Wednesday, 13 August 2014

Mickey Jupp - boxette

Next month sees the release of Kiss Me Quick Squeeze Me Slow – a collection of recordings by Mickey Jupp, spanning three CDs and one DVD (from Repertoire Records).

If you’re reading this, you probably know all about Mickey, his cracking songs, his fantastic voice, his unmistakeable rock’n’roll-ness, and his somewhat troubled career over four decades and more. If you don’t know about any of it and have accidentally happened on this blog by mis-keying a search for Vicky Jubb (no relation), you may not have come to the wrong place. Here is your chance to acquaint yourself with some great music.

I will not attempt to re-tell the Jupp story here, because it is contained in the liner notes I had the pleasure of contributing for this imminent compendium. Instead, I would simply like to focus on just a few of my favourite Jupp recordings that are contained in the box.  Each of these songs reflects a cornerstone of his enviable talent.

‘Lorraine Part 2’ (from Legend aka ‘The Red Boot Album’, 1971) demonstrates Jupp’s skill in writing what is essentially a plea ballad to a lost love that sneakily twists itself into a rhythm and blues testification worthy of the great Arthur Alexander. Packed with emotion, it showcases a voice that was maturing nicely at age 26, when this recording was made.

‘Brother Doctor, Sister Nurse’ (from Juppanese, 1978) – epitomises Jupp at the piano, totally in command of the groove, and is easily as good as anything that the Rolling Stones wrote and recorded around this time. ‘The pain in my heart is getting worse… I’m in a bad way, will you, see me first?’ Maybe, but the question is, if Mickey gets up off of the operating table, will he be able, to ‘love again’?

‘Make It Fly’ (from Long Distance Romancer, 1979) is an intimate country ballad, rare in the Jupp canon, in which he addresses his departed lover and accepts that she may have found the right guy elsewhere. Of course he’s hoping she’ll think twice. But if that’s what she wants, maybe she can ‘get it off the ground and make it fly’. ‘If he’s alright with you’, he tells her, charitably, ‘he’s alright with me’. Then, with ‘at times like this the words don’t come flowing’ (knowing full well they do), and, with just a hint of Dylan in his voice, ‘it’s hard to say exactly what I mean’ ('yeah, right'), he knows he’s planted the seed of doubt. But in Mickey’s songs, the girls are never going to come back. Because there will always be more songs to write.

‘Standing At The Crossroads Again’ (from As The Yeahs Go By, 1991) – as covered by Dave Edmunds and others, is a Jupp track that swings like no other, and imagines a surreal encounter with two blues greats at that mythical junction where the devil hangs out.  Its chorus: ‘I’m standing at the crossroads again / with an empty heart and a dollar ten; Maybe I’ll bump in to some famous names, Robert Johnson, Elmore James / I’m standing at the crossroads again.’ Amen.

For release date, full track listing, and to order (UK):

A Mickey Jupp Biography by Mike Wade is in the works, for possible publication around 2015.

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