Jack Howard – The Story So Far

The Story So Far (cover)

The Story So Far (cover)

Buy Now (2012 original release album):

 

A comprehensive retrospective of Jack’s solo work, including a bonus Live at Pure Pop DVD.

Information: Best of compilation of Jack’s first five solo albums.

Released In: [Australia / NZ].

Release Date: 12 October 2012.

Australian Chart Position: [Did Not Enter].

Availability: Moderately common. Available new in CD/DVD form.

Value: A$20-A$30.

 

 

Track Listing(s)

Legend:

 Highly recommended track.
 Commercial single.
 Promotional single.

 

Version: Independent Australian CD album plus DVD video.

CD album length: 65 minutes, 17 seconds.

ReplayGain loudness: -9.78dB (2012).

  1. Losin’ My Mind 
  2. Fallen Angel 
  3. Deliver Me
  4. When Will I Be Over It
  5. On and On
  6. Will You Wait
  7. Let Me Live
  8. Sailing Home
  9. Great White Way
  10. Sail Upon Her Smile 
  11. You Will Find 
  12. Restlessness
  13. Secrets And White Lies
  14. Crescent Moon
  15. If I Were A Bird 

 

DVD video length: 73 minutes, 08 seconds.

DVD Audio: Dolby Digital 2.0.

ReplayGain loudness: +0.84dB (2012).

  1. City Lights
  2. Mr Twilight
  3. Heard You Cry
  4. On And On
  5. The Letter
  6. Nature Boy
  7. I Just Don’t Understand
  8. The Red Rose
  9. Frankenstein
  10. Wiseguy Waltz
  11. Deliver Me
  12. Will I Fall
  13. My Lucky Day
  14. The Look of Love
  15. The Dog Sat Staring
  16. A Toast To Our Good Fortune
  17. Sailing Home
  18. Let Me Live
  19. bonus track

 

Version: Independent Australian digital album.

Digital album length: 73 minutes, 02 seconds.

ReplayGain loudness: -9.78dB (2012).

  1. Losin’ My Mind 
  2. Fallen Angel 
  3. Deliver Me
  4. When Will I Be Over It
  5. On and On
  6. Will You Wait
  7. Let Me Live
  8. Sailing Home
  9. Great White Way
  10. Sail Upon Her Smile 
  11. You Will Find 
  12. Restlessness
  13. Secrets And White Lies
  14. Crescent Moon
  15. If I Were A Bird 
  16. bonus track
  17. bonus track

 

Original studio source of the songs on this compilation and live album:

 

Review

N/A.

 

Liner Notes

Tracks 1-5. Sharky Ramos – drums, Barry Stockley – bass, Nicky Del Rey – guitars and backing vocals, Aidan McArtney – trombone, Tim Neil – organ on tracks 1, 3 and 4. From Let’s Fall In Love released 2004.

Tracks 6-9. Sharky Ramos – drums, Barry Stockley – bass, Nicky Del Rey – guitars, Ed Bates – pedal steel, Russell Davis – French horn on track 6, Dan Hall – backing vocals on track 6. From My Lucky Day released 2006.

Tracks 10-12. Greg Hynes – drums, Mal McBeath – bass and backing vocals, Nicky Del Rey – guitars, Aidan McArtney – trombone, Ollie McGill – keys on track 11, 12. From Secrets and White Lies released 2002.

Tracks 13-14. Jeremy Hopkins – drums, Kieran Jones – double bass, Jo Schornikow – piano and backing vocals, Gerard Assi – guitar on track 13. From Lost Horizon released 2009.

 

So…where to begin with a retrospective collection. With six records down (including the Lo Stresso Tempo e.p. released in 2000 and Shadowlands released digitally in 2012), I thought that it might be about time for a revisit.

But some pre-history first – in 1984, H & C were recording Jaws Of Life in Germany. It was in the legendary Can studios that Jeremy Smith and I first discovered the joys of 4-track cassette recording! When we got home, we jointly invested in a Tascam 234; and thus was born a dust-gathering pile of muddy-sounding, lovelorn demos – never to be heard beyond the privacy of my own bedroom.

Into the 90’s and with H & C slowly winding down, I got the itch to do some proper recording. In 1994, together with old compatriots, Nicky Del Rey and Ashley Davies, we adjourned to Tim Finn’s Hothouse Studios. With Lawrence Maddy behind the desk, we recorded a straggly but lovingly produced clutch of songs. At this point, I blinked and decided not to release anything and not to play live. I still couldn’t picture myself as a lead singer, so the Hothouse Tapes joined the 4-track cassettes in the dusty corner.

In 1996, I put together a proper band, which included Nick and Ashley, Doug Robertson on bass and Matt Heydon on keys. We played a few shows live and recorded about a dozen tracks with Barry Stockley at his Fatsound studios; but again, things petered out and I opted against a release. There were a few really good songs but this period is strongly linked in my mind to the slow breakdown of my marriage and the lyrics are particularly self-lacerating and I find them hard to listen to even now.

Many of these early recordings are now available on Reliving Life To The Full (only available at jackhoward.bandcamp.com).

Eventually in 2000, I put out my first e.p., Lo Stresso Tempo (through Corduroy Records), which was a small-scale compilation of these two sessions. I put together a fine bunch of musical compadres (Nick, Greg Hynes, Mal McBeath, Aidan McArtney and Ollie McGill) for the CD launch at The Continental and slowly a real band began to emerge.

And so to my first long-player… I took advantage of the recording facilities at Wesley College (where I teach) and Ben Marsland helped me to record Secrets And White Lies. I took the songs home from there and finished the record off on my trusty old Mac LC (which could barely run sixteen tracks let alone any added extras like compression and reverb). Stuart Coupe at Laughing Outlaw heard something that he liked in the record and we put it out in 2002. We started playing live a lot around Melbourne; and with the help of booker and old friend Mark Burchett, we were making a small name for ourselves.

Meanwhile in sunny Elwood, we discovered the venerable RSL and we settled in there for three years of vibrant Friday night music making. Each week, we’d get a special guest in to play a set between our brackets and everyone was happy. We’d have a chook raffle towards the end of the night led by rafflemeister, Nicky Del Rey, and this was usually the scene of great hilarity. Third prize was a packet of Anzac biscuits, second prize a six-pack; and first prize – the ubiquitous chook.

Our next record, Let’s Fall In Love, was born out of this constant gigging, and it had the sound of a very tight band playing week in and week out. Mal McBeath had departed for Queensland and Greg Hynes had also left in unfortunate circumstances, over the time-honoured “musical differences”. Barry Stockley and Sharky Ramos entered the fray and The Long Lost Brothers continued on. We had our Elwood RSL gigs on a Friday and a handful of other regulars, notably The Rosstown Hotel in Carnegie. The RSL Friday nights became the centre of our social life (or of mine, anyway) and the social life of a staunch group of friends and fans. There were a few songs we played that became little anthems at the club – Frankenstein, Sail Upon Her Smile, Heard You Cry. Not a dry eye in the house!

All good things come to an end and so it proved at the RSL. The committee stepped in and shot itself and us in the foot. Aidan MacArtney had departed in the last days and the great man, Ed Bates, stepped in on pedal steel. We also had an expanded horn section for a while with Dave Mowat and Russ Davis forming a H & C-style trombone/French horn combo. Great shows continued here and there and we released another fine record, My Lucky Day, which we launched at The Toff In Town.

This CD also included six tracks that featured just John Berto (from The Elwood Dads) on guitar and myself on vocals and trumpet. We recorded these tracks at Barry’s Fatsound studios (like Let’s Fall and My Lucky Day); but unfortunately, the 2-inch tape machine broke down halfway through the recording process. I ended up cobbling together the best of the rough mixes that we had. John and I have been planning on doing something else for a long time and after recording some demos at John’s beach house in Inverloch in 2011(The Inverloch Tapes), we’ve finally released the accompanying Live at Pure Pop DVD.

But I digress. Dodgy management has dogged the band’s career – I was the manager! I could make the music, put a great band together, but I’ve never been great shakes at the whole one-man business model and it started to wear me out. With our regular gigs fallen by the wayside, The Long Lost Brothers began an extended sabbatical in 2008.

In the meantime, I was still writing away on the piano. The funny thing is, The Long Lost Brothers didn’t feature piano at all; but in 2009, I found a sympathetic piano voice in Jo Schornikow. Together with two other great young musicians in Jeremy Hopkins and Kieran Jones, we made Lost Horizon as Jack Howard & The Nightbirds. With Peter Foley (not the Caravan P.F., the other one) at the helm, we recorded at Wesley; and once again, I took the songs home and finished it all off in my home studio. Melancholy and minor key are my middle names and this line-up did sweet justice to these introspective songs. We did a terrific CD launch at the St.Kilda Bowling Club but the problematic thing with this line-up was that Kieran and Jo decamped to London and New York almost immediately after recording, to continue their brilliant careers.

The re-jigged Nightbirds did some lovely live shows at Pure Pop and supporting Rob Hirst’s The Break. We had Sophia Exiner on piano, Dave Evans on bass and Gerard Assi on guitar alongside Jeremy on the drums; and occasionally, Dalya Metter played sax and Dave Mowat played bone. We even made a video!

At this point, I organised a great line-up to play at The Grace Darling – Monique Brumby, Ron Peno and The Superstitions and The Nightbirds. All the bands were sensational, but the crowd was thin and at the end of the night, we divvied up $60 between the three bands. That pretty much stopped me in my tracks. I couldn’t keep calling upon the exceptional musicians that I’ve played with (or myself, for that matter) to play for “the cause”, so I gave it up for a while.

Through 2010/11, I’ve continued performing with all sorts of amazing people – You Am I, The Break, The Backsliders, The Models Super Orchestra, The Elwood Dads, Little Red, Tex Perkins, Billy Pommer Jnr, The Large Number Twelves; and I’ve developed some great relationships with a very sympathetic bunch of musicians. We all seem to be at the point where we’ve had our big moments in the sun and now we just want to play – we love to play.

So I thought that this would be a good time to have a look back; and then move on to the next step, whatever that may be. I’ve had some great support from friends, musicians and journos over the years; and I’d like to single out Adam Johnstone, Nicky Del Rey, Rob Hirst, Jeff Jenkins, Derek Guille, Stuart Fenech and Neil Rogers. Thank you.

Dedicated to Spencer and Flynn; and to Fiona.

 

Cat. no. CORD06 released through Corduroy 2000
Cat. no. LORCD-035 released through Laughing Outlaw 2002
Cat. no. HOW003 distributed through MGM
Cat. no. HOW004 distributed through MGM
Cat. no. HOW005 distributed through MGM
Cat. no. HOW006 jackhoward.bandcamp.com

jackhoward.bandcamp.com for internet only album releases
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www.jack-howard.com for back catalogue mail order