I’ve mentioned this earlier but, one of the great things about the proliferation of independent labels is their ability to reintroduce sadly forgotten yet influential artists or sadly forgotten artists that maybe we all should have paid attention to back in the day, to new audiences, often through the reissuing of albums that had seemingly disappeared.
Comprised of James Franklin (guitar), Richard Moore (vocal, guitar), Jon Tegner (flute), Will Teversham (bass, vocals). and Jon White (drums), Blind Mr. Jones in the early 90s when all of the members were in their teens. Initially, their sound was heavily influenced by the likes of The Wedding Present but they eventually developed their sound to the point that they started to sound much like shoegaze bands like Slowdive and Ride. The Marlow, UK-based quintet recorded a demo that got the attention of Cherry Red Records which eventually signed them and released a number of their recordings. And interestingly, Blind Mr. Jones’ recording output turned out to be a virtual 6 degrees of musical separation – their early releases “Eyes Wide” and “Crazy Jazz” featured guitar parts written by Slowdive’s Neil Halstead and harmonica from Radiohead’s Johnny Greenwood respectively. The band released their debut effort and two years later was followed up by Tatooine which possessed elements of Britpop and shoegaze – and in a way that will likely remind those who were around of 120 Minutes-era alt rock, as you’ll hear on “Disneyworld."
The band broke up after the release of Tatooine and the album had largely disappeared –that is until the folks at Saint Marie Records will re-issue a re-mastered 20th anniversary edition at the end of this month. Certainly, as a fan of Britpop and of shoegaze – if you know me, you know my complete and utter devotion to all things The Verve – the reissue of Tatooine is an interesting development as it adds deeper context and nuance to what was then a burgeoning scene. Interestingly, it also gives you a chance to understand how contemporary bands such as The Harrow and others were influenced by shoegaze and the 4AD sound and adapted it.
It’s a shame that the band and their recorded output was forgotten but it may mean to discovering more shoegazer rock for those who were unfamiliar.