Feature: Bands that time forgot… LOVE AND MONEY (James Grant)

Love And Money - 2011

Love And Money formed out of Glasgow-based ‘Friends Again’ in the early eighties and whilst their debut album ‘All You Need is…’ hinted at the funky tunesmithery to come it wasn’t until 1988′s Strange Kind Of Love that the band and, moreover, tunesmith James Grant made their critical mark.

The second album had added production sheen from erstwhile Steely Dan producer Gary Katz and it showed, giving Grant’s songs added gloss and impact. The album featured a shedload of standout songs including the title track, and the sublime ‘Walk The Last Mile’ (Grant later reprised this for the CD single ‘Pray The Dawn’ (1998)).

Love And Money 1988
Love And Money in 1986 (left to right) Paul McGeechan (keys), James Grant (vocals, guitar), Stuart Kerr (drums), Bobby Paterson (bass).  Toto drummer Jeff Porcaro  replaced Kerr for the album ‘Strange Kind Of Love’ although Gordon Wilson (drums) and second guitarist Douglas MacIntyre joined soon after.

I remember catching the band at a University gig in Liverpool during their promotional tour for the album, in November 1988; they had arrived late and the sound system was abysmal, but they struggled on regardless, the strength of the songs shining through.

The album, which shifted quarter of a million copies, was supposed to lever the band for greater things. However, Phonogram couldn’t hear many singles in the works that followed.

The follow-up album was always going to be difficult without Katz’s gloss, and although Dogs In The Traffic contained some memorable songs it wasn’t up to its predecessor’s commercial consistency and it seems Grant was turning away from abject commercialism to something altogether more dark and broody. The band’s own-label swansong Little Death in 1993 was more of a Grant solo effort, and decidedly low-key.

James Grant in 2018

James Grant in 2018

In fact, a melancholic strain permeates his later solo work. In the nineties Grant maintained a low profile, producing and sessioning for several Scottish acts during the period (including Capercaillie’s Karen Matheson) and seemingly undergoing a personal hiatus.

He emerged with the two solo albums Sawdust In My Veins (1998) and My Thrawn Glory (2001) which restored his superior way with words and, whilst remaining steadfastly low-key, would go some way to satisfying those who admired his craftsmanship. Grant also plays a pretty mean – if tastily understated – electric guitar. A new solo album, Holy Love was released in October 2004 followed by Strange Flowers in 2009.

Most recently Grant has toured with the Hallelujah String Quartet which lends a further depth and sonority to his works.

The band reunited for a Celtic Connections gig in January 2011 and several more dates were added later in the year, sadly without Bobby Paterson who died in July 2006.  An album The Devil’s Debt appeared in 2012.  I had wondered whether the reunion was more about love, or money. “Friendship”, James Grant told me before the Bury gig, so perhaps the former.

Many of their contemporaries tread the boards trading on one or two major hits as part of an eighties revivalist package, but when you dig deeper in to those bands the albums are patchy, dated or – frankly – awful.

Love And Money had great songs, a funky and compelling undertow tinged later with brooding rootsy flavours, and their albums retained consistency perhaps with the exception of their debut in 1986.

Recommended albums
Strange Kind Of Love (Fontana 836 498-2)
The 2010 remaster (Cherry Red) includes bonus tracks/background notes.
Little Death (Iona Gold, 1993)

Worth investigating
Karen Matheson Time To Fall (Vertical, 2002)
James Grant first contributed to a Karen Matheson solo album in 1996, but this album from the Capercaillie singer includes six Grant compositions as well as instrumental back up on all tracks.
James Grant My Thrawn Glory (Vertical, 2001)

Further reading
10 Questions with… (2004)
Album review (The Devil’s Debt, 2012)
Gig review (James Grant, 2018)
James Grant website

Photography:
(i) Bob Singleton
(iii) David Randall

Text © 2004-2020 David Randall.  All rights reserved.

2020 Vision - Rock. Reviewed. Revisited.



 

The latest Facebook Live session from Canadian singer-songwriter Josh Taerk was streamed on Sunday 22 November.

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Featured Albums w/c 23 November (Mon-Fri)

09:00-12:00 JEFF SCOTT SOTO Wide Awake (In My Dreamland) (Frontiers)
12:00-13:00 LAZARUS DREAM Alive (Pride & Joy Music)
14:00-16:00 RONAN FURLONG The King Of Leaves (Thoroughbred Music)

Power Plays w/c 23 November (Mon-Fri)

L.A. GUNS All That You Are (Golden Robot Records)
THE DUST CODA Limbo Man (Earache)
EBBA BERGKVIST & THE FLAT TIRE BAND 68 Twin (indie)
IRON SAVIOR Souleater (AFM Records)
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