On Sunday 11 October, in the first hour of his weekly show on Get Ready to ROCK! Radio, David Randall chatted to Jakko M. Jakszyk about his career with tracks from the new album.
InsideOut Music [Release date 23.10.20]
Jakko M Jakszyk hasn’t had too much success with record labels. In the eighties he fell foul of two which went bust and stymied the release of his solo works. Normal service was partially resumed in the 1990s when Voiceprint issued various titles but even these have remained long out of print following that label’s demise.
A new solo album is therefore long overdue – in fact the previous outing was 2006 which again was blighted by label issues finally appearing in 2009. A fresh re-evaluation of his work is also welcome on the back of the new release.
As an artist he’s something of a chameleon, in the 1990s in between label disappointments he played with Level 42. Since 2002 he has been closely associated with King Crimson – in the form of the 21st Century Schizoid Band which included original members of that band. Eventually Jakko got a gig with the current incarnation of King Crimson and this album features three related tunes, two co-written with Mr.Fripp including the idiosyncratic ‘Separation’.
To be honest, Jakko doesn’t need any big name bunk-up and should be enjoyed in his own right: a multi-instrumentalist with an ear for a good tune. In fact I would go as far to say the Crimson-related stuff is also unnecessary (even in marketing terms) although it does provide more recent context to a career that started in the late-1970s.
Jakszyk’s earlier albums were a product of their age, a definite eighties vibe and none the worse for it. If you like those earlier sorties, you’ll enjoy ‘Secrets & Lies’.
The opener of any album tends to set the scene for the rest of the proceedings but ‘Before I Met You’ is not especially characteristic, an upbeat groove with long-time collaborator Gavin Harrison on drums and one-time boss Mark King on bass.
‘The Trouble With Angels’ is more typical and a real gem and connects firmly with his earlier (eighties) work. This is the type of song Jakko does so well: an attractive vocal and reflective instrumentation this time bolstered by Tony Levin’s bass.
‘Fools Mandate’ reflects an eastern vibe, a co-write with Peter Hammill (Van Der Graaf Generator) who shares vocals. As with ‘Uncertain Times’, Jakszyk shows he is not afraid to touch on political and social themes.
There’s an element of catch-up in a tribute to one-time band colleague in Hatfield & The North Pip Pyle who died in 2006 (‘The Rotter’s Club Is Club Is Closing Down’) whilst two tracks link to Jakszyk’s family history first explored in a BBC radio work ‘The Road To Balinna’ in 1996. ‘The Borders We Traded’ first appeared on ‘Mustard Gas And Roses’(1994) and is paired with ‘Trading Borders’ written by teenage daughter Amber. A Celtic theme appears on the latter reflecting the homeland of his Irish birth mother.
Elsewhere ‘It Would All Make Sense’ is what I would term Classic Jakko with another eighties vibe, a real standout, and there’s even a stirring instrumental ‘Secret Lies & Broken Memories’.
There is enough on this album that is immediate whilst the remainder repays further listens, a sure sign of a quality album. Maybe, finally, Jakko M. Jakszyk will gather up the wider attention he so richly deserves and – moreover – in his own right. ****
Review by David Randall
The latest Facebook Live session from Canadian singer-songwriter Josh Taerk was streamed on Sunday 22 November.
More about Josh: http://getreadytorock.me.uk/blog/?s=%22Josh+Taerk%22
David Randall presents a weekly show on Get Ready to ROCK! Radio, Sundays at 22:00 BST (GMT+1, repeated on Mondays and Fridays), when he invites listeners to ‘Assume The Position’. This show was first broadcast on 15 November 2020.
UK Blues Broadcaster of the Year (2020) Pete Feenstra presents his weekly Rock & Blues Show on Tuesday at 19:00 ( BST, GMT+1) as part of a five hour blues rock marathon “Tuesday is Bluesday at GRTR!”. The show is repeated on Wednesdays at 22:00, Fridays at 20:00). This show was first broadcast 17 November 2020
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