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Junior Murvin: Memories

Dec 4th, 2013
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//My copy of the Tedious/Memories 12in//

Junior Murvin – who has died aged 67 – will forever be associated with the rebel cool of his 1976 Lee Perry-produced single Police & Thieves. Yesterday morning’s BBC Radio 4’s Today news programme displayed it’s trademark ham-fisted approach to pop culture when eagerly proclaiming the song his shining achievement by managing to misname Paul Simonon “Mick Jones” in an interview introduction and rushing to gush unconvincingly over an excerpt of The Clash’s version.

Personally, I favour another Lee Perry collaboration from the same period, the epic single B-side Memories.

I bought the UK 12inch mix on a shopping spree in a record shop tucked away in an Earl’s Court side street one late afternoon in 1977 on the recommendation of the shop assistant.

At 8mins 45secs, Memories is not only a sonic adventure to match the very best of 70s dub, but also a sweet, romantic song, the yearning, regretful theme over Perry’s bubbling cauldron of rhythms perfectly matched to Murvin’s falsetto whoop (I found Police & Thieves too preaching, which I guess is why it made sense for The Clash – always complaining about being told what to do, they tended towards dictating to their audience).

The flip, Tedious, is pretty good, as were other Black Ark explorations such as Closer Together, but nothing in my view in Murvin’s body of work touches the tenderness of Memories.

Remember him this way:

 

 

 

 

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Joe Stevens: Rare shot of Joe Strummer entering his punk rock future on the night of the Sex Pistols’ audience fracas

Sep 30th, 2013

//Joe Strummer, then frontman of the 101'ers, with bassist Dan Kelleher onstage at The Nashville Rooms, west London, April 23, 1976. Photo: Joe Stevens//

These photographs are among images to be featured in Clash Tales, Joe Stevens’ narrated audio-visual event about his experiences with The Clash at Sonny’s Tavern in Dover, New Hampshire, next week.

//The Clash bassist Paul Simonon, Electric Ladyland, August 1978. Photo: Joe Stevens//

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Photography: Kate Simon

Feb 18th, 2011

This portrait of David Bowie was taken by Kate Simon at Olympic recording studios in Barnes, west London, on January 14, 1974.

Simon’s photograph captures a man on the cusp; furiously occupied in the studio, Bowie was tying up loose ends ahead of his departure for America 10 weeks later. He hasn’t lived in Britain since.

Three days before this was taken, Bowie’s production job on Lulu’s version of The Man Who Sold The World was released as a single. Applying himself to finishing Diamond Dogs, Bowie also recorded such eventually unreleased tracks as Take It Right (to become Right, a “plastic soul”  anthem on Young Americans) and a try-out of Bruce Springsteen’s Growin’ Up.

Sessions with vocal trio The Astronettes – including paramour Ava Cherry – had proved inconclusive, though an olive branch recently extended to erstwhile producer Tony Visconti soon bore fruit in the form of renewed collaboration.

A month after the shot was taken, Rebel Rebel was released ahead of the marathon US touring schedule over 1974/5 which marked the severing of business relations with Tony Defries and the faltering of his marriage to Angie.

I wanted to talk to Simon about the stories behind this image and others which deliver an emotional charge yet retain the reportage stance of the cool documentarist.

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