I’ve got those Nottingham Council House Blues

Scottish pop bores Deacon Blue once posed the question; tell me, can this white man sing the blues?
No, he bloody well can’t, is the obvious retort – unless that man happens to be Gavin Clarke, the singer with long-forgotten Nottingham roots trio, Sunhouse, whose Crazy on the Weeekend album deserves to be on your pop radar.

Possibly the only band to be named after a Chinese takeaway, these indie blues miseries were a flash in the pan – or should that be wok?
Much more convincing than those nerdy, Tom Waits wannabes Gomez, Sunhouse were formed to soundtrack the Shane Meadows film Small Time. In 1998, they made a truly astonishing debut, Crazy On The Weekend, before vanishing into the ether.

What makes this album truly special is Clarke’s rich, soulful voice. When accompanied by acoustic guitar, bluesy licks, Hammond organ and mean harmonica, the overall effect is like John Martyn playing in a junkie squat on a Nottingham council estate.

Crazy On The Weekend is a melancholy, world-weary record that’s full of tales of late nights, lonely souls, wasted opportunities and, er, being wasted (on Chasing The Dream, Clarke sings of “alcohol and chemicals.”)
Animal starts like Nick Drake, but soon becomes a howling beast of a tune with a heavy Neil Young feel, while PopJunkie fave Swing Low is stunning – over electric piano chords, mournful strings, trip-hop drums and low-slung bass, Clarke tells us: “My soul’s an open grave and I’ve got venom in my head.”
Beg, steal or borrow this record today. Why wait until the weekend?

Sunhouse – Crazy on the Weekend (Independiente) 1998

Amazon can try and order it. Alternatively try Gemm



One Response to “I’ve got those Nottingham Council House Blues”

  1. Stephen Cunningham Says:

    Good shout!
    What an album this is, simply brilliant!
    Gavin’s voice is sublime and can now be heard with his new band Clayhill, who are really rather good.

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