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Jobriath: As The River Flows

No Tich, but plenty of Quackers.

When Jobriath crashed and burned in 1975, many blamed manager/svengali Jerry Brandt and his spew of overhype. Others held responsible a prudish public who refused to be aroused by the outré style of the world’s first openly gay rock star.

But what’s not often mentioned is that few got Jobriath’s sardonic sense of humour, either. (As evinced by his first band, Pidgeon, and the rancid ‘flying rat baguette’ depicted on the cover of their sole album.) True to form, this set of out-takes and rarities has some laugh-out-loud moments, notably when the man born Bruce Wayne Campbell croons, ‘Charles, dust my pumps’ on the otherwise soul-searing I’maman. Plus there’s a quacking impression of a certain Disney mallard on Ducky Lullaby (Reprise).

Putting the chuckle-o-meter aside, the title track is an inspirational glam/gospel hybrid; the seedy City Freak is a stark tale of a weirdo who stalks the streets of NYC wielding ‘a jewel-encrusted rubber knife’; thumping piano ballad Inside might just be a riposte to Jobriath’s detractors, ie. ‘Those fools that don’t know ’nough to come in out of the rain’.

Non-connoisseurs might compare As The River Flows to David Bowie singing Liberace’s back catalogue but to hardcore fans (Joe Elliott, Marc Almond and Morrissey among them) this is pure fairy dust.

Geoff Barton is a British journalist who founded the heavy metal magazine Kerrang! and was an editor of Sounds music magazine. He specialised in covering rock music and helped popularise the new wave of British heavy metal (NWOBHM) after using the term for the first time (after editor Alan Lewis coined it) in the May 1979 issue of Sounds.