Welcome to my blog!

UPDATE: Mediafire have suspended my account and locked my downloads. Having endured the tedium of re-uploading everything I had previously hosted on Mega Upload onto Mediafire earlier this year, I can't be arsed re-uploading everything again.

So please don't ask for things to be reuploaded!

I undertake this venture knowing that I don't have the spare time to do it, but feel that these artists NEED TO BE HEARD (please excuse my shouting!). Or is that I think I need to be heard? Or that there are (or have been) some great music blogs that have inspired me to wanna jump on the bandwagon? Probably all of the above??I hope you enjoy the blog. If I turn one person onto these bands that turned me on then it will all have been worth it!

Sunday, March 20, 2011

James Hall - Pleasure Club

Shoulda been huge returns to where it (almost) began, with James Hall, vocalist of sadly missed Atlanta gothic-psychedelic-post-punk rockers Mary My Hope.

Hall took a while to reappear after the demise of Mary My Hope. His first solo album My Love, Sex and Spirit showed promise, but was the portrait of an artist struggling to find his own identity while unable to break the shackles of the past.

However, his second solo album, Pleasure Club, delivers. It is the sound of a confident artist in full control. It runs the gamut from 60s/70s Rolling Stones (i.e. the best stuff), to Bowie-esque white boy soul/funk, to punk. A criminally under-rated masterpiece.

The album opens with the title track, a modern (for 1996) take on the Rolling Stones take on Chicago Blues, complete with wailing vocals and harmonica. Imagine a demented John Spencer's blues explosion and you're in the right ball park. Illingness is Exile era Stones, relaxed at the start, slowly building to a crescendo, with soaring chorus vocals.

Heatwave Radio starts with high intensity, featuring chiming guitars and desperate, snarling vocals. The intensity increases with an interesting tempo change in the chorus, before dropping down with a smooth sweet soul bridge complete with a sax solo, before another tempo change sends the song hurtling at high speed towards it's climax. A stone cold motherfucking classic.

Morninglust starts with subdued, clean arpeggio guitar, and builds slowly with shimmering guitar effects into the chorus. Honky Time starts umptempo and driving, with Andy Gill (Gang of Four) approved guitar bursts, and drops down into a subtle funky chorus complete with falsetto vocals. Should Know Better is Some girls era white boy funk.

Black is Black uses the old (by then) Pixies-Nirvana approved quiet-loud-quiet structure to great effect. It starts with subdued, desperate vocals and wah-wah guitar, before the band crash into the chorus, complete with snarling vocals: "I'm no rockstar, who's cracking". The last verse contains just whispered vocals, before the band again crash in for an even more ferocious final chorus. The albums second classic. A tour de force aptly demonstrating the understated sonic mastery of guitarist Lynn Wright.

I'm needy is in 5/4 time. It starts with subdued arpeggiated guitar, and slowly builds suspense until the band comes crashing in, eventually leading into an appropriately tortued guitar solo. Back stabbing has a relaxed Stones groove, with a great tempo change in the middle.

Elevation is subdued in the verses, with forlorn vocals, and slowly build into a melodic chorus with soaring vocals. Illustrated Babeis (sic) is relaxed and playful. Use me baby is white-boy soul/funk, with a great bassline and clean guitar throughout the verses, before the distorted guitars come crashing in for chorus.

So precious, from previous album My Love, Sex and Spirit, and is a curious addition to the album. It has a subtle reggae feel, accentuated by the guitar in the chorus. The drums kick in after chorus, leading into a descending chord sequences that is pure Mary My Hope - perfectly illustrating the midpoint between Mary My Hope and Pleasure Club that My Love, Sex and Spirit represented, while also illustrating the giant strides between the My Love, Sex and Spirit and Pleasure Club albums.

For a great interview with James Hall summarising his career, check out http://thesilvertongueonline.com/?p=347.

James Hall - 1996 - Pleasure Club

1. Pleasure Club
2. Illingness
3. Heatwave Radio
4. Morning Lust
5. Honky Time
6. Should Know Better
7. Black Is Black
8. I'm Needy
9. Back Stabbing
10. Elevation
11. Illustrated Babeis
12. Use Me Baby
13. Need My Man
14. So Precious

FLAC Pt1, Pt2, Pt3, Pt4


  1. He's one of the finest live performers I ever saw up close. Easily one of the best in the country from 1993-96.

  2. Thanks GW and n - I think JH is great, so I'm glad to finally receive comments on some of his posts!

    1. Right so, great descriptions of the songs. I listened to the album yesterday after many years. I was once more struck with the richness in guitars, breaks (including occasional trumpet solos) and of course the intense vocals. The energy of the band and their outbursts are very well recorded. This was a highlight of the 90s and it still shines as a sincere and fine musical art work.