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Jesse Hector: Running Wild

Glorious 90s sides from the West London rock legend.

A veteran of the 1950s first wave, the skiffle era and Soho’s 2i’s coffee bar, Jesse Hector (currently employed as an office cleaner) must be unique in the annals of British rock. His ballistic recordings and live appearances with The Hammersmith Gorillas trailblazed the path to punk.

A lost hero who never stopped believing in the purifying and cathartic noblesse of the power chord and the big beat, convention would class Hector as an also-ran or even – gulp – a failure.

But convention shrivels up and dies in the face of the eternal fire captured on these recordings. With such like-minds as Gorillas champion Roger Armstrong and back-to-basics maestro Liam Watson at the controls, Hector’s splenetic guitar and emphatic vocals, whether fronting The Jesse Hector Sound or The Gatecrashers, are a wonder.

From Leavin’ Town – a rebel yell, shaking a righteous, arrogant tail feather – to Eddie Cochran’s Summertime Blues recast as a high-octane, custom-made cri de cœur, this is music of power and certainty, guaranteed to make faint hearts strong and turn mice into men.

This double-disc set includes a DVD of Caroline Catz’s excellent A Message To The World, a full-on secret rock’n’roll history. Look lively./o:p

Late NME, Daily Mirror and Classic Rock writer Gavin Martin started writing about music in 1977 when he published his hand-written fanzine Alternative Ulster in Belfast. He moved to London in 1980 to become the NME’s Media Editor and features writer, where he interviewed the Sex Pistols, Joe Strummer, Pete Townshend, U2, Bruce Springsteen, Ian Dury, Killing Joke, Neil Young, REM, Sting, Marvin Gaye, Leonard Cohen, Nina Simone, James Brown, Willie Nelson, Willie Dixon, Madonna and a host of others. He was also published in The Times, Guardian, Independent, Loaded, GQ and Uncut, he had pieces on Michael Jackson, Van Morrison and Frank Sinatra featured in The Faber Book Of Pop and Rock ’N’ Roll Is Here To Stay, and was the Daily Mirror’s regular music critic from 2001. He died in 2022.