Friday, 28 October 2011

Funny Folk

I first encountered Jake Thackray during his stint on BBC's That's Life!; soon usurped by Stilgoe he gained his own programme buried in a mid-week graveyard slot on BBC2; no one else I knew watched it.
It was my little secret.

I was surprised therefore, some years later, while at The Elephant Fayre in Port Eliot, when arriving at a tent to see Jake perform there were others in attendance who also seemed to know who he was.
It was 1985, I think. I did get a photo, but unfortunately it's more a picture of a speaker than of Jake Thackray. I must have had the camera on the wrong setting, which may have had something to do with that funny tasting oaty cake I'd quaffed earlier....

Thackray is often compared to a Belgian singer who I can't for the life of me remember the name of at the moment; anyway, unfair on Thackray I always thought, as I checked out the Belgian guy and he's shit.

Thackray on the other hand, is really rather good.
His delivery is fantastically bizarre (staccato spat syllables; Derek Nimmo in a strop like), his humour superb, his timing exquisite.
More of a wit than a comic, his playful use of language is loaded with guilt, love and mortality, and those ever present Catholic concerns are what make Jake's songs so listenable.
Here's what the liner notes have to say [click to read]:

(Twee or what!)

Thackray became erratic towards the end of his career, gaining a reputation for unreliability as he failed to fulfill bookings.
I feel kind of privileged to have seen him when I did; not only did he turn up, but he was very, very funny, going down a storm in that packed out big top.

My favourite? Gotta be 'Isobel'.
I'm just an old romantic bastard, I guess....

Jake Thackray - Live Performance (1971)

Family Tree
The Hole
Miss World
Pass Milord the Rooster Juice
Remember Bethlehem
Ladies Basic Freedoms Polka
The Cactus
Leopold Alcox
The Lodger
The Last Will and Testament of Jake Thackray

Decent vinyl rip @320kbs

This is the original now deleted vinyl edition.
An expanded version of this concert was released in 2006 on CD.
Giggle-on here


teifidancer said...

I too when i was younger seemed to be the oly kid in the park that dug Jake's work, the hole was a particular favourite, it was slighty surreal watching him with me mum and dad, who also liked his stuff, sister though thought his work far too strange, preferring more eclectic tastes like bay city rollers and the osmonds..... I know..... she still doesn't seem to get it, last time I visited she had K.D ****** Lang on rotation. The French singer that you momentarily forgot was Jacques Brel, who I tried to get into, because of Jake, but you know what I stuck with the late great Mr Thackray..... hoping all is good , all the best....

si said...

Hi Roy,

topper post as ever - thanks you.

Btw, Jacque Brel....??

All the best

Anonymous said...

If it's belgian, it's Jacques Brel. The rest of belgians are chocolate, goffres, and fried potatoes

roy rocket said...

!And Rene Magritte!

jacquesbrel said...

Thanks for the grat Jake post. Some new numbers for me there.

jb said...

He was often compared to Georges Brassens, who was Jake's hero and wrote the original of 'Brother Gorilla". But he wasn't Belgian, he was French. Thanks for the post.

roy rocket said...

Thank you.