Word #65

Word 65

July 2008

Cover star – John Martyn

Word shuffle

1). P102 – David Hepworth reviews albums by Emmylou Harris (All I Intended to Be) and Mary Gauthier (Genesis). “Emmylou Harris records, while generally delightful, have always had a tendency towards prettiness. It is too late to expect anything vulgar of her but in this case one might wish for a little less taste. Gauthier’s consistency could be her key quality. Like Tom Waits, on the face of it her range ought to be narrow, but it’s fascinating how much power she can muster and how she can draw you back time and again to spare…”

2). P115 – more album reviews. Reissues from Yazoo, Sister Rosetta Tharpe (“…Rosetta gave birth to stomping Southern holy rock and rolling”), Camper Van Beethoven, Mudcrutch and The Replacements (“The sound you hear on the first four Replacements records is that of a band striving to bridge the chasm between the emotional directness of hardcore and a less fashionable fondness for pretty pre-punk melody”).

3). P75 – Stuart Price talks to Graeme Thomson about producing Madonna. “What’s brilliant about her is she’s blissfully unaware of how a computer really works , so she’s not there saying ‘Can we try this effect?’ or (pointing at a screen) ‘Can we move that bit over there?’ There’s none of that. She sits on the couch and says ‘I don’t like it’ or ‘I like it’. You’re left to do your own thing without someone leaning over your shoulder.”

4). P61 – a full page advert for Al Green’s new album on Blue Note, Lay it Down. Features guest vocals from John Legend, Anthony Hamilton and Corinne Bailey Rae.

5). P50 – David Hepworth writes about the public’s attention span. “One of the more curious facets of the modern entertainment business is that, while it is widely accepted the average attention span is getting shorter, it nonetheless makes products that demand more of our time than they have ever done before. In order to justify high-ticket prices, live shows go on for ever and ever. It is now common to look around at a major rock concert and catch people yawning, which would have been inconceivable until about 1980. Everything’s super-sized. The best-selling children’s book of today is a four-doorstop series that would give Dostoevsky pause.”


John Naughton pays tribute to the recently departed Humphrey Lyttleton. “By his own admission Lyttleton was not a natural student. A French master returned one piece of work to him with the memorable admonition, ‘If this was Russia, you would be found in the river in the morning, headless and floating downstream.’ Nevertheless, thanks partly to the influence of his father, Lyttleton developed an easy facility with the English language, which he retained throughout his life. As well as enabling him to be the librettist to Wally ‘Trog’ Fawkes’ cartoons in the Daily Mail, it also, in later life, helped him to become a successful author as well as food critic for Harpers & Queen, despite, by his own admission, knowing nothing about the subject and preferring simple fare to haute cuisine. The conclusion to one-less-than-rosette-worthy-meal spoke of a ‘khaki liquid which hovers in an agony of indecision between tea and coffee.'”

Jim White reviews the film A Complete History of My Sexual Failures. “The hit of the last Sundance Festival – the work that had critics choking with laughter at the press screening I attended – is, so the director (Chris Wiatt) claims, a documentary. The premise is simple. Fed up with being continually chucked Wiatt decides to find out what is wrong with him through the simple device of interviewing everyone with whom he has ever had a relationship. So off he goes, carrying his boom mike with him, knocking on the doors of his exes – hopeless, shambolic, holes in his socks, Nick Bloomfield dressed as Kurt Cobain.”

From the ‘Well, I Never Knew That’ feature:

  • David Bowie’s Fashion was originally titled Jamaica (Chorus ‘Ooh, ah, Jamaica’)
  • Jimmy Page plays lead guitar on Tom Jones’ It’s Not Unusual
  • The Jesus and Mary Chain were part of the chorus who sing the ‘Guilty!’ bit on Erasure’s Drama single. They were in the same studio.

Longer article

Bill Drummond is interviewed by Andrew Harrison


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