‘See A Brighter Day' - and on the ﬂip side will be a cover of the theme from The Six Million Dollar Man, complete with fifteen-piece bionic band.
Yet it was the six years in between where it all went so horribly wrong. JTQ signed to commercial giants Polydor in 1988; only they had the technology to destroy them. JTQ were a small band in a big sea of record company bureaucracy. After'two months, the A&R man who signed them (along with The Wonder Stuff and Cathy Dennis) was sacked and JTQ were left in limbo. They were misunderstood; nobody knew where to put them and nobody really cared, least of all Taylor himself. Some sort of bizarre love-hate relationship with commerciality developed. That April, JTQ released the Theme From Starsky And Hutch. They ﬂirted with the Top 40 and prepared themselves for some kind of immortality. Taylor diplomatically reflects upon the time as a worthwhile apprenticeship to the realities of the music business.
‘l really thought it was going to happen; that we'd actually become successful. in retrospect however if Starsky had been a hit we’d have gone down as a novelty band, when at that time we had a lot of developing to do within ourselves.’
The revolution was not to be visualised until l99l when they were snapped up by Big Life boss Jazz Summers. in no uncertain terms, he told them to ditch the road sacks, get in the studio and let the records work for
themselves. . ’in a way we were innocent,‘ relates
Taylor. ‘Up to that point we'd ignored making records. We just wanted to get in a Transit van and gig like happy campers. i suppose we were naive in our approach to success. We were recognised and respected for our live direction. yet we’d ﬁnd ourselves backstage after gigs with people questioning us as to how, if The Brand New Heavies and Galliano had made it, why hadn’t we? We realised that we'd set our sights too low and needed a more competitive edge. Big Life set us a target, one that was feasible to obtain and compatible with what we were doing.’
Bullseye! From the G-spot of funk comes Supernatural Feeling, a fourteen-track long player, ripe for the licking. it reﬂects the new mode of British dance, an enchanting excursion into proper entertainment. it is a shockingly good time for talent. A disturbingly healthy time to buck the metropolis and do it your way. JTQ are supernatural heroes, the boyz from the hood who done good. James Taylor is the luminary to prick up the fears.
‘A lot of people get sucked into London, their identity suffers as a result and they spend the rest of their time trying to work out what’s wrong. This band is totally regional. I'm quite proud of the fact that we live close enough to London but not close enough to feel part of that. Close enough to go in, work nd see what goes on, and then come h me. l’m glad that we're Home Counties boys.’
The James Taylor Quartet play The Barrowland. Glasgow on Thurs 13.
um:- Peace artists
lle talks oi pop as art and poetry, oi songs ‘Iiving and breathing’ and ‘the spirit oi the song’. lie talks oi those artists doing a lot oi good work tor charity and those singers doing a lot oi good work but no one’s listening. lie talks oi being a qualitied solicitor and a sometime lournallst. And llnally he talks about his band’s new record. lie talks a lot, does Illck Kelly oi The Fat Lady Sings, gabblng the hind legs oil a donkey. Whatever that means.
‘lt’s probably a diiierent kind oi record in that it was all written in a nine-month period,’ says this nice- geezer Dubliner oi the Patties second album, the due-in-June ‘Johnson’. ‘Whereas iirst albums are always a compilation oi everything you’ve ever done . . . The thing you’ve got to remember about us is that we didn’t get signed tor a long time. We had tour singles out beiore we got signed.’
One of those early singles, March 1988’s ‘Be Still’, is soon to be heard in various guises as the ‘theme tune’ oi the Peace Together campaign. Set in motion by iormer Patties drummer Robert Ilamilton, assorted top artists will be interpreting Kelly’s song. With the monies raised irom sales ol the single, an accompanying all-star album oi pertinent cover versions, and three concerts on 29 May, the organisers will establish a trust tund to ‘beneiit children throughout Ilorthern Ireland and encourage cross-
community activity tor them’.
IIick reckoned there must be better songs by bigger names. Robert reckoned not (‘He always had a thing about that song,’ recalls Kelly, ‘the idea oi strength through adversity.‘), posited ahead and lick was ‘hugely complimented’. Por Kick the cause, oi course, still carries the utmost eminence. Yet this story is testament to the eloquence oi his songwriting, as soitly demonstrated on the Patties debut album, 1991’s ‘Twist’, but more keenly ielt on ‘Johnson’. time their sophisto-pop gets rough, courtesy oi the production oi Steve ‘no dance commando me, I’ve just done Deacon Blue’s Osbourne. “We wanted to get someone who would iorce us to win arguments in the studio,’ says Kelly oi the newly assertive Patties sound. ‘Dr lose the argtnnent . . .’ (Craig McLean) The Fat Lady Sings play Glasgow, The Arches on Sun 9 and Edinburgh, The Venue on Mon 10.
mt:- Atlantic crossi f. .
Cl'iamctt Moiiett The prospect ol Courtney Pine playing with an American rhythm section ls always an enticing one, and the results oi past collaborations have been highly auspicious. All the more reason, then, to pencil in the saxophonist’s next Scottish date as a musteee, given the presence oi what looks like being a sensational partnership between bass man Chamett Moiiett and powerhouse drummer Dennis Chambers.
A current Zildlian advert shows a grinning Chambers with one arm in a plaster cast under the heading ‘we iound a way to make Dennis Chanbers sound like the average drunner’, but he will be matched tor both power and virtuosity by Motiett. The bass man impressed immensely on previous visits with the likes oi Stanley Jordan and (in an otherwise dull gig) David
Sanbom, and their combined etiect on Pine should be, umm, interesting.
Moiiett grew up in a jazz iamiiy - his
lather was drummer Charles Moiiett,
an associate oi Dmette Coleman and Archie Shepp in the 60s avant-garde, and his own unusual name is a combination oi ‘Char’ (irom Charles) and ‘nett’ (irom Drnette).
lie absorbed a wide range oi music,
however, and argues that ‘I don’t like to get involved with categories or styles. I write my music irom my own experience, and it’s important for me to keep my direction and develop whatean an iniluenced by at a particular time’, an openness which is reﬂected in the musical distillation on his two Blue Ilote albums, ‘Ilet Man’ and ‘Beauty Within’.
Moitett has played with Courtney before, and will resume a musical association with a man he considers to be one of the best tenor saxophonists on the scene. it remains to be seen whether the music they make will be in a straight-ahead lazz mode, or something more funk and groove based (the presence oi M-Base keyboard man Jerome Weidman and guitarist Bobby Broom maybe suggest the latter), but what is certain is that it will be kicking. There is enough energy In this band to light up a small city, and maybe even a large one. (Kenny Mathieson)
Courtney Pine American Band play at The Queen’s Ilall, Edinburgh, on Fri 7.
The List 7—20 May [993 45