On Saturday 20th April, Gearbox Records (a jazz and blues label specialising in vinyl) are releasing a three album series of LPs for Record Store Day on the 20th April 2013.
Blues For The Hitchhiking Dead (GB1518) is a recording that captures a unique concert on 12th March 1962 at the SCR Students’ building on the Southampton University Campus and features The Live New Departures Jazz Poetry Septet consisting of poets Pete Brown and Michael Horovitz and musicians Stan Tracey, Jeff Clyne, Laurie Morgan, John Mumford and Bobby Wellins.
The concert featured jazz, poetry, collaborations and Brown and Horovitz’s Blues for the Hitchhiking Dead, their largest work for the septet.
1962 was the height of the CND ban the bomb movements and, of the recording, Pete Brown says, “Listening to the Blues again, the first thing that hits me is the fear. This was the most dangerous known period in history for a potential nuclear war, and we really felt it. The next thing is a strange mixture of innocence and wisdom. Being very young, we had the innocence, but where we got the wisdom from beats me…
A lot of the writing techniques are driven by jazz and our love of it, and certainly during the shorter “chase” choruses there is improvisation even between Mike and myself …we really were listening to each other…The musical atmospheres created surround the words and complement the emotions.”
Fast-forward half a century to Ballade Of The Nocturnal Commune/Extra Time Meltdown (GB1519), and Bankbusted Nuclear Detergent Blues (GB1520) and Horovitz has shown no signs of slowing down, on both of these recordings he is accompanied by Damon Albarn, Graham Coxon, and Paul Weller in albums that were recorded and mixed in Albarn’s Studio 13.
“It was my absolute pleasure to work in these recordings with Michael. Damon and Graham. I am a big fan of all three of these artists and just to be so free with all the music and ideas was a real buzz.” Says Paul Weller, “A lot of fun and no egos in the way. Fabulous. The end results are amongst some of the best things I’ve ever worked on”.