Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Twenty Four Hour Service / Ian Gomm

I'll be honest: this is a test post.  So it made sense to try it out with an artist I've been dying to write about, who doesn't have a ton of YouTube links (the handy resort of bloggers who don't need to get obscure). The sad truth being that I DO need to get obscure sometimes.

Though honestly, folks -- why should Ian Gomm be obscure? When Brinsley Schwarz dissolved (I refuse to say "broke up") in 1975, while most of the group re-formed as the Rumour (as in Graham Parker and the), both bassist/singer/songwriter Nick Lowe and rhythm guitarist/singer/songwriter Ian Gomm headed off to try solo careers.  And they had every reason to. Nick's career took off, sorta-ish, and thanks to his serendiptitous meeting with Dave Edmunds, with whom he formed Rockpile, managed to get some traction.  But we forget that Ian Gomm did pretty well out of  the gate as well, charting a #18 hit with "Hold On" in 1979. Yeah, Nick produced for Stiff Records and Elvis Costello, but Ian produced the Stranglers and Alec Korner at his studio up in Wales. Now that we're in the throes of this Nick Lowe renaissance, maybe we need to take a second look at the very talented Ian Gomm as well.

Okay, let's backtrack. Ian Gomm was a late addition to Brinsley Schwarz, joining them I think in September 1970 (please, Ian or Will, correct my research) -- early enough to join all but their first two albums, but late enough to completely escape responsibility for the Fillmore East debacle. This is a good thing.

Once Ian showed up, Nick Lowe wasn't the band's only songwriter any more -- which, given the congenial pub rock culture, meant collaboration as well as competition.  Okay, quick quiz:  Who wrote Nick Lowe's only bona fide hit single, "Cruel to Be Kind"?  People tend to forget that this was a co-write job, and Ian Gomm never gets the credit he deserves.

Check out this addictive track from Ian's first solo album, 1978's Summer Holiday. (Originally titled Gomm With the Wind in the US.) 


What's not to love about this track? That upward bubbling rhythm line, the confiding lyrics of the verse, exploding into a joyful profusion of snappy horns -- this is a feel-good track indeed. (Got to love the Presley-like low voice as he sneaks in the "twenty-four.")  Now that we actually live in a 24-hour service economy, we should pay homage to this prescient track. This came out back when it was actually special, and kind of exciting, to offer around-the-clock service -- sad that it's become a jejeune thing.

And if Nick Lowe is currently producing some of the best work of his career, I direct your attention to Ian Gomm's 1997 Crazy for You or 2002's Rock 'n' Roll Heart. C'mon, folks, expand your horizons!

And please let me know if this method of linking worked for you.  Because I need to get back in the game with those obscure tracks we all want to know about!


Gommsteruk said...

Thanks for this Holly, it's all true!
Yours musically,
Ian Gomm

Will Birch said...

Re: (please, Ian or Will, correct my research) - in my book 'No Sleep Till Canvey Island - The Great Pub Rock Revolution' - it states 'Ian Robert Gomm joined Brinsley Schwarz in September 1970. I believe this to be correct. 'Ian had a very dry sense of humour,' said Nick Lowe, recalling Ian's audition.

Alan Harley said...

Like yourself I'm still learning about blogging. I love your writing about the Brinsleys tho'. Live they were one of the pleasantest as opposed to best bands ever.
Like you, to me the Brinsleys never broke up. People have suggested it's Nick Lowe and Dave Robinson that lack enthusiasm for a 'revival'

My blog is simply

Alan Harley