(4 / 5)
Great fun is to be had by immersing oneself in this baker’s dozen songs on Jim Bob of Carter The Unstoppable Sex Machine fame’s new solo offering, “Who Do We Hate Today”.
His last solo record, August 2020’s “Pop Up Jim Bob” album dented the UK album chart at a very respectable # 26, and dare I predict that this one will do even better?
He had great success as singer with USM. 14 top 40 singles, four top ten albums (including a number one), sold more than a million records, toured the world and headlined Glastonbury. In 2007, a decade after initially splitting, Carter USM reformed for a series of huge, sold out shows until they called it a day again in 2014.
USM aside, Jim Bob, aka J.B. Morrison was and is a prolific multi-media creative in his own right. He has released ten solo albums, written songs for Ian Dury and for the 2006 Barbican production of Mark Ravenhill’s “Dick Whittington & His Cat”. In August 2010, Jim Bob made his Edinburgh Fringe debut in the Ward and White musical “Gutted, A Revenger’s Musical”.
Jim Bob’s autobiography, “Goodnight Jim Bob – On The Road With Carter The Unstoppable Sex Machine”, (Cherry Red Books) was released to critical acclaim in 2004. The sequel “Jim Bob from Carter”, (Cherry Red Books) followed in 2019 to more praise, and decent sales.
Jim Bob has written four novels: “Storage Stories”, “Driving Jarvis Ham” (Harper Collins), “The Extra Ordinary Life of Frank Derrick, Age 81” , “Frank Derrick’s Holiday of a Lifetime”, (Pan Macmillan), translated into eight languages. His fifth and six novels, “A Godawful Small Affair”/b/w “Harvey King Unboxes His Family” (Cherry Red Books) were published in March 2020.
After a break from writing or recording new material of nearly seven years, Jim Bob released “Pop Up Jim Bob” last year (2020). Exactly a year later, he is back…and in fine form.
“Who Do We Hate Today” is another silver-tongued snapshot of modern life in Britain, reflecting on everything from the end of the world and social distancing, to key workers, lonely elephants and living in fear of a random attack.
Recorded in South London with The Hoodrats, the album comes in an array of formats: Gatefold vinyl with a 2022 Jim Bob calendar, CD, limited-edition cassette and HD, and once again features artwork designed by celebrated illustrator, Mark Reynolds.
His lyrics are gloriously sarcastic, cutting, witty and clever. His delivery has the power, attitude and energy of punk – meets the kitchen sink…. The tracks sound very live and puts us in that room with Jim Bob and his musical mates.
It’s not gonna win him a Mercury Prize or an Ivor Novello award for songwriting! But it makes a damn change to hear an artist not treading a tired old path in pursuit of their 15 minutes of fame and a garage full of supercars.
This is art for art’s sake, folks, writ large. 13 tracks, 37 minutes. Penned by Jim Bob and recorded during the pandemic, when his ‘habit’ of performing live could no longer be fed. I love some of these song titles…
“Shona Is Dating A Drunk Woman Hating Neanderthal Man”. We have all been stuck at the bar with one of these guys, with that voice in your head screaming, “Will you just fuck off and die!” Or is that just me?
“Where’s The Backdoor Steve”. “Karen Is Thinking Of Changing Her Name”. “The Summer Of Not Touching” gives David Icke and Domestos a namecheck! “Song For The Unsung (You’re So Modest, You’ll Never Think This Song Is About You)”…
“Men” is a brilliantly observed piece of song writing. A punky number which maybe nods to USM days, and features some eye-watering lyrics if you are of the male species.
Such as: “Men with the muscle, the balls and the hustle.Men start the wars and the fires. Go-getting, goose-stepping, home-wrecking, bed-wetting, Men. Pathological liars….” Ouch!
My favourite of the bunch is this one, track 11: “Evan Knows The Sirens”, which is the tale of someone suffering from poor mental health. “The Loneliest Elephant In The Word” is another strong offering, a song which focuses on captive animals suffering, but never forgetting.
This set of songs and the way they are presented reminds me so much of the late and the great Chris Sievey, aka’ Timperley superstar’ Frank Sidebottom, but before he donned the giant papier-mâché head to become Frank.
Pre-Sidebottom, Chris wrote and recorded many, many tracks in his own right, solo work and as part of the cult band The Freshies (1977 to 1982). Check him out, listen to Jim Bob’s new one and you tell me…
Jim Bob like Chris, is obviously a highly driven, massively creative and artistic guy who probably has a zillion thoughts and ideas buzzing around in his head every day and probably during the night too. Who maybe sometimes fancies switching it all off for a rest?
Glad that “on” switch is working, and he is well and truly back at it to drop this little off-the-wall gem, that will be a Marmite moment for some, but for his stalwart fans, they’ll bloody love it. Top 20 this time, I predict…tenner on it?
By Christopher Weston
(2 / 5) ‘OK Zone’
(3 / 5) ‘Decent Zone’
(4 / 5) ‘Super Zone’
(5 / 5) ‘Awesome Zone’
2021 TOUR DATES:
4 November Cambridge J 2
5 November Hebden Bridge The Trades Club SOLD OUT
6 November Leeds Brudenell Social Club SOLD OUT
11 November Newcastle Cluny SOLD OUT
12 November Edinburgh Summerhall
13 November Manchester Gorilla
14 November Shiiine On Minehead SOLD OUT
18 November Portsmouth Wedgewood Rooms
19 November Birmingham O2 Institute
20 November London Brixton Electric