LUCKY 7 is the feature where we ask artists and music folk to name their 6 favourite songs by others, and a lucky 7th song of their own…today it’s someone I’ve been angling for a while now. Super amiable, extraordinarily passionate and musically astute founder and boss of Tiny Global Productions who put out the VS album of the year in The Nightingales “Perish The Thought” and track of 2018 in “Get Bramah!” from ace Blue Orchids record “Righteous Harmony Fist”, not to mention our 2017 fav Band of Holy Joy’s “Funambulist We Love You” John Henderson is a worldly fella.
Originally from Chicago, and ex of Feel Good All Over Records, John was looking to start a new label when he was chatting to old mate Stuart Moxham of fevered cult punk band Young Marble Giants and realised he was sitting a whole bunch of unreleased material after his band The Gist were dropped by Rough Trade. “Holding Pattern” was released, essentially The Gist’s second album. Now based in Valencia, after a sojourn in Hungary, and with a taste for great new music from resurgent post-punk/C86/Death To Trad Rock bands from the UK, John’s label is definitely Global but anything but tiny in vision or ambition. They’ve gone onto release some great records from fellow post Young Marble Giants Alison Statton (with Spike of Z Block Records), Spike & Debbie, the aforementioned Holy Joy, Blue Orchids, and Nightingales – three bands in the form of their lives…
But my words can’t do John full justice, so I asked our old mutual bestie Toby Amies (MTV Alternative Nation presenter/producer & director of award winning film “The Man Who’s Head Exploded”) to give today’s guest a more fitting intro:
“John Henderson, Jeff Lynne, Sly Stone, and Edwyn Collins, taught me most of what I know and love about music.
But John did it in person whilst introducing me to the joy of drinking a Dairy Queen strawberry milkshake whilst incredibly stoned.
John is one of those people for whom music and life are inseparable. He somehow manages to find more time than anyone else to listen to records, and champion the artists he discovers with the enthusiasm of a teenager. We are lucky to have him on this earth.”
Here’s another magical reason…brand new release on Tiny Global by the evergreen, ever belligerent Martin Bramah and the Blue Orchids “The Magical Record of Blue Orchids”…
And a taster from the excellent new album “Neon Primitives” from the punk prophet for our divided days, Johny Brown and Band of Holy Joy…
I’ve been looking forward to John’s choice of songs given his impeccable taste with putting out records and not only is it gratifyingly eclectic it also includes a nod to an artiste we love at VS that we’ve help put John onto…delighted that the DIY punk community lives on and chuffed to be mates. Take it away John!
“I don’t think punk found a better collective expression than in the first few years of Rough Trade’s output . . . so many brilliant acts, some of which took a long time to be justly appreciated, but all of which were individual and interesting. This was an instrumental b-side, but it’s still full of ideas.
It almost sounds like an instrumental cut-up of one of the lighter Sly & the Family Stone tunes.”
“I don’t know anything about Boy Khumalo. Most of his songs have chatter at the start like on a Jamaican deejay tune. I wish I know what he was saying.
The grooves are incredible, and it’s odd that these songs aren’t widely reissued when people are digging out material from around the world that’s much less immediate . . . the quality’s really high.”
“This is one I heard through Velvet Sheep, actually. I’m not sure why Gemma Rogers is not bigger, I’d been trying to hunt her down on Facebook, but we finally met at a Band Of Holy Joy in London, and I’m really happy to say that she and the guys she works with – Alfie and Sean – are going to go in and do a record for the label. She’s a star, I do believe. I sent links to her videos to people whose taste I admire, like Stuart from Young Marble Giants, and it’s thumbs up from everyone.
I like this song because it’s deceptive in its simplicity, but the G-A-S crew have great song sense. I like the humour and humanity a lot, too!”
“This piece is perfect in its imperfections. It’s so human. I have memories of helping Alastair drag this giant and incredibly heavy piece of seaweed up from the shore so that he could hang it from the rafters. I doubt I was the first to have been roped into that!
He had a chance to play with Jon Langford, Tony Maimone and Gary Lucas, who were recording and needed a violinist for a track. After talking to those guys about Alastair, I brought him to the studio, but he was so nervous he walked out . . . despite likely being a better musician than the rest of ‘em!”
“Donna Savage is the main force of this band. I say “is” because after twenty-odd years, she’s back, and she’ll have a new album and are retrospective album on Fire Records, who saw her talent immediately.
Her early songs are often told from the point of view of a self-posssed girl who liked other girls and probably got some lip for it. It’s rare that someone has both a great ear for melody and can write lyrics that are both so incisive and very funny, even if there’s often a bit of melancholy underlying them. I don’t know if the world was ready for DFP in 1990, but today should be a different story!”
“When I was four or five, I had a friend, Amy Pojman, with a transistor radio. We’d listen to WVON in her backyard, because between songs this deep-voiced fellow would proclaim, with a mountain of echo, “WVON! The Voice Of Chicago’s Negro!” We’d wait hours to hear it. I didn’t understand the metaphorical meaning of the phrase, and I believed this guy would eventually appear and tell stories in his great grand voice! Needless to say he never did.
Soul music was my first music love, but I lost the thread in punk times. Toby Amies got me interested in it again many years ago. Dyson had a great voice, and sang songs on the original Broadway cast recording of “Hair.” He must have been 19 when he did this. It’s perfect. On paper the lyrics would look trite, but Dyson’s voice sells it. It’s an odd song, gospel with this jaunty Caribbean vibe. What I like most about it is that no modern soul singers have tried doing it in decades; I think brining this back would make it too obvious how crap most contemporary songwriting really is!”
“It’s always a big deal for me when Vic Godard releases a new album, and “Mums’ Revenge” has been a long time coming – nine years since his last album of new compositions, but it’s been worth the wait. The whole album’s entrancing.
Despite not having any sort of unified sound, it works as an album and serves as a good way to come to grips with Vic’s talent for writing in any number of styles whilst never missing the mark. “Nobody Knows” has a lopsided charm that’s really infectious and so that’s a good place to start. It bears some resemblance to “She’s My Best Friend”, which Vic covered years ago, but he takes it in a different direction with a chorus that’s a bit better than that one. Grab the album while you can.”
CHEERS TO JOHN HENDERSON. ALSO THANKS TO TOBY AMIES.
Check out TINY GLOBAL PRODUCTIONS below…(new records out now by Band of Holy Joy & The Blue Orchids)
Vic Godard Record “Mum’s Revenge” courtesy of GNU Records available on this link: