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Jackie Leven & Michael Cosgrave Wayside Shrines and the Code of the Travelling Man (2011)

Jackie Leven & Michael Cosgrave — Wayside Shrines and the Code of the Travelling Man
Also known as: John St. Field / Sir Vincent Lone
Born: June 18, 1950, Kirkcaldy, Fife, Scotland, UK
Died: November 14, 2011
Album release: September 19, 2011
Record Label: Cooking Vinyl
01. Swine Flu Fever Blues 5:08              
02. To Live and Die in Levenland 4:51              
03. Deep Purple Cloak 7:08              
04. Beware Soul Brother 5:07               
05. Spooky Berlin Hotel Song 5:21              
06. Townes At the Borderline 4:49               
07. The Kirkcaldy Book of the Dead 5:56              
08. Dagenham Dream 1:53               
09. A Kiss On the Cheek 4:40            
10. Backstage, Chelsea Club, Vienna 5:28
Website: http://jackieleven.co.uk/

¶   The great Scottish singer and song writer Jackie Leven passed away on Monday, 14th November, at 8 o'clock in the evening. He had suffered from cancer.
¶   "There are spiritual story tellers and there are soulful story tellers. I hope to be a soulful story teller. I see the two kinds as two different directions. Spiritual is ascending. Sky, God and all that. I hope my story telling is going down into the earth, is wetter, has more moisture."   Jackie Leven
¶   For further information please go to www.jackie-leven.com.
In a career stretching over forty years, Jackie Leven has carved an impressive reputation as a uniquely gifted singer-songwriter. From his emergence as leader of the underrated DOLL BY DOLL in the seventies, through well documented addiction problems which Leven overcame with remarkable strength of will, culminating in a solo resurgence through the 1980s to the here and now, Jackie has amassed an amazing body of work – the composer of over four hundred songs, including arguably his greatest song – ‘Call Mother’, from the album ‘Mystery of Love’ (ranked by Q magazine as one of ‘100 Best Albums of All Time’.
¶   If sales didn’t always reflect the overwhelmingly positive critical reception his albums received, he nonetheless remained a perceptive writer and performer. Jackie was imbued with a restless creativity, and always searching for new settings for his ruminative lyrical forays, laced with humour and melodic grace. As a performer, Jackie could enthral and entrance the audience with picaresque tales taken from first-hand experience.
¶   Those that have worked with Jackie will know of his mordant wit and very idiosyncratic world view. His latest release, Wayside Shrines and The Code of the Travelling Man, recorded with multi-instrumentalist Michael Cosgrave was yet more proof of Leven’s enduring talent and inexhaustible creative energies.
Song notes:
¶   Most of these songs were written in German hotel rooms – here are some of Jackie’s loose notes on some of the songs:
¶   SWINE FLU FEVER BLUES (Motel California, Isernhagen, Hannover):
¶   Last year I was in a fever with Swine Flu for two days. In my delirium the same nonsensical images kept running through my mind like a very poor student film – that I was a grieving woman in a long black veil in the hills of home in Scotland, that I was in Captain Beefheart’s band, although he couldn’t remember hiring me…even at the time of being ill, I was thinking ‘this is crazy’ but I couldn’t stop the torrent of images…
¶   TO LIVE AND DIE IN LEVENLAND (Hotel Maingau, Frankfurt):
¶   There is a beautiful Gothic cemetery, opposite the Holiday Inn in Frankfurt. On one of the graves, in English it says – ‘The Sun Is God – William Blake’. These were the very last words of the great English visionary William Blake. I don’t like cemeteries, but if I have to lie in one, please can it be this one…
¶   DEEP PURPLE CLOAK (Hotel Pacific, Hamburg):
¶   A song about how ‘childhood suspicions’ can be carried through into our attempts to find and maintain love as an adult – written in the foyer of the hotel The Beatles stayed at in Hamburg.
¶   BEWARE SOUL BROTHER (Hotel Kolpinghaus, Munster)
¶   I wrote the chorus of this song in this austere religious hotel (which I love) in Munster some years ago. The rooms are like cells in a monastery. I couldn’t find a song for the chorus until my little brother died earlier this year. ‘I must have been saving it for the right moment’ was my bittersweet thought as I finished the last verse.
¶   TOWNES AT THE BORDERLINE (Hotel Mercure, Dresden):
¶   A song about doing two shows with Townes Van Zandt at The Borderline in London. Townes said to me at the soundcheck – ‘I think I can hear church bells outside – I wanna hear them better but not on my own in case they get me – will you come with me?’ We walked over Charing Cross Road to where the bells of St Giles were ringing and Townes had a very private moment of meditation.
¶   BACKSTAGE, CHELSEA CLUB, VIENNA (Hotel Furstenhof, Vienna):
¶   In this piece, Michael Cosgrave is reading out names of bands that are written on the walls of the dressing room, in a great club called Chelsea. Over the top of this we put some instrumental we had played in the soundcheck, plus typical street sounds of Vienna. Hotel Furstenhof, by the way, is a Must Stay for musicians and show biz folk – fabulously gloomy, its lift features in the film The Third Man. Next door is Cafe West End, a huge scruffy timeless Viennese bistro in which I could happily live.
¶   A KISS ON THE CHEEK (no hotel):
¶   Written and played by John Mayfield and sung by Gola Wolf Richards, this is a guest track to which Michael and I added brass and backing vocals. It sounds to me like the title track from a forgotten film…
¶  By the light of the spring moon, out in the wilderness of Dartmoor in south west England, JACKIE LEVEN and MICHAEL COSGRAVE have recorded WAYSIDE SHRINES AND THE CODE OF THE TRAVELLING MAN in Michael’s home studio:
¶  ‘”I had felt for my last few albums, that the best work on them was the creative interplay between myself and Michael” says Jackie. “Michael is a world class multi-instrumentalist and best friend, so we decided to make the whole album between the two of us, engineering, producing and mixing, and this has resulted, in my opinion, in a very focused body of work.”
¶  Over the years on tour in Germany, Jackie and Michael have noticed that in most German hotels, in reception and other public rooms, there are displays of flowers and art that you just don’t see anywhere else in the world. When they have asked hotel staff what these displays are all about the staff always say that they do not know, and that these displays were here before they came to work at the hotel.’
¶  “It is our feeling” says Jackie “that these displays are shrines, and in fact are pagan shrines, where pagan Germany can be seen in a small but very powerful way.”
¶  These are the WAYSIDE SHRINES of the title… The songs, although not about shrines, were nearly all written in German hotel rooms on tour over the last two years.
Cooking Vinyl boss, Martin Goldschmidt says he thinks that this is some of Jackie’s best work since his first album for the label – THE MYSTERY OF LOVE IS ¶  GREATER THAN THE MYSTERY OF DEATH.
¶  WAYSIDE SHRINES is also the world’s first homeopathic record. Jackie explains: “In the true homeopathic way, we have taken a sound – in this case a sound which represents grief – grieving is something we are not so good at in the West, and we have diluted that sound in the songs so much that you can no longer hear it, but the ‘memory’ of the sound is still there. For this reason, the more you listen to the record, the better you will feel about the real sadness in your life”.
¶  The songs on WAYSIDE SHRINES show master craftsman Jackie at his most confident, from the hallucinations in SWINE FLU FEVER BLUES to the ode for his brother who died earlier this year BEWARE SOUL BROTHER.

Jackie Leven & Michael Cosgrave — Wayside Shrines and the Code of the Travelling Man (2011)




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