Dr. John Cooper Clarke + Hugh Cornwell: This Time It’s Personal UKCD 
- It’s Only Make Believe
- Way Down Yonder In New Orleans
- Spanish Harlem
- Johnny Remember Me
- MacArthur Park
- She’s A Woman
- Love Potion No. 9
- Sweeter Than You
Holy Toledo! This just in from my wife, who stumbled onto this news before I did, but there exists a new project in the pipeline that promises to undermine any pre-conceptions we might have of it on first blush. John Cooper Clarke [Poet Laureate of Punk] and Hugh Cornwell [ex-Stranglers] have united for an album project where all is not as you would assume. The forthcoming album, “This Time It’s Personal,” will be set free on October 14th and it’s a selection of covers. No, Mr. Clarke is not writing the lyrics or giving his usual spoken word performance on it. Nor is Hugh Cornwell doing his usual singing. Instead, Mr. Clarke is singing [for the first time ever] a series of classic [read “old”] pop tunes from the US and UK songbooks of the 1960s.
The genesis of the project was recounted on Hugh Cornwell’s news feed. Apparently, Hugh had indulged one evening as he listened to Richard Harris’s recording of “MacArthur Park.” A while earlier, he had dined with Mr. Clarke and suddenly got the idea of that distinctive Mancunian voice delivering the song instead. He rang Clarke up and asked if he was interested and with that the game was on. The tune snowballed into full album and it’s currently on pre-order [CD/LP] here for what are sensible asking prices [£10/£17].
I have to say that being a fan of Conway Twitty’s seminal single “It’s Only Make Believe” [Robert Gordon’s cover is tops] makes me wonder what this can possibly sound like. Hugh is strictly the musical director here, and lead guitarist. We all should be familiar with Clarke’s distinctive delivery, but this time all bets are off as he is singing. Let’s raise a toast for old dogs learning new tricks, and finger our chins thoughtfully as we ponder what effect this may have on the further career of Dr. John Cooper Clarke [hon. University of Salford ca. 2013].
– 30 –
The tracklist looks like a playlist for one of JCC’s occasional (and always, always fantastic) 6Music shows. Heard a snatch of ‘MacArthur Park’ and it didn’t sound too shabby. Great sleeve shot too.
The Swede – Yeah, that is a great photo of two old guys who know how to rock a suit!
I can imagine, just, JCC interpreting MacArthur Park, but some of the tracks mentioned sound like they could either be amazing or a twisted joke – the one that stands out for me right off is Spanish Harlem…
Echorich – Then let’s hope for amazing and see where we end up in three months. The album is #365 in Amazon UK’s music charts just on presale!
As a Northern Englishman,JCC was a part of my growing up and still is today,along with the likes of my hometown(Birkenhead) guys Half Man Half Biscuit and Jegsy Dodd…he has enjoyed something of a renaissance in recent years,appearing in several great tv advertisements and sold out gigs across the land.Thrilled to hear he is known by The Monk and friends.
Gavin – Chalk it up to Miles Copeland putting him in “Urgh! A Music War.” PLus, “Snap, Crackle + Bop” has one of the finest Peter Saville covers out there, and The Invisible Girls producing the music couldn’t hurt. Omigosh! I just checked and there was a US LP of that in 1980 on US Epic! Who knew?
Monk, that’s the one I have – the US lp…Epic did try to stay on trend for a while there…