, in the ’60s, when untold adventure, riches, fame and commercial success beckoned, and every arrow on every relevant graph was pointing upward to the right at sharp angles. For almost everyone. For David Crosby? Not so much. Not everything came to a pleasant end.

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ESPITE HIS INVALUABLE CONTRIBUTIONS TO that golden stretch of Byrds albums from 1965’s Mr. Tambourine Man to 1968’s The Notorious Byrd Brothers, Crosby was booted from the band by McGuinn and Chris Hillman midway through the making of the latter – ostensibly for his insistence that the album include his song Triad rather than the Goffin-King penned Goin’ Back. It didn’t make it, and neither did he. That was close to 50 years ago. Does it still disturb him? “No, I gave up on that a long time ago,” he says. “It’s just egos. I was a very egotistical kid, and I was trying to get all the attention I possibly could, and I wanted to be more than just the rhythm guitar player and harmony singer, I wanted to sing lead, I wanted to play my songs. And there was ego friction, between me and Chris, d Roger, and me and Gene [Clark]. It’s just the same ng that happens in all the bands.” If Crosby was looking for a smoother ride or more ndulgence of his songwriting, he could barely have hosen a more problematic vehicle than CSN or CSNY. Although the internal rivalry fueled some of Crosby’s reatest songs: Guinnevere (later covered by Miles Das, no less), Long Time Gone, Almost Cut My Hair…


A thousand roads: Crosby, California, 2018; (opposite page, bottom) Miles Davis does David’s Guinnevere.

Henry Diltz, Getty, Alamy, Anna Webber

“My bands T are such a joy to work with. These are people who are young, and thrilled, still, with music.”

“It was an intensely competitive environment,” Crosby recalls. “Intensely competitive. When it got to CSNY, fully competitive, all the time. We liked each other a lot at first, we transcended our egos for quite a while there, and made some very good art. But like all bands, it goes downhill after a while.” Crosby is thankful for those early days, but it’s interesting that he describes them in terms of an apprenticeship rather than a pinnacle. “They gave me a platform to get good,” he says. “The Byrds and CSN and CSNY gave me a shot at having the tools to work with. And in Nash, an incredible harmony singer; in Stills and Young, incredible writers and incredible guitar players. They had a lot to give. Roger McGuinn was at least half of what happened with The Byrds. Credit where it’s due, man. Those guys gave me music to work on that was spectacular. Stills’s songs? Are you kidding me? Those rock‘n’roll hits that we had? A great platform to learn on, great bands to be in.” So is there anything he wished he’d done differently? “What could we do better? Lose our egos. The same thing happens to all bands – if you’re in a marriage with somebody and you’re not in love with them, they irritate you. And I’m sure I irritated the shit out of them. I became a junkie. That let them down pretty badly. But we’ve all done horrible stuff to each other – Neil leaving Stephen on tours, like three times, in the middle of a tour, that’s pretty grim. You don’t do that. We’ve all done horrible stuff to each other. Really horrible stuff.”

HE HORRIBLE STUFF WOULD GET worse, not better, for David Crosby in the years that followed. Most, but not all, was drug related, In 1982, he spent nine months in a Texas state prison for possession of heroin and cocaine; in 1985, he drove into a fence in Marin County and was arrested for drunk driving, possession of cocaine, drug paraphernalia and a concealed pistol; in 2004, hotel employees searching his suitcase for identification found pot, rolling papers, two knives and a gun, for which he spent 12 hours in jail before being bailed out and, ultimately, fined $5,000. Today, Crosby harbours no romantic illusions about this part of his life, and recounts it

matter-of-factly. “I made every mistake possible, all of it,” he says. “I went right down the tubes until I was a junkie. It doesn’t get any worse. Freebaser and junkie. I was as bad as it gets.” Was there anything he might have done to avoid going down that route? “No,” he says emphatically. “It only goes four ways. You die, you go to prison, you go crazy and you’re incarcerated, or you quit. Those are the four options. There are no other options. So I lucked out. I went to prison. That changed it all. All of a sudden I was no longer destroying myself, I was rebuilding myself.” So jail was a positive? “Absolutely. If I had the choice of going on as a junkie or going back to prison, I’d go back to prison in a second.” Did you have a hard time in there? He nods. ➢ MOJO 43


Music is love: Crosby with examour Joni Mitchell, Laurel Canyon, California, 1968, and (below) with Jan Dance, now his wife of 41 years, Los Angeles, 1982.

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N MANY WAYS, DAVID CROSBY DID INDEED LUCK OUT. First and foremost, there has been a constant in his personal life for an unusually long time: his wife, Jan Dance. “We’re very close,” he says. “W 41 years. She’s very patient and v our love for each other is very str neither of us, perfect at all. But sh derful girl and I wouldn’t be aliv her. I would not have made it thr junkie part of it if I did not have w French call a raison d’être, a rea being. And for a time there, she reason for being.” If a life can indeed be plotte curve on a graph, let’s acknowled Crosby’s has been on the rise sinc mid-’90s. In fact, pencil in Februa of 1995 as one especially notewo thy co-ordinate; that’s whe Crosby, for the first time, met h son James Raymond, who’d bee given up for adoption by his moth in the early ’60s. Raymond h heard Crosby was recuperating fro liver failure, and had received transplant months earlier. So s came in to meet father at the UCL Medical Center.

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“Normally,” Crosby says, “when you meet up with a kid that was put up for adoption by his mom like that – that you’ve never met – it doesn’t go well. Normally, everybody coming to that meeting brings too much baggage. Too much, Why did you leave me and mom? We weren’t good enough for you? Attitude, baggage. He didn’t do that.” That initial meeting took root and affected both Crosby and Raymond profoundly. Raymond, then 35, was already a skilled musician – he played keyboards and favoured funk then – and with the addition of session guitarist Jeff Pevar they would become Crosby, Pevar & Raymond, or CPR. In 1998, CPR released the first of four albums. The music was strong, the new bandmates impressive, and David Crosby’s career was on the upswing. “James gave me a chance to earn my way in, be his friend, and I’ve written a lot of the best music of my life with him,” says Crosby. “He’s a much better musician than I am. But when we butt heads ws way more than I do. e working on the next We are writing another ’t stop with his son. A me Two, a benefit record band Snarky Puppy, led n with an entire cast of ends, in which several urrent bands have roots. ducer/player Michael ist Michelle Willis and cca Stevens comprise hthouse Band, who reorded the upcoming ere If You Listen; Willis, aymond, Pevar, bassist Mai Leisz and drummer eve DiStanislao are mong those in the Sky ils Band, who accomny Crosby on his Euron Tour this month. “These people got me excited,” Crosby notes.

Henry Diltz (2)

Being the rock star? “It’s not a vacation spot, man. They mean it to be hard. And they’re assholes. And it was Texas.” Did you reach the point, when you were at your worst, where you thought, I’ve lost it, I can’t make music any more – that’s it? “It’s a plottable curve.” He draws an imaginary graph in the air. “You take my drug use – as it increased, writing went down. Same rate, same curve. Ovular. Drug use peaked, stopped writing. You can only draw one conclusion from that. When I quit, when I went to prison and was forced to quit, the writing came back.” He looks out at the Pacific in front of us. “I lucked out, man. I just lucked out.”


“They’re such a joy to work with – these are people who are young, and thrilled, still, with music. They’re not jaded at all. It’s encouraged me so much. That’s the only explanation I can come up with for four records in five years.”

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F COURSE, DAVID CROSBY’S VISIBILITY HAS BEEN further enhanced lately by his presence on Twitter – which is biting, hilarious and candid. The cliché is that as people get older, they don’t care so much about what people think about them. Crosby appears to have passed that point long ago. “A long time ago, yeah. Well, if you have to live your life in front of the entire world, and then you fuck up a bunch, in front of the entire world, and then you have to put it back together again, in front of the entire world, you become desensitised to the approval factor of the entire world. It no longer has the same punch.” There would appear to be few sacred cows in David Crosby’s world. He’s criticised his CSNY bandmates Neil Young and Graham Nash when both left their wives of many years for younger women, leading to serious fallout. Then there was Kanye West. “He did that really awful Bohemian Rhapsody [at Glastonbury, 2015] and came off afterward and said he was the ‘greatest living rock star’. So I said, ‘Listen, if he thinks he’s the greatest living rock star, would somebody please drive him over to Stevie Wonder’s house so he can see what the greatest living rock star actually looks like?’ And while you’re at it, could you buy him some Ray Charles records so he can learn how to fucking sing, because he can’t sing, write or play. He’s a fucking poser.” People are sometimes too careful; they don’t want say the wrong thing, I note. “I don’t buy that. I talk about people who can really do it. I applaud Joni Mitchell – I know she’s crazy, I know better than anybody else, she was my old lady. But man, she was the best – she was the best of us. And I’m not going to shut up when somebody says… somebody was trying to say that Yoko Ono was a legitimate artist, and I said, ‘You’re out of your fucking mind – I’ve heard better music out of an air raid siren.’ “I do go off on people sometimes when it’s an extreme case. What I try not to do is for some kid who’s saying, ‘Will you listen to my brother’s band?’ or, ‘I just wrote this song, it’s really emotional for me. Could you, like, tell me if it’s any good?’ Well, I try not to rip their heart out, because you need to be a little gentle there. But I don’t see any need to be gentle with, what’s his name, the really right-wing guitar player?” Ted Nugent? “Ted Nugent. I don’t see any need to be gentle with Ted Nugent.” He laughs. “He’s an asshole! It’s a slippery slope.”

to be kind of stuck in a folk singer thing, but when it came to translating Bob Dylan’s songs into records, he was a freakin’ genius. And I would work with him again in a minute, if he would.” From which an inevitable question arises. With McGuinn, with The Byrds, with his bandmates in CSNY, does he notice a pattern in his behaviour? In their behaviour? Has it been a process of people coming back and apologising? Of asking to be forgiven? “We all have, many times,” he says. “And I have apologised to Neil for slagging his girlfriend [Daryl Hannah]. I don’t think that’s what’s really going on. Neil has only really worked with us when he thought he needed us. We’re part of a plan. Neil has a plan. And when he needs us, he’ll call us up. Now, he doesn’t need us. He’s filling big places by himself. He’s got a band that he’s got on salary. That’s a good band. I’ve seen a tape of him playing with that band where he’s playing as good as I’ve ever seen him play, ever. Doing Cortez The Killer and fucking nailing it. Put all those things together man in your head and ask yourself is he going to call us up and get into a bundle of… I mean, it’s like a fucking… therapy session, trying to get us to talk to each other. Why would he bother?” That said, how things worked out with Graham Nash – “I don’t want anything to do with Crosby at all,” Nash told a Dutch magazine in 2016 – did seem unimaginable, considering the pair’s long friendship. I felt bad about that, I tell Crosby. “Me too,” is his only reply. But David Crosby doesn’t want to wait. “If they’re mad at me, they’re mad at me – I’m sorry,” he says. “But I still can’t sit around for them to change their mind. I have to make music while I can. I don’t have any bad feelings in my heart out any of those guys. I would work with any of them any point. Roger McGuinn, Neil Young, Stephen Stills, Graham Nash, I would work with any of them.” Meanwhile, Crosby’s current run of solo albums eveal him as the one – of all the icons of the Woodtock generation – who’s nearest the top of his game. ow unlikely is that? I was supposed to be dead 20 years ago, and I’m not,” . “I w p o be dead from being a junkie. I u d to be dead from Hepatitis C. All that stuff was supposed to kill me I was supposed to die in prison. And I’m here. So I’ve got this opportunity. I have this thing I can do where I can actually make a contribution. I’m not just sitting on my butt, I can actually make things a little bit better by making music. It’s the only thing I can d does that. “A atters to me, a lot. Because I’ve spent a lot of my life just being a wastrel, just trying to see how much pleasure I can cram in. So to now feel that I can make a contribution? If I feel I can, I think I absolutely should. So that’s what I’m doing.” M

apologised to Neil for slagging his girlfriend. I don’t think that’s what’s really going on.”

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F THERE IS ONE AREA WHERE SOME sensitivity is noticeable on Crosby’s part, it might be the event which took place in nearby Los Angeles the previous night and will again later tonight: The Sweetheart Of The Rodeo 50th Anniversary performance starring Roger McGuinn and Chris Hillman. Released in 1968, Sweetheart… was the first Byrds album on which David Crosby did not appear. And he wasn’t invited to this event, either. I assume he felt a twinge? “Yeah, of course. I’ve been trying to get Roger to get The Byrds together for years. I ask him about once a year, and he still says no.” It seems like you have a friendly relationship with him on Twitter. “We are friendly,” he says. “But he doesn’t want to work with me, so that’s a shame. I think Roger is an amazingly talented human being. He seems on the face of it

“I was supposed to be dead 20 years ago”: Crosby with bandmates (from left) Jeff Pevar, Michelle Willis, Mai Leisz, James Raymond, Steve DiStanislao, Red Rocks, Colorado, June 2018.


MOJO PRESENTS

Offered the conventional role of a woman in Mali, FATOUMATA DIAWARA said Non, merci. Now that defiance fuels fresh and soulful music that challenges all kinds of norms. “I want to say: ‘Sisters, we can do it,’” Africa’s brightest new star tells DAVID HUTCHEON. Photography by MATTIA ZOPPELLARO

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T’S AN AGE-OLD TALE, THE DREAMER WHO runs away to join the circus. Fatoumata Diawara didn’t just run away, though; she escaped, from an arranged marriage in her homeland of Mali. And when she got to the circus in France, she kept on moving, eventually becoming the most fêted new African singer in Europe. For now, Diawara has ended up in Como, northern Italy. On a day off from touring, she meets us in the welcome shade cast by the Corinthian columns of the Teatro Sociale, where she recently played to launch her second album, Fenfo (Something To Say). Wearing a floppy red hat, the lanky 36-year-old walks through the streets with the elegance of the millionaires who come here to escape Milan’s furnace (George Clooney is currently the town’s most famous resident). Diawara and her husband have an apartment five minutes from the lake. The singer is unsure, however, if she can yet call it home. “My spirit still lives in Mali, in the Wassoulou region,” she says. “Como is a good place to write songs. It’s just …” She pauses, aware she is about to upset local sensibilities, “… the pasta is too al dente.” Fenfo is one of the best albums of 2018, and one which sets a new standard for contemporary African music. Straight talking, thoroughly modern and yet true to the traditions of West Africa, it will dismay those who want world music to be unprocessed and “authentic”, while simultaneously calling out wannabes in Bamako

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and Dakar who aspire to be like, in Diawara’s words, “Jay-Z and those American guys”. It’s the sort of landmark sound that the generation of musicians before her – Baaba Maal and Salif Keita, say – have been grasping for since the 1990s but never quite nailed. Toumani Diabaté, a Malian icon and the 70th generation of kora player in his family, ought to be wondering if her arrival renders him obsolete. Instead, he sees her as a great influence on ambitious hip-hop moguls such as his son Sidike. “She’s the sound of youth,” he says down the line from Mali. “She’s a new voice, and hearing what she does with Malian music makes me happy.” “Fatou has a great desire to say important things,” agrees the Cuban jazz pianist Roberto Fonseca, who has collaborated with Diawara since 2011. “She has a unique way of singing and audiences admire her work for women. She opens her heart to show what she has created within the deepest parts of her soul.” That openness, however, also alienates some of those who you’d imagine would be her biggest supporters. In West Africa, most singers obfuscate their messages with allusions; Diawara’s semi-autobiographical compositions contain no such disguises. The opening line of Bissa is ripely candid: “They wanted to give me to a man, but I refused, as I didn’t love him.” When she asked a rapper known for criticising authority to perform Boloko (from her debut album, Fatou) with her, he refused, as he feared singing about female genital mutilation would be a career killer. ➢


Something to say: Fatoumata Diawara, Lake Como, Italy, July 18, 2018.


NEW SIDES OF

AFRICA Five projects reflecting Diawara’s singular star quality.

FATOUMATA DIAWARA Fatou

(World Circuit, 2011) Diawara toured with Oumou Sangaré in 2010, making enough waves – “In my mind I was in the background” – to be offered a solo deal. This debut is a striking first step. The songs feel like African standards on first hearing, while the arrangements are deceptively complex.

VOICES UNITED FOR MALI Mali-ko (Peace)

(YouTube, 2013) With Mali in the grip of an Islamist insurgency, Diawara did a 'Geldof', persuaded 40 of West Africa’s biggest names to collaborate on a song and video denouncing the violence and instability. Sangaré, Amadou & Mariam, Kassé Mady Diabaté and Bassekou Kouyaté are among those participating.

FATOUMATA DIAWARA & ROBERTO FONSECA At Home (Live I

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IAWARA DOESN’T DRINK WINE or coffee – MOJO is beginning to wonder if she is at all suited to Italian life – so, the standard rock’n’roll interview is out of the question. Instead, we buy 800g of ice cream and some unusually thick-crust pizza, and head for the lake. She feigns embarrassment at the memory of her stint as one of Malian superstar Oumou Sangaré’s backing singers, eight years ago, when she stole every show; then discusses the lack of women – she was one of three on the bill – at a recent festival in Barcelona. “They won’t book singers who do their own thing,” she says. “Why? I want to do something to say: ‘Sisters, we can do it.’ We need more of us.” What she does on stage perhaps best explains Diawara’s singularity. She’ll lay down her guitar and throw herself into a frenzied Wassoulou dance; back on the axe, she’ll shred, lost in a Hendrix-like freakout. Then she’ll return to the microphone: “I’m going to scream now. I’m going to scream for all the women in the world who can’t scream.” She was one of those women herself, not long ago. Born in Ivory Coast but raised in Bamako by an aunt who was a renowned TV

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rciac)

(Jazz Village, 2015) A classically-trained Cuban jazz pianist and an unschooled Malian make unlikely partners, but Fonseca forces Diawara’s early songs – Sowa, Clandestin – into new shapes and challenges her to rise to his compositions: “I learnt so much about my voice and how to control it.”

LAMOMALI Lamomali

(Wagram, 2017) A post-Africa Express project, as Matthieu Chedid and the father and son kora players Toumani and Sidike Diabaté unite to create contemporary African rock. Diawara is the featured vocalist. “She is a real stage person,” says Chedid. “The queen of this project and the live shows.”

FATOUMATA DIAWARA Fenfo (Something To Say) (Montuno/ Wagram, 2018) Seven years of studying her seniors pay off, as Diawara pours her experiences into her second album. “I wanted a modern sound,” she says, “because that’s the world we live in. But I also wanted to respect my African heritage.”

and film comedian, Diawara graduated from hanging out on film sets to the lead role in the 2001 African blockbuster Sia, The Dream Of The Python. Worried this was no life for a woman, her family forced her to announce her retirement and made plans to marry her off to a cousin. She was 19. Fate inter vened when a French streettheatre company offered her work. Initially, Diawara insisted she was retired, but after her cousin let slip that the two of them were to be married, she packed her bags and fled Bamako as the police – who were told she had been kidnapped – started looking for her. France, unsurprisingly, was a head-turning experience. Diawara admits she was “seriously lost” for a couple of years. “I didn’t anticipate the consequences,” she says. “My family hated me because I had decided to be somebody. I didn’t do anything bad. Then I started to write songs. Singing became my way of communication.” Fellow Malian singer Rokia Traoré advised her to start playing guitar.


“Sisters, we can do it.”: Fatoumata by Lake Como; (far left, top) performing at WOMAD, Charlton Park, Wiltshire, July 2011; (below) meeting fans, Italy, July 2018.

By the second half of the noughties she was the star of a successful French musical, Kirikou Et Karaba, getting bookings as a singersongwriter and working with Sangaré, which led to a deal with World Circuit and her solo debut album, Fatou, in 2011. Diawara looks unperturbed when MOJO tells her some in Mali feel she was using her connection to the queen of Wassoulou music to advance her career. “I saw Oumou as my mother. I am not calculating, no,” she protests. “Remember, I was already making my name in France. I still love Oumou, but I don’t know what she thinks of me.” If Oumou Sangaré is miffed at watching her protégée do well, she diplomatically sees a bigger picture. “There’s no competition,” Sangaré claims. “Because of the richness of Wassoulou music, we have our own styles. The young know what Fatou and I, or Rokia, are saying and accept it, they know it’s the truth. Malians should be proud of what our women are doing.” N 2016, DIAWARA WAS INVITED TO WORK WITH Toumani, Sidiki Diabaté and the French star ‘-M-’ (AKA Matthieu Chedid) on an album of African-flavoured rock, Lamomali. “We’d jammed together at an Africa Express festival in Marseille,” says Chedid. “She has this power and this profound femininity. There was an immediate connection and after that I couldn’t imagine anybody else taking part in the project.” “Toumani wanted to teach his son that you don’t need to give up tradition to play modern music,” Diawara adds, explaining a very Malian dilemma. “Sidiki is influential with young people in Mali. Perhaps I’m the female equivalent.”

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“MY FAMILY HATED ME BECAUSE I DECIDED TO BE SOMEBODY. THEN I STARTED TO WRITE SONGS. AND I FOUND ANSWERS TO QUESTIONS I WAS ASKING.” Fatoumata Diawara Perhaps she is: Lamomali was a hit in France and became a dry run for Fenfo, with Chedid on board as producer. “To me it was essential to do an album that reflected actual African music,” he says. “The real work was keeping the roots and bringing a more modern and current sound and colour to the music.” “He brings the electronic stuff, I like organic music,” explains Diawara, pointing out that for every credit acknowledging keyboards and programming, there’s another for instruments such as kamelen ngoni (the “young man’s harp”) and pumpkin (used as percussion). “He understood I wanted to keep some tradition, but he said: ‘Just a little beat … a little bit more.’” The pizza finished, the ice cream melted, Diawara packs up. She has a gig in Venice, but before leaving she shares an insight into what life could have been: “I still see the cousin I was to marry. I think he is angry. You don’t run away, you are a woman, you have to stay and make ten babies. I was supposed to be that woman.” She smiles that big smile again, laughing at the thought. The lure of the circus still has her in its grip. M MOJO 49


Dreamin’ my dreams: Marianne Faithfull, at home in Paris, spring 2018.


MOJO 51


“GOOD MORNING, DARLING!” Marianne Faithfull is on the phone from her Paris apartment. The husky voice is grained with experience of a life lived, the personal battles she’s fought and, now, the physical pain that challenges her daily. It’s also an instantly recognisable part of the fabric of the ’60s pop culture revolution whose aftermath we still inhabit. Your correspondent first met Faithfull at a Soho restaurant in 1979 for her first interview after completing Broken English, the album that brought her in from the cold after periods of addiction and homelessness. Once the crown princess of the ’60s, the Redlands bust “Miss X”, who co-composed The Rolling Stones’ Sister Morphine and inspired her boyfriend Mick Jagger to w Sympathy For The Devil, she had a luminous charisma her own: funny and clever and as tough as the ancient leather jacket she was huddled in. Always more than Jagger’s muse, she could rightly declare, “Boy, was he lucky to have me around.” But it’s been a rough few years for Faithfull; her health has been poor and her spirits beset by the deaths of close friends. Four years ago, Give My Love To London, her 20t solo studio album, testified to continuing creative vig Collaborations with Nick Cave, Steve Earle, Anna Calvi, P ard – even Roger Waters – made for a dramatic listening experience that drew on Faithfull’s rich and rarefied life and outlook, but it was beginning to look like her last. So it’s a surprise – a good one – to learn that Faithfull is planning on writing and recording her 21st album, and more thrilling still that she intends to keep MOJO informed, at key intervals, of her progress. Along the way, we’ll be afforded an intimate insight into a record that reflects on departing old friends – especially fellow Stones accomplice Anita Pallenberg – Faithfull’s loneliness living in Paris and her hope that love can still come around. The results, framed by ornately sensitive musical backdrops by familiars including a returning Cave, will invite comparison with late-life works by Johnny Cash or Leonard Cohen. “It’s the most honest album I’ve ever made,” she’ll admit. “I’ve always tried not to reveal myself. But there’s nothing like real hardship to give you some depth.”

MARIANNE IS ON the blower again, with news of a recent afternoon tea with the Richards family after the Stones’ No Filter tour reached Paris. “It was just magical, with Marlon and Lucy, Angela and all their children,” she says, still elated. “Then Keith turned up! It was very moving because we were in mourning for Anita, really. It w a great loss to all of us. I was moved by how kind the Richar family were to me after Anita die I felt like I was part of the family. Meanwhile, work has begun o the album which, says Faithful will be produced by Bad Seed War ren Ellis and PJ Harvey collabora tor Rob Ellis (who both worked o Give My Love To London), with help from keyboardist-composer E Harcourt and Faithfull’s live ban guitarist, Rob McVey. “I would have gone mad with out Rob Ellis,” says Faithfull. “A I’m writing I really need someone 52 MOJO

to talk to. I used to talk to Anita but that’s over now. Rob just was there, helping me, finding me people to work with.” It’s intended that the bulk of the recording will take place at La Frette studios just outside Paris, where Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds’ Skeleton Tree and parts of Arctic Monkeys’ recent Tranquility Base Hotel & Casino were cut. “It’s a live-in situation,” says Faithfull. “It’s going to be great fun to be with the band. It’ll be very different, this ecord. It’s very acoustic, almost folky.” Still, pain in all its guises will be a major ctor and a major theme. “I’ve got this terrible arthritis,” says aithfull. “It’s in my left shoulder, arm and and. I recovered from all those awful hings, like the broken back and the hip nd bone infection. That was bad enough, hen I got this terrible arthritis. My mother ad it too so it’s genetic, I think. I’m leftanded. That makes it hard for me to rite or type. It’s awful, man, but I get rough. But I’m much more willing now go out. I’ve been in retreat, I think.” Pain, too, is in Faithfull’s latest writing reflections on the void created by the aths of “dear old friends” including llenberg, publisher Richard Neville,


Rob Ellis, Avalon (2), Getty, Yann Orhan, © Marianne Faithfull, Avalon

A secret life (clockwise from left): with Brian Jones and “the much missed” Anita Pallenberg at Heathrow Airport, before flying to Tangiers, March 1967; home alone, 2018; her debut album, 1965; with Anita, Mick Jagger and Keith Richards, 1967; as a child in England; 1979’s Broken English; new LP collaborator Nick Cave, La Frette studios, Paris; on the Russell Harty Plus One TV show, 1973.

writer Heathcote Williams, guitarist Martin Stone, and Australiabased artist Martin Sharp, who designed Cream’s album sleeves in the ’60s. “I always write about what’s happening with me – and that’s what has been going on,” she says. “The songs are so sad, because it’s been so hard. Don’t Go was the first one I wrote, about Martin Stone. He was in a band called Mighty Baby and became a great friend who I got to know through AA meetings. I didn’t know anything about his music career. It wasn’t the sort of music I liked! He had to stop the music business because of the drugs and drink, then had a second career as a rare books dealer. Ed Harcourt wrote the tune and it’s beautiful. Don’t Go is about Anita too. I was desolate when she died. I can’t tell you how much I miss her.” Pallenberg ended her days living back at Redlands, making paintings that now adorn Marianne’s apartment walls. Faithfull wonders if her old friend ever truly escaped the Stones’ orbit. “She was much more wrapped up in that world than I was,” says Faithfull. “I got out very quickly. I was the first to go and thank God; not that I don’t love and admire them, but I know I couldn’t have handled it. Much as I love The Rolling Stones, they’re not my life.”

Back on the album front, songs and song ideas are piling up. In fact, it’s already clear that Faithfull won’t be able to fit them all in. Mark Lanegan has contributed one called They Come At Night. “It’s about the [2015] killings in Paris,” she says, “a terrible business. I sang it at the Bataclan and they’d just wiped the blood off the walls. We were the first people to go there and do a show – an extraordinary experience. I got this idea from [producer] Hal Willner that every 70 years it’s like the Nazis have come back: Trump, Isis and the whole Brexit thing is part of it. “Then there’s a song I’ve always loved by The Pretty Things called Loneliest Person – but it’s incredibly sad! And a lovely one called Don’t Let Your Brown Eyes Dry. I got a postcard from Yoko [Ono], who’s been wonderfully supportive through this last six years of terrible shit that’s happened to me. She sent a postcard with an eye on it that just said, ‘Don’t let your eyes dry.’ I thought, ‘That’s a song.’” Faithfull wants to record two traditional English folk songs she remembers her linguist father singing when she was a little girl: Three King’s Men Bold and Long Years Ago: “We used to go camping in the New Forest and I would sit at his feet and he would play songs on his guitar.” Rob Ellis has been to Cecil Sharp House to get the lyrics. ➢ MOJO 53


I hate those things really. I find them so invasive. She had a preconceived idea of me as a rebel. That’s not what I’m doing. All that’s over and finished. I have surrendered. She was very disappointed. It was like a terrible kind of fencing game to the death, but I won. She kept trying to make me lose my temper and I wouldn’t. I suppose she thinks that makes good cinema. I stayed charming the whole way through and it drove her crazy. In the end this documentary turned out as I wanted it. I won.”

Also, she’s just written anothe new song with Ed Harcourt called N Moon In Paris. “It’s beautiful but als very sad. So now I can see what needed – something a bit more pos tive, and not so sad. I’m coming out o my sadness now. There’s a lot more t do and we’re gonna do it. We’re no recording until January.” Rob Ellis, who’s worked with Ma ianne for five years as what h describes as “collator and archivist says Warren Ellis wants to revi Witches’ Song from Broken English, but he’s yet to put the idea to Marianne. “What’s so interesting is that she’s looking back to her childhood,” says Rob, “at the same time dealing with getting older and her friends dying. Every time we speak she’s keen to get more uptempo songs in there, but however much we try they don’t seem to be coming. There’s this very thoughtful, melancholy thing going on. She’s really struggling with her arthritis, especially as the weather’s getting cold. But everyone’s getting excited about starting work.”

RITING CONTINUES APACE. ithfull has penned new ballads of an “The war is over”: as Irina in The Three tensely personal nature, including Sisters, backstage with Jagger, Royal isunderstanding and My Own ParCourt Theatre, London, April 1967; (insets) with Ed Harcourt and Nick cular Way. “I wrote some at the last Cave, La Frette studios, Paris, 2018; inute, almost on the hoof. My Own 1964’s debut hit single. articular Way is my call for someone o come and love me; please send me omeone to love. That’s for Warren eally. It’s not a love affair, of course, ut Warren and I fell in love. Our whole relationship is all about music. just love working with him.” There’s another heartbreaking ribute to Pallenberg, Born To Live, which contains the line, “To die a good death is my dream/Born to live and die forever loving you.” There’s also a Nick Cave co-write – The Gypsy Faerie Queen – although it took some wrangling. “It’s a little miracle,” says Faithfull. “I asked him if he would put music to it and he wrote back saying, I’m so busy.’ I said, ‘I understand, sorry to bother you.’ Then he just e back, ‘Thank you so much for understanding; here’s the song.’ It’s just gorgeous; sung by Puck and the gypsy faerie queen who walks the land with her blackthorn staff, wears moleskins and a crown of rowanberries, and is followed by Puck ever ywhere. She doesn’t speak any more, she sings.” Faithfull also has a title for her album. Negative Capability is taken from a letter written by poet John Keats to his brothers about William Shakespeare in 1817: “It means the ability Shakespeare had of being able to look at something from all points of view.” Marianne will turn 71 in nine days’ time.

DESPITE A RECENT bout of bronchitis, Marianne has recorded early Tyrannosaurus Rex song Organ Blues for a Marc Bolan tribute album produced by her friend and former producer Hal Willner, that will also feature contributions from U2, Nick Cave, Marc Almond and JG Thirlwell. “I knew Marc when he was Mark Feld,” says Marianne. “He was a sweetie.” It’s Faithfull’s first recording session since 2014, and for her convenience Willner’s team brought the studio to her Montparnasse apartment. “I was nervous but it turned out well,” she says. “It was very informative. I got a clearer idea of what I’ve got to deal with on the stamina level; how long I can go before I have to rest or go for a walk. Those kinds of things.” In other business, she enthuses about Fleur D’Âme (Flower Of The Soul), the recent Faithfull documentary directed by Sandrine Bonnaire. “It’s turned out very well but I had a nightmare doing it. 54 MOJO

RECORDING TAKES PLACE over two weeks at La Frette. Producers Warren and Rob Ellis, guitarist Rob McVey and Ed Harcourt spend a week recording backing tracks before Marianne arrives to sing her vocals; usually two tracks a day. “She just goes in and sings, has one or two shots at it and that’s it; you’re not getting any more,” says Warren. “In spite of my terrible pain, it was lovely to be with everybody,” says Faithfull. “I realised that what really helps me is being with people, especially them. I love my band more than anyone has ever loved a band. The recording was wonderful. The studio was this old, old house – beautiful. For me, it was very hard but something magical was going on.” Nick Cave arrives to join the band, singing backing chorales and playing piano. “If there’s anyone I can depend on, it’s Nick Cave. I


Getty, Rob Ellis, Yann Orham, Alamy

don’t know what it is but we are so lucky that we can write such beautiful songs together and I love his voice.” They revisit As Tears Go By, Marianne’s first single, written by Mick Jagger and Keith Richards in 1964 and re-recorded on 1987’s Strange Weather. “It’s the third time I’ve done it and it will be the last time,” she declares. “I wanted it to be better than both other versions – and it is.” “It’s such an extraordinary song for teenagers to write,” reflects Warren. “To hear her singing it now was really something. Rob and myself were keen she try it. And she wanted to do It’s All Over Now, Baby Blue. It just felt really right to revisit those songs.” Witches’ Song – Warren’s idea – has become a psychedelic mantra, with Cave on backing vocals. But Marianne is not convinced. “They’re all raving about it,” she says. “I haven’t understood why yet. It takes me a bit of time to get these things. This bloody little album has its own life. It’s like a book; the songs go their own merry way and there’s not much you can do about it.” Some tracks fall by the wayside, including the Yoko postcard (“I couldn’t get that quite right”) and Nick Cave advises against the childhood folk songs. “My voice just isn’t up to it now. It would have been lovely but Nick said, ‘Don’t bring yourself down by trying to do these because it’s gonna hurt you.’ He was right.” Marianne makes up for it with a devastating take of No Moon In Paris, a bare-bones confessional in which she sings, “What can I do but pretend to be brave and pretend to be strong when I’m not.” Recalls Warren Ellis, “She came down to the studio and said, ‘I want to do No Moon In Paris.’ The way she does it is in the control room, with the backing track coming through the speakers. She was sitting in the corner on a chair with a microphone. She did that vocal and there was silence. The whole place was in tears. Everybody was hanging on to anything they had their hands on. I was so overcome I had to go up to my room for half an hour. Then I went down and she said, ‘Was that all right?’ It was quite funny; she’d absolutely destroyed the whole room.” It happens again with Born To Live, except this time it’s Marianne who feels the emotional blow. “All these memories came back hard. When I sang that, Anita appeared, right there in front of me. That’s the thing about all these songs. They’re not just about these people; they’re about everybody who’s been goin lose your loved o

WHILE RECOR her apartment, F Tears Go By. It’s to get it right from “It just wasn’t that one has to be voice is not what it wasn’t as sad an when I did it with The latest vers ter, however. “It’ sion of all my und faculties. I really song and that’s g

Warren: “I’ve known Marianne since we recorded [her 2005 album] Before The Poison. We were doing demos of the songs Nick [Cave] had written in this tiny little place the size of a shoebox. She came in, sat down on a milk crate with a cushion on it in the hallway, then just started to sing. It was an extraordinary moment when her voice appeared in the headphones. When you hear these great voices that you’ve only ever heard on record, they are real moments that you can treasure. Then she invited me around for dinner and answered the door in her pyjamas. Her face was all bruised ’cos she’d just had her teeth repaired. I said she should have cancelled and she just said, ‘I knew you wouldn’t give a fuck… But I can’t eat.’ That sums her up. She’d never been rock’n’roll; she’d always moved in a different kind of world – like the way Nina Simone walked through the whole thing on her own terms. Marianne has that singular thing about her. She’s very driven, totally defiant and committed. This record couldn’t have been made with any session band. It was about making the room for Marianne’s voice to tell the story and be the vehicle for the song. I can’t think of another female singer who’s made a record like this at this stage of their life, so frank and honest. There’s this incredible beauty about it. “

“IT’S TEN DEGREES below zero here and I’m feeling it,” shivers Marianne on the phone. “I’ve got on a coat and a scarf. It’s like after the Second World War.” She’s still concerned about the high melancholia quotient on Negative Capability and thinking Don’t Go – her memorial to Pallenberg and Martin Stone – “might be just one tragic death song too far.” She will determine the running order before the album’s mastered, but she’ll still take convincing of the quality of what she’s just achieved. “Warren is the first person to tell me, ‘This is awesome!’ and I couldn’t understand him. Didn’t believe him, thought he was mad. But now I’m starting to see it… It’s turned out fantastic. The person who really can’t believe it is me!”

I MENTION TO Marianne that it’s almost 50 years since I witnessed the Stones return to the stage at the NME Pollwinners Concert at the old Empire Pool, Wembley. At their penultimate live performance with Brian Jones in the band, they played the soon-to-bereleased Jumpin’ Jack Flash; Faithfull was in the front row. “I was there with Anita,” she remembers. “We were trying to be nice to Brian. We felt sorry for Brian.” The latest on Negative Capability is that she’s decided not to include the Pretty Things song. “There’s too much loneliness on this album,” she announces. “That’s a very nice song but it was written by very young people and it doesn’t fit the rest of the album. A lot of people liked it but I just knew it wasn’t right.”

MARIANNE IS OVERJOYED that Mick Jagger checked out her grandson Oscar Dunbar’s band Khartoum at Camden’s Dingwall’s. The youngsters were consequently drafted to play the after-show party at one of the Stones’ London gigs. “The war is over,” she declares. completed, she can Now with “I’ve had terrible acshe says. “I’m in a lot get strong so I can do was able to make this et over my fear that

“The great miracle is I was able to make this record.” Marianne Faithfull, spring 2018.

h Come And Stay With her first run of Dec0s, Marianne would es. Now they encapd. But that’s almost Marianne Faithfull is , on her own terms, moving of her career. funny, isn’t it?” she g is a complete coinke something greater ecting this. The uniething. Seems to be oesn’t it?” M MOJO 55


Out of the blue and into the pink: The Band, West Saugerties, New York, 1968 (from left) Garth Hudson, Levon Helm, Rick Danko, Richard Manuel, Robbie Robertson.


MOJO EYEWITNESS

THE BAND RECORD MUSIC FROM BIG PINK 1968, West Saugerties, near Woodstock. In a house called Big Pink, five multi-instrumentalists have gone from backing rockabilly cat Ronnie Hawkins as The Hawks, to being booed backing Bob Dylan. Now, they’re woodshedding their own music – and are on the precipice of changing the course of rock with a rustic sound. Fifty years on, ROBBIE ROBERTSON and friends recall the painting of their masterpiece. Interviews by MICHAEL SIMMONS Portrait by ELLIOTT LANDY

Robbie Robertson: “Because of all this stuff The Hawks had been through, [we had] a maturity in our musical taste, in our approach. We didn’t feel a part of what was happening at that time out in the world. We weren’t very good at being trendy. It wasn’t that we tried not to do anything, it was just we were evolving to a place and a ➢

Elliott Landy/Getty

Elliott Landy: “The Band weren’t just different from other musicians, they were different from other people I knew. They were more experienced and wizened by the experience. When you travel around the road for six or seven years as they’d been doing [as The Hawks], you meet all types. When you’re smart and aware – as they all were – you have the opportunity to observe all different kinds of people and you learn who you are and you grow.”

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Off rock’s beaten track: Danko, Helm, Robertson, Manuel and Hudson in the wild, 1968; (right, from top) Music From Big Pink’s back sleeve imitates Mathew Brady’s Civil War photography; relaxed Robertson.

“WE WEREN’T VERY GOOD AT BEING TRENDY ” ➣

musicality that ha Music was just getting more abrasive. “I understood the the anger and the exc everything that was h ing, but we’d already d that. I started with Ron Hawkins and screamin on my guitar. (Laughs) And now to be able to really play and think: w didn’t use these phras the time, but it’s what leave out – and less is There was something things that just slippe what that did to your h and how it made you f It was sexy and it was b and sad and a celebra at the same time. I tho that’s where we’ve gro and that’s where we’r with this.” John Simon: “The gu Band were different fr other groups I’d work They were into it for th the other groups wou charts and listen to th hope to be on the cutt the new thing. But Th looking back to music respected: early rock’ rockabilly, early jazz, c

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ury before: nspoken antheon y respected. nd out from

Before Dylan came Ronnie Hawkins: The Band’s first taskmaster.

n: “When you’re o Diddley record, here’s a wonderful distortion and tement and it s like Bo Diddley e place. Then ey play, it’s not y and funky – just right. It isn’t your face. It was y back then, I British musiting interpretaes was funny at it sounded like [original d little guitar or ad this beautiful tarted bringing, son over to ed, it was like, e – the train had the amps were re and the idea re powerful.” bie [Robertson] reat storyteller.

The famous Beatles PR guy from Apple Records, Derek Taylor, came over from London [to Woodstock]. He wanted to see what was going on in the scene. He walked through the woods to visit Robbie. Now this is a guy who’s a writer, right? And he comes back and he’s in awe. He was so impressed with Robbie’s work ethic and his care – [Robbie’s] the best self-educated person I know. Derek says ‘When I get back to London, I’m gonna send a box full of Oxford Dictionaries. Take a couple for yourself and give the rest to Robbie.’ There’s thesauruses of every size and shape – maybe 12, 14 books. Derek was so impressed by Robbie.” Robbie Robertson: “The atmosphere of being up in the mountains, being in this isolated house out in the middle of 100 acres and finally having the workshop clubhouse. I couldn’t write properly in my past experiences, which was on the road. I needed to feel a place of creativity, not a passing hotel room. Outside of Les Paul, there was no such thing as doing it at home – as people do now – in your kitchen or living room.” (laughs) John Simon: “The staff engineer Donny Hahn [at A&R Studios in New York] set the studio up the way he’d ordinarily do, which is to put baffles between the instruments so if one of them made a mistake, it wouldn’t leak into the other microphones and that person could go back and fix their part. Two things came into play. The Band were so well rehearsed they could play without making mistakes. And they were used to being able to hear each other in the room as opposed to through earphones. So we took the baffles down and set it up like the [Big Pink] basement.”

Elliott Landy/Getty (3), Getty (2), photo ©Elliott Landy/www.elliottlandy.com (3), bobdylancommentaries.com

Ro


DRAMATIS PERSONAE

“We had our own rules, our own way of making music”: rehearsing in Big Pink, (from left) Danko (back to camera) Hudson, Robertson, Helm and Manuel.

Elliott Landy, photographer of classic early group photos

Robbie Robertson: “There was a certain attitude of knowledge from the engineers: ‘Here’s how you make a great sounding record – you do it our way, ’cos we’ve tried everything and we know what works and what doesn’t work.’ We went along with the whole thing and we got to the place where we were going to record a song. We got halfway into it and none of us knew what to do and where to go next. We didn’t memorise music that way. We absorbed music through one another. “So I stopped and I said, ‘Guys – wait – this isn’t gonna work. We have to communicate musically. I can’t see anybody. I know we’re all here somewhere but I can’t see anybody.’ If I can’t see [keyboards/saxophone player] Garth [Hudson]’s eyes or where [keyboards/drummer] Richard [Manuel] is phrasing in the moment, I don’t know what to play. We communicate by nods of the head, a look in the eye, the way I move my guitar neck – it signals a break coming up. If we can’t see the signals, we’re wandering in space. We have to set up in a circle where we can see one another and communicate. “The engineers were like, ‘It’s gonna sound awful – there’s gonna be so much leakage it’s gonna sound like crap.’ So the brilliant John Simon said let’s use microphones on everything

Robbie Robertson, The Band’s guitarist/ primary songwriter

John Simon, producer, Music From Big Pink

Sally Grossman, wife of The Band’s manager, Albert Grossman

Al Kooper, musician, contemporary

that only pick up what’s right in front of it. He asked if they had RE15 Electro-Voice microphones and put those on everything. “Then we started to play Tears Of Rage. John says over the talkback, ‘I think we’re getting somewhere, guys.’ So we played it down and the engineer said, ‘You should come in and hear this – there’s something really happening.’ We go in the control room and they play back our first take of Tears Of Rage. That was the first time we heard the sound of The Band coming out of those speakers. We looked at one another and, in that moment, we knew we had the confidence, we had our own rules, our own way of making music.” John Simon: “Garth is a consummate musician – he’s got so much musical knowledge, so many different kinds of music in his mind, memory and experience that he can draw upon all that. Plus he’s a technical whiz at the keyboard and a very competent reed player. He’d always add interesting colours and modes to things. Richard called himself a ‘rhythm piano player’ and he was also a fabulous drummer, a galumphy drummer, elbows a-blur and sticks flying. He could sing like Ray Charles and he could sing this gorgeous high falsetto, a very sensitive man and so a very sensitive singer. “Rick [Danko] was a very melodic

bass player that far exceeded the usual bass parts. He had a very clear voice – vibrato-less at times. [Drummer] Levon [Helm] was authentic country – the real deal from a Delta downhome setting where the lines between black and white people are blurred. He was adventurous and a hard worker. And Robbie was the responsible grown-up. He was an arranger, very interested in guitar patterns, rhythm patterns. He admired records for the rhythmic groove, how the component parts fit together. A great songwriter who learned a lot from Dylan. But whereas Dylan’s tonal palette was limited, Robbie was much more experimental and took the music to lots of different places. And his lyrical imagery was just beautiful.” Robbie Robertson: “John had a personal understanding of who we were and became part of The Band musically. He [also] played piano and horn with Garth.” John Simon: “It was Garth’s idea to add horns – me as a brass player, him as a reed player, we had a good horn section. We had a particular character that most horn [sections] didn’t replicate. Most are clean and precise, ours were rough as a cob.” Robbie Robertson: “John became part of the signals we were passing to one another. He’d help Levon with the dynamics and perfect places to put the fills and helped us get a take quickly. He became part of the brotherhood and that was very important musically.” John Simon: “My favourite is Tears Of Rage – everything about it: the guitar intro which

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“They were down-to-earth people�: (from left) Hudson, Danko, Robertson, Manuel and Helm in another evocative Elliott Landy photograph.


Cabin fever: The Band in their Sunday best; (right) field work with (from left) Helm, Robertson, Manuel (back to camera), Danko, Hudson; (below) Levon shines on; (inset below) photographer Mathew Brady’s works.

“THERE WAS NO AMERICANA GENRE UNTIL THE BAND.” John Simon ➣

was like a kind of fanfare, the funereal drums and tambourine in the chorus, the horns entering after the first chorus, Dylan’s lyrics, and Richard singing just great.”

Photo ©Elliott Landy www.elliottlandy.com (3), Elliott Landy/Getty

Robbie Robertson: “The layering of vocals was all done live. We knew how to be tight, but then find a place where we could loosen it up. So Richard would come in singing and I’d say to Levon, ‘Ya know you don’t have to be right on top of it, you can come in just slightly later.’ It feels good, it sounds good and that’s what The Staple Singers would do (laughs). The Weight is the prime example of that, when the voices go ‘and…and…and.’ They weren’t all glistening together – that was somebody else’s job – it was too mechanical. That was for people in choirs or Crosby, Stills & Nash.” John Simon: “The Weight is a simple song for people to learn and that [helps] make something a hit when [others] can play it themselves. The Weight is essentially a three-chord song, and it has a catchy hook last line is staggere It has the authentic Levon Helm singin accent, not any kin a put-on accent. And it’s a wonderful story of our poor hero trying to make sense of where he w and, by extension, make sense out of

Sally Grossman: “Dominique [Bourgeois, Robbie’s future wife] and I were at the sessions. [It helped encourage them] by us stopping by and thinking it was so great – they didn’t know if anyone was gonna relate to what they were doing. We had a visceral reaction: the music was so innovative – you had to fall in love with the arrangements, the voices, the songs.” Elliott Landy: “They were down-to-earth people and by chance I’d gotten a book of photographs by Mathew Brady from the Civil War. I felt that the right style of photograph that would reflect who they were would imitate the style from the 1860s and the Mathew Brady school of photography. I showed them the book and they agreed. I said in order to get this look, we need to pay attention to the photographer and honour him when he comes and not stand around casually. If you look at these old photographs, everybody is standing straight, they have their best clothes on, they’re paying attention to the camera, ’cos it was unusual to be photographed back then.” d company oing and when , they said, ‘Are anna make a long g the first track your record?’ We’re like – what’s wrong with that? ometimes we ought we were king a foreign ge. When the me out, it was

embraced by a lot of musicians. Eric [Clapton] and George [Harrison] came to Woodstock, but we got messages from so many music people. It’s a good feeling when other musicians understand what you’re doing that nobody else is doing.” Al Kooper: “The main thing was The Band not only didn’t sound like anybody else – their whole thing was original. Everything was different. The songwriting was different, the singing was different – they weren’t scared of doing anything. And they actually started a style, so you could say ‘that sounds like The Band.’ There were people that imitated it – I was one of ’em. Like [Kooper’s song] Anna Lee, that had my favourite opening line I ever wrote: ‘You left me when the crops was failin’ and the chickens died.’” (Laughs) John Simon: “The Band started a whole genre – there was no Americana genre until The Band. Lots of bands emulated The Band and tried to be rootsy and truthful, honest and authentic in a serious way. That came natural to these guys.” Robbie Robertson: “I was such a movie guy and was so fascinated with films that I used to read scripts. I probably would’ve been a film-maker if I hadn’t gotten so deep in music that I couldn’t undo it. So I wanted to create music that you could see. [The world conjured by] Big Pink is a fictitious place, but to me it’s very real.” M Music From Big Pink – 50th Anniversary Edition is out now. John Simon’s autobiography Truth,Lies And Hearsay: A Memoir Of A Musical Life In And Out Of Rock And Roll (Amazon White Glove) will be published on October 8.

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never give up on a good thing In 1994, PRIMAL SCREAM released Give Out But Don’t Give Up, their brave but flawed attempt to channel the spirits of Southern soul and rock. For years, its original Memphis mix was but a legend. Now a reissue, and a BBC documentary, has brought it back from the dead, along with the ghosts and fables – not to mention the attempted murder – attached to its creation. “Basically, we lost faith,” the band tell BOB MEHR. Portrait by TOM SHEEHAN

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Man and motor: Primal Scream’s Bobby Gillespie, April 1994.


T’S NOVEMBER 1992, AND PRIMAL SCREAM ARE gathered at Roundhouse Studios in Camden Town, with Jimmy Miller, the production architect of The Rolling Stones’ late-’60s/early-’70s golden era, attempting to deliver a worthy follow-up to 1991’s genre-melting Screamadelica LP. But given the dearth of material – the band have only one finished song, and the chords to another – the session is pretty much doomed from the start. “We’d start jamming each night about one o’clock in the morning, so we never saw any daylight,” says Scream guitarist Andrew Innes. “We were just playing the same two songs over and over. It turned really negative very quickly.” “The drummer was falling asleep in the middle of songs,” says singer Bobby Gillespie. “We were doing Everybody Needs Somebody and after the guitar solo I start singing and… there’s no drums. I look out from the vocal booth and he’s nodded out. ‘Wake up, ya fucking cunt!’” Over a chicken salad lunch at a Memphis café, in a break from filming a BBC documentary that revisits this mythladen period in the group’s history, Primal Scream are struggling to describe the mixture of exhaustion and narcotic enervation that followed their notoriously debauched 15-month tour supporting the smash hit Screamadelica. “We were burnt out physically and creatively,” says Innes. Yet the band’s Creation Records labelboss, Alan McGee, had recently sold a 50 per cent stake to Sony Music, and was pressing them to head back into the studio. “Our initial reaction was, ‘A new album? What I need is to go to bed for the next six months!’” Gillespie, Innes, guitarist Robert ‘Throb’ Young and keyboard player Martin Duffy persevered with the alcohol-impaired Miller, then Screamadelica collaborator Hugo Nicolson, to no avail. “We were in there for weeks, partying the whole time,” concedes Gillespie. Another issue was the material. “Every time we wrote, out came a ballad, another sad song. Maybe everybody was feeling like that,” says Gillespie, then gorging on the R& of O.V. Wright and James Carr, and the count soul of Donnie Fritts and Dan Penn. “Rob would play these riffs, these beautiful plaintive dies – like (I’m Gonna) Cry Myself Blind or It was kinda obvious that’s the record we n to make.” But who could help realise such a record where? Joe McEwen, the band’s US A&R man a Records, suggested Tom Dowd. A New Yorkphysics wunderkind turned record producer, D had been the creative catalyst during Atlantic Re glory years, ushered in the era of multitrack reco worked with giants of every genre – Ray Charle Coltrane, Aretha Franklin – and helped shape s with his work at Stax and Muscle Shoals. “Do volved in making some of our favourite reco wanted to know how you made those records,” s Alan McGee was less enthusiastic. He didn’t who the 67-year-old Dowd was, and tried to st towards a more contemporary choice, The B producer George Drakoulias, who would ultim the album’s completion. But Gillespie was s path; one that returned to Ardent Studios in M on a brief visit in 1991, Primal Scream had 1992’s Dixie-Narco EP. This time, though, Gill go the whole hog. That meant using drummer and bassist David Hood, the FAME/Muscle rhythm section who’d backed everyone from to Willie Nelson, Bobby Womack to Bob Seger

“We were looking for a feel,” says Gillespie. “People in rock music, especially in the ’90s, you couldn’t have found a drummer that could feel that shite. We had to go get the old guys.” N OUR MEMPHIS CAFÉ, BOBBY GILLESPIE IS MIDsentence when his eyes light up at the sight of David Hood. Still fit and vibrant at 74, Hood has arrived to do an interview for the BBC film. “David!” shouts Gillespie, springing up from the table, “How are ya, man?!” It’s been more than two decades since they’ve seen one another. As Gillespie and Innes surround him, Hood opens his jacket to reveal a bright yellow Screamadelica T-shirt, a souvenir from their time together. Back in 1993, Hood had no idea who Primal Scream were. “When I got the call, they were described as a young Scottish group, kinda like The Rolling Stones,” he recalls. “We weren’t totally sure about working with them, and I sorta had to talk Roger [Hawkins] into doing it. But we felt like it would be an adventure.” That spring, Hood and Hawkins arrived in London for preproduction – or, more accurately, to integrate themselves into Primal Scream. “We went to their local pub and it was like the bar scene from Star Wars. People with tattoos and piercings, all kinds of crazy things,” says Hood. “Between their Glasgow accents and our Alabama accents it was about three days before anybody could understand a word anyone was saying.” For Primal Scream, woodshedding with members of the Muscle Shoals Swampers (as the studio’s rhythm section was known) was an eyeopening experience. “It was really hard at first,” admits Andrew Innes. “I thought, I can’t play with these guys. I felt I must not be very good. Eventually it clicked. Then it was, All right, that’s what we’re meant to sound like.” For Gillespie, the rehearsals made him selfconscious as a singer and lyricist. “Sometimes I’d muddle the words ’cos I didn’t want people to hear them,” he says. “But I noticed that Roger Hawkins is looking at me intensely when I’m singing. After four days or five days of this, during a break, I finally went to Roger: ‘Hey man, why do ep looking at me?’ He said, ‘’Cos I’m trying l what you’re singin’, man.’ I was like, This layed with some of the best people ever – he’s probably thinking, ‘Who is this skinny ’” the two and a half weeks of rehearsal, the to ship off to Memphis. “We put ourselves going over there and working with Tom, d,” says Martin Duffy. “We had to raise our turning point of maturing and believing in usicians. Looking back now, it kinda made ot of ways.”

I

“Our initial reaction was, ‘A new album? What I need is to go to bed for the next six months!’”

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I

Best foot forward: Scream inspiration and former FAME/ Muscle Shoals client Wilson Pickett, 1965.

NDING IN MEMPHIS AT THE END OF , Primal Scream received some bad news: d would be delayed, as he’d had to undergo t surgery. Rather than sit twiddling their the band drove south to North Alabama, Hawkins and Hood on their home turf. out a bit in Muscle Shoals, because we ywhere,” says Gillespie. “I think David word with the local cops. ‘If you see some ut with long hair and you can’t understand ying, don’t worry, they’re our friends.’” ned Scream/Swampers band continued reher, writing new songs including the standd And Blue. On their return to Memphis, they were met by Ardent engineer Jeff Powell. He’d worked with the Scream in ’91, and was struck by the tight bond ➢

Getty, © Steve Roberts (2), © Stuart Luck, Grant Fleming

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Memphis mafia: (clockwise from left) Bobby with producer Tom Dowd (right) and engineer Jeff Powell, 1993; Gillespie “the skinny punk kid”, ’93; William Eggleston’s shot used on the LP cover; with Robert ‘Throb’ Young, last night of the Give Out tour, Brighton, April 11, 1994; the extended Scream family at Ardent, ’93; Bobby back in Memphis, 2018.


Funky jam: with Give Out… remixer and maestro George Clinton, on-stage Brixton Academy, April 1994.

lar, burned with a purpose that took the seen-it-all session veterans by surprise. “One night we sat around my house and played Stax singles ’til the sun came up,” recalls Powell. “Bobby was weeping, saying, ‘This! This is what we’re trying to do!’ It was this impassioned plea about how important this music was to him. I thought, Wow, he ain’t playing around.” FTER FIVE WEEKS IN MEMPHIS, PRIMAL Scream took a break to let Powell mix the album. Innes and Gillespie took a road trip to New Orleans, while Young and Duffy returned to the UK. The plan was to reconvene at Ardent in a week’s time. When Gillespie and Innes returned to the studio, they received a confused, distressing report. “We got word that our piano player had been shot… or stabbed,” says Gillespie. “No one knew what had happened. We still don’t know what happened to him.” On their way back, Duffy, Young and members of the Scream retinue stopped in New York City. At the end of a long night, a barman noticed that Duffy, slumped over a table, was bleeding profusely from his side. “All I know is what the doctor in the UK later said – that it was a knife wound, he said it was a professional job,” says Duffy. “My whole lower spine was haemorrhaged, another centimetre I would’ve been dead. It’s not like I fell on a broken bottle. But I don’t remember exactly how it happened or who did it – that’s probably a good thing.” Duffy was patched up and sent back to the UK to convalesce. Young, somewhat traumatised by the whole ordeal, arrived in Memphis in a dark mood. These were the circumstances under which Dowd and Powell played the band the album mixes for the first time. When the final notes rang out, the producer and engineer waited for a reaction. But the members of Primal Scream sat stone-faced, saying nothing. “Maybe it was shock when we heard it,” says Gillespie. “Because it was so different than anything we’d done before.” What happened next, and why, remains another mystery. “It’s all fuzzy to me,” says Gillespie, “but Innes reckons that we felt it was too slick. That we wanted it to be more punk – not punk like the Pistols, but a bit more edgy, more fucked up. But Tom Dowd does not do fucked up. So we fucked it up ourselves. The truth is we probably just panicked.” The band made immediate efforts to recut one song, Big Jet Plane, at Ardent. In Duffy’s absence pianist/producer Jim Dickinson stepped in on Wurlitzer. (“He was a hero of ours, so that was cool,” says Gillespie.) Even after a bit more tweaking in Memphis, the band were still unsure. They took the tapes back to England and soon sent for Powell to help them remix the record completely. Working at Jacobs Studio in Surrey, things only grew more confused as the band continued tinkering. “Once we started, we didn’t stop,” says Gillespie. “Basically, we lost faith.” At this point, Creation’s Alan McGee stepped in, again suggesting they enlist George Drakoulias. The band shipped off three tracks – (I’m Gonna) Cry Myself Blind, Jailbird and Rocks – to Los Angeles for him to rework and remix. The producer delivered souped-up, glammed-out versions of the songs. “George was great, and he made Rocks into a hit, he made it more contemporary,” says Gillespie, who travelled with the band to LA to recut Call On Me with Drakoulias. “Suddenly, it was like, OK, this is good – but… it shifted the whole record.”

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that had developed between the band and Hawkins and Hood. “They were almost like old friends by the time they got to the studio,” says Powell. When Dowd finally arrived, things got serious. “I’ve never seen anybody have more control of everything going on in a session,” says Powell. The animated Dowd loved to get on the studio floor, waving his arms and conducting the players – whether it was Memphis Horns Wayne Jackson and Andrew Love, or backing singers Susan Marshall and Jackie Johnson. “Dowd would have the bars of the song written out, measure by measure. He’d follow with his hand as the band played. Then he’d say, ‘All right, back in the fifth bar in the bridge, the second beat – what were you doing there?’ He was that into it, he was that detailed.” “Tom took charge and we were prepared to listen,” confirms Innes. “You can’t really argue if he says something. It was good enough for John Coltrane… OK, that’s good enough for us.” Gillespie insists they approached the sessions professionally (“If we had been wrecks, Tom Dowd would’ve said, ‘See ya later!’”). Still, the Scream were magnets for a certain kind of action. “The first person we met in Memphis – the driver from the car hire place – was wearing a High Times cap. We asked, ‘Can you sort us out?’ Which he did,” recalls Innes. “We were trying get away from all the bad influences in London and that’s the first guy we meet off the plane! But that’s our band.” Among the assortment of odd characters hanging around the sessions was a wealthy former debutante, known as the Quaalude Queen. Also present was a dealer who carried around a briefcase full of gear. The band nicknamed him Face Ache, because he was selling drugs to finance an expensive addiction to plastic surgery. Throb would occasionally disappear to God-knows-where; Duffy was regularly booted from the local tavern, and Innes’s visit to Graceland ended with him passed out on its front lawn. “But there was no fucking about in the studio,” insists Gillespie. “We were so honoured to work with these guys. When I listen to the original tracks, the Primal Scream guys are right in there with the Muscle Shoals guys. We gave a good account of ourselves.” Gillespie ended up delivering some of his best vocal performances with Tom Dowd’s encouragement. “Tom would get a chair and go out there with him, and kill the talkback,” says Powell. “Dowd said when you’re doing vocals that’s a private thing between the producer and the singer. He did a lot of coaching.” Gillespie’s confidence only wavered at the end, when he enlisted Screamadelica singer Denise Johnson to handle lead vocals on Free. Throughout the summer, the band worked hard to make what they felt would be a classic rock’n’soul album. Gillespie, in particu-

we intended to make, we actually made it… it just never got released.” Bobby Gillespie

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Creation then suggested Parliament/P-Funk maestro George Clinton – another Scream hero – get involved. Clinton was sent Funky Jam and Free, and essentially created a new track in Give Out But Don’t Give Up. The band then enlisted Andrew Weatherall, Brendan Lynch and Jimmy Miller for further remixes. “In the end the whole thing became more like Screamadelica,” says Gillespie. When the mutated 12-track Give Out But Don’t Give Up arrived in March 1994, reviews were mixed. Some critics accused the band of musical tourism. “Back in those days you couldn’t defend yourself. The music press just ripped you apart,” says Gillespie. “They’d been praising us to the skies, and then they thought, We’re going to bring those fuckers down.” Though the album was a commercial success – Rocks reached Number 7 on the UK singles charts; the album peaked at Number 2 – the alterations left almost everyone unsatisfied. “Tom Dowd was not super happy,” says Jeff Powell. “He wrote Bobby a letter, and there was some hurt feelings there.” When he heard the record, David Hood was left scratching his head. “I said, ‘Man this isn’t nearly as good as what we’d done in Memphis,’” says Hood. “They cut it all up and sampled it and ran it backwards, did crazy things with it. I was really sort of disappointed with the results.” Primal Scream would move on, shifting musical styles numerous times – but the disappointment over Give Out… lingered. “I felt a sense of failure about that album,” admits Gillespie. “For me, it was always a bit of an open wound.”

Many others involved in the recording have passed: Dowd died in 2002, Jim Dickinson in 2009, Andrew Love and Wayne Jackson in 2012 and 2016 respectively. Backing vocalist Jackie Johnson suffered a stroke some years ago and no longer sings; Roger Hawkins has retired from playing. “That was probably the last really good project I did with Tom Dowd,” reflects David Hood. “And that’s one of the last things I did with Roger too. I sure miss playing with him. A lot of the people who worked on that project are gone. But I’m excited we’re all getting a second chance with this record we did 25 years ago.” For a moment, Gillespie fills with pride – for the redemption at hand, and because Primal Scream can finally, legitimately claim their own piece of Memphis music history. “I can’t think of another band of our generation that could’ve gone down there and done what we did,” he says. “Tom and David and Roger – they saw something in us that they recognised was true. We were sincere. There was no agenda except to make a fucking M good record. And finally, people will get to hear that.”

ULY 2018: IT’S A SWELTERING AFTERNOON IN Memphis, and Jeff Powell is finally finishing a job he started a quarter of a century ago. These days Powell operates his own vinyl mastering studio, down the street from the old Sun Studios, and he’s prepping the lacquers of his original mixes of Give Out But Don’t Give Up. Turning up the volume on Big Jet Plane, he falls silent. “When I listened to this stuff after so many years, it was really emotional,” he says as the track ends. “It brought tears to my eyes.” In late 2016, Andrew Innes was cleaning out his cellar when he found a couple of boxes of old cassettes. “I saw one tape marked with the Ardent logo and wondered if they were the original mixes from Memphis.” After digitising the cassette and hearing the tracks, Innes confirmed his hunch. “I listened and thought, This sounds terrific. When you hear this version you think, why did we mess with it? What possessed us?” Innes immediately emailed the MP3s to Gillespie. “I was blown away,” says the singer. “The benefit of time shows we made some great music in Memphis. The record we intended to make, we actually made it… it just never go The band decided to finall remedy that situation, and be gan developing a package tha would feature the original un released version of the LP nine Dowd-produced tracks with Powell’s original mixes plus a bonus disc of Arden outtakes. Its release should be a cause for celebration, but it’s tinged by sadness, given the loss of Robert Young, who died in 2014 at the age of 49. “It’s a real shame Throb’s not about,” says Innes, “because when you hear the Memphis tapes, it’s probably his musical peak, his tour de force.” “Robert’s not here, but he is here, you know?” says Gillespie. “He’s always gonna be here when you listen to this Southern gentlemen: Andrew Innes and Bobby record.” Gillespie, Madison

BOBBY GILLESPIE on the classic sounds that shaped Give Out But Don’t Give Up.

Getty, © Stuart Luck

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Avenue, Memphis, 2018.

Give Out But Don’t Give Up: The Original Memphis Recordings is released by Sony in September. See listings for documentary broadcast date.

Southern Comforts the reason we wanted to work with them – the gentleness and understatement of their playing. We wanted an album with that kind of feel.”

Rainbow Road for Arthur Alexander, he wrote We Had It All. And he likes my song? I’ll take that.”

Rod Stewart Atlantic Crossing

Willie Nelson Phases And Stages (Atlantic, 1974) “Roger Hawkins and David Hood had played on so many records we loved, including Phases And

Boz Scaggs z Scaggs antic, 1969) s probably a bit rlooked, but Boz Scaggs album e in Muscle Shoals eat. It says it was duced by the ing Stone guy n Wenner] but it really done by lin Greene, who ked on the classic y Sledge stuff – the rhythm section ger and David.”

nnie Fritts ne To Lean ntic, 1974) h a sad, mournful d – there’s a real ional heaviness . When we were ing in Muscle s and wrote Sad Blue, Donnie Fritts round. He told mitating Fritts) man, that’s a song.’ I was like, – he wrote

(Warner Bros., 1975) “One of the reasons we wanted Tom Dowd was his work with Rod Stewart, particularly the arrangements on the ballads – there was such a smooth, beautiful, sophisticated touch to those records. Dowd knew how to get that.”

Aretha Franklin Spirit In The Dark (Atlantic, 1970) “What I really wanted our album to sound like was The Thrill Is Gone – the Aretha version with [Jim Dickinson’s] Dixie Flyers backing her. That was the template in my mind – but I would never tell the rest of the band that. I would think that somehow, telepathically, they should just know. And you know what? They did know!”


©Mary McCartney

Macca’s Magic Piano: Paul McCartney at his London home, photographed by daughter Mary, July 4, 2018.

MOJO 69


By the time Goodall arrived at Penny Lane, the author of one of the most celebrated and minutely examined of all Beatles songs was feeling bewildered. “Here’s the thing,” said Goodall. “The piano in Penny Lane isn’t just one piano. On the record it’s four, and we can follow them by unpicking the track layer by layer like an archaeological dig, in the original masters.” McCartney was incredulous. “Four?! I’m not believing him. But I figure he’s worked it out – and, he’s got the tapes. ‘First of all, Paul played this piano…’” Goodall revealed the multiple parts whi comprise the sound that Paul McCartney had remembered as a single piano. One by one, Penny Lane’s sonic dynamic intensified. “I’m going, That’s pretty cool,” says McCartney. “At the end, it just sounds like a piano, so much so that I’d fooled myself.” Then Goodall turned to the additional instrumentation added to the song at Paul’s behest: the harmonium; the piccolo trumpet inspired by Bach’s 2nd Brandenburg Concerto… By the time Goodall had finished deconstructing then reassembling Penny Lane, McCartney sat back, stunned. “I’m thinking, Wow – did I do that?!” By the end of Goodall’s entire presentation, he was feeling inspired, energised. The complexion of his new album, the record he’d been working on periodically with producer Greg Kurstin for the past 12 months, suddenly became clear. “Watching that documentary reminded me of the frame of mind we were in: a ver y experimental, let’s-tr y-this approach. When Howard Goodall pulled it all apart, I went, Oh it was great when we used to do that! Fabulous!” The next day, McCartney ran into the recording studio, and told Kurstin what he’d seen and heard, what this “damn good little band” from Liverpool had done 50 years earlier, and what the pair of them were now about to do. “So then,” McCartney says, “we start.” ISIBLE FROM A QUARTER OF A MILE away, Hog Hill Mill seems to disappear the closer you get. The narrow roads and undulating contours of the East Sussex coun70 MOJO

tryside afford a measure of privacy to the 18th century windmill and its small neighbouring building which has housed Paul McCartney’s studio since 1985. MOJO unwittingly drives past twice, before stopping to call for directions. There’s something equally obvious yet elusive about the studio’s owner. Whether here or at home on the farm nearby, or at his office in ntral London’s Soho Square, Paul McCartney hides in lain sight: no overbearing security detail accompanies him, nor does he live in fortified seclusion. He deals with the distorting glare of fame by projecting it back in the public’s face. “I’ll go on the train, a crowded train, on my own,” he says. “Whereas Michael Jackson would ave taken 17 bodyguards.” On the day of MOJO’s visit, McCartney is in full-on projector mode. A team from CBS’s 60 Minutes, the US primetime news magazine show, are filming him in the studio, where recording sessions for his new album, Egypt Station, began in 2016. Given the practical confines of an 18th century mill outhouse, the process involves much ducking of beams and shuffling around squint corridors. The walls of the narrow hallway are decorated with a few presentation discs (Wings’ 2001 box set Wingspan is prominent) and a framed cycling magazine front cover, which initially seems incongruous until closer inspection reveals the winning rider belonging to the Linda McCartney Foods road racing team. No button is left unpressed as McCartney leads 60 Minutes around the room where the magic happens. Much of the equipment, he explains, was rescued from other recording studios looking to cash in on antique gear. To prove the point, he hovers over the mellotron that once lived in EMI’s Abbey Road – the harpsichord and harmonium are also here – and plays the opening bars of Strawberry Fields Forever. In the control room, McCartney’s longtime engineer Steve Orchard gives a shivery smile. He’ll have seen the routine before, but you can’t imagine getting blasé about such moments. Paul moves over to the Moog and essays a bit of Lady Madonna, finishing his tour on the drums. “Set up like Ringo’s – or ‘Sir Richard’ as we must now call him!” ➢

©Mary McCartney

NE DAY IN JUNE LAST YEAR, PAUL McCARTNEY WAS SUPPOSED to be recording his new album. Instead, he was watching television. Flicking through channels, he happened upon Sgt. Pepper’s Musical Revolution, a documentary by composer Howard Goodall. “Oh,” thought Paul, settling into his armchair, “this might be good.” Goodall sought to recalibrate the legend surrounding The Beatles’ Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Heart Club Band by employing rigorous analysis of its sonic innovation, as opposed to airy theories about cultural significance. His approach, both reverent and scholarly, involved the frequent use of musicological idiom: chromatic scales, Aeolian modality and the like. “Which was very interesting,” remembers McCartney, “because none of us thought like that. I know for sure that John, George and Ringo never thought like that. We just did it instinctively. We had no idea what we were doing, going to a major tonic seventh, or whatever. Gin and tonic’s all I know about…”


“My work is my play. It seems to be working OK.” Macca stays fit at home; (insets left) the game-changing Sgt. Pepper‘s Lonely Hearts Club Band; four pianos Penny Lane; new album Egypt Station.


With CBS finally satisfied, one of the studio staff rustles up the mandatory Macca working lunch of a hummus bagel, and Paul McCartney leads MOJO to the upstairs sitting room. Cheerful clutter abounds: photographs, books, and paintings, many of them McCartney’s own, though there is no sign of Egypt Station, the warm and colourful 1988 artwork that gave the new album its title. Amid drums and bells, the most unignorable musical instrument is the double bass that Bill Black played on Elvis Presley’s Sun recordings, a birthday present from Paul’s first wife Linda, and played by Paul in this very studio in February 1995, when the three surviving Beatles, with a little help from Jeff Lynne, recorded John Lennon’s Real Love. All mementoes of an extraordinary life, lived by an ordinary person. McCartney and I previously met in 2005, when he was not yet 64 and just about still married to Heather Mills. Today he’s less than a week away from 76, and in October will celebrate seven years of marriage to Nancy Shevell. He looks good on it. One of the keynote songs on his new album, Happy With You, is strikingly open about his current emotional well-being, especially as it suggests a past when things were not so great: “I sat around all day/I liked to get stoned/I used to get wasted/But these days I don’t – ’cos I’m happy with you/We’ve got lots of good things to do.” Although obviously older, he appears more comfortable than the man I remember from 13 years ago. His hair, long notoriously redolent of a bottle, or even a box, has been allowed to retire gracefully to its natural hue. His wardrobe choices say well-off, low-key, relaxed: a long-sleeved buttondown T-shirt and trousers sitting snugly around a waist that betrays a regular gym routine. As we settle on opposite sofas, he removes his skater-chic slip-ons, revealing bare feet, and briefly grapples with his phone. It’s the same bog-standard Nokia he had a decade ago, which inspired the title of 2007’s Memory Almost Full. Some took that as a clue that the greatest pop songwriter of all time had an eye on closure. The truth, says Paul McCartney, was more straightforward. “You don’t realise what significance people will put on things: y’know, ‘Sounds like a final gesture – give it another year then jack it in.’ It was something my Nokia phone said. I just thought it was cool.” So both you and the phone are still going strong. “I love what I do,” he says, simply. “But now,” he rummages in his pocket, “I’ve got an iPhone as well!”

©Mary McCartney, Getty

How do you know when it’s time to make a new album? There comes a point when you’ve got too many songs. You need to do something with them. Otherwise my wife will go mad at me – “What are you doing with all these songs in your room?!” Some of these are from quite a while ago. I just stockpile them. So I started to think: “I fancy making an album, it’s a There’s a good 10 songs we’ve left off th Did you have a musical route map at outset? If you want to get noticed these days, t above the chatter, there’s two ways to g is to get a producer who’s just gonna d 10 hits. Like a Taylor Swift album. And I thought, “I’m not sure I wanna do that.” Or, you can try and make an ‘album’ album. More like a concept, to set your brain to – any kind of song, doesn’t need to be a hit, something you just feel that may or may not be commercial. So I selected the songs I liked best from what I had and we worked on them with this vague idea at the back of my mind that it was gonna be an entity. There was gonna be a one-ness to it. Making an album, there’s a bit at the back of your mind – in mine, anywa – thinking, “What’s this gonna be called Abbey Road? No, that’s been ➢

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A dozen doses of emotional Macca, from The Beatles to now. (Help!, 1965) The place-holding lyric for the dreamt-up melody may have featured “scrambled eggs”, but Yesterday seemed to mine a much deeper part of McCartney’s subconscious. Written less than a decade after the death of his mother, there’s real life experience poignancy to the “Why she had to go…” sentiment.

(Revolver, 1966) A song of deep empathy for the lost and lonely – particularly remarkable coming from a writer who was only 23 years old. Hauntingly, there is no happy ending for the doomed Rigby or the attendant Father McKenzie, making this stark and bleak composition all the more moving.

(Abbey Road, 1969) The Beatles’ financial woes painted in lines of frustration and then escape (“Soon we’ll be away from here”). McCartney’s calm and detached delivery in the opening verses speaks of a childlike acceptance of a terrible situation and the sentiments that follow spotlight his inherent buoyancy.

(Let It Be, 1970) A self-healing hymn written during a turbulent time. Another (paging Dr Freud!) song produced by a dream – in this instance a vivid one in which McCartney’s mother visited him to cool his overheating mind. As with the best acutely personal songs, Let It Be’s affecting delivery struck a universal chord.

(McCartney, 1970) While Lennon was screaming his pain, McCartney was masking his own in deceptively breezy melody. ator is getting his head and gling to drag elf out of bed. tion comes in the of Linda and esticity: “I just to stay in and with you.”

Wild Life, 1971) fter the in-song arbs of Paul’s Too any People and ohn’s How Do You eep?, Macca ruck a sad and onciliatory tone the closing track f the first Wings bum: “I’m in love a friend of mine / y, truly.” Within

weeks of its release, the two met in New York and vowed to stop publicly slagging one another.

(McCartney II, 1980) Parental anxieties rendered as a soothing nursery rhyme, depicting a Grimm-like fairy tale landscape of perilous rapids and predatory polar bears. The ache of worry in the chorus (“If you ever should decide to go away”), matched to the bare arrangement, were the heart of a song that sounded sweet but revealed deep-seated fears.

(Tug Of War, 1982) McCartney’s reaction-in-song to the sudden, shocking absence of Lennon came in the form of a touching, imagined missive. Snapshots from their shared past result in an invocation of his friend’s spirit through the medium they knew best: “You were here today/For you were in my song”.

(Chaos And Creation In The Backyard, 2005) Rarely does McCartney ever publicly display anger, but this slinky ballad (with its echoes of producer Nigel Godrich’s acoustic albums with Beck) quietly seethes at an undisclosed “friend”. Speculation about the subject – Lennon? ex-Wing Denny Laine? Ex-publicist Geoff Baker? – raged online. But Macca remained tight-lipped.

(Memory Almost Full, 2007) On the cusp of 65, McCartney pictures his own funeral, while playing the same Abbey Road piano used on Lady Madonna and envisaging a celebratory scenario where bells chime and old songs are sung. Far from morbid, it’s a last will and testament to the enduring power of music and “the start of a journey to a much better place”.

(New, 2013) His voice gently cracked with age, Macca casts his mind back to his pre-fame days in Liverpool with Lennon, challenging those who claim to be experts on the era (but weren’t there). Topping this is a revealing admission of past vulnerability: “So many times I had to change the pain to laughter/Just to keep from getting crazy”.

(Egypt Station, 2018) In a similar vein to Every Night, a bright, dreamy (and masterful) chord progression serves to chart the progress of McCartney’s inner storm. At 76, he feels that he still has “so many lessons to learn” about the human condition. Moreover, I Don’t Know offers firm proof that his compositional gifts remain intact. Tom Doyle


He can work it out: “I wrote the song and then had more of an idea what to do.”; (left) with wife Nancy Shevell for the launch of his designer daughter Stella’s autumn 2018 collection in Los Angeles, January 16.


done… ” I happened to be thinking about a painting I’d done quite a while ago, called Egypt Station. “I like those words,“ I thought. Then I saw a picture of the painting and thought, “That could be an interesting album cover.” I’m not gonna do a big picture of me on the front, smiling. I thought this painting might be interesting: it’s crazy enough, and it’s a place. A mystical place. So there we were – Egypt Station.

MJ Kim/ MPL (3), MPL Communications

You’ve created your own world, even by the simple act of giving it a name. That was the idea. So then we were working with that in mind. I wanted to open it with sounds of the station – which is a nod to Sgt. Pepper, [which opens with] the sounds of a concert hall. I played it to [Beatles engineer] Geoff Emerick actually, when we were in LA, and he said, “That reminds us of something, doesn’t it?” I said, “Yup!” So it’s a tribute to that. If you wanna do the headphones-for-an-hour trip you can do it with this album.”

ITH HIS CHOICE OF PRODUCER, McCARTNEY effectively squared the ‘how to get your album noticed in the 21st century’ equation. Greg Kurstin is a conservatoryschooled jazz pianist. Since co-writing and producing Adele’s Hello, he’s also become the most in-demand studio alchemist on the planet, bridging the worlds of pure pop confection and serious rock artistry. The pair first worked together in early 2015, when Kurstin produced a day-long session with a large ensemble, including Lady Gaga and Pearl Jam’s Mike McCready, recording a song McCartney had written for an animated film. The project stalled amid funding difficulties, but McCartney liked Kurstin and decided he’d use him for his next album. In the interim, of course, Kurstin’s reputation had gone the full Adele. McCartney fretted a little – “Everyone’s gonna think I’m only using him ’cos he’s flavour of the month” – but after successful initial sessions in spring 2016, recording proceeded over the next 24 months, with chunks of studio time booked for periods when McCartney wasn’t touring, while Kurstin juggled producing new albums for Beck, Foo Fighters and Sia. They worked at the Mill, then in Los Angeles at Henson (the former A&M studio). Some songs McCartney presented to Kurstin in concrete form, with full band or solo demos, at which point began a process of deconstruction; others were brief fragments, voice memos on his phone. Finishing touches were applied at Abbey Road – a thrill for Kurstin, whose scholarly fascination with The Beatles’ sonic radicalism was complemented by the latter-day McCartney’s rekindled zeal for experimental techniques. “These days, when I go into a session, I either bring in a finished form, which would be my normal method, or just bring in a guitar and think, ‘OK, now we’re gonna make up something.’ Which at first I was a bit unsure about. Why would we go in not knowing what we were gonna do? But a lot of people work like that. I worked with Kanye and I didn’t think I even played a note, but I was chuntering away in the background and he was recording it all, and curated it into three songs. It’s something I haven’t done. I’m all for that.” The only seriously awkward moment arose when a scheduling mishap saw Kurstin double-booked and McCartney itching to maintain momentum. He went into the Mill with Ryan Tedder, the

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MTV talent show-winner and Timbaland protégé-turned-serial hitmaker for the likes of Beyoncé, Ed Sheeran and, somewhat inevitably, Adele. After two days spent extemporising vocals over a succession of hooks – as per the proven Tedder method – McCartney exploded at the banality of the process. “I said to Ryan, ‘This is crazy. I’ve got a career where I’ve been involved with songs that have meaning, and this doesn’t amount to anything… Y’know – I wrote Eleanor Rigby! And now I’m singing “I’m a lover for you, I’m a lover for you, I love you baby yes I do…” I can’t get into this.’” After almost abandoning the session, McCartney decided to persevere, with the caveat that he rewrite the lyrics later. The result is Fuh You, a single-entendre banger in the contemporary tradition. Here There And Everywhere it ain’t – but, its co-author notes, that was never the objective. “On the phone before we got in the studio, Ryan said to me, ‘What do you want to achieve from this week?’ And I could be coy and say, ‘I don’t know…’ but no, I cut to the chase. I said, ‘A hit!’ He said, ‘Great, you’re talking my language.


It’s never wallpaper music: Macca with his familiar Hofner bass; (insets opposite) initial sessions for Egypt Station, Henson Studios, Los Angeles, Febuary 2016; the painting that became new LP’s cover.

pected directness into their writer’s interior world, revealing pools of self-doubt – a quality rarely acknowledged by the popular image of Paul McCartney, or indeed by Paul McCartney himself. Crows at the window, dogs at your door – what’s going on there? That’s a grown-up song. Sometimes in your life, you’re not a god on Olympus. You’re a real person walking round the streets. I’m a grandfather, a father, a husband, and in that package there’s no guarantee that every minute’s gonna go right. (Laughs) In fact, quite the opposite. And there was a private occasion – I’m not gonna get into it – that brought me down. “God, what am I doing wrong?” I’m not knocking it, I have a great life. But from time to time, reality intrudes. This was one of those occasions where it was like, “Oh, fuck me…” The only thing I could do was sit down at the piano. (Mimes anguished key thumping) “Got crows at the window! Dogs at ma door!” It all spilled out in that song. So it’s a piano ballad in the blues tradition? Well exactly, it really is. “Ma woman left me!” It wasn’t that, but it was that sort of feeling. I didn’t really know what to do about it, other than write a song. So I wrote the song and then felt I had more of an idea what to do. You write out your demons. It felt good to just say, “I don’t know what to do!” It’s like owning up.

©Mary McCartney

The world loves a hit!’ It’s only a fun song anyway. It’s not trying to be important.” This detour aside, Egypt Station is strikingly successful in its formulation of an organic format for Paul McCartney, one where his eternal melodic virtues are tended with sensitivity. The depth and detail is intense, yet the canvas is never overburdened. The bucolic joys of Happy With You’s new dawn are counterpointed by I Don’t Know, a plaintive cry from the soul: “I got crows at the window, dogs at my door/I don’t think I can take any more/What am I doing wrong?” Redolent of late-period Wings, Dominoes is one of those archetypal Macca insinuations of philosophical insight around downhome choogle. Finally, there’s Despite Repeated Warnings, the album’s conceptual centrepiece: a multi-section suite, in the lineage of Band On The Run and Live And Let Die, right back to A Day In The Life, with metaphors (“The captain won’t be listening”; “Those who shout the loudest may not always be the smartest”; “It’s the will of the people”) resonant in the age of Trump and Brexit. Credit is due to Greg Kurstin, but the record’s strength stems from its core of exceptional songs, which shine a light with unex-

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Time for reflection: “They’re looking at Macca and thinking, ‘Well if he can still do it…’”; (opposite, bottom) McCartney in December 1965.

➣ ©Mary McCartney,

You’re not generally perceived as an emotional songwriter, even by other emotional songwriters. When Kanye West was asked about his collaboration with you, he said: “I might be a little more angst than Paul. I’m angst a bit like John Lennon.” Yet even your most famous songs surely qualify as exercises in “writing out demons”. Yesterday, for example. Yeah. Or The Long And Winding Road. That’s one of the great things about songwriting – it’s like a therapy session. But the thing with me is, I’m an optimist. Just every day when I see people, I’m a very outgoing Liverpool type. It’s very much how my family was. So it creates a certain impression. (Tweaks from regulation gentle to broad Scouse) “Arright luv, how ya doin’, eh? Nice day, isn’t it?” That’s me. The bottom line is, it sometimes gives people the wrong impression: that I don’t care, that I don’t think about stuff, and that I’m just a jolly happy chappy. Which isn’t true. There’s a thousand other aspects you don’t see. Have you ever seen Jeff Lynne without his sunglasses on? Yes. And it wasn’t a pretty sight. They’re his protective shield against the world. Do you have one? I’m sure I do. I attack with humour and bonhomie. Which is one reason why I Don’t Know is such a great song, because it

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feels at variance with your public persona, where often you’re the embodiment of great self-assurance. Yeah. I have my moments too. I felt OK about saying that. People may not think I am like this, but they’ll sure as hell be able to relate to it. Likewise Happy With You – it’s a positive declaration, but edged with darkness: “I used to drink too much/Forget to come home”… It is candid – I did used to get stoned, and wasted. The implication being that you weren’t necessarily happy – whereas people might have assumed, Hey! It’s Paul, he wrote that ‘ode to pot’ Got To Get You Into My Life, he’s still living the ’60s dream, baby… That’s right. Also… I’ve got a lot of friends who are sober. ’Cos they have to be. Like Ringo, Joe Walsh – because they just took it too far. When we were growing up, everyone would be going to the pub and drinking, but mostly it all seemed quite jolly. But when I talk to Ringo about it, he says “No, if you give me a vodka, I would have to finish the bottle.” So that’s empathising with Ringo: used to be doing crazy things, but you don’t now, ’cos you’re happy. And Ringo is – he’s very content with his life. It’s not necessarily autobiographical then? I did used to get a little bit more crazy than I do now – I’ve got eight


THE DEGREE to which Paul McCartney is unique and unusual as a composer is, I think, understated. But first let’s tick one of the basics off. He’s one of the greatest melodists who ever lived. He has a natural sense of melody, a feel for the arc and the shape of a phrase. It’s not studied; it’s something he naturally knows how to feel. However, compared to some of the other great melodists – like Richard Rodgers, or George Gershwin or for that matter Schubert or Mozart – he will tend to take something that’s familiar and make it take an unexpected turn. So when you hear it the first time, your head goes,Wait a minute, what’s going on there? And when you hear it the second or third time, it’s like, Why have I never heard this before? Also, his songs totally transcend the period they come from, which is very rare in popular music. Those songs tend to take you straight back to the point they were written – 1942, or 1959 or 1963. But if you didn’t know Eleanor Rigby had been written in 1966, and you didn’t know The Beatles, you wouldn’t be able to date it. It comes out of nowhere. You’d be hard pressed to put it in the right century, let alone decade. He also has a way of using existing elements – music hall, show tunes, folk music and classical – and making them his own. He can hear a bit of Bach and go, “That’s great, can I do that?” Some of it’s conscious, like the trumpet solo in Penny Lane, some of it isn’t – like the chordal arrangement in Blackbird is more or less a Bach chorale. He’s absorbed enough of that way of managing chords that he’s got from Bach to do his version.

David Montgomery/Getty, Getty

grandchildren, I haven’t got the time! Grandad can’t just be sitting (laughs) in his armchair with a great big doobie on and a bottle of tequila. Consequently, you are happy. It’s really cool to hear a robin singing, see a stream rushing down a mountain. It’s good to take tim for those things too. That’s more how I am now. When you reflect on your past, would you consider you had periods of self-medication? Definitely. Most particularly in the period right after The Beatles, when I was bummed out and in the middle of this horrendous shit where someone was going to take every penny we’d ever made. Tha wasn’t easy, and led to a very difficult time in my life. I definitely self-medicated there, and drank more than I ever had and probably more than I ever have since. But you go through it. You write out your demons… And Happy With You is saying there’s this other thing too: “I lied to doctor, but these days I don’t…” Who hasn’t lied to their doctor? That’s what I mean! “No, I’m fine, feeling great…” “Just the one glass of wine a week…”

His management of harmony is unbelievably expert. It never sounds like the product of trial and error. The lovely changes of key, the little modulations, and the clever inversions – which I think comes, to a degree, from being a bass player. He never just finds a nice chord change. He uses the chemistry of chords to get from one place to another. The best example of that is Here, There And Everywhere. He starts with that nice, relatively straightforward, bass moving up, G, Am7… A lot of people were writing chord sequences like that. But, five chords later we’re modulating out of G major, into E minor with the most fantastic inverted chord that takes us to a whole different place. Now, having made their nice change most pop composers would go back to the beginning and repeat it several times. Not good enough for McCartney. Instead, he moves to a completely new harmonic centre for “I want her everywhere…” – a radical change! And he manages the change back to the original key with the deftness of a classical composer who’s been trained for 15 years. One of my favourite songs of his, Back Seat Of My Car, off Ram, is a good example of this. He has this very straightforward, homage-toBrian Wilson kind of Californian chord sequence – Cm-F-Cm-F – completely vanilla. Anyone else would stay there for a bit, meander around. But in the third bar he changes key! He finds a whole new centre of gravity! It’s exhilarating! Combine the quirky turn of melody that takes you somewhere you weren’t quite expecting and the exciting use of harmony – that’s a double whammy. Many composers can do one of those things, very few can do both.


HREE WEEKS AFTER THE INTERVIEW AT HOG HILL Mill, MOJO has a second sit-down with Sir Paul, this time amid the low-key art deco stylings of his MPL office in London. Wearing a pale pink shirt, collarless, and with a hint of stubble around his chin, he’s just back from holiday with his wife and family. “On a boat in Greece,” he beams. “Really cool, in the fab sense.” The interim also saw the broadcast of his Carpool Karaoke session with James Corden, which, albeit submerged amid the presenter’s extreme unction, yielded one big reveal: Paul McCartney went inside 20 Forthlin Road for the first time since he’d lived in this south Liverpool council house – his home from the age of 13 until 1963, when he was swept away by the mania of being a Beatle.

on McCartney the co-producer, energy source… and drummer. HOW DO you help Paul McCartney make an album? I would ask myself the same question every day in the studio. Because he can do everything himself if he wants to. He’s an amazing guitarist, an amazing drummer, and he knows his mind. But I do think he likes to have someone to bounce ideas off of. Everybody gets a little self-conscious when they’re singing, even Paul McCartney. So it’s good just to have someone there to say, ‘That was a great take, let’s do a couple more.’ Watching how he crafts a song, though, is a privilege. He’s very in the moment. He’ll sing a song, make a ‘mistake’, and that would be the new lyric – that’s what would stay on the track. No second guessing. I’m really proud of Back In Brazil. We spent ages not quite getting it and finally to get a version that worked was really

satisfying. Then there are songs like Confidante and Happy With You: simple, acoustic, not a great deal of production. It has a variety that goes back to The Beatles – think of When I’m 64 being on the same record as Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds. Has there been another band who had that sort of variety and pulled it off? Were there any ‘rules’? The one rule was to not make things ordinary. That was the word he used. He won’t settle for ordinary; even the snare sound has to be ‘special’. Other than that, there was no self-editing. He likes to finish everything.The only real editing job was at the end when we had to decide which songs to include – there’s at least a whole other album, 12 bonus tracks, and I can’t believe some of these songs didn’t make it. I hope we’ve made a record as good as Chaos And Creation In The Backyard – I love that album. The songs deserve it. Certain lines would stick with me at the end of the day. A song like Do It Now – which is apparently something his father used to say to him, about living in the moment – that knocked me out. This album is definitely about where he’s at right now. There’s a vulnerability about these songs that makes them special.

Greg Kurstin (right) and McCartney listen back.

Whenever he returns to Liverpool, perhaps to lead a songwriting mentoring session at the Liverpool Institute, his former school, McCartney typically follows a routine. After flying up from London in the morning, he’ll rent a car at the airport, and the memories start. “Me and John riding our bikes along to the airport to watch planes landing – of course, that’s now John Lennon Airport. If only I’d been able to say to him, ‘They’re gonna name this airport after you…’ So whoever I’m with, one of my mates, I’d normally do a bit of a tour, drive my bus route to school: ‘This is where George got on, here’s where the girls’ school was, here’s my old house, and this is where I wrote, “Woke up, got out of bed, dragged a comb across my head…”’” At 20 Forthlin Road, he’d park outside, point to his bedroom above the front door, and the downstairs living room, where he and John Lennon wrote songs together, from Quarry Men days right up until I Saw Her Standing There in September 1962. But not once did Paul ever go and knock on the door to see if he could look round his old house. “Well, before it was a National Trust place there was someone living in it,” he begins to explain. “Actually, I did go to one of my old houses in Liverpool, 12 Ardwick Road. I was with my son. Some guy came out. ‘Eh, can I come in? I used to live here.’ He was very friendly and we had a laugh, showing my son around. But with Forthlin Road I had never wanted to go in. I thought it might be a little creepy. But we went in with Corden and it was funny. All the inconsequential details were the memories that came back: the cupboard where we had the condensed milk, how I mixed up the bottles of HP Sauce and Camp Coffee when I was making my dad a cup of coffee once. The cooker used to have a little grill on it, and I used to cook the evening meal ’cos I got in earliest… It was good – it broke the spell.” Paul had been living at 20 Forthlin Road for just over a year when his mother Mary died, of cancer, in 1956. For that reason alone, his feelings about the place would be awkward. But as the crucible of so many pivotal moments in his subsequent musical journey, it must have cast an inordinately large shadow. “The main thing for me was just realising, Wow, I lived like that. As a real human being, in Liverpool, with all the concerns of a normal person. And here I was, coming back, after that amazing tsunami of The Beatles. Here I was coming back to the same space.” AUL McCARTNEY HAS RECURRING DREAMS. “Failing on-stage, or in the studio. Just it going wrong. We’re playing a dreadful gig somewhere and the audience are walking out. That happens a lot. But it’s kinda nice – I get to meet John and George. So that’s kinda good. Another one is I’ve got my bass and I’m trying to get ready to record something and it’s got black gaffa tape all over it. So I’m ripping this black gaffa tape off the neck… Frustration dreams. I don’t think anyone escapes that stuff.” From the evidence of Egypt Station, this 76-year-old man is taking stock, both of his personal landscape and the bigger picture. People Want Peace is his latest attempt to write an ecumenical hymn-cum-anthem, partly inspired by McCartney’s experiences around the controversial decision to play a gig in Tel Aviv in 2008, which some friends had counselled him against. “They said ‘You can’t go’. The trouble is, when you say that to me, it makes me wanna go. I don’t like being told what to do.” He performed while endorsing OneVoice, a global initiative supporting Israeli and Palestinian activists who seek a negotiated two-state resolution to the conflict. “It was something my dad had said when I was a kid,” he says. “‘The people want peace, it’s the politicians who mess it up.’ And that’s held pretty true.” ➢

MPL Communications, Getty, Alamy

(Laughs) That’s the one! It’s a big glass! Yeah, these things creep into your songs. They’re not all autobiographical, but you inevitably pull in bits from what’s happening to you.


“Wow, I lived like that�: chaos, or creation, about to break out in the backyard of 20 Forthlin Road, Allerton, Liverpool, (also inset) as George Harrison, John Lennon and Paul plot skiffle band moves, September 8, 1961.

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©Mary McCartney

Macca and politics don’t mix, at least not musically. His poems, such as Big Boys Bickering, have a blunt instrument quality which Harold Pinter might have admired (“Big boys bickering/And so the game goes on and on/Big boys bickering/Fucking it up for everyone/For everyone!”). Then there’s his act of protest in 1982, when he telegrammed Margaret Thatcher to upbraid her about the government’s treatment of NHS nurses, on strike for a 12 per cent pay increase. “Give health workers a break,” he demanded, warning: “What the miners did to Ted Heath, the nurses will do to you.” Paul has forgotten ever writing it, but seems pleased to be reminded. “Good on me! Good on me. That’s pretty cool. My mum was a nurse. Around that time, and still to this day, nurses don’t get their due credit, or pay. It is a major problem. Well I’m glad I wrote to her, though (laughs) unfortunately I don’t remember it.” Few remember his most notorious foray into protest song with much fondness, however. Regardless of any artistic merits, Wings’ 1972 post-Bloody Sunday broadside Give Ireland Back To The Irish failed to get heard, which has to be the principal criterion for agitpop. McCartney agrees. “I don’t think I write brilliant political songs. They don’t have the effect of We Shall Overcome or Give Peace A Chance. But, as Linda would have said, ‘It’s allowed’. Sometimes the situation just gets too much. You write them out of frustration.” By contrast, Despite Repeated Warnings is spectacular musically and affirms the virtue of ambiguity in a lyric. Who is “the captain” and what is “his own agenda”? What is “the foolish plan” that “we” want to “stop going through”. Can “the engineer” somehow save the ship? What is “the will of the people”? “Trump is in there,” McCartney agrees. “Not Brexit, it was written before Brexit. But Trump, definitely. It’s more about anyone who would deny climate change. Y’know, I’m married to an American, I go to America a lot and I have a lot of American family, American friends… and we tend to be liberal. But there’s one or two that you don’t talk to if you’re out having dinner, ’cos you know they’re “I am working-class. I like They’re funny, clever, gonna stick up for him. I don’t them. and they work.” McCartney, want to be an activist particularly, at home, but not thinking but if I feel there’s an injustice I about retirement just yet. want to make myself heard. Putting this guy Pruitt [Scott Pruitt, US Environmental Protection Agency administrator] in charge of the environmental agency, a guy who fought against it when he was in office – it’s so insane. I know who the captain is, I think most people get it.” McCartney didn’t vote in the 2016 EU referendum – he was on tour, in Europe. In an interview with the Washington Post shortly afterwards, he admitted to feeling confused, hearing “good arguments on both sides”, but stated that he’d have “come down on the Remain side, because people like the Governor of the Bank Of England, a lot of financial experts, were saying that.” Two years on, he’s no less equivocal. “I understand the frustration with Europe. Because I run into it, certain bits of bureaucracy. I live on a farm and

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we’ve got sheep. When they die, I bury them. It happens to be an organic farm, so that makes sense to me. But there’s a ruling from Strasbourg, Brussels, somewhere, that these days you can’t bury them. When a ruling comes from London, that was bad enough for Liverpool people. But when it comes from Strasbourg, and it’s crazy… So even though part of me supports Europe because there’s been a prolonged period of peace, I get why people wanted out. But I also get why people wanted in. We just have to see what happens.” Despite the massive wealth and the fame which affords him the privilege of easy – if not free – movement across the globe and through life’s entanglements, Paul McCartney still regards himself as working-class. “It’s nothing to do with me. It’s how I was brought up. I am working-class. I like the working class! They’re funny. They’re clever. And they work. Which is rather interesting. Because not everyone does that. I like working.” You’re a 76-year-old who’s about to tour the world yet again. Do you entertain thoughts of retirement? Inevitably you do. I mean, I had those thoughts at 65. Which is a while ago. ’Cos 65 is the retirement age. In my world, in the working class. It’s 66 now. Oh they moved it? Hey, they can move it as far as they like, I don’t mind. ’Cos my work is play. Seems to be working OK. The Rolling Stones are still out there – do you feel a common cause with them, enabling you to keep going? I’m giving them the confidence to go out there. They’re looking at Macca and thinking, “Well, if he can still do it…”! We’ve all realised we love playing. And we do happen to be good at it.

HE OFFICE DOOR OPENS: TARA, THE KEEPER OF THE McCartney diary, is here to announce the end of time. Paul gets to his feet and starts padding around the dark blue art deco carpet. MOJO asks if the vintage Wurlitzer jukebox in the corner still works? He fiddles with a plug and the machine’s lights come on, offering us a dream selection of foundational Macca: Fats Domino, Little Richard, Buddy Holly, The Everly Brothers, Al Jolson’s Give My Regards To Broadway… “We’d better hear something, hadn’t we?” McCartney selects Elvis Presley’s Hound Dog, and starts bopping around the room. I expect him to usher me out after the first chorus/verse, but he’s strapped in for the duration, air-guitaring through both of Scotty Moore’s astonishing solos. The second one in particular, I venture, sounds completely improvised. “Oh I think so!” McCartney yells. “You could only ever play that once.” After two minutes and 15 seconds of transportation, he opens the door and we exit, back into the outside world. On a sofa, beneath Peter Blake’s version of Landseer’s Monarch Of The Glen, lie the sleeve proofs for Egypt Station. M It’s a real place now.


MOJO FILTE R YOUR GUIDE TO THE MONTH'S BEST MUSIC EDITED BY JENNY BULLEY jenny.bulley@bauermedia.co.uk

CONTENTS

82 ALBUMS s The Wanderer returns: Cat Power’s back s Christine And The Queens crowned s Weller speak the truth s Harmony Rockets take flight s Spiritualized back on form s Plus, Mudhoney, Richard Thompson, Villagers, Wayne Shorter, Blood Orange and more.

98 REISSUES s American treasure, Tom Petty s Alice Coltrane at Warners s The Beta Band’s big three s Plus, Soft Cell, Pet Shop Boys, Skatalites, Led Zeppelin, The Doors, Grateful Dead and more.

112 BOOKS s François Hardy, George Martin, Wayne Kramer and more.

114 LIVES s Curfew breaking Pearl Jam s Natalie Merchant in Cambridge.

INDEX

“A brilliant display of soft power and hard muscle” VICTORIA SEGAL BOWS TO CHRISTINE AND THE QUEENS

Abels, Michael 91 Band, The 107 Beta Band, The 102 Beths, The 90 Beyond The Wizard’s Sleeve 101 Blood Orange 91 Bonamassa, Joe 88 Calcium 103 Carlson, Magnus 87 Cat Power 82 Cave, Nick/Bad Seeds 94 Chills, The 90 Christine/The Queens 89 Clayton, Merry 103 Coates, Oliver 87 Coleman, Brandon 92 Collette, Ned 90 Coltrane, Alice 100 Curved Air 105 Dawson, Steve 90 Doors, The 105 Echo Ladies 91 Ellington, Duke/ Coleman Hawkins 105 Escovedo, Alejandro 91 Gazelle Twin 91 Gentry, Bobbie 102

Gonzales, Chilly Goon Sax, The Grateful Dead Haley, Bill Harmony Rockets Hawkwind Helm, Amy House Of Love I-Mo-Jah Kravitz, Lenny Lauderdale, Jim Led Zeppelin Lemon Twigs, The Low Marley, Bob Matlock, Glen McCartney, Paul McNiff, Jason Modern Sound Quintet Mudhoney Nadler, Marissa Necks, The Now Vs Now One Eleven Heavy Orbital Pet Shop Boys Petty, Tom

91 90 105 105 86 93 93 101 105 87 88 105 93 87 103 84 85 92 103 93 88 87 92 85 88 101 98

Pixies 107 Powers, Trevor 88 Prince 84 Rammellzee V K-Rob103 Ribot, Marc 90 Shears, Jake 84 Shorter, Wayne 88 Skatalites, The 103 Soft Cell 101 Soft Machine 88 Spiritualized 90 Springs, Kandace 92 Stein, Juanita 84 Stills, Chris 93 Strummer, Joe 107 Suede 93 Swamp Dogg 92 Thompson, Richard 92 Träden 87 VA Destination Crampsville 103 VA: Make Mine Mondo101 Villagers 84 Vodun 85 Weller, Paul 85 White, Tony Joe 93 Wild Nothing 85 Wilson, Ann 92

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F I LT E R A L B UM S

Queen of the wild frontier Back after six years away, as a new parent, Chan Marshall is on the move and travelling light. But Victoria Segal sees storm clouds up ahead. Illustration by Darkhouse Quarter. guitar – these are still songs open to the hostilities of the outside world, songs that are forced to criss-cross dangerous territory, both personal and political. It begins with the title track, a sunthrough-clouds a cappella spiritual that Marshall Wanderer might be singing from a mountain top at dawn, a DOMINO. CD/DL/LP choir of ethereal voices curling around like mist. Yet by the time it is reprised as final song Wanderer/Exit, HE GOLD boxing gloves on the cover of Cat its serenity has been sand-blasted away, scuffed into Power’s 2006 album The Greatest have become a weary guitar strum and rueful trumpet, all those an unlikely totem for Chan Marshall’s career: comforting voices rubbed out. If Wanderer has an her ability, no matter what, to come back fighting. arc, it’s a downward curve, pride and grace giving The six years since the release of her last album Sun, way to sheer defiance, because that’s all there is. much like the six years before it, have not been easy “These are There are times when Marshall makes Wanderer for her, time scarred by bankruptcy and break-ups, songs open to an explicit state-of-the-nation address, exchanging ill health and hospital admissions, the pressure to land another “hit” after The Greatest’s commercial the hostilities unworldliness for a watchful simmer. The delicate lines and percussive weave of In Your Face punch. It is tempting, then, to see the self-produced of the outside piano softly trace out a disturbing picture of unthinking Wanderer – effectively a comeback album on a new power – “You never need/You’re American/You label – as a glorious return, a grand redemptive world, both never take what you say seriously” – while the rawstatement, all crowned with a guest appearance from personal and boned, shivery folk yodel of Robbin Hood eyes up Lana Del Rey. Marshall, announcing the album’s political.” the injustices on every city street, calculates the existence on Instagram last July, certainly appeared threat levels of being the wrong person in the wrong jubilant: “Back in the game,” she wrote in a scatter place at the wrong time. The strutting Woman, of emoji hearts and rainbows that might have featuring backing vocals from former touring partner Lana Del surprised her mid-’90s lo-fi self. Rey, meanwhile, is Marshall’s I Will Survive: “The doctor said I Yet it is another Instagram post that hints at the subtle and was better than ever/Man you shoulda seen me,” she sings, as the shifting mood of Wanderer. In April 2015, Marshall wrote about her music respectfully gives her space to testify. “The doctor said I was horror and sadness at the protests in Baltimore sparked by the not my past/He said I was finally free.” death of Freddie Gray, events she was late to find out about Yet Marshall also suggests through these songs that it’s not that because, she mentioned, she had been in hospital having a baby. As easy. The constant movement suggested by the title comes to seem birth announcements go, it was oddly less like a freedom or forward motion, and more a chain, a burden. apocalyptic: parents naturally worry about Gradually, Wanderer slows down, fatigue creeping into its bones, the world they are bringing their children the songs grinding to an exhausted halt. On the gentle family into, but here, there was no division hymn Horizon, accompanied by Jim White on drums and The between this moment of pure vulnerability Blues Explosion’s Judah Bauer on guitar – Marshall sings to her and the turbulent streets outside. Marshall mother, father, siblings, yet can never quite be close enough to has often seemed to inhabit such an keep them in focus: “I’m headed the other way.” Her cover of unusually porous world: 1998’s eerily Rihanna’s Stay seems to lift out of a cloud of tobacco smoke and clairvoyant Moon Pix was famously written despair, the refrain of “round and around and around we go”, during a long dark night in an isolated testament to two people locked in a downward spiral. There are South Carolina farmhouse, Marshall playing BACK STORY: other pitfalls, other dangers too: the saloon cabaret of Black songs to ward off the thousands of dark GOSPEL TRUTHS invokes “la Grande Faucheuse” or “angel of death”, turning spirits she felt massing outside the windows. ● Chan Marshall chose addiction and overdose into a terrifying folk tale: “When the a cappella Wanderer as Her live shows, meanwhile, became the first song on the white light went away I knew Death was setting in.” For Marshall, notorious in the late-’90s for her tendency album as it reminded wandering isn’t just about the fresh air and untouched pioneer to abandon songs unfinished before her of her family: her spaces: it’s a walk on the dark side, too. dad sang in church, as dissolving into tears and self-recrimination, There’s no danger of Wanderer outstaying its welcome, but did her grandmother. her thin professional skin washed away by “I think of these while it’s a brilliant return, it wouldn’t be quite right to claim it intense, uncurbed emotion. ancestors I know didn’t as a triumph. Not because of the quality of these songs, but have TV and a phone and Wanderer is, sound-wise at least, not a because Wanderer is a record that knows the cost of living and albums and shit – my record that breaks its banks: it is poised, great grandma was a the price of losing all too well. “I am leaving,” sings Marshall cotton picker – and I spectral, rangy, stripped down from the on the penultimate farewell of Me Voy, “good as gone.” Until know when you’re electronic experimentation of Sun or the next time, then, these are the tracks to follow. Round and singing songs together Memphis soul of The Greatest without on your front porch, around and around we go. that’s part of the history feeling hollowed out. Yet for all its creative of humanity. You sing, clarity – a joy captured by the powerful CHAN MARSHALL TALKS MOTHERHOOD, DEATH, and that’s what you do.” EMPOWERMENT AND “THE OMINOUS DUDE”. cover image of Marshall, her son and her

Cat Power

★★★★

Alamy

T

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CAT SPEAKS!


F I LT E R A L B UM S Jake Shears

★★★★

thrillingly, poignantly – like you’re in the room with him. Danny Eccleston

Jake Shears ABSOLUTE/FREIDA JEAN. CD/DL/LP

Scissor Sisters’ estran frontman reveals all in his solo debut.

“It feels like this fleshed-out heartbeat.”

After several fallow years living in LA and breaking up with his partner, Jake Shears relocated to New Orleans and now returns with renewed energy. Just as well, because Scissor Sisters’ last album, Magic Hour (2012), sounded like music made by committee. Shears heads in a new bluesy direction on a debut recorded with a live band (including members of My Morning Jacket) in Louisville, Kentucky, and produced by Kevin Ratterman (MMJ and Ray LaMontagne), the king of smoky yet spacey sounds. There are nods to Scissor Sisters with some honky-tonk disco and references to the demi-monde. But there are also extraordinary tracks of looped beats and grainy heartbreak. The Bruiser, for instance, and Everything I’ll Ever Need, where Shears sings, vulnerable and lost: “I sleep with pillows piled around me like a cloud.” What a graceful image. Bless. Lucy O’Brien

Chan Marshall talks to Victoria Segal. When did the album start to come together? “About three years ago was when I began writing again. The first step was stripping everything down and just being alone again with my guitar. Strip down and go forward. I had a son in April 2015, and after two months I went back to work. I had a home recording set-up in this house I rented. I call it the Pink House – it’s not a studio. With breastfeeding, travelling and sleeping four hours a day with your baby, the process of recording is: maybe you take three days to become functioning in your domestic area with your dogs, your laundry, your sleeplessness, your child. In between being in the Pink House, I would go to this other studio in Little Haiti. The next year I went to Los Angeles to this studio called Mant with [producer] Rob Schnapf. It’s great having it finished. It feels like a baby – it feels like this fleshed-out heartbeat.” What’s the cover image about? “I chose that image because this is me and these are the key things that are – I don’t want to say my glory – but being able to write songs and sing them and having the trust of other humans to be able to communicate with them by singing them. I feel very blessed as a weirdo to be able to do that, and also to have the experience as a human being, to actually be able to understand now what love actually feels like.” There’s a folkloric quality to the song Black. Can you explain its background? “So, this song is about the angel of death as an ominous dude. The song is about death and friends that have overdosed and it’s about friends who are still using and haven’t been able to, you know… friends who’ve made an agreement with that ominous dude. The song is just telling a story about death because I believe everyone who passes is still alive in the other dimension or whatever. I believe that there is a continued transaction somehow, whether it’s in dreams or … anyway, I won’t get into it. I know that sounds crazy but I don’t care how it sounds.” How about the song Woman, featuring Lana Del Rey? “I think it’s a testament song. Being able to see things clearly. Being empowered by being able to see things clearly. And being proud of myself, as a human, as a female body, as a woman having love and having dignity. Feeling good about my place at my table. Not being a party to my demise. Not being a victim. I believe there is great joy in being female. There’s a joyful vibration in being a woman that just can’t be taken away. Or hopefully not any more.”

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Juanita Stein

★★★★ Until The Lights Fade NUDE. CD/DL/LP

Second solo album fro former Howling Bells s and guitarist.

e r

Until The Lights Fade shows that on her 2017 solo debut, America, Juanita Stein was getting her bearings. Those faux-country stylings have faded into the background, and while there’s a link with the dark cool of her previous band, this is a leaner, grittier offering, more direct and dynamic, particularly the single Forgiver co-written with The Killers’ Brandon Flowers. French Film is haunting and cryptic and Release Me, etched with twinkling celeste, suggests the nocturnal musings of Mazzy Star. But overall the songs are more demonstrative. On Get Back To The City Stein explains why “sometimes the cool girls end up with the assholes” to a typically strong melody and widescreen chorus. Her lyrics draw you in, as she explores the chemistry of attraction on the title track to an appropriately sexy descending chord sequence, while a fly-by-night lover gets his comeuppance on Easy Street. Mike Barnes

Villagers

★★★★ Prince

The Art Of Pretending To Swim

★★★★

DOMINO. CD/DL/LP

Piano & A Microphone 1983

Conor O’Brien dials do the intensity. The liste reaps the rewards.

WARNER BROS. CD/DL/LP

Acoustic solo session hinting at alternate futures for the protean purple pontiff. “Is that my echo?” asks the voice of Prince Rogers Nelson at the beginning of the first full release from the notorious Vault. He’s just checking on his monitoring with engineer Don Batts. Except that now it’s an echo from beyond the grave, and an echo of a past when Purple Rain and mega-success had yet to happen. The seeds of both are here, though, in this intimate, for-his-ears-only performance, as Prince segues between works-in-progress (Purple Rain as aching piano sketch) and grandstanding workouts (Mary Don’t You Weep is a full-on gospel exorcism). His piano-playing is a joy, his vocals a dramatis personae of lively characters: feminine and Broadway on Wednesday; comically gruff on Cold Coffee & Cocaine; like Kate Bush versus Randy Newman on Why The Butterflies. The whole thing feels –

Since his Becoming A Jackal debut in 2010, Conor O’Brien has explored electronica (on 2013’s {Awayland}) and addressed his sexuality on 2015’s largely acoustic Darling Arithmetic. The Dubliner’s

Star and stripes: Juanita Stein.

fourth album of original material is his most varied sonically (strings and brass are quirkily deployed), yet is perversely his least fussy, happy to let a simple melody be carried by his distinctively sweet, slightly prim diction. Long Time Waiting is a cool groove that could go on forever; the closing Ada an epic swoon; subtle soul and dance elements entwine organically throughout. And while tortured lyricist syndrome is in evidence (lapsed believer O’Brien is preoccupied with varieties of “faith”) he acknowledges that music can be an “anaesthetic for the journey” as well as a fervid epiphany, and for once the cleverness-signalling feels secondary on his most easyto-enjoy album to date. Danny Eccleston

Glen Matlock

★★★ Good To Go MIGHTY VILLAGE. CD/DL/LP

Ex-Pistols’ first solo al since 2010’s Born Runn lets slip past shackles. “No one wants to hear a 60-year-old man playing punk,” Glen Matlock told MOJO last year, while previewing this long-overdue LP, recorded in rural upstate New York with old friends, guitarist Earl Slick and The Stray Cats’ Slim Jim Phantom. Liberated by this thinking, Good To Go shows startling insouciance; Matlock vamping over twanging rockabilly, dirty swamp rock, smart art rock and sultry blues, and even essaying a richly toned, velvety cover of Scott Walker’s Montague Terrace (In Blue). Earl Slick’s guitar brings a Bowie-esque lustre to the needling Hook In You, but it’s the loose, swinging art-punk soul-pop of Strange Kinda Taste and Chill that show what the bassist (who here mostly delegates that role to producer Jim Lowe) is still capable of as a songwriter, while ripping closer Keep On Pushing – with the Pistols’ first-ever producer, Chris Spedding, on guitar – completes a rollicking ride. Pat Gilbert

Eliot Lee Hazel

Chan is Cat: feeling good about her place at the table?


Honest, guvnor

In a field of his own: Paul Weller, looking for a “rusty key to set me free”.

A marker of his 60th birthday, recorded in three-and-a-bit creative weeks. By John Harris.

Paul Weller

★★★★ True Meanings PARLOPHONE. CD/DL/LP

SOME OF the explanation for Paul Weller’s pastoral, acoustic-ish side lies in such elemental influences as The Beatles, The Kinks, and Small Faces. It’s also instructive to think about his roots in Surrey, and a home turf that straddled suburban sprawl and the green belt. Whatever, music with a bucolic aspect has been part of what he does from the beginning: go back to 1977, for example, and listen to Tonight At Noon from The Jam’s This Is The Modern World, an evocation of love and rural scenery light years away from his punk contemporaries. Now, 40 years later, this facet of his art is given full rein, to repeatedly wondrous effect. The title of Weller’s 26th album seems to serve notice of a journey into its author’s soul. The quiet, plaintive voice he decisively found on 2017’s soundtrack to the boxing movie Jawbone lends some of the songs an affecting sense of intimacy and vulnerability; some of the lyrics seem to attest to existential angst, and intimations of mortality. Glide looks back to a time when “all the fears that kept you awake/At night, were strangely calmed”; the

narrative voice in the impossibly elegant Gravity wants to “Find the child inside of me… This rusty key will set him free”, only to be regretfully pulled back to earth. “Oh gravity,” Weller laments. “It follows me/Wherever I go.” Up close, though, the idea of a 14-track acoustic(ish) confessional doesn’t quite add up. Four of the songs have lyrics written by other people: one from Conor O’Brien of Villagers, three by Erland Cooper of Erland & The Carnival, including Bowie, an elegantly oblique tribute to its titular subject. And for all the hints of melancholy, there are also contrasting moods: the celebration of lust in Come Along (which features those great English virtuosos Danny Thompson and Martin Carthy), and the uplifting themes of Movin On, May Love Travel With You and

on a strong run following last year’s Clipper Ship solo joint; British interloper Nick Mitchell Maiato is a game, if sometimes rather strained, foil. Perfection, of course, isn’t really the point of this cosmic good-time music, which reaches its apotheosis with Toth’s Crosses, a downhome boogie very much in the tradition of Jerry Garcia’s Bertha. John Mulvey

One Eleven Heavy

★★★ Everything’s Better KITH & KIN. DL/LP

Tom Oldham

Wooden Wand and friends convene for Big Pinkflavoured freakout. “Roadkill Americana” is the genre name one social media commentator bestowed on this debut by transatlantic supergroup of sorts, One Eleven Heavy – and it’s not a bad fit. A certain ragged choogle proliferates, and a sense of Music From Big Pink or Workingman’s Dead being re-imagined by Royal Trux. A sometime Trux bassist, Dan Brown, actually figures here, alongside Ryan Jewell (a Ryley Walker drummer), Hans Chew (Leon Russell reincarnated, loosely) and two frontmen. James ‘Wooden Wand’ Toth takes the laurels,

the ominous futuristic glow of mobile phones, not a natural ally of Tatum’s hazy nostalgia – is a meticulous act of indie curation. Every song is arranged beautifully – AOR saxophone on Partners In Motion, depressive Disintegration-style chimes on Canyon On Fire – but it feels like an accomplished assemblage rather than a living, breathing whole. Victoria Segal

lean on down-tuned pentatonic Sabbath riffs to garnish their grooves, Vodun guitarist The Marassa favours a faster, frenetic technical style that allows the rallying banshee wail of singer Oya (ex-Do Me Bad Things warbler Chantal Brown) to raise dormant spirits above Ogoun’s cowbell-driven tribal rhythms. This intense spillage proves a powerful elixir on the pounding, primal Spirits Past, crazily volatile Rituals and New Doom, a searing duet with Turbowolf’s Chris Georgiadis with a dramatic whiff of the stage musical. Elsewhere, female empowerment anthem Started From and grandma homage For Your Kin throw light into the shade. On such soul-searing evidence, the only way is up. Andy Cowan

Vodun

Paul McCartney

★★★★

★★★★

Ascend

Egypt Station

NEW HEAVY SOUNDS. CD/DL/LP

CAPITOL. CD/DL/LP

Headbanging, bootyshaking afro-futurist London trio’s second spiritual high.

Just as the shadows lengthen… a surprise good day sunshine!

There are few recent precedents for Vodun’s formulabucking amalgam of heavy metal and afrobeat. While their contemporaries Here Lies Man

Macca fans have been bracing for the long goodbye: the shorter tours, the longueurs between albums, the voice losing its spring and grip, the

Wild Nothing

★★★ Indigo CAPTURED TRACKS. CD/DL/LP

Into the blue with Black Virginia’s most tenaci indie dreamer.

g,

Jack Tatum’s fourth album as Wild Nothing is in thrall to a romantic, sepia-tinged pop past; the Virginian singersongwriter running his own little private museum of The Cure, The Smiths and Roxy Music (there’s a few shoegazing relics in the cabinets kept out back for connoisseurs). Tatum sings about the rituals of “selective memory” on the orchestral gloom Oscillation, and Indigo – a title inspired by

White Horses, the triptych of great songs that closes the whole thing. True Meanings’ triumph, in fact, is the way it explores an array of mindsets, themes and textures while staying true to its signature sound, in the manner of a great singer-songwriter album from the golden age of such things. The keynote elements are restraint, acoustic guitars and gorgeous orchestrations. Mayfly’s flecks of R&B hark back to Broken Stones; in a different form, Old Castles might have found its way on to either The Style Council’s early records or their swansong, Confessions Of A Pop Group. That said, the amazing thing about this almost flawless record is the way it alights on an entirely new air of depth and fascination, in keeping with its author’s age and experience: a real feat, which once again puts Paul Weller in a field of his own. birthdays mounting up to 76. But now, five years after his last album, New, Paul McCartney releases his bounciest, catchiest, most consistent collection since, well, Band On The Run. How has he done it? By returning to the disciplines of that ‘70s era when a hit single really mattered. So: the thumping swagger of Abe Laboriel Jr’s Ringoid drums; no clutter – let’s hear the hooks, not have to dig for them; strict quality control on melody, harmony and groove; concision – no song outstays its welcome. Take a bow, then, Beck, Adele and Kelly Clarkson producer Greg Kurstin. Every song has a talking point, conspicuously the seven-minute Despite Repeated Warnings. Contra-Brexit? Eco-alert? Whatever, every song puts a tap in your toe, a worm in your ear and a smile on your face. Mat Snow

MOJO 85


F I LT E R A L B UM S

Fates conspire Mercury Rev and special friends tune into Woodstock space rock. By John Mulvey.

Harmony Rockets

★★★★ Lachesis/Clotho/Atropos TOMPKINS SQUARE. CD/DL/LP

FIFTY YEARS after Music From Big Pink, and 20 from Mercury Rev’s Deserter’s Songs, the lure of Woodstock as a bucolic retreat remains potent. These days, the local atmosphere is often more genteel than outlaw, as well-heeled ex-hippies queue alongside prints of Dylan and The Band in artisanal bakeries. But still, a certain maverick spirit survives, which comes to the fore on a beatific new set from the Harmony Rockets. When Jonathan Donahue and Sean ‘Grasshopper’ Mackowiak left New York after the failure of Mercury Rev’s third album, See You On The Other Side (1995), they also mostly abandoned the freestyle weirdness that had invigorated much of their early work. From Deserter’s Songs onwards, Mercury Rev’s music

86 MOJO

has tended towards a Disneyfication of the American wilderness; at its best conjuring chamber rock wonder, at its worst pirouetting into whimsy. Covertly, though, Donahue and Grasshopper have continued to dabble in more outré experiments, via the Harmony Rockets project begun in 1995. The past decade has seen two low-key sets, The Crawling Journey Of The Serpents Starry Night and Angels Are Spirits, Flames Of Fire, which reconnect with the billowing space rock that illuminated those early Mercury Rev albums. Lachesis/Clotho/Atropos is a much more auspicious release, planting that adventurous imperative squarely into the Catskills ecosystem. Donahue and Grasshopper’s fellow travellers are critical: Sonic Youth drummer Steve Shelley; Wilco’s guitarist Nels Cline; Woodstock luthier Martin Keith on bass, and Peter Walker on acoustic guitar. Walker is especially well versed in the cosmic potentialities of roots music, having been a ’60s fellow traveller of John Fahey,

Karen Dalton’s confidant and, for a time, the “Musical Director” of Dr Timothy Leary’s LSD events. The line-up gel beautifully on these three long instrumentals, named after the Greek fates. Lachesis begins with the drones of a morning raga, Walker doodling impressionistically, while Grasshopper and Cline warm up in the left and right channels respectively. Shelley kicks in with his evolved Dingerbeat, but the piece retains a misty imprecision, like an ambient reading of the Grateful Dead’s Dark Star. Clotho has greater urgency, Cline’s needling lead highlighting an affinity with Wilco’s motorik showstopper, Spiders (Kidsmoke). But it’s Atropos where Walker really shines, his tangled flamenco strums intertwining with Cline’s empathetic jazz tones and Grasshopper’s delicate phasing. It’s here, too, that a way forward for Mercury Rev presents itself. If Donahue and Grasshopper can channel more of this antic creativity into their mainstream work, then Mercury Rev’s records might yet recapture the thrills of the ’90s; a new sylvan psychedelia to match the madness of Yerself Is Steam.

Letitia Smith

Harmony Rockets (from left) Jonathan Donahue, Jesse Chandler, Peter Walker, Martin Keith, Grasshopper, Steve Shelley, Nels Cline.


ELECTRONICA BY STEPHEN WORTHY

Lenny Kravitz

★★ Raise Vibration BMG. CD/DL/LP

Eleventh, try-too-hard album from dogged r revivalist. The early promise of Lenny Kravitz’s retro-recording/classic tunesmith obsessions was quickly dimmed by diversions into trip hop and, by 2014’s Strut, a shuffle between glam rock and disco. Kravitz’s stylistic schizophrenia remains on Raise Vibration, whether in the early-‘80s electro beats of Who Really Are The Monsters? or the What’s Going On moves of It’s Enough. Production-wise, he’s on fairly safe ground, but it’s the former’s platitudes (“The war won’t stop as long as we keep dropping bombs”) that set the lyrical tone, which reaches its nadir with the hectoring and hackneyed one-world message of piano ballad Here To Love (“We are just one human race”). Even the back story of Johnny Cash – Kravitz being comforted by the country behemoth immediately after finding out his mother had died – is squandered on six minutes of schmaltz. Tom Doyle

Low

★★★ Double Negative SUB POP. CD/DL/LP

Duluth, Minnesota thr piece lose themselves an electronic hinterla If Low’s reputation generally rests on stealth, minimalism and ominous lullabies, their 24-year recording career has also been punctuated with bursts of radical experimentation. Double Negative is the latest attempt by Alan Sparhawk, Mimi Parker and Steve Garrington to pivot away from the slowcore paradigm, a struggle that began with 1997’s Songs For A Dead Pilot EP. The electrostatic,

Shelly Mosman

Low emerge from postapocalyptic murk.

extended drones and abrupt changes of frequency here are often unnerving – opener Quorum, in particular, will have you checking to see if your speakers are blown – while some of the vocal processing, though pushed to the extreme, will be a little familiar to Bon Iver fans/sceptics. Persevere, though, and yet more classic Low songs emerge from the post-apocalyptic murk, especially Dancing And Fire and Fly, ravishingly desolate even by their standards. John Mulvey

The Necks

★★★★ Body NORTHERN SPY. CD/DL

Australian avant-garde jazz adventurers rock out with their latest experiment. Twenty-one albums, 31 years, and an ongoing series of gigs in which nothing is ever planned or repeated; Australia’s Necks might be a cult trio operating somewhere between jazz, ambience and the avant-garde, but for many of their fans they are the best band in the world. Compared with the surprises of their fully improvised live shows, Necks albums don’t always do the piano/bass/drums combo justice. Body, though, is a keeper; one of their typical longform pieces (57 minutes!) with more thrust and forward momentum than beatific abstraction. Longtime Necks-heads will note affinities with Chemist (2006), not least because drummer Tony Buck overdubs his Liebezeit-ish beat manoeuvres with, from 25 minutes, some searing post-rock guitar shred. More Mogwai than the usual Bill Evans or Messiaen allusions, perhaps, but this is still a terrific entry point into a band who repay obsession. John Mulvey

Magnus Carlson

★★★★ A Nordic Soul COSMOS MUSIC. CD/DL/LP

UK debut from Swede premier soul man. Sweden’s Magnus Carlson has 16 albums to his name in his home country, several of which have gone platinum or gold. The latest, a collection of Northern soulstyle songs in Swedish made Number 1. He’s since recorded it in English for his first UK release. Put down in Paul Weller’s Black Barn studio, it fanfares his rich voice rooted in the ’60s masters. Musically, songs are bright, brassy, recalling the ’80s pop-soul of The Style Council, Blow Monkeys, Redskins – Fay Hallam of ’80s Mod band Makin’ Time guests on Now That It’s Over, one of the key tracks. Elsewhere, From Now On, a whirlwind of horns, organ and drums recreates the sound of Wigan Casino. Ebullient covers of Frankie Valli’s Beggin’ and Eddie Holman’s I Surrender further fan the soul flame. Lois Wilson

Oliver Coates

★★★★ Shelley’s On Zenn-La RVNG INTL. CD/DL/LP

Memorable fusion of raw electronics, virtuoso cello and rave era beats. STEEL YOURSELF for the first concept album of cello-infused proto rave, set on a fictional planet where a once-legendary club is revered as a deity. The club in question is Shelley’s in Stoke – a crucible of UK dance music in the late ’80s and early ’90s – while the planet is Zenn-La, as imagined by Oliver Coates, principal cellist with the London Contemporary Orchestra and Radiohead collaborator. Coates uses an eccentric blend of rich strings and muffled hardcore rhythms that are seductive, haunting and deliciously weird; whether the beautifully strange melodicainfused primitive electro of Charlev or Perfect Apple With Silver Mark, with its singular mix of hands-in-the-air beats, spectral piano and glacial chords. The mix of cello, abstract dancefloor smarts and soft-focus vocals means Arthur Russell comparisons are inescapable. But you suspect an auteur like Russell would have nothing but praise for Coates’s moving achievement.

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Träden

★★★★ Träden SUBLIMINAL SOUNDS. CD/LP

Swedish psych veterans reinvent themselves – at least in name. When Träd, Gräs Och Stenar released their final album in 2017, they appeared to be calling time on a psychedelic continuum stretching back nearly 50 years. In fact, just as they’d evolved through spells as Pärson Sound and International Harvester in the late ‘60s, the band were merely readying themselves for regeneration. Hence Träden (“The Trees”), in which the final Träd, Gräs lineup – still featuring guitarist Jakob Sjöholm, who joined in 1970 – recommence the monolithic jams that have served them so well for decades. Often cited as Scandinavian proggers, or Krautrock fellow travellers, Träden’s MO remains closer to the heavy slouch of Crazy Horse, with occasional space rock digressions and bucolic trim. Plus, of course, heady local flavours: outstanding slow-mo freakout När Lingon Mognar translates as a kind of hippy battle cry from the north countries – “Lingonberries Forever”! John Mulvey

Ital Tek

★★★

Iron Curtis

★★★★

Bodied

Upstream Colour

PLANET MU. CD/DL/LP

TAMED MUSIQ. CD/DL/LP

Intense, brooding electronic sound design fills the nooks, and contemplative silence the crannies, of Alan Myson’s bold, new album. Its dense analogue assault envelops you like a pea-souper. Beats are texture rather than dancefloor rhythms; barely recognisable orchestral instruments wander in and out and human voices are deployed like synths chords, but still retain their core humanity.

By conflating the sparse, rhythmic elegance of minimal house with the dense, swollen chords of ambient techno – as pioneered by compatriots Shed and Basic Channel – German producer Johannes Paluka creates a rich, sensual sound. Characterised by the gauze-like, emotive chords and motorik groove of Lucent, his second Iron Curtis album is a bewitching infusion of dancefloor mores and headphone-friendly vibes.

Max Cooper

★★★★

Maribou State

One Hundred Billion Sparks

★★★

MESH. CD/DL/LP

COUNTER. CD/DL/LP

Like a Professor Brian Cox of repetitive beats, Max Cooper – with a doctorate in genetics himself – deals in big ticket themes here. Recorded in isolation in the Welsh countryside, Cooper’s third album deploys organic ambient techno, gushing soundscapes and intricate polyrhythms and melodies as breathtaking, emotional representations of his personal musings on modern human existence.

The early work of Hertfordshire duo Maribou State was melancholic in atmosphere but Kingdoms In Colour is a bright, pan-global musical jaunt delivered as a glitter cannon explosion. They give an iridescent sheen to the electronic blues of Kingdom and Glasshouses’ soaring Indian strings. Most enthralling is a dubbed out hook-up with Houston psych/surf funkers, Khruangbin. SW

Kingdoms In Colour

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F I LT E R A L B UM S Soft Machine

★★★ Hidden Details DYAD. CD

First album in 37 years from the psychedelic popst turned jazz-rock pion with revolving door li . In recent decades we’ve had Soft Works, Soft Ware and Soft Machine Legacy, but now here’s a foursome authentic enough to reclaim the original name. Veterans of ’70s line-ups, John Etheridge (guitar), John Marshall (drums), and Roy Babbington (bass) are joined by Theo Travis on saxes and flute. They set out their stall on the title track, all angular riffs over propulsive rhythm before Travis and then Etheridge spiral off into hairy soloing. They return to this muscular template throughout, with detours into pastoral calm and bursts of group improvisation. Two oldies, the pretty The Man Who Waved At Trains and the mighty Out-Bloody-Rageous, are effectively reprised before they sign out with an ambient bliss-out from Travis’s multitracked flutes. Musical styles that once sounded furiously cutting-edge today sound almost cosily familiar, but the themes are strong and the playing first-rate. Could even make jazz-rock cool again. John Bungey

Sax Marvel: Wayne Shorter has boldly gone.

Wayne Shorter

★★★ Emanon BLUE NOTE. CD/DL/LP

Veteran jazz superhero unleashes lavishly-packaged triple album.

THOUGH HE’S always been an intrepid sonic explorer, as his last album revealed (2012’s Without A Net), Wayne Shorter has grown bolder and more fearless with age. Released to coincide with his 85th

birthday, Emanon is the biggest and most grandiose artistic statement yet from the former Weather Report co-founder, who, as a long-time sci-fi buff and comic book fan, has written a graphic novel to accompany 125 minutes of music. Shorter and his ace quartet are augmented by the Orpheus Chamber Orchestra on the first disc in an impressive synthesis of jazz

mprov with symphonic rrangements. The econd and third discs re devoted to an enthralling concert performance recorded n London. Beautifully packaged with drawings by Marvel illustrator, Randy DuBurke, Emanon is unequivocally a visual treat but in purely musical terms, it’s nothing less than stunningly breathtaking.

Charles Waring

Trevor Powers

Jim Lauderdale

Joe Bonamassa

Marissa Nadler

Orbital

★★★

★★★

★★★

★★

★★★★

Time Flies

Redemption

For My Crimes

Monsters Exist

Mulberry Violence

YEP ROCK. CD/DL/LP

PROVOGUE/MASCOT. CD/DL/LP

BELLA UNION/SACRED BONES. CD/DL/LP

ACP RECORDINGS. CD/DL/LP

BABY HALO. CD/DL/LP

Prolific Americana arti follows up 2017’s Lond Southern.

Prolific blues-rock tita diversifies for latest st album.

Techno rave behemot than radical reset.

After making his last record in the UK, Lauderdale returned to Nashville for his 30th album, and the opening and closing tracks are about as good as countryAmericana gets. Time Flies comes in on weeping pedal steel before easing its way into classic country rock; If The World’s Still Here Tomorrow sounds like a close-dance ballad from Nashville’s golden age. However, the intervening nine songs jump between genres with varied success, with a few whimsical tracks sticking out like sore thumbs. Best of the rest: jazz-nightclub Wearing Out Your Cool; country noir When I Held The Cards; and Beatlesque It Blows My Mind. A separate album, entitled Jim Lauderdale & Roland White, will be released on the same day as Time Flies, containing previously-lost bluegrass recordings that Lauderdale made with mandolin player White in 1979 while still unsigned. Sylvie Simmons

Divisive as Joe Bonamassa can often be among blues aficionados, there’s no denying the man’s tireless work ethic. Inspired by a tumultuous period in his life, the 13th album from the guitar virtuoso has distinct shades of dark and light, making for some of his most interesting work to date. A prominent horn section adds heft and swing to uptempo rockers Evil Mama and King Bee Shakedown, the driving groove of Deep In The Blues nods to ’60s supergroup Blind Faith, while The Ghost Of Macon Jones finds Bonamassa duetting with Nashville country singer Jamey Johnson on a tale of a wayward renegade. As if to prove that Redemption is an album unequivocally striving to be different from its predecessors, Stronger Now In Broken Places – a plaintive and stripped-back acoustic lament to lost love – even eschews a guitar solo. Paddy Wells

Guests include Angel Olsen and Sharon Von Etten, Nadler’s latest is chilli n 2016’s Strangers.

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“You said I live for tragedy/So I threw the keys at your head,” sings Nadler here on All Out Of Catastrophes. It works as a two-line synopsis for a dark and minimalist eighth album part-driven by marital conflict. Variously evoking The Cowboy Junkies and a slightly less potent incarnation of 4AD’s ’90s country-goths Tarnation, For My Crimes’ brooding, melancholic songs have some wonderfully come hither titles – I Can’t Listen To Gene Clark Anymore; You’re Only Harmless When You Sleep – but Nadler’s cathartic inner journey isn’t always as easy to empathise with as it is artfully expressed. Though Are You Really Going To Move To The South? is underpinned by some lovely fingerpicking melodies and Interlocking is a fine torch song burning with tangible ardour, For My Crimes can sometimes feel like time in the slammer. James McNair

ss

Proving rock music doesn’t have a monopoly on sibling fallouts, Orbital’s Hartnoll brothers didn’t talk to each other for five years after 2012’s Wonky. But they’ve made up, hit reset and here embark on a cathartic quest to tackle inner demons and deliver a middle figure to today’s geopolitical golems via the power of rave. Orbital’s mastering of grand scale influenced a cadre of contemporary electronica artists such as Nathan Fake, Fuck Buttons and Jon Hopkins, and that widescreen approach has changed little. P.H.U.K, combines trancey interludes, fearsome breakbeats and sparky Kraftwerkian bleeps, while There Will Come A Time finds Prof Brian Cox musing on our universe’s slow death, intoning over celestial synths and intricate Boards Of Canadastyle drum patterns. Yet – and perhaps partly due to the serendipitous nature of classicera Orbital – Monsters Exist feels like a stadium rave washing machine, stuck on infinite cycle. Stephen Worthy

New reincarnation for Lagoon, the neo-psyc Idaho native. Extraord

h ic .

With this album, Trevor Powers has killed his Youth Lagoon persona stone dead. After a trilogy of whimsical, tentative dreampop albums released between 2011-2015, Powers found himself in a “mental dungeon”. He spent two years gathering a library of grotesque, entrancing found sounds, and then edited it together with his poetry in a studio in Texas. Titling the results Mulberry Violence, because mulberry trees signify “a link between heaven and earth”, this album is about stillness, pandemonium and the warring psyche. No less. But it works as a powerful artistic statement. Gone are the conventional song structures to be replaced by shredding electronics, a gender-less childlike voice, stuttering rhythms and beautiful, luscious piano chords. “Finally I accept myself,” Powers sings on Dicegame, “There’s nothing fake about that.” Lucy O’Brien


Christine: more questions than answers.

Now you see me French star Héloïse Letissier mixes pop and sexual politics on second album. By Victoria Segal.

Christine And The Queens

★★★★ Chris

Suffo Moncloa

BECAUSE MUSIC. CD/DL/LP

THE VIDEO for Girlfriend, the song that heralded Christine And The Queens’ second album, was inspired by Charles Clyde Ebbets’s alarming photographs of construction workers in ’30s New York, relaxing on girders suspended in the newly-scraped sky. That wasn’t the only bar raised: Girlfriend was a brilliant display of soft power and hard muscle, limber, gymnastic, gender-fluid funk that was both lover and fighter. Chris, for all its strengths and deliberate vulnerabilities, doesn’t always reprise Girlfriend’s blue-moon brilliance, but maybe it was unrealistic to expect that kind of perfection, that amount of Get Lucky good fortune, every time. Chris – the remaining

syllables of Héloïse Letissier’s nom-de-pop are defiantly scribbled out on the artwork, suggesting the mercurial identities within – turns up the volume and contrast on her 2016 debut Chaleur Humaine. The name, she says, is not a character: “it’s very much me”, the complex expression of both masculine energy and female desire, her evolving pansexual identity. “There’s a pride in my singing/The thickness of a new skin/I am done with belonging,” she sings on mission statement Comme Si, and these songs work hard to carve out space for themselves. The beats are blade-sharp and bullish, the keyboards vivid and splashy, the hi-spec, topend finish making you want to run a finger along Comme Si or What’s-Her-Face, like you’re checking for dust. Prince and Michael Jackson are clearly still whispering in Letissier’s ear; she also catches the light of Scritti Politti’s Cupid & Psyche ’85. Despite the seductive polish of their surfaces, these songs have a tension in their shoulders, an alertness to the violence lurking around every corner. 5 Dollars’ stickily

sentimental vocal masks the unsparing power play within; Doesn’t Matter is full of “suicidal thoughts”, the dry, clicky machinery of somebody turning things over in their head at dawn. The atypical kaftaned chant of Goya Soda merges crimes of love and war, and while the Take My Breath Away-style grandeur of The Walker features a swollen eye, bruising, blood. It chimes with a sense of the struggle to navigate new sexual territory in a difficult world: “Some of us just had to fight/For even being looked at right,” she sings on 5 Dollars, a song that comes with melancholy fitted as standard. Letissier says she believes “in the question mark more than the answer”, but there are points here when the ambiguous becomes the indistinct; where the complex emotional spectrum these songs attempt to capture are hammered out into one shiny sonic panel, their identity blurred in a different way. Letissier is a fine pop star, and Chris is an imposing structure, one likely to dominate 2018’s skyline. There are, however, still heights left to hit.

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F I LT E R A L B UM S Before and after. Few albums have ever expressed it better. Andrew Male

Ned Collette

★★★★ Old Chestnut IT RECORDS. CD/DL/LP

The Goon Sax

★★★★ We’re Not Talking WICHITA. CD/DL/LP

Brisbane trio’s second album of crisply introspective indie guitar pop. Two years on from their remarkable debut, still not in their twenties, The Goon Sax have created a glorious pop album that perfectly captures those awkward confusions on the road to adulthood. The voices of James Harrison, Louis Forster and Riley Jones exist in a delicious transitional space, between registers, as if grasping for something out of reach. Their songs occupy the same space, anxious yet joyous expressions of oxymoronic adolescent emotions. Brilliantly, for their second album, Drummer Jones arrives as a third songwriter, and her presence brings a wise melancholy serenity to proceedings. On the exquisite acoustic drift of Strange Light she even encapsulates what this angular pop indecision is all about. “I see a strange light,” she sings, “You check the bustimes/We feel different from before.” That difference.

Veteran Australian sin songwriter’s atmosph nu-folk outing. Melbourne native Ned Collette’s evident wanderlust has taken him through nine albums: from improvisation to folk, from solo to band and back, from sojourns in London to (currently) Berlin, where he’s peaked on the double Old Chestnut. Seventy-one minutes certainly allows him room to roam. Shinobazu inhabits ECM fjord jazz; Sunday mirrors John Fahey, and Wakanui bursts with liquid guitar sustain. But mostly, Collette wanders, figuratively, through dappled meadows and twilight forests with this hazy spellbound folk. In Sacred Cats, the ghosts of Leonard Cohen (Collette’s root influence) and Kevin Ayers confer over becalmed Moog; the 11-minute June features Necks pianist Chris Abraham and cellist Anthea Caddy adding light and shade, before drummer Jo Talia brings storm clouds. The blissed mood is countered by Old Chestnut’s cast list of fellow wanderers, trapped by circumstance, forever dreaming of escape. Martin Aston

Spiritualized

★★★★

Marc Ribot

The Beths

★★★★

★★★★

Songs Of Resistance 1942-2018

Future Me Hates Me CARPARK. CD/ DL/LP

ANTI LP. CD/DL

Tom Waits’ guitarist la rages against Trump, added special guests.

New Zealand indie-po promising, angst-ridd debut LP.

ly

There’s been plenty of spiritual opposition to recent political developments in Anglo-American recorded music, but not much in the way of explicit protest – until now. Here, Ribot, an explosive NYC experimentalist and guitarist nonpareil, spits two furious broadsides (one transparently entitled The Big Fool), and further accompanies a diverse cast in a multiplicity of styles, through material arcane yet relevant, as well as freshly minted. Most headline-grabbingly, a rustysounding Tom Waits croaks through the 1940s’ Italian anti-Fascist folk tune, Bella Ciao, while, of two country rock numbers fronted by Steve Earle and Tift Merritt, one called Srinivas attributes the murder of an innocent Sikh in Olathe, Kansas, in February 2017 to the president’s bigotry. Also on the team: a simmering Meshell Ndegeocello, a Nina Simone-ishly spiky Fay Victor, and suave transgender cabaret siren Justin Vivian Bond. The binding message behind this impassioned assortment: these voices’ very diversity, under one fervently united banner. Andrew Perry

The Chills

★★★★ Snow Bound FIRE. CD/DL/LP

Psychedelic pop thrills from a man who by all accounts should be dead. There’s nothing quite like being told you’re going to die to focus your thoughts. Now clear of the hepatitis C that was close to claiming his life, The Chills’ Martin Phillipps visits themes of ageing and mortality, the loss of guiding heroes and wondering why the rebellion of his youth has dissipated in subsequent generations. Instead of sounding like Grandpa Simpson, coming to terms with having any future at all has reinvigorated Phillipps, the songs filled with pop hooks among a fairground psychedelia that is denser and darker than ever. The usual modern targets are aimed at – social media trolls, religious zealots, fake news, disingenuous public figures – but, always a unique voice, Phillipps is as refreshingly conciliatory as he is arrow straight. It may be nothing particularly new, but it’s the way he tells ‘em. Andy Fyfe

Steve Dawson

BELLA UNION. CD/DL/LP

★★★★

Maestro Jason Pierce coins austerity maximalism.

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Prime mover Elizabeth Stokes’s confident voice is so full-throttle, so commanding and all over it, half the time you’d think this was a onewoman band. You know it’s not, when the gruff baritones of her three male cohorts undercut her lacerated lyrics with their sympathetic/threatening harmonies. Stokes used to be a folkie, thought she couldn’t deliver the angsty stuff she really cared about. Surprise: this hyped-up, tender-trashy open-heart surgery – a new Breeders, or Elastica, and not a million miles from Courtney Barnett – is urgent, whip-smart and solid with addictive hooks. From the title track (“Wideeyed nights spent lying awake/With future cold shakes from stupid mistakes…”) to the Ramones-y crash‘n’burn of Uptown Girl and the vortex of distorted chaos closing You Wouldn’t Like Me, this is taut, Blondie-cool guitar-pop with a finger on the self-destruct tab. Glyn Brown

Spritualized’s Jason Pierce, still floating in space.

And Nothing Hurt IT’S BEEN six years since Pierce’s last outing, Sweet Heart, Sweet Light – longer even than the gestation period for Songs In A&E, during which he battled double pneumonia. His eighth Spiritualized album was created up against a global recession and ongoing record-biz crisis. In a corner-cutting culture, this everything-but-thekitchen-sink rock auteur found himself priced out of orchestral sessions in swanky studios, driven instead to self-record on a laptop in his bedroom. Yet And Nothing Hurt emerges of-a-piece with 1997’s Ladies And Gentlemen We Are Floating In Space, luxuriant in its more ornate arrangements (see lavish opener A Perfect Miracle), with strings presumably supplanted

s’

Lucky Hand BLACK HEN MUSIC. CD/DL

Award-winning Canadian muso aces it with his latest acoustic release.

by synths, and its pasms of Cop Shoot Cop-style skronk mayhem (The Morning After) sounding as if 30-odd free-improvising noiseniks were simultaneously deafening Pierce’s neighbours. In terms of

songcraft, he’s hardly reinventing his own circular, romance/heartbreak wheel, although standout Let’s Dance summons a delectable carpe diem urgency. So, another inspirational triumph over adversity.

Andrew Perry

The Canuck guitarist’s eighth album is a purely instrumental acoustic foray. Though it’s not that simple. For the Juno award-winner employs a string quartet on several tracks, not merely as a setting but as an integral part of each composition, providing an intriguing sound that enhances Dawson’s Kottke-Fahey informed approach to his music. Recorded in his own Henhouse Studio in Nashville, with up to a dozen microphones positioned to document every nuance of the proceedings, Lucky Hand, with its creative Jesse Zubot arrangements, is an absolute joy, one further enhanced by interplay with mandolinist John Reischman and a Bentonia Blues on which Dawson duels with Nashville harmonica hero Charlie McCoy. Fred Dellar


SOUNDTRACKS BY ANDREW MALE

Blood Orange

★★★ Negro Swan DOMINO. CD/DL/LP

Maverick UK producer/ composer revisits familiar themes on fourth album. Creatively impish, skittish and impatient, Dev Hynes’s soaring trajectory since punky noise merchants Test Icicles has seen a restless shredding of musical styles and off-the-wall collaborations (Skepta, Kylie, The Chemical Brothers). Almost randomly pushing at the same buttons on race, oppression and sexuality as 2016’s Freetown Sound, and with a broadly similar mixtape aesthetic, his fourth Blood Orange outing pits Hynes’s tremulously fragile falsetto against repackaged ’70s funk, ’80s Prince-lite R&B and skewed pop (Charcoal Baby, Orlando). While duets with a drawly Puff Daddy and singsongy A$AP Rocky are rare misfires, real magic arrives via spirited cameos from Ian Isiah, Steve Lacy and in the soulful laidback purr of Georgia Anne Muldrow (on jazzy lovers hymnal Runnin’). For all that, Negro Swan is more consolidation than the next great leap forwards. Andy Cowan

Chilly Gonzales

★★★★ Solo Piano III GENTLE THREAT. CD/DL/LP

Line-blurring Canadia star completes trilogy bare-bones piano solo

t

Nick Harwood, Todd Rosenberg

Prankster rapper, serial collaborator, self-declared genius and piano virtuoso, the satin robed, slipper-sporting Chilly Gonzales cuts a

Dev Hynes gives Blood Orange another squeeze.

singular figure, working his magic for Feist, Drake and Jarvis Cocker. The limber ivory tickling that bagged him a Grammy for a 44-second bridge on Daft Punk’s Random Access Memories continues here amid the ornate harmonics of Pretenderness, widdling white-key impressionism of Famous Hungarians, fluid exhibitionism of Chico or sustained tomfoolery of Blizzard In B Flat Minor (all begging for black-and-white celluloid companions). While the playful spirit and precise progressions of his previous albums linger, it’s demonstrably darker entries – the Satielike, minimalist Nimbus, flickering Bernard Herrmann-style suspense of Present Tense or October 3rd’s jazzy autumnal descending chords – that capture Gonzales’s disarming craftsmanship best. Andy Cowan

Echo Ladies

★★★★ Pink Noise SONIC CATHEDRAL. CD/DL/LP

Pop smarts to the fore on Swedish trio’s debut album. Pink Noise’s influences are obvious. Low-Life-era New Order, Cocteau Twins and My Bloody Valentine quickly surface – one track is knowingly titled Darklands. Instead of being a grab-bag, the first album from Swedish trio Echo Ladies is evidence for a coherent vision. At its core, this is pop music of a rare assurance. Hummable tune after tune rattles from the speakers over a full-blooded 27 minutes. Almost Happy is a soaring drama with waterfall guitar and Hooky-esque bass. Apart is as much an aural swoon as the best of lost Crepuscule Records stars Antena. Overrated is the synaesthetic counterpart of daylight filtered through a stained-

glass window. Kudos, too, for the band and producer Joakim Lindberg’s flawless balance of sharp-edged sonic attack and misty, diffuse vocals. Sweden’s most striking export since I Break Horses. Kieron Tyler

Gazelle Twin

★★★★ Pastoral ANTI GHOST MOON RAY. CD/DL

Brighton composer Elizabeth Bernholz’s f music for Brexit Britai Something is rotten in the state of Britain, we all know that now, but it takes serious mettle and a gimlet eye to make an album like this – a dark, frantic catalogue of modern Britain with all its ancient roots. The song titles alone give you a taste: Throne, Tea Rooms, Mongrel, Better In My Day. On Glory, Gazelle Twin is Kate Bush channelling the ghost of Riddley Walker; on Dance Of The Peddlers, Gazelle Twin stutters “Did he who made the lamb make thee?” from William Blake’s The Tyger (a poem which can be paraphrased, fittingly for our times, as ‘Who the hell is in charge here?’); we hear her old recorder from school, her unsettling synthesized vocals, grotesque Punch & Judy noises and snippets of John Tams. An album like this could be relevant at any time, really, but it takes the past couple of years to make it quite this livid. Anna Wood

Michael Abels

★★★★ Get Out WAXWORK. LP

Deluxe vinyl reissue for the score to the defining US movie of 2017. ALTHOUGH ALREADY available digitally, Michael Abels s beautifully unnerving music for Jordan Peele’s horror/comedy breakthrough is one of the few scores fully deserving of the current horror soundtrack vinyl-reissue glut. Asked by Peele to fuse black voices with the horror soundtrack tropes. Abels, a classical composer who’d previously worked in jazz and gospel idioms, opted for Swahili chants – to represent the dead voices of slaves and lynching victims – combined with spare orchestral instrumentation, taut digital rhythms, discordant strings and wordless female vocals. The end result plays like an anguished African-American reworking of Jerry Goldsmith’s Omen soundtrack, or Ennio Morricone’s Pazuzu (from Exorcist II: the Heretic), an experiment in horror conceits that taps into something profound, ancient, and terrifying. Packaged in a deluxe gatefold sleeve with Leslie Herman cover art and double green vinyl – if you need further convincing.

ALSO RELEASED

Mogwai

Machinefabriek

Alejandro Escovedo

★★★

★★★★

Kin

Engel

★★★

ROCK ACTION. CD/DL/LP

MACHINEFABRIEK. CD/DL

Following their excellent soundtrack work in art documentaries and French TV series Les Revenants, the Lanarkshire four-piece’s first bash at a feature film score, for Jonathan and Josh Baker’s forthcoming sci-fi/crime drama, pushes all the right Mogwai buttons. As such, it’s a tense, graceful and often euphoric listening experience that simultaneously lacks the grit, drama and disquiet of their finest work.

Musician/designer Rutger Zuydervelt’s wonderful score for Marta Alstadsæter and Kim-Jomi Fischer’s rave-reviewed contemporary dance piece is a process of gradual awakening, moving from barely-heard radio noise and skittering atmospherics, to howling distortion, rhythmic pulses and the pounding free-jazz beats of Norwegian power drummer Paal Nilssen-Love.

The Crossing YEP ROC. CD/DL/LP

Epic exploration of mo America as seen throu immigrant eyes. If you’re going to make a concept album you might as well go big, The Crossing follows two young American immigrants, struggling in their search for both the land of the free and their punk heroes. As the son of Mexican immigrants and a founding member of ’80s cowpunks Rank And File, it’s a saga Alejandro Escovedo is well-qualified to tell. The 17 tracks here are as wide ranging as the contributors list: Wayne Kramer, Peter Perrett and Joe Ely among them. While never the greatest singer, Escovedo’s lyrics more than compensate; working best on the likes of forlorn piano ballad Silver City or the white-hot blast of Fury And Fire. An ambitious, almost heroic scream into the face of his country’s chaotic modern world. Andy Fyfe

MMMD

★★★★ Hagazussa ANTIFROST. CD/DL

Most who reviewed Lukas Feigelfeld’s 2017 folk horror Hagazussa singled out the music of Greek “chamber doom” trio MMMD (AKA Mohammad), whose drones, whispered incantations, and slow-bowed strings invested this already disturbing film with an inescapable mood of dark encroaching dread. Away from the movie, these slow-creep vibrations still chill.

Brocker Way

★★★ Wild Wild Country WESTERN VINYL. DL/LP

One of the many triumphs of directors Maclain and Chapman Way’s six-part Netflix documentary about controversial guru Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh’s doomed Oregon commune was Brocker Way’s sweeping piano-andstrings score. However, given how perfectly the soundtrack also incorporated the songs of Bill Callahan, Damien Jurado and Bill Fay, it’s odd to not have them included here. AM

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F I LT E R A L B UM S Jason McNiff

Now Vs Now

★★★

Brandon Coleman

★★★★

★★★★

Richard Thompson

Immortal

★★★

Joy And Independence

The Buffering Cocoon

★★★★

BMG. CD/DL/LP

Resistance

AT THE HELM. CD/DL

JAZZLAND. CD/DL

13 Rivers

Heart voice solo on tri to rock and pop’s falle

BRAINFEEDER. CD/DL/LP

Sixth album from Lon based troubadour.

Bowie’s Blackstar keyb player beams in from galaxy far far away.

PROPER. CD/LP

With Heart currently broken after a sisterly ruck and Nancy Wilson playing in Roadhouse Royale alongside former Prince associate Liv Warfield, Ann Wilson here reunites with original Heart producer Mike Flicker for a belated solo follow-up to 2007’s Hope & Glory. At 68, Wilson’s formidable soprano has retained its majesty, but her eclectic nod to late stars including Tom Petty, Amy Winehouse and George Michael is only partly successful. While Wilson shines on Bowie’s I’m Afraid Of Americans and owns the old feminist anthem You Don’t Own Me, it’s a brave cover of Gerry Rafferty’s Baker Street that sidesteps its signature sax hook. Neat, though, that a take on Leonard Cohen’s A Thousand Kisses Deep begins with someone louchely intoning, “Evening Miss Wilson. As always, it’s a pleasure to see you.” James McNair

Synth player to the sta makes solo debut. A synth whiz whose credits include Kamasi Washington and Babyface, Brandon Coleman’s debut solo release is a self-described “funk odyssey”. It’s a suite of songs about humanity, yet Coleman sings through a talkbox that makes him sound like an amorous robot. The thing is, Coleman is such a fine songsmith and his productions so richly realised, the wall-to-wall cyber-vox distract from his bountiful gifts. A Letter To My Buggers possesses the ebullient bustle of Key Of Life-era Stevie, and album standout Love is so unabashedly romantic it makes Wonder sound like Crass. But it’s a protest song of sorts, a paean to love neither romantic nor platonic, but simply the antithesis of hate. It’s moving and resonant and, like much of Resistance, could only be improved by dialling down that incessant talkbox. Stevie Chick

Following last year’s double album retrospective Rain Dries Your Eyes comes a stripped-down album, no fat on it at all, just voice and acoustic guitar, like McNiff was singing in the Village in the ‘60s and not live in a studio in Hackney. There’s 11 new songs and a sparse, solo retake of one of the anthology’s songs, Stuck In The Past, its theme of missed chances in love fitting well with the nostalgia of the title/opening track. McNiff’s bittersweet songs often tend towards the bitter. But there’s an intimacy in his early Dylanesque voice this time – gentle and warm on the lovely Wind Of Zaragoza, Thoughts and And The Sun Comes Up On My Dreams. He also takes on the controversial subject of Amanda Knox (Amanda) – tried and convicted in Italy for the murder of her flatmate but later released: ”You were innocent then, not so innocent now.” Sylvie Simmons

Jason Lindner’s spectral contributions to David Bowie’s swansong burnished a CV that’s already taken in stints with Mulatu Astatke and Angélique Kidjo. While the New York jazzer fed Wurlitzers through a rack of guitar pedals during those fabled Bowie sessions, his third trio affair with rhythm section Panagiotis Andreou and Justin Tyson heads farther off the experimental scale, as Dilla-esque interlocking grooves are bathed in alien sounds, apposite styles and small universes of meta-detail. Whether it’s 400PPM’s ominous oscillations, Glimmer’s otherworldly ostinatos and electro-boogie motifs, Accelerating Returns’ deeply disturbed trip on drum’n’bass, warped sonic skewiffery à la Boards Of Canada or Flying Lotus prevails over showy scales or solos. A darkly beguiling delight. Andy Cowan

Swamp Dogg

★★★★

Love, Loss, And Auto-Tune

LUE NOTE. CD/DL/LP

Prince protégé spreads her wings on breathtakingly clectic second album.

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AN ACCOMPLISHED pianist with a sensuous, smoky voice (Prince once said it could melt snow), Kandace Springs impressed with her 2016 debut, Soul Eyes, which put a fresh twist on old-school R&B and jazz. Here, she adds a more contemporary edge, thanks to collaborations with hip hop producer, Karriem Riggins, plus Amy Winehouse associate Jimmy Hogarth and Rag‘n’Bone Man cohort, Jamie Hartman. Despite this, she doesn’t abandon her inherent soulfulness and has produced a well-balanced collection of strong original songs interspersed with some choice covers (including a superb update of The Stylistics’ People Make The World Go Round). While Love Sucks (a slice of ’60s-style retro soul) and the ballad, Breakdown, are catchy enough to attract a wider pop audience, Springs also offers substantial emotional depth via the jazz-infused Unsophisticated and exotic Black Orchid.

Charles Waring

e.

Richard Thompson left Fairport Convention way back in 1971, but there is something of the sound he pioneered with that influential band – rooted in traditional folk, but with wildly original guitar solos and a certain mood of modernist bleakness – that has stayed with him ever since. That sound is stronger than ever on 13 Rivers, an album made after a difficult year for him and his family. The Rattle Within finds Thompson, now 69, facing up to mortality against a primitive beat; O Cinderella has that wonderfully fluid, whirling electric folk guitar first heard on Fairport Convention’s classic Liege And Lief; and The Storm Won’t Come has enough melodramatic gloom to give Nick Cave a run for his money. Driven along by a renewed sense of urgency and purpose, this may be Richard Thompson’s most creative album in decades. Will Hodgkinson

Kandace Springs ndigo

Kandace Springs: she makes the world go round.

One-time Fairport gui returns to folk-rockin

★★★★ JOYFUL NOISE. CD/DL/LP

Timely reboot of ’70s funk pooch by Poliça a Bon Iver!

-

Circa 1970, Little Jerry Williams was “an R&B second banana”, unpaid for umpteen minor soul hits cut as artist/writer/producer around Alabama and Georgia. So, he reinvented himself as Swamp Dogg, a politicized pseudocanine alter-ego which excused his gonzoid lyrical indiscretions, but failed to woo mass audiences, à la George Clinton, leaving him a freakfunk outsider. He’s released oddball albums throughout his career, but his latest has a curious currency, as Williams’s self-recorded tracks were post-produced remotely by Ryan Olson from Poliça, liberally deploying the eponymous vocal processor, so ubiquitous in contemporary pop. Answer Me, My Love sees a routine gospel-soul torch ballad subjected to macabre trombone riffing and vocal distortion, while Bon Iver’s Justin Vernon overlays unpredictable synth blasts on I’ll Pretend. Overall, Love, Loss, And Auto-Tune is a deviant masterpiece, which, to quote hilarious line-crosser Sex With Your Ex, “will stop you from feelin’ crappy”. Andrew Perry

Jeff Forney

Ann Wilson


Four angry men: Mudhoney have had enough.

Chris Stills

★★★ Don’t Be Afraid RIVE GAUCHE MUSIC. CD/DL/LP

Stephen’s ‘boy’ finally reaches album numbe three. Acting and a lengthy divorce have conspired for 13 years to pass since Chris Stills’ last album. In 2005 Chris Stills was a loose song cycle about finding love; Don’t Be Afraid looks at what comes after that love has turned to ash. It’s an album that pinballs between styles, never landing on one for long. In the first three tracks alone we have the breezy ‘70s California singersongwriter groove of This Summer Love, Hellfire Baby Jane’s swampy roots darkness and the Meddle-era Pink Floyd of In Love Again. There’s even a Ryan Adams co-write for Criminal Mind that sounds more Adams than Stills who, as befits a 43-year-old, shoulders rather than apportions blame for his marital misfortune. A fine re-kindling of his musical career, it would be a shame to wait another decade for the next chapter. Andy Fyfe

Amy Helm

★★★ This Too Shall Light YEP ROC. CD/DL/LP

Levon Helm’s daughter returns to pay a debt to gospel and roots forebears. The defining moment on Amy Helm’s second album comes in the refrain to Allen Toussaint’s Freedom For The Stallion. Helm – backed by Allison Russell, JT Nero and Adam Minkoff, who complement her vocals – intones, “Oh, Lord, you got to help us find the way.”For Helm, “the way” unquestioningly runs through community, exemplified by voices in harmony. Distinct voices from the past act here as signposts. On a song by producer Joe Henry, Helm calls on folk singer Odetta to, “Please carry me along.” She includes a Robbie Robertson song from the Levon And The Hawks era, and the traditional Gloryland, arranged with her dad before his passing. The album lags in some of its quieter moments, but still stands as a fine successor in the righteous roots line that includes The Band and The Staples Singers.

Emily Rieman

Chris Nelson

Mudhoney

★★★★ Digital Garbage SUB POP. CD/DL/LP

Cometh the hour, cometh the band: Seattle alt rockers’ protest album kills fascists.

POLEMIC ISN’T typically the grunge progenitors’ shtick, unless you count their fiery broadside against Chardonnay on 2013’s Vanishing Point. But the Trump

Hawkwind

presidency has provoked from Mudhoney a venomous, scabrous, often hilarious protest record, full of ramshackle blues, stinging garage-rock and the occasional brawny hardcore pelt. Mark Arm’s lyrics take aim at the unconscionable grifters and their heinous kakistocracy, the “Evangelical hypocrites/laying hands on a pile of shit” (21st Century Pharisees), telling the redneck

The Lemon Twigs

★★★

★★

Road To Utopia

Go To School

CHERRY RED. CD/LP

4AD. CD/DL/LP

Space rock primevals’ featuring Mike Batt an Eric Clapton!

Correction: the D’Add brothers go Broadway patience-testing resul

When Hawkwind signed to Liberty in 1970, their labelmates included Groundhogs and McKenna Mendelson Mainline (shout going out to MOJO letter writer George E). Both groups were produced by future Wombles and Katie Melua kingpin Mike Batt, but Dave Brock’s band didn’t cross his path – until now. Here, in Hawkwind’s most eyebrow-raising collaboration since joining up with Samantha Fox in 2000, Batt adds degrees of orchestral embellishment to acoustically reinterpreted songbook favourites. Purists might wince, but the takes are fresh. A brassy ballroom re-rub of 1977’s Quark, Strangeness And Charm recalls James Last’s infamous cover of Silver Machine; Eric Clapton’s spot on 1972’s The Watcher digs deep blues roots, and ‘71’s We Took The Wrong Step Years Ago combines folky picking with full Emmerdale-style strings and oboes, and with Brock’s weathered voice a reminder of how long and endlessly regenerating the trip has been. Are you listening, Rick Rubin? Ian Harrison

Feted on arrival for their prodigious, Todd Rundgrenesque songwriterly chops, and lined up as the main support on Arctic Monkeys’ imminent arena tour, Brian and Michael D’Addario feel like big stars in waiting. This second album, however, will certainly not be for everybody: a pseudoBroadway musical about the trials and psychological consequences of getting bullied at school, it highlights the brothers’ more off-beat sensibilities, to say the least. In pursuit of narrative detail, the admirable compositional volatility showcased on 2016’s Do Hollywood here descends into over-complication and creative onanism, robbing them of their trump card – catchiness. Amid lashings of Hair-esque theatrical rock, there’s an irreconcilable splurge of styles: from Vaudeville cuteness (Small Victories) via Laurel Canyon gravitas (The Fire) to Big Star powerpop (standout Queen Of My School). The ’Twigs will still go far, but Go To School is a misstep – the sound of talented young musicians

villain of Hey Neanderfuck “All the Oxycontin in the world won’t make your headache go away”, and summing up the baby boomer generation’s mission statement as “Fuck the planet/Screw your children/Get rich/You win” (Prosperity Gospel), before playing Christ and wailing, “Look at what they’re doing in my name these days” on Messiah’s Lament.

over-reaching to the point of unlistenability. Andrew Perry

Suede

★★★

Stevie Chick ping). His commitment is palpable, the sequencing deft, and the whole wilfully hit-free bombast-fest commendable, if scarcely palatable to anyone apart from card-carrying Suede-heads. Andrew Perry

The Blue Hour WARNERS. CD/DL/LP

Brett Anderson’s crew cinematic/symphonic. Three albums into their reactivation, these pre-Britpop titans undeniably have the bit between their teeth: after 2013’s brand-reaffirming Bloodsports and ’16’s movieenhanced Night Thoughts, here Suede plunge deeper into long-form narrative, with a veiled storyline, possibly about a child abduction, lent added cinematic oomph by the City of Prague Philharmonic Orchestra, mostly arranged by keysman Neil Codling. Initially, As One’s escalating strings and chorale portend an explosion of nightmarish metal, and what follows is closer to such than Suede’s familiar indieglam. The ensuing drama unfolds amid spooky spoken passages (Mistress), and field recordings of Brett and his five-year-old talking (Dead Bird), with non-chorus-driven songcraft weaving in and out. Hitherto a chronicler of suburbia, Anderson mines observations around his family’s new home in rural Somerset that spurn your typical natural wonder (see Roadkill, Flytip-

Tony Joe White

★★★★ Bad Mouthin’ YEP ROC. CD/DL

Blues, blues and more from 75-year-old Loui

s n.

A straightahead blues album, recorded in a barn, solo for the most part, with occasional harmonica and drums, this is as back to basics as it gets. Twelve songs, including covers – Jimmy Reed, Charley Patton, John Lee Hooker and Lightnin’ Hopkins, an early obsession of White’s as a cotton-picking kid – and two of the first blues songs White wrote and recorded in 1966, pre Polk Salad Annie, for a local record company. Although White has always been more blues than country, the absence of his usual hot swampy slinkiness is a shock at first; his voice deep and worldweary, almost a murmur, as he sings about women who did him wrong or did him right. Highlights: Baby Please Don’t Go, Sundown Blues and a truly broken-sounding take on Heartbreak Hotel. Sylvie Simmons

MOJO 93


F I LT E R A L B UM S E X T R A

Eric Bachmann

★★★★

No Recover MERGE CD. DL/LP

Frontman with North Carolina ’90s indie band Archers Of Loaf, Eric Bachmann’s solo incarnation is a wryly observant singer-songwriter. Musically downbeat and pastoral, but with a subtle electronic pulse. He’s still a whiz with a tart lyrical couplet, too. JB

Mothers

★★★★

Die Wait Watchers

Escape-ism

Haiku Salut

Honey Hahs

★★★★

The Lost Record

There Is No Elsewhere

Suspension Of Disbelief

MERGE. CD/DL/LP

PRAH. CD/DL/LP

Fourth album from a shadowy German trio who submit afterhours jazz and post rock to a barrage of dub FX. Tortoise playing the Twin Peaks Roadhouse is the prevailing, highly alluring, vibe. JM

Ian Svenonius, DC post-punk polemicist, author and televisual star returns with a second Escape-ism album; a self-aware, conceptual account of the artistic cycle of public indifference and rediscovery told via ominous Suicide-ish tick and crackle and creepycrawl vocals. JB

Derbyshire’s Gemma and Sophie Barkerwood and Louise Croft make up this trio of looping, stuttering beatinstrumentalists. Their latest warms the electronic pot with quirky pastoralism – brass, melodica, clattering-teacup percussion and tangible emotional warmth. JB

Dear Someone, Happy Something

Mutual Benefit

Boz Scaggs

Shriekback

★★★★

★★★★

Out Of The Blues

Why Anything? Why This?

★★★★

IDEA. CD/DL/LP

★★★★

Render Another Ugly Method

Thunder Follows The Light

ANTI-. CD/DL/LP

TRANSGRESSIVE. CD/DL

Athens, GA band whose singer Kristine Leschper specialises in unflinching self-examination. The dark indie themes continue, though musically it’s more varied and interesting: angular, Cure-guitar shapes, echoing spaces. JB

Jordan Lee’s third opens with unexpected breakbeats and a salty guest vocal about bird shit and bad luck. From there on, cosmic roots reassert themselves; best on New History and the Mercury Revish Waves, Breaking. JB

CONCORD. CD/DL/LP

Of a piece with its blues/soul predecessors Memphis (2013) and A Fool To Care (’15), Boz Scaggs’s latest is another strong set exploring his influences from R&B (Bobby Bland, Jimmy Reed) to rock and a cover of Neil Young’s On The Beach. GB

★★★★

SHRIEKBACK.COM. CD/LP

Revivified ‘80s abnormals pour tempting poisons in listeners’ ears about vintage vice and the animalistic horrors of the human condition, to spineshivering post-nuclear rock. Ideal for the jukebox at H.R. Giger’s pub in Gruyères. IH

★★★★

ROUGH TRADE. CD/DL

Three young sisters – but older than The Jackson 5 – produced by Pulp’s Steve Mackey and with a complete sound: guitar, bass, drums and vocals ripe with folk harmony charm. See Sometime Ago: meta songwriting commentary and sweet reminiscence. JB

Sunstack Jones

★★★★

Sunstack Jones DELTASONIC. CD/DL/LP

Aided by Paul Denheyer and Nick McCabe, this third album from the Liverpool five-piece views pop through a Vaselinesmeared lens. Touchstones include The Verve and The Byrds but its vapour-trail melodies follow their own psychedelic path. LW

EXTENDED PLAY

Distant Sky EP – Live From Copenhagen MUTE. DL/LP

Nick Cave among the faithful: “I am transforming…”

94 MOJO

THE FOUR songs on this EP were recorded at Copenhagen’s Royal Arena in 2017, and are taken from the Bad Seeds concert film of the same name. Both document Nick Cave & The Bad

Seeds’ transition to arenas. When the throbbing bass vibrations of Jubilee Street accelerate to stadium size, the conversion is complete: “I am transforming…” Nick confirms: “I am flying/ Look at me now!” Anyone who remembers Cave’s previous on-stage incarnation – stalking the audience like a predatory, spiky-haired arachnid, as likely to eat the first few rows as come among them – will have no cause to doubt him. The title track provides the EP’s centrepiece, built around artfully constructed loops and violin while Cave is joined by Danish soprano Else Torp. On side two, a nine-minute From Her To Eternity and Mercy Seat showcase the band’s brutal elegance. JB

Alexander Tucker

Teleman

★★★★

Family Of Aliens

Don’t Look Away

MOSHI MOSHI. CD/DL/LP

★★★★

The sleeve features an anatomical drawing collage by the artist himself that reflects psych-polymath Tucker’s meticulous arrangements within: beautiful songs, studded with dissonant eruptions of noise. JB

Interpol-indebted opener Family Of Aliens aside, this London quartet’s third LP avoids indie cliché, taking various routes to achieve electro-pop lift-off: circular grooves, dancefloor bounce, reflective, John Foxx-ish synth drift and even Buggles-ish new wave. JB

LWW

Rodrigo Tavares

★★★

★★★★

3PE

Gongo

THE LEAF LABEL. DL/LP

HIVE MIND. DL/LP

Improvised experiments in percussive patterns and piano polyrhythms from Portland, OR composer Luke Wyland (late of art-pop band AU). As if Conlon Nancarrow and Konono No.1 are broadcasting from an abandoned numbers station, lost in the Soviet wastes. AM

Dreamlike quintet debut from a young Brazilian guitarist who filters Tropicália and Bill Frisell harmonics through a lens of hazy post-rock complexity, and Durutti Column melancholy, enhanced by CTI sax, MJQ vibes and Felipe Continentino’s drums. AM

THRILL JOCKEY. CD/DL/LP

Tinovacca

Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds


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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 and specialist areas, hey’re guaranteed to provide the personal uch you won’t find elsewhere. And they stock O too. All where you see this sign. P&C Music SCOTLAND Assai 241-243 King Street, Broughty Ferry, Dundee DD5 2AX 01382 738406 1 Grindlay Street, Edinburgh EH3 9AT 0131 228 3943

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Piccadilly Records 53 Oldham St, Manchester M1 1JR 0161 839 8008

Vinyl Cafe

Barnstorm Records

44 Abbey St, Carlisle CA3 8TX 01228 522845

128 Queensbury Court, Dumfries DG1 1BU 01387 267894

X Records

Coda Music 12BankSt,Edinburgh EH12LN 0131 622 7246

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NORTH EAST Blackslab

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81 Renshaw Street Liverpool L1 2SJ 01517071850

A&A Records 12 High St, Congleton CW12 1BC 01260 280778 / www.aamusic.co.uk

Action 47 Church St, Preston PR1 3DH 01772 884 772 / www.action-records.co.uk

Muse Music 40 Market St, Hebden Bridge HX7 6AA 01422 843496

Record Collector 232 Fullwood Road, Sheield S10 3BA 0114 266 8493

Reflex 23 Nun St, Newcastle NE1 5AG 0191 260 3246 / www.reflexcd.co.uk

The Electric Church Roots2Music Birthwistle Building, Over Square, Winsford CW7 2JP 07928897413

Grind and Groove Records 58 Cavendish Street, Keighley BD21 3RL 07483 156867

Loafers Vinyl & Coffee Rustic Level, The Piece Hall, Halifax HX1 1RE 07960 532371

96 MOJO

67B Westgate Road, Newcastle NE1 1SG 0191 230 2500 / www.roots2music.com

Vinyl Eddie

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NORTH WALES Vod Music 28 New Street, Mold, Flintshire CH7 1NZ 07904688739 / www.vodmusic.co.uk

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Diverse Music 10 Charles St, Newport NP20 1JU 01633 259 661 / www.diversevinyl.com

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Spillers 31 Morgan Arcade, Cardif CF10 1AF 02920224905

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Seismic Records

Holt Vinyl Vault

Spencer Street, Leamington Spa CV31 3NF 01926 831333

ST Records 165 Wolverhampton St, Dudley, West Midlands DY1 3HA 01384 230726

Strand Records Unit 15, The Strand, Longton ST3 2JF 0759 29208319

EAST MIDLANDS Off The Beaten Tracks

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5 Broad St, Nottingham NG1 3AL 0115869 4012

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10 Soresby Street, Chesterield S40 1JN 01246 234548

Eclipse Records Unit 4 Victorian Arcade Walsall, WS1 1RE 01922 322142

Fish Records

86 Tadcaster Rd, York YO24 1LR 07975899839

Vinyl Tap

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Fives

16 Park Place Shopping Centre, Walsall WS1 1NP 01922 620895

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5 Market St, Hay-on-Wye, Hereford, HR3 5AF 07817781493 / www.tangledparrot.com

Terminal Records

MIDLANDS

Level Crossing Records

Unit 12, Woolgate Centre, Witney OX28 6AP 01993 700567

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121 Kentish Town Road, NW1 8PB 0203 6023917

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Tallbird Records

Vinyl Lounge 4 Regent St, Mansield, NG18 1SS 01623 427291

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Let It Roll Records

Business Park, Forest Vale Industrial Estate, Cinderford GL14 2YD 01600 716362

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Nightfly Records 52A Windsor Street, Uxbridge, UB8 1AB 01895 259369

Rough Trade 130 Talbot Road, W11 1JA 020 7229 8541 / www.roughtrade.com

Rough Trade East ‘Dray Walk’ Old Truman Brewery, 91 Brick Lane E1 6QL 0207 392 7788 / www.roughtrade.com

Sister Ray 34-35 Berwick St, W1V 3RF 0207 7343297 / www.sisterray.co.uk

Soul Brother 1 Keswick Road SW15 2HL 020 8875 1018 / www.soulbrother.com

1 Cromer Road, Holt NR25 6AA Soul Propieter 01263 713225 64 Elm Road, Brixton SW2 2UB Intense Records 07532 492196 33/34 Viaduct Road, Chelmsford CM1 1TS SOUTH 01245 347372

The Nevermind The Music Store

A Slice of Vinyl

1st Floor, Katies Vinyl Bar 10 Church St, Boston PE21 6NW & Kitchen, 134 High Street, Gosport, PO12 1HA 01205 369419 07816940

Relevant

260 Mill Rd, Cambridge CB1 3NF 101 Collectors 01223 244 684 Records 101 West St, Farnham GU9 7EN Slipped Discs 01252 734409 / 21 High St, Billericay, CM12 9AJ www. 101collectors 01245 350820 records.co.uk

Vinyl Hunter

56 St Johns Street, Bury St Edmunds IP33 1SN 01284 725410

LONDON Audio Gold 308-310 Park Road, Crouch End, N8 8LA 0208 341 9007

Casbah Records

Analogue October 19a South Street, Chichester PO19 1EJ 01243697160

Black Circle Records 2 Roebuck Mews, 2a Hocklife St, Leighton Buzzard LU7 9BG 01525 839917 / www.blackcirclerecords. co.uk

The Beehive, 320-322 Creek The Compact Disc Rd, Greenwich SE10 9SW 57 London Road, Sevenoaks 0208 858 1964 / www.casbahrecords.co.uk TN14 1AU 01732 740 889

Eel Pie Records

45 Church Street, Twickenham Davids Music 12 Eastcheap, TW1 1NR Letchworth SG6 3DE 07817756315 01462 475 900 / Flashback Records www.davids-music.co.uk 131 Bethnal Green Road, Elephant Records Shoreditch E2 7DG 8 Kings Walk, Winchester 0207 735 49356 SO23 8AF Flashback Records 078711 88474 50 Essex Rd, Islington N1 8LR

Empire Records

Flashback Records 144 Crouch Hill, Crouch End N8 9DX

21 Heritage Close, St Albans AL3 4EB 01727 860890


Gatefeld Record Lounge 61 Hermitage Road, Hitchin SG5 1DB 0779 3029754

Slide Records

Jam

9 The Arcade Bedford, MK40 1NS 01234 261603

32 High Street, Falmouth TR11 2AD 01326 211722 / www.jamrecords.co.uk

Slipped Discs

57 High Street, Billericay 70 High St, WhitstableCT51BD CM12 9AX 01227 263337 Smugglers Records 9 King Street, Deal CT146HX Harbour Records 07500114442 29 High Street, Emsworth PO10 7AG South Record Shop 01243 37415 22 Queens Rd, Southend-onHeathen Chemistry Sea SS1 1LU 01702 826166 130 West Street, Fareham www.southrecordshop.com PO160EL 074822 12656 Stylus Records 35a High Street, Baldock Hot Salvation SG7 6BG 32 Rendezvous Street, 07818022615 Folkestone CT20 1EY 01303 487657 The Vault 1 Castle Street, Christchurch Hundred Records Dorset, BH23 1DP 47 The Hundred, 01202 482134 Romsey SO51 8GE Vinilo 01794 518655 55 Queensway, Southampton Music’s Not Dead SO14 3BL 71 Devonshire Road, 07825 707369 Bexhill On Sea TN40 1BD The Vinyl Frontier 07903 731371 35 Grove Road, Eastbourne BN21 4TT Pebble Records 01323 410313 The Basement, 14 Gildredge Rd, Eastbourne Vinyl Matters BN21 4RL Bakers Lane, Chapel Street, Petersield, GU32 3DY 01323 430 304 / www.pebblerecords.co.uk 07720 244849

Gatefold Sounds

Pie & Vinyl 61 Castle Road, Southsea PO5 3AY 07837 009587

The Record Shop 37 Hill Avenue, Amersham HP6 5BX 01494 433311

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The Drift Record Shop 103 High St, Totnes, TQ9 6SN 01803 866828 / www.thedriftrecordshop. co.uk

RICHARD THOMPSON 13 RIVERS Richard’s first self-produced album in over a decade, 13 Rivers is a bare-bones, emotionally direct album that speaks from the heart with no filters. Of the songs on the album, Thompson says, “They came to me as a surprise in a dark time. They reflected my emotions in an oblique manner that I’ll never truly understand. It’s as if they’d been channelled from somewhere else. You find deeper meaning in the best records as time goes on. The reward comes later.” Summer festival dates followed by a UK tour with his trio in October. PROPER RECORDS

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52 Long St., Devizes, SN10 1NP Rooster Records 98 Fore Street, Exeter 07502 332327 EX4 3HY Vinyl Revolution 01392 272009 / 33 Duke St, Brighton BN1 1AG www.roosterrecords.co.uk 0333 323 0736 Sanctuary Music Vinylstore Jr Acorn House, 42 Nailsworth, 20 Castle Street, Canterbury Mill Trading Estate, CT1 2QJ Nailsworth GL6 0AG 01227 456907 01453 704481

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North West 81 RENSHAW 81 Renshaw Street, Liverpool L1 2SJ Tel: 001517 071805 Set in the basement of the building that housed the offices of Bill Harry’s Merseybeat magazine is 81 Renshaw. A store stocking a wide range of new and second hand vinyl; everything from bargain bucket fodder to rare releases and collectibles. Upstairs consists of a bar and venue. A vibrant and happening place in the heart of Liverpool’s music scene.

ROY BUCHANAN MY BABE Roy Buchanan’s classic My Babe album is re-issued with a bonus 30 min interview. Roy pioneered the Telecaster guitar sound to much acclaim from fellow guitarists Beck, Clapton and Page. Roy worked tirelessly over the years and achieved two gold albums in his career up to his death in 1988. My Babe was originally released in 1980 and Guitar Player magazine praised him as “having one of the 50 greatest tones of all time”. ANGEL AIR

LOUDON WAINWRIGHT III YEARS IN THE MAKING Loudon Wainwright III’s Years In The Making features 42 songs – over two hours of rare and unissued Loudoniana, including live recordings, radio appearances, home demos and more from the past 45 years. Packaged in a 60-page hard bound book with dozens of documents, introspective musings from what Loudon calls his “swinging life”, in addition to lovely paintings and drawings by friends and fans. STORYSOUND RECORDS

THE PINEAPPLE THIEF DISSOLUTION Dissolution is the highly anticipated follow-up album to 2016’s Your Wilderness and is the band’s second album to feature King Crimson and Porcupine Tree drummer Gavin Harrison, spurring The Pineapple Thief on as leaders of Europe’s experimental rock domain. The new album elevates the band to new heights, with a desire to develop their songwriting and technical capabilities. Featuring artwork created by iconic design agency Stylorouge, it’s available on CD/LP/Blu-ray and limited edition 4 disc box set. KSCOPE

WWW.PROPERMUSICGROUP.COM


F I LT E R R E I S SU E S

Too much ain’t enough Four-CD memorial to the late singer-songwriter, compiled by family and band-members. David Fricke on its deep cuts, live tracks, alternate takes and previously unreleased gems. Girl or Runnin’ Down A Dream. But alternate views of some other well-known songs affirm Petty’s fundamental strengths as a composer and the Heartbreakers’ interpretive flexibility. The Beatlesque confrontation of I Won’t Back Down on An American Treasure Petty’s 1989 solo album, Full Moon Fever, is stripped REPRISE. CD/DL to a seething, acoustic pith with the Heartbreakers in a 1997 show at San Francisco’s Fillmore URING A SHOW in Irvine, California in Auditorium. The Damage You’ve Done has the June, 1983, Tom Petty And The neutralising gloss on 1987’s Let Me Up (I’ve Had Heartbreakers played a number that many Enough) peeled back to bring out the J.J. Cale-style fans in that crowd had probably never heard before gallop below. The “alternate version” of Here – with good reason. “This is a song I wrote in 1976,” Petty said, introducing Surrender and noting “The striking Comes My Girl is the same one on Damn The Torpedoes – until the extra finish, a crackling that he and the Heartbreakers “never have recorded lesson is how Campbell-Tench jam that producer Jimmy Iovine this song”. That was not true, as drummer Stan cut for concision and airplay. Lynch piped up from the back: “We just never Tom Petty That kind of action was on stage from the start. recorded it right.” responded to Petty and the Heartbreakers did some of their best, When that performance was finally released (with banter) on 2009’s The Live Anthology, it was his run of trials early missionary work in live radio concerts and the excerpts here from two 1977 airchecks make you Surrender’s first-ever appearance on a record. The in the ’90s and wish there were two more discs with the whole next was on a 2010 deluxe reissue of Petty’s 1979 early 2000s, shows. A snappy, jangling Listen To Her Heart breakthrough, Damn The Torpedoes, in a studio comes from a legendary set over San Francisco’s outtake from that album. But An American Treasure deepening as KSAN that April, a full year before the song made it – a four-CD account of Petty’s rock’n’roll life in a lyricist.” to the second album, You’re Gonna Get It!. There is previously unreleased discoveries, choice road work also an extended, creeping Breakdown broadcast and deep album cuts, coming just a year after his that fall from the Capitol Records studios in Los sudden, shocking death at 66 – opens with the Angeles, Petty chanting and wailing with lust and promises as the Surrender that got away, recorded and shelved during the sessions music fades to black. for Petty and the Heartbreakers’ 1976 debut LP. Of the studio revelations on An American Treasure, Lonesome “It was one of our great, neurotic ‘We’ve got to get it right’ Dave is pure knockout, a wild anomaly from the Wildflowers era songs,” pianist Benmont Tench says of Surrender in this set’s that is closer to Exile On Main St. than that 1994 long-player’s extensive track-by-track annotation. While the pieces are clearly in earthy poise. Keep A Little Soul is a more polished treat, an place – the solid-bond attack; the Byrdsian outtake from 1982’s Long After Dark with a churning beat and a chime of Petty and Mike Campbell’s guitars; vocal hook like glue. A video on MTV would have done the rest, if the fusion of blues and conservatory in Petty had bothered to release it as a single. Meanwhile, Lost In Tench’s punctuating flourishes – the whole Your Eyes is the oldest track, going back to Petty’s early swampis not quite there: the edge and urgency that rock ’70s with Campbell and Tench in Mudcrutch. And it’s glistened and exploded right away in genuine treasure, too, a rough-diamond ballad of precociousAmerican Girl. But you can hear Petty’s white-boy soul that deserved resurrection with the Heartbreakers. fighting core comin’ around the bend: his (Bizarrely, the song first surfaced in a 1986 cover by Miami Vice striving-rebel advance on British Invasion actor Don Johnson. Seek it at your peril.) pop, ’60s garage rock and the lyric truths However, the really striking lesson on discs three and four is of Bob Dylan and Willie Dixon, summed BACK STORY: FRIENDLY how Petty responded to his run of trials in the ’90s and early up in a shearing vocal drawl flanked by FIRE 2000s (band tensions, depression, divorce, heroin addiction), harmonies that suggest choirboys packing ● The final disc in An deepening as a lyricist and maturing in his songcraft while going switchblades. If An American Treasure charts American Treasure highlights Tom Petty’s longer between studio albums. Gems, of course, got left behind. In Petty’s four-decade odyssey as a writer, late-period renaissance the strutting Gainesville, an orphan from 1999’s Echo, and the leader and Southern misfit outside the hits with the Heartbreakers; plaintive Bus To Tampa Bay, intended for 2014’s Hypnotic Eye, Petty – in experiments, surprises and roads nearly half of the 16 tracks date from turns to home for assurance and a way forward, recalling the ultimately not taken – Surrender is a perfect sessions for 2010’s Mojo energy and communion of his rock’n’roll boot camp in Florida entrance: the artist ready for takeoff, and 2014’s Hypnotic Eye. (“Gainesville was a good time,” he sings fondly in the former) as “I get nervous, to this determined to succeed even if it means day, bringing a song to well as the pressing need to escape through music, to something momentary retreat. the band,” Petty told me way beyond the city limits. An American Treasure is a collaborative in 2009. “Benmont (pictured) can attack,” An American Treasure does not include any mementos from memorial, curated by Petty’s daughter he noted, laughing. Petty’s 2017 tour with the Heartbreakers, a 40th anniversary Adria and wife Dana with Campbell, Tench “He broke bad on me celebration that ended just a week before his death and is surely and the singer’s longtime studio engineer, one day. I was trying to show the band this too close for comfort for Petty’s family and band. Instead, the Ryan Ulyate. It mostly proceeds song, basically a 12-bar collection ends with Hungry No More, a strident, psychedelic chronologically, and narrative trumps song with a few march recorded live with a reunited Mudcrutch in June 2016. chart history. changes. He went, ‘What the fuck? You’re better “The world will turn somehow/And I ain’t gonna be hungry no Unlike the 1995 box, Playback, which than that.’ He let me more,” Petty sings – seasoned, proud but still facing forward, combined hitsville and archaeology, An have it.” refusing to surrender. American Treasure has no Refugee, American

Tom Petty

★★★★

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Anything that’s rock’n’roll: Tom Petty, about to launch, 1976.


The ascent of mantra Anthology of the spiritual jazz trailblazer’s Warner Bros studio recordings. By Andrew Male.

Alice Coltrane

★★★★ Spiritual Eternal REAL GONE MUSIC. CD/DL

THE ALBUMS Alice Coltrane recorded for Warner Bros in the late ’70s remain the most overlooked of her fascinating career. The deep modal questing of 1968’s A Monastic Trio to the orchestral richness of ’73’s Lord Of Lords are now established as masterpieces of spiritual jazz, while the ashram music she later recorded was finally made available to non-devotional ears when Luaka Bop released

World Spirituality Classics 1: The Ecstatic Music Of Alice Coltrane Turiyasangitananda in 2017. Yet the bridge between those two very different worlds has failed to receive the same degree of attention, until now.

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As Ashley Kahn tells it in his excellent linernotes, Coltrane’s arrival, in 1975, at the home of Fleetwood Mac and The Doobie Brothers came after Bob Krasnow, Warner Bros’ new VP in charge of talent, heard her music during a latenight opium session with Santana manager Stan Marcum. History doesn’t record whether Krasnow was similarly baked when he listened to Eternity, Coltrane’s first LP for Warner Bros, nor how he responded. The opening track, Spiritual Eternal, begins with Coltrane’s super-heavy workout on a droning Wurlitzer, before she’s joined by a huge-sounding string section. A groove is established, then questioned by a solo harp piece, Wisdom Eye. The reedy Wurlitzer returns on a complex Latin strut, Los Caballos, before being swapped out for a distorting Fender Rhodes on Om Supreme. The album ends on a glorious version of Stravinsky’s Spring Rounds, with Coltrane corralling a full orchestra into reaching for what she called

Stravinsky’s “infinite sound of eternity”. While similarly exploratory, Coltrane’s second Warner Bros album, Radha-Krsna Nama Sankirtana, was a work of two distinct halves: the first side rooted in Vedic devotional songs and the second taken up by a raw 19-minute organand-drums blues riff on a traditional Hindi mantra. The focus had become spiritual rather than musical, but with her final and finest Warner Bros studio LP, Transcendence, it felt like a signature sound had been found. On its final four tracks, the ashram vocalists are singing in a gutsy, soulful style in tune with the gospel-blues roots of Alice’s youth. This is the sound Coltrane would take with her to the Vedantic Centre in Agoura, California, and later the Sai Anantam ashram in Agoura Hills, where she taught until her death as Swami Turiyasangitananda. Discussing her Warners departure with Essence magazine in 2006, Coltrane said: “I wanted to go deeper into what the Lord had outlined for me… the music was changing and I thought maybe my time is finished.” This welcome reissue would suggest that perhaps, her time is now.

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“I wanted to go deeper…”: Alice Coltrane, looks to the future.


F I LT E R R E I S SU E S

Beyond The Wizard’s Sleeve

Pet Shop Boys

★★★

Behaviour: Further Listening 1990-1991

The Soft Bounce (Expanded)

PARLOPHONE. CD/DL/LP

PHANTASY SOUND. CD/DL/LP

DJ/production duo’s p dancefloor mission statement reprised.

Built on sand

★★★★

/

Beginning in 2008, DJ/ producer Erol Alkan and Richard (Jack The Tab, The Grid) Norris’s shared vision was to repurpose ‘60s psychedelia for the dancefloor (though they took until the 2012 single Black Noise and 2016 album The Soft Bounce to release any original work). The delay suggested procrastination, as does this demo/instrumentalleaning version of the album – less expanded than reduced. The dizzy mania of Delicious Light’s 2009 demo trumps its fussier album version, likewise Bond theme wannabe Black Crow (Midnight Version) loses its strings and drums for a starker, shivery version; in Door To Tomorrow, a palpably wide-eyed Euros Childs is bathed in echo rather than a Dangermouse-aping swirlathon. But Creation’s fizzing Tropicália has surrendered its gorgeous Jane Weaver counterpart vocal, and Diagram Girl needs both its vocal and a fuller palate. Containing just four tracks in two versions each, this latest set is only for the Wizard’s disciples. Martin Aston

Their fourth album rev Pop in quotation mark never sounded so goo

d.

The Pet Shop Boys’ Behaviour spoke to a world in which cleverness was expected, double-meaning came as standard issue, and glitch and pastiche was seen as terribly knowing. With Munich’s Harold Faltermeyer enrolled as co-producer, Behaviour sparks with wonderful songs – Jealousy (apparently, the first song Neil Tennant and Chris Lowe wrote, back in 1982), So Hard (“We’ve both given up smoking, ’cos it’s fatal/So whose matches are those?”) and the nuanced and sad Being Boring – yet it’s their cover of Where The Streets Have No Name/ Can’t Take My Eyes Off You, included on CD 2, which predicted the dance-inspired big beats of their next two albums, and is either the Pet Shop Boys being wonderfully ironic, or running out of hit ideas of their own; after 1990 they’d never have a selfpenned Top 5 UK single again. Completing this current reissue wave is Very (1993) and Bilingual (1996). David Buckley

Soft Cell

★★★★ Keychains & Snowstorms – The Soft Cell Story

Various

★★★★ Make Mine Mondo!

The House Of Love

★★★★ The House Of Love: 30th Anniversary Deluxe Edition CHERRY RED. CD/LP

2018 MARKS the thirtieth anniversary of the decisive arrival of acid house and, by association, the recasting of English indie rock along similar lines, a development embodied by the November 1988 release of Happy Mondays’ lysergic Bummed. By implication, then, it’s also three decades since the last breaths of what so-called “baggy” culture shoved to one side: the self-conscious, eternally Velvetsindebted stuff pioneered by The Jesus And Mary Chain, which defined the original aesthetic of Alan McGee’s Creation label and attracted a nationwide fan-cult; all striped ’60s tops, literary affectations and black winklepickers. This was The House Of Love’s world, and it meant that just as they began to break into the mainstream, they were also fast running out of road. Drink and drugs and internal tensions also led to an implosion spread out over three long years. Before band chief Guy Chadwick and his astral guitar-playing foil Terry Bickers reunited in 2003, the legacy of the band’s definitive line-up was a mere two albums, one of which – 1990’s so-called

‘Butterfly’ album – is a patchy chronicle of a band losing any clear sense of itself amid a deluge of major record label money. Their best work remains 1988’s 10-track debut LP recorded for Creation and the singles scattered around it; music which has been reissued before, but besides being released in a new doublevinyl edition, has now been expanded across five CDs, split between a version of the album remastered from the original tapes, plus singles, demos, live material and BBC sessions. The exhaustiveness of the package is proved by seven versions of their debut single Shine On, which highlight both strengths and weaknesses: the delicate romanticism at the heart of Chadwick’s solo acoustic version and the fact they tended to begin work on even their best songs by playing them too slowly. The album itself is held back by a typically flimsy ’80s production, but there’s a beguiling tension and confident artistry in songs such as Love In A Car and Man To Child – and the influence not just of the Velvets and Doors, but The Cure and (though it was never pointed out at the time) Lloyd Cole. But perhaps the most arresting stuff is on the live disc; not least on five brilliant tracks performed in Paris in October ’88 – full of the sense of a band grasping at incredible possibilities, just as the world turns, and the crowd moves its attention elsewhere.

UMC. CD/DVD

ACE. CD/DL

Spotlight on the mave Dore label from Los A

John Harris revisits an indie classic that arrived just as time was running out for the band.

s.

Tony The Tiger sings the theme to the Blob (The Zanies’ The Blob); The Song Of The Volga Boatmen goes groovin’ at the go-go (The Zanies’ Russian Roulette); the record label boss dons a white lab coat and is consumed by unhinged laughter as blood curdling screams ensue (The Zanies’ The Mad Scientist). Lew Bedell’s Dore label liked to put out strange records in the ‘50s and early ‘60s. Alongside the mayhem, though he also liked the psychosis, reveling in skewed Brit Invasion sounds. Los Corvets fuzz up and add reverb to the Stones’ Satisfaction; Bobby Troup gets strung out on the Seventh Son; Spencer’s Van Dykes’s I’ll Blow My Mind is all wailing blues harp, tambourine-bashing garage punk with snarling vocals, and The Syndicate’s Love Will Take Away is trebly psych. A label that spans all the way from the ridiculous to the sublime. Lois Wilson

Twelve hours of music hours of visuals: the ul sleaze-to-please keep

te

Defined by one hit, led by two oddly-cast bandmates, and delivering three albums during a four-year career, Soft Cell – back for a one-off September 2018 show – hit the numbers jackpot on this 10-disc, 130-plus track anthology. The numbers barely add up, but then little did in the high-drama career of pop’s finest retro-futurist duo. Soft Cell pleased everyone and no one; least of all themselves as they mutated from electro kitsch to heartbreaker classicism; arty subversion to excess and hysteria. A potpourri of hits, hidden gems, remixes and rarities, Keychains & Snowstorms captures it all: irony, sincerity, the bittersweet highs (Torch’s “looking for love in a sad song” nails it) and lows (“sick and tired of being used and abused” in Slave To This), even that preposterous, irresistible Hendrix Medley. Only Soft Cell could’ve pulled that off. Mark Paytress

Old romantics: The House Of Love (clockwise from top) Terry Bickers, Chris Groothuizen, Guy Chadwick, Pete Evans.

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Sultry and beguiling: Bobbie Gentry in Manchester Square, London, 1969.

Delta force Eight-disc set of the country-soul enigma’s Capitol recordings, plus copious extras. By Andrew Male.

Bobbie Gentry

★★★★ The Girl From Chickasaw County UMC. CD/DL/LP

BOBBIE GENTRY gave her final live performance, at the Sahara hotel in Las Vegas, in September 1980. Her last public appearance came two years later, at the Country Music Awards in April 1982. There was no official ‘retirement’ notice. She just walked away.

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She was 40 years old. In the 36 years since, Gentry has recorded no music and played no concerts, living a quiet life in Memphis, with no interest whatsoever in discussing her previous career. Yet, while Bobbie Gentry maintains silence, her music refuses to. Long after her final studio LP, 1971’s Patchwork, faded from view, Gentry’s name was kept alive by her debut single, Ode To Billie Joe. Recorded after signing to Capitol in 1967, this bewitching, cinematic tale of two Delta teenagers’ dark secret, sung in a huskily conversational Southern drawl, sold 750,000 copies in its first week of release, and kept her name alive as her career was forgotten; successive generations still

wondering just what Billie Joe McAllister threw off the Tallahatchie Bridge. The Gentry renaissance that’s led us to this eight-disc compilation arguably began with the mid-’90s easy listening revival, when an audience drawn to Gentry’s kitsch LP sleeves and swooning Bacharach covers also discovered her sultry swamp rockers alongside beguiling poetic ballads about “tear-sorrowed” women, that unravelled like gothic riddles. These mysterious self-penned parables ran across all seven of her studio albums, harking back to that original spectral hit, and shining a dark light on the other Bobbie Gentry, one Roberta Streeter, born into a dirt-poor broken family in Chickasaw County, Mississippi, on July 27, 1942. Her undoubted masterpiece remains 1968’s The Delta Sweete, a semiautobiographical Southern concept album split between rowdy gospel-soul groovers and exquisitely sad chamber pop detailing captive women’s haunted dreams. That’s closely followed by 1970’s Fancy – sensuous blue-eyed soul, cut with Muscle Shoals maven Rick Hall – and her final studio LP, Patchwork, which comprises Nilsson-esque character sketches, punctuated by wistful, autumnal introspection. Compromised by a rigid touring schedule and a label expecting more Billie Joe-style chart smashes, other albums were hobbled by insubstantial covers, most specifically, her 1968 Glen Campbell duets long-player, but each contained compositions of a unique eerie brilliance, from debut LP standout, I Saw An Angel Die, to Local Gentry’s shimmering Recollection – a prismatic She’s Leaving Home about a young girl confronting death for the first time. All are reason to invest in this retrospective, but the real clincher is the rare and unreleased recordings. Backed by musical director John Cameron, the Live At The BBC disc (only previously available as a 2018 RSD LP) showcases Gentry at her soulful best; the upbeat tracks oozing Delta sensuality, the slower numbers heavy with an intimate melancholy. The other extras range from raw acoustic demos to steamy covers of Mose Allison’s The Seventh Son and Blood, Sweat & Tears’ Spinning Wheel, plus Bobbie singing in Italian, Japanese and Spanish. However, the real find is eight mournful, intimate tracks from an abandoned, self-produced jazz session, planned as a follow-up to 1968’s poor-selling Local Gentry. The songs range from the chilling (Irving Berlin’s Supper Time) to the beguiling (a crestfallen take on Bacharach & David’s This Guy’s In Love With You), and suggest Gentry’s career might have taken an entirely different path. Whether it would have continued, we’ll never know. Maybe she would have still found herself “packin’ up” and “checking out”, as she sings on the painfully autobiographical Lookin’ In, the closing track on her final LP. As with everything connected with Bobbie Gentry, what remains is the mystery.


F I LT E R R E I S SU E S Modern Sound Quintet

★★★★ Otinku CREE. DL/LP

Inspired by The Moder Quartet, they swappe for steelpans.

Calcium

★★★★ Calcium MONSTER MELODIES. LP

Lost ’60s classic from the other side of the the Parisian barricades. As the discontent of 1968 flowed into the new year, pop music in France – as in other countries – was steamrollered by the new, harder-edged sound, and few of the yé-yé generation stayed afloat. Actress/model/singer Zouzou – a close friend to Brian Jones, George Harrison and Bob Dylan – was one of those offered a second chance. Having played together through 1968 as Jardin, she joined the newly-rechristened Calcium (led by guitarist Stéphane Vilar and bassist Jacques Zins) to spend six months working on this mélange of acid-folk and nascent prog. Psychedelic organs, shouty vocals and spooky harmonies, McGuinn guitars, as hook-savvy as Roy Wood… it really ought to have soundtracked a Godard-esque experiment. The single flopped, however, the label lost interest, the album was shelved and the band disintegrated. Five decades on, it feels kind of brilliant. David Hutcheon

Various

★★★ Destination Crampsville

Dan Asher

CHERRY RED. CD/DL

zz es

The title track, written by Ghanaian conga player Kofi Ayivor and Barbadian pianist John Roachford, introduces the Modern Sound Quintet’s philosophy in just under four minutes of hypnotic percussive rhythm. Blending African tribal beats with calypso, reggae, high life and modern jazz, this is music as possibility and cultural unity. Recorded in Stockholm in 1971 for EMI Finland, it’s historically important, as one of the first records to introduce steelpan to Europe via the band’s Trinidadian pannist Rudy Smith. He’s behind the captivating originals Sugar Daddy, Ursia and Flamenco Groove. The remaining tracks include covers of Herbie Mann’s Memphis Underground, here a furious furore of trap drums and pans, and Miles Davis’s Bag’s Groove, an experiment in jazz subversion and jarring pan dissonance. Lois Wilson

versions, adding a timeless shimmer to the revamped set; the alternates of Misty Morning, Running Away and Time Will Tell work particularly well in their new configurations. David Katz

Misty morning: a good time to re-evaluate Bob Marley’s Kaya.

Merry Clayton

★★★★ Merry Clayton REAL GONE. CD/LP

Gimme Shelter singer’s excellent second solo outing back on vinyl and CD. Highly valued as a backing singer – she’s great in 20 Feet From Stardom, the 2013 documentary about that arcane life – Merry Clayton earned her chance out front after her chilling contribution to the Rolling Stones’ Gimme Shelter; a song she revisited for her first solo album. This, her second, was even stronger. Clayton’s church-born delivery unfailingly stirring, her tone, a perfect blend of sweetness and strength, cutting through every mix; her energy propelling even slim material to unexpected heights. Players such as Billy Preston, Carole King and lyrical bass player Wilton Felder don’t hurt either. When the songs are decent – Neil Young’s Southern Man, Leon Russell’s A Song For You, Bill Withers’ Grandma’s

Hands, and particularly Carole King’s shiversome Same Old Story, then she’s truly something to behold, deserving of a much higher place in the pantheon. Jim Irvin

The Skatalites

★★★★ Ska Authentic STUDIO ONE/YEP ROC. CD/D/LP

Rare 1964 ska album, lovingly restored with original tracklisting. For collectors of original ska longplayers, Ska Authentic has always been the most confusing and elusive prize. First issued in Jamaica on a limited run in 1964 on

Studio One’s ND subsidiary, an album of the same name surfaced in Britain in 1967 with a totally different tracklisting. Subsequent reissues mixed material from both versions; the situation made more confusing by a further release, misleadingly titled Volume 2. Thankfully, Yep Roc has finally restored the original Ska Authentic for a high-quality reissue that allows us to appreciate the excellence of the initial album. Stunning instrumentals such as Tommy McCook’s Freedom Sounds and Roland Alphonso’s Full Dread give way to ska vocal tracks, such as The Maytals’ gospel-laden Heaven Declare, Lee Perry’s rollicking MotherIn-Law and You’re Wondering Now by one-hit wonders Andy & Joey, later made famous by The Specials. David Katz

VINYL PACKAGE OF THE MONTH Bob Marley And The Wailers

★★★★

More rockabilly psych and the garage diseas

Kaya

Over two CDs we get some of the songs The Cramps taught us and some that taught The Cramps. So, for the most part lyrics reference B-movies, dance moves and teen delinquency; vocals are unintelligible, punctuated with feral screams, grunts and yelps; guitars are twangy, often distorted; an upright double bass pounds and slaps, and a runaway sax honks all over the place. The apotheoses of the style here are Little Ike’s She Can Rock, an unhinged holler from 1959, and the same year’s Chicken Rock by Scott Wood And His Band, which is another in-the-red screecher. There are some unusual soulful inclusions such as Little Eva’s Keep Your Hands Off My Baby and The Ikettes’ I’m Blue (The Gong Gong Song), but the rest makes perfect madness. Lois Wilson

Expanded double reissue with new mixes by Stephen ‘Son Of Bob’ Marley.

UNIVERSAL/ISLAND. CD/DL/LP

Of all the albums Bob Marley and the Wailers recorded for Island Records, Kaya has faced the greatest criticism. Unjustly derided as an overlycommercial set of soft ballads on its release in 1978, the album still has its fair share of social commentary, as heard on later tracks such as Crisis, Time Will Tell and the deeply personal Running Away, which dealt with Marley’s attempted assassination. The album certainly deserves reevaluating and this 40th Anniversary Edition allows us to revisit it in a gatefold sleeve, with a second disc containing tasteful new mixes by Bob’s son Stephen, drawing on unreleased vocal outtakes and flashes of alternate instrumentation. The new mixes have more reverb and delay than the original

Rammellzee Vs K-Rob Beat Bop GET ON DOWN. 12-INCH SINGLE

NO ONE boasted a wilder style than Rammellzee. The hip-hop visionary eternally obscured by impenetrable

ski goggles and Samurai robot chain mail also fashioned one of rap’s most sought-after 12-inch singles – an unhinged 10-minute duet with K-Rob wrapped in visuals created by doomed artist Jean-Michel Basquiat (who pressed just 500 copies on his teeny Tartown

imprint). If it still sounds utterly crazed now, back in 1983 Beat Bop felt beamed in from another planet; the pair taking bragging rights to fresh levels of abstraction and obfuscation over spacedout beats and found Afrofuturist sounds as random ghosts twisted and twirled ntrols. With es now edging he £2,000 this is a ing chance to ordably grab a ue hip hop one-off, which comes with original artwork and more, on rather modish lack and ite vinyl.

Andy Cowan

MOJO 103


Smock rock! The Beta Band, 1997 (from left) Robin Jones, Steve Mason, Richard Greentree, John Maclean.

DIY SOS Their jerry-built antidote to Britpop was shortlived, but sweet. By Danny Eccleston.

The Beta Band

★★★★ The Three EPs BECAUSE MUSIC. CD/DL/LP

IN THE hangover year of 1997, with UK music looking for ways forward amid the dogends of rump Britpop, a mostly-Scottish fourpiece touting a scruffy brand of psychedelic dub-folk-house were the unlikely next big thing. A repudiation of everything shiny, corporate and poptimistic then extant, their music felt almost stridently homegrown – with improvised percussion instruments combining with hack-wired electronica and singer Steve Mason’s doleful mumbles. Live, the group were camouflaged amid on-stage foliage and odd films showed them rolling backwards uphill – a convenient metaphor for their seeming opposition to the times. Over 1997 and ’98, The Beta Band released three EPs – subsequently compiled

104 MOJO

on one CD compilation, now remastered and recombined. The first, Champion Versions, begins with the defining Dry The Rain: Primal Scream’s Loaded remade in a shed by (and for) rave casualties. Mason is “a junkyard fool with eyes of gloom”; the union of sequestered strangeness and overgrown funk-naïf, over all four tracks, remains thrillingly hypnotic. Although Dry The Rain co-writer Gordon Anderson had departed, the second EP, The Patty Patty Sound, suffered not, with pop sensibilities sharpened on the mantric Inner Meet Me. Although their lo-fi Revolution 9 side is over-indulged on the 15-minute Monolith, it is mercifully less prominent on EP3, Los Amigos Del Beta Bandidos. Here, for the first (and possibly last) time they crafted a fully satisfying ‘experience’, with the Robin Jones/Richard Greentree rhythm section sparingly brilliant on the haunting Push It Out and Needles In My Eyes’ bass-rumbling rave-up. It was a masterpiece and – as long as you looked past Mason’s weird nightmares full of tears and pain (“I crept in and I stole your mind/I think I’m having trouble with mine”) – the

group appeared set fair. But Beta Band music was to prove as impossible to emulate as that other trumpeted trailblazer of 1997, Radiohead’s OK Computer; neither by fans including Noel Gallagher (whose brief infatuation is written all over Oasis’s Go Let It Out) nor by The Beta Band themselves, who – freaked by the attention, budget, deadlines and the surfacing of Mason’s depression – produced The Beta Band, a fragmented, largely charm-free follow-up album. Two more – the much-better Hot Shots II and knowingly titled Heroes To Zeroes – followed without adjusting the impression of a group whose unique attributes had frazzled the instant they ventured into the light. But the Beta Band legend persists; its shadow cast across Mason’s solo career – excellent in parts. DJ/keyboardist John Maclean, who also guided the group’s artwork, including their magazine, The Flower Press (reproductions of which will be included in vinyl editions of The Three EPs sold in independent record stores), had a smarter idea. He became a film director. The moment he makes a film as good as The Three EPs, an Oscar beckons.


F I LT E R R E I S SU E S Monkman is more mischievous. His Bright Summer’s Day ’68 is balmy and barmy, the hyperactive Everdance clearly wasted as a B-side. The labyrinthine closer, Piece Of Mind, channels Heart Of Darkness, Nico and TS Eliot before reaching a carnivalesque climax. Mark Paytress

on Five To One and bringing genuine tenderness to Wintertime Love. Mark Paytress

collective improvisation. They’re curious and more wondering than wandering. Chris Nelson

Duke Ellington And Coleman Hawkins

I-Mo-Jah

★★★★ Rockers From The Land Of Reggae

★★★ ★★★★

★★★★

The Bill Haley Connection – 29 Roots And Covers Of Bill Haley & His Comets

Waiting For The Sun

BEAR FAMILY. CD

Entertaining selection of tunes by people Bill covered and those who covered Bill. People sometimes forget, but in 1956 Bill Haley’s songs were the sound of revolution. After showings of the film Rock Around The Clock, the Manchester Guardian sniffed that “a youth danced on the roof of a parked car, another performed a ‘snake dance’ in a dazed, hypnotised fashion.” Who wouldn’t? Bill had excellent taste in covers: vocal group sides (Burn That Candle by The Cues), R&B belters (Jimmy Preston’s Rock The Joint) or Count Basie’s 1938 big band workout Stop Beatin’ Around The Mulberry Bush. Others covering Haley’s records sometimes hit the spot – like Ella May Morse’s fine Razzle Dazzle or Damita Jo’s swinging Dance With A Dolly – but many lack the vital spark which made the Comets international stars. Like the best such compilations, it sends you back to the people who made these tunes famous in the first place. Max Décharné

★★★

What happened when jazz giants joined forc

RHINO. CD/LP/DL

Their most successful refreshed by newly discovered rough mix

m

Sessions for The Doors’ third album began early in ’68 with the recording of the 20-minute Celebration Of The Lizard. It didn’t work out; just one segment, Not To Touch The Earth, made the final cut. It was a highlight, a Doors epic in microcosm – windswept, urgent, strange. Jim Morrison mumbles “I am the Lizard King, I can do anything” at the end, before no doubt hitting the next whiskey bar. Truth was, high on poetic rebellion, the singer almost sabotaged the sessions. Now a bonus batch of rough mixes may let him off the hook. For, in his pursuit of perfectionism, it seems that producer Paul Rothschild sacrificed The Doors’ natural looseness. Here, Morrison emerges as a more prominent, unhinged presence, staking out future Bad Seeds terrain

Often described as “the house that Trane built,” Impulse! Records, with its famous orange and black livery, was much more than a label devoted to jazz’s most progressive and forward-thinking musicians. It was also home in the early ’60s to some of the idiom’s elder statesmen. A case in point is this delicious jazz summit from 1962 where Duke Ellington, one of jazz’s greatest composers, collaborated for the first and only time with noted veteran tenor saxophonist, Coleman Hawkins. The pair are joined by a quintet that includes alto sax legend, Johnny Hodges, and run through nine Ellington-penned tunes, ranging from new takes on classics like Mood Indigo and Solitude to the freshly-written Limbo Jazz, which exudes a Caribbean calypso feel. Bonus material comes in the shape of five Ellington tunes from Hawkins’ solo repertoire. Charles Waring

Led Zeppelin

★★★★

PRESSURE SOUNDS. CD/LP/DL

Grateful Dead

★★★★ Pacific Northwest ’73-’74: The Complete Recordings RHINO. CD/DL

Six shows across 19 discs. Also offered: a 3CD best-of, and Portland ’74 on LP. 1974 is a cherished year among Deadheads. On the three ’74 shows here, Jerry Garcia’s guitar work is effortlessly fluid. In Portland, Greatest Story Ever Told, typically a barnburner, evolves into a sweet duet for Garcia and keyboardist Keith Godchaux. In Vancouver, they infuse Dire Wolf with rare but fitting regret. The shows from ’73 display less finesse but invite closer listens. Godchaux, still relatively new, sounds confident and at home. In Seattle, the Dead venture from a doowop coda on He’s Gone, into solid country rock on Me And Bobby McGee, and end against a wall of noise on The Other One. In Vancouver, bassist Phil Lesh toys with a riff that will, years later, evolve into Fire On The Mountain. This is the Dead in transition, rich ground for a group whose greatest gift is

100th release from the reggae label reprises t trio’s sole 1982 album. I-Mo-Jah – which means ‘unity’ in Swahili – were a US-based three-piece led by Kingston, Jamaica’s Phillip Fullwood, a Rasta who wrote songs for Freddie McKay and Burning Spear, among others. Formed in 1979 with fellow Jamaican Winston McKenzie, the pair later recruited Cassandra Jenkins and recorded their sole outing in Long Island, New York, over backing tracks by Sly And Robbie, Leroy ‘Horsemouth’ Wallace and Clive ‘Azul’ Hunt. Jenkins is central. Whether she’s providing a soulful vocal wash for Fullwood to sing or chant his Rasta sentiments over, see the rootsy Peace And Love, or leading the way on the dubby One Song/Jah Music, she’s a transcendental presence throughout. Originally issued on the Jah Marcus label in 1982 in limited numbers, Rockers From The Land Of Reggae now commands a three-figure price tag. Get the reissue for a tenner instead. Lois Wilson

Page and Plant: the astonishing telepathy of Led Zeppelin.

ATLANTIC/SWAN SONG/RHINO. CD/D/LP/DVD

Second Album

Rock giants’ movie soundtrack – and movie – gets a makeover.

ESOTERIC. CD/DVD

© 1976 Warner Bros. Entertainment

POLL WINNERS. CD

The Song Remains The Same

Curved Air

Prog rockers’ diverse hit album now enriche outtakes and TV foota

Duke Ellington Meets Coleman Hawkins

The Doors

Various

h

Launched in 1970 as an album act, Curved Air enjoyed a surprise Top 5 single the following summer. Back Street Luv traded Darryl Way’s violin for a funky granite groove, bringing screamers to gigs and scepticism from their audience. Progressive pop rarely sounded better. But it sat uneasily on that autumn’s Second Album, an uncertain set split between Way’s songs and keyboardist Francis Monkman’s penchant for the wild and whimsical. The opener Young Mother is exquisitely balanced, the tendency towards pomposity sweetened by airy violin passages, and the soaring Jumbo accents the sensitivity. You Know, meanwhile, strays into barroom ploddery.

RE-RELEASED as part of Led Zeppelin’s 50th anniversary, this is the 2007 reissue given a spring clean, or, rather, “a newly remastered audio” supervised by band boss/gatekeeper Jimmy Page. The only other difference can be found on the latest vinyl and super-deluxe box set versions, with their longer, 29-minute reading of Dazed And Confused. The soundtrack to Zeppelin’s rather haphazard concert/fantasy movie was always better than the film itself (a DVD of which is also included as part of the box set), but, inevitably, it lacked the finesse of their studio LPs. Page addressed the problem in 2007 and does so again here, though only those with a dog’s hearing

might notice he difference. Rest assured, John Bonham’s rimshot snare during Rock And Roll and Page’s blurred-finger coda on Celebration Day are reproduced with pinsharp clarity. Technological

advances aside, though, the telepathy between all parties, especially on Since I’ve Been Loving You and No Quarter, remains as astonishing now as it was on the original double live album.

Mark Blake

MOJO 105


Uptown funk: Lafayette AfroRock Band, 1973.

F I L E U N D E R ...

Going postal Why not pamper your shelf each month with a smartly curated surprise? Jim Irvin joins a new record club.

T

HE RETURN of vinyl as a deluxe lifestyle accessory means the inevitable return of record clubs. Starting in the 1950s, these were handy for anyone too time-poor to shop for themselves, or living in a store-less wilderness, but by the 1980s had become vast, soulless institutions that lured you in with four albums for a penny and then bullied you into regularly buying unsurprising blockbusters you didn’t want. No such concerns with the new breed of record club, such as Vinyl Me, Please, a smart, boutiquey outfit from the US that targets a certain stripe of consumer and super-serves them with crystal remasters of crate-dwelling rarities served up in heavygauge sleeves, 180-gram coloured vinyl, with obi, plastic outer bag, art print, notes booklet, cocktail recipe and a maraschino cherry grown on the south slopes of an exclusive Japanese orchard. OK, I made up the last one. VMP was founded in 2013 by Matt Fiedler and Tyler Barstow, who were soon joined by spokesman Cameron Schaefer, who describes VMP’s aesthetic as “unironic” and their ideal customer as “the superfan or collector who recognises that the greatest moments are the result of serendipity, who listens to country and rap without apology, metal and soul with no dissonance.” They have three subscription lists (or Tracks, as they call them, slightly

confusingly): Essentials, their flagship category, featuring their chosen File Under was sent a Classic and an album of the month, which can be anything Essential to sample the quality. The Classic from Miles Davis to My Morning Jacket, St. was the excellent Lafayette Afro-Rock Vincent or Betty Davis, Wilco or Nina Band’s Soul Makossa. I knew a little about Simone; Classics, which are all jazz, blues this funky French curiosity from 1973; its and soul reissues curated with the title song a cover of the Manu Dibango tune audiophile in mind (recent offerings: Carla borrowed by Michael Jackson (for Wanna Be Thomas, Darrell Banks, Max Roach, Little Milton), and the self-explanatory Rap & Hip Startin’ Something), but the liner booklet told the whole story in nicely empurpled Hop (Common, Goodie Mob, Snoop Dogg, prose. The follow-up, Malik, is also available MF Doom). There are plans afoot for in the store for further listening. further Tracks. “Our members are asking The Essential choice, The Silvertones’ for a Crate-Digger subscription,” says Silver Bullets, is an intriguing Trojan rarity Schaefer. “Soul Jazz, Light In The Attic, produced by Lee Perry, apparently in one left-of-centre stuff that Gilles Peterson night. It’s patchy, but the would love. Metal, songs that deliver are really electronic and country impressive. This kind of are also in demand.” obscurity, tough to discover Costing $32-42 per otherwise, is where this month for Brits, depending service really scores. The on the length of time you handsome art print and cute sign up for at vinylmeplease. cocktail recipe? Though com, subscribers are sent a unlikely to be using either weekly blog and given the this month, one appreciates chance to swap their album the effort. of the month for any record Attractive, thoughtful, in the carefully selected collectable, remastered from catalogue, so everyone goes “Providing original sources wherever away happy. Apart from the possible, VMP editions are three main Tracks, there’s tough-toan online store stocking undeniably well done. If discover albums the team admires, you’re their kind of listener, adding up to 70 new titles and have the spare cash, a obscurities each month, some of them subscription will bring you is where this editions available only to a lavish, regular treat that’s VMP members. tough to resist. service really

scores.” 106 MOJO


REISSUES EXTRA

The Band

★★★★★ Music From Big Pink – 50th Anniversary Edition CAPITOL. CD/DL/LP/BLU-RAY

The unsurpassable 1968 classic debut from which sprang Americana. Like Sgt. Pepper, there’s Before Big Pink and After. Whereas The Beatles’ game-changer encouraged musicians to pile on, The Band ostensibly simplified. It was a bit of a magic trick. A listen 50 years after its release shows the five contrarian visionaries as eager as the Fabs for sonic experimentation with tuned drums and phase-shifting technology. And in their singing and songwriting, The Band blended R&B and country in creatively antique arrangements and invented a more rural, utterly personal soul music. A song like The Weight took Dylan picaresque new places and its invocation to “take a load off Fanny” lives on in our cultural DNA. Sensitively remixed and remastered – like cleaning stained glass for brighter colours – and in combinations of formats, here’s a masterpiece that lives up to its legend. Michael Simmons

Joe Strummer

★★★★ 001 IGNITION. CD/DL/LP

Fascinating rummage through the former John Mellor’s private collection. In the wake of Joe Strummer’s death in 2002, his widow Lucinda Tait discovered a stash of lost recordings, leading to this compilation of his work outside of The Clash. While CD 1 is a pretty straightforward remastering of previouslyheard tracks stretching from The 101ers to The Mescaleros, the 12-track second CD comprises previouslyunreleased curios. Ranging from a hushed home-recorded solo sketch of The 101ers’ Letsgetabitarockin from 1975 to the Springsteen-ish groover

Rose Of Erin in ’93, the same year’s jazzy and selfexamining The Cool Impossible ventures into new territory, while US North, a 1986 collaboration with Mick Jones, proves that a Clash reunion might not have been such a bad idea. The fact that some of the material was lifted from cassettes means that the production quality varies wildly, but nonetheless 001 is catnip for Strummer fans. Tom Doyle

The Fall

The Whispers

★★★★

★★★★★

Whisper In Your Ear/The Whispers/Imagination

458489 A Sides

Raindances

BEGGARS ARKIVE. LP

ESOTERIC. CD/DL

ROBINSONGS. CD/DL

Out again on white vinyl, this 1984 to ’89 comp that covers MES’s group’s emergence as bewildering if short-term chart force. Within, rocking country-and-northern brutalism and Smithy’s regionalbut-unparochial crypto-haikus pulse with undimmed energy. IH

Does the crumhorn belong in rock? The answer is herein – 2CDs of the medieval proggers’ Transatlantic label output, 1973-75. Moving from early music arrangements to thudding jigs and melancholy ballads, Gryphon were ridiculous, brilliant, often annoying. AM

Gary McFarland

★★★★

The Durutti Column

Give Me My Flowers

★★★★

The In Sound

NASHBORO. DL/LP

Without Mercy

Second and best of recent 2CD sets by the Los Angeles vocal quintet, these three 1979/80 hit-heavy Solar label albums included And The Beat Goes On, It’s A Love Thing, I Can Make It Better etc. Slick late-’70s soul. GB

Pixies

★★★★★ Come On Pilgrim… It’s Surfer Rosa

Gryphon

★★★

4AD. CD/DL/LP

Thirtieth anniversary of alt rock pioneers’ si debut mini-LP and alb

ue ar

Though Surfer Rosa producer Steve Albini was typically out of line when he described their subsequent work as “blandly entertaining college rock”, Pixies definitely lost something when Black Francis ceased barking like a derelict banshee about incest, in Spanglish. Thirty years on, Surfer Rosa still sounds unexpected and unpredictable; all garrote-wire guitars and haunting pop; mood-swinging from manic, trebly violence (Vamos) to unguarded confession (Where Is My Mind?), with anything corny or clichéd butchered away. Also included here is the grou ’s preceding mini-LP Come On Pilgrim, hewn from their demo-tape and a very dry run for Surfer Rosa, and an unhinged early radio performance, attesting to their native, deranged invention, both of which underscore the debauched, freak brilliance of Pixies’ debut, and the canny skill of Albini’s deadpan, bonedry production. And while greatness surely followed, they never quite thrilled like this again. Stevie Chick

COMING NEXT MONTH... John Grant, Gene Clark, Fleet Foxes, Elvis Costello, Amber Arcades (pictured below), Rod Stewart, Phosphorescent, Nile Rodgers and more…

Various

Sixteen varied ’50s/’60s sides from Nashville’s Nashboro gospel label to set pulses racing and sinners straight. Rampant exultations of Swanee Quintet, Hightower Brothers, Skylarks, Gospel Songbirds et al are more effective than the ballads. GB

★★★★ ACE. CD/DL

FACTORY BENELUX. CD/LP

Piano, brass, woodwind and strings entwine with Vini Reilly’s inimitable guitar on a four-disc reprise of his Keats-inspired, modern classical/programmed funk suite from 1984. Demos, live shows from London and Oslo and an EP make up the rest. IH

Aretha Franklin

Gaz irked the purists. The Los Angeles vibes prodigy earned his jazz stripes working with Stan Getz and Bill Evans before cutting the two mid-’60s albums of light Latin pop complexity collected here. Jazz snobs dismissed them but Ennio Morricone and Burt Bacharach took notes. AM

Various

★★★★

Pyramid

The Atlantic Singles Collection 1967-1970

★★★

ATLANTIC/RHINO. CD/DL/LP

MENTAL EXPERIENCE. CD/DL/LP

After the Columbia years and before her Arista sojourn, the Queen of Soul’s time of glory. Thirty-four A- and B-sides across 2CDs (or 25 on the double vinyl) cover four years of gospel-soul power ending with Spirit In The Dark, Don’t Play That Song, Border Song (Holy Moses) and more cut with The Dixie Flyers. GB

Single-track dead-hours studio experiment recorded circa 1975 by famed Cologne engineer Toby Robinson (AKA The Mad Twiddler) and the Fluxus artist Robin Page, this late-night excursion moves from rippling guitar arpeggios to practice-amp space rock uplift before a blissful extended outro redolent of Popol Vuh. AM

★★★★ Boombox 3

Pyramid

SOUL JAZZ. CD/DL/LP

The third 2CD volume in Soul Jazz’s overview of late-’70s and early-’80s independent hip hop, electro and disco rap. The quality has not flagged, and while it's a delight to revisit Bobby Deemo’s Bugs-BSkate Rap, it's also a little bittersweet to hear raps about sibling squabbles, going to school and getting a good job. AM

RATINGS & FORMATS Your guide to the month’s best music is now even more definitive with our handy format guide. CD COMPACT DISC DL DOWNLOAD ST STREAMING LP VINYL MC CASSETTE DVD DIGITAL VIDEO DISC C IN CINEMAS BR BLU-RAY

★★★★★

★★★★

★★★

★★

MOJO CLASSIC

EXCELLENT

GOOD

DISAPPOINTING

BEST AVOIDED

DEPLORABLE

MOJO 107


BURIED TRE

’Bone idol: Chris Barber with electric friends: (below) guest player Rory Gallagher.

CREDITS

Marquee, really,” says Barber. “We hated playing the 100 Club in the early ’60s – you can listen to a band OK there but the sound when you’re playing is awful, so we preferred to cross Oxford Street to Giorgio Gomelsky’s Thursday blues nights… the Stones were starting up and a lot of good things happened. That’s the spirit Drat That Fratle Rat! was made in, so it was fitting we made it in the Marquee Studios, which was in Richmond Mews, round the back of the club.” In terms of spirit, personnel and titular linguistics, Drat That Fratle Rat! had its genesis in two tracks from Barber’s previous LP, 1971’s partly live double Get Rolling! The off-kilter swing of Shoeman The Human features Stone The Crows drummer Colin Allen, and the amazing 14-minute Balkan folk-tinged tour de force Ubava Zabava (written by Barber, inspired by music heard in a Yugoslav restaurant while playing in Düsseldorf) goes about as far out there as British jazz ever has. The man with his hand on the tiller of Barber’s new direction was Canadian (but London-born) ukulele-player and guitarist imaginary Cymande concept Steve Hammond, who produced both long-player celebrating the albums. “He was a very interesting works of JRR Tolkien. musician,” Barber remembers fondly of Even though he still makes the occasional live appearance, tracking down the man who replaced Noel Redding in Fat Mattress, “and he helped us bring together all 88-year-old British jazz institution Chris these odd little ideas we’d had.” Barber to ask him how all this happened Among these ideas were song-titles which presents something of an investigative twisted jazz hipster-speak into what Barber calls challenge. Early website leads run ominously “the British kind of nonsense” – a habit dating cold, but a serpentine trail leading from early back through fellow jazz-buffs The Goons to the Old Grey Whistle Test presenter Richard Edward Lear. “It was just mishearings, changing Williams through two former members of words slightly so you used one where you meant Manfred Mann eventually elicits a welcome another,” he says, “for example, the ‘Fegalemic’ late-night phone-call from the great man. in Fegalemic Pegaloomer “We weren’t glorifying started out as ‘phallic’.” ourselves for playing weird Alongside these “words stuff,” Barber explains. ”It was that were nearly other words”, just like-minded people Drat That Fratle Rat! offers the congregating together and listener music that is nearly trying to do things that hadn’t other music, in the form of an been done before. By the early early ’70s British jazz rarity ’70s there wasn’t so much that might as well be a great gigging going on, but while late ’90s Jim O’Rourke album. Rory was recording with us we Side two starts with the played one concert with him at amazing Earth Abides – a disused cinema in Swindon.” Far from the aberration “We weren’t imagine one of Jim Parker’s chamber jazz rhapsodies for that it might initially appear to glorifying John Betjeman re-recorded by be, Drat That Fratle Rat!’s very Chris McGregor’s BrotherBritish kind of jazz-rock fusion ourselves hood Of Breath. is entirely in keeping with for playing Barber’s status as one of the Sleepy Louie brings Rory founding fathers of the British Gallagher back into the weird stuff.” blues boom. Not only did he spotlight for a second woozy CHRIS BARBER play bass on skiffle rosetta b arden blues fantasia, stone Rock Island Line with e O’Reilly brings us then band-member Lonnie in bracingly abstract and Donegan in a historic moment n-friendly shape with a of studio downtime, he also help from – who else? helped bring over the great ird Ear Band stalwart bluesmen he met touring nd Space Oddity and America on Musicians Union Miles Davis’s On The exchange tours for the early Corner arranger Paul UK expeditions which would Buckmaster. be the foundation of It’s space-rock, Jim, everything that came after. but not as we know it. “It all went back to The Ben Thompson

Extra vermin This month’s wandering plutoid in rock obscuria’s endless night, a freakout for trad jazz trombone and electric guitar.

Chris Barber Drat That Fratle Rat! BLACK LION, 1972

HERE’S A SPECIAL feeling when you’ve been allowed to give an album you’ve never heard before a spin on the second-hand record shop stereo and within 20 seconds of it starting all the other customers’ façades of cool have crumbled in their desperation to know what it is. Chris Barber’s Drat That Fratle Rat! delivers that sensation on toast. The opening four-minute title-track suggests the great Indianapolis jazz trombonist JJ Johnson jamming with Clear Spot-era Beefheart while the soundtrack of an ominous Latvian film about international shipping plays out in the background. Then Rory Gallagher really cuts loose. Track two, The Falling Song, is a lovely plaintive seven-minute ballad pitched somewhere between Traffic at their most internal and Joe Cocker at his least bombastic. And whose is that lovely soulful voice? It’s Tony Ashton of Resurrection Shuffle trio Ashton, Gardner & Dyke, and he’s brought his bandmates along with him on bass and drums. Closing side one in a delirious – not to say psychedelic – miasma of laughing policeman trombone, Fegalemic Pegaloomer locates its instrumental nonsense poetry within some superbly funky undergrowth. It’s clear that you’re listening to perhaps the greatest trad jazz trombone/classic rock guitar crossover LP of all time, so let’s save side two ’til we’ve got some back-story. St. John Earp’s cover painting gives us few clues. With its hooded figure climbing a staircase to a ruined tower, it’s the sort of thing Roger Dean might have done for an

Getty (2)

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Tracks: Drat That Fratle Rat / The Falling Song / Fegalemic Pegaloomer / Earth Abides / Sleepy Louie / O’Reilly Personnel: Chris Barber (trmbn), John Crocker (saxes), Rory Gallagher (ld gtr) John Slaughter, Mick Lieber (gtr), Jack Flavelle, Kim Gardner (bs), Graham Burridge, Roy Dyke, Colin Allen (drms), Pat Halcox (trmpt, cornet), Tony Ashton, Martin Roke, Ann O’Dell (keyboards), Brian Gullen (bassoon), Paul Buckmaster (cello). Producer/ arranger: Steve Hammond except Earth Abides (arr. Martin Roke) Released: 1972 Recorded: Marquee Studios, London Chart peak: n/a Current availability: The Outstanding Album (Bell)


“CHARISMATIC, OUTSPOKEN… WEAVING IN ELEMENTS OF LEADBELLY, PRINCE-STYLE FUNK AND HIP-HOP LOOPS.”

ĦĦĦĦ MOJO

“ROCK NEEDS HIM” BILLBOARD

ĦĦĦĦĦ ĦĦĦĦĦ ĦĦĦ Ħ ROLLING STONE

BLUES & SOUL

UNCUT


10

Dinosaur Jr Beyond

FAT POSSUM 2007, £13.18

You Say: “Made good all the bitterness, and a fantastic record to boot. Rolled back the decades.” Ollie Lloyd, via e-mail Few bands seemed less likely to reform than the original line-up of Dinosaur Jr, whose nearly-two-decades of fractious spite had played out across backstage tantrums, acrimonious lawsuits and the occasional unguarded lyric (Barlow’s mea culpa The Freed Pig). But, following their successful reunion tours a couple of years earlier, J, Lou and Murph cut their first album of new material in almost 20 years. And if Beyond owed as much to the group’s post-Lou Sire output as to their original trilogy of albums, it was of a standard that did the remainder of their discography proud – the sound of a band not merely revived, but revivified.

CAST YOUR VOTES… This month you chose your Top 10 Dinosaur Jr albums. Next month we want your Beach Boys Top 10. Send your selections to www.mojo4music. com or email your Top 10 to mojo@ bauermedia. com with the subject ‘How To Buy The Beach Boys’ and we’ll print the best comments.

Dinosaur was a fractious beast, however (“Lou was a real victim,” Mascis told MOJO in 2005, “and if people were looking to be abused, Indie noise’s scene freaks. I’d abuse them.”), and, following By Stevie Chick. several years of passive-aggression between guitarist and bassist, Mascis F NEIL YOUNG is the Godfather of Grunge, split the band, and then reformed it Alternative Nation guitar hero J Mascis – with his the next day without Barlow, who wracked wail, penchant for “ear-bleeding country” and tendency toward epic, emotive soloing – could be formed confessional lo-fi pioneers Sebadoh. Dinosaur Jr, meanwhile, signed to Sire and enjoyed hailed as the plaid-clad son the Crazy Horse hero commercial success in the wake of Nirvana’s never knew he had. breakthrough. However, diminishing returns saw In 1984, formerly-skinheaded Oi!-fan Mascis Mascis call time on the group in 1997, before vacated the drum stool of recently unravelled pursuing a solo career backed by The Fog, who Massachusetts hardcore-punkers Deep Wound to featured Mike Watt on bass and, occasionally, indulge his love for Neil Young, Black Sabbath ex-Stooges guitarist Ron Asheton (leading, indirectly, and post-punk in a new group, Dinosaur (the “Jr” to The Stooges’ reunion with Iggy Pop). was later appended following a lawsuit from The enmity between Barlow and the Jefferson Airplane offshoot Mascis crackled on, but in 2005 Dinosaurs). He shared vocals with the pair put aside their differences “The group… ex-Deep Wound bassist Lou Barlow, and reunited with Murph for while old schoolfriend Emmett expanded the deafeningly great live shows ‘Murph’ Murphy played drums. vocabulary promoting the reissue of their first Beginning with 1985’s eponymous three albums. debut, the group delivered a trilogy of American Against all odds, this reunion that expanded the vocabulary of underground has yielded four further albums of American underground rock with new material, as Dinosaur Jr hitherto-verboten ’60s references, rock.” continue to abide, in their raggedly anointing Mascis as a lyrical master glorious way. of the electric guitar.

Dinosaur Jr

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Dinosaur Dinosaur

HOMESTEAD 1985, SWEET NOTHING CD £11.22

You Say: “Helped others see past US hardcore punk formalism.”Gandoo Spear, MOJO Facebook The embryonic Dinosaur of their debut had yet to perfectly meld their jarring influences, some of which regurgitate undigested on the weirder tracks (Mountain Man’s CroMagnon widdle, Does It Float’s ear-aching thrash). But elegiac opener Forget The Swan, Repulsion’s Young-ian social isolation, the affectionate masturbatory haze of Severed Lips and the longing of Quest (the endlessly repeated “Why won’t you be my friend?”) all announce Dinosaur’s unique voice, reclaiming classic rock tropes to express subterranean disaffection. It peaks with The Leper, which matches brutish riffage with melodic vulnerability and an erudite sense of alienation, its four minutes coining the Dinosaur archetype.

Getty (2)

Cretaceous hop: the once and future Dinosaur Jr (from left) J Mascis, Murph and Lou Barlow.


H OW T O B U Y

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Dinosaur Jr Farm

JAGJAGUWAR 2009, £9.59

You Say: “Oodles of killer tunes, played by a thunderous threesome back on finest form.” Graham Ware, via e-mail Proving that Beyond was more than just a fluke and that the reconstituted Dinosaur’s newfound détente was a permanent state of affairs, the trio returned two years later with this impressive follow-up, which found Mascis on strong songwriting form, from the storm-tossed ache of Ocean In The Way, to the heady, wah-wah driven popstomp of Over It, to the heavy, metallic country-rock of Friends. There was a youthfulness to the slash and croak of Dinosaur’s ninth fulllengther that followers 20 years their junior would’ve given their Big Muffs to match. Farm even broke into the Billboard Top 30, making the group’s highest-charting album yet.

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Dinosaur Jr Green Mind

SIRE 1991, RHINO £15.99

You Say: “Has to be a nice entry point.“ Michael Williams, MOJO Facebook In the wake of Barlow’s exit, Mascis seemed momentarily directionless, and even considered ditching the group to take over the drum-stool of the pre-Grohl Nirvana. But then Dinosaur Jr signed to the Sire label, and Mascis retreated to the studio on his own, to sketch out this blueprint for their major-label period. Less revelatory than the subsequent Where You Been, Green Mind polishes up the lovelorn indie-rock of Bug without necessarily improving it, but still contains heady peaks – yearning, anthemic The Wagon, the exquisite slowburn of Thumb displaying hitherto-unknown maturity – while the 2006 reissue offers a lovably rustic stomp through Gram Parsons’ Flying Burrito Brothers opus Hot Burrito #2.

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J Mascis Tied To A Star

SUB POP 2014, £9.99

You Say: “Because those solo acoustic albums are masterpieces!” Rodnie Matute, Twitter Mascis’ first solo album, 1996’s Martin + Me, was an inessential live acoustic release that juggled Dinosaur hits with covers of The Smiths, The Wipers and Townes Van Zandt (though J’s languid reading of Carly Simon’s Anticipation was a keeper). Fifteen years later, it was followed by his solo debut-proper, Several Shades Of Why, a low-key charmer with a guesting Kurt Vile. However, it’s this 2014 followup that’s the real must-have from his solo oeuvre, a lovely, uplifting, often-acoustic record that wanders loosely between psychedelic ragas (Heal The Star), string-scored heaviness (Come Down) and a bewitching bluegrass ramble, Wide Awake, borne aloft by its Chan Marshallaugmented chorus.

6

Dinosaur Jr Give A Glimpse Of What Yer Not

JAGJAGUWAR, 2016 £5.92

You Say: “Proof that bands can reunite and be as good as they were.” Greg Roberts, via e-mail With their latest, the reunited original line-up of Dinosaur have now delivered more albums than their original incarnation managed. Opening with the lightningstrike pop riffage of Goin Down, it’s the unabashed joy …Glimpse… takes in the typical pleasures of a Dinosaur album that makes it the finest yet of their second era, with highlights including the broken-hearted strum of Be A Part, the gleeful, epic coda of Knocked Around, a pair of excellent Barlow tracks (including autumnal folk-rocker Love Is…, which Lou swears was influenced by Smokie), and the sludgy stoner-rock majesty of I Walk For Miles, which easily fulfils the album’s air-guitar quotient.

5

J Mascis + The Fog More Light

CITY SLANG 2000, £7.60

You Say: “The best of J’s other projects… heavy friends a specialty.” Dean Wright, via e-mail Dinosaur Jr’s Sire Records output were mostly solo Mascis creations, but his first postgroup release was bookmarked by two thrilling collaborations: the bittersweet indie-rock of Sameday, recorded with Guided By Voices’ Robert Pollard, and the closing title track, where Mascis duels ear-slaughtering white-noise guitar with My Bloody Valentine’s Kevin Shields. Between, Mascis’s Fog (again a one-man band, in their studio incarnation) hardly strayed far from Dinosaur’s sonic blueprint, but his muse was on good form, on the evidence of the winsome Waistin’, the heart-broken ’70s rock of Where’d You Go, and the lovely, soft-focus glide of Ammaring, Mascis’s ode to his Hindu guru, Amma.

NOW DIG THIS

3

Dinosaur Jr Bug SST 1988, SWEET NOTHING CD

£7.99

You Say: “The best songs with the original line-up.” Ricardo Ramos , MOJO Facebook Mascis’s least-favourite Dinosaur album, thanks to tensions with Barlow reaching an unbearable head during its sessions. But those flaring passions found frenzied expression in the quiet/loud rush of Dinosaur’s signature anthem Freak Scene and its hazy snapshot of tangled relationships and twentysomething slacker confusion (“So fucked I can’t believe it”), while that seesaw between tenderness and raw noise that had long been their trademark achieved its apotheosis across Bug’s tracks, particularly the regret-sodden The Post. Don’t, meanwhile, finished off with classic Mascis passive aggression, as he forced Barlow to scream the track’s sole lyric, “Why don’t you like me?” until he was coughing blood.

2

Dinosaur Jr Where You Been

SIRE 1993, DOWNLOAD £7.99

You Say: “The album where they unequivocally nailed ear-bleeding country.” Dave Hancock, MOJO Facebook Circa Freak Scene, Dinosaur were tipped as the band to break American underground rock to the mainstream. That honour fell to Nirvana, but in their wake Mascis crafted Dinosaur’s most in-focus, accessible album yet, juggling amiable, fiery country-grunge (Start Choppin’, the impossibly Neil-esque Get Me) with heavy, metallic guitar heroics (Out There), speaker-wrecking noise-rock (Hide), and the windswept balladry of Not The Same, which, with its strings and tympani, surely gave Billy Corgan the idea for Smashing Pumpkins’ Disarm. Still their greatest commercial success, Where You Been even scored Mascis an appearance on BBC TV’s The Clothes Show, dealing the straight skinny on grunge couture.

1

Dinosaur Jr You’re Living All Over Me

SST 1987, SWEET NOTHING CD £7.99

You Say: “Set the blueprint that was matched but never bettered.” Ken Rhodes, MOJO Facebook

Dinosaur’s true masterpiece was this miniature psychedelic epic, opening with the wah-wah overdrive of Little Fury Things and closing with Lou Barlow’s lo-fi freakout Poledo, while in between shredding your speakers with its pedal-stomping majesty. This their second long-player peaks with Kracked/ Sludgefeast, wherein anxiety-driven indie rock is swiftly torn apart by a steroidal riff of skyscraper-levelling might, though the lyrical, poetic The Lung, and the moment Tarpit’s lazy-eyed, slouching strum gets swallowed by white noise, were also highlights. Throughout, the infamously reticent interviewee Mascis proves to be much more eloquent and poetic when wielding distortion, feedback and noise than when he is using words, and here he delivered one of the greatest triumphs in American underground rock.

Dinosaur Jr’s Take A Run At The Sun EP (Blanco Y Negro, 1997) features the songs Mascis penned for Allison Anders’ 1996 movie Grace Of My Heart, set in the world of Brill Building ’60s song writers, and should not be missed. J’s stoner rock side project Witch have put out two worthy albums, and of Lou Barlow’s solo catalogue, every home needs Sebadoh’s Bakesale (Sub Pop, 1994). To recreate the Dinosaur Jr live experience, take a look at Live At 9:30 Club: In The Hands Of The Fans DVD (Wienerworld, 2012). For the written word, there’s a lavish (and accord ingly pricey) self penned tome (Rocket 88, 2014), though the chapter in Michael Azerrad’s Our Band Could Be Your Life (Little, Brown, 2001) probably tells all you need to know.

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F I LT E R B O O K over buddies to keep them from flying out the open door. Brothers in arms, at least for a while. Chris Nelson

Tous les garcons: when Françoise Hardy needed an armed escort.

The Only Girl: My Life And Times On The Masthead Of Rolling Stones

★★ Robin Green LITTLE BROWN. £18.99

Sopranos co-writer’s earlier life on the American mag. Surprisingly, there is very little here about rock music or the interactions between the stars and the early music press. A pity, because Robin Green can obviously write very well. Mostly, however, it’s mirrorgazing stories about herself. Her mother didn’t understand her, and none of the editors she slept with gave her orgasms until she met Mr Right, with whom she would co-write The Sopranos. Green was dropped from Rolling Stone’s masthead after failing to file a story on Bobby Kennedy Jr. Although Ozzy Osbourne and David Cassidy are name-checked, we learn little about them: Ozzy was sweaty and Cassidy felt that Rolling Stone’s cover story betrayed him. But that, Green says, was all part of her job, to out-”badass” the boys. Sylvie Simmons

and melodic brilliance – is a large part of the band’s appeal, and author Cutter wisely places this narrative at the heart of this page-turning biography, illuminating the suburban desperation and rock’n’roll obsession that fuelled Pollard’s muse. A longtime friend of Pollard’s, Cutter explores the group’s mythos and lore – druggy, drunken jams with his Dayton, Ohio buddies that yielded his greatest songs – with a detail that will thrill devotees without losing the more casual fan, but doesn’t flinch from often presenting the frontman as a conflicted and occasionally unlikable figure. And while musical analysis is, thankfully, sparing – a mere discography of this ridiculously prolific artist would swallow reams – Closer You Are will send you back to the GBV catalogue with fresh ears. Stevie Chick

Matthew Cutter DA CAPO. £20

Getty

The story of Guided By Voices and their complex frontman, Robert Pollard. The romance of Guided By Voices’ success – plucking thirtysomething high school teacher Robert Pollard from obscurity to indie-rock fame, following the discovery of home-recorded albums that trod a tightrope between folk-art eccentricity

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Lemon Jail

★★★ Bill Sullivan UNIVERSITY OF MINNESOTA PRESS. £16.99

Slim volume goes “On The Road With The Replacements”.

Closer You Are

★★★★

MC5 – from haywire party band, to Coltrane-referencing revolutionaries, to drugdamaged burnouts – is recounted with abundant affection for Kramer’s fallen brothers in arms, unflinchingly detailing their inevitable, tragic dissolution as partly the work of ‘The Man’, but mostly their own self-sabotage. Kramer’s subsequent miseries – junkiedom, a spell in federal prison, and a failed ‘supergroup’ with Johnny Thunders – unspool grippingly, but he never succumbs to self-pity. And, for all the hardness of his life, his insights into addiction – drawn from his own, and his absent father’s alcoholism – are shot through with an enduring, thoughtful empathy that makes The Hard Stuff such an endearing read. Stevie Chick

Wayne Kramer

★★★★ The Hard Stuff FABER. £14.99

MC5 guitarist’s two-fisted tale of rock, jail and fighting in the streets. Fittingly, given the insurrectionist tenor of the MC5’s avant-garage rock’n’roll, Wayne Kramer’s autobiography opens in the midst of an actual riot. But there’s more to this story than just the smell of the tear gas and the roar of the police choppers. The fast, untenable rise of the

Every fan knows the ’Mats reputation for mayhem. Do details about trashed green rooms matter? Not much, even when dished by an eyewitness like Bill Sullivan, who roadied with the band throughout the ‘80s. Amid the blur of house parties and TV goofs, major events like LP releases or the ousting of founder member Bob Stinson are largely ignored in favour of workaday details, like what was OK’d for the van radio and the art of tuning a guitar by feel. The gems, though, are the tender observations, like this defence of drummer Chris Mars’s frugality in the face of teasing from frontman Paul Westerberg: He “just felt the whole thing would end at any minute and he needed to save his money.” Or memories of sleeping on the floor of a speeding van, limbs draped

The Despair Of Monkeys And Other Trifles: A Memoir

lengthy discourse on engineer Geoff Emerick persuading Ringo Starr to remove the front skin from his bass drum while recording A Day In The Life. But the timeframe means there’s greater drama, as The Beatles do their best work and then disintegrate. The chapter title A Series Of One-Night Stands summates Martin’s post-Fab Four career, while Womack details the sometimes tense relationship between the producer and his ex-proteges. Believing Martin has overstated his contribution to The Beatles in a recent interview, John Lennon writes a bleating letter to Melody Maker in 1971: “When people ask, ‘What did George Martin really do for you?’, I have only one answer, ‘What does he do now?’” An exhaustive but revealing read. Mark Blake

★★★★ Françoise Hardy FERAL HOUSE. £21.99

Revealing autobiography of the personification of French music at its classiest. The unusual title is explained on the final page, but the reveal should be saved until The Despair Of Monkeys… has been read in the traditional way. Resist any temptation to flip. First published in her native France as Le Désespoir Des Singes…Et Autres Bagatelles in 2008, Hardy’s memoir has been belatedly and sensitively translated for the Anglophone world, and published in an edition more handsome than first time around. Throughout, Hardy’s engaging yet matter-of-fact tone suggests she is a bystander observing her own life: whether as a child in postWorld War II Paris, rubbing shoulders with Salvador Dali, Bob Dylan or Mick Jagger and even in her relationship with Jacques Dutronc. Rather than aloof, she seems wryly amused at how she has been seen and where she had been. Learning about the person enhances rather than undermines appreciation of who she is. Kieron Tyler

Sound Pictures: The Life Of Beatles Producer George Martin, The Later Years, 1966-2016

★★★★ Kenneth Womack ORPHANS PUBLISHING. £20

Fifth Beatle’s peak and lessthan-peak years examined. The first volume of Kenneth Womack’s George Martin biography cast a scientific eye for detail over his early life story. Womack does the same in this second volume. Exhibit A: a

Swans: Sacrifice And Transcendence

★★★★ Nick Soulsby JAWBONE. £14.95

Fittingly gnarly oral history of Michael Gira’s noiseniks. One might reasonably predict a punishing read here, and Sacrifice And Transcendence doesn’t disappoint. Straight off we plunge into Gira’s troubled childhood: his parents’ divorce; very young Mike’s descent into narcotics aged 10; his terrifying incarceration in Israel for ganja smuggling – all in the first few pages. The unflinching testimony extends to chronicling Swans, from a slow-grind NYC posthardcore start (Gira dated Madonna!), through a disastrous major-label fling and subsequent flame-out, to twilight-career redemption. The totality of Gira’s vision (a noose dangled in his apartment-cum-rehearsal space, “like a mascot”) is painted variously as insane, cold-blooded and aweinspiring. Yet, another heroic presence emerges in fanturned-partner Jarboe, who taught him to sing, took him industrial-clubbing and soon ‘feminized’ the band, despite vile abuse from fans. Amid her beau’s alcoholism, Swans ended, and thus, she says, the relationship ended too. You may not want to meet him after reading, but his artistic fury will linger indefinitely in the mind. Andrew Perry


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Full tour details at serious.org.uk/Thompson


F I LT E R L I V E S

Hearts and minds The Seattle grunge gods’ triumphant return to London after nine years. By Keith Cameron. stating, “It’s exactly 15 years ago since Get Right was last played”, knows he’ll be going Oceans / Nothing As It home happy. Seems / Go / Corduroy / O2 Arena, London Save You / Do The The now traditional gambit of opening Evolution / Given To Fly / HESE ARE incredible times on an almost comedically unprepossessing In Hiding / I Am Mine / in our lives,” Eddie Vedder note with two churning inertia variations Green Disease / Even Flow / Daughter / You declares, by way of prefacing a seems part of that pact: a process of Are / Satan’s Bed / Can’t tremulous performance of Wasted Reprise, weeding out day-trippers. At the end of Deny Me / Mankind / as the final show in Pearl Jam’s European Nothing As It Seems, Vedder removes his Whipping / Lukin / Rearviewmirror / I Won’t tour nears its conclusion. Or rather, it jacket, uncorks his first bottle of red wine Back Down / Fatal / would be the conclusion, were it not for and audibly mutters, “Here we go.” And Around The Bend / Vedder and his bandmates having to make they quite literally do, with Go heralding Jeremy / Mind Your Manners / Crazy Mary / serious amends. abundant rewards for the believers. Porch / Elderly Woman The band’s month-plus stint on this side It’s a near three-hour emotional ebb Behind The Counter In of the pond was due to have ended in tide that lurches from sombre to visceral; A Small Town / Wasted Reprise / Alive / Baba Lisbon. But four weeks ago, after the first of spartan to goofy; where requests are taken; O’Riley / Yellow two nights at the London O2, Pearl Jam took the sublime is a given, and the ridiculous Ledbetter / All Along the unprecedented decision to cancel a show an ever present danger. For proof of the The Watchtower due to Vedder losing his voice. Although latter, refer to the rendition of Happy struggling that night, the singer fronted it Birthday sung to crew member Sam and out, joking about offering $10,000 to a voice doctor if guitarist Stone Gossard, which Vedder spiced up by he could make him sing like Adele (according to flinging the cake at the recipients, only to catch Vedder, the doctor replied: “That’s a million-dollar Gossard in both eyes with the candles. voice, but for fifty quid I could make you sing like Shortly before his lead singer nearly blinded him, Liam Gallagher”). Next morning, however, it was back Gossard had paid tribute to Vedder for carrying the to the quack, with no jokes allowed. rest of the band for so many years. Although Ed’s Whatever remedy was found, it’s worked, because leadership qualities seem light-touch, his distracted this rescheduled London #2 will surely pass into PJ orator shtick certainly helps the engine room focus lore as one of those heart-bursting, curfew-busting on their work. In truth, the only real rock star in the nights where you had to be there to believe it actually ranks is Mike McCready, once a loose cannon who happened (and if you weren’t there, fear not, the these days channels his energies into locating a mythical missing fret somewhere beyond Neptune. bootleg will be along soon to prove it). The band’s not-so-secret weapon is drummer Matt Portents were auspicious from the moment fans Cameron, the Billy Cobham of grunge, a squarewere greeted outside the venue by the Trump Baby jawed polyrhythmic juju man who also finds time to balloon, given a temporary new home by the band. write some of the band’s greatest oddball songs; in “I’m glad in a way we got to come back and clean up the case of You Are, a song Depeche Mode might one after him – change his diaper!” chuckles Vedder, who day figure out how to beat. reads out some of his favourite slogans from signs Ultimately, the camaraderie is one reason why held up at the London protests (“God save the queen Pearl Jam endure when so many groups of their from the rotten tangerine”; “Too many tweets make a timeframe faltered or fell. Another is even less sexy: twat”). A little later he’s hammering a cowbell like it’s they simply work harder. The ever-changing setlist is the head of POTUS and speaking truth to power in one manifestation of that ethic, honing ancient Can’t Deny Me, a taut Gang Of Four-style polemic and the first new Pearl Jam song in five years: “Try to material like Alive with renewed vigour, and making talk down to me/My mind it ain’t so simple/Where’s punk blasts such as Lukin work next to Vedder’s solo your vocabulary?/Your ignorance is sinful.” commandeering of Tom Petty’s I Won’t Back Down Given the grief such political candour causes with into a potent protest song. sections of their audience back home – under a As the third encore’s rampage through Baba previous regime, the band were pelted with coins in O’Riley quakes the curfew, EdVed gets misty eyed: Long Island for playing the satirical Bu$hleaguer – “Thanks O2, the world’s gonna be OK. I can feel it!” and contrast with the near-religious Never can a man swigging from a wine devotion the band inspire in Europe, bottle and wearing a comedy Joy it’s understandable some fans feel their Division T-shirt (the Jaws shark, eating “It's a threetrips overseas are too infrequent and the Unknown Pleasures pulsar) have hour ebb tide seemed so plausible. And that was too brief. The O2 shows are the only UK before they kept the lights burning that lurches stops on this trip, hence the angst even further past bedtime, for a blast from sombre caused by the earlier cancellation. But through All Along The Watchtower. At the faith is strong with this band; 11.30pm we emerge to note that to visceral, a legacy of the pact Pearl Jam made Trump Baby has fallen over and is now from spartan long ago to nurture their core flat on its back, raging uselessly at the community ahead of pandering to sky. On a night made for believing in to goofy.” potential new customers. Even the guy omens, perhaps the Jaws Division wino who holds up a sign throughout the gig will be proved right in the end.

Pearl Jam

SETLIST

Andrew Cotterill

“T

114 MOJO

Distracted orator: Eddie Vedder at London's 02 Arena, July 17, 2018.


I LT E R L I V E S

Reaching for paradise: Natalie Merchant, having church, Cambridge; (right, from top) with guitarist Erik Della Penna; packed and rapt pews.

SETLIST Vain And Careless / Maggie Said / If No One Ever Marries Me / Dust Bowl / Nursery Rhyme Of Innocence And Experience / Motherland / Cowboy Romance / Life Is Sweet / Your Mother Should Know / Tell Yourself / Break Your Heart / Carnival / Build A Levee / Golden Boy / River / Goldrush Brides / Jesus’ Blood Never Failed Me Yet / Texas / King Of May / I’m Not Gonna Beg / Wonder / Thick As Thieves / Hey Jack Kerouac / Kind & Generous

No strings attached The former 10,000 Maniacs singer reimagines her back catalogue with thrilling results. By George Garner.

Natalie Merchant Emmanuel United Reformed Church, Cambridge

Andrew Cotterill (3)

I

T TAKES seven songs before Natalie Merchant finally addresses the elephant in the room. Which is, co-incidentally, the modest room itself. By means of explaining why she is here singing at the altar of Cambridge’s Emmanuel United Reformed Church (capacity: 330) when her 2016 UK jaunt took in London’s Royal Albert Hall, she recites a list of other places she has just played. “Hebden Bridge, Ilkley, Buxton…” she grins. “We’ve hit all the major cities!”

116 MOJO

On the one hand, Merchant deliberately conceived this unexpected run of intimate shows to facilitate some “thorough tourism”, but it also offers a welcome curveball. Having spent much of her career pursuing music built around rich orchestral accompaniment – including re-recording her solo debut, Tigerlily, with strings in 2015 – tonight Merchant is chasing an altogether different vision. Aided only by long-time guitarist Erik Della Penna on acoustic, the pair are distilling 35 years of her music to its elemental form, ranging from her days fronting college rock moralists 10,000 Maniacs to the present. It works spectacularly. Although boasting the kind of acoustics where the unwrapping of a sweet resounds like a nuclear explosion, it is hard to imagine

a venue better suited to showcase Merchant’s elegant voice. Often singing with her eyes closed during the opening trio of songs, she appears transfixed by the words. Indeed, when she quickly retreats off-stage after the fourth song, Dust Bowl, the thought occurs that Merchant may actually be emotionally overwhelmed by the event. The real culprit, she reveals, is not 10,000 Maniacs’ heartfelt reflection upon rust-belt poverty, but rather a whirring on-stage fan drying her throat. This minor setback actually kicks proceedings into a higher gear. Courtesy of some honey syrup swigged straight from the bottle, and Penna’s impeccable fretwork, Merchant soon delivers a captivating version of 2001’s Motherland, plus delicate goosebump renditions of Carnival and River from 1995’s Tigerlily. Presented in this delicate manner – Carnival, in particular, losing its signature entrancing drums – the poetic charge of Merchant’s lyricism comes to the fore. Undoubtedly, some of Merchant’s finest songs are AWOL tonight – Verdi Cries, Ophelia and Seven Years in particular – but there are consolations. An impromptu a cappella cover of The Beatles’ Your Mother Should Know is one, but better is a rare airing of King Of May – her beautiful tribute to Allen Ginsberg, from 1998’s Ophelia LP. “I played it at one of his memorials,” Merchant reflects from her keyboard, scanning the consecrated venue. “It seemed appropriate tonight.” She then recalls striking up a friendship with the Beat poet after he playfully reprimanded her for the cutting lyrics on 10,000 Maniacs’ Hey Jack Kerouac. Soon enough, Merchant begins that very song, her face wincing comically as she sings, “Allen, baby, why so jaded?” That is tonight in a nutshell: catharsis and entertainment in perfect equilibrium. The evening ends with Merchant using the “I want to thank you, thank you” chorus of Ophelia’s Kind & Generous as her farewell; she is swiftly rewarded with a rapturous standing ovation. It is well-earned. For all its austere Victorian beauty, the magnificent venue ends up being the least impressive aspect of a night overflowing with feeling.

“In this context the poetic charge of Merchant’s lyricism comes to the fore with striking effect.”


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& THE LOW RIDERS

AUTUMN TOUR 2018 SEPTEMBER 06 LIVERPOOL The Cavern Club 07 LOWDHAM Civic Hall 08 REDCAR R & B Club 09 WAVENDON The Stables 12 STOKE ON TRENT New Victoria Thtre 13 HULL Truck Theatre 15 HAVANT The Spring Arts Centre 21 ABERDARE The Coliseum 22 WORCESTER Huntingdon Hall 28 SOLIHULL The Core Theatre 29 BROADSTAIRS Pavilion 30 BROMSGROVE The Artrix OCTOBER 03 RUNCORN The Brindley

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OCTOBER contd. 04 SOUTH SHIELDS The Sage 06 SPALDING South Holland Centre 11 MONMOUTH Savoy Theatre 12 WIMBORNE Tivoli Theatre 13 ISLE OF WIGHT Shanklin Theatre 19 MORECAMBE The Platform 20 GLASGOW The Ferry 21 KINROSS Backstage @ The Green 22 KINROSS Backstage @ The Green 24 DUNDEE Gardyne Theatre 25 BURY The Met 26 DARWEN Library Theatre 27 FARNCOMBE St John’s Church 31 BURY ST EDMUNDS The Apex

www.andyfairweatherlow.com

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0 /AndyFairweatherLowAndTheLowRiders

“A rapturous evening with a legend...Baez bows out with her maverick spirit and musical gifts undimmed” - The Telegraph

FEB FEB FEB FEB FEB MAR

22 23 25 26 28 01

BRIGHTON CARDIFF MANCHESTER GLASGOW LONDON LONDON

NOVEMBER 02 LONDON Nells Jazz & Blues 03 WITHAM Public Halls 16 SOUTHPORT The Atkinson Theatre 17 DERBY The Flowerpot* 23 ABERYSTWYTH Arts Centre 24 PORTHCAWL Grand Pavilion 30 PONTARDAWE Arts Centre DECEMBER 01 GT TORRINGTON Plough Arts Centre 04 DEAL The Astor Theatre 05 SOUTHEND The Palace Theatre 07 ABERGAVENNY The Borough Theatre 08 CARMARTHEN The Lyric Theatre 09 CARDIFF The Tramshed

DOME ST. DAVID’S HALL BRIDGEWATER HALL ROYAL CONCERT HALL PALLADIUM PALLADIUM

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1 @ RealLowRiders

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* Big Band not appearing at this venue, 4 piece show only


PRESENTS

TICKETS AVAILABLE AT MYTICKET.CO.UK


YOUR FA VO U R IT E R O C K MA G A Z I N E

ISSUE 9 ON SA LE NOW C H E C K O U T W W W. P L A N E T R O C K . C O M


T I M E M AC HIN E

Guns fever! (main) Jimmy Cliff as Ivan Martin, hero of The Harder They Come; (right, from top) film poster, press notice and Cliff’s theme song on 45.

SEPTEMBER 1972 ...The Harder They Come hits the big screen “Reggae Movie Opens” ran the NME headline to a news item that announced, “Jamaica’s first major movie, The Harder They Come, makes its debut at London’s Notting Hill Gaumont on September 3.” The film, a crime drama with a killer soundtrack, was directed by Perry Henzell and starred Jimmy Cliff. Its global debut actually came a few months earlier with a screening in Kingston, Jamaica, at the Carib Theatre in July. That was a riotous occasion, boosted by the arrival of Jamaican Prime Minister Michael Manley and his fiancée Beverly Anderson, an actress who had a role in the film. It was reported that several thousand would-be moviegoers attempted to access the bullet-hole ridden cinema, muscling aside local bigwigs and forcing even the film’s stars onto the street outside. There was also a brief stay at Brixton’s Classic, where it played to an empty theatre on its opening night. “I had to print up thousands of flyers and literally stand outside the underground station and hand them out,” Henzell recalled. It had taken Henzell nearly three years to piece together his low-budget masterpiece, which, it was hoped, would enhance the international reputation of its star, Jimmy Cliff. Cast as ‘Ivan’ Martin, Cliff portrayed a

SEPTEMBER 3

young Jamaican who heads for Kingston to become a singer, only to become involved in music-biz rip-offs, marijuana trafficking and then increasingly violent battles with the police. Made on a shoestring budget, several cast members died during shooting and had to be replaced by lookalikes. Additionally, the film’s use of the local patois was deemed difficult to understand without subtitles. Even so, it proved a highly compelling cinema experience. Cliff, who had been born James Chambers in Jamaica in 1948, was an apt choice for the lead role. A former ska singer contracted to Island Records, he’d enjoyed a modicum of international fame in 1968 when he’d won the Brazilian Song Festival with a self-penned composition, Waterfall. He’d enjoyed

“I moved with the gangs so I understand the psychology of the runnings with them.” JIMMY CLIFF

122 MOJO

considerable success with such songs as Wonderful World Beautiful People Vietnam and a ve of Cat Stevens’ Wild World. He was also familiar with the criminal culture that prompted much of The Harder They Come’s screen action. The film was also based on the story of Ivanhoe ‘Rhygin’ Martin, an outlaw who had died in a hail of bullets following a shoot-out with the police in 1948. “I run around with gangs… I man was a youth ‘mongst them,” Cliff explained to NME journalist Penny Reel. “Anytime I come around them I always have some positive reasoning… I moved with the gangs so I understand the psychology of the runnings with them.” The Notting Hill screening, boosted by the release of Island Records’ soundtrack album and full-page adverts in the music press, was intended as the film’s real introduction to the wider movie-going community, and the response was positive: Let It Rock magazine promised its readers that the film, “will engross you”. Yet it wasn’t successful enough to bring Cliff superstar status, and the singer soon opted to quit Chris Blackwell’s label and flee to EMI instead.


Start your superyobbin’: Dave Hill, sex symbol.

At that point, Blackwell stumped up the legendary £4,000 cheque to ensure Bob Marley And The Wailers signed to Island. Blackwell had envisaged promoting Cliff as a revolutionary reggae star, but later said, “when Bob walked in he really was that image, the real one that Jimmy had created in the movie.” “You’ll never see that money again,” one doubter informed him. “It was all about trust,” Blackwell insisted. Correctly, as it turned out. As for The Harder They Come, in February 1973 it was picked up by Roger Corman’s New World company for distribution in the US, playing mainly to midnight audiences and steadily acquiring cult status. This was aided by its fabulous soundtrack, which included You Can Get It If You Really Want, Many Rivers To Cross and the powerful title track, all performed by Jimmy Cliff, plus songs from The Maytals, Desmond Dekker, The Melodians and others that would soon inspire punks and 2-Tone ska revivalists alike. For his part, Henzell achieved international recognition but little in the way of financial stability with the film’s release. After working in theatre and as a novelist, Henzell did eventually complete another Jamaican feature, No Place Like Home, after relocating a print of the film misplaced for nearly 30 years. The movie – which contained a performance by a young Grace Jones – received its premiere at the three-day Flashpoint Film Festival in Negril, just days after Henzell’s death from cancer on November 30, 2006. Fred Dellar

ALSO ON!

TOP TEN U.S. SOUL SINGLES SEPTEMBER 23 GOOD FOOT 1BROWN PART 1 JAMES EVERYBODY 2 PLAYS THE FOOL THE MAIN POLYDOR

INGREDIENT RCA

3THEBACK STABBERS O’JAYS

Slade’s US debut!

Ex-Humble Pie guitarist Peter Frampton makes his solo stage debut in New York, opening for the J. Geils Band and backed by his new backup band, Frampton’s Camel. But the event, held at the Academy Of Music, also marks the American debut of Slade. Billboard hails their “first-rate raunch, delivered with expedient power and requisite simplicity… (guitarist Dave Hill) pulls weight as resident extraterrestrial sex symbol via his metallic suit and crown of stars. They shall most certainly decimate future audiences.” In the event, Noddy, Dave, Jim and Don don’t break the US Top 20 until May 1984, with the reeling Run Runaway.

SEPTEMBER 16

PLANET ELVIS

PHILADELPHIA INTERNATIONAL

A press conference is held amid Elvis Presley’s 4(above) dinner and midnight

STARTING 4 ALL OVER AGAIN MEL & TIM

show at the Las Vegas Hilton, announcing the January 14 worldwide satellite broadcast of the concert film Aloha From Hawaii.

LENNONO GRAPHIC of John Lennon and Yoko Ono’s avant-garde 5filmsFive are screened as part of the London Art Spectrum at Alexandra Palace.

THE DRONE RANGER The Faces headline at New York’s Madison 12 Square Garden. Their opening acts include a Scottish bagpiper whom many reckon to be the hit of the evening.

NOW YOU HAS JAZZ The 15th Monterey Jazz Festival opens. The 15 line-up includes Quincy

STAX

FREDDIE’S 5MAYFIELD DEAD CURTIS THIS WORLD 6SINGERS THE STAPLE LONG 7TO(THEY TO BE) CLOSE YOU JERRY CURTOM

STAX

BUTLER Feat BRENDA LEE EAGER MERCURY

MY MAN IS A 8MILLIE SWEET MAN JACKSON SPRING

ME BILL 9USE WITHERS THINK 10 (ABOUT IT) LYN COLLINS

SUSSEX

PEOPLE

Jones, Roberta Flack, Herbie Hancock, Jimmy Witherspoon, Elvin Jones, Mary Lou Williams Trio, Jon Hendricks, Art Blakey and various others.

GOODBYE RORY Rory Storm, one-time leader of Merseybeat 27 combo The Hurricanes, kills

Panty Nowhere League: Iggy gets rude and semi-nude.

himself in what is presumed to be a suicide pact with his mother. Their bodies are found at his home in Broadgreen, Liverpool.

Outta sight! at 10, Lyn Collins thinks about it.

STOOGES PREPARE RAW POWER Iggy Pop and The Stooges – that’s guitarist James Williamson, drummer Scott Asheton and his guitarist-turned-bassist brother Ron – move into London’s CBS Studios for a four-week stay resulting in the Raw Power album. Iggy produces, but the

SEPTEMBER 10

label insist that seven of its eight tracks are remixed: his pal David Bowie obliges in a Los Angeles studio in October. Raw Power later attains legendary status, but it’s too late for the group, who finally collapse amid dysfunction, drugs and thrown bottles at Detroit’s Michigan Palace on February 9, 1974.

Like, cover your head in squirty cream, like that hippy guy who thought he was an orange? Nope, it’s a late-to-the-Love-In foam conditioner ad!

Advertising Archives, Getty (4)

AD ARCHIVE 1972

MOJO 123


ASK FRED

Holding court and popping corks, Fred Dellar answers all your R&B, PSB and RPO posers. MOJO’s recent Dance The Blues CD was a scintillating chunk of R&B, but one that threw up an old query: was Alan Freed’s Rock’n’Roll Band actually the Count Basie Orchestra? Jez Matthews, via e-mail Fred Says: The band heard on the MOJO CD is one headed by tenor-totin’ Sam ‘The Man’ Taylor with an arrangement by Leroy Kirkland, who among other things provided many backdrops for Dinah Washington. The confusion regarding Basie’s involvement on these sessions stems from the fact that the Basie band was utilised as the house band on Freed’s cigarette-sponsored Camel Rock’n’Roll House Party 1956 radio dates before being replaced by Taylor’s band later in the season. Basie, ironically, picked up the Best Rock’n’Roll Band award from Cashbox magazine that year after being ditched by Freed who claimed, “Basie has the greatest band in the country but it isn’t a dance band.” Drawing this sour response from the Count: “People were dancing long before there was rock’n’roll.”

HOW DID ALLEE AND PSB GET TOGETHER? How did American songwriter Allee Willis come to co-write the Pet Shop Boys/Dusty Springfield hit What Have I Done To Deserve This? J.G. Spelling, via e-mail Fred Says: Willis, who co-wrote Earth, Wind & Fire’s Boogie Wonderland and September among others, told online TV station Rock Talk that she first met PSB’s Neil Tennant and Chris Lowe after West End Girls was a hit in Europe, and their manager came

124 MOJO

to America to find them a publishing deal and an illustrator for their fan club stationery. Willis, who was also an artist, was given the job. Eventually, Tennant “asked if I was the A. Willis on those Earth, Wind & Fire records. When I said, Yes, they stayed for a week and we wrote What Have I Done To Deserve This.” Willis also revealed that parts of the song’s five separate sections were from a song she’d “written years ago and forgotten”. Willis can also be heard on ShyBoy’s 2017 version of the song, reprising the vocals she performed on the original demo.

IN SEARCH OF RARE RAFFERTY I am a big fan of Gerry Rafferty’s City To City album. In fact, I have been collecting every possible pressing of that album on vinyl. Currently I have around 25 versions, so still got another 55 to go! It’s amazing the various things you find that are different with each pressing, such as the South African pressing has a unique tan label, while one of the Germany pressings has the tracklisting incorrectly printed on the back cover. I also collect the cassette and CD pressings too. The question is: what is the rarest and most valuable pressing of this album available? Joe Metera, via e-mail Fred Says: I’m a great admirer of the artist John Patrick Byrne, who painted the cover of City To City. I first cottoned on to his work after seeing the artwork for The New Humblebums’ album in 1969, and became increasingly impressed as he wended his way through a series of unique claddings for LPs by Gerry Rafferty, Stealers Wheel, Donovan and even The Beatles. Byrne then went on to become an eminent playwright and TV writer. There doesn’t seem to be an outstandingly rare City To City offering in terms of value, though; the only version of real price being the 2016 CD issue, marketed on Japanese Parlophone, which could set you back

around £30. Apt, perhaps, or a performer whose first solo album was entitled Can I Have My Money Back?

WHEN DID THE RPO FIRST ROCK OUT? OK, The Royal Philharmonic Orchestra has recently provided lush backings for Elvis, Roy Orbison, Aretha and The Beach Boys. But what was their first on-record rock involvement? D. Vaisey, via e-mail Fred Says: Arguably, the RPO first rocked out on Deep Purple’s Concerto For Group And Orchestra, released on Harvest in 1970. Along the way they’ve played on The Orchestral Tubular Bells (1974) Glen Campbell’s Live At The Royal Festival Hall (1977), Elkie Brooks’s Amazing (1996) and Renaissance’s Live At The Royal Albert Hall (1997), also logging an impressive number of instrumental albums covering The Beatles, Oasis, Queen, Genesis, Abba and others, not to mention the Hooked On Classics chartbuster. In fact, it appears the RPO have amassed one of the biggest number of rock releases in the UK!

HELP FRED I was marvelling at Richard Thompson’s strange cover of Britney Spears’ Oops! …I Did It Again recently, and wondered if MOJO readers had any favourite (seemingly incongruous) cover versions that find unexpected new dimensions in a song? It has to be sincerely intended and not knowing or a joke though. So no Pat Boone-gone-metal, William Shatner or ukulele cover versions of Slayer please! Craig Powell, via e-mail

CONTACTFRED To get questions answered or help clarify a puzzle, write to: Ask Fred, MOJO, Fourth Floor, Academic House, 24-28 Oval Road, London NW1 7DT. OR e-mail Fred Dellar direct at fred.dellar@bauermedia.co.uk

Alamy (2), Getty

Was Alan Freed’s band really Count Basie’s?

Dude feud: (above rom right) Count Basie ooks askance at Alan Freed; (left) John Patrick Byrne’s artwork for Gerry Rafferty’s City To City album; (below) Pet Shop Boys Neil Tennant (left) and Chris Lowe with Dusty Springfield, 1987.


MOJO C OM PE T I T I O N

Fender Unto Geezer

ANSWERS

MOJO 297

Win! A Player Telecaster and riff to the moooon.

C

HECK OUT this Fender Player Telecaster from Fender’s newest range of electric guitars and basses, the Player Series. In the all-new cool yet rakish colour of Tidepool, the guitar comes complete with a maple fingerboard and the signature sound that only the iconic Telecaster can create. It’s worth a tidy £549, and we’re also throwing in a six-month subscription to Fender Play, the all-in-one guitar learning web destination which can get absolute beginners playing the biggest riffs in mere minutes. Fancy getting your mitts on it? Then heat, dice and serve Karate Bearfighter Fred’s ever-devilish crossword, and send it to Fender Unto Geezer, 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.

1

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Across: 1 Johnny Cash, 8 Mighty ReArranger, 11 Arms Of Mary, 13 Ma-Ma-Ma Belle, 15 Rosalyn, 16 Piano, 18 Maybelle, 20 USA, 21 Solange, 22 Omar, 23 Travis, 26 Ann Rabson, 27 Rhoda, 28 Mr Soft, 31 Dry, 32 Penetration, 34 Carl, 36 Intro, 37 Chrissie Hynde, 39 Made, 42 Beyond The Sun, 46 Old Man, 47 Ted, 48 Damn, 49 Elton, 50/41 All Mod Cons, 51 Carr, 53 Ely, 55 I Do, 56 I Say, 57 Soul, 58 Sade, 59 Bomber’s Moon. Down: 1 James Taylor, 2 High Flying Birds, 3/6A Nathan Jones, 4 Carly Simon, 5 Starman, 6 Joan Armatrading, 7 Eve, 9 Gravy, 10 Roedelius, 12 Roots And Echoes, 14 Lily, 17 Our Song, 19 He’s On The Phone, 24 Army Dreamers, 25 Natalie, 29 O’Hara, 30 Moby, 33 EMI, 35/39 I Don’t Like Mondays, 38 Sin, 40 Diamonds, 43 Odessa, 44 Detour, 45 Stay, 52 Rico, 54 Leo. Winners: Pete Dickson of Sheffield, Anthony Vincent of Tiddington,Malcolm Larkin ofWakefield, Ted Scott of Cromer, and Tony Kinnerley of Spalding all win Orange O Edition headphones.

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1 He’s sung about a Blue Chair, a Green Shirt and Red Shoes (5,8) 8 Fielding, Gallagher, Harrison maybe? (4) 9 Norman Visor, once one of Them (3,8) 12 Mogwai’s 2016 soundtrack album (6) 14/7 See photoclue A (6,5) 16 Camden Town’s premier Al Bowlly impersonator? (5) 18 See photoclue B (4,4) 20 Tim Wheeler’s Northern Irish band (3) 22 Adam Faith’s sorry for himself (4,2) 23 Walter, Rusty or maybe Joe from Stealers Wheel (4) 24 Let’s -------, Mitch Easter’s band (6) 25 Their Sailing The Seas Of Cheese album went platinum (6) 26 Initially album oriented rock (1.1.1.) 27 Label in Pete Molinari-Stan Getz link (6) 28 Clear ---- (Captain Beefheart LP) (4) 29 Ultravox’s 1981 Single Of The Year (6) 30 See photoclue C (5) 31 Midge found at end of the picture (3) 32 Ellington or a Genesis release (4) 33 On The Last Train To Trancentral (1.1.1.) 35 The Rollins Band’s teller of untruths (4) 36 Michael and Janet Jackson’s yell (6) 38 Told Tales From Topographic Oceans (3) 40 This Tommy achieved Dizzy heights (3) 41 Garfunkel or possibly Tatum (3) 42 Could be Watt, Harper or E. King (3) 44 Albert King, born under a bad one (4) 45 Enz or a Lush album (5) 47 This Shirley Collins album includes the Anthems In Eden Suite (8) 49 Sax-man Kinch or a McLaren single (6) 50 Stevens, though it could be Power (3) 51 Wirral synth-pop hit-makers (3) 53 Not ever, a single from Heart (5) 54 Second LP in Bowie’s Berlin trilogy (6) 57 Acid house DJ/producer born Adam Paul Tinley (7) 59 Their first UK hit was Moon Safari (3) 60 The unforgettable Ms Winehouse (3) 61 Jazz keyboardist Chick (5) 62 John, once of Pentangle (8) 64 Sonny with a seeming U2 link (4) 66 Kate Bush’s 2005 double album (6) 68 An unauthorised recording (7) 70 Bonnie grabbed four Grammys in ’89 (5) 71 The speed of music (5) 73 Basement Jaxx’s Shakespearean lover (5) 74 Matumbi percussionist Jones (5) 75 The Airplane’s fishy Hot offshoot (4) 76 Seth Lakeman linked them with Heart album-wise (5) 77 Could be Evans or Scott-Heron (3)

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ACROSS

1 His last movie vehicle was Change Of Habit in 1969 (5,7) 2 Famed for his Song Cycle (3,4,5) 3 It was coming for Dylan in 1979 (4,5) 4 Come To Milton Keynes, The Style Council suggested on this album (3,9,4) 5 It’s a rock music genre (3) 6 Booker T.’s were famously green (6) 7 See 14 Across 10 Smiley ---- (Beach Boys album) (5) 11 The Unforgettable Mr Cole (3) 13 The Clash’s final studio album (3,3,4) 15 “Strands of light across the bedroom floor” (Kiki Dee) (9) 17 Kula Shaker’s Sanskrit hit (7) 19 Robyn Hitchcock’s band in 1984 (9) 20 You make me feel like, sang Aretha (1,7,5) 21 Prog-rock label or a Neil Young LP (7) 28 Hawaiian guitar genius Ho’opi’i (3) 34 Hoboken’s swingin’ lover (5,7) 37 Mix Leila Trigram for a Madonna hit (8,4) 39 She was Little, did The Locomotion (3) 42 Steely Dan’s Walter (6) 43 Flogging Molly’s bassist Maxwell (6) 45 Satan Is Boring, they said in 1985 (5,5) 46 A ---- Spurned (Marc Almond) (5) 48 “And I think I will travel to ---” (Mike Nesmith) (3) 52 Woody sang of the Grand Coolee (3) 55 As read by Pearl Jam in 2002? (4,3) 56 Third --- Band (3) 58 Judy, Fairport founder-member (5) 63 Bananarama’s 2005 LP (5) 65 Wind instruments (5) 67 ---- Heart Mother (Pink Floyd) (4) 69 Yearn for Motown’s Shorty (4) 72 Deke Leonard’s Welsh wonders (3)

MOJO 125


AN EVENING WITH

THEY MIGHT BE GIANTS U S / C A N A DA TOUR

UK/EUROPE TOUR

10/16 Vancouver, BC 10/18 Calgary, AB 10/19 Edmonton, AB 10/20 Saskatoon, SK 10/21 Winnipeg, MB (VENUE UPGRADE) 10/23 Madison, WI 10/24 Ann Arbor, MI 10/25 Ithaca, NY 10/26 Baltimore, MD 10/27 New York, NY 10/28 Providence, RI 10/30 Montreal, QC 11/1 Ottawa, ON 11/2 Toronto, ON 11/3 Buffalo, NY

20/9 Leeds, UK (SOLD OUT) 21/9 Leeds, UK (SOLD OUT) 22/9 Cambridge, UK 23/9 Bristol, UK 25/9 Munich, DE 26/9 Antwerp, BE 27/9 Amsterdam, NL 28/9 Berlin, DE 29/9 Hamburg, DE (SOLD OUT) 1/10 Koln, DE (SOLD OUT) 3/10 London, UK 4/10 Manchester, UK 5/10 Edinburgh, UK 6/10 Dublin, IE (SOLD OUT)

F O R

T I C K E T S

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H E L L O G O O D BY E understand the music. One day [guitarist] Martin Belmont took me aside and said, “Sorry we weren’t very good today.” I said, “No this is gonna be fine.” The band just fell in around me. It was very natural. No problem, you know. And it came together at speed – from the summer of ’75 to the first album [Howlin’ Wind] in April ’76. Boom! We were off pretty quickly. Dave was like, “Woah, what happened?” But I was like, I expected this.

GOODBYE OCTOBER 1980

Don’t ask them questions: Graham Parker And The Rumour (back row, from left) Steve Goulding, Brinsley Schwarz, Bob Andrews, Martin Belmont; (front, from left) Parker, Andrew Bodnar; (below) Graham today.

Graham Parker And The Rumour They found each other as pub rock waned. Then tunnel vision forced a sudden wedge.

Tom Sheehan, Avalon

HELLO SUMMER 1975 I’d been travelling down from my parents’ place [in Deepcut, Surrey] to London. I wanted to find musicians who understood what I was doing. In the suburbs they did not – because it didn’t sound like Uriah Heep. I’d put an ad in Melody Maker, and I was introduced to Dave Robinson by Paul ‘Bassman’ Riley, who’d been in Chilli Willi And The Red Hot Peppers – I’d seen that name in the papers and thought, Wow, somebody famous! – and Dave was very excited about what I was doing, and he knew I needed a band. He had an 8-track studio at the Hope & Anchor in Islington, and we started recording my songs straight away, doing demos, just me on guitar. Dave was

obviously a mover and a shaker and he seemed to know people – Charlie Gillett was one, he played Nothin’s Gonna Pull Us Apart [on his Honky Tonk Radio London show], which Nigel Grainge from Phonogram heard. In no time I had a major record deal. Dave, who knew the whole London scene that I knew nothing about, put The Rumour around me. These guys had been in Ducks Deluxe and Brinsley Schwarz, bands that had split up. They were already formed but didn’t have a name. I found them all OK. We rehearsed at the Newlands Tavern in Peckham – I think they knew the landlord. I remember there was beer, which appeared to be free, the ubiquitous cigarettes, underarm sweat… the songs were disjointed, I didn’t have arrangements. So The Rumour were figuring out how to play them. I’d never played with people playing licks and stuff, and Bob Andrews [keys] really helped knock the songs into shape. It was a learning curve, but they seemed to intrinsically

“I brought the hammer down, I suppose unexpectedly.” GRAHAM PARKER

130 MOJO

The final gig was Rockpalast in Essen, Germany. The Police were on and The Jack Bruce Band, and we stormed it. I’m sure I’d already said we were parting ways. In those four years of being with The Rumour, we did three-, four-month tours, in Britain, America, Japan, Australia… it seemed like a very long time. I thought it was a bit creatively redundant of me to continue. There wasn’t any grumbling or arguments. It was very simple – I wanted to hear something else behind the songs, for better or for worse. So, I brought the hammer down, I suppose unexpectedly. It was in an office somewhere in London. I just said, “Look guys, I want to try something else so I’m going to move on and get different musicians.” There was a bit of a stunned silence, now I look back on it. They didn’t see it coming. But my mind was made up. At the time I felt, Ah, they’re all big boys, they can take care of themselves. Come on, you know? When you’re writing songs and you want to keep going it’s hard to think of other people’s feelings. I just walked away and continued. I don’t remember feeling any nerves. I probably thought it was exciting. In those days, remember, there was tremendous amounts of money in this game. Their feelings came up on the documentary [Don’t Ask Me Questions, 2013]. I think Steve [Goulding, drums] put it as, “He didn’t say, ‘I want to see other people’, it was just… gone.” It was tough. That’s what made me think, Oh, I was a bit cold in those days. Tunnel vision, I guess, which is brutal, but useful. Any act will tell you that their first band, the band that clicked, is a very special thing. Reforming [in 2011] was as natural as can be. It’s basically through friendship. I’ve always been what I call a lone wolf, but I love those guys very much. We got along. We could communicate. And we had a blast, in my opinion. Will we do it again? Touring is brutality on a stick and we’ve done that. But I haven’t discounted an album. When the songs tell me what to do, I obey. As told to Ian Harrison Graham Parker’s Cloud Symbols is out on 100% Records on September 21. He tours the UK in October.

“Touring is brutality on a stick”: towards the end in Aberdeen, 1979.


Mojo - October 2018  
Mojo - October 2018  
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