Jackie Lomax

I have never met anyone who shares my love of Jackie Lomax or knows his record Speak to Me like I do. I bet they exist, I just never met them. Near the end of his life, after he moved from Liverpool to California, I recommended younger L.A. based friends attend one of his last shows. I was sort of hoping they would be my proxy. It is his voice, especially that first record released on Apple produced by George Harrison. The Beatle aesthetic stamped all over it including orchestration. His voice particularly gets me. The lyrics are sometimes dumb in a charming 60s way and I am a sucker sometimes exactly for that, for instance, “get out of the sour milk sea”. What was George thinking? What was Jackie thinking? It was the single. I know most of George Harrison’s catalogue. At one end I am super moved by the musicality and lyrics of Give Me Love (Give Me Peace on Earth) but at the other end there is Sour Milk Sea which sounds like lyrics written on early acid trips. Unless it starts with picture yourself on a boat on a river, I think hallucinogens are not worth leaning on for songwriting. The thing often lost between then and now is creative orchestration. People in the 60s made marvellous marriages between the two, even into the 70s. The Beatles never lack for amazing examples. Part of what I love about Kanye West’s first records is a creativity I find similar to 60s and 70s mash ups of orchestra and rock. It is too much fun connecting that which on the surface seems different from each other and surprising the listener they could work together. Maybe this is why I approach non musicians to talk about improvisation for the improvisation journal.

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