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“Suicide remarks are torn/From the fool’s gold mouthpiece/The hollow horn”






R• E










On the cover:




Bob Dylan by
TAKE 259 L FA Ken Regan/
S E SM Camera 5/
VOO • TH Contour by
Getty Images

O the cat’s finally out of the bag. Welcome to the new issue of into Dylan’s working practices. We also talk to Dylan’s key collaborators
Uncut, which I guess you’ll have noticed by now, comes with on the album sessions in both New York and Minneapolis, showcase a
a very special CD…. selection of beautiful, rarely seen photographs of Dylan from this
November sees the latest instalment of The Bootleg Series period, and look inside Dylan’s fabled red notebooks.
– the ongoing exploration of Bob Dylan’s remarkable archive Incidentally, on the subject of Dylan’s writing, you can see many of
– and this new volume is devoted solely to Dylan’s 1975 masterpiece, his greatest handwritten lyrics up close in Mondo Scripto – a brand
Blood On The Tracks. To celebrate this momentous event, we’re new Dylan exhibition currently running at London’s Halcyon Gallery
delighted to introduce The Best Of The Bootleg Series – a unique and until November 30.
exclusive 12-track CD that highlights the depth and variety of Dylan’s If that wasn’t enough, elsewhere in the issue we commemorate the
Bootleg Series. I think it’s one of the best CDs we’ve ever worked on, Small Faces’ Ogdens’ Nut Gone Flake as it turns 50, enjoy a revelatory
and I’m thrilled to finally be able to share it with you. chat with Jeff Tweedy, relive The Psychedelic
Of course, Dylan has been a constant presence in Uncut almost since Furs’ momentous career highs and travel to three
the beginning – we first featured him on the cover of Issue 3. He’s been cities in three days with Moses Sumney. There’s
on the cover once or twice since – though the last time was in 2014, I Sister Sledge, Jeff Goldblum, Jon Spencer, Roger
should mention – and I hope this month’s cover story stands with the Daltrey, Brix Smith and much more.
best of them. Enjoy.
First, we dig deep into More Blood, More Tracks: The Bootleg Series Vol
14 to bring you the definitive review of this eagerly anticipated glimpse Michael Bonner, Editor. Follow me on Twitter @michaelbonner


4 Instant Karma! 56 The Psychedelic Furs 92 Sister Sledge

REM, The Who, Klaus Voormann, How Matt Vinyl & The Undercoats The making of “Thinking Of You”
Ace Of Cups, Circuit Des Yeux morphed into saturnine superstars – “It
was like being in The Beatles,” they tell us 96 Live
12 Jeff Goldblum Spiritualized, Janelle Monáe
An audience with the actor and pianist 62 Bob Dylan
With the release of More Blood, More 107 Books
16 New Albums Tracks, we present the full, astonishing Beastie Boys, Leonard Cohen
Including: Marianne Faithfull, Thom Yorke, story of Dylan’s 1975 masterpiece, and talk
Ty Segall, Dead Can Dance, David Crosby to key players from the original sessions 109 Films
Suspiria, Columbus, A Star Is Born
34 The Archive 76 Moses Sumney
Including: The Beatles, Fleet Foxes, The rising US star on tour in Scandinavia 112 DVD, Blu ray and TV
Mott The Hoople, David Byrne, Orson Welles’s swansong
Terry Callier, The Staple Singers 82 Jon Spencer
Album by album with the Blues Exploder 114 Not Fade Away Obituaries
48 Jeff Tweedy
As he unveils a new solo album and 86 Small Faces 116 Letters… Plus the Uncut crossword
memoir, the Wilco frontman talks to Uncut In a tumultuous 1968, the shock-haired
about grief and reconnecting with his rockers somehow manage to squeeze out 118 My Life In Music
14-year-old self concept classic Ogdens’ Nut Gone Flake Brix Smith


OFFER Subscribe online at www.uncutsubs.co.uk/BWD8
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*Offer closes Feb 4, 2019. For full terms and conditions, visit www.magazinesdirect.com/terms


FEATURING... The Who | Klaus Voormann | Ace Of Cups


“Michael [Stipe]
has always
known how to
look in photos,
he is one of the
few that really
has a presence”

Where there’s

Buck there’s
brass: REM
in Athens,
Georgia, 1985

“They just grabbed the horns…”

Photographer from gawky underground heroes to
the biggest band in the world.
affectionate foreword for Sheehan’s
new book, REM: Athens GA – REM
Tom Sheehan “They were in the process of In Photographs 1984–2005. “What’s
recalls shooting the shooting a video for ‘Can’t Get There
From Here’,” Sheehan remembers of
shocking to me now is that I
remember every single frame and
brass with REM in the 1985 shoot, pictured here. “As I shot,” he writes. “All the silliness

mid-’80s Athens recall, they grabbed the horns as a

prop, being ever-inventive and not
and struggle of youth, and beauty,
and camaraderie and art and
wanting to waste any time. It just inspiration and just doing whatever

OM Sheehan first encountered happened, no set-up, bang.” the fuck you wanted to do, with who
REM in London in 1984, where The inset photo was taken on a you wanted to do it. Tom Sheehan
the band were struggling to return visit to Athens in 1988, was there to capture it all.”
adapt to British weather and bland outside the back of the 40 Watt Club. For Sheehan, Stipe is the perfect
sandwiches. When he travelled to “Initially Michael wasn’t into it as he subject. “He knows how to throw a
Athens, Georgia, to photograph the was suffering from a stomach shape, or just stand there. If you
band on home turf for a Melody complaint, but being a total pro he could bottle what he has, every
Maker cover feature the following stood there while I rattled off a frontperson in every band on
year, Sheehan found it similarly couple of frames. Michael has the planet would buy a bottle
foreign – “The bars don’t open on a always known how to look in photos, of it.” SAM RICHARDS
Sunday, you can’t even get a drink he is one of the few that really has a
in a restaurant!” Yet he hit it off with presence. As a photographer REM: Athens GA – REM In
Stipe and co, taking their picture himself, he totally understands Photographs 1984-2005 by
many times over the next 20 years, what I might require of him.” Tom Sheehan is published
documenting their transformation Accordingly, Stipe has written an by The Flood Gallery Nov 7
’70s Daltrey returns
to Percy Road in
Shepherd’s Bush,
his home until 1956

The early Who:


“I used it as a
motivation. I was
determined from
hat day to make
omething of
my life.”
Much like the
man himself,
Daltrey’s memoir
s candid, pacy
and bullshit-
free. There is
Teen Rog: sheet-
metal worker by ittle axe-
day, member of The grinding or self-
Detours by night
aggrandising; in
fact, he is largely
dismissive of
his ’70s solo career. “It was always
a hobby,” he says. “My serious life
was The Who.” Daltrey insists that

Tell me… he’s “not a natural songwriter”, yet

his recent album As Long As I Have
You featured a couple of decent self-
penned efforts, prompting Pete

Who are you?

Townshend to opine that if there
were to be a new Who album, it
should be half Daltrey songs.
when Gary Glitter “I don’t know whether I can come
tries to emulate up with six songs,” he shoots back.
On the release of recounted matter-of-factly as
occupational hazards of fronting
him in rehearsal for the 1996
Quadrophenia show in Hyde Park,
“For me, that would be six years of
my fucking life – if I’m lucky!”
his punchy memoir, The Who, a band with destruction he knocks Daltrey out cold, breaking At least Townshend’s statement
Roger Daltrey talks hardwired into their DNA. “The way
we used to play together, it was like
his eye-socket. Rog simply dons an
eyepatch and gets on with the show.
suggests that another Who album
is a possibility… “Who knows?”
broken bones, fear putting the key in the ignition of a jet “Everybody thought the patch was says Daltrey. “Pete’s work ethic is
of failure and the engine,” he reflects. “I don’t know
whether it was all aggression, just
part of the act, but it was basically
holding my eyeball into the socket,”
extraordinary and he writes all the
time. Whether we can turn that into
possibility of new complete abandon.” chuckles Daltrey, still fighting fit at something you would call a Who
Who music… Even away from the maelstrom
of The Who, Daltrey isn’t safe. He
74, biceps bulging out of his tight album, let’s see. I think I’m singing
black T-shirt. “Every time I did a high better than I ever have in my life.
writes that Ken Russell “seemed note, it wanted to leave my head!” “There’s a rawness in the emotions

HAT immediately strikes hell-bent on killing me” on the set of What gave him this extraordinary that comes with a life lived. If we can
you about Roger Daltrey’s Tommy; and while renovating his drive to ensure the show must go on? capture that, we could probably
new autobiography, Sussex pile he drops a boulder on his “Fear of failure,” he says instantly. make one of the best Who records
Thanks A Lot Mr Kibblewhite: My toe, contracting gout. Although he When Daltrey was ever. I’ve always said that
Story, is the sheer bruising claims never to have brained anyone expelled from school ete was the kind of writer
physicality of it all. The book begins with his own mic-swinging antics, on his 15th birthday, hat had the potential to
with a broken back and ends with the headteacher Mr write some of his best
Daltrey making a full recovery from Kibblewhite made material at the age we are
a life-threatening bout of viral a point, in time- ow. If he wants to do it, I’ll
meningitis. In between, the “I think I’m honoured fashion, o everything I can to make
narrative is peppered with car
crashes, fistfights (“I could become
singing better of telling him that
he’d never amount

a monster when the red mist came than I ever have to anything – hence hanks A Lot Mr
down,” Daltrey admits), flying
drumsticks and explosions, all
in my life…” the namecheck in
the book’s title.
ibblewhite is out now
ia Blink Publishing


Revolver sleeve
designer and
“You’re So Vain”
bassist Klaus
Voormann reflects
on a storied career
in art and music

ITTING on a sofa in a Brick
Lane warehouse strumming a
guitar is a spritely 80-year-old
with a crucial role in Beatles lore. “They all immediately
Klaus Voormann is best known as chose the ones with the
hair”: Voormann with
the German artist who designed the different versions of his
Revolver cover, but his relationship Revolver cover design
with music goes far deeper. “I first
saw The Beatles at the Kaiserkeller
in Hamburg in 1960,” he says. “They Astrid Kirchherr took The Beatles In London later it was oormann has
were fresh, funny and rocked like under their wing, showing them even more advanced, ontinued to design
shit.” Inspired, Voormann learned there was more to Hamburg than the with crazy clothes e odd sleeve. These
to play the bass, moved to London, Reeperbahn. “What glued us and shops.” ppear in the book
played with Manfred Mann on together is we discovered they lived In 1966, Voormann longside other art-
seven Top 10 hits and then recorded in the most terrible conditions, got a call from John music overlaps such
with the Plastic Ono Band, George surrounded by gangsters, pimps Lennon, asking if he s a self-built eight-
Harrison, Randy Newman, Harry and prostitutes. It wasn’t what they had any ideas for an ring guitar, a chess
Nilsson and Carly Simon. LP sleeve. Voormann et he made for Ringo,
It’s been quite a career, and as the was “terrified” but set to work after the Anthology covers and a poster in
title of Voorman’s new book states,
It Started In Hamburg. That’s where
“The Beatles were listening to Revolver. “I could see the
big step this music had made,” he
the Revolver style featuring Joni
Mitchell and John Mayall. None of it
Voorman was studying art and fresh, funny and recalls. “Rubber Soul was great, but would have happened without The
designing record covers when he rocked like shit” this was another dimension. I had to Beatles. “The first band I actually saw


saw The Beatles. “We’d been sitting find a way to connect with the ‘Love was Rory Storm & The Hurricanes,”
there for days watching them,” he needed, Georgie was only 17. So Me Do’ band for the older fans. That he says, “but The Beatles were so
recalls. “I didn’t have the guts to go Astrid and I let them use our home.” was why I used the photos. I went to special. I saw lots of great bands in
up to them. So eventually I showed A couple of years later, Harrison one meeting with a big piece of paper Hamburg – The Searchers, The
John my first professional cover, a invited Voormann to London and he that had a few ideas on it. One was Pacemakers – but there was no
record by The Typhoons. I saw The moved in with George and Ringo. them in a hot air balloon, and then comparison.” PETERWATTS
Beatles every night and they were “Hamburg was very exciting, it several versions with the hair. They
getting better all the time, always was the melting together of these all immediately said that is the one.” It Started In Hamburg is available
adding new songs.” scenes,” he says. “Music, art school, While working as a session player now. For travel to Hamburg,
Voormann and his girlfriend Exis [beatniks], all coming together. for the solo Beatles and other artists, visit www.hamburg-travel.com

Recording engineer 1945-2018

EOFF Emerick, who has died of a heart Martin in The Beatles Anthology. After helping to
attack aged 72, was a recording engineer realise the revolutionary soundworld of Sgt
whose skill and foresight enabled one of the Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band, Emerick quit
greatest leaps forward in pop history. He was just 15 working with The Beatles during the fraught
when he secured a job as assistant engineer at EMI, recording of ‘The White Album’ only to return for
in the same week that The Beatles first rocked up at Abbey Road. He stuck with Paul McCartney into
Abbey Road studios. Promoted to first engineer in the 1970s and won a Grammy for Band On The Run.
1966, Emerick’s first task was to make John He also worked with Elvis Costello, Kate Bush,
Lennon’s voice sound like the chanting of distant Badfinger, Cheap Trick, Art Garfunkel, Ultravox
Starr treatment: Ringo
Tibetan monks on “Tomorrow Never Knows”, and Jeff Beck, among many others. “I’ll always congratulates George
which he achieved by processing the singer’s voice remember him with great fondness,” wrote Emerick (centre) at EMI
Studios (March 1968) on
through a revolving Leslie speaker. “He used to do McCartney on his website, “and I know his winning a Grammy for
really weird things that were slightly illegitimate, work will be long remembered by connoisseurs engineering Sgt Pepper
with our support and approval,” said George of sound.” SAM RICHARDS (George Martin, left)
Better Haight
than never
Meet Ace Of Cups, the San Francisco
hippie band finally releasing their debut
album after 51 years
Raise your Cups:
Mary Ellen Simpson,

F you’re familiar with Ace Of Cups,
Mary Gannon, Denise
it’s probably from a poster, not Kaufman and Diane
A QUICK ONE their music. The late-’60s all- Vitalich in 2018
female San Francisco band turn up
I see a little silhouetto of on plenty of collectable vintage bills
a mag! Just in time for from the era, opening for the likes of Ace Of Cups, who provided backing
the new Queen biopic the Grateful Dead, Jimi Hendrix and vocals on classic records by
Bohemian Rhapsody – The Band’s first performance. But Quicksilver Messenger Service
and accordingly bulging during their brief hippie flash, they and Jefferson Airplane.
with new and updated
never made a proper studio album. Kaufman, whose own incredible
content – is our Deluxe
Ultimate Music Guide to That will change this November ’60s storyline stretches from rides
Freddie Mercury and co. when Ace Of Cups release their with the Merry Pranksters to sharing
Expect forensic analysis self-titled debut, 51 years after their practice space with a pre-Creedence
of the band’s recorded formation in the Summer Of Love. give some a modern sheen. Golliwogs, says the new LP captures
output and classic Four of the five original members, “Pretty Boy”, originally written by some of the experience of community
yarns aplenty... each now in their seventies, reunited lead guitarist Mary Simpson as a she recalls from those years: “The
In shops on October for a studio session that yielded two valentine to Blue Cheer frontman whole scene was so much smaller
22 is our celebration albums’ worth of material, recorded Dickie Peterson, rides a Fiona Apple- then – people were woodshedding in
of the legacy of the with a long list of famous friends. At style piano loop, while a cheeky cover garages all over the place. The music
New Musical Express. 26 tracks, the first of these releases is of Bill Withers’ “Grandma’s Hands” both drew the community together
NME: The 100 Greatest an explosion of pent-up creativity. references the sampling of the and expressed the energy and the
Covers explores 60 While a handful of songs recreate the original for Blackstreet’s “No feelings of that community.”
years of music through psychedelic rock of their origin, the Diggity.” That’s partly thanks to By finally bringing their songs into
the lens of some of the rest fill in a lost discography where producer Dan Shea, best known for the studio, Kaufman believes Ace
greatest photography,
Ace Of Cups transitioned, like many of work with pop singers such as Mariah Of Cups add a new dimension to the
magazine design
and journalism in their peers, through eras of country- Carey. “We didn’t want to just make a well-worn legend of late-’60s San
the business… rock, gospel and soul. “I think maybe nostalgia album,” says Kaufman. Francisco: “What were women
that was a reason that we might not Instead, most of the nods to the past thinking about in that era? I think the
Music writing festival have got a record deal in the old come through the guestlist, which messages of our songs are really
Louder Than Words days,” says singer/guitarist Denise includes Bob Weir, Jorma Kaukonen, timely. I want people to know that we
returns to Manchester’s
Kaufman. “We were a little harder to Taj Mahal, Buffy Sainte-Marie and were singing about these questions
Principal Hotel over the
weekend of November categorise – we all wrote, we all sang, Peter Coyote. It was a chance for some and these thoughts and these feelings
9-11. Speakers include and we had many musical influences, musicians to return the favour to then – and still are now.” ROB MITCHUM
punk legend Jordan, and we liked to explore them.”
OMD’s Andy McCluskey, Though most of the songs date back Ace Of Cups is released by High
Wedding Present to the late ’60s – and many can be Moon Records on November 9
majordomo Dave
Gedge, author Ian Rankin
heard in archival demo or live form on “We didn’t want
and Pink Floyd/session
2004 compilation It’s Bad For You But
Buy It – Ace Of Cups didn’t hesitate to
to just make a
bassist Guy Pratt, plus
noted rock scribes
nostalgia album”
Stuart Bailie and David DENISE KAUFMAN
Stubbs, and snappers
Kevin Cummins and
Sheila Rock…
Also in November, the
fifth Doc’N Roll Film

Festival hits London,

bringing a new swathe
of music documentaries
to London cinemas.
Running from
November 1-18, the
programme includes
films about everything
from Welsh pop to
Ethiopian funk, reggae
to grindcore, plus
biopics of Ella Fitzgerald, Ace Of Cups in
1967, with
Badly Drawn Boy and original keys
forgotten Merseybeat player Marla
band The Big Three… Hunt (far right)



"  "   



Haley Fohr:
a voice that
can carve
through stone On the stereo this month...
Brilliant final album from
the recently departed
singer-songwriter only
compounds the sense of loss.
Heartbreakingly frank and musically
soaring, it’s a fitting swansong.

Slow-burning motorik country from a
new Philly talent, ably abetted by Mary
Lattimore, Nathan Bowles and members
I’M of The War On Drugs and Purling Hiss.
HERE Not enough wyrd medieval synth-pop
about AI and “tiny witches” in your life?
Right that wrong, courtesy of Richard

Circuit Des Yeux

Dawson and friends.

Sinking Into A Miracle

Experimental Chicago and carve through stone whether singing words

or just pure sound. On Indigo, Fohr hurls her
On which the Glasgow avant-

songwriterwithaheart- weapon against formidable sonic backdrops,

disco supergroup imagine
what LCD Soundsystem would
stopping, four-octave voice maelstroms whipped up with Chicago scene
companions such as Bitchin Bajas’ Cooper Crain,
sound like fronted by Robert Wyatt.
Pretty great, as it turns out.
Ryley Walker and Joshua Abrams. “I’m in this city
T’S been a packed week for Haley Fohr. On with the most amazing musicians in the world,”
Friday, she led the local premiere of her live Fohr said. “I’ve got so much to learn from them, BAKR Jazz Jazz Jazz HABIBI FUNK
score for the 1923 silent film Salomé at the so I gave myself one-and-a-half years of full Arabian reissue powerhouse Habibi
Art Institute Of Chicago. Six days later, she collaboration, where I wanted to learn as much as Funk sniffs out another humdinger: a lost
participated in Round Robin, an experimental I could.” She’s also made vocal appearances on album of perky Sudanese funk, recorded
performance where members of the city’s music recent albums by Roy Montgomery, Six Organs in Kuwait in 1980.
scene are paired off at random to improvise. In Of Admittance and Mind Over Mirrors.
between, Fohr composed new arrangements for But the experience of scoring Salomé for a four- SARATHY KORWAR
Gaia Infinitus, a special one-off expanded piece ensemble that features processed voice and & UPAJ COLLECTIVE
version of her Circuit Des Yeux band that will play ambient synth loops, as well as prepping her Le My East Is Your West GEARBOX
The greatest hits of ’70s spiritual jazz,
the Le Guess Who? festival in November. Guess Who? show, has shifted her approach. With
thoughtfully interrogated by a crack
Yet by Fohr’s own demanding standards, this the Gaia Infinitus ensemble, she’s closing out a
ensemble of UK jazz musicians and
flurry qualifies as a summer break. After three cycle of playing Reaching For Indigo in sequence Indian classical players.
solid years of fervently touring, collaborating, every show by rebuilding it from the ground up,
and recording – including 2015’s In Plain writing new parts for members of the Netherlands FELBM Tape 1/Tape 2 SOUNDWAY
Speech and 2017’s Reaching For Indigo – the Philharmonic Orchestra. “Gaia Infinitus means Not, as it may appear, a compendium of
compositional commissions have given Fohr a Mother Earth ever-expanding, atoms splitting library music gems from the 1970s, but
rare opportunity to catch her breath. “It’s time for apart and splitting apart, and it’s a celebration of the work of a Dutch former pop-house
me to step back and listen to myself,” she says, that – trying to do that with my LP to see how far I producer, now improbably channelling
alternating sips of water and red wine can take it,” Fohr says. “I’m trying to Basil Kirchin and Sam Prekop.
in a Chicago dive bar. “I feel I’ve been create an ensemble that’s in my brain.”
given this title of ‘most rehearsed
I’M YOUR FAN While she decides what’s next, Fohr MOSES BOYD
band in Chicago’. But I’ve learned the is balancing her music with painting Displaced Diaspora EXODUS
last month or two, maybe stop and writing short stories inspired by New-school jazz with one eye on Africa,
rehearsing and let it flow.” Philip K Dick and her own touring another on the cosmos, and its feet firmly
Fohr’s creative burst came in the experience – including a recent on the pavements of Peckham. Includes
wake of an epiphany in January 2016, graphic encounter with a parasite in Four Tet favourite “Rye Lane Shuffle”.
described in a letter she posted on her Spain. “The responsibility I’m dealt
website: “A small iota of intuition with now is just remembering the OBJEKT Cocoon Crush PAN
If Guillermo Del Toro made
rattled inside me... something told me “Haley’s the answer that I found and living in
weirdo post-club electronica,
to leave the comfort of my life and sheriff that a more healthy and open-minded
it might sound a bit like this.
make something new.” rides in to consciousness,” Fohr says. “You can Fleshy, faintly Aphexy business
It’s last year’s Reaching For Indigo, single-handedly go through the moment and have this
clean up a town from techno luminary TJ Hertz.
the album she made in honour of that backup intuition, but what you do
overrun by bad
life-changing moment, that presents
guys. Her voice
afterward is really the hard work.” ISHMAEL ENSEMBLE
her most complete statement in 10 will roll you ROB MITCHUM Severn Songs 2 SEVERN SONGS

years conjuring unique spells as from the soles Second batch of foggy comedown vibes
Circuit Des Yeux. Fohr’s most striking of your feet to Circuit Des Yeux tours Europe this from saxophonist Pete Cunningham and
instrument is her singular, vibrato- your scalp…” autumn, starting at Le Guess Who? crew; the best musical homage to the
filled voice that can span four octaves Bill Callahan festival in Utrecht on November 11 Bristol channel since Portishead.

10 • UNCUT • DECEMBER 2018



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“I’m seriously
Jeff Goldblum
in New York,
September 2018

12 • UNCUT • DECEMBER 2018

high form of life

HIS morning I woke up
at 5.30 or 6am,” says Jeff The singular actor and anybody’s help, I got the Yellow Pages,
went into a room in our house, locked the
Goldblum, “and I went
down to the hotel lobby
jazz pianist expands on his door, and scanned the pages for cocktail
lounges. I went down A-Z and called
before anyone was there
and used their beautiful Steinway piano. I
love of music and fashion, people up and said, “Hey, I understand
you need a pianist there?” Some of them
felt like I played better than I ever have…”
For any of us not lucky enough to be
his penchant for said, “No, we don’t even have a piano
here…” But some of them said, “Maybe
woken by a Hollywood star playing jazz communing with canines, – come on down and let’s hear you play.”
piano, fear not – Goldblum, at the age
of 66, is releasing his debut album in and his time spent as a And I got a few jobs that way. It was kind of
magical and spectacular. I loved it. I don’t
November. Recorded live with his band,
The Mildred Snitzer Orchestra, at the
pencil salesman… know if anybody else liked it much! It was
certainly a primitive effort. Even though
historic Capitol Studios in LA, with guests I’d set my mind on being an actor, this was
including Imelda May and Interview by TOM PINNOCK kind of a side passion for me and still is.
Sarah Silverman, it’s a laidback
set of classic jazz, as stylish and Audience With!” he exclaims. “That’s What are your tips or tricks for
charismatic as the man himself. my favourite kind of thing. I love playing jazz piano? And who are your
“It feels amazing,” he says, this city and I love talking about this piano idols? Kelly Acres, via email
considering his debut LP. music thing that I’m doing.” What’s that book that says it takes 40,000
“Mmm, yes yes, well, I love Topics up for discussion include the hours to turn yourself into someone who
music. I was promoting Thor: actor’s week as a pencil salesman, can do anything worthwhile? That’s
Ragnarok on The Graham his habit of communing with dogs, a kind of my approach. I’m nothing if not
Norton Show last year and perplexing encounter with a scientific disciplined. I can’t pass the piano in our
Gregory Porter was the musical legend and, of course, his love of jazz. house without sitting down, and I try to
guest, and they asked if I “I hope it’s got a lot of life to it,” he says play for 40 minutes or an hour every day.
would play with him – I love of his album. “People seem to get a big Idols? I’m from Pittsburgh and so was
him, and we played ‘Mona kick out of the gigs, and we wanted to Erroll Garner. My dad bought Erroll Garner
Lisa’ from his Nat King Cole capture that, and I think we may have Plays Misty and I played it all the time. I do
record. He was working with Decca, so Below: Goldblum’s a bit. I’m kind of all a-flutter.” love Thelonious Monk, Oscar Peterson,
Decca said, ‘Gee, maybe we should do an character, Duke, in Bill Evans, a lot of those guys. Oscar, he’s
album with Jeff…’ I was thrilled to do it at Isle Of Dogs Where did the name Mildred Snitzer got amazing chops, nobody plays like him.
Capitol Studios, which is a spectacular come from? J Santo, via email
place, and I’ve been involved in the Mildred Snitzer was a friend of the Have you remembered your mantra
artwork and it’s gonna be on vinyl, family, she lived to be over 100 years yet? Gary Cottier, Plymouth
which is kind of thrilling to me.” old and she was a lovely woman. I Of course, that was the line in Annie Hall,
Goldblum is no movie star toying thought the name was funny. And and I loved being in that. It’s a wonderful
with music, though: a skilled jazz calling ourselves the Mildred Snitzer movie. I was actually initiated into

pianist, he was playing in Pittsburgh Orchestra was funny too, ’cos Transcendental Meditation right around
cocktail lounges in his teens and has there’re just four or five of us. 1974, and they give you a mantra. My life
long been performing freewheeling has been devoted to openness and poetry,
weekly gigs at the Rockwell club in You played piano lounges when and things that are sometimes unseen,
Los Feliz, LA. In London, straight you were young – what was that but these days I’m drawn to science and
from the Venice Film Festival to like? Ray Bentfield, via email the fact-based world, and the way of
discuss his new album, Goldblum is I was about 15. I don’t know why I investigation that scientists have, more
in a typically gregarious mood. “An took it upon myself, but I didn’t ask than to a magical sound.

DECEMBER 2018 • UNCUT • 13

Glenn Close – she came over to our house
the other day, brought the kids some clay
to play with.

There was recently a statue of

your character from Jurassic Park
in London – which of your other
characters would you like to see set
in stone? George Kay, via email
Very, very funny! Well, in Isle Of Dogs it’s
not me it’s the dog, but they did a beautiful
job, and I love my character, Duke. I’d
like to see a big version of that. How about
the Grandmaster from Thor: Ragnarok?
He’d enjoy a statue of himself. Most of my
other parts I’d just do a spontaneous bread
sculpture, take a dinner roll and make a
quick bread sculpture of myself. Do I do
Goldblum plays the that often? No, but I wanna
Arroyo Seco Music
Festival, Pasadena, start now, it’s a good hobby.
June 23, 2018
You must have seen
Did you hang out with dogs to Why has there never been some things as a pencil
get in character for Isle Of Dogs? a release of the excellent salesman. What was it
And do you have a dog? film you made charting like? Joe Hanson, via email
Jane North, via email the discovery of the DNA It’s the only job I ever had
We have Woody, our red-haired standard structure, Life Story? that was not in the acting
poodle – he’s very protective and adorable Terence Anthony, game. I did it for a week when
with the kids. They love him. Before I did via email I was newly in LA. It was a
that movie, I did have a specific interest, I don’t know! It bit of a scam, a boiler room
more than even I did before, of looking was directed by operation. We went early in
for long periods into his eyes, and just Mick Jackson, the morning and called another time zone,
watching him. Dogs are absolutely a very a wonderful later in the day, correctional institutions,
high form of life, great teachers and great British director, different places on the East Coast, made
friends, and deeply moving. We love him. and Tim Pigott- up a fake name and said, “Hey, we’re from
And I love that movie. Wes Anderson Smith played Washington DC and we’ve got a federal
is a genius, he’s really something. He’s Francis Crick to program which has just fallen through
also a style pioneer – aesthetically as my Jim Watson. in your area, so we have a lot of surplus
sophisticated as they come. We tried to be magic markers…” They trained us to say,
accurate. I don’t “Do you use the red or the green or the blue
You’re a very sartorially elegant know if it was marker?” They’d say, “Blue.” “Well, can I
man, Jeff. Do you have any favourite ever qualified send you a gross of those?” It was a horrible
essential wardrobe items? for a bigger sales [thing] – I’m not a salesman in any
Vito Sassanio, via email release. Over way, but especially in that way, with false
I have a real taste for clothes, I don’t know the years I’ve “My life has | elements. It made me sick to my stomach,
what that makes me. Maybe superficial,
but I’m not casually superficial, I’m
run into the real
Jim Watson. been devoted to and I wound up in the hospital after a week
with an unrelated or related ailment. It was
seriously superficial. I aspire to something
in the area of fine acting, so I work from the
He said, “You
know, I never
openness and the last time I did anything outside acting,
aside from piano playing and teaching, for
inside out, but I also work from the outside
in. Some of the most exciting moments of
wanted you to
be cast in that
poetry, and my supper. As Biff Loman says, sales is
“a measly manner of existence”.
any project are when I get together with
the costume people and start to figure
role as me.” I
said, “Really,
things that are Whose impression of you is
out the details of the shoe, and how that Mr Watson! sometimes unseen” better – Bryan Cranston’s or
makes me feel and how I walk in it. Why is that?” David Duchovny’s?
From top: Jeff’s
He said, “I wanted John McEnroe to play statue, London; Michael Stiger, via email
When did you realise it was better it.” I said [this] to Tom Stoppard straight in The Big Chill I’ve seen them both, I know them both
to be a Jeff Goldblum actor than after, and Tom said, “Maybe he means (second right); as and think the world of them both. Bryan
the Grandmaster
a method actor? John Malkovich?” So I went back to Jim in Thor: Ragnarok Cranston was in Isle Of Dogs, of course,
Eamonn Giles, via email Watson and I said, “Did I hear you right? so we spent some time together – he is
I don’t know if it’s better to be a Jeff Was it John McEnroe, or John Malkovich?” very good, a master craftsman. I love
Goldblum actor, but part of [his teacher] He said, “No no, John McEnroe. You depict his impersonation – but I’d say it’s a tie,
Sanford Meisner’s methodology – he was how I play tennis when I was younger, ’cos I love David Duchovny and his
part of the Group Theatre along with Lee and I think John McEnroe would have Saturday Night Live impression of Jeff
Strasberg, but Meisner was a little different done that much better than you did.” Goldblum The Idiot, who can’t even
– one of the things was: “Don’t copy Then I imagined John McEnroe being read – I think it’s hilarious, very, very
anyone; find your own original voice.” All cast in other parts instead of me – he good. I love them all!
you had to really use, he said, better than a could have done Jurassic Park: “Life
mask of some kind, was a sort of revelation finds a way… you cannot be serious!” Jeff Goldblum & The Mildred

of certain specific areas of yourself. Snitzer Orchestra’s The Capitol

There’s not always specifically literally Where would you rate The Big Chill? Studios Sessions is out November 9
Jeff Goldblum, in my case, in the parts, but Brett Reece, via email on Decca; Goldblum plays
characterisation is something we practised Oh, The Big Chill, I have a real fondness London’s Cadogan Hall on
there with Meisner that I still enjoy. for that. I’m still pals with November 17

14 • UNCUT • DECEMBER 2018



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“To die a good death/I wish it for all I love”

TAKE 259


Negative Capability

Terror, poetry and old age. Cave, Lanegan attend

Marianne’s late-life masterclass. By John Robinson

HE poet John Keats couldn’t appendices and an enthralling backstory.
have kept pace with ALBUM The enjoyable broadsheet interviews, an
Marianne Faithfull for long. OF THE occasional wise or cultured observation.
Dedicated to immortalising MONTH Perhaps an eye-watering reminiscence of
in art the fleeting nature of Mick, or “the wall”.
beauty, he was himself not
8/10 It can sometimes appear, in fact, as if the
destined to stick around for long. new album is simply a McGuffin, the nominal
In an imagined Rolling Stones of romantic writing, pretext for all this – the admission fee we pay to
he was no Mick (Wordsworth) or Keith (De Quincey), hear about the life, and the images she can sometimes
still out pleasing the crowds with 80 in their sights. conjure. Generally of being young and beautiful in
Instead, he left the party early, checking out at the the centre of the universe, caught in the frieze of an
altogether more Brian-like age of 25. inexpressibly lovely 1967.
In his short time, though, Keats wrote not On this latest Marianne Faithfull album, her first
only enduring poems but also a considerable for four years, we find her meeting head-on the
correspondence, during which he coined a phrase gaze of her younger self. Suggested to her by Bad
that concerns us here: “negative capability”. It was Seed Warren Ellis (just one in a gallery of former
a quality he found in the best writers, who resisted rogues, including Nick Cave and Mark Lanegan,
simple answers and could conjure characters who who contribute to the album), here she re-records
didn’t simply impart some kind “As Tears Go By”, legendarily
of improving moral lesson, but the first composition by Mick
instead made something more Jagger and Keith Richards.
real and identifiable. The reading of the song,
And how very like Marianne accompanied by guitar
Faithfull that is, to provide and Ellis’s violin, is simple
a talking point outside the and unstagey, but it’s still
text of an album. After all, inescapably potent. “It is the
a new Marianne album isn’t evening of the day…” after all.
something that emerges As it does when she remakes
unannounced, then gets “Witches’ Song” from her
swept along on a viral tide 1979 record Broken English,

like the new Kanye West it reminds us how far she’s

album. Rather, it’s something come – and what sort of
that emerges with lengthy journey it’s been. If you

16 • UNCUT • DECEMBER 2018

DECEMBER 2018 • UNCUT • 17

could see Auden’s life in his face, on

this album more than ever you can hear
Marianne’s life in her voice. The opening
“Misunderstanding” finds it inescapably
filled with a crackling wisdom, but
also something that we seldom hear –
a hint of, if not quite frailty, then at least
vulnerability. The song itself, folky and SLEEVE NOTES
plaintive (as is much of the album), seems 1 Misunderstanding
to ask to be perceived as something more 2 The Gypsy Faerie
complex than simply a storied caricature. Queen
3 As Tears Go By
It’s this that is Faithfull’s blessing and
4 In My Own
her curse, and which each record producer Particular Way
she works with must attempt to resolve. 5 Born To Live
Since her return in the late 1970s from 6 Witches’ Song
the decade-long period of addiction that 7 It’s All Over Now,
derailed her singing and acting career, and Kris Kristofferson’s Cedar Creek of expectations. Chief among them is Baby Blue
this has been an artist with gravitas, but Sessions – aware of its late-life gravity probably “In My Own Particular Way”, a 8 They Come At Night
also more inconvenient baggage than the and set for valediction. A square peg swooning Bad Seedsy number with lyrics 9 Don’t Go
concourse of Euston station. can’t suddenly fit just like that, though. that sound at times like a profile on a 10 No Moon In Paris
How to deal with it best? In 1976, Although conceived of as a nostalgic dating site for legendary muses. “Send me
and her first notional comeback, the project, the album evidently became someone who will love for who I really am,” 11 Loneliest Person
solution was thought to be an arranged derailed by current events: the unwelcome she sings. “Not an image…” What has she 12 No Moon In Paris
marriage of the artist with the crestfallen interjection of death, illness and terror to recommend her? “I’m still pretty, kind (Radio Edit)
repertoire of country singers. The turning it into something less orderly but and funny.” 13 They Come At Night
generally jawdropping Broken English, more rewarding. The kind of negative Persuasively, she can also sequence (Alt Version)
edgy in thought and deed, made a virtue capability Keats was talking about, in fact. an album very well indeed. As good as
of her square-peg status, and grew her On the cover, Faithfull complements this would be as the kind of later-life Produced by: Rob Ellis,
a post-punk audience for whom feeling her customary glamour with a walking stocktaking that it at times gestures Warren Ellis and Head
Engineered and mixed
uncomfortable while listening to a record stick – evidence of her recent struggles towards, Negative Capability grows
by: Head
was a point of honour. Equally, you can with arthritis. And this is an album that into something a bit more adventurous Recorded at: La Frette
see the thinking behind the tasteful Hal confronts what she probably wouldn’t and accomplished, getting heavier in Studios, Paris, January
Willner albums and her work at what thank you for calling the burdens of old its later stages. After “Born To Live”, the 2018
we might call the Brechtian end of the age: illness, the death of close friends and album shifts perspectives, first conjuring Personnel includes:
spectrum – it’s music that doesn’t demand being tormented by memory. On “Born To supernatural Macbethy forces (“Witches’ Marianne Faithfull
the voice of an angel; it plays well in small Live”, she breaks through the beautiful Song”), then distilling the intimations (vocals), Nick Cave
theatres – but in hindsight these seem a simplicity of the piano part to deliver her of chaos from Dylan’s “It’s All Over Now, (vocals, piano, backing
little on the nose. hopes for the future. At this stage of the Baby Blue”. Then it broaches the news, vocals), Warren Ellis
(violin, alto flute, drums,
Far more significant has been her game it is, “To die a good death/I wish it with “They Come At Night”, a two-chord
keys, synth bass,
welcome into the comfortable world of for all I love/Deep down below and high blues that takes the Paris terror attacks of piano, handclaps,
business-class goth, where collaborators above…” It’s a beautiful piece of work. November 2015 as the evidence of a world backing vocals), Ed
such as Cave, Ellis and PJ Harvey’s A more agonising take on death arrives gone wrong. The record takes a sudden Harcourt (bass, piano,
producer Rob Ellis have helped Marianne with “Don’t Go”, about the loss of a loved pitch into the dark and heavy. Rhodes, Wurlitzer,
order her experiences within a hip, one: “Don’t rush so fast to what you know After the catharsis of this and “Don’t organ, baritone guitar,
melodic classicism. Here, duly, “The will come anyway…” The song builds not Go”, “No Moon In Paris” – a delicate backing vocals), Rob
Gypsy Faerie Queen” casts the singer as to calm acceptance but to a stirring rage piano meditation on the moon in different McVey (guitar, piano,
a playful nuisance in her native Albion, a against the dying light. As ever, the magic contexts and in various glamorous synth, backing vocals),
Rob Ellis (drums,
song given some heft by a Cave-supplied is in Faithfull’s candour and detail: locations – might seem like a neater
percussion, piano,
tune that is a cousin of “Straight To You”. “I do understand/Why you want no more/ resolutionthanwemighthaveimagined for synth piano, thumbjam,
All of which would seem to wrap things Fucking treatment,” she sings. Swearing the album, but that is undoubtedly the kind glockenspiel,
up tidily and make Negative Capability she’s done plentifully – here the shocking oftwistthat Negative Capabilityis allabout. handclaps, backing
an album about neat resolutions, word is “treatment”. You might bring certain expectations vocals)
personal and musical, to file alongside What Negative Capability has for you to her music – it’s simply in Marianne
Johnny Cash’s American Recordings at its best is just this kind of upending Faithfull’s nature to evade them.


Three negatively capable Marianne Faithfull albums
Broken English Dangerous Before The Poison
ISLAND, 1979 Acquaintances ANTI-, 2005
Marianne checked out in one ISLAND, 1981 Catches some major talents
era and woke up in another, a Thought disappointingly in a collaborative mode,
fact unconcealed by the gritty accessible on release, tunes for an album that plays to
material and unflinchingly modern production such as “Sweetheart” – first among a more everyone’s strengths. Nick Cave and Damon
here. Contributors include the late Heathcote substantial proportion of co-writes – have Albarn are among the marquee names, but
Williams, while classics include “Witches’ Song” dated surprisingly well, as reggae-influenced it’s the rocking modes of Polly Harvey (“Friends

and her take on Shel Silverstein’s “The Ballad Of synthpop goes. Closer “Truth Bitter Truth” is Of Mine”; “The Mystery Of Love”) that are the
Lucy Jordan”. certainly no sellout. gas in the tank.
8/10 7/10 8/10

18 • UNCUT • DECEMBER 2018


“Witches’ Song”. I didn’t think it was

a very good idea, but he really wanted
to and, as it turns out, he was right. I
don’t listen to the old versions as I don’t
like to compare things. I’ve always
performed it [“As Tears Go By”]. People
love it: so I do it.

That’s a potent song for the

listener. What power does the
song have over you?
MF: For a long time I didn’t really like it,
actually – it seemed to me to be the start
of all the trouble, but in fact it’s a really
wonderful song. Trouble? Well, I got
famous and I became a little pop star

Q&A and blah blah blah.

Which was a bad thing?

MF: It set me off in the wrong direction,
also known as drugs.

Marianne Faithfull and How did the record evolve? And in an odd way, set you off
RE: It started out maybe two to three on the recording path you’ve
Rob Ellis (producer) years before we recorded it. It was followed since. Your recording
“I always write about intended to be more of a folk album, of persona is as a survivor.
what’s going on” songs that her dad had sung to her and
that led naturally into a slightly more
MF: I don’t really like the word survivor.
To me a survivor is someone who went

nostalgic overview. We’d just finished to Auschwitz and survived that, you
hy Negative a tour celebrating Marianne’s 50th year know? Anything I survived is very minor
Capability? in the business. Then she lost a couple of compared to that.
MF: It’s a phrase from close friends and it became a reflective
a Keats letter that I’d record. We steered things in a direction Were you in Paris at the time of
known about for a long time, and that we would look at some things from the attacks? That must have
I think it’s a wonderful, strong thing earlier in her career that were fresh as been a horrific night. What
to call something. Not even an album, a daisy and are now filled with that effect did that have on you?
necessarily. incredible life. I guess that’s where the MF: Yes. It was happening and I saw
concept came from. I think we realised it on the news and I was so upset and
The album has allegory, what we were doing towards the end. shocked I sat down and wrote “They
reportage, personal issues. The folk thing kick-started the idea, but Come At Night”. [Producer] Hal Willner
How did you want it to work? we ended up writing songs that were has a theory that every 70 years the Nazis
MF: It’s about certain things, obviously. more personal in nature. come back in one form or another, and
First of all it’s about love. It’s also about on that night they did, in the form of the
loneliness. But it’s also about the fact Tell me about working people shooting those kids.
that in the last two years so many of with Nick Cave again...
my dearest friends have died. It’s very MF: I was looking for a song Nick Cave “In My Own Particular Way”
straightforward. I don’t write as therapy; would love to write. At first he said no, makes something beautiful
it isn’t about working through anything. because he was so busy. I wrote back out of loneliness…
There’s been such sadness and pain, saying don’t worry about it, then he MF: I love that one. The love song. It’s
but I loved them very much and so I am replied saying, well actually, he would not about loneliness – it was in the
trying to honour them and love them as write it, “The Gypsy Faerie Queen”. It beginning, but then a friend said to me,
much as I can. was incredibly nice of him. With Nick I “Why don’t you send out a loud call to
send him my lyrics – he likes my writing. the universe to send you someone to
Among them Anita Pallenberg, He likes not having all the responsibility. love?” – and so I did. And they did.
of course…
MF: Not just Anita – Heathcote Williams, You also have Warren Ellis… Congratulations! It’s a heavy
Richard Neville, Martin Sharp, Gareth MF: Ah, Warren! It was Warren’s idea record, though. Is this your last?
Brown… So many of my very dearest to re-record “As Tears Go By” and MF: No. I hope there will be a few more.
friends. It’s been what one would call
a blue period. They were happening all What sort of direction do you
the time, one after the other; I wrote and imagine them taking?
I wrote and wrote. And where I ended
up was not just bereavement – where “It was intended to be MF: I haven’t got a fucking clue. That’s
not quite true – we did say that we might
I ended up was love.

What do you feel about

more of a folk album, like to make more of a jazzy record, but
that might not happen. It’s a long time in

then it became a
the future.
MF: I really don’t think about it. I don’t Do you feel you convey the
think about it at all. A lot of my friends
croaked in the last few years and I felt
reflective record” wisdom of experience?
MF: No, not yet, no. I’m still learning,
I had to write about it. I always write
about what’s going on.
ROB ELLIS you know?

DECEMBER 2018 • UNCUT • 19


Suspiria (Music For The Luca Guadagnino Film)

The Radiohead frontman makes his film debut with
a bewitching horror score. By Michael Bonner

HOM Yorke might have made his dovetailed perfectly with Radiohead’s own take shelved Bond theme, “Spectre”, is now a highlight
debut as a film composer a lot earlier on atomisation, alienation and crises, this was it. of Yorke’s live sets. Even Yorke’s external projects
than this, it seems. During the late In the end, Yorke rejected Norton and Pitt’s like the PolyFauna app and hisTomorrow’sModern

’90s, shortly after Radiohead had offer – and since then, of course, his bandmate BoxesLP have featured the kind of subtly involving
completed OK, Computer, Yorke was JonnyGreenwoodhasgoneontobecomea highly music you might expect to hear in a movie.
approached by Edward Norton and Brad Pitt successfulsoundtrackcomposer.Radiohead,too, So at last – a mere 20 years on from Norton and
to score Fight Club. If ever there was a film that have made their own foray into film music – their Pitt’s offer – Yorke has finally got round to making

20 • UNCUT • DECEMBER 2018


his first film soundtrack. This, then, is album, Is This The Life We Really Want?.
Suspiria – Luca Guadagnino’s remake One of the pieces that works best both SLEEVE NOTES
of Dario Argento’s horror classic about a on and off screen is “Volk”. Named Disc: 1
coven of witches operating out of a ballet after a legendary avant-garde ballet 1 A Storm That
Took Everything
school. It is not, as you might imagine from that is performed in the film as part of a
2 The Hooks
PolyFauna or Tomorrow’s Modern Boxes,
slow-moving, electronic and ambient – as
demonic incantation (yes, yes), its simple
five-note refrain becomes the starting
3 Suspirium This month…
4 Belongings
it transpires, Suspiria finds Yorke stepping point for a prolonged and substantial Thrown In A River P22 TY SEGALL
in a new direction. sonic exploration. In its eldritch route 5 Has Ended
The setting for Guadagnino’s film – through discomforting Moog lines and 6 Klemperer
Berlin, 1977 – is evidently a critical factor deviant effects, it displays the kind of wry
7 Open Again P28 J MASCIS
in all this. Yorke has made an album contempt for conventional rock’n’roll that
that draws partly from the krautrock has informed almost every artistic move
armoury – modular synths, repetition, Yorke and his band have made in the past
pulseless drones. Among the acts most 20-odd years.
Inevitable Pull P33 JON SPENCER
associated with that era, Can, Popol Vuh The opportunity to do something 10 Olga’s
and Klaus Schulze all worked on film entirely unconnected to songwriting in Destruction
scores – while Argento’s original Suspiria any form evidently appeals to Yorke – and (Volk tape) THE AINTS!
was soundtracked with swarthy, demonic for the most part, these experimental 11 The Conjuring The Church Of
intent by the Italian progressive rock band compositions for Suspiria work. But that’s Of Anke Simultaneous Existence
Goblin. All these elements, somehow, find not to ignore the moments were Yorke does 12 A Light Green ABC MUSIC
13 Unmade
their way into Thom Yorke’s Suspiria. consent to contribute songs – and they’re 8/10
14 The Jumps
The critical point is this, though: what really very good. At first, “Suspirium” A new album of old Saints songs
exactly is Suspiria? Is it a solo album? Is it a recalls “The Daily Mail” in its rawness and
Disc: 2 The Aints began in
film soundtrack? To an extent, the answer piano style. Then, as Pasha Mansurov’s 1 Volk the early ’90s as a
is a fudge: it’s a bit of both. Pieces like flute pirouettes through the song’s second 2 The Universe vehicle for former
“Suspirium”, “Unmade”, “Has Ended”, half, it is possible to detect the delicate Is Indifferent Saints guitarist
“Open Again” or “Suspirium (Finale)” orchestral traces of A Moon Shaped Pool. 3 The Balance Ed Kuepper to
are evidently full-length songs. But of the These are made more explicit by a second, Of Things revisit the punky
longer version, “Suspirium (Finale)”, 4 A Soft Hand furies of his youth. The version of
which brings a wide-angled, cinematic Across Your Face the Aints with the exclamation
5 Suspirium Finale mark added were formed by
quality to the song. Incidentally, the
6 A Choir Of One Kuepper last year in celebration
Yorke draws strings on Suspiria are provided by the
London Contemporary Orchestra, who
delivered such strong work on A Moon
7 Synthesizer
of the 40th anniversary of The
Saints’ influential debut album,

partly from Shaped Moon. “Has Ended” is unsettling

kosmische, built around slow, clattering
8 The Room Of
9 An Audition
(I’m) Stranded. The Church Of
The Simultaneous Existence is
a defrosting of songs Kuepper
the krautrock drums (apparently played by Yorke’s son,
Noah) and circular organ drones. At first,
10 Voiceless
wrote at the time, and they’re
outstanding. The Saints’ patented

armoury Yorke’s lyrics appear to refer directly to

the film. There is a city, returning soldiers
11 The Epilogue

Produced by:
punk/soul sound swaggers afresh
on “Red Aces” and the title track,
and “Country Song In G” is one of
– presumably partitioned Berlin – “the
Thom Yorke & Kuepper’s finest ballads under any
witches were all singing”. Then, though, Sam Petts-Davies name: high praise.
album’s 25 tracks, some of them – like the he makes an unexpected narrative leap. Personnel ANDREW MUELLER
44-second “A Soft Hand Across Your Face” “We won’t make this mistake again,” he includes:
or the 25-second “An Audition” – feel sings, suggesting the fascists and “their Thom Yorke DAVID ALLRED
more like cues, designed to enhance the dancing puppet king” are, once again, (vocals, various The Transition
drama as it unfolds on screen. Even some on the rise. “We won’t make this mistake instruments), ERASED TAPES
Noah Yorke
of the longer pieces – “The Hooks”, “Olga’s again…” he sings, somehow connecting a 6/10
(drums), Pasha
Destruction”, “The Conjuring Of Aneke” – gruesome period horror to more genuinely Stripped-back debut owes
are titled after specific narrative events in disturbing contemporary events. debts to labelmates
(flute), London
Guadagnino’s film. “Unmade” is one of those beautiful, Contemporary They say imitation
Having said that, though, Yorke’s melancholy piano ballads at which Yorke Orchestra is the sincerest
aesthetic is sustained throughout; even excels, the repetition in melody and form of flattery, so
the shorter pieces reflect something chordal changes recalling Eric Satie. Peter Broderick –
of their creator’s intent. Clocking in at It offers respite from the heavy drones whose patronage,
59 seconds, “Synthesizer Speaks” might and sinister atmospheres generated following last
appear like a minor cue, for instance – but elsewhere. Meanwhile, “Open Again” year’s collaborative album,
weaves, spell-like, around a cycling delivered David Allred to their
its weird, electronic shrieking feels part of
now-shared label – must be
a favoured Yorke obsession: technological guitar motif – one of the few times a
pretty charmed by The Transition.
fear and breakdown. I’m reminded of guitar appears on the soundtrack. Allred’s warm if tentative voice
a line in “The Axe” where Yorke sings, As a creative exercise, it feels useful is a dead ringer for Broderick’s
“Goddam machinery, why won’t it speak to for Yorke to have made this record. on dark piano ballad “Randy
me? One day I’m going to take an axe to it.” Another electronic solo album along And Susan”, and even more so
Not so much a paranoid android, perhaps, the lines of Tomorrow’s Modern Boxes on “The Garden”, a multitracked
as a seriously spooked synth. would have felt like a step backwards. a cappella, while the title track’s
In one final revelation, Yorke is not This project allows him to engage with rich string arrangements also echo
the broader collaborative experience of Broderick’s work. Not that Allred’s
working here with his usual collaborator,
debut is detrimentally derivative,
Nigel Godrich. Instead, Suspiria has filmmaking while also presenting a work
but only “For The Penguins”
been co-produced by Sam Petts-Davies, that stands on its own terms. Rather like breaks the mould, and that’s a
recording engineer onAMoon Shaped Pool Guadagnino’s film, Thom Yorke’s Suspiria tribute to his other new labelmates,
and Jonny Greenwood’s Junun project as might not be to everyone’s tastes – but it Penguin Cafe.
well as the Godrich-produced Roger Waters feels enough, for now. WYNDHAM WALLACE

DECEMBER 2018 • UNCUT • 21

fury, but with none of the residual charm
you’d find on a more straightforward
cowpunk version. Neil Young’s “The
Loner” is also transformed, going from
genial West Coast ballad to a sort of
dead-eyed stoner metal – the loner
in this version presumably some sort
of psychopath preparing a killing
spree. Segall’s ability to locate the
psychotic element in almost any song
is unnerving: Lennon’s “Isolation”
zeroes in on the original’s sense of gothic
self-pity, while his version of Gong’s
“Pretty Miss Titty” enhances the creepy
surrealism of the lyric.
When Segall takes on a cover, he can
usually be counted upon to dirty things
up a little, but it’s not always that way.
“Slowboat” retains much of the pace
and acoustic melody of the Sparks
original. Instead, Segall has his fun
during the instrumental break and a
delightfully psychedelised outro, even
as the vocal is delivered with a little
more accented polish than you’d find

one he put on the record because Segall in any Segall original. On “Class War”,
clearly felt it was truest to the spirit he he tidies up The Dils’ punk original by
wanted to evoke. foregrounding the lyric, emphasising the
Fudge Sandwich There’s nothing as chaotic on Fudge
Sandwich, but the attitude is similar –
protest-song element but without doing
anything as predictable as placing it in
there’s respect but nothing approaching a folk setting. Instead, there’s a clean,
8/10 the sort of suffocating reverence that
kills so many covers. Instead, Segall sees
power-pop sound to the song, which is
particularly enjoyable when applied to
Covered in glory: the Cali maverick the song as a malleable form, unbaked the unsophisticated guitar solo.
spreads the love. By Peter Watts clay that can handle a little horseplay Not everything works perfectly. Amon
and roughhousing. On stage, Segall uses Düül II’s “Archangel Thunderbird” loses
covers to vary the set and change the mood the original’s theatricality without really
TY SEGALL has but also to keep his band fresh and on their going anywhere new. “Rotten To The
been serving SLEEVE NOTES toes, but on Fudge Sandwich he’s playing Core” by Rudimentary Peni – the only
up delightful, 1 Lowrider everything himself, which allows him to truly obscure band on the album – has
unexpected and (War) dissect a song and put it together again a nice buzzsaw sound but isn’t quite
occasionally 2 I’m A Man exactly how he wants. Segall is a unique distinct enough from the original, while
(Spencer Davis
disturbing cover singer, an imaginative guitar player – “Hit It And Quit It” sounds like it was
versions throughout 3 Isolation
especially when it comes to finding guitar fun to perform but loses a little too much
his career. On stage, he will frequently (John Lennon) sounds – and a great drummer, and he swing in the translation from funk to
drop a version of a song by GG Allin, AC/ 4 Hit It And Quit it uses all three of his skills depending on punk. By contrast, Segall’s take on “I’m
DC or David Bowie into the middle of a set, (Funkadelic) where he wants the song to go. A Man” is a perfect example of what he
while many of his records feature a cover, 5 Class War On War’s “Lowrider”, that means does so well, retaining all the swaggering
often of the most unlikely tracks, like the (The Dils) replacing the original’s sexy, clean strut oomph of the original even as Steve
jubilantly funky take on Hot Chocolate’s 6 The Loner with a slowed-down layer of sleazy fuzz, Winwood’s in-the-pocket soul inflections
“Every 1’s A Winner” from January’s (Neil Young) while the Grateful Dead’s “St Stephen” is are broken down and reassembled as the
7 Pretty Miss Titty
Freedom’s Goblin. With Fudge Sandwich almost unrecognisable, starting in a sea sweatiest of garage-rock shredders by this
he has served up an entire album of 8 Archangel
of sludge before exploding into hardcore modern-day master of the form.
covers, featuring his interpretation of Thunderbird
songs by artists as diverse as Funkadelic,
John Lennon, Gong and Sparks.
Few musicians can take somebody
(Amon Düül II)
9 Rotten To
The Core
else’s song and wrestle it into the mud (Rudimentary Ty Segall “I’d love to What do you like a Fela Kuti song would be 15
quite like Segall. To get an idea of his Peni) have put a Fela Kuti about covers? minutes long and I don’t ever
iconoclastic approach, go back and listen 10 St Stephen cover on there, or It raises the questions of want to rap. I’d love to do a
(Grateful Dead) a Wu-Tang Clan or what makes the song. Is it Kraftwerk song, but I don’t
to 2012’s Slaughterhouse, where he slams Kraftwerk song” the lyric, the melody, the want to sing in German; I’d
11 Slowboat
through an almost unlistenable take on (Sparks) voice, the arrangement, the sound like an idiot. At the end
Bo Diddley’s “Diddy Wah Diddy”. This Why a covers album? instruments? These are all of the day you have to think,
starts with an instruction to the band Produced by: I’ve always loved doing a questions you think about will it make it the best album?
to play it “extra fast” and pretty soon Ty Segall cover, especially one that’s when doing a cover. You can
the song is careering all over the place, Recorded at: not standard for somebody rebuild a song and make it How do you make
with Segall’s indecent and nonsensical Val’s, Eagle Rock, who plays my kind of music. sound completely different, a cover your own?
throaty shriek attempting to cut through California It’s an opportunity to do but because the lyrics are the I think a lot about what makes
Personnel: Ty something you shouldn’t do same, you can call it a cover. an artist an individual, and I
the feedback. “Fuck this fucking song!”
Segall (vocals, or might not seem a good really do feel it’s because they
he finally bellows as the song collapses, idea. I didn’t want to do a Is it about showing your have a voice. It’s an artist’s
bass, keys, guitar,
breaking the fourth wall like a narrator percussion, bunch of garage songs or range of influences? unique instrument, the thing
in a postmodern novel. Then he chuckles drums) psych songs. That would be I’d loved to have put a Fela they have that nobody else
and suggests they all try again. Perhaps boring. It’s all fun – it’s not a Kuti cover on there, or a can copy.
they did, who knows, but this was the serious record. Wu-Tang Clan cover. But INTERVIEW: PETER WATTS

22 • UNCUT • DECEMBER 2018



Natural Rebel didn’t release his
RPA first album until
2011, when he was
6/10 62, having belatedly
Solo album number five from found his own vocal
former Verve man identity after performing for decades
A six-year absence as a James Brown impersonator.
spent walking his Bradley made three albums with
dogs, doing the school guitarist/producer Tommy “TNT”
run and ditching his Brenneck before succumbing to
mobile phone made cancer in 2017 at 68, and Brenneck
These People an subsequently assembled Black Velvet
intriguing proposition, if only because using outtakes from the three albums
there was a curiosity to find out what and singles sides. The most heart-

kind of Richard Ashcroft would emerge wrenching selections are a ravaged
in 2016. The fire behind the aviator take on Nirvana’s “Stay Away” in
glasses was there – passionate on
politics, the broken music industry
NEW which Bradley intuitively taps into
Kurt Cobain’s roiling anguish, a
and rousing proclamations about the HERE tonsil-shredding full-band rendition of
power of music. That’s the interview “Victim Of Love” and the instrumental
Ashcroft, but these days the songwriter “Black Velvet”, which Brenneck had
Ashcroft is tender and contemplative. earmarked for a Bradley vocal he was
Steadier. It’s familiar acoustic-guitar-
led fare, with mild variation like the
BEAST parallel with the visual
elements I was working
too weak to sing. BUD SCOPPA

country-inflected “Birds Fly” and the Koen Holtkamp, “letting with, rather than as an DAVID CROSBY
’70s soft rock of “Born To Be Strangers”. himself go…” afterthought.” Here If You Listen
Assured, yes, but there’s very little Beast released two limited BMG
he recent music from vinyl albums last year, Vol 1
rebellion here.
Koen Holtkamp, and Vol 2, connected to 8/10
formerly half of Holtkamp’s exploratory work CSNY veteran continues his
BEAST Mountains and now working with 3D laser projection. But fruitful Indian summer
Ens under the name Beast, comes Ens is born of more personal Crosby has been
THRILL JOCKEY from a period of change: “A motivations: he started pretty much
few years ago, I decided to composing and recording unstoppable since
8/10 take a step back from music,” with the birth of his first child returning to solo
Spectral synth sonorities, he reflects. “I was becoming looming. “There was an work after a two-
out into the ether more interested in working element of letting go that decade absence.
In many ways, it with light, vibration and colour, came out of this experience,” This fourth album in five years is a
feels as if Koen and honestly a little burnt out he recalls. “To me there are beautifully languid collaboration
Holtkamp’s time may on the music side of things.” His some slightly more overtly with three members of his Lighthouse
have come – the river response: to immerse himself emotional or dramatic band – Michael League, Michelle
of electro-acoustics in spatial and sculptural art elements on this record that in Willis and Becca Stevens – that pulls
he’s pursued since practices, focusing on the the past I’d have pulled back together folk, soul and jazz over
early days, in the Mountains duo, visual world. “After a couple from or edited out, but I felt like twinkling acoustics and delicious
sits neatly next to recent, celebrated years I reached a point where I there was a certain honesty in four-part harmonies. There are
albums by the likes of Sarah Davachi wanted to create music letting allowing myself to go myriad subtleties in songs like “I Am
and Kaitlyn Aurelia Smith. With again,” he continues, “but in there.” JON DALE No Artist” and “Vagrants Of Venice”,
his new project, Beast, he’s made while a stirring new “Woodstock”
one of his most uncompromisingly and the improvised scatting of “1967”
lovely albums, a tender notebook of provide a through-line to the majesty
pointillist electronics, deep waves In 2011, Kasper Bjørke, Mark E Smith’s first of Crosby’s earlier days. ROB HUGHES
of drone and ever ascending, yet a DJ and producer great musical foil,
melancholy, melody: the closing from Copenhagen, Martin Bramah quit ANA DA SILVA & PHEW
“For Otto” is full of lambent grain; was diagnosed with The Fall after their Island SHOUTING OUT LOUD!
“Paprika Shorts” open Ens in a circle cancer. His prognosis, 1979 debut, Live
on a spiral, synth arpeggios clustering treatment and At The Witch Trials,
over each other. recovery form the emotional arc taking an altogether more cosmic Austere electronic soundscapes
JON DALE of The Fifty Eleven Project, a sprawling direction with the Blue Orchids. A bracing
two-hour work that swerves disco The effects of the magic mushrooms collaboration
KASPER BJØRKE moves in favour of long, contemplative have worn off somewhat since, but between the
QUARTET suites for analogue synth, strings – now 60 – Bramah’s recent outings Raincoats’ songwriter
The Fifty Eleven Project and piano. Sombre but never have a pleasingly damp heft: think and the Japanese
KOMPAKT melancholy, ambient in tone but the Seeds fronted by Paul Shane improviser, Island
possessed with a gentle power, the from Hi-De-Hi!. By turns grubby was composed by the two performers
likes of “Paramount” and “Neuron” and ecstatic, the Scarlet Pimpernel working independently of one other
Copenhagen party prince faces sketch lines between the modern stomp of “Get Bramah” and the and exchanging ideas via sound files.
up to mortality chamber music of Ólafur Arnalds last-orders Moody Blues of “Lancelot’s It seems a fitting working method for
and the collapsed-star ambience Last Word” stake out Righteous an album that conveys isolationism
of early Tangerine Dream. You need Harmony Fist’s leathery extremes. and independence through variegated
to be in it for the long haul, but come It swings wildly, but hits the spot electronic soundscapes and austere
“The Antiphon Epilogue”, it feels more often than not. percussion. Pieces like “Conversation”
as though a weight has lifted. JIM WIRTH consist of abstract industrial
LOUIS PATTISON sound and modulated short-wave
CHARLES BRADLEY frequencies; the electronic squall
BLUE ORCHIDS Black Velvet conjured on “The Fear Song” sounds
Blue Orchids: Righteous Harmony Fist DUNHAM/DAPTONE like a platoon of Daleks playing free
Martin TINY GLOBAL jazz. Organic warmth is restored on

Bramah the closing “Dark But Bright”, which

far left 7/10 A gritty exclamation point on a brief appears to include birdsong beneath
Original Fall guy still fighting fit but vital recording career the industrial thrum. MICHAEL BONNER

DECEMBER 2018 • UNCUT • 23


AMERICANA Certainty Waves
Album of the month
Indie-folk duo get noisy on seventh LP
On the opening “Forum”
you’d be forgiven for
thinking you were
hearing a lost demo by
The Strokes, such are the
wiry, propulsive guitar
parts running through its core. Instead,
The Dodos have shifted away from the
more acoustic-leaning sound that has
defined a lot of their output. They almost
veer into math-rock on “IF”, while the
screeching electronics on “Ono Fashion”
add a further experimental dimension
and frenzied pace. Indie rock is still at
the core of the band – as captured on the
National-like “SW3” – but they’ve proved
here that they’re more than capable of
escaping from, or expanding on, that
familiar sound.


Life Is Good On The Open Road Soft Power

7/10 Spirited, soulful third album by
Old-school bluegrass with modern zip from Minnesota sextet Californian songwriter
Soft Power is the third
2014’s Wild Animals was a sheer freneticism by “Blood In The Water” and album released under
turning point of sorts for “Annihilate”. But Trampled By Turtles aren’t the name of Doe Paoro by
Trampled By Turtles. Produced merely dealing in genre exercises. There’s Sonia Kreitzer. The artful
by Low’s Alan Sparhawk, a bittersweet quality to much of the album subtlety implied by the
a fellow native of Duluth, that cuts deeper, with singer Dave Simonett’s title notwithstanding,
Minnesota, the album was the poetic lyrics suggesting that life on the road Soft Power is – commendably – unabashed
band’s first to reach the Billboard Top 30, after often comes at a cost. Both “Right Back Where about its intentions. These songs have
which they undertook an extensive bout of We Started” and rueful ballad “I’m Not There been shaped as bold, spiritually and
touring and festival appearances. This sustained Anymore” – “And I come back to start again/ literally brassy pop-soul bangers: the
activity, and the accumulated cost of a relentless You picked me up and let me in” – examine the enlistment of early Amy Winehouse
schedule since forming in 2003, left them burnt ritualistic nature of the touring cycle. At the producer Jimmy Hogarth was not
out. Almost two years had passed by the time same time, he clearly wouldn’t have it any other an accident. When it comes off, it’s
they reconvened in October 2017, on the day way. “Thank You, John Steinbeck” celebrates magnificent: tracks such as “Over” and
Tom Petty died. As a salute to one of their shared the freedom of moving under the stars, as does “Cage Of Habits” manage the rare trick
heroes, the sextet starting jamming some Petty the title track, which includes a sly nod to Petty’s of being effervescently mournful, like
songs, which in turn stirred the creative juices Full Moon Fever. Indeed, Simonett follows a wearier, wiser Ronettes or Shirelles.
for what would become Life Is Good On The Open Petty’s ’70s trail to California on the sardonic Unfortunately, the overall balance tips
Road. It’s a set that finds them re-energised, “I Went To Hollywood”, only to taste defeat: too far towards orthodox balladry.
cutting a silvery dash through rootsy songs that “Thought that I might meet a movie star/Ended up ANDREW MUELLER
owe much to the fluid bluegrass traditions of the flat-drunk in the Rainbow bar”. Through travails
Stanley Brothers or, more recently, Ricky Skaggs’ real or imagined, Trampled By Turtles remain JACCO GARDNER
Kentucky Thunder. The breakneck “Kelly’s buoyantly alive. Somnium
Bar” sets the tempo, only outdone in terms of ROB HUGHES FULL TIME HOBBY

AMERICANA ROUND-UP Dreamy synth landscapes replace
Jason Isbell & The 400 Unit (Isbell, right) sees the UK release of Kaia Kater’s follow- vocals on Dutchman’s third LP
were the big winners at the recent up to the astounding Nine Pin. Newly signed Inspired by the 1608
AmericanaFest Awards in Nashville. Not to SMITHSONIAN FOLKWAYS, the Montreal singer- sci-fi novel Somnium by
content with receiving the best album gong songwriter explores her Caribbean Johannes Kepler, Jacco
for The Nashville Sound, they made off ancestry on Grenades, which includes Gardner opens his ode
with Song Of The Year for “If We Were spoken interludes from her father, who of an album with the
Vampires”. Elsewhere, Tyler Childers fled to Canada after the US invasion of apt “Rising”, a track
was voted Best Emerging Artist, Grenada in the ’80s. On a musical level, full of creeping synth lines and woozy
Rosanne Cash took home the Spirit Kater has built on the Appalachian atmospheres that feels perfectly suited to
Of America/Free Speech In influences of her previous work to a science-fiction film. The baroque singer
Music Award and there were create a more expansive whole. has moved away from his guitar and
Lifetime Achievement Dates for the diary: don’t miss vocals-heavy approach to psych-pop and
nods for Buddy Guy Cowboy Junkies at Glasgow’s shifted into immersive synth territory. It’s
and Irma Thomas. And Mitchell Theatre, Manchester’s a coherent voyage, with very song-like and
there was universal RNCM and Under The Bridge in structured instrumentals like “Levania”
approval when the main London during the second week of sitting alongside moments of humming

prize – Artist Of The Year November. The same applies to texture and mood, such as “Rain”. The end
– went to the great John Kacey Musgraves, who hits these result creates an engulfing sonic swirl,
Prine. As for studio shores for a run of dates in late recalling the enveloping work of Cluster
business, January 2019 October. ROB HUGHES and Tangerine Dream. DANIEL DYLAN WRAY

24 • UNCUT • DECEMBER 2018


JEFF GOLDBLUM & (now) singer Barker is an odd beast. HEN OGLEDD
THE MILDRED SNITZER With Harvey providing the music and Mogic
ORCHESTRA Barker the lyrics, it features the verse WEIRD WORLD
The Capitol Studio Sessions of an entirely fictional World War I
DECCA poet who “died” at Passchendaele,
aged 24. The set tracks Bourchier Richard Dawson expands
7/10 It’s his his universe
from “The Poetic Clown”’s jaunty
The Hollywood ledge holds his own time:
imagining of his own memorial, anger Greg The crossover
in this live jazz session at war’s obscene cost (the Pogues-ish Hawks between post-folk
When you put a very “Pounding For Peace”) and the horrors shaman Dawson’s
decent amateur of the battlefield (roiling two-parter solo recordings
jazz pianist like Jeff “The Expressionist Tell”) to punkish North Carolinian and his eccentric
Goldblum alongside finale “Corpse 564”, Barker’s Cohen- Hawks has spent psych-pop collective
expensive jazz like baritone the constant. decades on the fringes Hen Ogledd continues with the newly
heavyweights, the SHARON O’CONNELL of bluegrass and expanded quartet’s third album,
danger is he could end up looking poetic alt.country, which adds Dawson’s partner, Sally
like a talented 12-year-old footballer HATCHBACK a significant talent Pilkington, alongside harpist Rhodri
getting destroyed in a Premier League Year Of The Dragon with a minimal recorded legacy. But Davies and synth player Dawn
fixture. Luckily, Goldblum knows his LO RECORDINGS this one, weaving steel guitars and Bothwell. Named after the historic
limitations and never sounds out of gloriously melodic country-blues- Welsh name for northern England and
his depth. He carries the tune to Billy soul roots through seditious times, southern Scotland, part of which also
Taylor’s “I Wish I Knew” effectively First in seven years from the urbane feels like his pinnacle. The topical is shaped the conceptual hinterland for
and plays a terse solo on “Cantaloupe prog-disco producer addressed – see the blistering “The Dawson’s 2017 album Peasant, the
Island” through a reverb unit, but As a brand director for King Of Hate” and “Nothing Matters band’s latest kaleidoscopic banquet is
elsewhere he’s happy to let others Herman Miller, Sam Here Anymore” – as much as the their most accessible and melodic yet.
shine: “comping” effectively for Grawe presumably personal, with “Pretending Not To Between toybox techno chatter and
trumpeter Till Brönner and singers appreciates Erik Know” finding the protagonist’s folk-horror incantations lies a rich and
Imelda May and Haley Reinhart, and Satie’s concept of lifelong love crumbling into dust over eclectic feast, from the kraut-infused
serving as a fine comic foil for Sarah “furniture music” riveting Orbison-esque ambience. SFA-style gallop of “Problem Child”
Silverman. Good stuff. more than most. Accordingly, his third LUKE TORN to romantic, lustrous, experimental
JOHN LEWIS album of cosmic/Balearic business avant-lullabies such as “Sky Burial”
as Hatchback exudes refinement ALAN HAWKSHAW and “Love Time Feel”.
GOSPELBEACH and cosmopolitan cool, effortlessly & BRIAN BENNETT STEPHEN DALTON
Another Winter Alive conjuring vistas of perfect sunsets Full Circle
ALIVE and zooming highways, careful KPM/BE WITH ARVE HENRIKSEN
6/10 never to break the spell with a clumsy
8/10 The Height Of The Reeds
vocal or edgy beat that might tie it to RUNE GRAMMOFON
Blissed-out third album from a particular time and place. Yet Year Library luminaries take centre stage
Brent Rademaker’s Beachwood 9/10
Of The Dragon is elevated beyond the As session players
Sparks spin-off level of high-class muzak by a constant since the early 1960s, Haunting music from the Humber
If records were yearning for the sublime. The epic keyboardist Alan Originally
books, some bands title track is a case in point, its probing Hawkshaw, now 81, commissioned as
create novels, others New Age arpeggios finally exploding and drummer Brian part of Hull’s City
collections of essays. in a supernova of Mogwai-esque Bennett, 78, have Of Culture events in
Gospelbeach, proportions. SAM RICHARDS been involved with everyone from 2017, this project was
meanwhile, put out Bowie, Gainsbourg and Moroder designed to celebrate
coffee-table tomes of sumptuous HATER through to Drake and Jay-Z. They the old seafaring links between the
photography, vignettes of natural Siesta found their métier composing casually city and Scandinavia. Presented as
beauty, exquisitely lit and framed, FIRE experimental library records – usable a sound installation on the Humber
celebrating the glory of being alive music for TV and ads – for the KPM bridge, it now gets a more conventional
rather than analysing the meaning of and Bruton labels in the ’70s and release. Heavy on atmosphere, it leads
Definitely not the Soundgarden


existence. Another Winter Alive fits the ’80s. It’s to this discipline that the with Henriksen’s plaintive trumpet
analogy even more closely than usual, side-project firm friends and golfing partners cocooned by field recordings from
for there’s no central narrative to this Beginning with “From return with Full Circle, an easy- local found-sound artist Jez Riley
anthology of psych-tinged, countrified The Bottom Of Your going collection of big-band lounge French: engine noises, the creaking
canyon-rock. Five of the ten songs Heart”, a skeletal (“Hole In One”) and Hammond funk of suspension wires and so on. The
are live versions of tracks from their blend of blissful (“Reignited”) produced by Bennett’s combined effect resembles a simpático
debut album, Pacific Surf Line, and vocals, jangling son Warren. Best of all are “On The encounter between Chet Baker and
the rest are outtakes from 2017’s guitar, flanged bass Nile” and “Serengeti”, timeless Gavin Bryars. Opera North provide
Another Summer Of Love, including a and lo-fi drums, this Swedish quartet’s atmospheric pieces that show the further support. An extraordinarily
burnished cover of Neal Casal’s 2006 second album often recalls a mid-’90s pair’s chops undiminished by age. beautiful, haunting piece of music.
solo classic “Freeway To The Canyon”. Matador Records release. The catchy PIERS MARTIN MICHAEL BONNER
NIGEL WILLIAMSON “It’s So Easy”, for instance, nods to Liz
Phair, and “The Mornings” could be
MICK HARVEY Mary Timony’s Helium. But sometimes Hen
& CHRISTOPHER there’s an anguish in Caroline Ogledd:
RICHARD BARKER Landahl’s voice that recalls Julia English
The Fall And Rise Of Edgar Holter, had she grown up reading centrics
Bourchier And The Horrors NME in the 1980s, especially amid
Of War “Seems So Hard”’s dreampop and
MUTE “I Wish I Gave You More Time Because
I Love You”, its frailty softened by
subdued sax.
Concept LP blurs fact and fiction WYNDHAM WALLACE
Released to mark the
100th anniversary GREG HAWKS
of the November I Think It’s Time
11 armistice, this SWEET & SALTY
between Harvey
and English writer, publisher and Mighty return of the Trembler

DECEMBER 2018 • UNCUT • 25


impact. These six tracks, then, are a record

of reconnection and shared memories.
Recorded over four days and running
at just 35 minutes, the album risked
sounding slight, but there’s satisfying
emotional weight, not to mention great
beauty in its mix of acoustic and electric
guitars, harp, synths, Baird’s vocals
and some piano. Opener “Between Two
Worlds”, which borrows the title of a group
art exhibition on uniquely Californian
themes the women saw together last year,
begins as a thing of tremulous beauty, a
braid of single, plucked harp and finger-
picked guitar notes, pure and free and
sweet, but builds steadily from around
the halfway point to a peak of shrill harp
trills and clanging six-string in feverish
apocalyptic counterpoint, underpinned
by an ominously thrumming synth.
“Damaged Sunset” is more subdued,
dropping back from its initially urgent
acoustic strumming to a simple chord


west – Lattimore lives in LA, Baird in San pattern that’s a perfect vehicle for Baird’s
Francisco – and as it seems to do on so mournfully sweet vocal, the whole rising

many non-native Californians, the state and falling in a hypnotic rhythm over soft
has made its mark. On Ghost Forests, it’s synth pillows. Her lyrics, though, poke at
both backdrop and bit part. darkness and anxiety: “Blame the way the
Baird spoke recently about the “mind- sky looked when those planes fell down…/
Ghost Forests boggling” beauty of California and in
particular its extremes of light and dark.
Set the towers on fire just to feel the space
beyond, you won’t rest again here.”
That’s a pool of dramatic possibilities For “In Cedars”, Lattimore’s harp takes
8/10 that has been tapped so heavily across the lead, cascading over treated guitar
music genres that it’s assumed tics and while both Baird’s vocals – multi-tracked
Cultish dream weavers and close tropes of its own, especially in regard to for divine choral effect – and synth
friends (finally) make their debut. LA, but potent manipulations of darkness manifest as gaseous exhalations, the
By Sharon O’Connell and illumination – their power to calm whole conflating images of deep earth with
or transport, unsettle or sadden and near space in seven knockout minutes. As
THE concept of union ability to evoke other eras/realities – have their take on a Scottish traditional (after
via agreement is
SLEEVE NOTES long been a feature of both Baird’s and Beverly Woods’ 1983 rendition), closer “Fair
what underpins any 1 Between Lattimore’s work. Baird told Uncut that a Annie” is the record’s most straightforward
collaboration; but Two Worlds
major inspiration for Ghost Forests was track, its surge-and-retreat rhythm
2 Damaged
particularly in the the location of the Headlands Center carried by Baird’s lyrical finger-picking
case of a duo, where 3 In Cedars For The Arts near Sausalito, where her and Lattimore’s sturdy piano style as if in
without majority rule 4 Blue Burning friend worked on her recent solo album conversation, her harp the dulcet overlay.
the individuals’ energies, aims, intents 5 Painter Of Hundreds Of Days during a term there Ghost Forests is a sensual record where
and methodologies must match up if Tygers as artist in residence. “I came up to visit the spaces in between the sounds assume
they’re going to get anything at all off the 6 Fair Annie sometimes from the city, and her giant, a corporeality all their own – and although
ground. It’s a simple truth – and one that dreamy redwood studio is where the first it has the power to untether the listener,
holds for singer-songwriter Meg Baird and Produced by: Tom sketches for the collaboration were made,” it isn’t “romantic” or “sublime” in the
harpist Mary Lattimore. In fact, they’re Monahan, with
she said, adding that “the way we were conventional aesthetic sense. Yes, there’s
Meg Baird and
so much on the same creative page – and meeting up again in this heartwarming dreamy hush by the yard in its enigmatic
Mary Lattimore
long-term friends to boot – you wonder Recorded at: but heartbreaking, terrifying but gentle, snapshots, but they were taken in the
why recording an album together has Golden Void, LA beautiful coastal place” made a deep very real world.
taken them this long. Personnel: Meg
Respectively the co-founder of Espers
and Heron Oblivion and creator of three
Baird (guitars,
vocals, bass synth
and percussion
solo albums, and the go-to harp player for
Thurston Moore and Sunburned Hand Of on “Between Two Meg Baird “Mary I brought even more boring What drew you to
Worlds”), Mary really helped me cross rehearsal time into Mary’s Beverly Woods’ version
The Man, among others, who’s released over into that world process. I’m very sorry, Mary! of “Fair Annie”?
Lattimore (harp,
two solo full-lengths, Baird and Lattimore of improvising” I have this giant soft spot for
synths, piano)
are compellingly articulate explorers of What’s the glue work in the category of “folk
the psych-folk and instrumental-improv Why has it taken so that makes your music hanging in there and

hinterlands. They were fixtures on long to make an LP connection stick? not totally dying in the ’80s”.
Philadelphia’s leftfield music scene for together? It’s about listening and quick I don’t love all of it, but Beverly
many years and first met after Lattimore As close as we are as friends, response time at its core. And Woods’ recording is just
moved to the city from Rochester in 2005, we aren’t in the same place knowing what each other incredible, regardless of my
and time very often. Also, likes musically. I think strings personal baggage. When
following her friends Greg Weeks and
Mary is very much more of and tension are embedded she delivers the line about
Otto Hauser of Espers. Inevitably, the an improviser than I am. She pretty deeply in the DNA the “wolf on the hill”, there’s
women’s orbits intersected, also pulling really helped me cross over of how we both express not much about time or place
in creatively compatible locals such as into that world a bit for this ourselves. Stretched guts, or format that matters. It
Kurt Vile, Steve Gunn and Jeff Ziegler for record. It’s an intimidating metal and wood. There is stops you in your tracks.
their own projects. Both have since shifted leap and I’m grateful for it. a deep, long history to it all. INTERVIEW: SHARON O’CONNELL

26 • UNCUT • DECEMBER 2018


MICAH P HINSON & Vangelis-like drones, and tones

THE MUSICIANS OF tortured and disembowelled by reverb
THE APOCALYPSE and distortion. “Starling” and “Mandy
When I Shoot At You With Love Theme” are vaguely illbient,
Arrows, I Will Shoot To but at other points there are shocking
Destroy You bursts of noise, some courtesy of Sunn
FULL TIME HOBBY O)))’s Stephen O’Malley. “Children Of
The New Dawn”, meanwhile, ends this
set with the darkest of hypnagogic pop.
Doleful avant-folk from TOM PINNOCK
mercurial Texan
This swift successor JAAKKO EINO KALEVI
to last year’s Micah Out Of Touch
P Hinson Presents WEIRD WORLD
The Holy Strangers
finds the Texan
and his unnamed Louche Finnish songsmith chills
accomplices in vividly intense mode. out, further
Hinson’s lugubrious voice – having He hails from hero: Kiran
become something of a trademark frozen Helsinki, but Leonard
over the past decade or so – is ideal Jaakko Eino Kalevi
for teasing out the solemn truths of has the relaxed
the downbeat “Fuck Your Wisdom” manner of one born SETH LAKEMAN KIRAN LEONARD
and “My Blood Will Call Out To You in a rather warmer The Well Worn Path Western Culture
From The Ground”. Yet he and the climate. While planning his fifth COOKING VINYL MOSHI MOSHI
band really excel when they lift the solo album, he decamped to Athens,
7/10 7/10
pace, especially on the Silver Jews- and something of the Mediterranean
like “The Sleep Of The Damned” pace of life has crept into Out Of English folk hero goes back to Great leap sideways on young
and the shifting sound collage that Touch – a song-suite to life lived in the his roots and rocks out Manchester maverick’s fourth
is “The Skulls Of Christ”. slipstream. Still, Jaakko’s no slouch. Lakeman’s foot- Having both
ROB HUGHES His homespun take on soft rock and stomping folk-festival impressed and
’80s Continental pop balances languid heartiness and confounded with two
JIM JAMES dreaminess with a subtle virtuosity. earnest, declamatory eccentric art-rock
Uniform Clarity On “China Eddie” he wrings gorgeous vocal style are not to albums and last year’s
ROUGH TRADE melodies from synth and saxophone, everyone’s taste, but Derevaun Seraun, an
while “People In The Centre Of The his ninth solo album takes a different avant-chamber music set with a literary
City” finds him dissecting the peculiar road that leads back to the organic frame, Leonard has whipped another
Unplugged acoustic guitar mores of metropolitan life, an outsider folk-rock of Equation, the band with rabbit out of his hat. The surprise is that
and vocal readings of looking in. LOUIS PATTISON which he first made his name 20 years it’s his most conventional release yet –
Universal Distortion ago. The droning roots-rock opener if channelling Shellac’s sustain/release
Three months on MARK KNOPFLER “Bright Smile” sounds like the sort dynamics and the wilfully wayward
from the release of Down The Road Wherever of track you might associate with melodicism of US Maple can be called
Universal Distortion, VIRGIN late-period Robert Plant (on whose conventional. It’s the first with his live
James revisits the last album Lakeman guested). “She band and was recorded in a studio
entire LP acoustically, Never Blamed Him” evokes classic- rather than his living room, in just nine
stripping each song Ex-Dire Straits man sounding era Fairport Convention, while days, which explains the fulsomeness
back to just an acoustic guitar and his mellow and masterful “Educated Man” bears the influence and power. There’s a new immediacy,
vocals. The fuzz-rock of “Just A Fool” Since finally breaking of Richard Thompson’s mature solo too, especially in the plangent guitar
is transformed into a clawhammer- up the band in the years. Comfortably Lakeman’s most currents of “Unreflective Life” and
guitar folk ballad; the punky glam of 1990s, Knopfler satisfying album to date. “Shuddering Instance”’s surging
“You Get To Rome” and the space rock has pursued a NIGEL WILLIAMSON math prog. SHARON O’CONNELL
of “Yes To Everything” both become deliberately low-key
ragtime ditties; the heads-down solo career that, for LARKIN POE RICHARD LLOYD
rocker “All In Your Head” and the some, may have seemed under the Venom & Faith PROPER The Countdown
stadium-sized “No Secrets” become radar. Still in thrall to the Americana PLOWBOY
pretty ballads, with some lovely Joni spirit of JJ Cale and Ry Cooder –
Atmospheric Americana from 6/10
Mitchell-ish chord changes. Best of all “Just A Boy Away From Home” and
is “Throwback”: with the harmonies “Matchstick Man” might easily have a Southern sister act Seminal Television guitarist
and the chiming guitars stripped out, it fitted on the latter’s recent Prodigal Atlanta siblings revises power pop
sounds like a beautiful nursery rhyme. Son – his ninth solo album in 22 years Rebecca and Megan As a co-founder of
JOHN LEWIS brims with all of his understated Lovell (descendants Television, writer
values. There’s no flash and no trash, of Edgar Allen Poe, of a mesmerising
JÓHANN JÓHANNSSON just reflective, ripe, minor-key hence the nom de memoir and a stellar
Mandy OST ruminations, plenty of melodically plume) have been sideman (Rocket
LAKESHORE/INVADA burnished guitar playing and seen opening for Elvis Costello and From The Tombs,
Knopfler’s voice, which has crusted Conor Oberst, as well backing the Matthew Sweet), Lloyd is always
nicely with age to take on a warm, headliners, but take centre stage on worth watching. The Countdown
Unsettling posthumous soundtrack, rich burr. Classy. NIGEL WILLIAMSON this fourth album’s beguiling mix takes new turns, recounting the
something of an audio nasty of gothic Southern soul and outlaw mid-’70s when power pop provided
For all his Oscar nominations and country. The spooky “Mississippi” a departure from FM-radio slickness.
Golden Globe wins, late Icelandic sounds like a summit between Sadly, segments here sink lyrically
composer Jóhannsson was at heart Bobbie Gentry and Polly Harvey, into simplistic boy-girl cliches,
an experimental artist. So it’s fitting and “Fly Like An Eagle” explores though catchy hooks still win out:

that the last thing he worked on before even richer cinematic hues, while “I Can Tell”, like Warren Zevon
his death earlier this year was this covers of gospel singer Bessie Jones’s fronting The Undertones, impresses.
uncompromising, adventurous score “Sometimes” and Delta bluesman Most significant are the esoteric:
for Panos Cosmatos’s psychedelic Skip James’s “Hard Time Killing “Wind In The Rain”, its guitar jags
horror. Musical references the director Floor” suggest an enthusiastic echoing Television days, and the
apparently provided include Queen Jóhann schooling in, and a deep love of, majestic, Sun Ra meets The Velvet
and Van Halen, but the end result is Jóhannsson Americana heritage. Underground title cut, aim for the
darker and more abstract, built around TERRY STAUNTON cosmos. LUKE TORN

DECEMBER 2018 • UNCUT • 27


LIELA MOSS studio assistance from R&B legend

My Name Is Safe In Timbaland, Doctor Dre/Eminem
Your Mouth associate Mike Elizondo and Swedish
BELLA UNION mega-pop producer Shellback.
From the Erasure-meets-Queen epic
“Something Human” to voluptuous
The Duke Spirit frontwoman goes Jarre-tinged synth-funk throbbers like
for grandeur on solo debut “Algorithm” and “Blockades”, every
Having spent 14 track here is an ice cream explosion of
years fronting one sugary hugeness. Their best, boldest,
of the UK’s more most unashamedly poptastic album
underappreciated yet. STEPHEN DALTON
art-rock acts – now
officially “on pause” THE NIGHTINGALES
– Liela Moss sounds palpably eager Perish The Thought
to expand her horizons on her first TINY GLOBAL PRODUCTIONS
album under her own name. Shifting
away from The Duke Spirit’s more
Bouncing tightly wound disposition as well as Tough, bloodied, constructivist
back: the more abrasive bent of electro-rock anti-pop
J Mascis
side project Roman Remains, Moss Post-punk survivors
and co-writer/producer Toby Butler The Nightingales
J MASCIS KELLY MORAN deliver a sumptuous set of gloriously have always felt like
Elastic Days Ultraviolet gloomy ballads that emphasise Moss’s class outsiders: rising
SUB POP WARP expressiveness as a vocalist. Evoking from the ashes of
Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds at their The Prefects, whose
8/10 7/10
most avidly orchestral, “Hidden “Going Through The Motions” is a
Killer solo set from Dino dude From the home of Aphex Twin, Sea” and “Into The Flesh” are vivid lost gem of its era, The Nightingales
Beneath all the avant-garde piano music demonstrations of Moss’s ability to have always run on nervous energy,
scour and scuzz, Former Manhattan create moments of high drama that still their music tightly wound, the guitars
Dinosaur Jr have School Of Music feel acutely intimate. JASON ANDERSON stringy and desiccated. Checking in
always displayed a student Kelly Moran with them on Perish The Thought,
penchant for a pretty was set on becoming GEORGIAANNE the modus operandi is similar, but
tune. It’s a talent that a classical concert MULDROW the sound is wider and wilder, a
J Mascis has tended to foreground pianist until she Overload BRAINFEEDER kind of constructivist anti-pop that’s
on his solo records, of which Elastic realised it would involve forever gnarled and admirably tough-minded.
Days might just be the most beguiling rehashing the music of the same dead Beefheart’s a touchstone, clearly, but
yet. The songs are built up from composers. That moment gave birth Career-best effort from prolific you can also hear simpler pleasures,
acoustic guitar, enlivened by drum to a career of experimentation that’s underground soul queen like the dead-on thud of The Troggs,
overdubs and occasional interjections taken in collaborations with Mitski and Georgia Ann Muldrow and krautrock’s mantric energy.
of explosive electric guitar, the Oneohtrix Point Never. This, her fourth has released almost JON DALE
overall effect falling somewhere album, is a highly evolved exercise in an album a year
between unplugged and full band. absorption and restraint. No simple since her 2006 debut, DOUG PAISLEY
No frontiers are breached, but routes; no instrumentals predictably sometimes with crack Starter Home NO QUARTER
Mascis’s cracked vocals and building and subsiding. Instead, band of LA soul/jazz
melancholic melodic turns only these songs take sharp, unexpected musicians, sometimes with a leftfield
get more affecting with age, while turns through notes, rhythms and hip-hop producer like Madlib. Both Canadian country singer plumbs
“See You At The Movies”, “Sky Is layers. “Helix” presides over the rest, those tactics (and more) are in play on the joys and fears of family life
All We Had” and “Sometimes” rank a piece of spellbinding electronica that an album that can initially feel scatty In the first verse of
among his very best songs. admirably resists the urge to drop a but is held together by its creator’s the first song on Doug
GRAEME THOMSON muffled beat in for the clubheads. passion and poise. Muldrow’s gift is for Paisley’s first album
GREG COCHRANE weaving scenes of everyday epiphany in nearly five years,
MATTIEL into the narrative of broader struggle, the Canadian singer-
Mattiel TOM MORELLO as on the “updated negro spiritual” songwriter cusses
HEAVENLY The Atlas Underground BMG “Blam”; it’s immediately followed by at a motorcyclist revving through the
a brief snatch of Prince-style ’80s pop, neighbourhood and waking his baby.
7/10 6/10
before Muldrow is off on another trip, Such are the mundane concerns in
Atlanta, Georgia illustrator Former Rage man saves planet with following her eccentric muse wherever these understated country tunes about
sketches a retro rock’n’soul past punks, rappers and beat-makers it leads. SAM RICHARDS starting a family, buying a home,
Suggestions that The ex- Rage drinking with friends, living with
Mattiel Brown sounds Against The Machine MUSE tragedy and searching for security in
like Nancy Sinatra guitarist has a drive Simulation Theory WARNERS adulthood. Recording at friends’ home
are premature. to collaborate, from studios around Toronto, Paisley sings
Though she boasts The E Street Band to like he’s delivering all of these songs
comparable Prophets Of Rage with New adventures in sci-fi from one barstool over, especially
insouciance, and her debut’s Chuck D. For The Atlas Underground, from rebooted West Country the devastating widower’s lament
production sounds suitably vintage – he’s enlisted punks, rappers and synth-rockers “This Loneliness”. He’s a poet of the
if somewhat lo-fi – she lacks Sinatra’s beat-makers in “a last-ditch effort After a run of everyday, finding outsize emotions
girlish charm, instead sounding more to save the planet, and our artistic increasingly within these life-size tableaux.
like Cher on “Baby Brother”’s 1960s soul”, upsetting genre boundaries ponderous dystopian STEPHEN DEUSNER
girl-group pop and Grace Slick on “Not to challenge the political status quo. concept albums, Matt
Today”. An affinity with Courtney The eclectically banging result is an Bellamy’s stadium-
Barnett is audible, too, on “Five invigorating circuit-workout through filling maximalists Preening their
feathers: The
And Tens”, and with the underrated righteous rage, swinging from livid have finally rediscovered their fun Nightingales
Gemma Ray on “Salty Words”, while EDM beats with Steve Aoki and Rise side on Simulation Theory. With a
her band ape The Strokes and The Against’s Tim McIlrath, to furious neon-bright synth-saturated sound
Libertines on “Bye Bye”. It’s her hero rap with Big Boi, Killer Mike and and a vivid retro sci-fi aesthetic that

Jack White’s influence that’s strongest, Bassnectar on the standout “Rabbit’s nods to Stranger Things and Back To
though, especially in “Whites Of The Revenge”. Enough to save the The Future, the Devon trio’s eighth
Eyes”’ dirty groove. world? Not quite, but Morello’s album delivers shiny electro-rock
WYNDHAM WALLACE soul remains safe. EMILY MACKAY anthems on a planet-sized scale with

28 • UNCUT • DECEMBER 2018


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Laws Of Motion HUDSON Yawn
Expansive set from Scots polymath 8/10
Calling Karine Tired and emotional: Coral
Polwart a folk alumnus’s woozy fourth
musician feels “The endless
increasingly screaming dark comes
limiting. Recent in from the suburbs
projects – including and makes everything
an acclaimed stage play, Wind worse,” rumbles
Resistance, and an Edinburgh Wirral marvel Bill
International Festival show ranging Ryder-Jones on the typically nebulous
across 50 years of Scottish pop “Don’t Be Scared I Love You”,
music – have broadened her remit. fathoming something of his brand of
Polwart’s seventh album continues provincial ennui. The Smiths’ “There
the trajectory. The range of styles Is A Light That Never Goes Out” under
– desert blues, spoken word, terse
klezmer – makes this easily her most
heavy sedation, Yawn is chilly and
languid, the 35-year-old’s penchant for IRMIN SCHMIDT
ambitious record to date, to the extent sudden bursts of guitar noise giving “I did these pieces in a very Can-like way”
that two narrated pieces feel almost too depth and colour to the Cure-ish gloom
expansive. Considered, compassionate around “Recover”, “John” and “No any musicians discuss I live in the countryside, where
and intricate, conceived of equal parts
magic and dread, Laws Of Motion
One’s Trying To Kill You”. Troubled
but resilient, comparisons with Nick
M John Cage’s influence,
but Irmin Schmidt has
it’s very still and calm, and we
recorded bamboo and reeds
works a slow but deep enchantment. Drake, Ian McCulloch and Michael more cause than most. As around some water. It’s
GRAEME THOMSON Head do not flatter him at all. JIM WIRTH a conductor in his pre-Can become very common to use
days, he performed Cage’s environmental sounds, but
THE PRODIGY SAINT SISTER Works For Prepared Pianos Cage was the one from whom
No Tourists BMG Shape of Silence and met the composer. “I I took it in the ’50s.”
asked him, ‘Am I doing it right?’ Nonetheless, techniques
7/10 so he showed me what to do. he honed as part of his
Techno-rock veterans’ reassuringly 5/10 On this record, I prepared the pioneering krautrock band
rowdy seventh album Pleyel – a 70-year-old served him well. “I did these
The thing about
instrument, which he paired pieces in a very Can-like way.
For a band who’ve “haunting” is that it’s with his century-old Steinway The first I played in one go.
often bemoaned the a little too seductively – but just the lower part, in ‘Improvising’ isn’t the right
lack of new sounds easy to pull off: a the very classical, Cage-ian word, but I hadn’t prepared
being made in dance certain tone of voice, way, without trying to find anything, I hadn’t composed
music, The Prodigy a hushed mood, tricky, sensational new sounds. anything, I hadn’t written
are not attempting lashings of reverb. And it’s a trick that Everything in the left hand is anything. I just played
any daring reinventions. That said, leaves this debut from Dublin-based prepared, and everything in spontaneously. The whole
No Tourists positively benefits from Northern Irish duo Gemma Doherty the right is unprepared. The record was done in nine days.”
its echoes of past glories. The glass- and Morgan Macintyre feeling a only other thing I used was, WYNDHAM WALLACE
smashing sample punctuating first little one-note, lost somewhere
track “I Need Some 1” sounds like between the recent glut of spectral
a deliberate nod to “Break & Enter” folk and the post-xx likes of London
from Music For The Jilted Generation, Grammar. That said, the core of their “Klavierstück I”’s 13 minutes seven-minute closing opus “You And
while elsewhere Liam Howlett’s songwriting, based around Doherty’s of unexpected dynamics are the Your Perfect Life” recalls Ray Davies at
delinquent raspberry blow of a synth Irish harp, their graceful voices and most compelling. his most conceptual.
sound is as satisfyingly gnarly as ever, direct, intimate lyrics that leap out at WYNDHAM WALLACE BUD SCOPPA
the breakbeats are still irresistibly moments, promises something more
feisty and the pitch-shifted dancehall interesting may well emerge in time. PERRY SERPA SOBRENADAR
MC samples and shouty techno-punk EMILY MACKAY Wherefore Art Thou? Y
hooks retain an addictive sting. – Songs Inspired By Nick SONIC CATHEDRAL
JOHNNY SHARP IRMIN SCHMIDT Hornby’s Juliet, Naked 8/10
5 Klavierstücke SHIFTY DISCO
Buenos Aires dreamer catches
Rise Up EMI the breeze
8/10 “It works completely on its own Credit’s due to Paula
6/10 Spontaneous piano performances terms,” the novelist raves García’s UK label,
Troubled pop institution’s first new from Can’s co-founder Perry Serpa, who who recently hired
material for 14 years Extemporised does publicity for a Slowdive to remix
No-one would envy and recorded on a living and leads the “Del Tiempo”,
his recent legal Steinway grand and chamber-pop group the only song on
tussles, but it seems a prepared Pleyel The Sharp Things, the Argentine’s debut – thanks to
to have fired Cliff up piano in Schmidt’s has dreamed up an its acoustic guitars – not to sound
a little in creating a French home, these album hewing to a detailed blueprint already largely beholden to the
long-awaited set of five solo pieces find the legendary found in Nick Hornby’s 2009 novel, shoegazers. The result would suit Just
new songs. “They’re never gonna get me German musician turning to John Juliet, Naked, including album title, For A Day, but García’s generally smart
down/You know I’m gonna rise up even Cage’s techniques. “New Classical” song titles, sequence, couplets and enough to draw on her inspiration’s
stronger,” he proudly trumpets on the this isn’t: melodies are largely influences. Serpa enlisted some entire catalogue, with “Inhabil”
punchy opening title track. “Reborn” absent, and instead strings are musician friends to help him complete boasting swathes of pillow-soft
continues the back-from-the-brink rudely plucked, and his instruments’ the oddball project, with Hornby’s guitar and “Cruce” adding electronic
theme helped by nimble strings and frames beaten, with the same force encouragement, and somehow it embellishments like something off
stirring chorus, but other tracks are as chords are struck on “Klavierstück works. The mid-’70s-derived hooks Pygmalion. Despite her debt, this
less arresting, and though we close III”, while, on “Klavierstück IV”, he and instrumental flourishes are succinct collection offers serenely
with the obligatory Christmas song, builds a relentless, muffled rhythm plentiful, but the standouts, fittingly, shimmering dream-pop, and the

“The Miracle Of Love”, it’s a gloopy Jaki Liebezeit would have admired. are the bookends: opener “And You closing “Habita”’s three-note keyboard
mediocrity, which, if released as a Additional ambient sounds – the Are” features a Dylanesque vocal by riff and hints of oboe prove especially
single, may need the titular event to rustle of leaves, planes overhead – Scott McCaughey of The Minus Five mesmerising.
trouble the festive Top 5. JOHNNY SHARP further enhance “Klavierstück II”, but (namechecked in the book), and the WYNDHAM WALLACE

30 • UNCUT • DECEMBER 2018

Blues” is similarly feral, a Beat-inspired
garage cut with lupine howls and two more
stunning solos: it’s little overstatement
to suggest that Tattersall, in harnessing
the ferocity of early Clapton, the melodic
sense of Peter Green and the wildness of
Dave Davies, should perhaps be classed
alongside such greats himself.
Meanwhile, the album’s title track is the
most blues-based piece here, a low-slung,
noirish stalker that recalls Creedence’s
“Born On The Bayou”. “Doo-wop spinning
on the turntable/Everybody I love is here/
Look inside your heart/You will find me
there,” repeats Tattersall, his words lifted
by some glorious backing from Holly
Holden; the menacing groove, though,

THE WAVE sprawling US tour, while 2015’s garagey

Great Big Flamingo Burning Moon was
leaves it uncertain whether this is a threat
or declaration of love. Many of his lyrics

written and recorded with Billy Childish; on the LP are as deliciously opaque,
meanwhile, 2016 spawned A Season In at times suggesting mid-’60s Dylan if
Hull, an acoustic, vinyl-only LP recorded he’d frequented Greenwich instead of

Look Inside Your Heart live with one mic, andBamboo Diner In The
Rain, a strutting slice of humid Southern
Greenwich Village: the closing crawl
of “Tell Me That You Weren’t Alone”
choogle and American Primitive guitar; is Tattersall’s own “Desolation Row”,
8/10 then June this year saw the release of the
fuggy,meditative BrushesWithHappiness.
featuring a diverse cast of characters
including a disgruntled workman, a stoned
Supremely English garage blues and Look Inside Your Heart, then, finds the busker, a horribly injured girl guide and
Dylan esque wordplay on the trio’s finest band returning to more conventional a woman who “looks like the bass player
yet. By Tom Pinnock songs after the semi-improvised Brushes, of an obscure French rock band”. There
and with a renewed energy. Like most are memorable images in just about every
“THERE was a lot of of their work, the album was recorded verse: “Everything rattles like maracas filled
room to manoeuvre SLEEVE NOTES live to tape; this time in just two days in with teeth,” intones Tattersall as he sets the
around the blues,” 1 Roosevelt Sykes a minuscule studio in Stoke Newington, scene, while later, by a street stall, “digital
Keith Richards told 2 House By north London, the sessions “like a party”, watches in a trunk slowly lose hold of the
the BBC in 2009, The Beach as David Tattersall tells Uncut. hours, and a sweet cloud of mustard frying
looking back on his 3 Shelly You can certainly hear the joy in the room onions swells like a balloon.”
4 Look Inside
formative years. as they ease into the opening “Roosevelt There’s no shortage of dry humour in
Your Heart
“Blues didn’t just mean doing one thing 5 Sugar
Sykes”, named after the blues pianist the 12 songs, but as the guitarist tells
or another.” Indeed, the artists who have 6 I Came To but taking its musical lead from African Uncut, the majority of them address
harnessed the power of the blues most You Once highlife. It’s a risky strategy, one they’ve friendship, whether tenderly on “Shelly”
effectively since the ’60s are those who 7 Dodge tried before on the likes of 2013’s “Before or pleadingly on the Howlin’ Wolf quiver
have used it as a portal to somewhere quite City Blues This Day”, but like every style they of “Brian”, written for a friend who joined
different: to the wasted, cursed flatlands 8 Hazey Moon touch, they make this sunny, bubbling a religious cult. Equipped with that inbuilt
the Stones visited in the late ’60s and early 9 Close Your sound theirown.ThekeyisTattersall’s malleability that Keef refers to, the blues
’70s; the psychedelic thickets explored Eyes Mike tremulous voice, effective and affecting, is not a rare inspiration in music; but few
10 Brian
by Jimi Hendrix and pre-Dark Side Pink like those other great non-singers Stephen artists have stewed the ingredients of
11 Goodbye
Floyd; or the mythical, hypnotic bayous Spiderman
Malkmus, Lou Reed andBryanFerry. the Deep South into such a characterful,
of Creedence Clearwater Revival. 12 Tell Me That “Roosevelt Sykes” is also the first instance unique dish as The Wave Pictures do
Though their popularity is a little more You Weren’t of Tattersall’s stunning guitarsoloing here. Considering their steadily mounting
modest than the aforementioned, The Alone on the album, his notes here lithe like catalogue, it seems faintly ridiculous to
Wave Pictures have similarly taken the running water, and similarly sprightly on rate one of the band’s LPs over another.
blues and moulded it into a shape very Produced by: the hyperactive shuffle of “Sugar”. “House And yet Look Inside Your Heart, capturing
much of their own over the past 15 years. The Wave ByTheBeach”,bycontrast,istautand fine, quicksilver moments of inspiration,
The result is literate, self-deprecating Pictures menacing, but gloriously diffused by loose is their warmest and most accomplished
Recorded at:
and a little neurotic; a supremely English backingvocals,Helm’s wild fillsandone record to date. More Loughborough than
Booze Cube,
blues, spliced with the fire of garage-rock, Stoke Newington,
of Tattersall’s greatest solos. “Dodge City Louisiana, sure, but no less powerful.
the wit of ’80s indie, the jagged propulsion
of Television and a touch of British folk.
Forming in Wymeswold, Leicestershire,
includes: David
David Tattersall or 30 songs for a proper LP, so spontaneity with which he
at the turn of the century, the trio – Tattersall (vocals, we went back in again and made his albums is a part of
guitar), Franic
“Fun’s got to come first”
guitarist, vocalist and songwriter David did Look Inside Your Heart. I why they’re so fresh. You can’t
Tattersall, bassist Franic Rozycki and Rozycki (bass), How does this album wanted to release them both copy the part where he’s just
drummer Johnny Helm – then moved to Johnny Helm connect with Brushes on one day. I thought that a genius, though.
(drums), Holly would be the ultimate show-
London and released a string of CD-Rs With Happiness?
Holden (backing Laurie [Sherman, engineer] offy thing to do! But the label You never seem to
in the 2000s. Where this early work was vocals)
scratchy and indebted to anti-folk, their bought an old reel-to-reel wanted to stagger it a bit. bother with all the
music since signing with indie label Moshi and wanted to learn how boring things bands
to record with it. So we did You always record are supposed to do
Moshi has become heavier and more
Brushes for him to practise. fast. We did two days. now, like Twitter… just
confident. They’re one of those rare bands I wanted to do a totally Spontaneity’s a big part of concentrate on the fun.

that try something different with each improvised record, so we did what we’re hoping to get, and Fun’s got to come first. It’s
record but always retain their essence: that, but then we decided also a bit of vulnerability. We what keeps you going and
2013’s City Forgiveness, for instance, was to release it, as we were so like it rough and ready. Not to makes you make up more
a sprawling double inspired by an equally happy with it. But we had 20 compare us to Dylan, but the stuff. INTERVIEW: TOM PINNOCK

DECEMBER 2018 • UNCUT • 31

in 2011, Anastasis (2012) was also more
placid than passionate. Yet Dionysus is not
only one of the most vivid works they’ve
recorded, it’s also the most intricately and
insistently rhythmic. The product of two
years’ worth of research and recording as
Perry found his own ways to channel the
old magic, the album bursts with all the
unruly energy its subject matter demands.
Dionysus is constructed as an oratorio
that traces the progress of a Dionysian
rite while incorporating other elements
of the myth. The first of two acts begins
with “Sea Borne”, which portrays the
god’s arrival with the intensifying
sounds of water, drums and voices. By
the time the party peaks in “Dance Of
The Bacchantes”, what you hear is a
head-spinning swirl of trance-music
styles, variously evoking Sufi devotional
song, Indian raga and Balinese gamelan.
Perry compounds the resulting sense of
disorientation by using a wide array of

use of rite and ritual for healing and instruments, including the daf, a Persian/
mind expansion, albeit with the help of Kurdish frame drum, and the fujara, a flute
peyote rather than the beverage Dionysus favoured by the shepherds of Slovakia.

DANCE concocted. Of course, musicians have

done their best to induce these frenzies
in more secular contexts. If the cult of
Meanwhile, the abundance of natural
sounds melts any boundaries between
musical and non-musical elements.
Dionysus has any adherents in the present
day, then Perry and Gerrard have provided
It’s such a riot of the senses, it’s not so
surprising the traditional focal point
them with the richest possible soundtrack. of Dead Can Dance’s music – Gerrard’s
8/10 Dionysus is the duo’s second album of voice – has no presence in the album’s
new material in the seven years since they early going. But she dramatically comes
The dynamic duo hit intoxicating form resumed the partnership that began in to the fore in the second act, in which
on their ninth LP. By Jason Anderson Melbourne in 1981 and yielded a string of she portrays Dionysus in female form
enigmatic releases for 4AD, earning Dead (the god’s androgyny is another key
ANYONE who’s Can Dance its own fervent cult. Though characteristic) and in his/her role as a
ever been to a truly SLEEVE NOTES the gloom that pervades their early guide who accompanies souls into the
wild party knows 1 Act I – Sea Borne albums unfairly led to a goth association, underworld. Named after the Greek term
that it can be very 2 Act I – Liberator the duo’s imaginative scope far exceeded for this last incarnation, “Psychopomp”
hard to put on the Of Minds those of most Batcave dwellers. The ends the album in a softer yet still shamanic
3 Act I – Dance Of ultimate realisation of their pan-global, mode, the serenity of Gerrard and Perry’s
brakes. That’s what
The Bacchantes
the senators of Rome high-art ambitions, Aion (1990) and Into duet being all the more startling thanks
4 Act II – The
learned in 186 BC when they officially Mountain
The Labyrinth (1993), saw them fuse to the fervour that precedes it. The gentle
prohibited the worship ceremonies for 5 Act II – The disparate musical traditions (Celtic, completion of the ritual also provides a
Dionysus (or Bacchus, as the Romans Invocation Middle Eastern and Mediterranean) respite from the more aggressive rhythms
called the god of wine and music). Alas, 6 Act II – into enthralling settings for Gerrard’s and compositional complexity that make
the decree was ignored for a few more The Forest spine-chilling mezzo-soprano and Perry’s Dionysus so compelling. And as Gerrard’s
centuries. It’s not hard to understand 7 Act II – booming, Scott Walker-like baritone. voicerecedesintothesilence,we’releftwith
why given the lurid accounts of the rites; Psychopomp Their approach become more staid on the sense that the hungers for mystery and
along with the copious amounts of wine, the final albums before Dead Can Dance’s transcendence this music explores could
Produced by:
there were torches and masks, orgies and original end in 1998. The first new work be as fundamental to us as it was to those
Brendan Perry
animal sacrifices, the beating of drums Recorded: Perry’s
after the duo resumed their activities who partied so hard so long ago.
and, of course, plenty of dancing. home studio,
Such images are evoked by the most
frenzied passages of the new Dead Can
Brittany, France
Personnel: All
Dance album. Yet Brendan Perry and Lisa instruments Brendan Perry In combining all the the same dreams and
Gerrard also emphasise the notion that performed by “We’ve gone the musical traditions here, aspirations as a human race.
there was a practical purpose for these Perry. Vocals by full conceptual!” did you hope to show
Perry and Lisa how many cultures Was this also a means
ancient ragers. Typically held at harvest How did you become so have their own versions for Dead Can Dance to
time, the worship ceremonies marked enthralled by Dionysus? of the Dionysian rites? explore fresh terrain?
seasonal cycles of death and rebirth while To be honest, my prior That certainly was a We always try to do
offering participants fleeting chances viewpoint of Dionysus consideration. If you travel something different with
for liberation from societal restrictions was very much steeped a great deal and immerse each successive release.
and transcendence from the self. Aspects in Christian morality. It’s yourself in different cultures, The music also inevitably
of the rites persisted long into Judeo- very negative – it’s all about you do pick up on those reflects our interests at any
Christian times, disguised as harvest hedonism. So my view was patterns that exist, especially given point in time. Dionysus
tainted until I read Nietzsche’s in terms of the ways we is another example of that,
festivals and pagan celebrations.
The Birth Of Tragedy. Then celebrate life and death. although we’ve gone the full
Other religions had their own iterations, I read several books and For me, it’s really about conceptual this time. We’ve
a suggestion that Perry makes with realised, “Wow, Dionysus is a connectivity and positivity, hinted at concept albums in
Dionysus’s cover image of a mask made very complicated deity.” So breaking down borders the past, but this is our first
by the Huichol, an indigenous people in it’s been a wonderful journey that separate people and proper one!
Mexico. It’s a reference to their similar researching this. showing we really have INTERVIEW: JASON ANDERSON

32 • UNCUT • DECEMBER 2018



Spencer Sings The Hits The Hex THE DEADBEATS Shades SPECTRAPHONIC
8/10 9/10 Team player’s stylish debut
Spencer goes solo, with predictably Posthumous meta-pop from 8/10
Given Shades’
enjoyable results absurdly gifted Californian Hugely energising rock riffing from unforced elegance
At this stage in his Conceived in 2012 and Cambridge five-piece and confident
career, Jon Spencer completed a month Few bands embrace presentation, it’s
isn’t going to reinvent before his death this the brown acid vibe of surprising Danielle
his own particular July, The Hex finds late-’60s heavy rock Aykroyd has taken
wheel, and nor Swift exploring with quite as much so long to step into the spotlight as
does he need to. themes of grief, loss enthusiasm as Uncle Vera Sola. Also a writer and actor
Spencer Sings The Hits is his first solo and regret in emotionally candid Acid, who splice Blue (and daughter of Dan Aykroyd), she
album, and it’s a delightfully messy terms. His late mother and sister are Cheer grind with some ’80s hair-metal played in Elvis Perkins’ touring band
set of junkyard bubblegum garage, commemorated on “Wendy” and theatrics and a Floydian penchant for for years. Recorded entirely solo, this
with Spencer squeezing out a series “Sister Song”, respectively, while the binding dystopian themes to provide LP’s haunting, country-folk ballads
of choppy grooves while howling Randy Newman-ish piano balladry gravitas. Unlike many bands from the echo black spirituals and ’60s classic
largely meaningless slogans against of “Dirty Jim” tries to make sense of underground, frontman Kevin Starrs pop and borrow Spector’s boom, but
a backdrop of feedback and fuzz. his own addictions. The gravity of has proselytised for harmony and sensibly don’t overdo the vintage.
Spencer has always embraced the lo-fi his subject matter finds a contrast in melody, and accordingly Wasteland The lowering, incantatory “Circles”,
aesthetic, and tracks like “Wilderness” Swift’s playful musical settings, from retains a wilful catchiness whether suggesting Peggy Lee fronting a
and “Time 2 Be Bad” are rickety the sci-fi Spectorisms of “Nancy” to on sludge rockers like “No Return”, minimalist Warpaint, and the
wooden rollercoasters held together the title track’s weirdo torch-pop and the heavy-riffing masterclass of doomy rebetika of “Loving Loving”
by Sellotape and blind faith, but the electro frippery of the wonderful “Shockwave City”, closing epic stand out, but there’s much to admire
delivering just enough thrills to make “Broken Finger Blues”. ROB HUGHES “Exodus” or thrashers “I See Through – not least Sola’s muscular vibrato.
you overlook the danger. PETER WATTS You” and “Blood Runner”. PETER WATTS SHARON O’CONNELL
On Top HOUNDSTOOTH ORCHESTRA The Lillywhite Sessions

7/10 Ghostly melancholy on Australian 7/10 5/10

Third album of fuzzy punk nuggets producer’s latest Hanoi rocks: UMO get freaky on Ace guitarist covers Dave
from Aussie four-piece A compelling their second album this year Matthews’ lost album
There’s a mid- meditation on love Ruban Nielson Ryley Walker is
noughties slacker and loss, this second usually channels endearingly sincere
garage feel to Straight solo set by Penelope his outré musical in his love for the
Arrows, whose third Trappes, one half of interests into Dave Matthews Band,
album has a handful avant-electro duo The accessible a punching bag for
of tracks like “Out Golden Filter, finds the London-based confections; but for critics in the 1990s and
And Down”, “Nothing To Me” and the singer experimenting with ethereal this follow-up to April’s Sex & Food, the subject of serious reassessment in
belting, harmonica-laden “I Don’t” tones and echo-scorched vocals to the guitarist and his bandmates have the 2010s. On his song-for-song cover
that have that post-White Stripes love conjure a distant world that will be created seven blown-out instrumental of a lost album known to hardcore fans
of fuzzed blues. But Straight Arrows familiar to admirers of Twin Peaks-era tracks inspired by jazz, krautrock and as The Lillywhite Sessions, the Chicago
don’t solely trade in such styles. “Gun Julee Cruise and the curdled drift of dub. Joining Nielson, bassist Jacob guitarist invests these post-rock
Man” and “21st Century” introduce The Caretaker. Trappes’ material is Portrait and drummer Kody Nielson versions of “Busted Stuff” and “Grey
more post-punk beats, while the usually geared towards the club, but in Hanoi were the brothers’ father, Street” with a big-hearted melancholy.
second half of the album sees them here she restricts her sound palette Chris, on sax, flugelhorn and keys, But he overthinks the rambling
try on different genres. The breakneck to field recordings and treated piano and Minh Nguyen, who contributes anthem “JTR” and overstuffs the messy
“Headache” has them exploring speed and guitar in a bid to articulate more a variety of Vietnamese instruments. collage “Monkey Man”. Rather than
metal, “Buried Again” is a superb meaningful sentiments, with the It’s an austere, difficult listen, but interrogate Matthews’ dark, embittered
take on Spiritualized’s condensed likes of “ Carry Me” and “For You” it’s frequently thrilling, evoking On lyrics, Walker merely parrots the ugly
fuzz, while “Deadweight” is strangely conveying a generic, otherworldly The Corner-era Miles on the riotous, condescension of “Kit Kat Jam” and
reminiscent of Oasis at their most sadness, nestled among slow-burn rhythmic “Hanoi 2”, and Neu! and Four the hackeysack philosophy of “Big
blurred and leery. PETER WATTS ambient pieces. PIERS MARTIN Tet on the eerie “Hanoi 4”. TOM PINNOCK Eyed Fish”. STEPHEN DEUSNER


From ragtime, cabaret and electronica to wry art-pop
The Richard Dressed Up For The Atlantic
Swift Collection The Letdown Ocean
SECRETLY CANADIAN, 2005 Swift’s crestfallen While there are
Bolting together tales of personal guests aplenty
his first two LPs – and artistic on the carefree
2003’s The Novelist and follow-up struggle are tempered by a doleful “Ballad Of Old What’s His Name”
Walking Without Effort, both romanticism that’s hard not to love. (Ryan Adams, Sean Lennon, Mark
essentially one-man operations – There are echoes of Elliott Smith Ronson), Swift’s fourth album feels
this sublime entry into Swift’s and Emitt Rhodes on “Buildings very much like the product of a
peculiar world crosses genres In America” and “The Songs Of singular vision, creating wry art-
with restless abandon, from old- National Freedom”, while “Artist & pop from the constituent parts of
school cabaret and ragtime to Repertoire” sums up his experience The Beatles, Todd Rundgren and
Nilsson-like piano pop and skittish in the biz: “Sorry Mr Swift, but you’re his great heroes, The Kinks. In a
electronica in the vein of ’60s much too fat/And could I persuade just world, “Lady Luck” would’ve
auteur David Behrman. 7/10 you just to wear a cap?” 8/10 been a surefire hit. 8/10 ROB HUGHES

DECEMBER 2018 • UNCUT • 33

“She’s well-acquainted with the touch of the velvet hand/Like a lizard on a window pane”

TAKE 259
5 OMD (P46)


The Beatles (‘The White Album’)

From double LP to seven-disc set, complete with outtakes,

demos and studio banter. By Louis Pattison

N 2012, Twitter was briefly united scale. Sceptics have long maintained that
in mirth around the subject of Ecce REISSUE ‘The White Album’ might have worked
Homo, a fresco of Jesus Christ found OF THE better pruned down to a single album; God
in the Sanctuary of Mercy church in MONTH only knows what they might make of the
Borja, Spain. An elderly parishioner,
troubled by Christ’s faded and flaking
9/10 encompassing
prospect of it expanded across seven CDs,
107 tracks, some five-and-a-
visage, decided to restore the image half hours of music, and a 164-page hardback
herself – a fix that came out so poorly that, at first, book. (If the Super Deluxe version sounds a bit
authorities suspected vandalism. That the story ambitious, it’s also available in Deluxe form – over
resonated was probably down to two lessons: good three CDs or four LPs – or as the classic 2LP vinyl
faith doesn’t necessarily make for good decisions; and in faithfully replicated gatefold sleeve.) Perhaps
that just because something’s old, doesn’t necessarily more fundamentally, Martin had concerns about
mean it requires a refresh. the prospect of remixing an album as cryptic and
These sorts of thoughts must have troubled Giles truculent as this. Sgt Pepper revels in its explosions
Martin – son of George – as he sat down to remix of space and colour. ‘The White Album’, by contrast,
Sgt Pepper from the original master tapes on its 50th is a labyrinth through which dark currents run,
anniversary. But Martin’s new stereo mix, released beauty and surrealism mingling with absurdity and
last year, gave to the world a brighter, sharper recrimination. Clean it up, blow away the murk, and
Sgt Pepper – the instruments you risk spoiling whatever it is
crisper, the mixes neater, bells that makes it magic.
and whistles polished and Luckily, Martin’s new stereo
gleaming. Perhaps you needed mix succeeds, principally
it, perhaps you didn’t, but the through lightness of touch. As
important thing was that with Martin’s take on Pepper,
no-one yelled sacrilege. this is a subtle revision rather
Next stop, then, ‘The White than a bold remake. Come to
Album’. But of course, The it unawares and you might
Beatles’ 1968 double LP is not notice any difference. But
a very different beast, and listen closely on headphones

in many ways, one perhaps and the magic of the new mix
resistant to the boxset becomes clear. Where once
treatment. For starters, there the opening guitar chimes of
are obvious questions of “Dear Prudence” felt fixed,

34 • UNCUT • DECEMBER 2018

DECEMBER 2018 • UNCUT • 35
George Harrison
and (right) Paul
McCartney in
the studio

now they gently amble across the stereo field. The

layers of “Glass Onion” – Lennon’s mischievous
vocal, Ringo’s thunking drums, those strings
that sweep in like a chill down the spine – boast a
new, crisp separation. In particular, an overhaul
of “While My Guitar Gently Weeps” is a quiet they did on The Esher Demos. As they entered “Second Version Take 17”, McCartney’s unlocked
revelation, showing off little details you had never Abbey Road to begin recording in earnest, fault its deranged tenor, dispatching a version that, if
heard previously. lines opened within the band. Sessions took anything, is wilder than the final version (“Keep
Augmenting the new stereo mix on Deluxe and place in irregular hours, band members would that one… mark it fab,” he declares). “Ob-La-Di,
Super Deluxe versions is The Esher Demos. Long begin recording alone with tracks completed by Ob-La-Da (Take 3)” sounds a little saccharine;
circulated as a bootleg but here collected in far overdub, and the creative friction even spread to it’s only when Lennon adds the vicious, almost
better fidelity, these 27 tracks were captured on the production team: engineer Geoff Emerick quit parodic piano line that the song comes to life.
an Ampex reel-to-reel at George Harrison’s house some six weeks into the sessions. Harrison’s second take on “While My Guitar
in May 1968, shortly after The Beatles returned ‘The White Album’’s Super Deluxe version lines Gently Weeps” is a frail but pretty acoustic
from their stint in India with the Maharishi. These up 50 chronologically assembled recordings from number, some distance from the Eric Clapton-
are simple recordings, just acoustic guitars and the original studio sessions, much previously assisted rocker that’s unveiled a dozen tracks
group vocals. But the mood is jovial, and there unheard, and all freshly mixed from the four- later. By way of contrast, McCartney has “Hey
is a palpable sense of collective endeavour. A track and eight-track tapes. You enter it expecting Jude” there right from its joyful first take, even if
raucous “The Continuing Story Of Bungalow simmering tensions and recrimination. And he hasn’t yet got the orchestra in place.
Bill” features handclaps, drumming on tables while we can’t entirely rule out that some of the Along the way, we get Macca puzzling over
and animal noises. Lennon alludes to the group’s dirty laundry has been respectfully jettisoned, “Blackbird”, some endearing random chat
disillusion with the Maharishi on the ad-libbed it’s perhaps a shock to find much evidence of a (Harrison is partial to a cheese, lettuce and
outro of “Dear Prudence” (“All the people around band not only gelling, but working hard to nail Marmite sandwich), and casual takes on
were very worried about the girl, because she was increasingly diverse and difficult material. Check standards “Blue Moon” and “(You’re So Square)
going insane… So we sang to her”). And there’s out an 11-minute take on “Revolution 1”, recorded Baby I Don’t Care”. There are moments of play
also a glimpse of a new preoccupation: “Yoko on the first day of sessions with Yoko Ono present. – bossa nova oddity “Los Paranoias” is proof
Ono, oh no/Yoko Ono, oh yes,” he choruses on In band histories, this is often depicted as a tense that The Beatles were still close enough to
“Happiness Is A Warm Gun”. Much of ‘The White scene. But the result is endearingly groovy, and entertain in-jokes, while a glimpse of the group
Album’ gets its first outing here, but there are also ends with Ono reciting poetry and toying with cracking one another up as they record the
glimpses of songs that would emerge much later tape loops. “That’s too much?” she asks at the backing vocals for “Lady Madonna” is warming.
on. “Polythene Pam” and “Mean Mr Mustard” end, nervously. But everyone’s laughing, and the Over 107 tracks, we learn that the making of

would see the light on Abbey Road. McCartney’s mood is good. ‘The White Album’ was not quite the frigid
“Junk” emerged on his first solo album. Lennon’s ‘The White Album’ is a smorgasbord of sounds stand-off that we might have been led to believe.
“Child Of Nature” was eventually scrapped, but and styles, and elsewhere we see just how far But nor does this glimpse behind the curtain
its melody and basic structure would one day songs progressed from their starting point. An diminish ‘The White Album’’s mystique. Keep
re-emerge as “Jealous Guy”. early take on “Helter Skelter” finds the group peeling the glass onion and you just discover more
The Beatles would never jamming out 13 minutes of lumbering caveman and more layers, its possibilities multiplying, its
again sound as together as blues, hunting for moments of inspiration. Come depths unfathomable.



Three unheard treasures from the sessions
Complete take of the There are three alternate The version that made it
harpsichord-powered takes of “Good Night” here, to the original feels ghostly,
Harrison number, but Giles Martin’s new almost insubstantial – so
released abridged composite of Takes 10 and it’s a delight to hear this
on Anthology 3. Often 5 certainly merits listening. full-bodied take that pushes
thought of as the song that Lennon gently finger-picks Harrison’s vocal back to
broke The Beatles, it was an electric guitar, and the the fore. Ringo’s explosive
reworked over and over full band harmonise around drumming remains present
(this is Take 102). Why Ringo’s vocal, like a bunch and correct, and the song
didn’t it make the album? of carol singers shivering ends with George vocally
Probably the vituperative lyric on your doorstep. It’s a freestyling: “Gathering,
– a dig at his bandmates – fantastically intimate gesturing, glimmering,
knocked it out of the running. counterpoint to the studied glittering, happening,
It saw the light in radically schmaltz of the version that hovering, humouring,
different form on Harrison’s made the cut. hammering, laquering,
self-titled 1979 album. lecturing…”

36 • UNCUT • DECEMBER 2018


But the guitar sounds beautiful, spartan,

arpeggio. So we would take that and
put it in stereo. And it’s only when you
go back and listen to the original that it
sounds different. I’m paid by [the Beatles
team] to push boundaries. They want
me to. I’m not a remastering engineer,
I’m not here to repackage. They say to
me, “Your job is to find new ways of
looking at it.” I listened to everything.
With “I Will”, that’s 60 takes. With “Sexy
Q&A Sadie” I think it’s 120. You have to do it
in stints, otherwise you switch off. You
need to listen to everything. You have to
put yourself in the mindset of [assistant
producer] Chris Thomas or someone like
Giles Martin George says, “It’s getting better that, because that’s what it’s like.
and it’s fun.” They’re supportive
How to remix of each other, and I expected to I love the different versions of
The Beatles – and hear them throwing their toys “Helter Skelter” – the 13-minute
dispel a few myths out of the pram. That was the blues jam, and then a more
strangest revelation to me.  developed version.

ow did you feel I think Paul had the idea of the blues
coming into the This must be very version, and then he read somewhere
project? There’s a lot different source that The Who had played Crystal
of myth behind this record. material, compared Palace and it was the loudest concert
It’s weird, ‘The White Album’… to Sgt Pepper… ever, so in the classic Beatles spirit of
I had this view of it that stemmed was surprised. I was competition they decided they wanted
from my dad. For a lot of people asked to [remix] Sgt Pepper to be the loudest band. For me it’s a bit
in America, ‘The White Album’ is he year before last. I like “Revolution No 1” – there’s no point
their favourite album. But my dad, hought, “I’m not going in editing it for this; we might as well
it wasn’t his favourite album, not o say I’ll do it before I’ve have the full version. This is ‘The White
by any stretch of the imagination. heard a few tracks”, and Album’, as raw as possible – let’s stick
Because the lunatics had taken over started doing it and the whole thing on there.
the asylum. He’d lost the classroom. thought, “This is good – I’m
I always had this view it was this dark, not going to destroy it!” Then, with ‘The Will there be more of this
unhappy project. But I don’t think it White Album’, I thought, “It’s going kind of thing?
was. Paul came in, and we listened to to be a breeze… This trashy record, I I think that we’ll see how things go with
it. I think it’s more of a solo song record bet we can make it sound bigger and this. With Sgt Pepper there was a mono-
than the previous albums were, but brighter…” But actually the nuance of it stereo question. With this there were all
there’s still this collaboration there – is on tape. You have to be careful with the studio outtakes and the Esher demos.


you can often hear the rest of the band these sorts of records that you don’t We have to find something that’s not
in the background. When Paul’s doing take away the character – the dirt, the just a repackage to make it worthwhile.
“Mother Nature’s Son”, you can hear distortion – because that’s what makes I get people asking, “When are you going
that John’s in the control room. it such an interesting record. It was a to remix Revolver?” It’s down to The
more challenging mix for that reason. Beatles. They ask me to do it, so I go off
What did you discover about We mixed the album before Christmas and do it. INTERVIEW: TOM PINNOCK
band relations from the tapes? last year, and by January I was thinking
I haven’t done a rose-tinted job on this. this sounds too much like ‘The White
I’ve been through all the tapes and Album’. It doesn’t sound better; it’s just
selected outtakes, and I was looking boring. So we redid the whole thing.
for the arguments. There’s no sort
of editorial control with The Beatles So how do you go about
– as you can tell from Paul’s recent remixing The Beatles?
interviews, he’s quite happy to go to dark My approach is always: how do I
places. So I think from what I can tell, Above: Giles Martin at remember the song sounding? In “Dear
the mixing desk; The
they generally had a pretty good time. I Beatles with George Prudence”, it’s all about the guitar, then
think they made my dad a bit miserable. Martin in the studio the voice comes in, the drums come in.
Because they were just like, “This is our
world, this is our record, bog off.”

What else did you discover?

They worked really strange hours. It “I always had this
became normal in the ’70s and the ’80s,
but in the ’60s you’d start at 11 and finish
at 5. At the time I heard you’d draw
view it was this dark,
straws not to be on a Beatles session –
of course, these days you’d write a
unhappy project. But
book about being on a Beatles session.
There’s a moment on “Happiness Is A
I don’t think it was”
Warm Gun” where John says, “It’s not
fun, but it’s getting better”, and then
DECEMBER 2018 • UNCUT • 37
Band, Fairport Convention, Love, in a basement. Never mind the group’s
Sagittarius” – before musing about the name; Fleet Foxes or The Fleet Foxes, he’s
possibilities of trying something newer. not fussed. But the listener should bear in
First Collection 2006-2009 “But the clattering shake of New Rock
Music doesn’t quite do it for you. You’d
mind that the disc is a demo, and the songs
have “gestated, evolved or died”, and now
rather hear a psychedelic haze, a Haight- sound much different in a live context.
8/10 Ashbury paranoid dirge, a Los Angeles “Subsequent Fleet Foxes releases will be
folk-rock jangle.” more in line with this live standard.”
Tenth anniversary collection of Pecknold Possibly, you can see where this A decade on from the release of Fleet
and co’s timeless folk. By Alastair Mckay bashful sales pitch is headed. But then, Foxes’ debut album, it’s fascinating to

the author’s self- observe the evolution of their sound. That
EEP in the scrapbook consciousness first LP sounded other-worldly at the time
that accompanies this reasserts itself, as of its release. Presumably it represented
package of early Fleet Pecknold remembers the more ambitious efforts of the group, as
Foxes recordings, there that the readers it captured the songs in a glorious, sunny
is a note that Robin of the letter have rush. It sounded like nothing else, while at
Pecknold enclosed already bought the the same time containing echoes of – let’s
with copies of the Fleet Foxes CD-R. At see – The Incredible String Band, Fairport
band’s first EP (released April 5, 2006). The which point, he finds Convention and Love. Sagittarius? Yes,

text is both self-effacing and endearingly himself caught in Sagittarius. Blitz those ingredients for
straightforward. First, the writer puts the awkward space three minutes and what you have is a
himself in the head of a prospective record between pride and powerful variation of folk-jazz playfulness
buyer, with enough money for two or three ambition. The disc and West Coast harmonies, like David
CDs. He starts by considering the purchase contains six songs, Crosby driving to church in Brian Wilson’s
of a 1960s rarity – “The Incredible String he explains, recorded dune buggy. Check the note again for

38 • UNCUT • DECEMBER 2018


Fleet Foxes 12”
Sun It Rises
White Winter
Ragged Wood Ace Of Cups HIGH MOON
Tiger Mountain
Peasant Song
Quiet Houses Senior citizens’ ’60s flashbacks
He Doesn’t Fifty-one years in the
Know Why making, the debut of the lost,
I Heard Them all-female Summer of Love
Stirring band Ace of Cups takes a
Your Protector kitchen-sink approach. With
Meadowlarks 26 tracks of archival stage
Blue Ridge banter, special guests, medleys and genre
Mountains sampling, the quartet of seventy-somethings
Oliver James attempt to backfill their lost history in one
additives. Yes, psychedelic, but not April 2008), is more accomplished. giant-sized session. The result is endearingly
overbearingly so. Maybe Haight- The mature Foxes sound is fully Sun Giant EP 10” scattershot, but also finds Ace of Cups
Ashbury, but with less of the dirge. present on the gorgeous title track, a Sun Giant jumping straight to the same conundrum as
Drops In The River their better-documented peers – modernising
LA folk-rock jangle? Some of that. vocal treat that manages to be both
English House the well-worn tropes of rock’s ’60s and ’70s
Listening afresh to the first LP, celebratory and sad. “Drops In The
Mykonos heyday. While the album’s studio gloss,
what’s striking is not the airbrushed River” has the group spelunking Innocent Son provided by pop producer Dan Shea, wards
perfection, but the looseness of through lonesome memory-caves. off easy nostalgia, it also renders some of their
the playing. The songs are fragile. “English House” is high on whimsy; The Fleet Foxes original material mannered by comparison
They sound tentative, almost the single “Mykonos” appears here in EP 10” with the raw archival versions included on
accidental. Everything is at the its full-length version. And the closer, She Got Dressed 2004’s It’s Bad For You But Buy It. The vibe
service of the voices, and the singing “Innocent Son”, is emotionally naked, In The Hot feels more lived-in when old friends such as
is magical – romantic to the point and quite lovely. Hot Rays Bob Weir, Taj Mahal and Peter Coyote stop by.
Anyone Who’s Songs by singer/guitarist Denise Kaufman
of religion. But scroll backwards The rarities nod to the group’s
Anyone hold up particularly well after cryogenic
to that unassertive first EP and the influences. “False Knight On The
Textbook Love thaw; the electric-Dylan pastiche of “Fantasy
signposts offer alternate destinations. Road” – originally released under So Long In The 1&4” and eerie LSD hymn “Simplicity” (with
“She Got Dressed” starts sweetly, the Antelope banner – is a lovely Headstrong Jorma Kaukonen trading guitar licks with his
before flossing into a 1960s rush. It take of a traditional child ballad. Icicle Tusk former student, Ace of Cups’ Mary Simpson)
is “California Dreamin’” caught in a “Silver Dagger” is a brisk retread come closest to feeling like unearthed Haight-
squall of punk surf. “In The Hot Hot of a trad song popularised by Joan B-Sides and Ashbury treasure.
Rays” is like another band entirely; Baez. “White Lace Regretfully” is in Rarities 10” Extras: None. ROB MITCHUM
a jittery summer sidewalk song the same vein, a pained Pecknold False Knight
that swells prettily before fading beauty, originally released with the On The Road BITCHIN BAJAS
away. “Anyone’s Who’s Anyone” literary journal The Unified Field.
Silver Dagger Rebajas DRAG CITY
White Lace
is “Ghost Riders In The Sky” recast And “Isles” (the UK B-side of “White 9/10
as an emotional weather forecast, Winter Hymnal”) is Spartan and Isles Seven-disc boxset of drone dons’
with an ambiguous closing mantra icily beautiful. Ragged Wood complete catalogue
in which Pecknold chants, “It’s so There are also four demos, offering (transition This sprawling (43 tracks)
much better in the sunlight/I’m just sketches of “Ragged Wood”, a basement compilation is both a reissue
a little mirage.” After that, the song misshapen “He Doesn’t Know Why”, sketch) and a debut, as it’s the
dissolves. “Textbook Love” is a school a less-assured take of “English House” He Doesn’t Know first time Bitchin Bajas’s
Why (basement recordings have been
romance that never bridges the gap and the brief gothic instrumental “Hot
demo) released on CD. Seven discs
between its classroom setting (“You Air”. They don’t add much, except to
English House track their nuanced explorations of ambient
were in your uniform, standing by show that the sound of Fleet Foxes (basement psych drone, ’60-’70s krautrock-aligned
the door”) and the author’s attempt blossomed over a short period. It demo) electronica and interstellar ragas, from
to examine idealised romance wasn’t an accident. The group were Hot Air Cooper Crain’s initial solo venture, 2010’s
(“Textbook love in the textbook style”). quite serious about wanting to avoid (basement Tones & Zones, to 2017’s ambitious Bajas
The EP’s remaining tracks, “So Long the clatter of New Rock Music. They sketch) Fresh, including all 11 solo releases and the
To The Headstrong”, and especially got there by acting older than their BB sides of three split singles. As invitations
the plaintive “Icicle Tusk”, go some years and embracing timelessness. to surrender go, it’s irresistible, a daunting
way to inventing the Foxes’ vocal Extras: 8/10. Limited edition comes running time (over six-and-a-half hours) offset
by the fact that you can plunge in anywhere
harmony style. in 1 x 12” and 3 x 10” vinyl with 32-page
and immediately freefall into a deep,
The second EP, “Sun Giant” (from booklet. Also on CD and digital. divinely polychromatic space where nothing
‘happens’, but it’s as if a membrane has been
torn back to reveal the trippy spectacle of
existence itself. That it’s also languidly funky,

The songs are fragile. as on “Water 2” (from 2011’s exquisite Water

Wrackets) and often surprising (“Loop” is a
kind of gamelan spy theme) hardly needs
Everything is at the service pointing out. Nor does the sheer joy delivered
by the likes of last year’s “Jammu” and the

of the voices, and the sweet astral jazz of “Yonaguni” (both off
Bajas Fresh). BB move forever forwards, even
as their extraordinary music appears to stop
singing is magical time: Rebajas to the future.

DECEMBER 2018 • UNCUT • 39

“Waterlow” are Byrds-soft and Sandy
Denny-spry, but Mott liked life wilder,
recalling Stevens for 1971’s scattershot
Brain Capers, touted rather hopefully here
as proto-punk.
However, the “I don’t care what the
people may say” refrain on New York
Dolls-y opener “Death May Be Your Santa
Claus” is more bruised bravado than
year-one nihilism. “I feel neglected, feel
rejected, living in the wrong time,” Hunter
yowls on the moody “The Moon Upstairs”,
though metaphysical centrepiece “The
Journey” – The Band on Broadway – rises
above the impotent fury, rebranding
failure as life-enriching experience. It
might have been Mott’s closing statement;
the band resolved to call it quits during
the subsequent tour, only for a sprinkle of
Bowie stardust to change everything.

a dedicated fan as a teenager, The Clash’s That, however, is another story. In
SLEEVE NOTES Mick Jones said: “If it hadn’t been for Mott, a revealing passage, Needs remembers

DISC ONE: there would be no us.” After Stevens just encountering a morose Stevens ahead of
Mott The Hoople about produced the kaleidoscopic London anOctober1972gigbyhisnewlysuccessful
DISC TWO: Calling, Joe Strummer called him “the former protégés: “The former human
Mad Shadows ultimate cure for musical constipation”. dynamo was now a slobbering drunk,
Mental Train: DISC THREE: Mott benefited from Stevens’ pop that wild-eyed stare melted into red-eyed
The Island Years Wildlife
colonic in their early days, Hunter saying,
“He’d get us drunk, we’d play a load of
alcoholism as he seethed with acrimony,
disgust and probably envy that Bowie had
1969–71 Brain Capers
rubbish and he’d be going, ‘It’s great!’”
That optimistic A&R technique led to
achieved everything he couldn’t.”
Heavy without being metal, lyrical with
The Ballads Of
the giddy mess that is 1969’s Mott The nary an acoustic guitar in sight, the Mott of
8/10 Mott The Hoople
DISC SIX Hoople, Hunter’s Blonde On Blonde-ing on Mental Train were a madman’s unworkable
It’s Live And “Backsliding Fearlessly” and “Half Moon vision. Bowie’s Mainman team bashed
Dude ranch: the ragged Live Only Bay” co-existing awkwardly with guitarist them into a commercial shape Stevens
rabble that captured Bowie’s Fairfield Hall, Mick Ralphs’ yen for bludgeoning rock. nevercould,butthe1.0Mott’sblundering,
imagination. By Jim Wirth Croydon, 13 Mad Shadows is more coherent, though steamroller charm was their own. The
September 1970
Hunter’s marital problems and Stevens’ producerdied adrunk’sdeath,aged38,in
BBC Radio 1
MOTT THE HOOPLE’S intensifying mania account for its OTT 1981. Hunter paid tribute with a dedication
– In Concert: 30
demented mentor, December 1971 edge. Hunter’s wounded-bull bellow on on his 1983 solo album, All Of The Good
Guy Stevens, claimed “No Wheels To Ride” and the gospel-toned Ones Are Taken: “You gave your heart
that during a typically “I Can Feel” express that torment, and –yougave your soul.God blessyou, Guy –
intense studio session even if Mad Shadows isn’t all anguish, rock’n’roll!” If that wasn’t the epitaph of his
he telepathically there is darkness at its heart, Hunter dreams, onecanonlyhope Mental Train is.
sent the lyrics to the channelling Stevens’ imploding ego on Extras: 8/10. Unheard songs, radio
anguished “When My Mind’s Gone” – “When My Mind’s Gone”: “What once sessions and alternative versions; Needs
from 1970’s Mad Shadows – to singer Ian was clean is now unclean/What once was has curated a whole disc of unfamiliar
Hunter, live in the studio. It is a possibility straight is now unstraight.” versions of Hunter’s ballads. Fellow
that the perma-shaded frontman could It all proved too fraught. Stevens was ZigZag writer Pete Frame said Mott were,
not entirely rule out as he listened back benched for 1970’s countrified Wildlife, but on their night, “The greatest rock’n’roll
to the tape. “It didn’t sound like me, it maturity did not suit Mott: “We used to call band in the world, bar none”; two edited
hadn’t come from me,” he recalls in true it ‘Midlife’,” Ralphs joked. Hunter’s spindly live shows on the sixth disc offer strong
believer Kris Needs’ sleevenote to this 6CD “Angel Of Fifth Avenue” and the mournful supporting evidence.
cornucopia of Mott’s early years. “It was
totally Guy. It frightened me to death.” HOW TO BUY...
Long before David Bowie took them
to Top Of The Pops with “All The Young
Dudes”, Mott knew how it felt to be a
pawn in someone else’s musical game.
Scenester, soul guru and president of Overlooked LPs from Island’s first flush
the Chuck Berry Appreciation Society, NIRVANA SPOOKY WHITE
Stevens had imagined a band that fused All Of Us, 1968 TOOTH NOISE
The Rolling Stones and electric Bob Pop-psych It’s All About, An Electric
Dylan while serving time for cannabis sophisticates 1968 Storm, 1969
possession in Wormwood Scrubs. On his Patrick Carlisle’s BBC
release, the Island Records house crazy Campbell- only gift to Radiophonic
saddled Herefordshire wannabes Silence Lyons and Alex Spyropoulos psychedelia, Art sold pitiful Workshop boffins Delia
with 30-year-old ex-road digger Hunter made rock’s first concept quantities of their Island LP Derbyshire, David Vorhaus and
album (1967’s The Story Of Supernatural Fairy Tales and David Hodgson put Britain’s
as their new singer, and named the group
Simon Simopath) for Island, but regenerated as the harder- first synthesiser of note, the
of his dreams after a 1966 Willard Manus went one better second time hitting Spooky Tooth. Their VCS3, through its paces on this
novel – “hoople” being US slang for “loser”. out. All Of Us’s first three tracks debut – kicking off with a pioneering sci-fi extravaganza,
If Stevens’ rock Frankenstein was not – “Rainbow Chaser”, “Tiny hysterical rethink of Janis Ian’s veering from cheeky fun to
monstrously successful early on, Mott’s Goddess” and “The Touchables” “Society’s Child” – recasts them electro-gothic on “The
primal thud had significant echoes – – are gentle giants. as Traffic with dials turned to 11. Visitation” and “Black Mass”.

40 • UNCUT • DECEMBER 2018


Chess outcast’s career resurrected
Essential: The Timepeace Lifetime
Very Best Of VERVE/TALKIN’ LOUD, 1998 BLUE THUMB, 1999
Terry Callier The ethereal After breaking
UNIVERSAL, 1999 eight-minute 20 years’ silence
In the early 1970s cornerstone track on TimePeace,
Callier recorded on Callier’s first Callier was still
a trio of fine albums for Chess’s album after two decades away bursting with pent-up inspiration
Cadet imprint – What Colour Is was appropriately tiled “Lazarus on the follow-up. The highlight is
Love, Occasional Rain and I Just Man”, for his comeback was a glistening duet with Beth Orton
Can’t Help Myself. This collection indeed a miraculous resurrection. on “Love Can Do” but, combining
compiles 17 of the best tracks Fusing the elegant soul of Curtis tender love songs with social
from the era. Producer Charles Mayfield, the acoustic wistfulness comment, every track hits the
Stepney knew how to get the best of Nick Drake and the jazz-folk of mark, from the acoustic loveliness
out of Callier’s supple voice, but Tim Buckley, Callier’s liquid lead of “When My Lady Danced” to
Chess had no idea how to market guitar lines and yearning voice fuller horns-and-choir
the results and dropped him. enhance the spiritual vibe. arrangements.
7/10 9/10 8/10 NIGEL WILLIAMSON

JAMES BOOKER shoppedtolabels,allofwhomdeclined “900 Miles”, “Promenade In Green”, slant that helped es ablish The Kinks
TheLostParamount Tapes forwhatcanonlybethedumbestof “It’s About Time” and “Be My Woman”. as an arena live act in the US when the
THIRTY TIGERS reasons,butbootlegsmadetheirway The closest analogy is perhaps Fred hits dried up back home. The smoother
aroundNewOrleansandmadeBooker Neil or Dino Valenti, but the influence strains of the folk-tinged “Within Each
intoahometownhero.Finallygettingan of Coltrane on his vocal phrasing made Day” and “If You Are Leaving” make a
Newly unearthed recordings officialrelease,thesehistoricsessions Callier entirely original. By the 1980s bigger impression, confidently stepping
by the man known as the Bayou revealaperformeraswonderfully he’d drifted out of music to become out from his elder sibling’s shadow.
Maharajah ostentatiousinhisplayingashewas in a computer programmer, but his Extras: None. TERRY STAUNTON
The legend of James everyotheraspectof his life. rediscovery in the 1990s by the
Booker isinversely Extras: None. acid-jazz crowd led to a new lease of EDDIE & THE HOT RODS
proportionatetohis STEPHEN DEUSNER life when this album was reissued and The Island Years
meagrecatalogue. was enormously influential on the CAROLINE
ThemanDrJohn TERRY CALLIER likes of Beth Orton and Paul Weller.
called“thebestblack, The New Folk Sound Of It remains one of those uniquely sui
gay,one-eyedjunkiepianogenius Terry Callier (reissue, 1968) generis records that everyone could Well-packed comp from Canvey
NewOrleanshaseverproduced”only CRAFT do with hearing. Island’s other rockers
recordedtwostudioalbumsinhis Extras: 7/10. Five previously Perhaps more
lifetimeandthreeliverecordings,but unreleased alternate takes. than any of their
heneverthelessloomslargeinthat Expanded reissue of legendary NIGEL WILLIAMSON contemporaries,
city’slore,thankstohisflamboyant debut half a century on… Eddie & The Hot
personality:hewasnotoriousfor It seems extraordinary DAVE DAVIES Rods represented the
sportingadiamond-encrustedeyepatch that Callier’s Decade missing link between
andawigstashedwithjoints.Soa influential classic RED RIVER punk and pub rock. Promoting their
reissuelikeTheLostParamountTapes was permitted to “Live At The Marquee” EP on Top Of
takesongreatersignificancethan fall out of print, so The Pops in late 1976, frontman Barrie
mostbootlegsdo,asitsignificantly its re-emergence Solo offcuts and bygone candidates Masters gave a good impression of a
expandshiscatalogueandtherefore in expanded form to mark the 50th for band consideration poster boy for the new genre (spiky
deepensourunderstandingofBooker anniversary of its original release is It’s never easy pudding-bowl hair, bare chest visible
asasingularartist.In1973heshowed hugely welcome. Recorded in a single being the “junior” under an open jacket), although the
upatParamountRecordingStudiosin afternoon in 1964 (but not released until writer in a group track they performed was a cover of
Hollywoodandpoundedoutahandful four years later for record company boasting other, more US heartland rocker Bob Seger’s “Get
ofsongswithacrewofaceNewOrleans reasons), the otherworldly sound of prolific tunesmiths; Out Of Denver”. The same year’s debut
players.Theseperformancesare Callier’s debut emanates from its odd opportunities to album wore its punk heart on its sleeve
giddily,exuberantlyfunky,especially lineup of acoustic guitar and two sparse take your own material to market can (and title – Teenage Depression), yet
theraucous“LahTeeTah”andthe basses, generating a timeless mix of be frustratingly limited. It’s a state guitarist Dave Higgs’ originals were
reckless “Tico Tico”. The tapes were folk, jazz and blues on songs such as of affairs both George Harrison and accompanied by Joe Tex and Sam
Andy Summers knew all too well. Dave Cooke songs. Bricks fell more squarely
Davies only managed to place four of into place on the following year’s Life
Dave Davies:
a harder rock his songs across the dozen long-players On The Line with its Top 10 hit “Do

edge than big released by The Kinks in the 1970s, and Anything You Wanna Do” (the single
brother Ray while not all the tracks from that 10-year bafflingly credited to “The Rods”) and
period collected here were fashioned the sneering ennui of “Quit This Town”.
with the band in mind, a handful were Thriller (1979) was even slicker, the
greeted with a “thanks, but no thanks” standout “Media Messiahs” closer to
from big brother Ray. Prior to the release the art-pop of say, XTC, but the band
of his 1980 solo debut, Dave frequently was let go by Island just weeks after the
committed his work to tape, the pick album’s release.
of which have been dusted down and Extras: 7/10. Bonus cuts on all three
remixed by his musician sons Simon studio albums, augmented by a disc
and Martin. Ironically, it was Dave’s apiece of John Peel sessions and
harder rock edge (most evident here on Radio 1 In Concert recordings, plus
theanthemic“CradleToTheGrave”and a ’77 fan club album initially limited
the psych blues of “Mystic Woman”) to 100 copies.
rather than Ray’s more vaudevillian TERRY STAUNTON

DECEMBER 2018 • UNCUT • 41


REDISCOVERED IAmKuriousOranj (reissue, 1988)

Uncovering the underrated and overlooked
Check the guy’s track record…
Reissued on vinyl for its
30th anniversary,I Am
Kurious Oranj is the first
significant Fall album to
come under the spotlight
since the death of Mark
E Smith in January. Smith was rarely
sentimental about his music, but we can
be: this reissue, fine though it is, makes
you long for the days when the annual
announcement of a new Fall LP would
be greeted with little more than a raised
eyebrow or shrug. Smith’s band were on
a terrific run of form when they wrote this
soundtrack – released the same year as
The Frenz Experiment – to Michael Clark’s
modern ballet I Am Curious, Orange, a
historical topic that sparked Smith off on
a riff on William Blake’s “Jerusalem” and
saw him recycling his own “Hip Priest”
for the imperious glam racket of “New Big
Prinz” and churning out reggae for “Kurious
Oranj” – nuggets embedded in Fall folklore.
For all the group’s attributes – the well-oiled
Hanley/Wolstencroft engine room, “Bad
News Girl” Brix Smith’s melodic flair on
what would be her swansong (until a few

DAVID BYRNE years later) and producer Ian Broudie’s

pop sheen – the record sinks into a pretty
obtuse heavy groove right from the start, but
The Complete True Stories Soundtrack Smith’s vital tics make it worth pursuing.
NONESUCH Extras: 5/10. Contains replica of original
ballet programme from the performance at
6/10 Sadler’s Wells. PIERS MARTIN

New, extended edition… with extra songs THE JIMI HENDRIX

“I WOULDN’T live there composing musicals about Imelda Marcos. Electric Ladyland:
if you paid me,” David This new edition, accompanying the new 50th Anniversary
Byrne had sung on “The Criterion edition of the movie, comprises SONY LEGACY
Big Country” in 1978, 15 songs from the original film soundtrack
looking down from his album (Sounds From True Stories: Music
airplane at the baseball For Activities Freaks), performed by Byrne’s A psychedelic giant, loaded down
diamonds and strip downtown arthouse pals (Kronos Quartet and with expectations
malls of flyover county, Meredith Monk contribute a couple of sweet but The third album by
USA. “I wouldn’t live there, no siree!” Yet by 1986, inessential pieces), guest stars (Pops Staples Hendrix and the
here he was, on the cover of Time magazine in on the MTV voodoo of “Papa Legba”) and cast Experience, Electric
Cubist polaroids, hailed as Rock’s Renaissance members (the pre-Roseanne John Goodman Ladyland has always held
Man for his gonzo anthropological insights singing creditable lead on “People Like Us”). an odd place in his short
(“Stores here are pretty clean, the air’s fresh, These are a further three songs from the film and storied career. In many
there’s plenty of parking, plenty of space to that never made it on the soundtrack, plus four ways a lever between his early, psych-pop
walk around. People here are inventing their songs from the misguided companion album, explorations and the exploded funk of the
own systems of belief…”) into the town of Virgil, recorded by Talking Heads. Band Of Gypsys, the album’s sheer size and
Texas, as depicted in his debut The one previously depth also allowed for all kinds of other
feature film, True Stories. unreleased track here possibilities to hide in plain sight. A 50th
Watch it now, without all is the lovely version anniversary is as good a reason as any to
the culture hero hullabaloo, of “Dream Operator”, celebrate such a great record, but listening
and True Stories has a certain sung by Annie McEnroe back to the newly remastered album reveals
charm – all the wide-eyed in the movie’s fashion a few potentially uncomfortable truths:
Martian wonderment at parade. Sung by Byrne foremost, for all his incendiary guitar skills,
the everyday that had been on the Talking Heads Hendrix’s genius really was for compact,
Byrne’s stock in trade since the album it’s a slightly tightly honed pop-rock, where his playing
mid-’70s, brought to life in the stilted hymn to the could court restraint, embracing a kind
flat quotidian cinemascope powers of make-believe, of flinty, tensile groove. The psychedelic
landscape of ’80s Texas. But but sung by McEnroe drift of “Rainy Day, Dream Away” is the
it’s not clear that anyone, with genuine yearning, highlight; the extra live and demo material
anywhere, has really been as the citizens of Virgil will keep fans happy, but adds little of note
clamouring for an extended stroll down the catwalk to the story.

version of the soundtrack, in their AstroTurf suits Extras: 8/10. A 5.1 Surround Sound mix
which sounds more and wedding cake of the original album by Eddie Kramer; At
than ever like the moment dresses, it’s the one Last… The Beginning documentary on the
the wheels came off the moment where the movie album’s making; liner notes from David
Talking Heads charabanc, hits a moment of unlikely, Fricke and John McDermott; booklet with
and the point that sent Lynchian Julee Cruise previously unpublished photos.
Byrne hurtling towards grace. STEPHEN TROUSSÉ JON DALE

42 • UNCUT • DECEMBER 2018


HISS GOLDEN Loren, died in 2011, and lie together really merit the full scholarly Basement infant daughter, and the playful
MESSENGER in Highgate Cemetery, the inscription Tapes treatment? There are certainly “Happy Lena”, with Dave Davies
Devotion: Songs About Rivers on their grave reading: “Lovingly witty and macabre gems here, like and Ray’s then wife Rasa yodelling
And Spirits And Children remembered by family, friends and “Old Woman Tossed Up In A Basket” in the background.
MERGE everyone they inspired.” Not a blinding or “The Bony King Of Nowhere”. But Extras: 8/10. The boxset includes a 52-
revelation perhaps but, like Just A most of these 49 tracks are also pretty pagebook,posters, promo materials.
Simple Soul, a warm and heartfelt final slight, with much repetition and filler. ALASTAIR McKAY
Remastered vinyl boxset spans assessment. A charming novelty, sure, but not
a decade of spiritual search Extras: 6/10. Butler’s gentle memoir every rose-tinted childhood favourite JOHN AND BEVERLEY
MC Taylor grew up of “11 great years I had messing from the pre-digital era qualifies as MARTYN
in a tightly planned around and drinking tea” with Jansch, long-lost treasure. Stormbringer!/
suburban techno- featuring a pleasing mental snapshot Extras: 4/10. Sleevenotes. The Road To Ruin
hub in California, of his living room: “On the table was STEPHEN DALTON (reissues, 1970)
suggesting the rustic always biscuits, plectrums and capos.” CAROLINE INTERNATIONAL
North Carolina JIM WIRTH THE KINKS 6/10, 7/10
home where he became Hiss Golden The Kinks Are The Village
Messenger was a place of flight, SANDRA KERR AND Green Preservation Society Folk-rock power couple’s
perhaps even a portal into a deeper JOHN FAULKNER BMG folies a deux return to vinyl
America. The then professional The Music From Bagpuss: 9/10 Remembering his
folklorist had gone native, making his Original Soundtrack first meeting with
music seem rooted in old Southern soil. EARTH RECORDINGS Ray Davies’s imaginary village his future wife in a
These four LPs don’t show progress revisited in multiple formats 1973 interview, John
so much as mesmerisingly consistent Though it was entirely Martyn described
purpose. Though using familiar Rich retro-folk anthology from an out of step with the folk scene habitué
Americana forms and writing with the analogue YTV classic music being made and pop wannabe Beverley Kutner
knotty profundity of Biblical parable, Fondly remembered by contemporaries as, “This very sexual lady with a big
Taylor finds a contemporary, truthful by 1960s and 1970s of Ray Davies in hooter and great big brown eyes…
voice. Bad Debt (2010) is a solo acoustic kids for magical November 1968, and I thought, ‘I’d like to fuck that.’”
recording of songs often fleshed out handmade TV Village Green now stands as the most However, their two records as man
on later albums. “Jesus Shot Me In animation classics coherent record in The Kinks’ canon. and wife still feel more like a green-
The Head” is emblematic, the titular such as Ivor The Often viewed as an exercise in English card marriage than lust at first sight.
revelation coming as the narrator is Engine and Clangers, Oliver Postgate whimsy, the songs actually interrogate Beverley’s spooky “The Ocean” and
“getting wrecked” in a motel bath. and Peter Firmin arguably reached a the notion of nostalgia; Davies now John’s sorry/not sorry kiss-off to his
Poor Moon (2011) adds a full-band sublime career-peak in 1974 with their suggests it was about the end of abandoned ex-fiancé, “Would You
palette perfected in Haw (2013), as junkshop-dwelling cloth cat Bagpuss. innocence and youth. “In the Village Believe Me?”, break the sleepy reverie
with its down-home jazz sax during In typically eccentric style, the duo Green, you’re never allowed to grow on Stormbringer! – recorded after a
the rowdy epiphany of “Cheerwine enlisted versatile folkies Sandra Kerr up,” he suggests. The reissue comes in spell in Woodstock, with The Band’s
Easter”. Through it all, Taylor chases and John Faulkner as soundtrack bewildering formats. The remastered Levon Helm on drums – but are solo
connections between the domestic and composers, working closely with them original album is available (vinyl, CD, works in all but name. The Martyns
natural worlds, the quotidian and the to fill each episode with a rich acoustic digital), but newcomers should try the play house a little more convincingly
spiritual. He approaches the Christian patchwork of ballads and shanties, 2CD deluxe, with bonus singles and on the jazz-infused The Road To Ruin
tradition from a place of questing surreal wordplay and wistful poetry. B-sides, and the unreleased “Time – even duetting on the cuddly “Give
and doubt, finding half-believed Lovingly presented in limited-edition Song”. Completists are directed to the Us A Ring” – but trainee demon John
transcendence in return. vinyl complete with bonus recordings 5CD box (with double-vinyl LP and readily parked his wife’s wobbly vocals
Extras: 6/10. Full lyrics, and an of fluffed outtakes and studio chatter, three replica 7ins). It’s a lot to digest – and musical ambitions thereafter, as
exclusive fourth LP of rarities, Virgo this deluxe repackage also includes too much – but the additional material he pulled towards the wilder places
Fool, showing no drop in quality. sleevenotes by Postgate’s son Daniel, offers a broader appreciation of hinted at by the spindly “Parcels”
NICK HASTED Sarah Martin of Belle & Sebastian, Davies’s creative process. Of particular and the title track’s rapturous coda.
comedian Stewart Lee and more. interest is the “Home Demos Medley”, Beverley’s frosty “Primrose Hill”,
BERT JANSCH Lee draws parallels with folk horror an eight-minute montage of songs though, remains a career pinnacle,
Just A Simple Soul and outsider art, remarking how this culled from the Konk studios archive. a galling reminder that – in music as
BMG/SANCTUARY music triggers “Proustian moments of These brisk, intimate sketches include well as in her ill-starred marriage – she
involuntary time travel”. Lovely stuff, “Pictures In The Sand”, a rolling may have deserved better.
but do these prototype alt.folk sketches music-hall number written for Davies’ Extras: None. JIM WIRTH
Lovely, lovely, lovely, lovely
Bertie: troubadour’s career-
spanning best-of
Weary of finding
his landmark ’60s
recordings sullied
by endless cheapo
reissues, Bert Jansch
half-complained at the turn of the
1980s: “There ought to be a limit on
how many times they can put out the
same old tracks under new titles.”
Happily, Just A Simple Soul – compiled
by ex-Suede guitarist Bernard Butler
– is the classiest distillation of the late
guitarist’s oeuvre to date, spreading
the pre-hippie bohemian’s dishevelled

splendour over two discs. The hits

(“Needle Of Death”, “Angie”, “Go Your
Way My Love”) are nicely balanced by
a grand sweep of his post-1970 work, Bohemian
Hawaiian-flavoured “Baby Blue”, rhapsody:
“Sweet Rose” and “Crimson Moon” Bert Jansch
tunes up at
sparkling brightest among the jewels of the Lincoln
the tumble-dried folk spaniel’s messy Folk Festival,
later decades. Jansch and his third wife, 1971

DECEMBER 2018 • UNCUT • 43


THE SPECIALIST Jazz In Detroit/Strata Concert
Gallery/46 Seldon
digger 9/10
Hollander Jazz heavyweight’s recently
and his unearthed live sessions
By 1973, jazz pioneer
Charles Mingus had
already released
plenty of formidable
music – 1963’s The
Black Saint And The
Sinner Lady is a masterpiece – but it
still felt, somehow, as though Mingus
had never really settled in any one
place or idiom. These broadcast tapes,
recently uncovered by Amir Abdullah
and released as Jazz In Detroit, offer
a wonderful way to hear Mingus and
his quartet (Roy Brooks, Joe Gardner,
Don Pullen and John Stubblefield)
stretching out in intimate confines, at
Detroit’s Strata Concert Gallery. There
is plenty of surprising music here. It’s a
pleasure to finally have “Dizzy Profile”
officially released – it never made it to
an album during Mingus’s lifetime,
and this performance is languid,
possessing a quiet power, and deftly

poised. Elsewhere, Mingus and cohorts
are rambunctious and wired: opener
“Pithecanthropus Erectus” gathers a
Unusual Sounds: The Hidden head of steam quickly, and there’s a
History Of Library Music startling moment, about four-and-a-
half minutes in, where Mingus’s quintet
pull together all their energies, the
8/10 rhythm section locking into the eternal
pulse while trumpeter Gardner spills
fire over the gallery floor. Jazz In Detroit
Imagined scores from the heyday is a welcome addition to one of jazz’s
of TV and film soundtracks most unpredictable, ever-questing
bodies of work.
THE ’60s and ’70s were The gorgeously Extras: 7/10. Booklet with notes and
boom years for genre films slinky “Feeling photography.
and cheap TV, which in turn Tense”, from JON DALE
created fresh demand for the 1974’s Feelings, is a hip-hop sampler’s dream,
incidental music that went all killer bass grooves and funk percussion.
with them. For companies The same applies to his “Running Fast”, an
on a tight budget, the ideal solution was infectious cop-chase caper that lends itself to
library music – an extensive catalogue of the proliferation of trashy crime movies that
stock LPs crammed with fit-for-purpose bubbled over during the ’70s. No markets were
soundtracks, created by largely anonymous off limits, from educational programmes to sci-
musicians-for-hire at sessions where fi, horror and porn. The only non-instrumental
production costs were kept to a minimum. here is the soft-focus soul of Madeline Bell’s
According to library-music collector David “You’ve Got What It Takes”, recorded with Les
Hollander, this was “a fast, fun, lucrative Hurdle and Kathleen Poppy for a 1977 slice of
and hard-drinking scene that enabled a good disco-themed erotica, Barbara Broadcast.
number of talented musicians to spend nearly Affordable synths meant that electronica
all their waking hours making music”. took over from where full-scale orchestras
Unusual Sounds: The Hidden History Of had once ruled. Nowhere is this more
Library Music is a fascinating accompaniment explicit on Unusual Sounds… than “Group
to Hollander’s book of the same name. Freed Meditation”, a 14-minute abstraction from
from the responsibility of making commercial Joel Vandroogenbroeck and Marc Mosen that
hits, many of its composers play fast and floats on analogue vibrations. Equally avant-
loose with form, arriving at weird hybrids garde in tone are Mladen Franko’s “Weeping
that cross over into a number of areas. These Eelgrass”, complete with synthetic squirts
are highly resourceful and technically gifted and wobbles, and the pulsing dubscapes of
musicians, capable of both spontaneity and Peter Patzer’s “Mild Maniac”. But the doyen
formal rigour. Perhaps the best known is of experimental library music, at least on this
Keith Mansfield, responsible for TV themes showing, is Montenegrin composer Janko
for Grandstand, The Big Match and the BBC’s Nilovic, who recorded for the Montparnasse
coverage of Wimbledon, as well as sometime 2000 library from the late ’60s upwards and

arranger for Dusty Springfield. 1969’s “Funky whose work has since been plundered by
Fanfare”, later sampled by Danger Mouse and Dr Dre and Jay-Z. “Xenos Cosmos” is a
Fatboy Slim, kicks off this anthology in hip- remarkable space-jazz blowout with big horns
swinging style. and diversions into prog opera. More than Don’t fret: the
Another key figure is Stefano Torossi, the anything else, it illustrates the grand sweep great Charles
prolific Italian who lent his library recordings of this superb collection. Mingus
to such labels as CAM, Costanza and Flipper. ROB HUGHES

46 • UNCUT • DECEMBER 2018


Contemplating here are new albums
mortality (l-r):
Lisa Gerrard, Ivo
T from Jean-Michel
Jarre, Josephine
Liz Fraser Foster and The Bevis Frond to
explore, but the real treats next
time round come from the
archives. Massive Attack’s
ORCHESTRAL but this brave experimental swerve THIS MORTAL COIL Mezzanine gets the fancy
MANOEUVRES IN was later rightly recognised as a lost It’ll End In Tears/ reissue treatment, alongside
THE DARK masterpiece of forward-thinking Filigree & Shadow/Blood the likes of Calexico’s The
Orchestral Manoeuvres avant-pop with its bold fusion of (reissues, 1984, 1986, 1991) 4AD Black Light and Be Bop
In The Dark/Organisation/ politically slanted electro ballads,
8/10, 7/10, 8/10 Deluxe’s Sunburst Finish, while
Architecture & Morality/ sampled radio dialogue, musique David Bowie’s excellent
Dazzle Ships concrète and otherwordly sound 4AD boss’s elaborate labour of love
Glastonbury 2000 headline set
(reissues, 1980, 1980, 1981, 1983) effects. For vinyl buyers, these latter The brainchild of gets a full release for the first
UNIVERSAL two albums are the essentials. 4AD founder Ivo time. Meanwhile, The Moody
Extras: None. Watts-Russell and Blues and Big Brother & The
7/10, 7/10, 8/10, 8/10
STEPHEN DALTON Blackwings engineer Holding Company celebrate
Merseyside synthpop pioneers John Fryer, This 50 years of, respectively, In
reissue their career-making REM Mortal Coil offered Search Of The Lost Chord and
classics on vinyl REM At The BBC an eight-year-long Sex, Dope & Cheap Thrills.
Celebrating their CRAFT showcase for both the TOM.PINNOCK@TI-MEDIA.COM
40th anniversary label’s key artists and
with deluxe vinyl acts who’d shaped
reissues of their Two decades of Buck, Berry, Mills Watts-Russell’s
first four albums, and Stipe at the Beeb esoteric tastes. Key in “Morning Glory” on 1986’sFiligree &
OMD are crucial Stretched over eight defining the imprint’s Shadow. Liz Fraser, too, lent Buckley’s
and frequently discs and spanning early aesthetic – one “Song To The Siren” an otherworldly
underrated players in 20 years, this lavish best summarised quality on 1984’s It’ll End In Tears,
the Synth Britannia boxset provides by their second and the Cocteau Twins were echoed
story. Their self-titled an alternative outing’s title – they in arrangements – particularly on
debut and its sequel, account of a combined gothic Filigree’s “A Heart Of Glass” and the
Organisation, both storied career, told through flavours with an arty inventiveness, debut’s“TheLastRay”–andthrough
released in 1980, dozens of BBC radio sessions, live adding voices frombeyond the label’s the presence of Simon Raymonde and
offer an uneven broadcasts and acoustic detours. contractual files where necessary. Robin Guthrie. Though the project was
but sporadically If there is a quibble, it’s that the These included Caroline Crawley occasionallyoverwrought, Kim Deal
charming blend of band’s first – and finest – decade (RIP),whoshoneon1991’s Blood with and Tanya Donnelly never sounded
post-punk dystopian is represented solely by a rowdy delicatereinterpretations of The sweeter than on Chris Bell’s “You And
sci-fi, misty-eyed show at Nottingham’s Rock City Apartments’ “Mr Somewhere” and Your Sister”.
romanticism recorded in November 1984, a set Mary Margaret O’Hara’s “Help Me Lift Extras: 5/10. Reimagined artwork by
and shamelessly that includes several songs from You Up”, while the Rutkowski Sisters Vaughan Oliver and Watts-Russell.
brazen steals from the yet to be released Fables Of The added quiet solemnity to Tim Buckley’s WYNDHAM WALLACE
Kraftwerk’s deadpan Reconstruction alongside a typically
electro-minimalism. idiosyncratic reading of “Hey Diddle
But Andy McCuskey Diddle”. If REM’s formation and
and Paul Humphreys hit their imperial key transitions are largely absent,
phase a year later withArchitecture
& Morality, which couched their
the ’90s and ’00s are exhaustively
covered. An acoustic radio session
spartan analogue synth sound in lush from 1991 throws up lovely versions THIS
cinematic drama using a Mellotron
and other studio effects. Songwriting
of “Half A World Away” and
“Fretless”, the 1995 show from CHRISTMAS
quality levels are consistently high
here, too, from sublime gleam-pop
Milton Keynes Bowl crackles with
righteous energy, while an intimate FROM JUST
ballads like “She’s Leaving” to the
abstract tone poem “Sealand”.
2004 concert at St James’s Church
– featuring Thom Yorke keening on £18.99*
Spawning huge global hits including “E-Bow The Letter” – proves that Subscribe online at
the sumptuous melodic throbber even when their studio work was in www.uncutsubs.co.uk/BWD8
“Souvenir” and the mournful, the doldrums, REM were never less
majestically eerie “Joan Of Arc”, the than a compelling live band. Or call 0330 333 1113
multi-million-selling Architecture Extras: 8/10. A DVD of TV and quote code BWD8
Lines are open Monday–Saturday, 8am–6pm)
& Morality was OMD’s equivalent of performances, including a
Offer closes 4th February 2019. For full terms and
The Human League’s Dare. Its 1983 dedicated Later… episode from conditions, visit www.magazinesdirect.com/terms
sequel, Dazzle Ships, received a cooler 1998, plus interviews with the band.
critical and commercial reception, GRAEME THOMSON

DECEMBER 2018 • UNCUT • 47


“I’ve always felt

emotionally exposed”
l l l


He’s a wheel: Jeff

Tweedy in 2018,
anticipating a new
“guiding concept” in
the way Wilco make
records in future

48 • UNCUT • DECEMBER 2018

DECEMBER 2018 • UNCUT • 49
“This is my kind of
festival”: Tweedy
at End Of The
Road in Wiltshire,
August 31, 2018

T is long after night has fallen when Jeff Tweedy among the waves of tourists traipsing between the
Globe and the London Eye. There are, as usual, a
takes to the Garden Stage at this year’s End Of The number of projects on the go – as a recent guest spot on
Road festival. Dressed in a massive coat and a woolly Norah Jones’ “A Song With No Name” attests – as well
as plenty of his own. Firstly, he is due to release a
hat, he is wrapped snugly against the chilly late memoir, Let’s Go (So We Can Get Back), and a new solo
summer night. “This is my kind album, WARM, in quick succession. They are both, he
explains, connected – and form part of a
of festival,” he says, gesturing ooser, more autobiographical approach to
outwards beyond the crowd. writing that has been evident for a number of
ears now, including 2014’s Sukierae album
“It’s cold, it’s damp, it’s dark…” For the most hat he recorded with his son, Spencer, on
rums. It is a process of reflection that is
part, Tweedy plays a small parlour guitar xplicitly connected to a series of personal
dipping nimbly through a back catalogue ragedies to hit the Tweedy family in quick
uccession –the death of his elder brother Greg
now stretching back across four decades. n 2013, his wife’s diagnosis with a rare form of
From the farthest end of his career, he plays Uncle Tupelo’s “New ymphoma in 2014 and the death of his father
Madrid” and “We’ve Been Had”, while there are also outings for new n 2017. To an extent, the memoir acts to draw a
songs “Let’s Go Rain” and “Some Birds” from his new solo album, ine under this turbulent period in Tweedy’s
WARM. “Let’s Go Rain” connects the Biblical flood to ife, while WARM’s autobiographical qualities
more immediate concerns regarding climate change – re revealed to be part of a deeper meditation
“How much fucking worse can it have been that the on matters romantic, familial and spiritual. The
world was underwater then and not now?” he asks his ongs themselves, though, are celebratory and
audience. But Tweedy has made tenderness and oyful – yet further evidence that Tweedy can
kindness a virtue – one of his great strengths is an find light even in despair.
ability to see hope and positivity even in the darkest The memoir digs deep into Tweedy’s upbringing

times. “We’re all in this shit together, and there’s more n Belleville, Illinois, and his time in Uncle Tupelo
of us,” he tells the crowd at End Of The Road. “I believe nd Wilco, while also addressing his complex
there’s more of us.” elationships with Uncle Tupelo founder Jay Farrar
The previous day, Tweedy could be found on and Jay Bennett, the Wilco guitarist who died in
London’s South Bank – a straggly, bear-like presence 009. Wilco, meanwhile, have been conspicuously

50 • UNCUT • DECEMBER 2018

absent for the last 18 months or so – though Tweedy
admits he is “gearing up for Wilco at the end of the year”.
He admits that the band continue to enjoy “an enormous
amount of goodwill. I’m heartened by that. I think that’s
the way it should be! So often it seems like bands have an
adversarial relationship with… everyone.”
Tweedy opened his End Of The Road set with another
new song – also the first track on WARM – called “Bombs
Above”. On it, he sings, “I leave behind/A trail of songs/
From the darkest gloom/To the brightest sun.” It is, if
nothing else, a fine summation of Tweedy’s restless,
quixotic career so far. Parking himself in a chair
overlooking the river Thames, Tweedy prepares to dig
back into his past yet again – to explain how he came to
The post-A Ghost
reconnect with his 14-year-old self, when he last had Is Born Wilco:
contact with Jay Farrar and what’s next for Wilco. (l–r) Glenn Kotche,
Nels Cline, Mikael
“I think my connection to music is more powerful now,” Jorgensen, Jeff
Tweedy says. “I don’t think I’ve ever completely taken it for Tweedy, Pat
Sansone and John
granted, but you take way more things for granted when Stirratt, May 2005
you’re younger. I don’t feel compelled to know the name of
every single band that’s brand new. But I’ve never felt that
way. I just want to find an old band or a new band or
something I haven’t heard before. And as far as that goes,
I’m insatiable. I’m the guy who still buys a lot of records…”
Wilco bassist John Stirratt – Tweedy’s longest
Which came first – the book or the solo album? serving musical lieutenant – on 30 years of friendship
The book has been about a two-year project. But there are

FIRST met Jeff when he was in Wilco. His work ethic became really
things on the record that probably started a little closer to Uncle Tupelo. I was at college good. Given his family history, he was
the same time. Just because of the nature of the way I in Oxford, Mississippi, and I got able to stop drinking at 23. Ironically,
record; I keep chipping away at stuff until I have a batch of hold of one of the self-released Uncle he had the rougher times later.
songs that feel good together. Tupleo cassettes. I fell in love with “But he’s now more comfortable in
the band immediately. There was a the role. I think the struggle over time
phone number on the back for him is how egalitarian
So there’s some natural seepage between the two?
– for their manager, Tony o be over the group. The
The process of writing forced a certain type of nostalgia – I don’t Margherita, who was later roup runs itself to some
know if nostalgia is the right word… a lot of reflection, which I’m not Wilco’s manager – and me egree. He doesn’t like
normally prone to. The act of writing itself dredges up things that you and my bandmates in The meetingst. He’s more
haven’t thought about very deeply in a long time. So a lot of that ends Hilltops invited them to play omfortable working up
up being expressed in the songs on the record. in Oxford. It was typical etlists, the flow of a show.
’80s band behaviour: stay “We’ve played together
at our house and we’ll or over 25 years. Jeff has
The book and the album seem part of a process that began with open for you in our town. hanged in certain ways
Sukierae: works that offer some autobiographical insight… Jay was very quiet and but if you want one story
It’s definitely a more prominent part of the work I’ve been doing for measured, while Jeff was the more that defines Jeff and his attitude,
the last few years. I’ve allowed a few more details of my life to be gregarious guy. He was naturally then it’s the time at the Grammys
evident. But I’ve always felt emotionally exposed, all the way very funny, I remember him doing a in 2005. Jeff was standing outside
brilliant impression of Alex Chilton in the bathroom, waiting for his wife,
through, in music I’ve been writing.
our kitchen one time. holding their programmes. Puff
“Did Jeff take naturally to becoming Daddy walked passed and someone
What was the turning point? Sky Blue Sky was definitely an a bandleader with Wilco? I don’t in his entourage tapped the top of
attempt to unmask and avoid all the efforts I’d been making think so, to be quite honest! On the the programmes, mistaking Jeff for
previously to conceal some biographical material. The emotional core first album, I don’t think he really had an usher. It confirmed a lot of Jeff’s
is the same – there was just less of an effort, after the fact, to surround the confidence – it was also a highly prejudices about that particular
stressful situation. There wasn’t charade – but he got a lot of mileage
it with surreal landscapes musically or to undermine the narrator.
much time between his ascendancy out of that story. It was very funny;
Right now, what I feel makes a good song is when I’ve finished a set of in Uncle Tupelo and the beginning of very typical Jeff.”
lyrics and you can hear it and you could say, “That’s about this.” That’s
never been that much of a concern to me until recently. It’s like a
challenge. Maybe I’m trying to impose an artificial limitation to stay completely discount the value of a god or the desire to be good. It’s not
excited about songwriting. But all the songs on WARM, I wanted them even really up to me; it seems to support itself. Most people I know are
to have a crystalised idea at the centre. atheist, and it’s not even a question of whether or not that’s what you
need to drive you to be helpful or good. It’s interesting that no matter
Can you give us an example? “Don’t Forget” is about my dad how intellectually I can convince myself we’re alone, you die and you

dying. “Let’s Go Rain” is about Noah’s flood. Is it a metaphor? don’t go anywhere, there’s almost a childish desire not to completely
It’s always a metaphor! The song is about: how much extinguish that hopeful flame that there is something.
worse could it have possibly been at the time of Noah’s
flood than it is now? What was it like… Jesus Christ, Especially when you’ve lost a sibling and
how bad was it? “Ithinkmy a parent in fairly quick succession. Uh-huh.

Why did you call the album WARM? There’s a lyric

on the record: “Like a red-brick warm when the sun has
connectionto Apart from the obvious differences of personnel,
do you see a distinction between a Wilco album
died”. That’s the way I feel about hope, about God. I
don’t believe in God, but in spite of that I have a desire
musicismore and a record like WARM or Sukierae? Yeah. From
Sukierae on – Schmilco, Star Wars, this record, even the
to be a good person and be helpful. Why is that? To me,
there is still some warmth in me as a human that can’t
powerful now” acoustic record [Together At Last] – my workflow has
been pretty solitary. Almost all of that material is

DECEMBER 2018 • UNCUT • 51


The original three-

piece Uncle Tupelo
lineup: (l–r) Jay
Farrar, Jeff Tweedy
and Mike Heidorn

generated by me being alone in the studio with my your father dying. Is part of writing this about
friend Tom engineering and Spencer. Even on Star drawing a line under all this? I’m an orphan
Wars and Schmilco, Spencer would come by for the first now, so… [chuckles]. I’m entering a bold new era,
stages of the song, then Glenn [Kotche] would come in on my own! I just tried to write a book that would be
and replace the drums and it’d all piece together. But nteresting to anyone who cared. I have a tough
because I’ve been able to do this for a pretty long time time allowing myself to think too assuredly that
this way, I’m sure that’s not the way I want to approach there are people paying attention or listening. It’s a
the next Wilco record. There’s going to have to be some disorientating thing – to establish that as a fact in my
sort of guiding concept or approach to the way Wilco mind – I don’t take it for granted. And obviously it is a
records. I don’t know what it is though! fact that there are people who care enough they would
want to sit down and read it.
Why has it been so long since Schmilco? Glenn’s
wife, Miiri, got a Fulbright scholarship. So they spent
the better part of the last year in Helsinki, so she could
“There’s a lot The first time you mention Wilco fans in the
book, you describe them as “followers” – which
do her studies and teaching. It’s good for a band to go
away for a while anyway. Wilco really hasn’t gone
of untapped has a weird, religious connotation… I was using it
in a casual sense – the way people follow sports or the
away, hardly ever, so it was an opportunity to do that, I
guess. There’s a lot of untapped potential in Wilco still.
potential in news. But I’m not so cut off from the world that I can’t
see a fervour to a certain percentage of people in our

Do you see a connection between the albums?

Wilco still” fanbase. I don’t know if it’s abnormal or if it’s par for
the course for bands. It feels particularly avid.
Is there a link between, say, [Uncle Tupelo’s
debut] No Depression and WARM? I’m a different
JEFF TWEEDY Peter Buck appears in the book and there is
person, but yeah – there is a thread. There’s a part of a parity between REM and Wilco: literate
me that’s always been compelled to create music and collegiate rock that inspires a certain kind
make things – not just songs. You can’t even say my of loyalty among a strata of their fanbase.
voice has been a constant. It’s completely different now There is something very powerful about having a
from Uncle Tupelo. I sound like a little hillbilly on No moment of recognition with a piece of art. That
Depression! I think I’m a more confident singer now. ounds very narcissistic for the fan – to recognise
hemselves in a piece of art and become infatuated
Most memoirs are written towards the end of a with it. But I think it’s relatively benign! People feel
career, so why write the book now? At some point, less alone when they make a human connection with
a friend said that within the publishing industry there a piece of art and perceive there to be a human
were a fair amount of people who were interested in consciousness they could relate to on the other side.
me writing a book. I thought about whether I had Less alone, less lonely to feel like you belong to
anything to share at 50 years old… Was it premature to something. It’s easy to belong to a lot of things than
write a book, would people even care about it in anybody can belong to, but it’s hard to find something
another 30 years? It seemed like a challenge! I’ve you want to belong to.
gone through recovery, I’ve had a pretty long career,
I’ve straddled two very different worlds of music There’s a good line in the book about fans who
making. So a lot of thoughts like those influenced still haven’t forgiven you for breaking up with
my decision to go ahead. But mostly… I thought Jay Bennett. They don’t have to forgive me and I don’t
there were things I had to share. Not necessarily that expect them to. I don’t feel like there’s anything I need

I had great stories to tell, but that I had things to to do or could do to change anyone’s opinion about
share about making art and getting better. something like that. It’s totally fine if they stopped
listening at Yankee Hotel Foxtrot. If those records mean
You had a pretty rough time from your something to people, that’s still more than I ever
brother’s death onwards: your wife getting ill, would have expected.

52 • UNCUT • DECEMBER 2018



"" ""  !    





!   !



"" ""


There’s a really palpable sense of regret about
how things ended with both Jays. Was it
difficult revisiting some of these trying times?
No. The only thing difficult about writing about
either one of them is being honest about my feelings
without it appearing petty or vindictive to the outside
world – which has poured so much of themselves
into imagining those dynamics from the outside. I
don’t have any scores to settle – obviously not with
Jay Bennett, who’s not around any more. But I don’t
feel I was particularly treated well by either of those
guys. So there’s an ambivalence that’s hard to step
round. At the same time, allowing myself to be
generous, too – because I did like both of those guys
a lot, they meant a lot to me. Meeting Jay Farrar
certainly changed my life – Jay Bennett, too.
Before the
The trajectory of both those relationships is Yankee Hotel
almost identical: you seem in awe of them Foxtrot clash:
Tweedy with
earlier on and over time that curdles. It’s Jay Bennett in
the same with my brother, Steve. There’s a lot of January 1997
psychoanalysis you can do in that regard. There’s
a deep-seated desire to do the best in these male
relationships and want to have a big brother or a role reissues here and there over the last few years. When
model. Some of that may be from my dad being
unengaged. So, yeah, a real childlike desire to have
that strong male presence. I set myself up repeatedly
MAVIS,ETC your OK-ing test pressings, you’re forced to go back
and listen to stuff. I have a hesitance to do it as I have
a superstition about spending too much time looking
to be somewhat disillusioned by the reality of those
Tweedy on his extra- back. It always sounds different to your memory of it,
situations! I don’t honestly think I created those
curricular activities with which undermines my belief I can be an impartial
problems; I was a little more unguarded than a lot Mavis Staples, Richard judge of my music in the studio. If I listen to things
of other people would be. Thompson and Low… I recorded a few years ago, like Star Wars and
Schmilco, I’ll nitpick that a little bit more – but older
HE last two Mavis Staples
When did you last have contact with Jay Farrar?
He emailed me a couple of years ago about some
possibility of there being some other Uncle Tupleo
“T records – and the Pops record
that we did – are very similar
to this batch of records that we’ve
stuff, it’s so far gone, it’s a different circumstance.

Are you a fan of rock books? Almost every other

recordings somewhere. But I don’t think anything been talking about. It’s mostly Spencer musician I know devours them, but I’ve only read a
came of it. Either he never found them or they never and I doing a lot of the recording. The handful. Ian Hunter’s Diary Of A Rock’n’Roll Star.
building of my ability to work in the
existed. Never heard anything else about it. Chronicles. That guy! He’s pretty good. Have you
studio in that solitary fashion is more
closely related to the Mavis records. read Really The Blues by Mezz Mezzrow? He was a
When you were writing the book, did you find it But in general I see those artists as all clarinetist, part of the world with Louis Armstrong
easy to reconnect with the young Jeff Tweedy? having strong, fully formed identities. and all that, but he was more famous for being a pot
I don’t feel very different. The only thing that’s My desire is to make a record when dealer. He’s where they all got their weed from, Bix
different is I have a better work ethic and more you can hear that as clearly as possible Beiderbecke and all those guys. At one point, they
and you hear as little of me as possible.
energy for it because I’m healthier. I have more thought pot was going to be legalised in the ’30s. He
“That’s what sets those artists apart,
evidence that I can survive things, that I’m going to truthfully. They can be put in a room had sold his name to be branded as pot cigarettes –

be OK. But in terms of curiosity and energy for without anything other than their the Mezz or something like that.
specific tasks at hand – and my obsessions – they’re instrument. They don’t need a specific
virtually identical to the 14-year-old me. I feel a deep backing. They’re elemental. It’s always There’s a line in the book where you say music
kinship with that kid. That was the only part of me, inspiring to be around artists like that, “helped me survive everything else”. It
who are so clearly defined as artists.”
the better part of me, that needed to survive and I’ve reminds me of that line in “Sunken Treasure”
taken care of him. I’m lucky I didn’t kill him. – “Music is my saviour”. That’s the thing, isn’t
it, that links it all together? Yeah. I’m not the
You write about smalltown lives, your father first person to think that music may be the most
and brother’s drinking. It’s very Springsteen… important part of life. “Without music, life would be
Working at the refinery, getting your union card… a mistake.” Nietzsche, right? It’s a great consolation.
Honestly, that stuff all resonated. The provincial It’s one of the only things I’ve never been able to
small town, suspicious of the outside world. But picture what there would be to replace it. I have lots
touring in Uncle Tupelo was really eye-opening. and lots of habits, because I’m an addict. If I stopped
We came over to the UK, spent a lot of time in doing crossword puzzles – which I do incessantly –
Scandinavia. We’d always been told America was it’s pretty easy to picture some other time-suck. But
the greatest country on Earth. I never really believed music is a way to reach out still, somehow. I want to
it – but I certainly didn’t expect it to be that untrue, have people listen to music that I make and have
if that makes sense. We met people roughly our age the same feeling that I have when I listen to music.
living in communal homes and thriving and cooking With the best music, I feel like I’m spending time
meals together. While we were eating fast food, they with somebody who cares that I’m listening. I like
had a culture. Whether I’d stayed or not in Bellville thinking about that as being a part of what I’m trying
after that, I was already gone. With Mavis to do, because it’s been so helpful to me.
Staples in
Did you go back and listen to anything from November Let’s Go (So We Can Get Back) is published
your back catalogue for the book? No! I can 19, 2014 by Faber on November 22; WARM is released
remember it all, well enough… We’ve put out a few by dBpm Records on November 30

54 • UNCUT • DECEMBER 2018



$$ $$ 







$$ $$






$$ $$





Wall of sound: The
Psychedelic Furs in
Ontario, Canada,
1981 – (l–r) Vince Ely,
Roger Morris, Richard
Butler (crouching),
John Ashton, Duncan
Kilburn and Tim Butler

56 • UNCUT • DECEMBER 2018


From their inauspicious beginnings as Matt Vinyl &

The Undercoats, THE PSYCHEDELIC FURS found
themselves courted by Bowie, partying with Jagger and
soundtracking a Hollywood blockbuster. Here, the band’s
founding brothers Richard and Tim Butler – accompanied
by members past and present – tell DAVE SIMPSON
about their remarkable rise to superstardom and beyond.
“It was like being in The Beatles…”

DECEMBER 2018 • UNCUT • 57


IM BUTLER remembers the moment when The are frequently smoked; love,
meanwhile, is a quality to be
Psychedelic Furs the band he co founded with his pursued wistfully. A sample line,
elder brother Richard first realised they’d made a big from “Sister Europe”, may give some
indication of Butler’s more romantic,
impression. This was in 1980, and they had just played a existential leanings: “Lonely in a
show at New York’s fabled Hurrah club when David Bowie crowded room/The radio plays out of
tune/So silently.” Musically, early
and David Byrne burst into their dressing room, pretending standards “Imitation Of Christ”,
to argue over which one of them would produce the next Furs album. “Dumb Waiters” and “Flowers”
featured heavy drones, spiralling
“Bowie said, ‘He [Byrne] wants to do it and I keep telling him he Richard Butler guitars and wailing saxophone.
can’t, because I am!’” recalls the bassist, revealing how the Furs in 1981 and For The Psychedelic Furs, though, the long tail of their decline
(below) the
broke their strict no-encores rule for Bowie – as you would – after six-piece Furs lasted from the late ’80s through to their eventual, decade-long hiatus
he’d pleaded, “Go out and do another, just for me.” lineup of the in the early ’90s. However it ended then, the Butlers are pleased with
first two LPs
Although neither Bowie nor Byrne produced the Furs – their how things turned out. Since they reformed, in 2002, they have
schedules never aligned – the story reveals something of the band’s enjoyed renewed focus. They have recently released their seven
Herculean self-belief. “Maybe we should have waited for Bowie,” studio albums on vinyl, while over the summer they were the opening

admits Tim. “But we had that punk attitude. ‘If he’s not ready now, headline act at Robert Smith’s Meltdown. Perhaps most intriguingly,
we’ll do it with someone else.’” they are working on their first LP of new music for 17 years. “We’ve
After all, it didn’t turn out too badly – even without the high-end been writing songs all along,” the singer reveals. “I’m not sure what
patronage of Bowie and Byrne. From their earliest days in the Surrey era of the band they sound like. They just sound like the Furs!”
suburbs, the Furs’ aspirations were always on an “It’s the Furs… but for 2018,” his brother expands,
international level. Good hair, high cheekbones, confidently. It is, he confides, a long way from their earliest
leather: a cool, photogenic style at the onset of MT forays into music, playing in their parents’ living room, or
their ascent in America began with their 1982 on one occasion during a pub gig where they plugged in
album, Forever Now, and was turbo-boosted w n a vacuum cleaner on stage, an old Stooges trick. “It
a re-recording of their song “Pretty In Pink” sounded like a wall of feedback,” Tim chuckles. “We
became a global hit. All the while, they continued retired that idea pretty quickly.”
to enjoy the attentions from rock’s senior dons –

“Bowie came to see us quite a lot,” adds Richard VEN at the start, the Furs were informed by
Butler. “And there’d be people like Andy Warhol or Lou a degree of chaos. “We’d drink a lot and get
Reed. There was always someone popping by.” argumentative,” explains Tim. “If you listen to those
Like many of their peers who emerged during the early songs, there is an edge. But it came from small
late ’70s – Echo & The Bunnymen, The Sound, arguments, forgotten the next day.” The Butlers’ own
Comsat Angels – The Psychedelic Furs dealt in relationship was – and is – the same. Tim claims to be
strange, foreboding atmospheres. Their best work affled by the rivalries of the Davies or Gallagher
articulates transitional emotional states. If weathe iblings. “Short of killing the other’s wife or
is to be forecast in their songs, more often that n t it something, blood is thicker than rock’n’roll.”
will indicate rain; cigarettes The Butlers grew up in what Richard describes as

58 • UNCUT • DECEMBER 2018

an “argumentative household” in East Horsley, Surrey – sons of an
atheist, Communist research chemist whose beliefs “caused him
grief” in such a conservative suburb. Yet he encouraged them to
question everything: sowing the seed for the discourses on
capitalism, commercialism and romance that would later surface
in Richard’s lyrics.
“Our father was a scientist, so he wanted to see evidence,” he
explains. “‘What is love? Is it a real thing?’” Their father also inspired
them musically, bringing home a different album every Friday –
“Dylan, Leonard Cohen, Johnny Cash, not stuff you’d expect in the
At the Africa
stockbroker belt”, Tim explains – but their eureka Centre in Covent
moment was punk. After they saw a Melody Maker front Garden, London,
March 9, 1979
cover photo of John Lydon at the Nashville Rooms, they
travelled to see the Sex Pistols at the 100 Club on

September 20, 1976. HEIR breakthrough arrived on stage at the
“We were in the queue when the Pistols stumbled Windsor Castle, a pub in London W9, where over
from a black cab,” remembers Tim. “Lydon had orange four Wednesdays in early 1979 The Psychedelic
hair and a drape suit held together by safety pins. He urs went from playing to friends to filling the venue.
walked into the club, sneering at everybody.” For two A slot supporting The Flys at Camden’s Music Machine
teenagers from a nice part of the Home Counties, the wiftly followed. “The place was rammed, but after our
experience acted as a wake-up call. A band, of sorts, et everybody left,” Richard remembers. “We thought,
was formed – lineups consisted of “whoever turned Wow, they came to see us.’”
up and had an instrument”. Roger Morris and Duncan A few weeks later, the Furs returned to The Music
Kilburn – school friends of their brother Simon – Machine as the headline act, and a recording exists of CBS
arrived with guitar and sax respectively. “It’s a good executive Muff Winwood turning to his A&R man
thing none of us had a flute,” deadpans Tim. Howard Thompson between the songs “Fall” and
An early drummer, Paul Wilson, fled for the security of a job “Dumb Waiters” urging, “We should sign them.”
at the gas board, while Tim recalls the response of pub They were connected with Steve Lillywhite,
landlords to their early shows was routinely negative. “So who produced the Furs’ first two albums and
we’d rename ourselves and go back with a tape of other who Richard credits with helping his band of
people’s music and say, ‘We’re nothing like we used to be.’” “drunken louts” shape their sound. For the
This ruse saw them through the first two years – and producer, the Furs’ singer was a star, while in
names such as RKO or Matt Vinyl & The Undercoats – before John Ashton they had “an ideas person, one of
the band’s classic early lineup coalesced around guitarist the great guitarists of the period”. Lillywhite
John Ashton and drummer Vince Ely. Their influences – The describes the first album Furs as “an almost pre-
Velvet Underground, Roxy Music – widening the band’s sound Radiohead-like experimental pop band rebelling
beyond punk’s three-chord chop, while Butler’s vocal delivery against the ridiculousness of complacency like the
brought yet another element to the proceedings. Eagles and Supertramp”. For “Sister Europe” – an
“Bowie was an influence, but not as much as people early classic – he asked Richard to “sing it as if it
think,” the singer admits. “I come from South London, was 3am, as if he was talking to someone on the
so I sing in an English accent, like Bowie. But Bob Dylan
was a huge influence as well. When I sing certain notes it
“Bowie was phone. It was a little clue that the Furs were more
than a great boom-boom post-punk band.”
pushes my voice to cracking…”
The name The Psychedelic Furs, too, was chosen
an influence… The songwriting process retains some magic,
even after all these years. “John played most of
Dylan as well”

because it stood out from other, more combative punk the lead parts and I played mostly rhythm,” says
monikers. “‘Psychedelia’ was a dirty word then,” Tim Roger Morris. “Although this was not a set-in-
explains. “We wanted people to look at the name on RICHARD BUTLER stone formula. Sometimes there was a call-
a poster and think, ‘What the hell is that?’” and-answer pattern going on, as in ‘Mr Jones’.


Beautiful chaos and heartbreak beats…
Richard Butler’s favourite Furs COLUMBIA, 1984 (COLUMBIA, 1989)
album. “She Is Mine” and “All Of With producer With no expectation
This And Nothing” introduced Keith Forsey’s drum of hits and with Vince
vulnerability alongside hurtling machines replacing Vince Ely, Ely back on drums, Cure producer
exual anthems and, of course, the Furs’ mighty fourth takes UK Dave Allen helmed a lo-fi, partial
Pretty In Pink”. alternative (Sisters Of Mercy/The return to the Furs’ vintage sound.
Chameleons) onto US FM radio.
FURS Tim Butler prefers MIDNIGHT COLUMBIA, 1991
CBS, 1980 their Todd Rundgren- COLUMBIA, 1987 The Furs’ final album
The eponymous produced third. Loved or hated by to date also harked
Roxy-meets-Pistols debut in post- The slimmed-down quartet both fans and band, back to their alternative roots,
punk’s class of 1980, a driving, dark recalibrated alt-rock for the US the ’80s big production makes MTM although the dreamily sexy
and majestically sensual document market and scored a breakthrough a period piece, but “Heartbreak “Until She Comes” should have
of the self-styled “beautiful chaos”. hit with “Love My Way”. Beat” still sounds great. been enormous.

DECEMBER 2018 • UNCUT • 59

Usually these ideas were worked out during
band rehearsals.”
“I barely if ever write in the first person,”
explains Richard. “The songs aren’t about
me. Characters would come out of my
imagination. Back then, more than I do
now, I’d have a little note pad with me and
I’d write down when people said things
that were interesting, or interesting puns. Things like that. I had lots
of beer mats with things scribbled on them.”
After recording an EP with Martin Hannett – subsequently shelved
– the band regrouped with Lillywhite for Talk Talk Talk. The producer
describes it as an enormous step forward for the band, which is
“unusual for a second album. But the harder songs were harder, the
softer songs softer. Everything was sexy. They’d been on the road,
shagged some American girls and wanted to shag some more. I’ve
only realised this in hindsight, but you listen to the lyrics and think,
‘God, Richard just wants to fuck.’” Above: forever you keep doing that I’m going to throw my drink in your face.’ I said, ‘If
The singer chuckles at the notion. “I’ve always been a monogamous changing you do, you’re out.’ He did and he was out.” Kilburn’s wasn’t the only
lineups – the
person. I’d a girlfriend for seven years and remained faithful. I wasn’t Furs in ’83 sudden exit. Morris – whose musical relationship with John Ashton
living this hedonistic life at all. was key to the Furs’ early sound – suddenly told Richard, “I want more
“On Talk Talk Talk we had charts on the wall of songs that needed room for my guitar’. So Les [Mills, manager] said, ‘If you’re going to let
lyrics, so that was my homework,” he continues. “Other times I’d Duncan go, then Roger has to go too, because that’s what John wants.’
spent an afternoon in Muswell Hill library reading poets and writing So it became this weird deal. I certainly wouldn’t have fired Roger.”
lyrics. We recently put ‘She Is Mine’ in the set again. That’s a very jaded

view of love and romance, but put in a very sweet-sounding way.” OWEVER explosive the situation could sometimes be
Among the songs they wrote for Talk Talk Talk, the most famous is between the principals, what they created on stage and in the
undoubtedly “Pretty In Pink” – which the band remember arrived studio was something to be treasured. These qualities –
after a long day in Hammersmith’s Nomis studios. John energy, mystery, charisma – were evidently something their
Ashton started absentmindedly strumming Lou Reed’s American fans responded to positively. “Most English bands
“Sweet Jane” riff and suddenly it morphed it into something dream of cracking America, but concentrate on Europe
new. “I had a vocal melody there and then and I wrote the first,” says Tim. “But we sort of did it the other way round.”
lyrics that same night,” Richard remembers. Guitarist Roger They decided to record their third album with a new
Morris describes the band adding “bits and pieces. We producer, Todd Rundgren, in his Woodstock studios. He
instantly knew it was a great song.” brought a different kind of approach to Lillywhite – a focus
“Pretty In Pink” was a natural hit – but record companies on the band’s already developing pop sensibilities. One song
struggled to break so-called “alternative” bands in 1981; even particularly caught Rundgren’s ear. “If you sing it rather than
U2 didn’t score a proper hit ’til ’83. As a consequence, “Pretty declaiming it, it could be a hit,” he told Richard.
In Pink” stalled at No 43 and Talk Talk Talk itself was greeted “Love My Way”, originated as a two-note melody on Richard’s

with mixed reviews. Meanwhile, creative arguments were Casio keyboard, and while a marimba hook occupied the
becoming more destructive. spaces left by Kilburn and Morris, Rundgren still felt it needed
Richard doesn’t want to create “bad feeling”, but he admits something else. “Flo and Eddie? Richard said, ‘Hell no, those
that he and saxophonist Duncan Kilburn never got on. Tensions guys from The Turtles?’” laughs his brother. “Todd said he
erupted on a ferry after a European tour. “We were probably all didn’t want to use them as conventional
drunk. I was arguing with him and leaning in, and he said, ‘If backing vocalists, but as another
nstrument. We listened back and loved
STATESIDE SUCCESS t, and we were, ‘How about using them
on this track? Or this?’ Todd had cool

PRETTYINPINK! off-the-wall musical ideas.”

The success of “Love My Way” – a Top
50 hit on both sides of the Atlantic –
How the song inspired a film, a hit, a fan ushered the band into the mainstream.
rebellion and a comeback “I remember being mobbed after an
n-store appearance in Seattle,” says
NITIALLY a single from 1981’s relation to the song at all.

I Talk Talk Talk, “Pretty In Pink”’s

curious second life began
after it found a superfan in actor
To me, she was in the pink –
ie, naked – but John Hughes
took it literally: a pretty girl in
Richard. “We managed to pull away
nd there were cars following us, and
he driver had to lose them. It was like
Molly Ringwald. “She really liked a pink dress.” Still, this didn’t eing in The Beatles.” Suddenly, they
that album, and ‘Pretty In Pink’ stop the film becoming a were being wined and dined by the
in particular,” Richard Butler massive success, and the ikes of a “very chatty” Andy Warhol.
explains. “She’d just made Sixteen soundtrack’s re-recorded After one gig, the artist asked, “‘Do
Candles [1984] with John Hughes version of “Pretty In Pink” gave
and went back to him and said, the Furs a worldwide hit. you want to come to Mick Jagger’s
‘Listen to this song. You’ve got to “It exposed us to a teen party at Xenon? Can we take your
write a movie about it.’” Thus, the audience in pink T-shirts with bus?’” So Warhol got on the Furs’
song inspired Pretty In Pink, the ribbons in their hair,” Tim tour bus, accompanied by the latest
screenplay, but with a twist. Butler says. “Our older fans over star of his Interview magazine,
“To me, the girl in the song is were horrified. I’ve spoken to nd proceeded to borrow her makeup.
fairly promiscuous and thinks people who said, ‘I stopped
it’s cool, but people are talking coming to see you after the Blue eyeshadow, lipstick, all sorts,”
behind her back and laughing Pretty In Pink Tour. I thought Richard says. “It was most bizarre. Then
about her,” the singer says. “But you’d sold out.’ But now they’ve we pulled in front of Xenon and he just
the plot of the film bears no all come back. It’s great.” wiped it off and went into the party.”

60 • UNCUT • DECEMBER 2018

so nervous, he didn’t want to leave his room. “I think Midnight To
Midnight is a fucking great album,” insists Mars Williams,
perhaps reflecting an American’s perspective. But the old punks
in the Butlers hate it. Richard’s heart murmur only exacerbated
their problems. At the time, he told John Ashton he wanted to
leave the band, but the guitarist urged, “Don’t go on a low note.”
The band recorded Book Of Days, “an LP consciously designed
not to have a hit on it”, says Richard. “Very deliberately lo-fi.
Surprisingly, the label seemed to roll with the punches.”
But after one more album – 1991’s World Outside – Ashton quit
himself. “Differences of opinion, let’s leave it at that,” Richard
The pre-hiatus
World Outside says, discreetly. “He’s a good man, and a good guitarist.” (Ashton
lineup, 1991 didn’t respond to requests to be interviewed for this piece. But his
new band Satellite Paradiso, whose album reunites
Other such memorable encounters followed. On one him with Roger Morris, have played with the Furs).
occasion, John Cale not only supported the Furs but The Psychedelic Furs played their final gig in March
guested with them on stage. “He asked how he should
play,” Richard remembers. “I said, ‘Remember “Black
“We fell for the 1992 at The Academy, New York, before quietly
slipping away. “We wanted to do different things,” Tim
Angel’s Death Song”? Play like that.’ He did, and it
was incredible.”
image thing – explains. “Take time off, recharge the batteries. We
were tired… of being The Psychedelic Furs.”
The band’s rise wasn’t an uninterrupted course,
big hair, drape
though. Vince Ely left by the time the band came to ODAY, Richard and Tim Butler have never been
record 1984’s Mirror Moves; it left the band essentially
functioning as a three-piece. As producer, Keith Forsey coats” TIM BUTLER further apart. Richard lives in upstate New York,
where both brothers relocated from London in
was enrolled – a man whose credits that same year also 1983. Tim, meanwhile, moved to rural Kentucky 11
included Simple Minds’ “Don’t You (Forget About Me)”, used in years ago, where he enjoys “a different kind of
John Hughes’ The Breakfast Club. At the midpoint in the ’80s, Americana”. Now, Richard confides, he is
the films of Hughes captured the buoyancy and confusion of considering putting even more distance
being young, where the misfit and misunderstood teenager between them, with a move back to the UK –
aspired to wider acceptance but refused to compromise too to Cumbria, where my mother lives, or possibly
much. It was a sensibility the Furs themselves – who enjoyed Edinburgh, near where my daughter is at
Hughes’ benefaction on Pretty In Pink – would recognise. It university. I’ve lived in the US longer than I was
was certainly a productive time for the band – “‘The Ghost n the UK, but whenever I come back I still feel
In You’, ‘Heaven’… they’d come up with an idea and – boom – ery much at home.”
a song was there,” says saxophonist Mars Williams. The singer insists that, despite such
geographical distance, he and his brother still

ATELY, Richard Butler has found himself reflecting njoy a fluid exchange of musical ideas, much as
with renewed urgency on the trajectory of his hey always have. After the Furs went on hiatus in
band. Butler, who is 62, experienced the surprise he early ’90s, the Butlers resurfaced in Love Split
recurrence of a heart murmur that he’d first been ove; most successfully covering The Smiths’
diagnosed with in 1987. At that time, he’d started feeling “How Soon Is Now?” for 1996 movie The Craft and TV
“like I had a sparrow flying in my chest” or being “in a how Charmed.
plane when the engine suddenly starts spluttering… But it proved hard to resist the pull of the Furs for too
But it’s not like it was then,” he insists. ong. On June 21, 2000, the band took the stage at the
All the same, it brought back memories of a particularly ones Beach Theatre on Long Island for their first show
dark period in the band’s history. 1987 marked the start n eight years. Today’s Psychedelic Furs are in rude
of what Butler calls the band’s “unravelling” – a gradual health. They have just finished a 35-date North
process that ran across a number of years, brought on by American tour. It’s a mixed crowd, with parents
stress, exhaustion and the realisation that, after a period bringing their children along, which they like. But
of great success in America, The Psychedelic Furs had while their sets pay homage to their best-known
lost their way creatively. “I was incredibly disappointed songs, the Butlers very much have their eye on the
with myself,” Butler sighs. “We’d turned into something future. There is a new guitarist – Paul Garisto – from
I didn’t like.” their old stomping ground in Surrey, and new music on the way. Both
The plan had been to record fifth album Midnight To Midnight with brothers agree they feel more like a band again. They are even so
Daniel Lanois. But after one session, the producer told them to come comfortable in their own skins that Morris has been able to forget
back when they had more songs. “Of course, being the ego-driven what he calls “30 years of water under bridges” and occasionally
young people that we were, we thought, ‘Nah. We can rejoin his old bandmates on stage.
write them in the studio, like we did for Mirror Moves,’” “Without any pressure from record companies,
Tim admits. However, when they eventually convened it’s fun again,” Tim considers, revealing that they
with producer Chris Kimsey, they were struck with have 10 new backing tracks recorded, with more
writer’s block. “So, nine months and a million pounds set for September. “It’s been a long time and
later, we came out with an LP that should have been a lot we’re not going to outsell Justin Bieber, but the
better,” Tim sighs. “We fell for the image thing: big hair, challenge is to produce something that is both up
ego ramps on stage, the drape coats you’re supposed to to date and can stand up with our back catalogue.”
have. It’s the only one of our albums that’s dated, that It’s a view shared by his brother. “I feel very

doesn’t fit in with today’s alternative music. It’s what lucky to be still making a decent living from
happens when you’re successful, which is fine if it’s a something I love doing,” he says. “I’ll take it! It’s
hit, but if not, watch out.” a wonderful position to be in.”
All the same, Midnight To Midnight was their highest- Appearing
at the Robert
charting album in America, taking them into venues Smith-curated The Furs catalogue is reissued on vinyl by Sony
like the LA Forum – a 17,500-capacity gig that made Tim 2018 Meltdown Columbia; a boxset is due in the new year

DECEMBER 2018 • UNCUT • 61



HEN Bob Dylan arrived at A&R Fish on 1970’s “Hey Bobby”, “We missed you out on the
Recording Studios in New York streets.” Joan Baez was also desperate for her former partner
on September 16, 1974, it was to reconnect with the protest movement, singing on 1972’s
a homecoming of sorts. “To Bobby”, “Do you hear the voices in the night, Bobby?/
In its previous guise as They’re crying for you.” Even David Bowie – a man who
Columbia’s fabled Studio A, this implicity understood the need for reinvention – urged Dylan
was where Dylan had recorded to “give us back our unity/Give us back our family” on “Song
his first six albums, from his self-titled 1962 debut to 1965’s For Bob Dylan”.
Highway 61 Revisited. Those albums represented a period of Dylan’s response, on 1974’s Planet Waves, was clear: “It’s
wild inspiration and creativity for Dylan; but by the mid-’70s never been my duty to remake the world at large,” he sang on
he was struggling to regain such explosive momentum. “Wedding Song”. “Nor is it my intention to sound a battle
Dylan’s woes were not confined solely to the studio. At charge.” But other singer-songwriters seemed more
home, his 10-year marriage to Sara Lownds was failing. receptive to the turmoil of the era. Jackson Browne’s Late For
Meanwhile, the mid-’70s was darkening around him; the The Sky caught the moment’s empty drift, while in 1975 itself
optimism of the previous decade had vanished in the gloom, Neil Young’s Tonight’s The Night, Warren Zevon’s self-titled
disillusion and bloodshed of the My Lai massacre, the Kent second album and Patti Smith’s Horses emphasised how

State shootings and more. In August 1974, Richard Nixon marginalised Dylan had become as a singer-songwriter.
was forced to resign, the first US president to do so. 1975 was also the year of Joni Mitchell’s Hissing Of Summer
Accordingly, Dylan found himself pressured to rekindle his Lawns, Springsteen’s Born To Run and Bowie’s Young
political conscience by both fans and his contemporaries. Americans, all of which were regarded as trailblazing in
“Hey Bobby, where you been?” asked Country Joe And The ways Dylan hadn’t been in a while.

62 • UNCUT • DECEMBER 2018

Tangled up in
thought: Bob
Dylan in 1975

DECEMBER 2018 • UNCUT • 63


Blood On
The Tracks
Dylan had
finally broken
free of the ’60s

The artist at
work: Dylan
in 1974

In comparison, Dylan still seemed like a could be done in songs, because I’d never written Studios. He was apparently happy with the
prisoner of the ’60s – unhip after a slew of albums a song like that. But when I started doing it, the results – the album was mastered, test pressings
so far below the cool heights of Highway 61 first album I made was Blood On The Tracks.” manufactured, sleeve artwork sourced and a
Revisited or Blonde On Blonde. New Morning and Whether or not Dylan is deliberately overstating release date confirmed. And then, three months
Planet Waves had found Dylan struggling to Raeben’s influence – a typical deflection from a later, Bob Dylan changed his mind.
recapture some of the old songwriting magic. master – nevertheless a remarkable shift in his
Even the huge comeback tour in 1974 – Dylan’s songwriting process certainly took place that VER two days in December, Dylan
first for eight years – found him accompanied by
The Band, suggesting an artist resurrecting the
fabled triumphs of his past rather than embracing
summer. Back on his Minnesota farm, he filled
three red notebooks with raw material ahead of
the September sessions. But the experiences with
O re-recorded half of Blood On The Tracks
at Sound 80 Studio in Minneapolis. The
edition of the LP that eventually arrived in record
a bold new future. Raeben further exacerbated his deteriorating shops on January 20, 1975 combined five tracks
For Dylan, fresh perspectives on how to manage relationship with Sara: “That’s when our from the New York sessions and five from
these conflicts – internal, external, creative and marriage started breaking up,” Dylan revealed to Minneapolis. As with much of Dylan’s work, the
emotional – apparently arrived in May 1974. the Dallas Evening News in 1978. “She never knew hubbub around the provenance of the recordings,
While in New York, he signed on for lessons with what I was talking about, what I was thinking their coded meanings and their place in his
painter Norman Raeben – who advocated not about. And I couldn’t possibly explain it.” firmament tend to obscure what’s going on
just technique, but also a philosophy of sorts. A This, then, was where Bob Dylan was at on where it matters most – on the album itself.
73-year-old Russian Jewish immigrant, Raeben’s September 16, 1974. The date itself was propitious Bob Dylan’s songs are about people – some real,
insights “taught me how to see”, Dylan explained – it was Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year, an some fictional and some occasionally taken from

to Rolling Stone in 1978. “He put my mind and my ideal time for a fresh start. Recently re-signed to the artist’s own life. Specifically, Blood On The
hand and my eye together in a way that allowed Columbia after a stint on David Geffen’s Asylum Tracks seemingly offered tantalising insight
me to do consciously what I unconsciously felt. label, Dylan began four days’ worth of sessions into Dylan’s own situation – the songs of quiet
And I didn’t know how to pull it off. I wasn’t sure it with engineer Phil Ramone at A&R Recording reflection and resignation enfolded much

64 • UNCUT • DECEMBER 2018

Dylan and Sara
Lownds, 1975

Francisco and Ashtabula” – all corresponded to

places of interest in Bernstein’s life. Years later, Dylan
admitted to the writer Bill Flanagan that the album
was “somewhat about that [his split from Lownds].
But I’m not going to make an album and lean on a
marriage relationship,” he emphasised. In Chronicles,
meanwhile, he went further, claiming that the entire
DYLAN’S RED album is based on Chekhov short stories. “Critics
NOTEBOOKS thought it was autobiographical. That was fine.”

REVEALED! Whatever the truth, Blood On The Tracks restored

Dylan’s reputation. An album of powerful emotional
A glimpse inside the complexity, it confirmed that Dylan, finally, had
master’s legendary broken free of the ’60s, initiating a period of creativity
ledger… that propelled him through the rest of the decade.

OR years, scholars and fans HERE have been tantalising glimpses of the
have speculated over the tiny
red notebook in which Dylan
reportedly hand-wrote the lyrics
for Blood On The Tracks. The
T full New York sessions previously: eight tracks
scattered across other official releases, mostly
1985’s Biograph and 1991’s Bootleg Series Vols 1-3. But
truth was considerably more now More Blood, More Tracks: The Bootleg Series Vol 14
surprising. It transpired there were delivers the motherlode, at last. It is available as a 1CD
three red books after all — Dylan’s set, a double vinyl edition and an all-encompassing
writing spurt had been far more
boxset. The 1CD set features alternate New York
prolific than anyone could have
possibly guessed. versions of all 10 songs from the original album along
The notebook revelations came with an unreleased take of “Up To Me”. The Deluxe
in 2016, when Dylan’s archive was edition – reviewed here – offers 87 tracks: a definitive
bought by the George Kaiser Family anthology of the New York sessions and the five
Foundation and the University existing Minneapolis recordings sequenced in
of Texas. And now, one of those
chronological order. It runs to almost six hours.
notebooks has been replicated in
full in the deluxe More Blood, More There are no previously unknown songs – although
Tracks boxset. an unexpected cover of “Spanish Is The Loving
Tantalisingly, there are no Tongue” arrives on Disc 3 – but that is not to say the
recordings known to exist. set is without revelations. The biggest surprise is less
“Church Bell Blues” eventually about the music and more what happened in the
morphed into”Call Letter Blues”.
studio. Received opinion follows that Blood On The
“Belltower Blues” was rumoured to
personal loss and regret. For an artist who protected have been attempted at the A&R Tracks started out in New York as a band record with
his private life so assiduously, Dylan was finally Dylan initially supported by a group of studio
sessions. Alas, the whereabouts
letting it all bleed out in public – its biographical truth of these are currently unknown: musicians whom he subsequently dropped from the
later confirmed when his son Jakob told The New York “Where Do You Turn” (or “Turning sessions. The truth, it seems, is very different. When
Times, “When I’m listening to Blood On The Tracks, Point”), “It’s Breakin’ Me Up”, “Don’t we first encounter Dylan in A&R Studios, he is
Want No Married Woman”, “Met
that’s about my parents.” Anyone searching for completely alone. Back in the room where he recorded
Somebody” and “Ain’t It Funny”.
supporting evidence may have found that on “Call Answers on a postcard to the “Blowin’ In The Wind”, “The Times They Are
Letter Blues” – recording during the Blood On The usual address… A-Changin’” and “Mr Tambourine Man”, it appears
Tracks sessions, but unreleased until 1991: “Well, your Dylan was proposing to record an acoustic record, no
friends come by for you/I don’t know what to say/I just less – 11 years after his electric transformation.
can’t face to tell ’em/Honey you just went away.” At the On September 16, sessions begin in the early
time, too, Dylan appeared on a syndicated radio show afternoon with “If You See Her, Say Hello”. Over the
presented by folk singer Mary Travers where he noted, next few hours, he records 10 takes – one more of “If
“A lot of people tell me they enjoyed that album. It’s You See Her, Say Hello”, three of “You’re A Big Girl
hard for me to relate to that – I mean, people enjoying Now”, two of “Simple Twist Of Fate”, two of “Up To Me”
that type of pain.” and two of “Lily, Rosemary And The Jack Of Hearts”.
For those eager to truffle out deeper meanings, Unlike the often tentative, exploratory work captured
other apparent references to Dylan’s life presented on The Bootleg Series, Vol 12: The Cutting Edge 1965-
themselves. During his marital separation, Dylan 1966, Dylan instantly has a clear and fully formed idea
connected with Ellen Bernstein, a young Columbia of where he is heading. The first take of “If You See Her,
Records executive. The ingenious rhyming of place Say Hello” is riveting, fully engaged. The final chords
names in “You’re Gonna Make Me Lonesome When die away, silence falls, then a few seconds later you
You Go” – “I’ll look for you in old Honolulu/San hear Phil Ramone say over the talkback, “That’s

DECEMBER 2018 • UNCUT • 65

really nice.” It’s a great start, but within the space stunning take of “Simple Twist Of Fate”, draped must be wrong,” he sings prophetically, as the first
of a few moments, Dylan is trying something with haunting interwoven guitar lines that three passes at the song break down. As one-time
different. Take 2 is gossamer light and wistful, accentuate the material’s sombre nature. An Gaslight regulars, you’d think that Weissberg and
more in keeping with the song’s requiem for lost observer might wonder, where did it all go Kornfeld were alert to Dylan’s mercuriality. But
love. With the first two takes of “Simple Twist Of wrong? “The drums are one second behind or there are ongoing problems reading Dylan’s open
Fate” he has the phrasing and tone – and something,” says Dylan, stopping the second turning. As it is, different tempos and approaches
harmonica solo – in place but experiments with take dead after a minute and a half. Whatever are tried but, by the time they reach Take 8, the
the shape of the chords, especially at the start. Dylan is hunting down in the song has vanished song has yet to hit home.
By the time he gets to “Up To Me”, he’s hitting by the third attempt. They knockabout “Call With only Brown remaining, Dylan closes out
his stride. Here a narrator reflects on dangerous Letter Blues” and “Meet Me In The Morning”, the first day with “Tangled Up In Blue [Take 1]”.
times – “Everything went from bad to worse, perhaps seeking connectivity in the easy It opens with the most lovely, wistful harmonica
money never changed a thing” – where you’re pleasures of the blues, before the music – in fact his harp playing sometimes wails and
impressed by the scale of the drama as much as shifts again. swoops, sometimes dances in delicate filigree,
the humour and grittiness of the story. Along At this point Dylan – accompanied only by Tony reminiscent at moments of the astonishing
the way, there are betrayals, assignations, life- Brown – unveils “Idiot Wind”. There are five things he does with it on the live 1966 acoustic
threatening chases. It is a widescreen mix of takes from the first day’s session (not performances. The voice, meanwhile,
noir vibes, romantic entanglement and dramatic all complete) that capture the is riveting, not least in its variations
intrigue that Dylan sustains through the darkly song in motion, morphing f expression. It’s almost
atmospheric takes of his western epic, “Lily, through a handful of mercilessly without feeling
Rosemary And The Jack Of Hearts”. Then, just refinements. Critically, or half the first “Tangled
as evening falls, the band arrives. these versions reveal Up In Blue” and especially
Dylan at his most exposed ntimate on the second;
HE group of musicians Dylan calls into and vulnerable. They n another version, he

T A&R Studios include multi-instrumentalist

Eric Weissberg, Barry Kornfeld and Charles
Brown on guitar, keyboardist Thomas McFaul,
also serve to underscore
Brown’s discreet and
sympathetic service to the
irouettes vocally when she
ends down to tie “the la-a-a-
-aces” of his shoe.Although
drummer Richard Crooks and Tony Brown. The material, a quality Dylan is lot of ground has been
music they play is sparse, with a modicum of evidently quick to recognise. overed, there have been
drums, organ and pedal steel; but in the end, it The eight consecutive takes umps along the way. Dylan is
proves not an entirely satisfactory arrangement of “You’re Gonna Make Me impatient, as always, to kick down
and Tony Brown is the only player whose services Lonesome When You Go” doors – but far from being

are retained. Although it doesn’t work out capture the lightning speed unsatisfactory, the day has
between Dylan and this band, the recordings at which Dylan is moving utlined his intentions.
they make together trace an equivocal journey and the inability of the
– one involving flashes of magic as well as band to keep up. “When S it progresses,
disappointment. It starts promisingly with a

The sessions
something’s not right, it
A the deluxe edition
traces the creative
momentum of the Blood On
reminders of he Tracks sessions. You sense
Dylan’s “deft
guitar playing” Dylan’s artistic flight as he
igures out the parameters of songs;
and his frustrations, too. He revisits
“You’re A Big Girl Now” with Brown
early on day 2. “I can’t get into it,”
Dylan says after a third take. “I
On think we must have had it on the
other one.” But still he persists,
“Tangled before admitting, “We ain’t gonna
do it better.” The pair are joined on
Up In organ by Paul Griffin, who played
on Bringing It All Back Home and
Blue”: “I Highway 61 Revisited. The three are
not immediately in synch – Griffin
gave it my struggles to keep up with Dylan’s
pace on “Tangled Up In Blue [Take

best shot,” 2]”. It’s not long after that they work
through “Spanish Is The Loving

he says Tongue” – a song Dylan first

recorded in 1969 that ended up
on Dylan, the album of outtakes
Columbia released after he signed
to Asylum. The key themes are love
and conflict across a racial divide –
“She was Mex and I was white” –
where “a stupid gamblin’ fight”
becomes the source of singular
unhappiness. The song’s inclusion
here, in incomplete form, suggests
something else is briefly afoot in the
studio – a moment of recalibration,
perhaps, to ease Griffin into the

66 • UNCUT • DECEMBER 2018

there’s time to get it right. Meanwhile, the
mammoth session for “You’re Gonna Make Me
Lonesome When You Go” finds Dylan stubbornly
pushing the song forward; perhaps this is more
about challenging the band rather than locating
obscured truths in the song itself. The message
seems to be that while the personnel may change,
the fundamental qualities of the song will endure
– whoever plays it.
After the volume of work on the first two days,
September 18 is relatively quiet. With Brown
absent, Dylan and Ramone spend the afternoon
working through four versions of “Buckets
Of Rain”. With its open E tuning and melody
reminiscent of Tom Paxton’s “Bottle Of Wine”,
“Buckets Of Rain” feels like a return to the
old folky days. But while it may not carry the
emotional heft of “Idiot Wind” and “Tangled Up
In Blue”, it nevertheless showcases Dylan’s deft
guitar playing – an overlooked quality since he
plugged in 10 years previously. The tone is warm,
the performances intimate and finely wrought.
September 19, on the other hand, finds Dylan
and Brown once again operating at full tilt. They
tackle nine separate songs. They are not without
an audience: at one point between takes 2 and 3
of “Meet Me In The Morning”, Dylan receives
some unsolicited advice from a studio guest. Mick
Jagger is in town and he has dropped by A&R
Studios. Over the talkback, he suggests Dylan
add some slide to the song. “Who can play slide?”
asks Dylan mischievously. “You,” says Jagger.
“No, I don’t want to play slide,” replies Dylan.
“OK, well it does sound good,” adds Jagger.
“Don’t think it don’t, cos it does.” Dylan then
deliberately mangles his part. “OK, no,” laughs
Jagger. “I agree.” Such moments of levity are rare
in a day that is focused very much on the work at
hand. The speed Dylan moves through the songs,
almost making revisions on the hoof, is startling.
During the course of the day, they attempt seven
takes of “Up To Me”. Each one is subtly different –
not just in mood and tempo but Dylan’s delivery,
stretching out vowels to change the emphasis on
“Making certain words. The more you hear of it, the more
revisions on
the hoof” – you realise this is top-tier Dylan – the choice to
Dylan, 1974 leave it off the final album is as mystifying as his
decision not to include “Blind Willie McTell” on
fold. It works. There’s a “Rehearsal” take of “Call “You’re Gonna Make Me Lonesome When You Go the Infidels album.
Letter Blues” that is set alight by Griffin’s piano – [Take 2, Remake 2]” – its ebbs and flows and Among the highlights that day, there’s a new
and he delivers similarly lively work on “Shelter strong dramatic centre confirmed at last. iteration of “If You See Her, Say Hello [Take 1,
From The Storm [Take 1]”. Remake 1]” whose emotional drama is heightened
But far more successful are the recordings FTER two days, a pattern has emerged. by both the tormented delivery of the line, “and
Dylan and Brown make after Griffin leaves –
including a beautiful first take of “Buckets Of
Rain”. “I could do a lot better,” Dylan says and
A Dylan attempts two or three consecutive
passes at one song before moving on to
another to keep the sessions flowing. Spontaneity
I never gotten used to it”, and a richly poignant
harmonica solo at the close. Partially different
lines – cut from the final version – reveal another,
he returns to the song a further 11 times during is key to this; Dylan is alert to the possibility of surprising aspect to Dylan’s narrator: humility. “If
the New York sessions. In a charming and change, where the organic qualities of the live you’re makin’ love to her/Kiss her for the kid/Who
unselfconscious way typical of the song itself, the room may present fresh perspectives. After all, always has respected her/For doin’ what she did”.
meandering twists and turns of Dylan’s revisions he knows he can return to a song at a later stage; Next, Dylan and Brown work through several
are leisurely compared with some of the heavy takes of “Tangled Up In Blue”. It’s important to

lifting going on elsewhere – but even with a song remember these songs are still in transit. There
Phil Ramone,
as relatively light as this, Dylan still strives to the A&R studio is an intimate “Rehearsal” take, with Dylan
make it right. Similarly, the three consecutive engineer, 1977 passing occasional instructions to Brown and
takes of “Shelter From The Storm” that follow filling in lyrics with “da-da da-da”. Rather
show Dylan working through minor tweaks as disappointingly, “Take 1, Remake 2” collapses.
opposed to radical overhaul. Brown continues to “I gave it my best shot,” says Dylan ruefully.
prove himself an unobtrusive player whose gifts There are amendments, too. In these New York
are sympathetically aligned to the material. versions, we hear “He was always in a hurry/Too
Accordingly, by the end of the second day, the busy or too stoned/And everything she ever did
pair have reached a more familiar place with plan/Just had to be postponed” – a line Dylan

DECEMBER 2018 • UNCUT • 67

removes later. A man keen to retain his mystery, harp contrast, their version of “You’re A Big
it perhaps feels too revealing. In a song of Girl Now” reveals a new tenderness to the song.
constantly shifting viewpoints and chronologies, imilarly, a key change on “Tangled Up In Blue”
the line narrows the distance between creative nd the song is noticeably brightened. “Lily,
endeavour and personal observation. Rosemary And The Jack Of Hearts” follows,
On a roll now, they chase down two more – very iven fresh sparkle by Berg’s light, frisky brush-
different – versions of “Simple Twist Of Fate”. The work. Undoubtedly, the five songs cut in
first (“Take 2, Remake”) is hushed and reflective, Minneapolis change the overall shape of the
while the next (“Take 3, Remake”) is looser. At ecord. In some cases – “Tangled Up In Blue”,
the heart of the day’s session are three passes Simple Twist Of Fate” – they have been
at “Idiot Wind”, including a “Rehearsal” take. handsomely polished; in the case of “Idiot
These rehearsal takes are for the most part Wind”, the song has become transformed into
instrumental interludes. Although brief and one of his most vituperative.
unstructured, they are helpful reminders of the The exemplary material on More Blood, More
quality of the musicianship here and in particular This is where he begins, then, on December 27, Tracks represents a powerful audio documentary
Dylan’s sense of melody. By “Take 4, Remake”, the 1974. He recruits guitarists Chris Weber and of Dylan at work. It’s no less gripping, in its way,
vulnerability of the earlier, September 16 versions Kevin Odegard, keyboardist Gregg Inhofer, than the Cutting Edge set, with the wealth of New
has hardened into something else; disdain has mandolin player Peter Ostroushko, bassist Billy York tracks specifically presenting a compelling
begun to seep into Dylan’s reading of lines like, Peterson and drummer Bill Berg. An easy account of Dylan’s own inscrutable processes.
“One day you’ll be in the ditch, flies buzzin’ around camaraderie is immediately apparent. Five songs But a fascinating counter-factual history lies at
your eyes/Blood on your saddle.” Even a phrase are cut in two days – “Idiot Wind”, “You’re A Big the heart of More Blood, More Tracks. What if
like, “It was gravity which pulled us down and Girl Now”, “Tangled Up In Blue”, “Lily, Rosemary Dylan had released an acoustic album? How
destiny which broke us apart/You tamed the lion And The Jack Of Hearts” and “If You See Her, Say different would his career have been? As 1975
in my cage but it just wasn’t enough to change my Hello”. But elusive qualities such as ambience and progressed, Dylan’s sights had already focused
heart” – a heartbreakingly clear-eyed and honest tone are hard to pinpoint. What Dylan is doing elsewhere. He was busy plotting both a new
report – is delivered in chilling, imperious tones. here – re-recording half the album, essentially album (Desire) and a new live venture (the
Freshness and altered emphasis have dominated – illustrates the continual changes of mood and Rolling Thunder Revue) that, once again, had
the four days in New York. In Minneapolis, a few pace on Blood On The Tracks. In Minneapolis, little in common with what had gone before.
months later, further change presents itself. a different set of decisions are privileged. Blood On The Tracks may be one of the greatest
As with the band in New York, Dylan throws albums of the ’70s, sure, but for an artist as
F Dylan enjoyed a historical connection this new group of musicians in at the deep end. quixotic as Bob Dylan, he had already

I with A&R Recording Studios, he would have

similarly experienced a rush of involuntary
memory at Sound 80 Studios. Located across the
There are no rehearsals. He kicks off with, of
all things, a radically altered “Idiot Wind”. By
now, the song has become powerfully dark and
moved on – “Changing ideologies like tires,
like shoes, like guitar strings,” he wrote in
Chronicles. “What’s the difference? As long
river from the city’s Dinkytown district – where introspective. In the final raging version cut as my own form of creativity stayed intact,
he’d lived for 15 months between 1959 and 1960 at Sound 80, Dylan’s narrator venomously I owed nobody nothing.”
and where, playing in local coffeehouse the 10 denounces his former lover, “You’ll never know
O’Clock Scholar, Zimmerman became Dylan – the hurt I suffered nor the pain I rise above/And I’ll More Blood, More Tracks: The Bootleg Series
Sound 80 offered him the chance to repair what never know the same about you, your holiness or Vol 14 is released by Columbia Records/
he considered flaws from the New York sessions. your kind of love/And it makes me feel sorry.” In Legacy Recordings on November 2

Steve Berkowitz, the producer of More Blood, More Tracks, lifts the lid
on missing tapes, mono reels and “more button”…
E started to do tape starts to get he feel and become the His ability to focus and be in that

And Take 1,
research on More song that was released. But in this moment is incredible to hear. Remake 2)],
Blood, More Tracks a case, on September 16, 1974, he “It was common recording you’ll hear lots
number of years ago, probably in walks in with these songs written – practice that in parallel to the of, ‘Button!’
2015. The tapes were in excellent completed – really beautiful. multi-track tape, they would have For CD 1 track
shape. The multi-tracks, for the “Blood On The Tracks was a mono quarter-inch tape running 7 [‘You’re A Big Girl Now’ (Take 3)],
most part, had not been touched originally recorded on 16-track, all the time. We went through all the more, clean “button”. Sounds like Mr
since the original mix in 1974. 2in analogue tape. From the very multi-tracks and the quarter inches Dylan was wearing a shirt with long
“We’ll be talking about the New first track on the first day, ‘If You and realised there were additional sleeves and had it unbuttoned, and
York tapes mostly because there See Her, Say Hello’, there was a versions and takes that were not it creates a percussive sound – the
are so many more of them. The safety-room mic set up, two mics on the multi-tracks — they only now button clicking on the wood of the
only tapes that surfaced from the on the guitar and a vocal mic. It’s lived on these mono reels. They’re guitar. Since it is mostly voice and
Minneapolis sessions are the five early in the afternoon, around noon in mono, and that’s why they have guitar, you hear the button on the
tracks that were included on the or one o’clock. There are 11 or 12 the heavy reverb because that’s up-strum of what he’s playing. It’s
original released record and those takes with just Bob, then after ‘Lily, the way Phil Ramone tracked them. just real — true — well recorded!
are the five multi-tracks we had Rosemary And The Jack Of Hearts’ CD2 tracks 7, 8, 13, 14, 15, 16 only “Mr Dylan named the box More
access to for this set. there’s a break and the next thing, a exist in mono; they do not exist in Blood, More Tracks. In presenting
“This box is a very different set band are brought in. Then there are multi-track. There are some other these recordings again for this

from The Cutting Edge, which another 20 takes. This is a long day. really interesting versions on those box, [Dylan’s manager] Jeff Rosen
unfolds right in front of us. When you To record 32 takes in one day, that’s mono tapes. In a couple of places and I wanted to focus on Dylan’s
listen to that, you realise that Take 1 some stamina. Then the next couple Dylan says, ‘Let’s do it again.’ Then voice and the songs and make it
isn’t necessarily how it ends – many of days, it’s back to him and [bass you hear the sound of the multi- more intimate – like you’re in the
of those songs develop/evolve as he player] Tony Brown with some tracked tape rolling backwards. room rather than a full album
records them. Or you hear one, two, keyboards from Paul Griffin. What’s That’s why they are not on the multi- production. With the big box, you’re
three, eight, 12 or 15 takes of “Stuck remarkable is Mr Dylan’s focus in track reels! able to go backstage on the original
Inside Of Mobile With The Memphis the studio. It seems as if Bob Dylan is “If you listen closely to CD 5 track recordings. It’s living history; it’s
Blues Again” and around Take 18 it never not ‘on’: every take is serious. 1 [‘Tangled Up In Blue’ (Rehearsal a thrill to be a part of it.”

68 • UNCUT • DECEMBER 2018





¯ 2I[ &SRH 7XVIIX ` ;7 4*

McFAUL: There was no guidance at

“HE SAID HE WANTED TO all from Phil Ramone, and Dylan’s

approach was more like a concert
performance than a recording
session. He would ‘perform’ the

PLAY ONLY PRISONS…” song and if he didn’t like it, he would

stop and say, “We don’t like that,
erase it.” Dylan used the royal “we”.
BERGER: So Dylan is playing, and
everyone is aware of the clacking of
his buttons on the guitar. Phil was
afraid to hit the talkback and tell
him. Nobody dared counter what
he was doing.
McFAUL: The big problem was
the cue [the music audible in the
signed Dylan to seeming to be headphones] and the isolation. The
Columbia in 1961] ntoxicated. cue was all Dylan, none of the other
came into the BERGER: instruments. My Hammond B3
Sessions begin at A&R Recording control room, ichard organ was way in the back of the
Studios, 799 7th Avenue in the thrilled to be rooks studio. I could not hear myself at
early afternoon. At first, it is just there. But Dylan drums] all, nor could I hear any of the other
Dylan and engineer Phil Ramone didn’t interact was in players apart from Dylan. The setup
– accompanied by Ramone’s much with he vocal was ridiculous, actually. How can
assistant, Glenn Berger. Later in anybody, except ooth. you make a contribution as a band
the evening, a band is convened… [Columbia executive] Dylan came when you cannot hear one another?
GLENN BERGER [assistant Ellen Bernstein, who onto the studio At first we complained to Phil, but
engineer]: I was 19 in September was his protector. floor with the Phil never changed anything. Later
1974, working for Phil Ramone as an We were warned musicians and on, I concluded that his concern was
assistant engineer at a time when that we needed tarted running to get as much of Dylan on tape as
multi-track recording was making to protect his own a tune. possible. It mattered less what we
production central to the artistic privacy. f a singer- played. He isolated our instruments
venture. My first session had been Phil made a ongwriter as much as possible to avoid leakage
with Paul Simon, who could take special point oesn’t have into Dylan’s vocal and guitar mics.
a year to make a record. And then that nobody n arranger, BERGER: He’s cutting “Idiot Wind”,
Dylan came in and appeared not to was to talk to he musicians and just spitting this mean, angry,
care about the production at all. He him. You will take two hurtful song, and it’s so incredibly
didn’t care who the musicians were. know, the r three hours intense and vulnerable and real.
There was no producer. Phil was just faultiness of minimum learning And then he turns to us in the
the engineer. It was mind-boggling. memory is weird. I he tune and coming control room and says, “Was that
He asked Phil to put a band together, don’t remember him up with arrangements. We sincere enough?” I think it was such
and Phil bumped into Eric coming in solo before bringing in never got to that point. Dylan would an intense emotion that he had to
Weissberg, a great musician who the band. I was really shocked to just start playing another new tune make some distance from it, by
played on a lot of folk records, as find that out. If Dylan had started without telling anybody. We were making that funny remark.
well as “Duelling Banjos” from out intending to make a folk-style racing to keep up. McFAUL: I remember the lyric
the Deliverance soundtrack. record, and then brought in the McFAUL: I don’t remember him of “Idiot Wind” was about fame,
Eric brought in his band. These band and thought, “It’s not going to saying much at all about the music. and how fame is isolating, with no
musicians were absolutely psyched work and I just won’t do it,” it would Sometimes he would ask to roll one telling you the truth any more.
to work on the new Dylan album. certainly explain a lot. But it didn’t tape before running the song down I was thinking how ironic that was
THOMAS McFAUL [keyboards]: appear that calculated. all the way through even once. because that was exactly what was
I held Dylan in high regard as an McFAUL: Dylan was already at He’d say something like, “Then going on at the session – no one told
artist then and now. Playing on a A&R when I arrived. He was cordial there’s a bridge; it’s like any other Bob what they were feeling.
Dylan date was a big deal. at the outset, asked us if we wanted bridge, you’ll get it.” BERGER: The band is figuring out
BERGER: There was a special to go on the road with him, said he BERGER: Phil’s approach was to their parts, and if somebody hits a
feeling about it because Dylan was wanted to play only prisons. Before make the technology as transparent wrong note, Dylan tells them to stop
coming back to Columbia, and to we started recording, Dylan was as possible, so Dylan would never playing. Then two or three takes
the studio where he’d recorded his sipping grain alcohol from a paper even know that he was in a later, he starts playing a different
earliest stuff. John Hammond [who cup, but I don’t recall him ever recording studio. song without telling anybody, so of

NLY five test pressings are of this official release, the excised Back Home and live cuts from Tour

O known to exist of the version of

Blood On The Tracks that Dylan
pulled from release at the eleventh
versions of its other five songs also
reached record stores’ shadier racks.
The bootleg Joaquin Antique (a
’74. In 1969, Great White Wonder had
likewise broken up its Basement Tapes
treasures with lesser material. Blood
hour. Its New York takes of “Simple pun on the “She Belongs To Me” lyric On The Tracks: The New York Sessions
Twist Of Fate”, “You’re Gonna Make Me “walking antique”) boasted a pen-and- would later combine the released and
Lonesome When You Go”, “Meet Me In ink drawing of Dylan in profile. Listeners bootlegged songs. But Joaquin Antique
The Morning”, “Shelter from the Storm” heard a rawness to these New York began the myth of an atmospheric,
and “Buckets Of Rain” remained on the tracks that had been scattered abandoned shadow-record — which
refashioned album. But within weeks between outtakes from Bringing It All More Blood… finally confirms.
T was David Zimmerman

I who confirmed his elder

brother’s suspicion that Blood
On The Tracks could be improved.
David also convinced him that
the necessary remedial work
could be done in Minneapolis,
and was in the control room and
consulted by Dylan throughout
the session.
“David was a music teacher,
a choir leader, and a manager,”
recalls Kevin Odegard. “He signed
a Columbia artist, Sleep Faster
I Need The Pillow, that didn’t go
anywhere, and he was managing
me. David is outgoing, warm,
generous, kind to a fault. He
speaks quietly, and always
wants you to be comfortable.”
The crucial help he gave his
elder brother on Blood On the
Tracks changed both siblings’
lives. “He was struggling against
impossible odds to make a name
for himself,” Odegard believes.
“Ultimately, Blood On the Tracks’
success would mean Bob
needed more of David’s attention.
So David stopped trying for a
separate identity that could
never live up to his brother’s. He
kept a lower profile, and went to
“The intensity work for him. He became Bob’s
was mind-
boggling” closest, devoted confidant, and
remains so today.”

course the guys screw up, and drop which I didn’t! However, it gave his performance, but very disconnected Mick Jagger was the most charming,
out. The energy in the studio went guitar a distinctive sound, which on a human level. He didn’t know affable guy. He could charm one
from incredible excitement to shock can best be heard on the New York who was in the room with him. person or 50,000 in a stadium. But
and disappointment. He essentially version of “Tangled Up In Blue”. He was in his own universe. The their meeting – and I think they’d
fired the band, without giving them BERGER: Tony was just staring at electricity was when he was met once or twice before that – fell
a chance to do anything. Tony Dylan’s hands, trying to figure out performing. As soon as he opened flat. We talked about it afterwards
Brown, the bass player, was the the next chord and keep up. There his mouth, the intensity was and Jagger said, “We could have
only one who remained. was no warmth or camaraderie. mind-boggling, and he would hung out together and had fun.”
That may have contributed to the change the verses spontaneously And they didn’t. Dylan just wasn’t
intensity of the experience, that from one take to the next. It really available for that.
those were not happy sessions. appeared me that he was Dylan didn’t come to the mix
Without the band, Dylan presses Certainly with the record’s content channelling something from a sessions. That was unheard of.
on with bassist Tony Brown. and Dylan’s marriage breakdown, universal source. I’ve worked Phil and I mixed the record in a
They are joined, briefly, by Paul there were a lot of dark feelings in with a lot of great artists including couple of nights, then we cut
Griffin (keyboards) and Buddy the room. Bob didn’t know the Sinatra, and Dylan was the only the test pressings. And we thought it
Cage (steel guitar)… guys from the band, he didn’t ask one who appeared genius-like. was done. But Dylan now became
BERGER: There was no record with for them. But Paul Griffin was his Something was flowing through quite concerned. He’d ring us at the
the band, really. It was the stuff with idea. He was an older, straight- him. Maybe when he’s not studio. And I’d hear Phil going, ‘No,
Tony Brown and Dylan that was ahead jazz guy. He came in with a performing, he’s turned off. Bob, really, this is one of your best
powerful and compelling. We had big smile on his face, and there When the switch turns on, it’s all ever!’ But then he would call again.
adapted in the control room to the was no direction, consistent with magical power. He was very anxious about the
way things were going down. We everything else. It didn’t work, quality of the thing. Then Phil
weren’t taking the time to scrutinise and he walked out with the smile came in with a blanched look on his
takes. We were just cutting one still on his face. face and said that Dylan had
song after another. It was an The final day of the New York re-recorded the album…
unconscious approach. sessions. Dylan and Brown find
TONY BROWN [bass]: What made their stride. An unexpected
it doubly difficult for me was that The shortest day of the sessions visitor is rebuffed…

Dylan had his guitar in an open – just four versions of “Buckets BERGER: During the day, we were
tuning, yet he was fingering chords Of Rain” are recorded… mixing the Stones’ Bedspring Staying with family over
on top of that tuning. So it was BERGER: Maybe ‘savant’ was the Symphony, a live show from their ’74 Christmas, Dylan worries over
virtually impossible to read the right word for Dylan in the studio. European Tour for radio broadcast, what he perceives as the album’s
chords unless you knew the tuning, He was so focused in terms of his and Jagger wanted to come over. flaws. Finally, his brother

DECEMBER 2018 • UNCUT • 71

David and his managerial Doing a lot of scratching on little takes and that was it. Bob and Bill WEBER: Most of the guitar you
protégé, local singer-songwriter pink notes, updating lyrics. When Berg carried the rest of that session. hear is my Guild 512 12-string, which
Kevin Odegard, put together a he was sitting there silent, looking Bill was a highly trained drummer, is a jumbo-bodied cannon, with
band to re-record five songs at into himself, that was Bob finishing who’d been in a Navy marching enormous tone and a sound like an
the city’s Sound 80 Studio… up these songs. That’s called band. He was a people-pleaser, and organ. Then Bob grabs the Martin
KEVIN ODEGARD [guitar]: I’d songwriting behaviour. was there to make Bob happy. So and starts “Lily, Rosemary And The
first met Bob when I did demos for INHOFER: Bob’s son Jakob was anytime Bob nodded or moved his Jack Of Hearts”.
him a year or so before that. We were there. Someone went across to a bar body, Berg responded instantly. INHOFER: I lost concentration on
all from northern Minnesota. Bill to get some milk for him. Their chemistry made the sessions that a couple of times because of
Berg [drums] was from Hibbing like ODEGARD: The songs were in Minneapolis stick. how simple it was musically; you
Bob, so the connection got even startling. Especially the first thing ODEGARD: Billy Peterson had can hear a wrong chord here and
stronger. The vibe was very different we heard, “Idiot Wind”, which was to leave at 8.30 for his jazz gig there on the record. It’s really long,
in our room than it was in New York. dissonant and not pleasant. That downtown at the Longhorn Club. and it was hard to follow the story.
He wasn’t the movie star with us. He first C minor chord was very strange. We did one more song, “You’re WEBER: My friend Peter
was a Minnesota kid. We didn’t necessarily know what to A Big Girl Now”. Bob overdubbed Ostroushko arrived with his
GREGG INHOFER [keyboards]: do. We kind of looked at each other. flamenco guitar, and we closed up mandolin. Bob said, “Can you play
Kevin said, “Do you wanna do a I was thinking, “I’m lucky I wasn’t shop for the night thinking that was a butterfly [arpeggio] sound?” Peter
session?” He couldn’t tell me what asked to play on this, because it’s it, and I had not played a note. We said, “The fret gets really narrow
for. I had no idea it was Dylan. too complex for me.” He was getting looked at each other in disbelief, high up there.” So Bob mostly
CHRIS WEBER [guitar]: I wasn’t comfortable, too. He started softly. and went back to our lives. I was a played it on “If You See Her, Say
hired as a guitarist; I weaselled my All of a sudden it was take 7 or 8, railroad brakeman at the time, and Hello”. I overdubbed the 12-string,
way in. I was a singer-songwriter, and it started to take on aspects of ready to take a run down to Iowa and we were finished. When I got
but was now mainly running the Highway 61 Revisited. The organ when the phone rang again. the Martin guitar back, it looked like
Podium music store. Kevin calls me that Bob overdubbed ran it into that INFOFER: That weekend we got it had been through a hurricane,
there asking about a Martin guitar, realm. It took on the personality of a call. “Bob wants you to come with long scratches from Bob’s nails.
and I had a 1937 0042G. He wouldn’t those angry ’65, ’66 songs. back in.” INHOFER: Did he say thank you
say who it was for, but I was told INHOFER: Bob wanted me to play at the end? Who, Bob? I saw him a
to bring it to his apartment. After this slidey growl on the Hammond, couple of months after the sessions,
waiting 30 minutes, we drove to and I did not play a lot of Hammond watching the Stray Cats at a local
Sound 80. It was cloak and dagger. then, and didn’t know how to do The band are convened for a club. I walked over and said, “Hey,
ODEGARD: Studio 80 is an what he wanted. So he played organ second day of sessions. “There Bob, I’m Gregg, I played on Blood On
L-shaped room, with reflective on the overdub as I played piano. was a new confidence, energy The Tracks with you.” And he just
surfaces everywhere, and a ODEGARD: Nothing really went too and trust,” we learn… looked round and said, “Yeah…”
vocal booth surrounded by glass. long after “Idiot Wind”. Two or three WEBER: It all came together. Then he went back to watching the
Everything was much more state of It just rolled. Stray Cats. I guess I didn’t make that
the art than A&R. The sessions were INHOFER: Bob had written down much of an impression!
mercifully short, and Bob cut to the MORE the chords to “Tangled Up In Blue” ODEGARD: What’s really amazing
chase. He knew what he wanted.
WEBER: It’s still a pretty big room, BLOOD… on a bit of newspaper, threw it down
on my organ and said, “Here’s the
is, given the different temperament
of the sessions, you can play Blood
maybe half a basketball court.
EVENMORE next song.” On The Tracks through and it

Everyone could see and hear each ODEGARD: There was no tension, works seamlessly.
other. In my memory, Bob was urgency or immediacy to it. It was INHOFER: The New York sessions
wearing blue jeans, leather boots just another Bob Dylan song. And were a lot darker. New York seems
HE New York tapes are
because it was 20 below outside,
dark, comfortable clothes, and was
smoking non-stop. He asks to see
T finally complete, but More
Blood, More Tracks still
lacks any outtakes from Dylan’s
because by that point everyone was
comfortable, I was able to advise
Bob to move the song up from the
to me, “Here I am in despair of a
breakup.” Minneapolis was, “I just
broke up, but I’m going to move on.”
the Martin. The studio was noisy, so Minneapolis sessions – which key of G to A. I thought if he had to I think there was more warmth for
I said we could go in the vocal booth. remain missing. work and reach for those notes, he’d him in Minnesota in general.
We sit down knees to knees in this “We searched for the outtakes sound more like Highway 61. That BERGER: Most of the New York
for a long time,” Kevin Odegard
silent, tiny place, and my heart’s was in the back of my mind. Four musicians ended up not on the
explains. “They’re lost to history.
jumping out of my chest. He’s [Columbia producer and or five measures into the tune, Bob record, and the Minneapolis guys
friendly and droll, and says, “Play A&R] Don DeVito was really knew it was going to work. He said, were never credited on it. So there
that guitar for me.” Then he says, administering both the New York “Let’s try it this way.” were a lot of unhappy people. I’m
“I’m going to teach you a song.” He and Minneapolis sessions from INHOFER: When Bob first started a psychiatrist and have analysed
showed me the chord progression of New York, and my theory is that showing us the song, it sounded what makes artists great, and part
he had them. He died [in 2011],
“Idiot Wind”. It’s an odd change, a C tired and dark. When the key was of it is shamelessness – not to care
and from that point they were
minor to a D chord. When I replayed lost. That’s the last point that up, the tempo picked up, the mood about how you treat people, to get
it for him, I changed a chord, from A they were known to exist.” brightened, and I think he liked the what you’re looking for. Sometimes
minor to A minor seventh. He said, Is there any other music from challenge, because that was some of it works. Dylan’s walking on the
“Teach it to ’em that way.” the session that still sticks in the best Bob Dylan vocal stuff I’ve tightrope, and we’re not.
ODEGARD: Chris Weber told us Ogden’s mind? ever heard. And he had a cold.
“No! All the bad stuff went
what key things were in and got us ODEGARD: I was sitting five feet Glenn Berger’s memoir, Never
away. People say to me the
to the first take. Bob would take us New York sessions were from Bob Dylan singing “Tangled Say No To A Rock Star, is published
the rest of the way. the real masterpiece. I like Up In Blue” in one take. It was the by Schaffner Press. A Simple Twist
WEBER: Bob would smoke 20 everything from those New most perfect six minutes of my life. Of Fate: Bob Dylan And The
cigarettes while I taught the band, York sessions. I don’t miss a thing Bob was giving me cues. And he was Making Of Blood On The Tracks
then we’d record it. That became the from the things that we lost. listening to me. He paid attention by Andy Gill and Kevin Odegard
The ‘Tangled Up In Blue’ in G?
pattern. Then he tells me, “I need to everybody. He had the genius is published by Da Capo. Gregg
Catch ya on the flipside! It was
you to play guitar.” It turned out he’d substandard. It wasn’t up to ability to take it all in, and put out Inhofer most recently played on
been auditioning me. what was kept. The good stuff a superhuman amount of creative Ben Brookes album The Motor
ODEGARD: Bob was reticent, shy. is there on the record.” energy all at once. Car & The Weather Balloon

72 • UNCUT • DECEMBER 2018

“Did he say
thank you
at the end?
Who, Bob?”


DECEMBER 2018 • UNCUT • 73



EFORE The Bootleg Album sessions
for Bringing It
Series there was 1985’s All Back Home,
Biograph, a 53-track January 1965
anthology that
effectively pioneered the Cloudy”, for instance, originally
notion of the boxset retrospective. attempted with John Mayall’s
Dylan had long been indifferent to Bluesbreakers in London, goes
his own recorded history, leaving through some wild iterations on its
much unattended material in his way from a raw piano-led boogie to
back catalogue for bootleggers to the narcotised drawl of “It Takes A
cheerfully pirate, loot and release. Lot To Laugh…” This is take eight,
So it was left to Dylan’s manager, one away from the final version.
Jeff Rosen, to assemble what turned
out to be a revelatory trawl through 5
Dylan’s archives of documented
sessions, album outtakes, orphaned !LIVE AT FREE TRADE
tracks that for various reasons – HALL, MANCHESTER,
contrarian whim, harsh reactions UK MAY 17, 1966"
to tracks that seemed to escape him, Taken from The Bootleg Series, Vol
others sacrificed to album running 4: Bob Dylan Live 1966, The “Royal
times, whatever – had in some cases Albert Hall” Concert (1998)
remained for years unreleased. Dylan’s 1966 world tour found
When these included, let’s say, a song him nightly facing the rowdy
like “Up To Me”, as good as anything discontent of fans evidently outraged
on Blood On The Tracks but dropped by his new music, for the most part
at the last moment from the album, thumping electric blues, played
you could only wonder how much albums, at least a dozen of them era- Taken from The Bootleg Series, Vol at volume. Things came to a head
more of this stuff there was. defining classics. Fifteen were later 6: Bob Dylan Live 1964, Concert At at a notoriously confrontational
The answer to which question was heard only on bootlegs until 2010, Philharmonic Hall (2004) Manchester concert, originally
plenty, actually, as the volumes to including this sardonic break-up By the time he sold out Manhattan’s thought to have been recorded at
date of The Bootleg Series since Vols song, a litany of woe with a wry pay- Philharmonic Hall in October 1964, London’s Royal Albert Hall. This
1-3 was released in March 1991 have off line, strikingly like “It’s All Good” Dylan was more than a hot ticket. He roiling version of the previously
time and again amply demonstrated. from 2009’s Together Through Life. was protest’s voice, his songs sung venerated “One Too Many Mornings”,
More than simply making available like hymns on civil rights marches. with soaring backing vocals
tracks that otherwise might have 2 So the set was what the faithful from Rick Danko, was a typically
grown whiskery in record company Taken from The Bootleg Series, wanted to hear, all the sock-it-to-the- fearless response to the crowd’s
vaults, The Bootleg Series has Vol 7: No Direction Home: The man big-hitters and a few tender myopic barracking.
brilliantly highlighted historic Soundtrack (2005) moments like “To Ramona”. He
concerts, tours, albums. If the series This touching version of the folk was adored, of course. Two months 6A
overall isn’t quite a parallel career, favourite discovered by Alan Lomax later, he recorded “Subterranean !TAKE 2"
a shadow history, it is at least its was recorded by Dylan’s friend Tony Homesick Blues” with a band. Taken from The Bootleg Series,
silhouette, inspiring along the way Glover at an informal session in Nothing was ever the same again. Vol 11: Bob Dylan And The Band:
reassessment, wonder and awe. December 1961 at the Minneapolis The Basement Tapes Complete
ALLAN JONES apartment of Dylan’s girlfriend, 4I (2014)
Bonnie Beecher, and as part of the A whole side and more of songs
1 so-called Minneapolis Hotel Tape !TAKE 8" recorded in Woodstock in 1967 by
appeared on 1969’s Great White $ALTERNATE TAKE% Dylan and The Band, mostly in the
!WITMARK DEMO 1964" Wonder, the first of all Dylan Taken from The Bootleg Series, basement of Big Pink, the house

Taken from The Bootleg Series, bootlegs. It was included on The Vol 12: The Cutting Edge 1965-1966 where three of The Band lived,
Vol 9: The Witmark Demos: Bootleg Series Vol 7 as part of the (2015) appeared on Great White Wonder,
1962-1964 (2010) soundtrack to the Martin Scorsese The Cutting Edge featured everything and Robbie Robertson compiled a
The 47 tracks on Vol 9 of The Bootleg documentary No Direction Home. Dylan recorded for Bringing It All compromised, self-serving version
Series were recorded by Dylan Back Home, Highway 61 Revisited and in 1975. But fans had to wait another
between January 1962 and January 3T Blonde On Blonde, thus allowing a 40 years for The Basement Tapes
1964 as song-writing demos for his !LIVE AT PHILHARMONIC fascinating insight into the evolution Complete, a musical phantasmagoria
first two music publishers. Most of HALL, NEW YORK, NY of some of his greatest songs. spread over six discs that included
them appeared on subsequent Dylan # OCTOBER 1964" “Phantom Engineer Number two versions of this stoned stomper.

74 • UNCUT • DECEMBER 2018

instalment featured, as promised,
58 rare or unreleased tracks that
covered Dylan’s career from his 1962
debut to 1989’s Oh Mercy, 45 of them

oo album session outtakes. The many

widely unheard gems included

ri s fabled tracks like “Farewell

Angelina”, but nothing stood out

n ir more than “Blind Willie McTell”, one

of Dylan’s greatest songs, bafflingly

on r
dropped from Infidels, a sombre,
majestic evocation of slavery and the
suffering that found hallowed voice
in Dylan’s beloved blues.

Taken from The Bootleg Series
Vol 8: Tell Tale Signs: Rare And
Unreleased 1989-2006 (2008)
The eighth Bootleg Series release
included multiple outtakes,
alternative, unreleased and live
versions of tracks from Oh Mercy,
World Gone Wrong, Time Out Of Mind
and Modern Times. “Mississippi”,
“Most Of The Time” and “Red River
Shore” were immediate highlights,
alongside this wonderful acoustic
demo of “Born In Time” from the
Oh Mercy sessions, much superior
to the version on Under The Red Sky,
where like a lot of other good songs
At Columbia it suffered from an uninspiring
Studio in Don Was production.
New York,
E have one Deluxe edition

7 anything but its original 1975 10

W of More Blood, More Tracks:
The Bootleg Series Vol 14 to give
!UNRELEASED" incarnation. The argument being #LIVE AT EARLS away to a lucky reader. This is the
!SELF PORTRAIT" that if something’s so perfect, it COURT, LONDON, full, six-disc, 87-track behemoth...
Taken from The Bootleg Series, should be unsullied by afterthought; UK JUNE 29, 1981$ To enter, please answer the
following question correctly. One
Vol 10: Another Self Portrait anything added to it surely as Taken from The Bootleg Series,
winner will be chosen at random
(1969-1971) (2013) superfluous as another coat of gloss Vol 13: Trouble No More (2017) from the Uncut office hat.
For years Dylan fans regarded 1970’s on the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel. Soon after being apparently touched What’s the complete title of
Self Portrait as something akin to It’s a point of view that may not by Christ’s hand in an Arizona hotel the first track on More Blood,
career suicide, Metal Machine Music survive hearing this emotional early room in October 1978, Dylan More Tracks?
with steel guitars and Nashville version of “You’re A Big Girl Now”. recorded full-blown Christian rock Is it:
strings. Another Self Portrait, with album Slow Train Coming. An A) “If You See Her, Say Hello
almost an extra album’s worth of 9I unexpected hit, it sold more in nine (Take 1)” – solo
lovingly realised covers of old folk #LIVE AT HARVARD months than Blood On The Tracks B) “You’re A Big Girl Now
(Take 1)” – solo
and country songs, including this SQUARE THEATRE, in a decade. Fans complain, though,
C) “Simple Twist Of Fate
ravishing version of an 18th-century CAMBRIDGE, MA when he features only post- (Take 1)” – solo
English folk ballad, was therefore a NOVEMBER 1975$ conversion songs on tour. “Jesus
Send your answers to
revelatory reminder of what Dylan Taken from The Bootleg Series, Vol loves your old songs too!” he’s
UncutComp@ti-media.com by
had originally envisioned as a 5: Bob Dylan Live 1975, The Rolling reminded, ineffectually. Whatever Wednesday, November 21.
celebration of American music, Thunder Revue (2002) the religious message, however,

... and good luck!

American song, the republic itself With The Rolling Thunder Revue the music had a secular kick
at a time of violent division. – a cast of old cronies and musicians thanks to an amazing band,
including Allen Ginsberg, Joan Baez, as thunderously heard here.
8Y Roger McGuinn, Ramblin’ Jack
EXCLUSIVE Elliott, Sam Shepard, the band who’d 11
TRACK! #TAKE 2$ played on Desire and a befuddled #STUDIO
Taken from The Mick Ronson – Dylan was electrifying OUTTAKE 1983$
Bootleg Series, Vol 14: More Blood, where on Tour ’74 with The Band, that Taken from The Bootleg
More Tracks (2018) plodding trek, he’d sounded too often Series Volumes 1-3
Some Dylan fans hold Blood On The merely businesslike. This swirling, (Rare & Unreleased)
Tracks in such regard, it might seem mesmeric version of “It Ain’t Me, 1961-1991 (1991)
to them heretical to present it in Babe” was one of many highlights. The first Bootleg Series

Photo by RICH FURY

ACKSTAGE at Gothenburg’s Pustervik venue, a sense, like ‘Let’s speak truth to power and try to dismantle
staff member has a burning question for Uncut. oppressive political forces…’ I’m more like ‘What is power?’ I
“What kind of music is this?” she asks, after Moses feel like I could go so many different ways sonically, and I
Sumney comes offstage. “I’ve never heard want to do all of them, over time.”
anything like it…” To discover how Sumney got here and what drives him, we
We explain: words like soul, rock, electronic, experimental have tagged along on a trip through Scandinavia, from rainy
tumble out, but no one description seems entirely accurate. Oslo on to Gothenburg in Sweden, and then across the
Later on, Sumney is delighted to hear all this. “That’s what I Øresund Bridge to breezy Copenhagen, where the singer
want!” he says. “I get so excited when I hear that, just because performs at Haven, a festival curated by Aaron and Bryce
I feel like people don’t say that enough to me, to be honest, for Dessner of The National. Along the way, we’ll hear about his
what I think I’m trying to make.” Ghanaian heritage and his unusual upbringing, his lofty
He has a point. Over the past five years, Sumney has mixed ambitions and the run-in with the LAPD that inspired his EP.
up all manner of genres, from post-rock to R&B, to create “Moses is a sweet, inviting, good person,” says Mac

something very much his own, all tied together by his DeMarco, who helped track some of “Black In Deep Red” at his
extraordinary, swooping soul voice – carrying the nocturnal home studio. “The kid’s got a wild set of pipes on him, real
melodrama of Jeff Buckley – and his expertise with a loop nuts. I remember him saying at some point that he was barely
pedal. His debut LP, 2017’s hushed Aromanticism, was a trained as a musician, which in my neck of the woods
concept album about love – more specifically, the absence wouldn’t be that surprising, but his tunes are really cyber…
of it – but Sumney has returned this autumn with a new EP, hearing that kinda stuff just makes me wanna quit music!”
“Black In Deep Red, 2014”, a heavier-hitting sound and a more “I think if you ever fully feel like you know what you’re doing
political preoccupation. “I am a very politicised person in my then you should probably quit,” laughs Sumney. “Like, that’s
personal life,” he explains. “I have passionate views and have so boring! All the good people, none of them know what
for years. But I’m not making a protest EP in the traditional they’re doing, and it’s amazing!”

76 • UNCUT • DECEMBER 2018

Backstage at the 2018
Coachella Valley Music
And Arts Festival at the
Empire Polo Field, Indio,
CA, April 13, 2018

DECEMBER 2018 • UNCUT • 77


HEN Uncut first meets
Moses, it’s 9am and he
needs refreshment. “I
need to get some tea in me,” he
explains, introducing himself in the
lobby of Oslo’s Comfort Hotel Grand
Central. We adjourn to the adjoining
Østbanehallen, an old station
building complete with indoor trees,
as Sumney tucks in to the breakfast
buffet. The previous day he had
performed at the city’s
Øyafestivalen, travelling to Norway
from Lithuania, where he’d played
in Vilnius’s St Kotryna church,
declaiming from the pulpit like some
impossibly statuesque bishop. The
crowd was suitably reverent and
quiet, which, he explains, is the way
he likes it. “We tend to bring that out
of people,” he says, peering at Uncut
through round, mirrored shades.
He’s an imposing presence,
exceedingly tall and clad, whether
in his stage clothes or his civvies,
entirely in black. “I mean, I literally
tell people to be quiet if I have to, or
threaten them. Sometimes I’ll say,
‘I’m gonna come down there and get
you if I see you talking’, or I’ll point
at specific people who are talking
and ridicule them! I’ve never had to
physically attack anyone, not yet,
but never say never.”
Since he started performing, Stratting his stuff,
Sumney has played solo, and with live at the 2018
Coachella Valley
one, two or three other musicians, Music And Arts
radically rearranging his songs Festival, 2018
depending on the players and the
space that he’s performing in. Since twenties. There are still gaps in his knowledge. He admits that he
summer 2017 he’s mainly toured hasn’t really explored Kraftwerk yet, for instance.
with Mike Haldeman on guitar, “My family’s not very musical, and the only music my parents
treated clarinet and electronics, would play in the house was gospel and reggae. I didn’t explicitly
Peter Lee Johnson on electric violin take to either, so I didn’t really have that music discovery thing.”
and keys and Jamire Williams on Born in California in 1990, the child of Ghanaian immigrants,
drums and percussion. His three Sumney spent his first 10 years on the West Coast, before he, his
amigos are not your usual backing siblings and his pastor parents moved back to West Africa for six
musicians, though. Sumney years. Many artists are driven to create by one particular experience,
provides much of the meat of the and for Sumney this move to Accra was probably it; snatched away
music himself live, using his red from the country and culture he’d grown up with, he felt adrift.
Stratocaster, looping pedals, body “When I was growing up in Ghana I was ‘the American’,” he says.

percussion and beatboxing, leaving “That’s what everyone called me. Or ‘white’, which is basically
Haldeman, Johnson and Williams free to weave textures and Sumney what they call you if you’re foreign. But then when I moved back to
experimental soundscapes over the top. “Of course, Moses is the gem playing America I was ‘the African’, so I’ve never lived anywhere and seemed
on the piece of jewellery,” says Haldeman. “But I need to be the best for like I was from there to anyone. That’s what happens when you’re
mount for that gem possible. Every time we enter a new space, we’re Karen O, multi-cultural or bi-cultural, you either fit in everywhere or you fit in
seeing how this organism we put together is going to fit in it. Our first October 7, nowhere. In my experience, it’s mostly the latter.”
gig as a four-piece was in Phoenix, Arizona. It was at the Musical 2014 While they were in Ghana, his father would visit the US once a year,
Instrument Museum, a bit of an older crowd, quite so Sumney and his siblings would assemble what they
tame, but then we played Oakland and it was all late called The List, a set of items for their dad to bring
teenagers to mid-twenties, super energy. So we ran the
gamut in those two shows.” “Police back. Sumney’s requests consisted entirely of music,
mostly contemporary R&B – Destiny’s Child, Brandy,
Although Sumney dislikes the comparison, the Justin Timberlake. “It was a great time,” he enthuses.
sound the group make is most similar to latter-day
Radiohead. The singer-songwriter has reached this
brutality is “I used to be really embarrassed when I started my
music career – people would judge me because I didn’t
point from the opposite direction to Yorke and co,
though, moving from soul and R&B to embrace rock
built into the know any Beatles songs. But now I’m proud of it in a
way, as I think that music is genuinely innovative, and
and electronic elements. This idiosyncratic sound is
most likely the result of his unusual musical
fabric of it gives me a unique perspective on making stuff.”
When Sumney was 16, his family moved back to
upbringing, with his knowledge of the ‘canon’ of rock
and soul music only blossoming as he reached his
American life” Southern California, before he moved to LA alone to
attend UCLA. There he began seriously writing and

78 • UNCUT • DECEMBER 2018

performing, exploring the music of the past that track from EP. Driven by an infectious rhythm in 7/8, the songwriter
he’d missed out on, such as Nick Drake’s Pink Moon reckons its polyrhythms might be inspired by his years in Ghana. “I
and records by Joni Mitchell and Marvin Gaye. never listened to Ghanaian music when I was there, but drumming is
After a series of LA gigs, Sumney was “summoned” a huge part of the culture – the theme song to the news shows would
by TV On The Radio’s Dave Sitek, who gave him a just be drumming. So I grew up with polyrhythms.”
four-track. “Someone texted me and said, ‘Hey, I’ve “Black In Deep Red, 2014” itself is something of a concept
been working with Dave Sitek and he wants to meet EP, a companion piece to Sumney’s similarly conceptual
you – would you come up to the mountain?’ He lives on debut LP. Rather than dealing with romantic, or aromantic
the top of this mountain in LA, it’s very Wizard Of Oz. So I matters, though, “Power?”, “Call-To-Arms” and “Rank &
went up to meet him and I thought he was gonna wanna File” together examine a protest that Sumney attended in
talk about working with me. He just sat me down and LA in 2014. He’d never protested before, and was fascinated
said, ‘What you’re doing is interesting. You clearly don’t by what he saw; the demeanour of the LAPD, their high-
fully know what you’re doing yet, and you should just power weaponry and the ensuing arrests that saw almost
figure it out on your own before working with anyone.’” everyone detained. Somehow Sumney slipped through the
The results were released as Sumney’s first EP, the lo-fi net, but the friend he went with spent the night in a cell.
“Mid-City Island”. That same day he met Yeah Yeah “It was fascinating to see them fall into rank and file,” he
Yeahs’ Karen O, and was soon enlisted to play recalls. “ They’re dressed in military gear, with weaponry
guitar for her solo work. Opportunities snowballed. you’d take to war and they’re marching in a square. It was such a
He was handpicked to support Sufjan Stevens and literal metaphor for the militarisation of the police force. It’s freaky to
became fast friends with Solange Knowles. “I think know that at any moment they can turn and use those devices of
the reason any of those artists were drawn to me is warfare on the populace. I was also thinking about ‘groupthink’, and
’cos we were already thinking about the world and how they’re falling into rank and file physically, but also mentally.
art in similar ways. So I learned I’m not as much of a Influences: Joni They’re so good at presenting a united front, ou wonder, ‘Are they
Mitchell, Nick
loser as I thought I was! When I started meeting Drake’s Pink Moon, thinking for themselves?’ I’m sure some of them are, but I wonder.”
people I was like, ‘Urgh, I’m trash, why would Marvin Gaye Sumney was keen to include ‘2014’ in the EP’s title to ensure no-one
anyone want to get to know me?’ Then I found we took the songs as a direct protest against Donald Trump. “I wasn’t
have similar things in common, similar processes interested in making music that would be read as a
and ways of approaching things and building a career.” critique of the current administration. Yeah, obviously, he

DEEP sucks, but it’s important to make the distinction that


HEN your performances are as demanding as these are not new problems. The militarisation of the
Moses Sumney’s, a four-hour van journey
from Oslo to Gothenburg is the perfect time for
a nap. Climbing up into the single bunk bed at the back of
IMPACT police, the police brutality, these are not new things, and
they do not change under a Democratic or a Republican
administration – it’s built into the fabric of American life.”
the Mercedes splitter van, he misses the rainy, rocky
Moses Sumney The EP was written at the same time as Aromanticism,
coast, the drifts of deep green forest, the bridge marking
out ines the artistic and its three songs almost opened the LP until Sumney
Norway and Sweden’s border, and a lengthy traffic jam and musical decided to keep the record more conceptually pure. He
next to a giant Ikea. By early afternoon, we’ve arrived at influences on his recorded them properly after the album’s release, working
Gothenburg’s Gothia Towers hotel. The band head to the excellent “Black In on them around the world in short bursts. “I did ‘Call-To-
Pustervik venue in the city centre to set up their gear, Deep Red, 2014” EP Arms’ and ‘Rank And File’ with Ludwig Göransson –
while Uncut travels in later with Sumney. Jamire plays drums and Mike plays guitar on ‘Rank And

NAMED it after a Mark
The event, also featuring Courtney Marie Andrews and Rothko painting. I just File’, Shabaka Hutchings plays sax on ‘Call-To-Arms’, and
Alex Cameron, is an aftershow concert for the Way Out liked the colours! I saw Mac DeMarco recorded the drums. We recorded it all in
West festival, which means Sumney’s not onstage until some Rothko pieces in the Tate LA. ‘Power?’ I did at home. I mixed them in London, so
Modern, there’s a Rothko room
midnight. “I’m having flashbacks to the last time we they’ve kind of travelled a bit.”
and it’s so beautiful. For a lot
played a festival this late in Europe,” he admits. “It went of people my music is really “Moses had been staying at our house in LA while we
terribly. They just put us on in a club close to midnight, serene, music that they go to were on tour in South America,” explains Mac DeMarco,
there was a DJ in the next room and every time the door sleep to, or have sex to, which
is weird… but there’s a lot of Violently
would open there was this techno…” beautiful
Uncut sits in on the group’s soundcheck, which turns out violence in there, I think, and art: Mark
that’s interesting to me. And it’s Rothko,
to be a testament to Sumney and his band’s drive to 1961
the same with Rothko.
experiment. They test out a huge variety of effects and new “Both ‘Call-To-Arms’ and
sounds, and even run through a deconstructed version of ‘Rank & File’ are in 7/8 time.
Lennon’s “Jealous Guy”, eventually running out of time to ‘Call-To-Arms’ is very Brazilian-
even try a full song. An hour or so later, when they do leave inspired, I wanted to make a
their tiny dressing room to take to the stage properly, very Brazilian song and then I
wanted to make a rock song,
though, they’re tight and together; and despite Sumney’s
so then I wanted to make it
fears, the crowd are attentive throughout. It’s hard to be both. I was listening to a lot
unimpressed, after all, by the beauty of the opening of Milton Nascimento when I
“Don’t Bother Calling”, especially when Sumney’s voice wrote that song – I’ve always
and Johnson’s violin meet on one note then diverge in been obsessed with different
opposite directions to heart-churning effect. time signatures, and I have
a lot of work in different time
“Quarrel” has been rearranged and is now led by a
signatures, but I don’t think any
woody synth, and accented by Jamire Williams’ free, of it made the album, so I was
rolling drums. “Doomed”, meanwhile, ends in a storm of really itching to get it out there!”
white noise, a cathartic crescendo before a solo “Plastic”
closes the set. “We’re trying to stretch the boundaries of
what people expect an instrument to do,” says Mike Haldeman.
“Sticking to one arrangement can be crippling for a live performer
who wants to be dynamic and living and breathing,” adds Sumney.
There are plenty of sublime moments during the set, but the most
exciting, urgent point is when the quartet play “Rank & File”, the lead

DECEMBER 2018 • UNCUT • 79

just north of the anarchist commune of Christiania.
Kraftwerk are headlining, with Unknown Mortal
Orchestra, Nils Frahm and Einstürzende Neubauten
also appearing, but Sumney is most excited about
seeing his friend Josiah Wise aka Serpentwithfeet. We
troop out to watch Wise in the rain and wind that’s
unexpectedly materialised, before Uncut and Sumney
head back to his backstage cabin to discuss his plans
for the future. There’s hope of an album later next year,
and the singer has already made headway. “I went to
Jamaica in May, near the coast, and just stayed in a
house for a week writing. I have a computer and an
interface and my guitar and notebook. That’s kind of it.
“As soon as this tour is done, I’m gonna go home to
the studio. I know the concept for the next album – I
have 21 songs right now, but I want to write 15 to 20
more and whittle it down from there. For the first
Sumney reflects: album I wrote 60 songs, which is insane ’cos it ended
“I learned I’m not
as much of a loser up being 36 minutes of music.”
as I thought I was!” The quartet’s festival set is as impressive as their
Gothenburg performance, even when a sound
engineer forgets to turn on the PA for half of the
“and had seen the studio, and asked, once we were opener, “Don’t Bother Calling”. When his voice suddenly bursts out
both around, if he could track some drums. He of the speakers, the crowd cheer and Sumney is sweetly bemused.
brought in his friend Jamire – that guy really knows “Could you hear anything?” he asks. “Rank & File” is even more
what he’s doing behind the tubs, it’s insane – and powerful than the night before, with Williams relentlessly pounding
after a couple of takes he got what he needed. In the his kit as Sumney calls out the LAPD with his octave-vaulting voice.
studio he’s open to people going nuts and trying Afterwards, as he, the band and Serpentwithfeet retire to the
ideas but at the same time he gives these precise backstage canteen, talk turns to moving to London. Sumney spent a
directions as to where he wants it to go.” month in Hackney a couple of years back, and reckons the city is his
“It’s a healthy mix of dictation and letting them favourite place in the world. Just as in Scandinavia or Jamaica,
be inspired,” says Sumney. “I choose people based though, you can’t imagine that sightseeing would be on the menu if
on their abilities and taste, so there wouldn’t be Sumney did move to the UK: his work is what’s important to him, and
anyone in the band who isn’t already aligned – I am he’s seemingly committed to his craft to the exclusion of all else. “I’m
the musical director, but I want everyone to feel sure he could take a stab at whatever and rock it real hard,” reckons
they have a stake in the music.” singer- Mac DeMaro, “with his own vibe of course. I’m still processing half
While we’re talking after the gig at Pustervik, a young Swede songwriter the things he’s got his hands on. Seems like it’s built into his MO.”
suddenly appears at Sumney’s side. “I just had to meet you,” he says DeMarco: Sumney is often charmingly self-deprecating, though – when
breathlessly. “That was incredible! Amazing!” “Moses has Uncut praises his EP, he jokes, “Are you saying all my music is trash
his own
“He was so nice – really complimentary,” says Sumney when the vibe” until now?” Just a joke, perhaps, but there’s a sense that this fragility
fan’s gone. “I’m always super-stoked for people when is very real, his vulnerability kept in check by a
they sneak backstage, like ‘Yeah, punk rock! Do it!’” burning drive to create. This is an artist in it for the
long haul; and what he might return with next is

HE next day we leave Sweden’s second city and almost impossible to guess, even for him. “I always
head down the E20, the land getting flatter as we “I’mthe wanted to make acoustic soul music, but as I went
speed towards Scandinavia’s most southerly along I realised I wouldn’t be satisfied with being one
point. As the Øresund Bridge comes into view, director,butI thing or two things, that I wanted to do it all. So the

Denmark’s ports looming in the distance, Sumney trick was to find out how to do it all and just spread it
emerges from his bunk to admire the landscape.
Unlike Oslo or Gothenburg, the Danish capital is
wanteveryone out over time. I’m excited about the next thing, I don’t
know if anyone else will be – I’m just dying to record.
somewhere he’s visited before. “I love Copenhagen,”
he recalls. It’s one of my favourite cities in Europe.”
tohaveastake” I’m so curious to see what’s gonna happen.”

The group are heading to Haven festival, held on the MOSES SUMNEY Aromanticism and “Black In Deep Red, 2014”
island of Refshaleøen, a post-industrial wonderland are both available on Jagjaguwar

How to buy Sumney’s work to date
Recorded on Dave Now worth a The long-awaited Sumney has never
Sitek’s four-track, pretty penny album, a hi-fi sounded this
this five-song online, this second meditation on energised, in both
cassette captures EP was a step on; love and solitude, the tempos and his
Sumney still “Ascension” is like runs together as a subject matter. Its
working out his Curtis Mayfield unified, 36-minute three songs are all
edgy post-soul sound. “Plastic” is on the Kranky label, while “Lonely journey. “Quarrel” is perhaps the powerful, but they function best
a clear highlight, though. World” comes on like Grizzly Bear highlight, while “Make Out In My as a nine-minute suite examining
7/10 snoozing on a tropical beach. Car” is a sublime Lynchian slow- the nature of power and the law in
7/10 jam. America today.
8/10 8/10

80 • UNCUT • DECEMBER 2018



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DON’T really think of myself as a songwriter, I think
of myself as a rock’n’roller,” says Jon Spencer, surveying
his life’s achievements. Not that he ever set out to ‘achieve’
anything. “The way I approach playing in a band or
making a record is not so lofty. Maybe I’m still the same
person I was when I was dropping out of university,
just thinking, ‘Fuck – all I wanna do is play in a band!’
Is that wrong?”
It’s not wrong. In fact, Spencer’s instinctive, act-first attitude has
carried him further than most, through 30-plus years of electrifying,
genre-bending garage-rock action with Pussy Galore, The Jon Spencer
Blues Explosion, Boss Hog, Heavy Trash and numerous other side projects
and spontaneous throwdowns.
Pondering the threads that tie them all together, he notes that his new solo
album, Spencer Sings The Hits, makes several callbacks to his earlier works.
“There’s the metal percussion, same as Pussy Galore. There’ve always been Bomb squad: the
songs about playing in a band, the travails and/or the joys. For me, a lot of Blues Explosion
in 2002 (l-r),
this has to do with feeling alive, that it’s a shot in the arm. But perhaps for Judah Bauer,
others, the thread is confusion!” SAM RICHARDS Jon Spencer,
Russell Simins

PUSSY GALORE what was fuelling that band was a old gas tank? Yeah, that sounds soul music. The record was recorded
EXILE ON MAIN STREET frustration with modern culture or great, let’s do it.’ Not all recording in Memphis, and this was coming
SHOVE, 1986 rock’n’roll music and how bankrupt engineers are like that. For “Pussy from a love of Southern soul, Stax
Spencer’s first band make their and worthless it was. So yeah, this Stomp”, which is sort of like a in particular, and also a love of
name with a spectacularly snotty fits in very squarely with that. fucked-up, drunken country song, Sun records. We did that session
track-by-track tribute/desecration I had the idea of, ‘Let’s record it, put after a full US tour, most of which
of the Stones’ 1972 masterpiece PUSSY GALORE a rough mix on a cassette and take was supporting The Jesus Lizard.
That may have RIGHT NOW! the cassette out to the van and play We learned so much from watching
been Julia CAROLINE, 1987 it in there – can you run mics out to them. They were a ferocious band.
[Cafritz]’s idea. The sole album recorded by the van? – and let’s record that, and That really helped us focus in
Certainly we the ‘classic’ Pussy Galore lineup, while it’s playing I’ll throw a bunch on what we were doing and try
were all into Right Now! is a riotous grab-bag of fucking metal in the back of the even harder.
the Stones, of corrosive lo-fi punk and industrial van during the guitar solo.’ And We laid everything down in two
although for me garage stomps that’s all there, you can hear it on or three days and then I mixed it
it was strictly the early R&B period. We did half the record. in New York City with Jim Waters.
At the time, Sonic Youth had said of it with Steve Why did Pussy Galore burn out so At the time his studio was a tiny
in interviews that their next record Albini in a quickly? That rage is a hard thing to room two flights above a bagel
was going to be a full cover of The professional keep burning. We were all super- shop in the Meatpacking District,
Beatles’ ‘White Album’. I think it was studio in pissed off, so we got pissed off with which at the time was a very gritty
just them shooting off their mouths, Chicago and the each other at times. And I think we place. This became the template
but we took it as a challenge. We said other half with did our piece. Right Now! is a great for the Blues Explosion: we’d
we were going to do Exile On Main Kramer at his Noise New York studio record. I really am very fond of it. perform the songs live in the studio
Street because fuck The Beatles, the near Penn Station in Manhattan. and then I would finish making
Stones are much cooler. Kramer’s place was much more THE JON SPENCER the record with an engineer
We recorded it in our practice funky, like a little dark hole. It was BLUES EXPLOSION or a co-producer. There
space somewhere in midtown a big contrast between the physical EXTRA WIDTH was overdubbing theremin,
Manhattan on a little Tascam four- locations and the way these two MATADOR, 1993 overdubbing stand-up bass,
track machine. I had actually never guys worked. Looking back, it seems Spencer’s new trio hit their stride Hammond organ with a proper
heard Exile On Main Street because like a funny juxtaposition, but I do on album No 2, electrifying the Leslie speaker. There was a lot of
it was after my cut-off point for the think it worked very well – it’s not slacker-rock scene with a jolt of experimentation at the mixing
Stones, so it fell to Neil Hagerty to like Side 1 is all Albini and Side 2 is old-fashioned showmanship stage. The song “Afro” is a good
translate the record. Neil would all Kramer; they’re jumbled up. Things are example. What’s on the record
show us each song and we just went I can’t stress enough how starting to is basically a dub mix. People
through the record in order. I guess empowering it was to work with come into focus have said to me that the guitar
some of it was done with love and people that were like, ‘OK, so you with Extra solo on that song is one of their
affection and some of it was a great want to have a song where one Width. There’s favourite guitar solos ever. And
big middle finger. We were definitely guitar’s doing nothing but feeding definitely the the funny thing is, it’s not a guitar,
full of attitude, very bratty. A lot of back and somebody’s banging on an influence of it’s a Juno synthesiser.

82 • UNCUT • DECEMBER 2018

Meet the new
Boss Hog (l-r):
Hollis Queens,
Jens Jurgensen,
Cristina Martinez,
Jon Spencer, 1995

that record. Some of But for us, we were very serious back together with a new drummer,
that comes from James about it. Our influences were stuff Hollis Queens, it was a rebirth.
Brown, who was a huge we were in love with; we weren’t Making the Boss Hog album was
influence on us at the trying to make fun of it. Maybe the one of my most enjoyable recording
time. But it’s not just playfulness was misinterpreted. experiences. We were four close
James Brown – there’s The Beck thing on “Flavor” came friends hanging out, and we’d done
a very rich tradition about because at the time Boss Hog the deal with Geffen, so we had
of storytelling and were being courted by Geffen, and a great budget. We went to this
self-aggrandising Beck had just signed to Geffen. amazing studio, Sear Sound, which
in American music. People had told me this guy’s always is where Sonic Youth did Sister. It
That kind of hype talking about Pussy Galore. I think was such a treat to be able to go there
goes way back. I’d met him in LA first, but basically every day. It has an unparalleled
We were making I just called him up and said ‘Hey, collection of old gear and at the time
rock’n’roll and part I’m working on this song, you was run by Walter Sear and his
of the reason I like wanna do a verse?’ He said ‘Yeah, partner, Roberta. They had so many
rock’n’roll is because OK!’ I went out to Radio Shack and great stories about working on
it makes me feel alive. bought one of those suction cup Broadway, working on exploitation
UNCUT There’s a playfulness, mics you put on a phone and called films… They were such interesting
THE JON CLASSIC but if you want to get right him back and boom, we did it. people, but also very sweet. It was
SPENCER BLUES to the heart of it, it’s life itself like going over to your aunt and
EXPLOSION – it’s energy, it’s feeling alive. BOSS HOG uncle’s house.
ORANGE There are many times when BOSS HOG
MATADOR, 1994 the Blues Explosion have been GEFFEN, 1995 RL BURNSIDE
Punctuated by Spencer’s self- accused of being a minstrel show or Spencer returns to the band he A ASS POCKET
referential hollers, the band pull parody. People get confused and originally formed with wife Cristina OF WHISKEY
funk and hip-hop influences into have dismissed the band as a joke. Martinez in ’89. Beneficiaries of the MATADOR, 1996
their thrilling garage-rock sermons alt.rock goldrush, their second LP is a Controversial cross-generational
Orange is hyper-focused. It’s really (relatively) lavish major-label affair collaboration with a maverick
clean; there’s no fat in there. Yeah, Boss Hog blues original
“There’s a rich

OK, we have a string section at the started I’d gotten

top of the record, but it’s very
precise. With Extra Width it was
tradition of self- before Blues
Explosion, but
turned on to
people like
really digging into the roots of aggrandising in it had always RL and Junior
Stax and Sun. On Orange those
influences are still running strong,
American music. been a bit on
and off. When
Kimbrough by
Don Howland of
but it’s more about making our own That kind of hype we lost Charlie Ondras, the original the Gibson Bros.
version of that. That’s why there’s a
lot of stuff about the band itself on
goes way back” drummer [he died in 1992], it was
definitely off. When Boss Hog came
When the RL record Too Bad Jim
came out, something about it

DECEMBER 2018 • UNCUT • 83

My favourite song that Dan did was Heavy Trash record, there was a
“Talk About The Blues”, which is conscious decision beforehand to
built on samples from a session record with the different live bands.
done at Calvin Johnson’s Dub Matt and I booked a tour with The
Narcotic studio in Olympia, which Sadies and close to the end of that
was basically in Calvin’s living we went into a studio in Boston and
room. The story behind that song laid down a bunch of songs with
is that Rolling Stone was doing a them. Then towards the end of the
special blues issue, which I was European tour, we went into Toe
interviewed for. I was definitely Rag Studios in London with the
nervous before the interview Scandinavian band. We also did a
because of the misperception of my session in New York City with some
band: people calling us a joke or, local musicians. It’s very satisfying
worse, minstrels or racists. So that to have all of those different sounds
was a song addressing that. and textures on the record. It’s an
experiment that worked very well.
Peppy second album from IN THE RED, 2018

Spencer’s rockabilly project, With his various bands on hiatus,

formed with Matt Verta-Ray Spencer keeps himself busy by
of Speedball Baby cranking out his first solo album.
After [JSBX’s Features Quasi’s Sam Coomes
2004 album] on organ and synths
Damage, there [The Blues
was a very long Explosion’s
One-man hand: break. I wanted 2015 album]
Spencer in 2018
to make Freedom Tower
different kinds was a good
of music and work with other people. record and it
really knocked me out – we listened wasn’t supposed to be a pure thing. I started to get jobs as an engineer was a real
to it over and over on tour in the That’s not what it was. and producer, and Matt had a little shame we had to stop touring
Blues Explosion. We were booking studio on the Lower East Side. From because Judah got really sick. He
some dates and I thought maybe we THE JON SPENCER spending time with him, we began was – and is – suffering from some
can get RL Burnside to play some BLUES EXPLOSION writing our own songs, and that was kind of respiratory illness. He’s
shows with us. The first show we did ACME the way Heavy Trash started. getting better but I don’t think the
with RL was at the old 9:30 Club in MATADOR, 1998 The first Heavy Trash record was Blues Explosion will be going on
Washington DC. I found out years Inspired by the success of 1995’s mainly just me and Matt. Very tour any time soon.
later that Cedric, RL’s grandson Experimental Remixes EP, the JSBX homemade. After we put it out, we There was a long period where
and drummer, was about to kick gleefully deconstruct themselves decided to play some shows. We I suppose I was mourning the end
Russell’s ass for something! But The way I didn’t have a band, so we needed of the Blues Explosion and Heavy
there was no ass-kicking and we always describe some musicians. I don’t know how Trash. Then I began to think, ‘I wish
just kept playing shows together and Acme is that it’s it happened but we got hooked up I had a band again. I want to go out
hit it off. After a while we started a remix record with The Sadies from Toronto, who and play.’ I approached a couple
messing around with songs onstage before the fact. are led by Dallas and Travis Good. of different people and it went
for our encore, and out of that came That was the Their parents are famous country nowhere. So then I was like, ‘Ah fuck
A Ass Pocket Of Whiskey. idea going in: musicians, so they’re like Canadian it, I’m just gonna make a record.’
It was recorded in an old hunting skip the straight record and just country royalty. The Sadies started I started going to the basement and
lodge in the middle of nowhere in release the dub platter. We tracked out as more of a punk country band, the songs came; I didn’t agonise
Mississippi. It was an unusually the record in Chicago and once but they can really play. When we over them too much. Perhaps an
cold winter for that part of the again I worked with Steve Albini. first got together to rehearse on unconscious decision was made to
country. There had been an ice We played the Cabaret Metro in Travis’s farm, an hour east of keep pushing and not to overthink
storm and the whole landscape Chicago on New Year’s Eve and then Toronto, they’d already learned things – that it’s OK if it’s just a
looked like you were on the moon. we holed up in Steve’s Electrical all the parts so it was pretty much stupid garage rock’n’roll song.
I don’t think the house had any heat, studios for three days and recorded amazing from the get-go. And I needed to do something to
so they built a great big fire. RL sat in everything. In the month following For Europe, the band was an feel a little more alive in 2017.
the chair next to the fire and we sat that, we began hitting people up for amended version of surf band The Some of the stuff running through
in a ring around him. We played for mixes and sending tapes out. A Tremolo Beer Gut from Copenhagen. my mind while writing this record
one long day into the night, trying good chunk of that record was When it came to making the second was what the fuck is going on with
anything and everything. mixed at Greene St Recording in the United States Of America, the
I really love the record and I Manhattan with Nick Sansano, kind of panic and fear and anger
thought it was a nice cross between where a lot of the great Def Jam that seems to go along with living
RL and his band and the more hip-hop classics were done. “A decision was under this current administration.
fucked-up white-boy punk of the
Blues Explosion. But there were
Some songs were mixed by two or
three people. We finally got to work
made not to Other than that, as always, I seem
to like to write about being in a
people who lambasted it – we got with Jim Dickinson, who’s a real overthink things band, or other bands. And then
some really severe criticism. We hero of mine. We were listening to
– it’s OK if it’s just there are songs about, you know,

were blamed for spoiling this pure “Blue Flowers” by Doctor Octagon gettin’ old!
artist, that we were somehow over and over again, so we said a stupid garage
putting him up to telling these dirty
stories, but it was all him. And it
OK, let’s work with the guy who
produced it, Dan The Automator.
rock’n’roll song” Spencer Sings The Hits is out on
November 2 on In The Red

84 • UNCUT • DECEMBER 2018

%$' '(%7 3225 0221









“Are ou all sitting
comftybold, two-square
on your botty?
Then we’ll begin…”
Welcome the strange, final year of the SMALL FACES.
1968 begins with hit singles and ends with Steve Marriott
storming off stage. In between, the band record Ogdens’
Nut Gone Flake – an album of whimsical brilliance that
they don’t quite know what to do with. Peter Watts tracks
down the survivors to hear tales of riverbank hijinks,
communal living and “extremely spiritual people”.

In the afterglow:
(l–r) Kenney
Jones, Steve
Marriott, Ian
McLagan and
Ronnie Lane

86 • UNCUT • DECEMBER 2018


OR the Small Faces, “At night we’d moor up anywhere,
inspiration came at go into the countryside, light a fire.
night, gathered It was typical Ronnie Lane stuff,
around a camp fire. real sea gypsy. Then the acoustic
The band were guitars would come out because we
in woodland, remembered Andrew had sent us out
somewhere outside there to write these songs.”
Windsor, looking for renewed sense It was here, stoned by a Berkshire
of purpose. This was May 1968 and riverbank, that the band experienced
the Small Faces were in a rut. After a collective eureka moment as they
a period of sustained success the gazed up at the half moon. “…Where
previous year, the band had returned had the other half gone?” recalls
to the studio with a bad case of Jones. “That’s what inspired us to
writer’s block. In an attempt to rouse write about this little boy called
their creativity, their label boss at Happiness Stan, who goes looking
Immediate, Andrew Loog Oldham, for the moon.”
had a brainwave. From such woolly pontifications,
“We’d kind of dried up,” says the the Small Faces discovered they had
band’s drummer, Kenney Jones. “We a workable concept. Released in May
didn’t have enough good songs. So 1968, Ogdens’ Nut Gone Flake went to
Andrew booked some boats to go out No 1 and stayed there for six weeks.
on the Thames. We started in Sunbury Pete Townshend was an immediate
and made out way, through locks, up fan, hymning what he now describes
and down the river, having a right old as “the genius and incredible sound of
laugh. We had a couple of crashes, Ogdens’”. Songwriter Billy Nicholls –
mind. This bloke was dressed who sang backing vocals on three
completely in white – white shoes, songs on Ogdens’ – recalls, “One night

white socks, white trousers, white Pete came over and listened to it.
shirt and white captain’s hat. Mac He was astounded. It was such an
nearly smashed into him and this amazing album for the time and
guy started shouting, ‘Scourge of place, and I think it really affected his
the sea! Scourge of the sea!’ own writing, leading to Tommy.”

DECEMBER 2018 • UNCUT • 87

“Olympic had this
massive room and
we were like little
dwarves in the
middle”: Kenney
Jones (right) on the
Ogdens’ sessions
of early 1968

What makes Ogdens’ all the more remarkable is PP Arnold, whose own slow-burning single, “(If
that 1968 was bookended by trauma for the Small You Think) You’re Groovy”, was a co-write between
Faces. The year began with a disastrous tour of Marriott and Lane.
Australia that saw the band blown off stage by Initially in good spirits, the band then headed to
The Who and ended in chaos when Steve Marriott Australia on the aforementioned tour with The Who
walked off stage at a New Year’s Eve gig at Alexandra and Paul Jones. The negative tone was set at an early
Palace, signalling the band’s implosion. press conference when Ian McLagan was badgered
So what went wrong? The turning point about a recent drug bust. “We did this conference and
might have been the counter-intuitive choice they kept going on about drugs, laying into Mac and
of single to launch the album. Instead of a Pete [Townshend] and everybody else,” says Jones.
song more representative of the album’s Things got worse on a flight between Adelaide
psychedelic intentions, Immediate released and Sydney. Paul Jones’s Australian backing band
“Lazy Sunday”. A hit, nonetheless, but one had smuggled alcohol on board, and a vengeful
that rankled with the band. “We wanted to stewardess refused to serve Paul Jones a coffee. An
make heavier stuff, and we’d made this great argument ensued. “Then the worst thing happened,”
album and then we had this rinky-dink thing grins Kenney Jones. “Moony woke up.” With Keith
in the charts,” says Jones. “Do I like that song? Moon’s help, the entire plane was soon chanting, “We
No, I can’t fucking stand it. Well, I have to like it want our coffee!” A furious pilot diverted the plane to
because it is part of the Small Faces’ history.” Melbourne, claiming the musicians had “insulted
For Steve Marriott, the popularity of “Lazy a passenger, drunk beer and made a hostess cry”.
Sunday” was like “Sha La La La Lee” all over “We had to explain ourselves to the bloke who ran
again – a pop hit that he despised as “pap”. the airport,” says Jones. “We told him what happened
Jones still seems nonplussed that the band and Paul [Jones] got it across properly with his posh
dissolved precisely when they should have voice. Eventually the airline was made to apologise,
been basking in the success of their most but by then the press had got hold of it and was telling
acclaimed LP. “We all still got on,” he insists. “Even everybody we’d let Britain down.” Townshend was so

when Steve brought it to a rotten end, walking off enraged, he didn’t return to Australia for 40 years.
stage. He explained after that he’d to get away and Back in London, the Small Faces headed into
move on. But I wish he’d talked to us at the time.” Olympic in February, where, bar a couple of
sessions at Trident, Ogdens’ took shape. Partly

N early 1968, The Small Faces made two driven by Marriott’s desire to escape the band’s
appearances on Top Of The Pops to promote teenybopper reputation, the Small Faces were
“Tin Soldier” – a slice of buzzing psychedelic becoming increasingly experimental. Accordingly,
soul that reached No 9. On backing vocals was things got heavier on “Song Of A Baker” and

88 • UNCUT • DECEMBER 2018


How a BBC pop show picked up on Ogdens’

HE Small Faces were the second where Ronnie Lane was singing a high
band to feature on Colour Me note and the mic picked it up and you
Pop, a show created to show off can see him grinning. It was fun. It was a
the use of colour on BBC2. Presenter homely studio, so I think they treated it
Steve Turner was also director, like a gig in a small hall.”
producer, booker, vision All the special effects
mixer and special effects were done by Turner,
expert. “I went round the who says he still “cringes”
clubs to find pop groups when he sees the section
who could hold a half-hour featuring a flashing
programme together,” psychedelic fly. “I wanted
he says. “I had a budget to celebrate the music and
of about £100 and three make it colourful. For one
cameras. I needed music I band I had to draw a picture
could do a few effects to. I’d of the sun, and on another
heard Ogdens’ and it told one I used a picture my son
a story, and I liked that idea.” did.” Later guests included
Turner persuaded Stanley Fleetwood Mac, Free, The
Unwin to appear as he Nice, The Kinks and The
was a BBC radio engineer, Hollies, and David Bowie
so could do it for free. The once appeared with The
band mimed, and the show Strawbs, but Turner admits
went out live – Unwin was turning down Rod Stewart
still being made up when as he was “too squeaky”.
the first song began. Turner Other than the Small
spent a while listening to Faces’ performance, little
the LP to ensure he could footage remains as the
cut to the right band member at the tapes were wiped. “The Hollies one I
right moment. “I wanted to know the wish I could see again,” says Turner. “I
music so if there was a solo or a break did some of my best work there.”
I was there before the fingers hit the Colour Me Pop was named best
keyboard or whatever,” he says. “I music show by Melody Maker, but in
remember Kenney was great at timing 1970 was replaced by Disco 2 then The
his fills. I told them to enjoy themselves Old Grey Whistle Test. “But it all started
and they did. There was a moment with Colour Me Pop,” adds Turner.

“Afterglow” – or weirder on tracks like “The Journey” inspired me to come up with that song,” he says.
and “The Hungry Intruder”. “Because I couldn’t write out the melody, I had to hum
Marriott and Lane were writing separately, but
completing songs together in the studio. For Kenney “DoIlike‘Lazy the tune to the band and they then wrote into my song.”
“Rene”, a ribald tribute to an East London prostitute,
Jones that meant “a lot of fucking hanging about, ’cos
we had the studio all fucking day and all fucking Sunday’?No, was also partly inspired by Jones. He explains, “We
had two Renes. One was Rene Tungate who was
night. We burnt up a lot of studio time unnecessarily,
but we preferred it as a way of working. Glyn Johns Ican’tfucking known to Ronnie and Steve, and there was also my
Aunt Rene, who was quite the lady around the docks.
could hear things take shape and then run out if he I told the boys some of the stories and it went in the
heard something he liked and tell us to do it again so standit” song. That happened a lot. We’d be chatting in the
we can tape it. Olympic had this massive room and pub, and I’d see Ronnie and Steve’s eyes light up.”
we were like little dwarves in the middle. There was KENNEY JONES The Small Faces were exploring numerous worlds.
an echo chamber that adjoined the storeroom of a There was the soul influence on “Afterglow”, the
hardware shop next door. You could reach through the slats in the Stanley psych-pop whimsy of “The Journey”, the spiritual exploration of
wall to nick the toilet roll.” Unwin, “Song Of A Baker”, while “Rene”, and “Happydaystoytown” and
supplier of
Phil Chapman, an engineer who worked at Olympic with the Faces Ogdens’ “Lazy Sunday” brought a musical hall quality to psychedelic rock.
and Humble Pie, remembers Johns’ relationship with bands as being “looney But what made Ogdens’ unique was the second side – a carefully
like a “benevolent schoolteacher”. Unlike the psychedelic fantasies linked suite of six songs that told the story of Happiness Stan as he
being created at Abbey Road, Johns took a fairly straightforward meets various insects in his search for the moon. The songs were
approach. “Glyn didn’t mess around with EQ or anything the boards connected by a gobbledygook narrative from Stanley Unwin,
had to offer,” says Chapman. “It was more about mic positioning and who took some of the band’s catchphrases and converted
also getting the musicians to play in a certain way. Glyn was very them into his own strange language.
professional. He wasn’t sociable, he was there to work and he really “Stanley was a very friendly, gorgeous man,” says
loved the music and he understood the music.” Nicholls. “We played him the album and Ronnie and
A regular visitor was photographer Gered Mankowitz, who was Steve explained the story. He had notes but was
recording the sessions for Immediate. He recalls “a fun and positive improvising. When you listen carefully he stutters now
experience, very creative – a good energy, good vibe. There was no and again, and that’s because he’s doing it off the cuff.”
sign of friction I was aware of. If I look at my pictures, I don’t sense Unwin accepted a bottle of whisky for payment.
and don’t remember any conflict. The general vibe is happy and Happiness Stan still inspires Kenney Jones,

smiling, mugging for the camera, and that’s not an easy thing to do who wants to make an animated film. This will
when there’s a lot of pressure.” conclude something that began during the
Marriott and Lane weren’t the only ones writing. McLagan sessions at Olympic. “Towards the end of the
contributed the fantastical “Long Agos And World Apart”, while recording I went up to Ronnie and Mac when
Jones instigated the title track, a distorted instrumental. “The LP title they were deep in conversation and said, ‘This

DECEMBER 2018 • UNCUT • 89

Moving ahead
of their teen
audience: the
Small Faces on
stage in 1968

would make a great cartoon,’” he says. “They looked at me Cost was never mentioned to photographer Gered
for a second and then just carried on with what they were Mankowitz. He shot four individual portraits of band
talking about. I was like, ‘Fuck, I can’t get through to members with the other three in the background (left),
anyone!’ But I know I would have got through eventually.” capturing the band’s sense of unity. “I printed them
through a special texture, spun glass, which was a

S Happiness Stan developed, Marriott and Lane fibreglass used to soften light,” he says. “They were fun to
combined their talents. The theatrical, storytelling be around, but a little chaotic. They liked dressing up, Steve
element came from Marriott, the former child actor. particularly. Any props or costumes I had lying around were
But the broader theme came from Lane’s quest for spiritual always incorporated in the pictures. But they were all lovely.”
satisfaction that eventually led him to Meher Baba. “Around The band’s good spirits were dented when Immediate released
that time, Ronnie came in with a book and gave me and “Lazy Sunday”, a song written by Marriott when he was sitting on
Andrew a copy each,” says Billy Nicholls. “It was The Sufi the loo, as a promotional single shortly before the album came
Message by Inayat Khan, and it changed my life. In the out. “There were a few songs that we were getting out our
story of Ogdens’ you could see the mystical side was system,” says Jones. “But Andrew had a habit of going into
from Ronnie, that was his input without question. But Olympic when we were away. I can picture him now in his
I wouldn’t take anything away from Steve; he would green mohair suit looking fucking great, genuinely, and
have gone with it as he was so creative.” asking Glyn if he could listen to what we’d been doing.”
Saxophonist Lyn Dobson backed the Small Faces at According to Jones, they only realised “Lazy Sunday” had
half-a-dozen shows in the UK. He says that both Steve been released when Marriott saw the chart in a music paper: “It
and Ronnie “were extremely spiritual people” but believes was a nail in the coffin, because we were desperately trying to lose
this came in part from LSD. He continues, “It’s like being a that image. We were aware of what The Beatles were doing and
Buddhist monk. You can’t communicate what you have seen to we felt that songs like ‘Lazy Sunday’ pushed us backwards.
ordinary people who haven’t experienced it, and it does give It got to Steve more than the others. We didn’t realise
you a sense of superiority. It’s not ego, you have a deep that this was getting to him so much, he was putting
spiritual knowledge that you cannot put into words. That another band together. He felt he’d never get away from
affects the art you create. It might be part of the reason Steve this image unless he got away from the band.”
found it hard later on. The experience of acid is too big, so you Ogdens’ was promoted by an attention-grabbing
turn to other things to mask the knowledge you’ve acquired.” parody of the Lord’s Prayer, while the award-winning
Dobson describes Ogdens’ Unwin-narrated storyline as artwork also gained attention. But the main driver for

“radical and original”. The same is true of the album packaging. the LP’s success was the popularity of “Lazy Sunday”.
The record came in a circular tin, painted to resemble a tobacco This did little to improve Marriott’s mood; he was also upset
tin – the manufacturer’s name Ogden Nut-Brown Flake being that the Small Faces couldn’t tour the US as McLagan’s drug
adapted by artist Mick Swan. The drug reference was made arrest meant he couldn’t get a visa. At the same time, the singer
explicit by a complex fold-out insert that featured was refusing to take Ogdens’ on a tour of the UK and Europe.
photographs of rolling papers, as well as portraits of the Partly to placate their discontented frontman, the band
band and a psychedelic artwork. The sleeve cost a hired a brass section for four shows in June and July. The
fortune to manufacture. Immediate publisher Malcolm brass section featured Georgie Fame players such as
Forrester recalls that “there was a time when it seemed trumpeter Eddie Thornton and trombonist Derek
as if any money that was kicking about, and there Wadsworth, who had recorded overdubs for Ogdens’. This
wasn’t much of it, was going into Ogdens’.” Despite lineup played Leeds, Exeter, Oxford and Newtownards,
strong sales of the album, this heavy spending soon Northern Ireland, followed by a one-off gig in Newcastle in
caught up with Immediate, which folded in 1970. November, which was recorded for a proposed live album.

90 • UNCUT • DECEMBER 2018

close. That summer, Marriott hired
Jerome K Jerome’s old house in Marlow,
holding parties, jamming and writing.
“Steve wrote ‘The Universal’ there, with
the sounds of the dog barking,” says
Nicholls of this period. “They all shared
the same sense of humour and we
played each other music, acetates of
Beatles songs, Music From Big Pink, Dr
John. There was so much great music
coming out and we were saturated in it.”
There were also acid trips. Lyn Dobson
took his first trip with Lane and Marriott
Although the tour was intended to in Marlow. “They had this lovely house,
support Ogdens’, the band only played with something like seven dogs and 15
bluesy rocker “Rollin’ Over”. Otherwise, cats and it was a beautiful experience,”
the brass brought a soulful edge to “If Marriott with he says. “We also played music – me on
first wife Jenny
I Were a Carpenter”, “Every Little Bit Rylance at their sitar and Steve on guitar, playing fusion
Hurts”, “All Or Nothing” and “Tin house Beehive music years ahead of its time. Steve was
Cottage in
Soldier”. Expensive to mount, the tour Moreton, a real all-rounder, a great singer and
wasn’t a natural success – partly Essex, 1968 guitarist. He even had a dog who sang
because the Small Faces were under- the blues. As soon as Steve played his
rehearsed and because their audience blues harp, the dog would start howling
still largely consisted of teenage girls for whom the
band’s new-found interests held little appeal. “WE like a blues singer. Steve was very proud of that.”

Lyn Dobson remembers the July 5 show at the Ards T’S difficult to comprehend how the Small Faces
Pop Festival in Northern Ireland: “They built a wall went from releasing a No 1 album and No 2 single
around the stage to keep the crowd away and the fans
just broke it down. We were doing soul songs. I knew
GETPAID!” to self-combusting on stage in December. For
those around the band like Dobson, Nicholls and
the other players, most of us came from Georgie Fame’s The story of Ogdens’ Mankowitz, there were no obvious signs of tension.
frontline. We had a system but we also had parts, so amazing sleeve art… Even Kenney Jones couldn’t see it coming. But it’s clear
somebody like Eddie Thornton would play a riff and Marriott’s frustrations had taken root. He worried he’d
ICK Tweddell and Pete
then we’d pick it up. Having that sort of understanding
N Brown had played in The
Muleskinners with art-school
pal McLagan. In spring 1968, they
never get the respect he craved, and began to spend
time with Peter Frampton and Jerry Shirley. He wanted
more – perhaps Humble Pie was the answer.
were approached by Mac to work The relative failure of “The Universal” didn’t help.
“You could see on Ogdens’ elaborate packaging.
“The guys had this idea of using a
Released in June 1968, it stuck at No 16. When the
Small Faces went back into the studio that autumn,
tobacco tin because of the spliff
the mystical side thing,” says Tweddell. “We were
asked to put something psychedelic
they were back in that rut, with Lane and Marriott
unable to settle on a post-Ogdens’ direction and
was from Ronnie” in the middle. We spent a day
and a half doing it. Most
Marriott increasingly reluctant to commit to the
band. The songs recorded weren’t deemed
of my time was spent
BILLY NICHOLLS on the black-and-
good enough to release as a single; instead
“Afterglow” was pulled off the album.
white landscape in
the background, The masterpiece had become a
made it very easy to work with them as a section.” where I was millstone. The beginning of the end
The sole time the band recreated Ogdens’ was when copying Victorian came at Alexandra Palace on New
they performed a version in June for the BBC’s Colour engravings. Pete Year’s Eve, when a jam with Alexis
Me Pop. Even Stanley Unwin got involved, narrating did the little painting Korner went badly wrong. Marriott
of the chap smoking
his part from a throne. The band looked like they were walked off stage bellowing, “I quit.” In
the pipe, which reflects
having a ball, with the energetic Marriott full of back to the pot element. the dressing room, he told his bandmates
impish humour. Engineer Alan O’Duffy, who recorded We were heavily into that it was over. Kenney Jones, the last Small
“Tin Soldier”, recalls, “Steve could be daft, awkward Alphonse Mucha, Face standing, is still frustrated by the

and a pain in the arse, but I thought the world of him. and that whole dden ending. “If the band had
He was phenomenally musical and a brilliant circle and fantasy emained together, I look at something
thing was inspired
frontman. He had such amazing presence. He turned ke Tommy, musically and film-wise
by Mucha.”
playing a single chord into a massive drama, like every The colourful nd a stage show, and I like to think we
chord was the best chord on the planet. You can see montage of ould have done something like that,”
how the theatrical aspect of Ogdens’ came from Steve.” butterflies and ays Jones. “That’s what’s made me
It was claimed that the band didn’t tour Ogdens’ as it flowers came from ant to do an animated film. You have to
was impossible to play live. Billy Nicholls thinks it had Tweddell’s collection discover other methods to keep the music
of die-cut Victorian
more to do with Marriott’s discontent. “I don’t think it alive, the adventure alive, the story alive and
scraps – beautifully
was true they couldn’t take it on the road; they could printed sheets sold you fatten it up all the time. I feel the presence
have used backing tapes for Stanley’s voice,” he says. commercially to of Ronnie and Steve and now Mac all the
“And it wasn’t just the story of Happiness Stan, there make scrapbooks. ime. I always felt Ronnie and Steve’s
was the whole first side, which had great tracks that “We stuck them resence pushing me to do what I’m
could definitely be played live. When you have great down and painted oing for the band.”
the board,” says
musicians and great songs, you can find a way to do
Tweddell. “We
them. I think there were other reasons and it coincided didn’t get paid. I’ve Ogdens’ Nut Gone Flake: 50th
with Steve’s desire to do something else.” never even owned Anniversary Deluxe Edition is out now
Despite Marriott’s frustration, he and Lane remained a copy of the album!” n BMG Music/Charly

DECEMBER 2018 • UNCUT • 91

Of You
Teaming up with Chic’s Bernard Edwards and Nile Rodgers in 1978,
bySister Sledge
the singing sisters raise the bar to deliver a timeless classic…

N early 1978, two albums being deemed too volatile to accept firm KEY PLAYERS siblings’ R&B vocal talents and Chic’s
and eight years into a career instruction. Sister Sledge, on the other flawless feel for rhythm, mood and
which had delivered only hand, fitted the bill, although two issues melody, Rodgers still regards it as the Chic

moderate commercial success, quickly emerged. Firstly, there was no Organization’s greatest achievement –
Pennsylvania’s premier sibling existing relationship between the two with “Thinking Of You” as the cherry on
vocal group were contemplating the parties. “The first time we met them was the cake. Originally released in the US
endgame. “We thought, ‘OK, we’ve had the first time they set foot in the studio to as the B-side of “Lost In Music”, before
a great run in the music industry, now hear the songs,” Nile Rodgers told Uncut. becoming a belated British hit in 1984,
Kathy Sledge
we’re going to do have to something else,’” Secondly, there was friction between it may not be as anthemic as “We Are
Lead vocal
says Kim Sledge, the second youngest of the sisters’ traditional free-style working Family”, or as artfully alien as “Lost In
Sister Sledge’s four original singers. methods and Rodgers’ authoritarian, Music”, but its blend of Rodgers’ scratchily
Fate intervened, in the form of Nile downright secretive approach to making propulsive rhythm guitar, Edwards’
Rodgers and Bernard Edwards. Riding the album. “We built a little tension bubbling bass, crisp percussion and
high on the success of their singles “Good between us,” he admits. sumptuous strings is gloriously uplifting.
Times” and “Le Freak”, the Chic duo Yet We Are Family, recorded at New The melody line alone transmits “sheer
were seeking to revive the fortunes of York’s Power Station in the autumn Debbie Sledge joy”, says Kathy Sledge, who sang the
an act from the Atlantic Records stable. of 1978, exceeded all expectations. A Vocals dreamily ecstatic lead vocal.
The Rolling Stones were mooted, before gleaming eight-track distillation of the Though Kathy left in 1989 to pursue solo
projects, and Joni Sledge sadly died last
year, the three surviving sisters frequently
come together, with plans afoot to reunite
Enjoying the in 2019 to mark the 40th anniversary of We
fruits of success:
Sister Sledge Are Family. “Thinking Of You” will be the
in 1979 Kim Sledge Vocals first song on the set list. It always is.
“It’s my absolute favourite song that we
ever recorded,” says Kim Sledge. “You
can go anywhere with it. Regardless of
the audience, demographics, age groups,
cultures, it’s one of those songs that is just
so full of love and encouragement. When
Nile Rodgers we sing it, I get happy.” GRAEME THOMSON
performing and recording for about
10 years, working all over the world,
and we were at a point where we were
thinking about finishing our education
and pursuing our individual interests.
We went to see Diana Ross at Valley Forge
Rob Sabino Piano Music Fair, and we told her road manager
we were thinking of moving on. He said,
“Hang in there for one more year, this is

92 • UNCUT • DECEMBER 2018

what you should be doing.” As God would SABINO: We worked especially well
have it, that’s the year we were introduced together on Sister Sledge. We just knew
to Nile Rodgers and Bernard Edwards. “The first day we met Sister what to do, we didn’t have to be told.
DEBBIE SLEDGE (VOCALS): We were RODGERS: The sisters were in the studio
introduced through a dear friend of our Sledge, their whole album while we were finishing up the lyrics on
mother called Phil Hurtt, who was signed
to Atlantic. He informed us that Hillery
was written” We Are Family. I remember
sitting there and saying,
Johnson, [vice]-president of Atlantic at the NILE RODGERS “No, hold on a second, we’ll
time, was looking for a group to put with finish in a minute.” It was the
the Chic Organization, as they were trying rudest thing ever. Like, we’re
to find someone who would fit with them. label. He told us how they were now telling you what your
NILE RODGERS: The Stones were the first a family, how they stick together life is going to be like, before
superstar act that was actually offered to and all that stuff, and we took we knew who they were.
us, and instead of doing the Stones we did down what they’d written and KIM: With a lot of the songs,
Sister Sledge. Bernard and I knew that [the turned it into “We Are Family” they’d not written the words.
Stones] would’ve been a bad move. How do and a bunch of other songs. Some of them were written
you tell The Rolling Stones, “Right, we’re DEBBIE: All the songs fit like a while we were waiting in
going to write all your songs, and then you glove. I don’t know we were aware the studio. It was exciting.
come in and you play like this?” of that at the very beginning. We had to fit into a different
KATHY SLEDGE (LEAD VOCALS): Nile and ROB SABINO (PIANO): Sister technique. We were happy to
Bernard had a formula, and it worked for Sledge wasn’t really on the up. be there, in New York, and we
them. It was very regimented, all the way They needed a hit. We cut the loved the music – even though
from the song structure to the backing backing tracks before they were we weren’t able to hear it until
vocals. They’d had success, they were at even in the studio. That was how we got there!

a sophomore place where everyone was Nile and Bernard worked. They DEBBIE: “Thinking Of You”
watching them, and they didn’t want to always gave musicians a lot has got a gorgeous melody.
move away from that formula. That was of a latitude. Whereas regular It’s such a happy song.It’s
smart. They were confident and diligent. session players would do their thing, with immediately uplifting.
RODGERS: The first day we met Sister extra cheese, everyone in Chic were all KATHY: We were not allowed to hear any
Sledge, their whole album was written. dedicated to the song and the groove. Chic’s Nile of the songs until it was time to record
Rodgers and
We had never even met them! We had just RODGERS: The real unsung hero of Chic Bernard them. That was interesting!
heard about them from the head of our is Rob Sabino! Edwards, 1981 KIM: We’d been taught by our grandma

DECEMBER 2018 • UNCUT • 93

kind of made small talk. “I’m so tired!
Long night.” “Yeah, me too.” He got me a
coffee, and as we parted ways to go back to
our separate studios, I realised it was Mick
Jagger! It was just typical morning studio
talk. It was a great place.
DEBBIE: We were inspired singing these
songs, and they were inspired writing
them. We did butt heads, but in a good
way. They weren’t fully aware of what
we were capable of, and vice versa, but it
turned out a good mix, a good sharpening
of irons. Iron sharpens iron.
KATHY: The whole process was like
a puzzle. You get to hear the
playback after they’d worked
their magic on it, and it was
like hearing it for the first
time. “Thinking Of You”
was so fresh. I was just this
goofy teenager with braces,
Hitting the UK: (l-r)
Debbie, Kathy, Joni and I kept asking Nile, “Is
and Kim Sledge, 1984 it gonna be a hit, is it gonna
be a hit?” He’d laugh and say,
RODGERS: “You know what, sweetie, it’s
We’d never gonna be huge!” And it was!
“The word that comes to worked with any KIM: We were told later that their LP
stars; we’d only worked project for Diana Ross [Diana], with “I’m
mind is ‘joy’. It’s one of the with other studio musicians who were Coming Out” and all that, was supposed
most feelgood songs ever” used to us telling them what to do. That’s
the only way we knew how to produce.
to be our follow-up album, but she came
to the studio, heard what was going on,
KATHY SLEDGE SABINO: I know Nile encouraged that and she insisted that she wanted them to
vocal extemporisation towards the end record for her. So they used the songs they
to learn a song until it was a part of you, FACT FILE – “Once you let go, go for it!” – but in the were going to use for our follow-up on her
but going in with Bernard and Nile was body of the song, you had to do what he album instead. Ain’t that something! Of
Written and
very, very different. They wouldn’t let us produced: Nile conceived. But part of what he conceived course they have another story behind
hear anything. We had no idea what we’d Rodgers and was letting Kathy do her thing. that now, but I know that’s a fact…
be recording day to day… Bernard Edwards KATHY: I was used to producers telling me, RODGERS: Diana came about after we’d
KATHY: Nile and Bernard were the Recorded: Power “Just do your thing,” and I would scream had the phenomenal success with Sister
directors, but they wouldn’t let me study Station, New York, all over the place. I was able to do that a Sledge. Even so, when we got to Diana, we
late 1978
the script. I get it now, because one of the little at the very end of “Thinking Of You”, didn’t want to make the same mistakes,
First released:
things that’s so magic about “Thinking Of January 22, 1979, on the ad-lib track. They let me go at the because now this is our first star that we’re
You” is the spontaneity. It was an amazing on the We Are end and then they edited it and spliced it to working with.
way to work. Frustrating at the time, but Family album. how they wanted it. I do vividly remember KIM: In our show nowadays, Debbie
I get it now. They knew what they were Label: Cotillion Kim helping me with that. She was on the sings “Thinking Of You”, and she does an
listening for, and if I sang it different they’d Key personnel: other side of the glass, saying, “You gotta amazing job. It ’s taken on this delightful
Kathy Sledge
stop me and say, “No, no, no!” go, ‘You-oo-ooh, you-oo-ooh, you-oo-ooh’.” flavour, a fun-loving jazz thing, but it’s still
(lead vocals),
SABINO: The vocal lines were so close to Debbie Sledge After two or three passes they would come just as pop and upbeat.
what Nile originally wrote. The sisters, (vocals), Kim in and edit it all together. DEBBIE: I don’t know if you can go wrong
and Kathy in particular, put their own Sledge (vocals), KIM: As we began to do the tracks, we with that song. We would never not
phraseology and style on it, because of Joni Sledge would stretch out. You can hear all the perform it. It’s a privilege to do it.
their skills and their understanding they (vocals), Nile spontaneity on the song. It was our first KATHY: I’m a real stickler in my own shows
Rodgers (guitar),
could put their own stamp on it, but as far time at the Power Station, and that was a for making sure it’s performed exactly as
Bernard Edwards
as the notes on the page went, it was pretty (bass), Tony thrill in itself. We ran into lots of people, recorded, right down to the ad-libs. I never
much what Nile and Bernard wanted. The Thompson a lot of people came through that place. get tired singing it. It’s just timeless. The
way Nile writes, arranges and produces, (drums), Robert Once, we’d been up all night long, it was word that comes to mind is ‘joy’. It’s one of
the parts don’t fit together if you vary Sabino (piano) super early in the morning, and I went out the most feelgood songs ever.
things too much. If you jam too much, it Charts: UK (11); to get some coffee. This guy was standing
US (n/a)
would come out less of a pop song and next to me at the coffee machine, kind The Chic Organization 1977–1979 is
more of a jamming gospel song. of blowing his nose, wiping his eyes. We out November 23 via Atlantic/Rhino

1950s: The four Sledge 1971: Sister Sledge form track on We Are Family. it becomes a No 1 on the and re-establishes the
sisters are born into a in Pennsylvania, as a The sisters’ third album US dance charts, and band, who score a UK
showbiz family. Their vocal group featuring reaches No 3 on the reaches No 17 in the UK. No 1 the following year
grandma Viola Williams the four sisters. Billboard chart. May, 1984: Issued in the with “Frankie”.
was an opera singer, their January 22, 1979: April 4, 1979: Released UK as a single for the June 1993: A Nile Rodgers
mother an actress, their “Thinking Of You” as the B-side of the first time, “Thinking Of remix of the song hits the
father a tap dancer. appears as the fourth “Lost In Music” single, You” reaches No 11 UK Top 20.

94 • UNCUT • DECEMBER 2018

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Spiritual feeling:
live at the Eventim
Apollo, London,
September 2018

Eventim Apollo, London

September 21, 2018
Jason Pierce’s gospel-rock ensemble
deliver fine-tuned transcendence

ASON Pierce has made a has been the case for a number of years,
career out of feeling unusual, Pierce is seated too. Crane your neck and
though you always wondered you can just about see him, thronged by a
for how long this state of six-piece band, eight-piece string section,
affairs was sustainable. eight-piece brass ensemble and nine-
Accordingly, Pierce has been strong choir, softly warbling his teenage
telling interviewers that the symphonies to God, opiates or lost love,
current Spiritualized album will be his depending on your interpretation.
last. He’s cited artistic rather than physical On the face of it, Pierce hasn’t grown
concerns, but the way he decribed the up much in the past 30 years. Hunched
creation of And Nothing Hurt certainly over his vintage Fender in the indie
made it sound like an exhausting process: uniform of 1988 – black jeans, shades,
after numerous false starts and reboots, greasy hair, band T-shirt – his songs still
he ended up painstakingly piecing the have the air of bedroom confessionals
album’s orchestral parts together from masquerading as grand celestial visions.
samples alone in his bedroom. Yet live, Spiritualized has become a huge,
It’s credit to his songwriting gifts that awe-inspiring affair. And for a man cutting
the weariness he sometimes exhibits in such a slight figure, there’s a boldness
person rarely transfers to the listener. And and conviction about the show he fronts.
Nothing Hurt has been widely acclaimed All too often, maximalist productions
as the finest Spiritualized album this like these are let down by the sound, as
century, and when it becomes clear that the logistical challenges of blending 24
he’s planning to play it from start to finish instruments instead of four ultimately
tonight – following an initial clutch of result in an underwhelming mush. But
older favourites – the crowd don’t flinch, over the years, Pierce has learned a thing
greeting the introductory bars of each new or two about making his music take flight
song with the same warm cheers as his in these grand, cavernous old theatres.
best-known material. The power of the ensemble is
It’s something you can do without immediately apparent when a delicately
apology or explanation when you’re graceful “Hold On” is followed by a

preaching to the kind of faithful, slow-burning “Come Together” – usually

impeccably attentive audience reserved for the encore – that climaxes
assembled here tonight. The all-seater in pounding, symphonic noise-rock
set-up probably helps, but everyone in catharsis. Yet the subtle details in the
attendance does their bit to make this songs that follow turn out to be just as 1 Hold On
an intense, immersive experience. As arresting. “Shine A Light” is defined 2 Come Together
3 Shine A Light
by soft guitar arpeggios, organ and
4 Stay With Me
5 Soul On Fire
somnambulant brass; a distant, forlorn
6 Broken Heart French horn introduces “Broken Heart”,
7 A Perfect gradually joined by gentle tambourine
Miracle and kettle drum, guitarist Doggen’s
8 I’m Your Man plaintive, smoky harmonica and the choir
9 Here It Comes finding their voice in earnest.
(The Road)
Let’s Go
As the waltz-like, slightly knock-kneed
10 Let’s Dance romantic lilt of “A Perfect Miracle”
11 On The Sunshine introduces the new album segment, the
12 Damaged details once again stand out amid the
13 The Morning broad orchestral strokes. The Muscle
After Shoalsy soul of “I’m Your Man” is
14 The Prize punctuated by gutsy horns and lithe
15 Sail On Through
guitar licks, before the strings and
16 So Long You
keyboards sweeping across “Damaged”
Pretty Thing create that blissfully melancholic,
17 Out Of Sight pleasure-from-pain feeling that is
18 Oh Happy Day such a Spiritualized trademark. The
guitar tickles that decorate it also offer
a raw, bluesy undercurrent that is one of

96 • UNCUT • DECEMBER 2018


And Nothing Hurt’s most notable assets. traditional show-stopper “Oh Happy Day”
All the same, things become fairly concludes the show, you’d be a particularly
one-paced for long periods. If you did
decide to take the title of “Let’s Dance” The eternal loner has shrivelled, spirit-sapped soul not to be
caught up in the communal celebration of
literally, it would suit a slow smooch at
best. We could do with a little more of the established himself it all. Aptly enough, the backdrop by this
point has lost the rather austere morse
code spelling of the album title and now
as something of a
contrast offered on “The Morning After”,
which builds into a visceral, cacophonous, appears to be engulfed in flames.
feedback-spiked thrash. Spiritualized’s musical formula is
So the weaknesses live are the same ones
that have always been present on record:
British institution fine-tuned to the point where it’s never
been more effective, with the new album’s
a tendency for blissed-out drift to resemble best tunes already sounding like familiar
formulaic dirge. There are points when until the final, gospel-fuelled encore. favourites while providing small but
more sceptical observers might wonder Yet equally you can see a through-line significant tweaks to the sonic template.
how exactly Pierce went from a Stooges- in Pierce’s lifetime quest for ecstatic Against the odds, the eternal loner has
obsessed firebrand to displaying many salvation. Observing the audience tonight, established himself as something of a
of the tropes that his searing drone-rock many of whom are intermittently sunk British institution. Last album? Last show?
sought to eviscerate – interminable songs, back in their seats, eyes closed, letting Surely not. When you’ve spent this long
overblown orchestral pretensions, remote the sound wash over them, it’s clear that slowly honing an artistic vision, getting
performers, new albums played in full, his brand of transcendence has become ever closer to perfection, why would you
and the audience reverently static more powerful than ever. By the time the want to stop now? JOHNNY SHARP

DECEMBER 2018 • UNCUT • 97

Ziggurat stardust:
majorette Janelle
Monáe (centre)

the tour packs the stagecraft of a stadium
SETLIST pop show neatly on to the middle of a
1 Dirty Computer little four-stepped ziggurat, an awesome
2 Crazy, Classic, band flanking Monáe – in her Afrofuturist
Roundhouse, London, September 12 Life
3 Take A Byte
majorette ensemble or her vulva-shaped
trousers – to each side. It’s got the bursting
4 Screwed
Spectacular sci-fi soul revue with 5 Django Jane energy of a soul revue and the sci-fi
a radically inclusive message 6 Q.U.E.E.N.
7 Electric Lady
concept of a prog epic. Monáe’s voice,
as well as her presence, is a revelation:
8 PrimeTime strong, versatile, never a wrong note.

HERE’S a video you may video – a moonwalk here, a shuffle there, 9 Pynk In the past couple of years, she’s stepped
have seen of a James a tribute to her late collaborator Prince 10 Yoga into acting, and on stage she’s able to
Brown performance at with a snatch of “Purple Rain” – but she’s 11 I Like That command not just with flash, but with
12 Don’t Judge Me

Hollywood’s Beverly not hamstrung by influence or, she’s keen the smallest expression. She is charisma
13 Make Me Feel
Theater in 1983, in which to make clear, by anything else. From the incarnate, turning the luscious neo-soul
14 I Got the Juice
he invites both Michael moment she’s wheeled on, supine on a bier, 15 Cold War of “I Like That” into an opportunity to
Jackson and Prince out to a climactic stomp through the revenant 16 Tightrope compliment her fans: “Your flag – I like
of the audience to do a turn on stage, and swing of “Come Alive (War Of The Roses)” 17 Come Alive that shit! Your pink hat – I like that shit!”
the concentration of talent threatens to go two hours later, her show is all about the (The War The flag is rainbow, the hat pussy-eared.
critical. A version of that happens tonight liberating power of shameless happiness. Of The Roses) They are neat emblems for how Monáe’s
when Janelle Monáe pulls Chewing Gum Or, as she puts it, “celebrating self-love”. music has become the epitome of modern
creator Michaela Coel out of the crowd to And yes, she’s aware of the innuendo. protest song: complex, individual,
dance, proclaiming, “The genius is here!” “Screwed” epitomises the free-for- inclusive. “Remember when they told you
Monáe’s show makes reference, too, to all fungasm of her latest album, Dirty I was too black for ya?” she raps from the
all three heroes in that Beverly Theater Computer: breezy pop with a steely heart, top of the stairs in “Crazy, Classic, Life”,
setting frank sexuality against political drawing a hearty cheer. “Now my black
horrors: “You fuck the world up now/ is poppin’ like a bra strap on ya.” During
We’ll fuck it all back down.” Monáe’s most the nimble funk-pop of “I Got The Juice”,
audibly Prince-indebted song, “Make Me she pulls not just Coel but three other fans
Feel” – all irresistible pulse, taut guitar out of the crowd, each taking their turn
and unfurling, purring pre-chorus – to show off formidable moves, from Dion,
trumpets her stance as an “emotional, flinging her flannel shirt around, to Judith,
sexual bender”. It’s spectacular stuff, and grooving in her motorised wheelchair.
“Tightrope” brings the set to a close in a
frenetic, funky frenzy, Monáe performing

Her show is all about

a gleeful backwards roll. Back for the
encore, she dedicates “Come Alive”, a
defibrillating jolt of joy, to “all the free-ass
the liberating power of motherfuckers […] We hope you feel alive,
we hope you feel loved, we hope you feel
shameless happiness celebrated.” It’s safe to say we feel all of
those things. EMILY MACKAY

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The Beastie Boys
at the time of Ill
(l-r) Horovitz,
Yauch, Diamond

eastie Boys Book can be REVIEWED adds a photo essay; Colson Whitehead Sadly time worked against him, but in
usefully viewed as the literary THIS MONTH cooks up a very funny fantasy life for the ensuing two years the task has been
equivalent of the band’s Cookie Puss, the US cake character who completed by his two long-standing
classic third album, Check inspired their debut single; while Amy editors. Though they worked closely with
Your Head: sprawling, eclectic, Poehler reviews their videos. There is also Cohen on the manuscript up until his
irreverent, hyper, clever and cool, driven a sincerely awkward apologia for early death, Adam Cohen concedes in his intro
by the engagingly home-brewed DIY ethic displays of homophobia and sexism, an that The Flame is an imperfect offering,
which for over 30 years defined the trio’s acknowledgement that these middle-class a sincere approximation of what his
approach to creativity. It’s a big, bright boys strayed across the line separating father intended. Yet most of it sits right.
brick of a thing, running to almost 600 crude parody from real-life effect. A substantial closing chapter to a story
pages. As well as the central narrative The death of MCA (Adam Yauch) in 2012 which began in 1956 with Let Us Compare
thread – first-person accounts of the is covered in Horovitz’s touching preface, Mythologies, The Flame comprises 63
band’s colourful history, recaptured by BEASTIE BOYS and is returned to at the end, though his new poems, alongside lyrics from his
Mike D (Michael Diamond) and Ad-Rock BOOK loss is too precious to be served up for last four albums, taking in his work on
Michael Diamond/
(Adam Horovitz) with an often-thrilling Adam Horovitz public consumption. Hot Sauce Committee Anjani’s Blue Alert to You Want It Darker,
evocation of time and place – it’s stuffed FABER, £32 Part Two “was our last record because as well as looser selections from his
with cartoon strips, recipes, guest essays, 9/10 Adam got cancer and died,” Horovitz notebooks, annotated with sketches and
maps, playlists and intimate photos. writes bluntly. “Too fucking sad to write handwritten notes.
BeastieWorld truly contains multitudes. about.” Throughout the book, Yauch Throughout there are the traditional
Switching and overlapping like MCs is affectionately depicted as the band’s elegantly rendered oppositions – of light
trading lines, Horovitz and Diamond tell rogue spirit, the member most ready to and dark, hope and despair, longing
their story with a rough’n’tumble vivacity throw an outrageous idea at the wall to and restraint, God and mammon – and
(sample sentence: “We listened to the shit see if it sticks. His dedication to Buddhism mordant epigrams (“Everything feels
out of that shit”) and a keen observational and non-violence is acknowledged like a last resort.”) Some pieces possess
eye. Adam Yauch’s “cool” flat in Brooklyn alongside his willingness to go skiing with striking prescience. His post-9/11 verse,
Heights in 1985 is described, perfectly, as a double bass strapped to his back. Since “What Is Coming”, written in 2003,
“the kind of apartment where you’d drink his death, “What would Yauch do?” has predicts that the incursions into Iraq and
wine from a wineglass”. THE FLAME remained a mantra for his two friends. Afghanistan will herald an unstoppable
It zips along on wave after anecdotal Leonard Cohen You’d like to think he would have enjoyed slide into global malignancy. “You aren’t
wave, the band progressing out of early- CANONGATE, £20 this book, which proves entirely worthy going to like what comes after America,”
’80s New York – “a distant planet, hard of his band. he concludes. It feels like wizardry, until
to see now” – to supporting Madonna you remember that even back in the early
just as she hits superstardom. The main The Flame also has a funereal pall ’90s Cohen was warning us to “get ready
talking point on their first, infamous hanging over it. When Leonard Cohen for the future: it is murder”.
trip to London in 1986 is the discovery of died in November 2016, shortly after As ever, the artist’s disputed place
the Scotch egg. Later, there are sybaritic completing sombre final album You Want in the world is a rich theme. Poem “If
despatches from the band’s communal It Darker, he was gathering together his There Were No Paintings” offers a blunt
house, the G-Spot in LA, while Irish chef final writings with desperate urgency. assessment of Cohen’s own work and
Wayno gets Ad-Rock royally fucked up on “It was what he was staying alive to do,” standing in the canon (“well towards the
hash cookies before a show at Slane Castle. writes his son and collaborator, Adam back”). In the end, he reasons, “I call my
Intercut between scenes of mayhem and Cohen, in the intro. Throughout his life, work Acceptable Decorations.” The Flame
occasional reflection are contributions “blackening pages” was often Cohen’s sole confirms that it amounted to considerably
from several starry guests. Spike Jonze relief from physical and mental suffering. more than that. GRAEME THOMSON

DECEMBER 2018 • UNCUT • 107




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Dancing with
witches, a
shattered life
redrawn, A Star
Is Born reborn
(again) and more…

1977. If you are, say,
a visiting recording
artist drawn to the
city for its bohemian
associations, then
you will find much to
admire in its grand old buildings,
decadent nightlife and cultural
identity. But, alas, if you’re not Dance macabre:
Dakota Johnson
David Bowie, then it’s likely your (centre) and Mia
experience in the West German Goth in Suspiria
capital will be very different. Take,
for instance, Susie Bannion (Dakota
Johnson) – an aspiring dancer who routine is not for the squeamish – but accident – but he would tell you his lead role. He brings a warmth and
has recently arrived at the city’s largely Guadagnino is establishing problems started a lot earlier than lightness of touch to Callahan –
prestigious Tanz Academy, founded mood. There’s no great reveal about that. Adopted in infancy, he started clearly, a complicated, reckless
by the mysterious Helena Markos the identity of the academy staff: drinking when he was 12. After his figure. Around him, a supporting
and run by the formidable and they’re a coven of witches, while accident, Callahan found success – cast – including Rooney Mara, Jack
demanding Madam Blanc (Tilda the school itself is, as one outgoing and fresh purpose – as a cartoonist, Black and Beth Ditto – bring their
Swinton). Susie has left behind member of staff describes it, “a box whose work was first published in A-game. As Callahan’s rich, Zen-like
an oppressive Amish upbringing of rabies”. Factionalism is rife. Are the local press around his home AA sponsor, Jonah Hill provides a
in Ohio for a chance to dance; but you with Swinton’s gothy madam? state, Oregon, and then further mellow counterpoint to Phoenix’s
something just as oppressive and Or are you with the ageless creature afield: at the peak of his popularity, typically intense performance; the
cult-like greets her in Berlin. with long fingernails that dwells in Callahan’s work was syndicated in mismatch works perfectly.
Colourful and hypnotic, Dario what appears to be Jimmy Page’s over 200 newspapers globally. It is a dark tale – with Callahan’s
Argento’s original Suspiria is sub-basement – one of the ghastly To some, Callahan’s rehabilitation gleeful cynicism at its heart – but
one of the Italian director’s most Three Mothers whose arcane could be described in predictable Van Sant’s presentation of the
iconic horror films. This remake – theology underpins both Argento terms – inspirational, life-affirming. story is compassionate, unfussy
described as an “homage” by the and Guadagnino’s films. But this being a Gus Van Sant joint, and engaging. Early on, Gordon’s
Italian filmmaker Luca Guadagnino A score from Thom Yorke, and these are not qualities dwelt on character Corky makes the droll
– attempts to bring something else meanwhile, drones maniacally unduly. After all, when you have an observation that maybe life’s not
to the party. Outside the Academy, away in the background. In its way, AA group whose cast includes Kim supposed to be as meaningful
the “German Autumn” is unfolding, it casts just as powerful a spell as Gordon and Udo Kier, sentimental as we think it is. In his sly, gentle
with hijackings, bombings and the dance sequences. These are isn’t high on anyone’s agenda. watchfulness, Van Sant proves the
demonstrations in the streets. extraordinary invocations of a In fact, Van Sant’s latest is yet opposite is true.
Unlike the lurid colours in Argento’s demon mother, whose avant-garde another unorthodox celebration
original film, Guadagnino favours choreography is just as unsettling as of a real-life outsider figure – his COLUMBUS Earlier in his career,
a muted palette of browns, greys the eldritch business below stairs. previous “biopics” have included director Kogonada made a series
and greens. The academy seems films on Kurt Cobain and politican of video essays on Wes Anderson,
perpetually underlit and rundown; DON’T WORRY, HE WON’T GET Harvey Milk. The director first Yasujiro Ozu and Stanley Kubrick.
much as the rest of the city appears. FAR ON FOOT When John Callahan worked with Robin Williams on His feature debut, Columbus, shares
There are a number of gruesome was 21 years old, he was left the project for over a decade; but key traits with all three of them –
shocks – a bone-cracking dance quadraplegic after an automobile Joaquin Phoenix is now in the rigorous composition, signature


Directed by Luca HE WON’T GET Directed by IS BORN REPUTATION
Guadagnino FAR ON FOOT Kogonada Directed by Directed by
Starring Tilda Directed by Starring John Bradley Cooper Kevin Kerslake
Swinton, Dakota Gus Van Sant Cho, Haley Lu Starring Bradley Starring Joan
Johnson Sta