Monday, 12 May 2008

The Jill Jones Fan Club (Defunct)

When I was still a boy (this would be the late 1970s?) I read a newspaper column by the then-celebrated TV reviewer Clive James, discussing some surly broadcast interview with Johnny Rotten (then of the Sex Pistols). James disapproved of Rotten more or less totally, as did most responsible media outlets of the day, and made an especially aggrieved point of how rock 'n' roll - which had brought joy to his own Aussie boyhood back in the days of Bill Haley and the Comets - had since degenerated into an obnoxious disgrace. So much for poor old punk. 'Johnny Rotten' (John Lydon to you) is now older than James was when he wrote that Eeyore-ish diatribe. Rock 'n' roll has never died, and some of its leading early practioners are now pension-age, albeit rich as Croesus. In my teens I found it impossible to take seriously any rocker over the age of 30 - maybe 35 at an absolute push. Now past that upper age bracket myself, I just plain don't trust or rate anybody younger. If I count the 'records' I have bought (or requested to be bought for me as presents) over the last two years, the roster of artists is wizened beyond belief: The Who, Dylan, Springsteen, Levon Helm, Robert Plant (with Alison Krauss, of course)...) Be it said, not all my favourites have to be Rolling Stone standard-issue Rock Legends. I remain loyally devoted to Maria McKee and to Bob Mould, once the respective frontpersons of rowdy young bands I adored back in 1986. And then, once in a while, I will try to touch base with other singers and songwriters of that vintage, to revisit their old stuff, and see if there's been anything new since. A simple task in the Amazon/YouTube era, right? Nope. So if anybody can find me a CD of Peter Case's eponymous debut LP (1986) for a reasonable price I am ready to meet and talk cash-money. Did Test Department's The Unacceptable Face of Freedom ever get a CD release? Or Nile Rodgers' Adventures in the Land of the Good Groove? And then, above all, consider the Strange Case of Jill Jones (pictured above, on the cover of her own eponymous debut c. 1987, and 20 years later at some sort of Prince-related reunion.) I shan't detain you with all the varied reasons for her fabulousness. But I do understand she finally released a follow-up album c. 2001-2, an acoustic set, called One? Occasionally I see it offered unreliably around the Web, priced at $40 or so, second-hand - dammit. What I want to know is how come I can't get away from Leona Lewis and her reasonably priced and utterly pointless recordings, but I can't find the last Jill Jones recording anywhere readily to hand on God's earth? What is the point of music? None of this makes me Mean Old Man Clive James the Second, you understand - just the irate president-in-exile of the Jill Jones Fan Club (Defunct).

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