Sunday, October 12, 2014


Ooo, this is a good one! Getting straight to the point, here's the opportunity to rave about one of my true faves, ladies and gentlemen, Mr Clive Gregson, or, within this context his once and occasional band, Any Trouble. It's fair to say he has had a variable career, poised frequently on the precipice of greatness, before either stepping back, or being elbowed out the way by some other gone in 30 seconds whippersnapper. For that we should maybe be grateful, not least as, at various times in his career he has returned and revisited earlier songs, radically redefining them. Between Any Trouble mark 1, Any Trouble mark 2, exemplary duo with Christine Collister (and simultaneously Richard Thompson sideman), solo years, a spell in Plainsong with Iain Matthews, solo years, Any Trouble mark 3 and further solo years, there has been ample opportunity to remake and remodel his songs, juggling with both electricity and acousticity. And somehow remain a thoroughly decent cove.

Spoilt not for choice but more for demonstrable evidence, this isn't even one of his own songs, but it is so good it could be. (I exhort you to search out more for proof of his songwriting. And not half bad guitar.) Anyhow, roll back to the late 70s and a folkie 3 piece are playing the pubs and clubs of Manchester, adding drums and dynamism to address the outbursting of punk. 1980 saw them signed to maverick indie label, Stiff, and attempts to market Gregson as the next Costello. This song was on their first recording, and, in some reflection of then (relative) youth, is a straightforward thrash of a version, displaying the eagerness of a young man out on the friday lash.

Flash forward a few years, Stiff have dropped them, and the band are lost in America, briefly signed to EMI America until, again, finding themselves without a contract, halfway through an abortive tour. Somehow these experiences must have offered a more sanguine view on life, and the version the band produced at that time is a way more reflective piece, a yearning plea for acceptance. I prefer it.

Sadly that was that for the erstwhile band for many a long year, and I hope later to be given a theme that allows me to access Gregsons latter years, but until then, here's a taste of how the song might have originally sounded, as dreamt up by it's author, fellow struggling mancunian musician of the 70s, Nick Simpson. This is the 2013 reunion of Any Trouble, with the author guesting. It seems to be the faster version.......

Where and what to buy? I'd go for the top 2 as most representative. (It says there is only 1 of each left, so I will know if anyone reads this drivel!!)

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