“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. The word legend is thrown around willy-nilly these days but sometimes you have to throw it like a projectile – javelin-like and totally justified, as today’s guest is truly Jah-like when it comes to playing the bass, with his inestimably powerful acid dub punk low-end soundscapes and arse quakes. Original bassist of Public Image Ltd, playing on their first two monumental PiL albums, Jah Wobble was one of four pre-Pistols Johns – all friends as thick as thieves along with John Lydon, John Grey and John Simon Ritchie (aka Sid Vicious) who named him after wilfully mispronouncing John Wardle’s real name. With his alleged big “builders hands” Wobble was more suited to the bass than guitar, and thus begat musical greatness of a geezer whose deep dub infused style really laid down the blueprint for PiL and lit the blue touchpaper for post punk. Where the bass ended and Wobble began nobody could tell, such was his unique quality and outer body mastery of his chosen instrument.
After a post “Metal Box” bust up (an album he’d co-written and played bass and drums on), Wobble never faltered, formed The Human Condition and ended up collaborating with like-minded musically literate souls Holger Czukay and Jaki Liebezeit on Czukay’s solo forays and beyond. He went onto form the long-running Jah Wobble’s Invaders of the Heart and despite setbacks and industry snobs, with forced sidelines into jobs as a courier and infamously a tube driver (from one underground to another) in a long and sidewinding, never boring career he’s collaborated with such luminaries as Brian Eno, Björk, Sinéad O’Connor and Primal Scream. Not to mention John Coltrane’s storied saxophone partner Pharoah Sanders.
He’s written an explosive and highly acclaimed autobiography: Memoirs of a Geezer: Music, Life, Mayhem and in addition to prolific releases in all manner of styles that are still inimitably Wobble, he’s infamously a committed supporter of Tottenham Hotspur. It’s an honour to welcome to Velvet Sheep, the awesome Jah Wobble!
Please check out his latest sonic adventure that goes back to the future – to his early ‘hood – the track “Old Jewish East End of London Dub”…
Jah Wobble says of the new track, which comes off the back of an extremely prolific period of post pandemic writing:
“I grew up in Stepney, along with its neighbouring Whitechapel, it was still, at that time, a quite a Jewish (mainly Ashkenazim), area. That mix of Jews , Irish and others made for a heady brew. A very heady brew indeed. I make this tune with huge affection in memory of those huddled masses.”
With such a rich history I was intrigued to find out his musical pick for our feature, and it’s an intriguing slow-burner cracker…Without further ado, here’s Jah Wobble’s “song for ewe”…
“Stars of the Lid
‘Dungtitled’ taken from the album , ‘And Their Refinement of the Decline’
I stumbled across this duo a few weeks ago. This album is my favourite of theirs . It’s ambient, but there is a deep musicality to it . It’s an incredibly tender, rather sad piece of music . But somehow , it evokes compassion as well as sadness.”
MANY THANKS TO JAH WOBBLE AND TO JOHN ESPLEN AT WIPEOUT MUSIC
You can purchase “Old Jewish East End of London Dub” on the Bandcamp link below:
Loads of other recent releases are on the official Bandcamp page
And here’s the website if that wasn’t enough…