Archive for the ‘Shack’ category

Great Lost Albums No.2 – Shack, “…Here’s Tom with the Weather”

29 May, 2007

Sometimes you simply have to despair at the general public, those philistine cloth-eared bastards. Shack must be the only Scousers in the world who can’t get arrested. A string of brilliant albums combining incredible musicianship with the sort of songwriting no other British band could even dream of, yet no bugger bothers to listen.

Even in 1999, signed to a major label, the stunning HMS Fable album in the can, an NME cover proclaiming Mick Head “The Best Songwriter in Britain” (true), and the joyously melodic single Comedy playlisted on both Radios 1 & 2, the punters still didn’t bite. Like I said, sometimes you just have to despair.

Well, nil desperandum and all that and thankfully the brothers Head carried on regardless and thank god they did, for their next album, 2003’s …Here’s Tom with the Weather, was their masterpiece. Even then they had to rely on the benevolence of concert promoter Simon Moran, who set up a record label especially to release this one incredible album. Unlike HMS Fable however, the press didn’t bother with it and so it was dead in the water.

Despair. Because …Here’s Tom is the Nick Drake/Stone Roses/early Floyd/Hendrix/La’s/cosmic Scouse album dreams are made of. Less anthemic than HMS Fable, and more akin to the sublime Scouse folk of their one-off Strands project.

Romance on the dole to kick things off:

The morning paper’s soaking from the rain
And Kilroy’s hair’s turned blue…
All through the wintertime, this hovel’s been a pain
But I don’t care what anybody says, as long as I’ve got you
(As Long as I’ve Got You)

The Dead Sea Scrolls of Cosmic Scouserdom to follow:

Learning to play the guitar, one for you, one for me
Who’d be the first one to learn all those tricks by Mr Lee?
Stuck in me ma’s old back room, with endless cups of tea…
(Byrds Turn to Stone)

…and elsewhere, the dreamy folk pop of The Girl with the Long Brown Hair, the lysergic Latino-psych of On the Terrace, two sublime John Head songs (Miles Apart and Carousel), and the stupendous Bacharach-on-the-Mersey finale, Happy Ever After. Just after your jaw hits the floor, you’re reaching for the repeat button.

No-one likes them, they don’t care, and they came back for more in 2006 with the almost equally brilliant Corner of Miles & Gil, this time courtesy of benefactor Noel Gallagher, who said “The world is a worse place when Shack aren’t releasing records”. Damn right Sir. Another masterpiece, this time mixing their dazzling ear for a tune with a new-found Miles Davis obsession. And still no fucker bought it.


Hear tracks from Shack and more at Radio Hartson’s Dog!