Review : Stevie Jackson - (I Can’t Get No) Stevie Jackson
Music-newsWho would’ve thought you’d hear Stevie Jackson’s opening track singing about ‘Mothers Pride, plain bread.’ ‘Pure of Heart’ is about what a girl can do to a guys heart strings when she really makes them tug. Girls tend to remember the first time they see someone that gives them such a feeling, from the clothes they were wearing, to how their hair was styled. They say food is the way to a man’s heart, so I am not surprised that in Stevie’s case, he remembers what he was munching on!
‘Just, just to the Point,’ is an instant infectious up-tempo song about various people that he still admires in spite of them having caused him pain in some way. As soon as you remember some of the lyrics you’ll be singing your head off along to it.
‘Try Me’ takes on a slightly rockier sound compared to the rest of the album, which finds Stevie asking to give him a try proving that age and experience means nada as there is still room for more.
It’s always nice to have a summer track – even if the weather isn’t permitting – and Stevie doesn’t let us down in ‘Dead Mans Fall’ which has its arms as wide open as possible wanting to encapsulate every wonderful thing spring and summer has to offer.
‘Birds Eye View’ recounts the experience of a local resident that lived in a block of flats in Dunfermline, Scotland. Title says it all really, and the song is sweet, quaint and takes you on a visual journey through the medium of great music.
Since Stevie was 17, he has had the tune to ‘Where Do All The Good Girls Go,’ going around his head and he finally found the Franglais lyrics for it which see him telling the tale of chick-hunting under Parisian skies....full text
AllmusicSince he penned "Seymour Stein" for 1998's The Boy with the Arab Strap, Belle & Sebastian guitarist Stevie Jackson usually contributed at least one song per album. The tunes were nice counterpoints to Stuart Murdoch's and proved Jackson to have a nice way with a hook and a jangle. On his debut solo album, (I Can't Get No) Stevie Jackson, the initial question might be whether he could pull off an entire album's worth of songs all by himself. The answer is an unqualified yes. With songwriting help from friends Roy Moller and Gary Thom (the three of them known collectively as the Company) and musical backing from Pastel Katrina Mitchell on drums, Bill Wells on bass, Rose Melberg on backing vocal, and B&S mates Bob Kildea, Sarah Martin, Mick Cooke, and Richard Colburn (among others), Jackson comes through with a batch of witty and catchy songs done in a variety of styles but always full of his trademark low-key charm. Jackson is a well-known lover of rock & roll of all kinds and the album jumps from country-tinged balladry ("Pure of Heart") and funky blue-eyed soul ("Just, Just, So to the Point") to chiming folk-rock ("Kurosawa") and quietly reflective songs ("Bird's Eye View"). His tender voice fits in perfectly no matter the style and the musicians he chose for the task are well up to it, always sounding just right. The strongest tracks on the album, though, are those that stick closest to the formula of his Belle & Sebastian contributions: short, snappy pop songs with a little bit of soul, a dash of Zombies melancholy, and easy-to-sing-along-with melodies. The super hooky "Try Me" is the hit, but the record is filled with many of those kinds of bright and sunny-ish songs. He even gives Stuart Murdoch a run for his money on the pocket sweet soul symphony "Man of God" -- it would easily be a highlight of a B&S record. Jackson may have been cast in the eternal sideman role in Belle & Sebastian, but (I Can't Get No) Stevie Jackson shows without a doubt that he is a pop craftsman in his own right....full text
PopmattersIt’s impossible not to wonder if Stevie Jackson’s long-in-coming solo debut is what Belle and Sebastian would sound like in an alternate reality without Stuart Murdoch, as hard as it is to imagine the beloved pop collective without its inimitable frontman. Maybe (I Can’t Get No) Stevie Jackson should be appreciated on its own terms, but there’s a temptation, subconscious or not, to think of it as an opportunity to take stock of Jackson’s capabilities and compare them to Murdoch’s prodigious talents. On the one hand, the album is a reminder that it’s often easy to underestimate Jackson’s contributions to Belle and Sebastian’s success, not just musically, but also in the way he took on many of the gladhanding tasks that Murdoch shied away from as the outfit was beginning to take off. On the other hand, (I Can’t Get No) is ultimately a pleasant but modest outing that proves that there’s some intangible quality beyond having chops that separates a competent songwriter from something more than that.
That (I Can’t Get No) never strays too far from a B&S aesthetic—and also enlists much of the band’s personnel—underscores the “what if” nature of the project, only pointing out Jackson’s strengths and weaknesses as an artist. What (I Can’t Get No) confirms, above all, is how proficient a player and arranger Jackson is, especially since he wears so many hats on this effort. Musically speaking, Jackson runs through a gamut of styles ably and seamlessly, from the zingy indie soul of “Just, Just So to the Point” to the gentle, curlicuing oldies tones of “Richie Now”. Whether he’s creating an easygoing, jaunty mood with “Dead Man’s Fall” or conveying a sensitive side with some introspective folkie picking on “Bird’s Eye View”, Jackson really takes advantage of the resources available to him, making the side project feel rich and fully fleshed out.
The one thing that Jackson gains from going it alone is that he’s able to let loose a little more outside the constraints of Belle and Sebastian’s established working arrangements. With its blasts of organ and a rip-roaring guitar solo, the rambunctious ditty “Try Me” is a crowd-pleaser, mussing up B&S’s immaculate sound with good spirits and high energy. Better yet is the holy rollin’ orchestral-pop of “Man of God”, which layers piano, a touch of strings, and some good-natured background singing on top of Jackson’s most soulful croon, feeling immediate and grand at the same time. What could be an easy fit on a deluxe reissue of B&S’s The Life Pursuit, “Man of Work” stands on par with Jackson’s best work for his day job, canonical B&S pieces like “Seymour Stein” and “Jonathan David”....full text
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