A blog about the things I find accidentally on Spotify while looking for something else

Sunday, 10 February 2013

A Letter to Katherine December - Jake Holmes

Jake Holmes is a fascinating figure.  A 60s Greenwich Village scene singer/songwriter, he is mostly famed for writing Dazed and Confused, a song Jimmy Page would nick for Led Zeppelin without even giving Holmes a smidgen of credit for it until a few months ago.  As well as this, he co-wrote albums for the Four Seasons and Frank Sinatra.  His songs, sounding like the bastard love-children of Richard Yates and Rod McKuen, are character-filled biting critiques of suburban life, which in the hands of these MOR artists were sold to the very people whose lives he was deeming spiritually empty.

A Letter to Katherine December is his second solo album from 1968.  Clothed in baroque-psych arrangements, it's pretty much a short story collection set to music detailing small-town life.  People go out and get drunk on Saturday night, chew the fat in the diner, and move house after a divorce, while the high school hero grows old and turns to fat.  'People who have lost all their loving die when they're told' Holmes sings at one point, and it's chilling.  Intense, rich music from an uncompromising songwriter who was somehow allowed to crash the easy listening fondue party.

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