I wanted to do a piece on Howard Devoto‘s solo material, but looking back on a previous post from June 2015, I realised I had previously said it all.
But then again, given not everyone who drops in here these days was reading the blog eight years ago, I felt I had nothing to lose from doing it as a re-post. With the usual apologies to those who remember it well from the first time around (and indeed may have left behind a much welcomed comment).
I DON’T WANT TO TURN AROUND AND FIND I GOT IT WRONG…
One thing I regret about my lifelong addiction to music is that I only picked up on Magazine after the band broke up, and so, until they reformed a few years back, I never got to see them in the flesh. Part of my ignorance of the band was that I was very much a Buzzcocks boy, and was too stubborn to take notice of those friends who said I should check out the work of the man who was the real inspiration behind the band but who had left before success to pursue his own musical dreams.
So it wasn’t until 1982 that I bought my first Magazine LP – a compilation effort called After The Fact. For weeks, it was the only thing I was listening to….and so the next logical step was to buy all of the band’s back catalogue.
Magazine quickly took their place as one of my all-time favourite bands. And just as I was really getting into the band I became a really happy chappy when I read that Howard Devoto was in the midst of recording a solo LP.
Prior to the album, there was a single – Rainy Season. It wasn’t anything like I expected as it was far lighter and poppier than the stuff that Magazine had done. But, I thought then, and still think today, that it is a fantastic record that really should have cracked the charts.
Then the LP – Jerky Versions Of The Dream – hit the shops.
It was a real let-down. I thought it was a rather limp and dull affair and other than the initial single, nothing really jumped out at me. I probably listened to it no more than three or four times, before loaning it to someone. I never ever asked for its return.
But not long after starting the original blog and re-igniting my passion for vinyl, I found a second-hand vinyl copy while I was living and working in Toronto in the summer of 2007 together with a copy of the follow-up single taken from the album.
I was therefore able to listen to Jerky Versions Of The Dream for the first time in more two decades and was pleased to realise that it is a work that has aged well. I’m not saying it’s a tremendous and ‘must-have’ record, but it is certainly far better than I recall it being back at the time of its release.
It came on the scene just around the same time as a band called The Smiths were emerging while there was also the huge distraction of so many fresh sounding and exciting bands that I was seeing in and around my home city. I suppose with hindsight that I was comparing it with all of what was going on and feeling it just wasn’t good enough…..but now I’m prepared to admit that Howard’s debut album that came out just at the wrong time in my life to be properly appreciated.
Here’s the two singles in their 12″ glory:-
And how about I throw in the b-side to the latter single, simply for the stellar cast that played on it:-
Barry Adamson (bass guitar)
Howard Devoto (guitar & ARP Bass)
Andy Diagram (French horn & trumpet)
Dave Formula (F.S.E. & piano)