I John Lee Hooker: The Healer (Silvertone) The title track ofJLH‘s acclaimed ‘89 LP — less a Hooker song than a framework for burning Carlos Santana licks, borne aloft by atight. rhythmic and very laid-back Santana Band — has been edited down to single length, more to the guitarist's benefit than Hooker's, I‘d venture. Better is the B-side ‘Rocking Chair‘, Hooker mangling a National Steel guitar the way you didn‘t think anyone played it any more. Unaccompanied. and shockingly powerful, ‘Rocking Chair‘ makes nonsense ofthe claim that modern recording clarity destroys the feeling ofold blues styles. I was reduced to quivering jelly. and so was the cheeseplant on top ofthe speaker. More than you could say forthe A-side, which provides perfect, unrufﬂing dinner-party ambience. (AM) I Galaxle 500: Blue Thunder(ﬂough Trade) Who could have foreseen that their lives would be meaningless without a pair of Kickers until said shoes were pushed on to the market? Or Swatches? And who could have known a market existed for a slowed-down version of New Order’s ‘Ceremony‘ which pointed up closer relations between the Mancs and the Jesus and Mary Chain than anyone had hitherto suspected? Only Galaxie 500. Just like I‘ve been doing all week, people in their thousands will buy it to play to friends. neglecting to tell them what it is and seeing how long it takes them to realise. There are three other songs on here. showing a clear debt to Neil Young. Very nice too. (AM) I Leon Redbone: Relax (Private) Will be a hit because of its connection with the lnterCity ad. which is pushed on the sleeve. If you can divorce yourself from that —and it‘s hard — ‘Relax‘ is a lovely tune. Redbone plumbing those low smokey registers that. as with Hooker‘s single, you thought had vanished in the mists oftime. Deserves to be a monster so that Redbone can make loads of money. So there. (AM)
ROCK 37 JAZZ 39 FOLK 41 CLASSICAL 42
Why should one ofthe hippest characters in British dance music be rifling through the New Age catalogues and listening to reactionaries like Jean-Michel Jarre? Colin Steven meets A Guy Called Gerald.
1989: With the rise of British club culture and the sound of young Manchester. A Guy Called Gerald was the perfect specimen for the music papers to work themselves into a frenzy about. There were interesting angles by the dozen: his collaboration with those other Manchester dance freaks 808 State, generating songs for which he was never paid (allegedly including the smash ‘Pacific State‘, which will now be the subject ofa lengthy court
battle); his DlY debut album Ho! Lemonade (written and released in 1988) was the subject of much critical acclaim but no success, and Gerald. on the verge of packing it in, was forced to take a part-time job in McDonalds to afford studio time. In the summer, he had a massive hit with the hypnotic ‘Voodoo Ray‘, after it had been played to death in the clubs for almost a year. This led to him being signed by CBS, and given his own label Sub-Scape as part of the deal. Towards the end of the year, he collaborated with novelist Trevor Miller on a combined book and soundtrack package. That was A Guy Called Gerald‘s 1989, but what about 1990?
Assuming all goes well, we will see Gerald release a new album. seek out new talent to release on his label. record new material. remix various projects and set out on a comprehensive package tour of Britain, for a start.
His debut album for CBS is called Auromam‘kk, and as you might expect, they‘re not letting Gerald have complete control over it. The man himselfspeaks matter-of—factly about his lack ofcreative freedom on the project, more ofa dance record than the experimental Hot
Lemonade. ‘lt‘s going to be a selling market for a major label. but I was expecting that anyway,‘ he states, without noticeable bitterness.
The complete artistic freedom he once enjoyed may have gone now, but on the plus side is Sub-Scape. Gerald expects great things from it. but how much control does he really have over it?
‘I can do what I want . . .sort of!‘ is the cryptic answer. ‘Album-wise. I have complete control, but for singles I‘m leaving that to them. as they‘ve more experience.‘
Gerald has recently been collecting tapes from all over the place to give him ideas for his new Sub-Scape label. but mostly techno from Detroit. ’British majors aren‘t interested in putting out unknown American DJs. but that‘s where it all started. If you listen to the stuff there. it‘s way ahead ofhere. The stupid thing is. they‘ll sign up somebody trying to sound like these guys. but not them themselves.‘
We'll have to wait until the summer for the first Sub-Scape releases, as Gerald will need to visit Detroit to sort out a lot of problems first. As well as techno, he‘s been putting his immense credibility on the line by listening to Jean-Michel Jarre and a
30 The List 23 February — 8 March 1990