Sunday, 10 January 2010
"Trudging home to Fulham, having missed the last bus. Watch my car slick by. 'Can that be the boy we knew?' ..." sings Ian Whitcomb in his wonderful number The Star, a tale of sweet revenge recorded in 1967 where our hero fantasises about getting his own back on Perkins and settling old scores with all those other enemies from schooldays and beyond by becoming a movie idol in Lawrence of Australia and having the world worship him with his name up in lights ... ha ha. Ian Whitcomb may never have quite become that household name, but he's a true star 'round these parts. Has been ever since Rev-ola in its early days put out the excellent This Sporting Life compilation. A genuine character, and a pop person who knows his Bakunin and Marx but is more interested in vaudeville and variety. Anyone who calls a record Mod, Mod Music Hall is bound to be one of our heroes. Ian retreated from the flower power '60s nonsense into a world of pre-WW2 songsmithery with a touch of proper rock 'n' roll, and a liking for Britain and its "confederacy of recalcitrant, cantankerous, eccentric curmudgeons". That's a phrase from Ian's book Rock Odyssey, which is the best chronicle of the '60s you'll find. The account of Ian's first encounter with Mick Jagger, for example, is priceless. The same session that gave us The Star also gave us The Notable Yacht Club of Staines, another tale of revenge and a performance that tells us what Ian thought of Bob Dylan. And if you're wondering what goes on in the Mod Mod Music Hall ... "reach your own conclusions".