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The Pretty Things share two unreleased tracks in memory of Phil May

Dick Taylor and Phil May
Dick Taylor and Phil May (Image credit: Madfish Music)

The Pretty Things have released two tracks in memory of their late singer Phil May.

May died at the age of 75 on May 15 at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital, Kings Lynn, Norfolk, after being admitted earlier that week following a fall from his bike. The singer had undergone emergency hip surgery, after which complications set in.

The Pretty Things had been working on new material following their retirement from live touring in December 2018, with the two tracks unveiled today covers of Will Varley’s To Build A Wall and Gillian Welch’s Devil Had A Hold On Me.

A statement reads: “These recordings are taken from the work that the band had been doing, following lengthy discussions about whether they could actually create meaningful new music in a stripped back, acoustic-driven format. 

“It seems that they could, and Phil May and Dick Taylor – together with manager and producer Mark St. John – began work on a new album, in an entirely acoustic format.

“Featuring strong, intuitive arrangements from Taylor, who reminds us of his well-earned place as one of Britain’s finest guitarists, these recordings set the scene for some of the most vulnerable, intimate and achingly moving vocals that we have ever heard from Phil May. 

“This is the sound of authenticity, experience and deep pain and longing. The sound of two long, long lives in art and music that have always been at the cutting edge, and that have always worked as they did at the very start, in their teenage years, with absolute honesty.

“Both of these new recordings are taken from a stripped back new album due for release later this year.”

The Pretty Things played their last show, The Final Bow, at London’s Indigo at the O2 in December 2018, where they were joined onstage by David Gilmour and Van Morrison.

Scott Munro

News editor for Classic Rock, Metal Hammer, Prog and Louder. He’s been at the news desk since 2014 and when not writing, he can be found watching baseball and visiting whisky distilleries.