“SONG FOR EWE”
with TERRY EDWARDS
“SONG FOR EWE” is the feature where artists & music people beloved by VELVET SHEEP choose an obscure song they’ve been listening to that day. Today’s guest is an absolute Velvet Sheep legend, not least because he and his band (or at least one of his bands) The Scapegoats actually played Velvet Sheep when it was a clubnight at (his local) Whitechapel Gallery nearly ten years ago, which was an incredible night. I first heard of this man on John Peel around about the time of his 1993 album “Plays. Salutes. Executes” (he played The Fall, saluted Jesus & Mary Chain and executed Miles Davis, although I think he’s just being modest about the latter). I later got in touch when I played his video “Boots Off!” (from a record on Wiiija in ’97) on MTV Europe’s Alternative Nation when I was producing that, and have basically stayed in touch ever since, including booking him to play songs from The Stooges “Funhouse” at the ICA Iggyfest: Blah, Blah, Blah event with London band The Dash. Terry Edwards has the tattoo “INDIVIDUAL” on his neck, and he truly is. As well as a great frontman, he’s a full-time member of London garage legends Gallon Drunk and the go-to sideman, sax (and other brass) player for the indie world – with particularly spectacular appearances over several years for Tindersticks and most recently as part of PJ Harvey‘s grizzled phallanx – as key member of Polly’s touring (and album) band for “The Hope Six Demolition Project”. His extensive CV includes records with Robyn Hitchcock, Derek Raymond (with GD’s James Johnston on the ace “I Was Dora Suarez” album), Lydia Lunch, Madness, Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds, Faust and The Blockheads, but the list really is endless. And obvs, he was a founder of cult band The Higsons (with Fast Show’s Charlie Higson). He’s got a new record out as bandleader of The Near Jazz Experience, and basically, it’s about bloody time I had him on the site. Welcome back to Velvet Sheep (and you have a season ticket), Mr. Terry Edwards!”
RIP Raoul the cat.
Here’s some preamble from Mr. T.
“Some time back you asked if I’d contribute a Song For Ewe, and as I see that Tom Wilcox (editor note: ICA promoter, music svengali) has got there first I thought it must be time for me to get off my fat arse & write one. That coupled with me rearranging my CD collection recently which threw up some hidden jewels including this one that comes with a nice back story.”
Before we get to Terry’s “song for ewe”, here’s part of his Peel session which first alerted me to his appeal.
And without further ado, here is Terry’s “song for ewe”…
“I remember telling Roger Wilson – aka Willie, senior salesman at Backs Records, Norwich – how I saw myself as a cross between John Cale (music student and rocker) and Roy Wood (leading light of The Move, ELO and Wizzard & a formidable multi-instrumentalist to boot). Willie’s take on it was that he saw me a “British Jazzer”, more akin to Ronnie Scott, East Ender through & through who wanted to play like the Americans. I take his point.
However, the fact remains that Roy Wood is certainly someone to aspire to. To be frank I wasn’t aware until relatively recently just how out of left field Wizzard were. They were the cleverest of the glam rockers by far and Roy could outplay everyone on saxes, cello, bassoon, guitar – you name it – plus he had a belting voice, all used to great effect on several Top Five singles including “Ball Park
Incident”, “Angel Fingers”, “See My Baby Jive” and, of course, “I Wish It Could Be Christmas Everyday”. Cue my introduction to Wizzard Brew.
The singles weren’t on the LP so it didn’t interest me as a 13 year old wannabe pop star, but when I found the album recently via a resurgent interest in The Move, I was astonished by the brutality of the riffage which is cut from the same Midlands cloth as Black Sabbath, the self-deprecating British sense of humour rife throughout and the thoroughly enthralling horn section comprising Wood, Bill Hunt (Uncle of Wonderstuff’s Miles Hunt, fact fans), Mike Burney and Nick Pentelow.
The whole album’s entrancingly marvellous and the CD reissue includes the singles & B-sides so you get the best of both worlds, but you really must check out Meet Me At The Jailhouse for a taste of the weird and wonderful world of glam’s great yet under-appreciated genius, Roy Wood. A Song for Ewe.”
for ref, aforementioned Roger Wilson
A MASSIVE THANKS TO TERRY EDWARDS!
Afloat – the album by the Near Jazz Experience is out now, and you can find it here…
Mark Bedford, Simon Charterton and Terry Edwards of the NJE broadcast Tongue and Groove on Resonance FM the second Monday of every month