Sartorial Records have managed to persuade the labels much loved head honcho Sir Terry Edwards to compile a 60 song triple cd boxset to celebrate his 60th birthday, the album contains music from across 41 of those 60 years and is, as across the board musically, as any Sir Terry Edwards fan would expect. The box-set is not chronological or exhaustive so we will all be able to name several long term collaborators that are missing, but that only show the depth of his career.
This 60 song journey through the musical life of Sir Terry Edwards, as he should be by now, opens with 4 songs by The Higsons, from their debut single and the jazzy funk punk of We Will Never Grow Old, which as Sir Terry turns 60 seems to be the sort of youthful statement many of us make and are happy to live to regret. If you don't already own I Don't Live With Monkeys it's about time you did! The Higsons classic sounds as No Wave as ever.
Touchdown is a taut no wave disco funk breakdown that may or may not be about American Football a sport they didn't play much in East Anglia. Lying On The Telephone sounds like they are all dressed as casuals in Sergio Tacchini tracksuits Pringle check v-necks a proper slice of Brit-funk.
Sir Terry is then joined by Paul Cuddeford for two new songs recorded earlier this year, the very gentle acoustic love song Johnsburg, Illinois and a pared back take on My Funny Valentine that brings out the beauty and sadness of the song. Both these songs are very much in the style of Sir Terry's Cliche's album.
Ericka Stucky then goes deep blues wailing on Oh Lord Don't Let Them Drop That Atomic Bomb On Me the old Charles Mingus classic.
Things then go Indie rock with The Wolfhounds My Legendary Childhood that replaces jangly guitars for jangly brass and sounds a bit like The Wedding Present meets The Nightingales.
The first Soft Boy to turn up is Robyn Hitchcock going full on Captain Beefheart on There Ain't No Santa Claus On The Evening Stage a great swampy version not that far from the good captains original.
Knife & Fork are the first act I've never heard of, but wish I had, whose Dream Sweet is laid back soulful Jazz with a Chet Baker style muted trumpet that comes in and out of it.
Young afro-punks Big Joan and The Suckers Bug (Sucker To Shreds) is a bass led dark noise infested tune that reminds me of the work Sir Terry did with Joseph Budenholzer and Lydia Lunch but with less abrasive vocals.
Spleen go all Vulpine next a skronking funky jazz drugged out howl of despair, with pleading vocals very much in the style of The Brute Chorus that totally freaks out and will freak you out.
New York New York's Roger Wilson Said is totally upbeat fast and fleet indie jazz pop, no idea what roger Wilson actually said mind.
Next is Sir Terry Edwards version of Everything Is Alright When You're Down that is the first track that is on both of Sir Terry's releases this month, as it's also on Stop Trying To Sell Me Back My Past Vol 1 that's out for Record store Day, it is of course his masterful version of the Jesus & Mary Chain classic.
Rather than a song with Tindersticks next we get a solo song from Stuart A. Staples Say Something Now that is almost as downbeat as you'd expect it to be.
Butterfield 8 take us to the Strictly dancefloor for a slow seductive Oakapple Tango that seems to have a Slight zydeco edge in places.
Sir Terry then steps front and centre on Dipped In Tea an avant garde soundscape to the joy of dunking your biscuits in your tea.
Jimi Tenor's Black Hole is next and has a very familiar bassline that they work off of to get a rather Funkadelic style sound.
Mike Garson then does a wonderful version of Starman that they would have worked on as part of the Holy Holy project, this is stripped back while more than doing justice to the song while obviously having been recorded at a rehearsal and with a long piano outro as you might expect from Mr Garson.
The first cd closes with the second Soft Boy Kimberley Rew's My Work Here Is Done I Must Return To My Planet a wonderful slice of sci-fi outer space madness sounding like a 60's garage rock outtake with added jazz madness a very cool song.
The second cd opens with a couple of classic Sir Terry Edwards & The Scapegoats rave-ups the first Boots Off!! Has a northern Soul instrumental feel to it and to my ears has always been a dancefloor classic especially when the organ solo hits.
Pedestrian has a great 60's TV Detective show theme feel to it musically with Sir Terry's rather sardonic vocals that lead to a be-bop freak-out finale.
Butterfield 8's take on the classic Watermelon Man is next and they do it in a cool smokey jazz club style with plenty of beard stroking Nice!!
We then get the second tune that's also on Stop Trying To Sell Me Back My Past (Vol.1) (Also out this August on Sartorial Records) although it might be a different version of his cover of The Cure's Friday I'm In Love , this has a great brass sound to it with nice minimal percussion. It also has a wonderful video that's just been unearthed and can be found on youtube.
It's then time for a previously un-released BBC session recorded with Neil Fraser from Tindersticks for BBC 6 Music in 2015 that opens with yet another take on the classic Harlem Nocturne this is sparser than the Near Jazz Experience versions and makes it sound like Sir Terry is playing sitting in a window on 125th Street at midnight.
We then get an incredible cover of Tom Waits Blind Love, it has a real hushed cautious feel to it. Next is a superb version of John Cale's Fear Is A Man's Best Friend that sounds as influenced by the solo versions Cale performed in 1983/5 as the original album version with added Sax but the screams at the end aren't as psychotic as Cale's own screams. This session ended with Gardening Leave a sparse acoustic guitar and Sax instrumental.
Lisa Ronson's take on Shakin' All Over is next that seems to be using a similar arrangement to Chris Spedding's version but with added brass and obviously more sultry vocals.
Franz Ferdinand then Feel The Love Go and are a lot less choppy than you might expect as this is a funky electro indie cut ready for the dancefloor.
Things then go all indie rock with 18 Wheeler and Stay, a band that for my ears were always teetering on the edges of landfill indie and this has just enough retro 60's influences to stay out of that landfill.
Next up is an early version? Or reworking of The Knife to the Near Jazz Experiences Knife Edge, this one is with David Coulter from The Pogues etc and is squiggly jazz sax and cool percussion.
The Finnmark Four do a very minimal version of Medicinals that Sir Terry also played on the original of with PJ Harvey.
We then get Sir Terry's take on I'll Go Crazy from his Cliche's album sounding just crazy and of course vastly different to Third Worlds original.
Department S Somewhere Between Heaven And Tesco's is at the funkier less post-punk end of that bands career complete with disco whistles and dancefloor breakdown as they shimmy down the aisles.
Carburettor by Nitwood is next and every time I hear anything by Nitwood on a Sartorial Records Compilation I remind myself I need to hear more by them, this is sort of be-bop avant jazz minimal mutations around a theme.
Sir Terry himself is then Inspired By I.P.C.R.E.S.S. with lots of synth and feedback noises and a long tone ending.
He then goes back to the Cliches album for a much slower and less sing along version of Maybe I'm A Londoner than you normally hear that manages to turn this cliche on its head and make it sound so sad and rueful as an instrumental.
Sir Terry is then joined by Seamus Beaghan for A Musical Offering You Can't Refuse where Sir Terry's trumpet playing seems to be aiming for Miles Davis circa Sketches Of Spain set against Seamus organ Sounding quite churchy.
The second CD closes with The Havering Youth Orchestra's take on Jean Sibelius's big hit Finlandia and while classical snobs might pick holes in this version I love it and can't stop smiling while it plays and I believe Sir Terry conducts as part of the celebrations for 100 years of Finnish independence in 2018.
The Third Cd opens with the unreleased BBC 6 Music session from 2017 by the Near Jazz Experience that opens with their sultry to begin with take on Voodoo Child wherein Sir Terry plays the guitar parts with his saxophones that in places goes full on skronktastic.
The second tune in the NJE session is Double Trouble a slinky almost nearly not quite jazz funk freak out with cool percussion from Simon Charteris and a monster solo from Sir Terry. The third tune on the session was Limbo Jazz and I'm sure we can all imagine Sir Terry and Mark Bedford trying to Limbo dance while playing this, with the bass getting more and more low slung as Mark shimmies under the pole.
The Lee Thompson Ska Orchestra's version of the classic John Holt/Paragons tune Ali Baba is next, they play it pretty close to the original and it sounds mighty fine for that.
Rhoda Dakar from The Bodysnatchers Comfort Zone is good and bass heavy rock-steady ska tune with a great piano solo in it.
Sir Terry Edwards' Ska Allstars then cover The Fall's Totally Wired in a funky ska style and it's another song that's also on this month's other Sir Terry Edwards release Stop Trying to Sell me Back My Past (Vol 1) yes they are Totally Wired.
We then get The Nightingales with Vic Goddard and Commercial Suicide Man a dark duet about how they have all been told many times, that what they want to put out is Commercial Suicide, if anything this is more commercial than many Nightingales songs and the addition of the trombone works really well.
We then get Serious Drinking's classic cover of the Human Leagues Don't You Want Me Baby, although this isn't the Christmas baby Jesus mix, but is no less fantastic for that.
Two songs from Snuff are next Chocs Away is driving scuzzy punk pop. Dirty Old Legend sounds more like an old 60's cartoon Theme being punked up in a very frantic 2 minutes of instrumental mayhem.
Glen Matlock & The Philistines The Swanker is surprisingly string led pretty much orchestral pop that, like the second Snuff tune, also sounds very 60's cartoon or western theme like and unlike anything else I've heard Glen do over the years.
The first Gallon Drunk tune is The Rotten Mile, a Live version, that has some incredible sax over James Johnston's frantic in your face vocals and a great Sax harmonica battle in the middle eight.
Sir Terry Edwards & The Scapegoats fast furious bile ridden Margaret Thatcher We Still Hate You is next a great slice of Agit punk. That is in stark contrast to You'll See Glimpses that has Sir Terry narrating a tale about how life works in and out of the music business with the Scapegoats going all slinky.
The Blockheads Inbetweenies is next with Porky The Poet in place of Ian Dury this version is pretty true to the original musically even if Phil Jupitus' voice isn't quite on the same level as Ian's this still sounds damn good.
Lush then take us on a day trip to Burnham Beeches somewhere I never remember being this well Lush and cool, but then I only remember visiting as a kid on Matzo rambles, and this is far more adult than that.
Gallon Drunks second tune is the instrumental version of The Shadow Of Your Smile that has a really cool jazz brushed percussion sound making it far closer to Ron Carter's version than say Barbra Streisand's take on this classic.
Sir Terry Edwards last tune on this compilation under his own name is Half Nelson a lovely tune that always sounds cool and is almost like a piece of interlude music.
Darren Hayman & The Secondary Modern provide the penultimate tune with Art & Design that I far prefer the music, to Darren's somewhat pained vocals, although as ever with his music the lyrics are rather clever and sardonic.
The sixtieth and final tune is Slick Sixty and Margo's B & B that sounds like a breakbeat dance tune with downbeat jazz overtones that should have someone rapping over the top of it and as with much of this compilation takes us in one final not totally expected direction.
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