Sunday, August 22, 2010
Sometimes people appear in your life from nowhere, work little miracles and then disappear just as quickly as they arrived. 1999 was one of those years and there are a handful of records which never fail to take me back there. One of the strangest years of my life, where everything felt hopelessly out of focus but progressed towards a sort of crash-zoom right at the end and suddenly everything made sense again.
Erm..where was I? What I'm trying to say is that today's piece of music came from one particular little miracle worker that one particular year.
I'd never even heard of Joe Henry when I received a copy of "Fuse" as a gift (it's still the only album of his I know but looking at his CV the follow-up "Scar" seems to be worth a punt. Featuring Marc Ribot and Ornette Coleman you say? How did I miss that!) and he's still as relatively unknown in the UK now as he was back then. So it was one of those records that you go into not really caring too much about whether it's going to be any good or not. It was a present, I've never heard of him, here goes nothing..a nice surprise when it turned out to be great.
Hints of alt.country (before alt.country even existed as a bandwagon to circle?) and rhythms that were just...sexy. No two ways about it. Not in your face sexy, but laid back and relaxed sexy. Plus another deep-voice for me to swoon over. I don't really know what he's singing about half the time either but who cares. Sexy AND mysterious. (I read a description of Joe Henry as Tom Waits without the comedy voice, and I can sort of see what they mean..just)
I was never too sure about the cover though - a slightly camp-looking bloke with a monkey on his shoulder. Flashbacks to Skegness pier in the 1970's maybe?
Joe Henry - Like She Was A Hammer
Joe Henry - Angels
I fully realise that my love of this album may be due to the circumstances in which it appeared in my life - and some may think it is a bit tame, but fear not I will redress the balance tomorrow. Promise.