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Jack The Lad Jack The Lad
Album: It's Jack The Lad
Label: Talking Elephant
Tracks: 11

It's 1973, the magic in the air had gone, a parting of the ways, Jack The Lad was born from the remnants of Lindisfarne after Alan Hull wanted to move in different directions.

Rod Clements, Simon Cowe and Ray Laidlaw from the old band were joined by fellow Geordie front man Billy Mitchell who had previously played in a local band "The Callies" (their one and only LP "On Your Side" is long overdue for a CD re-release) and they ran away to a farmhouse in Devon to work on material for the new group.

Material that made up this, their debut album "It's Jack The Lad" a lively and vibrant mix of styles that had a sense of fun and devilment. It is music that puts a smile on your face.

Faced though with a cover that made the band look like a country celidah outfit it was a case of misselling that in today's culture would spark compensation claims galore.

Songs such as "Back on the Road Again" which has a middle section reminiscent of Slade or Wizzard at their peak complete with a BSA Bantam 125 revving along.

Pop, rock, blues all fused together with an irrelevance that works wonders. A studio album that captures the outstanding fun the band were live.

From Clement's "Why Can't I Be Satisfied" which is on a par with "Meet Me on the Corner" which he wrote for Lindisfarne to Mitch's deliciously delightful "Turning into Winter" the strength of the songwriting is first class.

Si Cowe's mandolin introduces "Song Without a Band" written by himself and featuring vocals by Maddy Prior.

"Rosalee" is music hall meets Beatles and would fit perfectly on the Move's Message From The Country whilst "A Corny Pastiche" is a tune set that will get anybodies toes tapping.

It's not the first time on CD for "It's Jack The Lad", Talking Elephant though have produced a remaster which is bright and precise in sound which more than makes up for the dropping off the bonus tracks found on the earlier re-releases.

An eclectic mish-mash of an album that just works. File under "F" for fun and play repeatably.

Ian Cripps