Wednesday, January 31, 2007
Jim’s new album ”Therapy” is now out and his website www.jimleamusic.com is up and running. Check it out. Here you can buy the album, both as download and as CD - expect 28 days of delivery for the latter.
I played the downloads to some of my friends in the music business and they were baffled. As one said, “I hadn’t expected that! I’d thought, yeah, yeah, the retired Slade whiz trying to do one more in his old age, in then the guy brings out this smash album! Goddamn, he’s even better now than he ever was with Slade!”
The album consists of 13 tracks, a few rock tunes but mostly ballad-like pop with an orchestral sound. The tracks stem from the same tradition and fond approach to music as Beatles, mostly McCartney I guess, although Jim has an edge and sharpness that McCartney never had. It’s a bit as if the British Invasion hasn’t quite ended or maybe it hasn’t even started, yet, as “Therapy” brings something new to it. Even though you seem to detect a little Beatles and The Who here, a little Beach Boys and Everly Brothers there, Jim tends to surprise with unexpected twists to his compositions, a hint of pop magic sweetness and good solid craftsmanship. I don’t know if there’s a marked for this kind of music these days, but had it been in the seventies it would have soared the charts. Well, had it had a McCartney-credit stuck to it instead of a James Whild Lea I guess it still would.
The arrangements had my music business friends go bonkers, the instrumentation and playing as well. If I am to say something negative, and I suppose I am, many of the tracks have odd abrupt endings, which make them sound unfinished. It’s not quite becoming except for tracks like “Could God Be A Woman” and “Let Me Be Your Therapy”, where you really can’t go on after the final punchline of the lyrics.
Lyricswise “Therapy” seems to be a rather personal and well…therapeutic album. It struggles with inner demons, with the mistaken arrogance of youth, with death, insecurity and loneliness. But it is not depressing at all, oh no. It still has this typical ironic feel to it, that to me is very much Jim. He really has something to say in that Dylan-Lennon-way and it’s nice seeing a mature, intelligent person speaking his mind without selling out on the music. Too often you see people neglect the music in order to go Shakespeare, or the other way around, write great poptunes with inane lyrics. Here you have the best of two worlds.
Some of the tracks you’ll already know, namely “Universe”, “Great Big Family” and “I Wanna Go Out In Style”, the latter two being performed at the Jim Jam gig in Bilston in 2002. At the moment my own personal favourites on the albums are “Dead Rock UK” and “Heaven Can Wait”, but other highlight are “Let Me Be Your Therapy” and “Notice” among others.
You’ll find typical trademarks all over the album from the use of megaphone- and stereo-effects, over little laughs and quips to the deliberate mimicking of others like on “Dead Rock UK”, where the music sounds like that of the dead musicians, throwing in a little “Bye, Bye Love” as well. “All That Jazz”-version, of course, especially the bass line at the end. As usually Jim alters his voice to make it fit with the different tracks.
Watch out for a track-by-track review later on here on this blog.
I’ll let one of my music business friends have the last word in this rather long review. He said, “If the guy doesn’t want to tour, he ought to stick a video camera in his studio, do a tune or two and put them on You Tube. People really need to know about this album, because it deserves to become a massive success.”
Thursday, January 25, 2007
Just One More Time
Before Christmas a fan enabled me to see ”Just One More Time”, the 30 minutes Slade-documentary filmed by a group of students at Peterborough Wirrina Pavilion and Nottingham Kimberley Leisure Centre on January 18-19, 1991.
The students followed the guys everywhere, setting up stage, doing sound check, in the dressing room, having dinner, meeting fans etc. etc. They also filmed some songs off the concerts, namely the performances of “Dizzy Mama”, “We’ll Bring The House Down”, “Get Down And Get With It” and “Lemme Love Into Ya”.
Dave, Jim and Nod are interviewed (but for some reason not Don?) and the comments from the three of them are used as voice-overs. This way the guys tell their own story and they get into all sorts of things, their views on the band, on touring, their equipment, crew, fans, song writing and so on. Very informative.
The documentary also contains still photos of the band, some well-known, others rare, and all in all this is one of the better things that I have seen done on Slade.
Wednesday, January 17, 2007
Rudi Breiteneicher from Germany has sent me some more of his photos of Slade (Don and Dave only). Enjoy! Thank you, Rudi.
Monday, January 08, 2007
New Don Powell recordings!
Sometime last year I got a mail from Jonah, drummer with the Danish rock band The Guv’nors. He asked me, do you think Don would record with us? Yes, I thought so and when I asked Don the answer was affirmative.
Well, on Sunday January 7., we then made our way to the Smart’n’Hard Production studios outside the Danish town of Aarhus. Here we met up with Jonah and the other guys from The Guvnors. Sonnyboi the singer, Tommy and Mash on guitars and Mike on bass as well as the producer. I think Gunther was his name.
Gunther and Don did the sound check right away while Hanne and I got acquainted with the guys. They were really great and we had a lot of laughs.
Then Don went to record with Tommy on guitar and after a few takes both songs were finished. The Guv’nors have a new album coming out later this year and Don is the guest drummer on their version of ”Raining In My Champagne” as well as The Guv’nors penned ”Do Not Disturb”.
For me it was a unique opportunity to see Don working in a studio and what a tight, precise piece of work he delivered! A professional all the way. I was happy, Hanne was happy, the band and the producer were happy and Don? Between takes he went over to me and whispered in my ear: ”I enjoy it!”
More to follow when The Guv’nors album featuring Don is being released!
Thursday, January 04, 2007
Sex, Speed & Rock’n’Roll
For Christmas I got this book called ”Sex, Speed and Rock’n’Roll”. It’s the German version of Bobcat Books’ ”More Sex & Drugs & Rock’n’Roll” from 1988. The book consists solely of photos of more or less naked rocks stars getting drunk, getting high, getting laid etc. Slade is represented in this book, but to be honest the shots of them are fairly innocent and good-humoured as compared to pics of other stars such as Eric Clapton, Sheila E. and Red Hot Chilli Peppers. So I think it’ll be safe to put one of the photos on here without offending anybody. Thanks for the book, Wilf!
Sex, Speed & Rock'n'Roll, January 4
New Don Powell recordings!, January 8
German photos, January 17
Just One More Time, January 25
Therapy, January 31
Rocky, February 5
Slade in Aalborg, February 6
Slade in Aarhus, February 12
B-sides, February 23
Slade in Flame, February 24
Nobody's Fools, February 24
James Whild Lea: “Therapy”, March 2
The Slade Story, March 6
The Slade Papers; March 13
Cum On Feel The Noize! The Story Of Slade, March 19
Flame in Record Collector, March 26
Slade In Flame Collectors Edition, March 31
MOJO review of Flame, April 7
In For A Penny: Raves And Faves, April 9
Whatever Happened To Slade, April 10
We’ll Bring The House Down, April 10
Till Deaf Do Us Part, April 10
Rockers, April 11
Slade in Silkeborg, April 16
Eduscho-tour 1977, April 24
Jim on My Space, May 2
Don Powell recordings, May 3
Flame interview with Don, May 10
New homepage, May 16
Sladeshop, May 24
The replugged official bootleg of Jim Jam Live, May 31
Don Powell Q & A, June 6
Flame review, June 13
The Amazing Kamikaze Syndrome, June 22
Rogues Gallery, June 22
You Boyz Make Big Noize, June 22
The Collection 79-87, June 22
Thanks for the memories!, July 1
The concert that got away, July 7
Mojo Award for 'Flame', July 12
GAFFA-review of Flame, July 19
Jan’s photos of Slade, July 26
Don in GAFFA, August 2
Don in musical, August 8
Slade on Gran Canaria, August 15
Delighted To See You, August 23
”Oliver T.” singers, September 1
50 greatest film soundtracks, September 9
Oliver T., September 15
The Guardian highlight, September 25
The PR strikes back, October 2
Slade in Vejle, October 8
Slade in Skoerping, October 12
Oliver T. - again, October 23
Flame in Classic Rock, November 1
Slade on Danish Christmas CD, November 8
Free Slade CD, November 14
In memory of Ran (1963-2007), November 21
New Don Powell interview, November 27
Noddy to get a Broad Street star, December 5
Slade in Bilston, December 12, 2007, December 17
Slade 2007, December 31