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John Otway And The Big Band - Montserrat album review

Cult figure aims high and hits low once again

Cover art for John Otway And The Big Band - Montserrat album

You certainly can’t fault John Otway for his sense of ambition, however misplaced it might be. This is the man whose dreams of a world tour were rudely awakened thanks to the harsh financial realities needed to make them a reality, and his own selective appeal. And now, just over a decade on, his latest wheeze has been to crowdfund the money needed to fly to the Caribbean island of Montserrat to be the first artist to record there since the Rolling Stones in 1989.

And there’s a reason for that time lapse: Air Studios fell into disrepair following two hurricanes and an erupting volcano. Recorded instead in the basement of a house belonging to the late George Martin, this must have been a portent of what was to come.

Alas, these songs could’ve been recorded anywhere. While chuckles are raised on Real Tears From Both Eyes, wherein Otway relives his infamous OGWT appearance, and the self-explanatory I Shouldn’t Be Doing This, the joke soon wears thin. Cult acts retain their status for good reason. Here are 11 of them.

Julian Marszalek is the former Reviews Editor of The Blues Magazine. He has written about music for Music365, Yahoo! Music, The Quietus, The Guardian, NME and Shindig! among many others. As the Deputy Online News Editor at Xfm he revealed exclusively that Nick Cave’s second novel was on the way. During his two-decade career, he’s interviewed the likes of Keith Richards, Jimmy Page and Ozzy Osbourne, and has been ranted at by John Lydon. He’s also in the select group of music journalists to have actually got on with Lou Reed. Marszalek taught music journalism at Middlesex University and co-ran the genre-fluid Stow Festival in Walthamstow for six years.