Friday, September 12, 2014
Yup, I'm messing you about again, as you scuttle about around how a godfather can be regal. But I don't mean that one. O, I see, did you not realise there was another? I mean Jim Brown, the Ulster postie, Elvis impersonator royale. Except he only covers the songs Elvis didn't sing. Or at least didn't sing this side of his mortal coil. For all we know these may well make up his current repertoire, in a houseband including Hendrix, Entwistle and Moon. But I digress, as Jim King, aka The King, gave up his career as a postman when discovered singing in Belfast pub, his benefactor being one Bap Kennedy, brother of Brian, onetime Van Morrison echo-man. Bap, himself no musical slouch, was the pivot in N'orn Irish punks, Energy Orchard, before launching a still active solo career, drifting into an Irish tinted Americana. He produced Gravelands, Brown's first LP, it's novelty being that it totally comprised songs made famous by the dead, or from bands wherein at least one member was so. Here's my favourite song
It was a surprise cult hit, albeit selling few*, yet guaranteed Brown many a late night music show slot. I think I caught him on The Word, an 90s UK "yoof" arts show for mainly post-pub audiences. This would have been 1998, with a 2nd disc following, Return to Splendor, two years later, before parting ways with his band. Here's a cracker from it.
Buy Return to Splendor
Subsequently a set of false starts have ensued, including the inevitable attempt at original material. It bombed, recently resurfacing, with other odd cuts, as Return to Gravelands. He remains world famous in his home town and the home of all old rockers, Germany,but I suspect it's better that way, even if he never quite managed the uber-trump of an album of Jerry Garcia songs. Now what could that possibly be called?
*OK, half a mill, apparently........