Friday, 28 December 2012

Jack Green - This is Japan

Shinto and rock and roll at the Buddakan

Pick of the Week

“This is Japan” by Jack Green (1980)

With its references to ‘Highway 2’1 and ‘Indian Summer’2 Jack Green’s “I Call No Answer” seemed like it was about Alberta. In fact Alberta seemed to have a profound affection for this English rocker in the early 1980’s – it was a regional anomaly which does not happen very often.

 In the early ‘80’s I recall driving this particular piece of highway (the #2) a bit and one of my favorite road soundtracks for the ride was ‘Humanesque” (of course vinyl recorded onto cassette tape – which always sounded better than the cassette tape format to me).
 I had a pair of white canvas Nikes that lent themselves to the style of the times which I would sometimes wear a dress jacket over a  tee-shirt and narrow leg jeans. It just was the style. If you look at the videos of the time, that is what they wore – the post-punk uniform if you will.

Jack Green seems to be underrated and somewhat forgotten except by his most ardent fans. Was he ahead of his time? Behind the times? Or was it a lot of things like life usually is?

The sound Jack Green made was derivative of a few experiences he had. He had been a member of the T-Rex and The Pretty Things (he was on the recording of ‘Silk Torpedo’ and “Savage Eye’). He had been writing songs professionally since he was 16 years old and had already had two hit singles in Holland and Germany. He was in the cast of ‘Hair’ and played with Richie Blackmore’s Rainbow. Not bad credentials!

The influence of punk and then more new wave opened the door for his more punchy power rock. The guitar was the thing and he played it well.  Ritchie Blackmore (Deep Purple) even came out to help out on “I Call No Answer” when Jack recorded it.

‘Humanesque’ still plays well from beginning to end (That is if you can get a hold of a copy – seems to be somewhat rare strangely).