Five Things: Wednesday 4th June

Jane Bown Exhibition at King’s Place
A very nice, small exhibition of Jane’s work, in which I really liked this indirect portrait of Sinead O’Connor. I remember when I was at the Observer we were doing a piece on U2. To their credit, they asked if Jane could go to Dublin and photograph them. We were only too happy to send her, and she came back with shots of them together on the docks, and individually in a pub nearby. I had worked with Jane a fair bit at that time and I think I was the first person to ask her to try shooting in colour, for a series on estimable women in The Listener (in the interests of full disclosure it wasn’t my idea, but Russell Twisk’s, my editor). Anyway, I laid it out and used the four single shots because I thought that they were far better than the group shots. Jane, however, didn’t, and it took some time to be forgiven…


Will Birch writes about Nick Lowe’s (What’s so funny ’bout) Peace, Love and Understanding
A couple of excerpts: “Tune-wise, Lowe acknowledges the influence of Judee Sill and her ‘ginchy little lick’ in “Jesus Was A Cross Maker.” Never would have spotted that, but now Will mentions it… “In 1992 the song was covered by American musician Curtis Stigers for the soundtrack album to the hit movie The Bodyguard. It became the biggest selling soundtrack recording of all time, consequently earning Lowe considerable royalties, allowing him to work at a more elegant pace, but also enjoy artistic control of his subsequent music and retain his trusty road band. The song is still a permanent fixture in Lowe’s live shows. Sung at a slow tempo to acoustic guitar accompaniment, it has acquired an almost hymn-like quality and his attentive audiences listen in reverence. He recalls the song’s genesis: “I think I’d originally thought of it as being funny, because the old hippie thing, which I’d invested a lot of my time and energy into, had become a load of old bollocks. I had that poetic thing… ‘As I walk this wicked world, searching for light…’ I was doing it tongue in cheek, using those words. I thought it was a fantastic title, I couldn’t believe my luck. As long as that title popped up now and again it didn’t really matter what I sang about in between… ”

Really? No Spindle Trails? Then a bargain, I’d say…


I love the, uh, over-the-top listings of some items on ebay (this is heavily edited): “A TRULY STUNNING, 60 YEAR-OLD DISC WITH A FANTASTIC HERITAGE – EVERY COLLECTOR’S DREAM!! Wow!!! Recorded in February 1957 and issued in the UK shortly thereafter, this absolutely incredible LP from ALEX KORNER’S BREAKDOWN GROUP featuring CYRIL DAVIS (sic.) is one of the most important items in the history of British Blues!!! The LP was produced, in a run of just 99 copies in order to avoid liability to UK ‘Purchase Tax’, by the now legendary ‘Dobell’s Jazz Record Shop’ in London’s Soho region and issued on the store’s own 77 Records imprint. The LP finds Korner and Davies attempting to re-create the US Blues of LEADBELLY and MONTANA TAYLOR. As the title suggests, the recordings were captured at London’s Roundhouse; a Blues club established by Korner and Davies in 1956. The session was committed to tape by the late, great JOHN R T DAVIES and the finished sleeve benefits from hugely informative notes courtesy of CHARLES FOX. This incredible, 57 year-old gem came to me almost 20 years ago from DON SOLLASH; the son-in-law of DOUG DOBELL who owned the label!!! So, bid now to win this gem or, after the auction has ended, you can sit back in your chair and wonder how you managed to such a MONSTER BLUES RARITY pass you by!!! The classic dark green and white labels with gold and black print and DEEP RIDGE are in AS NEW condition; absolutely NO wear and NO spindle trails!!!

Seeing the Brooklynites on Later, and intrigued by the duo vocals fronting a rough and raucous band – stand up drummer, slightly out-of-control slide guitarist – bought the album. Best when they’re looser, less fun when they’re glossier and more produced, if they make it to album two it could get really good. Standout track to check out: “Go Home”. I like this slower sultrier version recorded at KEXP.

Led Zep advertising, Great Portland Street


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