Album review: JESSICA LEE MORGAN – Around The Block

JESSICA LEE MORGAN - Around The Block

[Release date 16.06.17]

Another ‘next generation’ release – this time from the daughter of Mary Hopkin and Tony Visconti.

I’ve yet to be convinced of the merits of following in the family footsteps’, although it has to be said Lisa Ronson’s Emperors Of Medieval Japan (2015) was an pretty decent offering – even if she was disappointingly one dimensional performing live at this year’s Giants Of Rock Festival.

But Jessica Lee Morgan is a very different cup of tea.  Her second outing, Around The Block is very much an acoustic record – more in the Thea Gilmore/Sam Brown singer/ songwriter mould.  And that’s a genre that demands strong material.

Playing guitars, saxophone (which she’s played for Hazel O’Connor and plays here in a similar vein, but disappointingly sparsely), ukulele, kazoo and percussion, with just a smidgen of help from family and friends, Around The Block may be a relatively low-fi affair, but it’s packed with top-notch, well delivered songs.

Part of the Holy Holy Bowie supergroup/tribute act (featuring Visconti, last remaining Spider, Woody Woodmansey, Heaven S17′s Glen Gregory and James Stevenson (The Alarm, Gene Loves Jezebel, Generation X, and The Cult)), she also opens many of the band’s shows.

But the bonus track on the album – ‘Key To Your Heart’ – recorded live on the tour with the family in tow on backing vocals (brother Morgan also gets in on the act) demonstrates not only why Tony Visconti shouldn’t be let anywhere near a live microphone, but also highlights the quality of her own material.

Having seen Bowie in his pomp, nothing would drag me to a Holy Holy gig (there’s an old expression about not flogging a dead horse, or in this case, a dead rock star), but Around The Block is a seriously impressive piece of work that marks Jessica Lee Morgan out a very talented artist in her own right.  ****

Review by Pete Whalley

Gig review (Holy Holy, March 2017)


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