Monday, July 20, 2020

Under appreciated genius


I've been thinking a lot about what might have been. But also listening to a wide range of new music at a time when venues like Gorilla were at risk of closing, Q Magazine is nearing the end, and artists are staring into the abyss. Before all of that though, here are some massively unappreciated geniuses.

The one above is a towering anthem of melancholy from Gavin Clark, Good Day to Die, from the album Crazy on the Weekend by Sunhouse. In his A&R days author John Niven looked after Gavin when he was a brittle and sensitive singer songwriter at a time when the music market demanded brash and confident at the tail end of Britpop. Although you might recognise his tone and key from This is England soundtracks and various indie films, Gavin never broke through with any of his bands, Sunhouse or Clayhill. He died a few years ago in sad circumstances. Here's a heartbreaking and beautifully written obituary John Niven wrote in the Daily Record which captures him painfully well and a film his friend Shane Meadows made with Gavin in his living room. Maybe you could read the obituary while you play Good Day to Die, or just the whole of the album to be honest.

I went to see I Am Kloot a few times and was touched by the wall of affection from an appreciative audience of people like us. I noticed that singer John Bramwell was due to tour again just as lockdown kicked in. That’s going to be top of my list when this is over. Support venues, support artists, and no, just downloading on Spotify won’t be enough will it?

You couldn’t download this next track if you wanted to, as it’s not on Spotify.  Flowered Up, or the Cockney Mondays as they were known at the time (by me) had an incredible energy about them and (heresy, I know) I genuinely think Weekender is far better than anything the baggy Mancs ever came up with. It's a sprawling, multi-layered, epic non-anthemic classic. Behind it is another tragic story of a talent lost and the subject of what I hear is a very good book. This here, about them, nails it and the epic lost brilliance of Weekender.

For a slightly happier ending, David Ford is at least still with us, but nowhere near the status he deserves. I'm fairly stuck on one of his earlier albums, Let the Hard Times Roll, but I'm not here to judge, just to share. I'd start with To Hell With The World, but maybe cheer yourself up with Making up For Lost Time. I just don't understand why everyone doesn't know these songs like I do. Life's better for it.

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