|John Cooper Clarke & Hugh Cornwell||This Time It’s Personal|
John Cooper Clarke & Hugh Cornwell — This Time It’s Personal
♠ První album JCC od roku 1982, tedy alba Zip Style Method. Shledávám, že téměř všichni autoři písní tohoto alba jsou už dnes mrtví, Ritchie Valens se dožil dokonce pouhých 17~ti let. Ze stále přítomných autorů zaznamenávám pouze jména Jimmy Webb a podle všeho žije i Mike Stoller (nar. 13. března 1933). Z autorů písní je pravděpodobně nezajímavější právě autorská dvojice Jerry Leiber a Mike Stoller. Tato dvojka změnila průběh moderní populární hudby již v roce 1957. This Time It’s Personal is something of a modern masterpiece from ‘Punk’s Progressive Alliance’ and a testament to the hunger and talent of both Hugh Cornwell and Dr John Cooper Clarke.
♠ Former lead vocalist and guitarist of punk group the Stranglers who has since pursued a solo career. H.C. Born: August 28, 1949 in London, England
J.C.C. Born: January 25, 1949 in Salford, Manchester, England
Album release: 14 Oct., 2016
Record Label: Sony Music Cmg
01 It’s Only Make Believe 3:02
02 Way Down Yonder in New Orleans 2:26
03 Spanish Harlem 3:03
04 Johnny Remember Me 3:20
05 MacArthur Park 6:24
06 She’s a Woman 2:39
07 Donna 4:02
08 Jezebel 3:43
09 Love Potion No. 9 3:00
10 Sweeter Than You 4:37
♠ Conway Twitty, Jack Nance 1
♠ John Turner Layton Jr., Henry Creamer 2
♠ Jerry Leiber, Phil Spector 3
♠ Geoff Goddard 4
♠ Jimmy Webb 5
♠ Jerry Leiber, Mike Stoller 6, 9
♠ Ritchie Valens 7
♠ Wayne Shanklin 8
♠ Baker Knight 10
Singles from This Time It’s Personal
♠ “MacArthur Park”
Released: 13 July 2016
♠ “Johnny Remember Me”
Released: 15 October 2016
Written by Dave Jennings. 29 October, 2016
♠ Hugh Cornwell and John Cooper Clarke, two doyens of the alternative scene for forty years and both men with impeccable reputations in their field, have taken themselves right out of their comfort zone to produce one of the more remarkable albums in recent history.
♠ Hugh, the guitar visionary with a lyrical turn of phrase most song~writers would kill for and Dr John Cooper Clarke, the man who has done more to make poetry relevant and accessible than many a laureate, have collaborated on an album of classic American and British pop songs from their youth. It’s fair to say that most of us didn’t see that one coming, which makes it all the more delicious.
♠ Obviously Hugh is one of our great songwriters with a trademark blend of observation, originality and accessibility, and The Stranglers cover of Walk On By is unarguable evidence of his arrangement skills. However, what this album demonstrates is an impressive ability to take a bunch of songs, which it is fair to say most people would never associate with Hugh Cornwell, and mastermind an album of modern interpretations. His production skills here demonstrate a rare talent and are all the more impressive for the challenge of the project. Oh, and all lead vocal duties are taken on by a 67~year~old making his singing debut. Not a run of the mill assignment then.
♠ So what of the famous Northern tones of Dr John Cooper Clarke? Actually very impressive indeed and credit is due both to him for taking the plunge at this stage in his career and to Hugh for spotting the potential that lay beneath that acerbic veneer. He brings sensitivity and affection for the songs he is singing, and his distinctive vocals, somewhere in the same range as Hugh’s, add the vital touch of originality to what are, in the main, reasonably well-known songs. The fact that they are well-known means it is not so easy to take liberties with them, but the tracks chosen are respectfully, even lovingly, delivered and this is clearly a labour of love for both men.
♠ The choice of songs, influences from their youth, actually matters less than the fact that two of our great artists are prepared to challenge themselves at this stage of their career without the aid of a safety net. The version of MacArthur Park, which is probably the lead track from the album, is outstanding.
♠ Johnny Remember Me retains all it’s other~worldly, spine~tingling impact (aided by suitably spooky backing vocals from Lettie Maclean), while Dr Clarke’s handling of tracks such as Donna, Jezebel and Spanish Harlem is very impressive. He swaggers through She’s a Woman, a song that almost seems as if it has been waiting for his gentle touch of Northern mystique, while Love Potion Number 9 and Sweeter Than You leave you feeling that this partnership could yield more than the ten songs on here. — louderthanwar ♠ http://louderthanwar.com/ © Still high~octane brilliant … Dr John Cooper Clarke and Hugh Cornwell. Photograph: Dean Chalkley
DR JOHN COOPER CLARKE & HUGH CORNWELL
♠ Dr. John Cooper Clarke and Hugh Cornwell might make for music’s oddest couple of the year, and that's before you even hear what they've been up to. But it’s a match made in the rock 'n’ roll heaven of their respective youth and, just as their eyebrow~raising new album says, This Time It’s Personal.
♠ The fact that these two giants of punk and new wave legend are together on record for the first time is remarkable enough. But the album, which features ten hand~picked songs reflecting the pair’s shared love of classic American and British pop they grew up with, has a knockout punchline.
♠ With not a spoken word in sight by Dr. Clarke, nor a distinctive, growling Cornwell vocal, This Time It’s Personal announces John’s debut, at the age of 67, as a lead vocalist, with Hugh in charge of production. The results are delightful. “No one knew he could sing!” laughs Cornwell. “When you tell people they go ‘You’re kidding me.'”
♠ There are few artists who fought in the punk wars who have more combined nous as performers and recording artists than these kindred spirits. Since emerging in the British rock revolution of the later 1970s — Dr. Clarke as a searingly sharp~witted performance poet and Cornwell at the forefront of the brilliantly incisive and innovative Stranglers — each has been widely recognised for their influence on later generations of British artists.
♠ Since going solo in 1990, Cornwell has built a formidable catalogue of work and toured tirelessly, while in 2013, Dr. Clarke was awarded an honorary doctorate of arts in recognition of bringing poetry to non~traditional audiences. But from all that to loving recreations of Conway Twitty, Ritchie Valens and Ricky Nelson? As they review the whole memorable experience, they explain themselves with all the wit and wisdom you’d want.
♠ “When I was a kid, I thought I was a great singer,” says John. “Then, after I’d been walking around singing to chicks at the top of my voice with the utmost confidence, I got a Philips reel~to~reel tape recorder for Christmas.”
♠ “So you bug the room, you put the microphone in a drawer, and everybody sounded like they sounded. Then when it got to my voice, I was ‘What? Is that me? That’s not my nasal whine, is it?’ I never opened my mouth in song for another 30 years. I took a vow of silence, and it took H to bring it out.”
♠ “H” is the way John refers to his producer and confidant on the project, and Hugh takes up the story. “We kept bumping into each other for years, at festivals and stuff, but we didn’t really know each other,” he says. “Then a mutual friend in Suffolk sort of put us together, two or three years ago.”
♠ “I was drunk one night, and I was listening to ‘MacArthur Park’ by Richard Harris, and I suddenly got this bizarre idea in my head, I suppose because I’d just had dinner with John a couple of weeks before. I thought ‘Wouldn’t it be weird, John with his very distinctive voice doing that song?’ So I rang him up and said ‘Would you be interested in doing it?’ and he said ‘Yeah, sure, why not?’”
♠ Cornwell then put six months into selecting material and producing the detailed soundscapes for the album before John came in. Hugh had envisaged that his friend would tackle the songs in his inimitable spoken~word style, but he was in for a surprise.
♠ “He started singing, and I said ‘What are you doing, John?’ He said ‘Well, I’m singing it, isn’t that right?’ And I went, ‘That’s great!’ His voice sounded amazing. It completely surprised me.”
♠ John, for his part, was pleasantly surprised by that endorsement. “Why me, with a voice like this cat's got?” he says. Hugh tells him: “But your singing voice is very instantly recognisable, I don’t think it could be anybody else. It’s full of nous and experience and life and soul, and that’s why it works.”
♠ Thus the two men, both born in 1949, set about paying their respects to the music that had played such a part in their musical coming of age. “We had a charmed growing up period,” says Cornwell. “Musically, we had the golden age, with the discovery of all the stuff from America, then we had the Beatles and the Stones and the Who. Then we had the psychedelic thing coming, and we’re still teenagers. People would say now that the punk days were the best time to grow up, but they weren’t there when we were.”
♠ Adds Dr. Clarke: “It was a generally~held belief in the hippy end of the ‘60s that those years from ‘58 to the Beatles were an empty, nowhere period, that it took the Beatles to wake everything up. That’s bollocks. You had all the Brill Building stuff, Goffin & King, the Drifters, and a lot of it we’ve covered on this album. It’s a rich seam.”
♠ Even the poet was shocked at an outcome in which he sings and Cornwell, largely, doesn’t, choosing instead to oversee the instrumentation, with one additional backing vocal, on Ritchie Valens’ ‘Donna.’ “You threw me in at the deep end there, didn’t you?” he laughs. “Yeah,” replies Hugh, “and you got it in ten minutes.”
♠ This Time It’s Personal also succeeds in reminding punk of its strong rock ‘n’ roll heritage, which as John observes, has “always been in there. There was a brave attempt in the days of punk to Anglicise American stuff. It was a point of honour for a couple of weeks, but you can’t get away from America when you’re playing rock ‘n’ roll, can you? You’ve just got to use that.”
♠ Their friendship may be a more recent thing, but Cornwell and Dr. Clarke had admired each other from a distance since the very dawn of punk. “The first time I saw the Stranglers, I thought they were American,” says John. “Was it the Ramones and Patti Smith?” “Yeah, yeah,” says Hugh, remembering the band’s opening slots on the first UK visits by both acts. “I went to see them in Manchester,” adds John, “and I just assumed, because nobody in England was called anything like the Stranglers. I thought it was dead convincing.”
♠ Hugh, for his part, says of his first sighting of John: “I thought Bob Dylan was in town again!” “...and that’s before he saw me, that was just the quality of my poetry,” jokes Dr. Clarke. “An easy mistake to make.” Cornwell adds: “There was nobody like you doing that sort of stuff, you were completely unique. Plenty of people playing guitar and singing like an American in a punk band, but not many eclectic poets from that era.”
♠ So it is that Hugh and John are celebrating their musical education in 2016, and this time, just as they say, it really is personal. “It’s going to be a complete voyage of discovery,” they agree. “These are great tunes,” says John, “and we’ve done our very best to respect them, and to bring them...” Hugh jumps in to complete the thought: “...back to life.”
Dave Simpson, Friday 15 July 2016 10.00 BST
John Cooper Clarke: polymath, renaissance man and true enigma.
As the punk~rock poet releases a single with Hugh Cornwell, Dave Simpson celebrates the Salford Sinatra and social commentator adored by Alex Turner.
Notes: This article was amended on 15 July. It incorrectly referred to a Manchester venue called Electric Circuit instead of Electric Circus.
Photo: Still high~octane brilliant … Dr John Cooper Clarke and Hugh Cornwell. Photograph Dean Chalkley♠♠♠♠♠♠♠♠♠♠♠♠♠♠♠♠♠♠♠♠♠♠♠♠♠♠♠♠♠♠♠♠♠♠♠♠♠♠♠♠♠♠♠♠♠♠♠♠♠♠♠♠♠♠♠♠♠♠♠♠♠♠♠♠♠♠♠♠♠♠♠♠
|John Cooper Clarke & Hugh Cornwell||This Time It’s Personal|
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