Jackie Leven - Gothic Road
Just to get this out of the way: Jackie Leven had a band in the late seventies/early eighties called Doll by Doll. They released two of the most underrated rock albums in British history in Remember and Gypsy Blood. Those records are dark, intense, poetic and rocking. Find them. He was absent from the rest of the eighties with a heroin addiction. Today, Jackie Leven is prolific. He once had an argument with his label boss about the number of records he was trying to release one year. Gothic Road is, approximately, Jackie Leven’s fifteenth solo album. All of his albums follow the same template. That template includes: tributes to fallen friends and heroes; celebrations of poets, poetry and literature; a great deal of Caledonian wisdom and mysticism, as well as the practical realities of romance, loneliness and madness, all with a sound that never strays too far from soulful folk, rock and blues. Proper songs from a manly voice. He can be over-earnest, and the albums can be over-long. His best solo work is probably The Mystery of Love is Greater Than the Mystery of Death, but this seems a good place to start for the uninitiated. Somewhat easier to manage than his others, at 52 minutes, and features songs paying tribute to the dead of the Kursk, Cornelius Whalen the last Jarrow marcher (Ralph McTell sings on that one), and Tilda Swinton, and that quote Mud, Bob Dylan, and Joy Division.