I The Linden Tree: John Friendly (Headlong) No samplers and sequencers for The Linden Tree. just guitars. bass and drums driving along a song put together from blues and sea shanties and sounding very well on it. They‘ve a long way to go yet. but there‘s a germ that will no doubt soon be descended on by the men with the Blankety Blank cheque book and pen. particularly because they‘re Scottish and allow the human element a great deal of rein. From here. they could go either way. but it would be nice to hear them find their feet before being plunged into the world of hi-tech and high finance. (AM)
I Tlmbuk 3: National Holiday (IRS) Much like their labelmate Stan Ridgway. Timbuk 3‘s star rose only once. with the Iikeable single ‘The Future's So Bright 1 Gotta Wear Shades‘. A lot of people thought they wouldn‘t be able to match that height. and (produced by Denardo Coleman — yes. Ornette‘s drumming son) they‘ve responded by ploughing the same ironic furrow. ‘They put the chairs out on the lawn. Grandma‘s got a new dress on‘ begins Pat MacDonald. the almost-jaunty backing echoing his sarcasm. ‘So let‘s all sing the National Anthem. free the hostages. pay the ransom.‘ he continues. but we got the joke back at bar
one. Laboured and. for a
comeback. disappointingly slight.
The B-side. ‘Assholes on Parade'. sounds like the single they really wanted to make. (AM)
I The H-Factor: I Love You (IRS) I‘m not saying this is wet. but the goldfish has been happily sloshing about in its grooves for the last three days. to no ill effect. Now it‘s telling me I should move into a plush LA suite and up my cocaine intake to three ounces a day before I can begin to appreciate it. I listened to the version of ‘La Bamba‘ on the B-side; such pristine clarity you
30 The List 12 — 25 January 1990
ROCK 45 JAZZ 41 FOLK 42 CLASSICAL 43
Alex Mathieson considers the rise of British soul contenders Simply Red.
One of the world‘s most unlikely sex symbols will be in Glasgow on 21 January. when Mick Hucknall fronts Simply Red‘s assault on Scotland. Disturbed. not to say a little paranoid. over what he sees as misrepresentations in his previous encounters with the press. Hucknall is somewhat jounalist-wary on this outing. Thus. no precious quotations
from Manchester‘s favourite haircut.
All that seems of little importance, however; what is assured is a wildly enthusiastic sell-out audience. matched by an equally enthusiastic band. ready to give their all where it matters most. on-stage.
Simply Red were born in the post-punk early Eighties, a marriage between Hucknall‘s Frantic Elevators and members ofthe original Durutti Column. It was the addition of keyboard player Fritz McIntyre and the superb guitarist Sylvan Richardson which provided the catalyst for Hucknall to explore and develop the deeply soulful sound which has become the band‘s trademark.
Dismissive ofquestions on whether their sound is ‘white‘ or ‘black‘. and the snobbery which surrounds such fatuous discrimination. Hucknall has just let it rip over the last five years. offending a few With hlS explicrt sexuality while thrilling millions with
his powerful. expressive voice. easily the best of the new white British ‘soul‘ singers.
The band have produced several memorable songs of their own, notably ‘Holding Back the Years‘ and ‘Come to My Aid’ from their debut album, but for many it is the cover versions of the Valentine Brothers‘ ‘Money’s Too Tight (To Mention)’, David Byrne’s ‘Heaven’, Bunny Wailer‘s ‘Love Fire‘ and the soul classic ‘IfYou Don‘t Know Me By Now’. which really define Simply Red’s magic.
Hucknall’s obsession with re-working the past has led him into co-eomposing with Motown giant Lamont Dozier on the band’s last two albums. and to performing jazz standards on stage. now a regular focal point ofthe live shows. There had been some talk recently ofhim working with jazz pianist McCoy Tyner, which has thus far proved unfounded, but it seems likely that