Sunday, September 30, 2007

Hang On! These Records Are Tremendous...

Red House Painters:
Brockwell Park [demo] (1993, 4AD)
Summer Dress [live] (1993, 4AD)

The fact that the Red House Painters are, like, the greatest group evah has long been settled in my mind, but I was happy to find out recently that the rest of the world is catching up. A week or so ago I went to Suffolk to interview Colin Larkin, probably the world's leading rock boffin (and thoroughly nice chap). He is responsible for the 3 million words that make up the 12 volume Encyclopedia Of Popular Music. Part of the interview was to find out who's made it in, and he mentioned ver Painters in the same way he mentioned, y'know, The Doors or The Byrds. Although he's only discovered them recently (*raises eyebrows towards Billy and Colleen...) he says they will never be ousted from his books now as they are "a very important group indeed". Well, I could have told you that fifteen years ago pal! I have memories of RHP shows and records that I will take to my grave. But maybe we'll do all that another time.

More pertinently, not enough San Franciscan groups have written a song about that big lump of grass in Herne Hill, so fair play. This version of Summer Dress just makes me want to lie on the ground and die (in a good way).

Russ Gabriel: Airborne (Input, 1995)
Talking of Billy, he used to have this flat on Castlenau in Barnes and Saturday nights would be spent round there after a good few pints in the pub. On summer evenings, a group of us would spend hours stood at the end of the garden (by the reservoir) smoking furiously and staring up at the trees watching how the leaves and branches shook in the wind, forming ever more strange and unlikely shapes (King Henry VIII riding a motorcycle, anyone?). Meanwhile, brilliant records like Gabriel's would be playing a hundred yards away in the wood-panelled front room. Yes, wood-panelled. As a rule, I'm not a huge fan of the 4/4, but this is just beautiful...

Joe Harriott: Raga Megha (Atlantic, 1966)
Joe Harriott's a bit good. A bit very good indeed. This LP he made with John Mayer is a total classic - though it might be a bit outre for some. If you're in the mood for eight plus minutes of startlingly inventive UK-grown indo-jazz then come on in!

No! Come back!


marmiteboy said...

Definitely with you wiv der Painters. Why weren't they massive? Although a part of me is sort of glad only me, you and my mate Jock Pop have ever heard of them.

Rob said...

I know what you mean, MB. Future generations will find us correct!

dk said...

'Songs From A Blue Guitar' is another excellent Red House Painters album.

Thanks for the great post...