The CLUAS Archive: 1998 - 2011


Richard and his hairOnce in a while, stuck on the other side of the world, I envy the quality TV that you lot get in the Northern Hemisphere. One of the shows I miss most is Later with Jools Holland.

And tonight's show has a simply brilliant line-up. Bloc Party, LCD Soundsystem, Joan Armatrading, Wilco and my hope for breakthrough of the year, Richard Swft.

The last, and only, time I saw Richard Swift live was on a visit to see our esteemed editor in Brussels. As is his wont, Eoghan organised that we, with our better halves, would go see a gig that he had picked out. Swift made up one of two relativlely obscure singer-songwriters - the other being Baxter Dury, son of the late Ian Dury. Dury's rather predictable reggae-like urban dramas were completely obscured by Swift's dramatic, almost vaudevillian, chamber pop. Swift had a memorable head of hair (!) as well as a tight, funky band. His melodic delivery perfectly suited his songs. I bought a double CD that was available on the night - a compilation his previous two albums, the Novelist / Walking Without Effort.

 This year Swift returned to the fray with one of the albums of the year, Dressed Up for the Letdown. As the title suggests, it's a melancholy delight, full of pointed lyrics. Artist and Repertoire , typically, is a conversation between Swift and his A&R man - "Sorry Mr. Swift, but there's no radio that likes to play the songs of your lovers' sorrow". Many of the songs evoke Richard Hawley, Rufus Wainwright... And he deserves to be in this exalted company. his albums can be wallowed in.

So enjoy Richard Swift on Jools tonight. And then go buy his really rather wonderful records...  

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Nuggets from our archive

2005Michael Jackson: demon or demonised? Or both?, written by Aidan Curran. Four years on this is still a great read, especially in the light of his recent death. Indeed the day after Michael Jackson died the CLUAS website saw an immediate surge of traffic as thousands visited to read this very article.