Tales of a young life in Halifax and Notting Hill Gate lends an autobiographical nature to ten songs that function as commentaries from the psyche of Heath Common.
Heath Common – google him and following the possibility of a brief diversion via a West Sussex settlement or a Wakefield park, you’ll find the Beat-ish writer and irreverent chronicler of the ordinary and extraordinary. And cricket lover.
In some eyes, one of our underground treasures, but unquestionably the epitome of a cult hero. Possessed of Jarvis Cocker inflections, the droll Yorkshire wit based on observation it’s topped off on occasions with what you might term a slightly manic Roger Waters style delivery.
The new one is a record of two halves that sets to account two of the significant and influential periods of a nomadic lifestyle. It’s such that we find ourselves regaled with tales of gala queens who met The Beatles, psychotic (but fair) bouncers, deprived sixties housing and a theme that follows the essence of what it was like to exist in a community packed with character and characters, the likes of which we rarely encounter in contemporary times.
Musically, tablas and Irish pipes and the sporadic vocal of Patrick Wise adding a vocal contrast sit alongside the usual culprits as we’re opened up to a monochromatic Halifax of days gone by. Previous offenders will know what to expect; Room At The Top’s smooth Top Of The Seventies Pops vibe gets punctuated by a touching cum comical spoken word passage and then he defies the odds to write a gorgeous song about a reservoir – or at least one that evokes the warmth of the memories the location evokes. All very arty but with without pretention and more than a dash of realism.
Four fifths of the Notting Hill Gate songs already appeared on the 2015 Beatsbox EP but the album closes out with Anita Pallenberg, which now becomes a strangely poignant goodbye – he talks of often seeing the queen of the underground biking around Notting Hill Gate. Now a misty eyed tribute to another of the Sixties generation and an apt way to see out the Heath Common book of growing up