The lesser-known songwriter within Orange Juice. He played on all the Postcard singles and the debut album, he composed my favourite 45 by the band and he was unceremoniously sacked by his old friend Edwyn in 1982 when tensions between them got too high.

James Kirk would, shortly after the sacking, release material under the name of Memphis before quitting the business and forging a new profession as a chiropodist. It was completely out of the blue when his debut album You Can Make It If You Boogie appeared in 2003 on the Hamburg-based Marina Records – and true to form, there hasn’t been anything since until his guest contribution to the Port Sulphur album last year.

You Can make It… an astonishing album, packed with great tunes and superb playing from James and his band as well as memorable contributions from a number of well-known guest backing vocalists. The songs had clearly been written over an extended period of time, with co-writing credits given to, among others, Alan Horne and Paul Quinn who had, by 2003, been long absent from the music scene, but the crisp and flawless production of Mick Slaven (who also played on the record as well as co-writing two of the songs) ensures the album doesn’t ever sound trapped in any era or decade.

I can never quite make my mind up which is my favourite track on the album. Today, as these words are being typed it is this:-

mp3 : James Kirk – Rehab

It’ll change to something else the next time I play the album.




James Kirk wrote the finest single ever recorded by Orange Juice.  In fact, as regular readers will know, it is my strongly-held view that Felicity is the finest single ever recorded by any Scottish band or singer.

In 1985, James Kirk rather surprisingly came out of his self-imposed retirement and, adopting the name Memphis, wrote and recorded what rather sadly turned out to be a one-off 45 for the Swamplands label that was being run by Alan Horne (ex Postcard).

mp3 : Memphis – You Supply The Roses
mp3 : Memphis – Apres Ski

Rather delightful and rather apt for the posting the day after Valentine’s.

In 2003, James Kirk released his one and only solo LP. Entitled You Can Make It If You Boogie, it really is a wonderful collection of tunes.  Eleven of them were brand new – one of the the others saw his own fresh take on Felicity, while this took the tune from You Supply The Roses:-

mp3 : James Kirk – Krach Auf Wiedersehen

I’ll finish today with a request for a favour.

I’ve only got the 7″ of this single and so….if anyone has the 12″, would they be so kind and rip the instrumental track I’ll Supply The Wine from the b-side and send a copy to me. I’d be eternally grateful…..

Update on Sunday 16 Feb…….a huge thanks to Hugh for sending this all the way from France:-

mp3 : Memphis – I’ll Supply The Wine

I’ll raise a glass of Fleurie to your good health Hugh.