Meet the real Jake ...

Jake Thackray
Jake Thackray

John Murray on rediscovering a true wordsmith

I heard that imitation is best form of flattery so an artist who has a tribute act must take some comfort that somewhere a cheaper version of them is milking their fame.

Elvis Presley and Michael Jackson dominate the market but every other week there is a Bootleg Beatles or a Fake That and a credible Doors Alive.

Imagine the amusement then when I discovered Fake Thackray, a live touring tribute to master wordsmith Jake Thackray.

Sadly the original Thackray died in 2002 when almost immediately a reassessment of his work ensured that his original songs would be heard for generations to come.

This collective of fans have now released a DVD called Jake Thackray And Songs (BBC) having secured the original TV recordings from the BBC.

First broadcast in 1981 the DVD has the full series widely considered as Jake at his peak and with studio guests like Ralph McTell and the late Alex Glasgow.

Jake came to prominence performing one song a week on shows like Braden’s Week and That’s Life and even then took risks with his satire and irreverence.

His dour persona masked a talented observer, regularly not PC but lyrically both inventive and humorous with songs like the Bantam Cock (a fowl tale), Sister Josephine (a burglar dressed as a nun) and Lah-di-Dah (marriage and in-laws).

The Buddy Holly Educational Foundation certainly help keep the music of Buddy alive and this week Frizzel & Friends release a Buddy Holly Country Tribute ‘Remember Me’ (Nashville America) on CD with included DVD on how it was made.

Produced by C&W star David Frizzell in Nashville he revisits some classics like Peggy Sue in pure Country terms along with guests like the legendary Merle Haggard on That’ll Be The Day and Helen Cornelius reprising Linda Ronstadt’s arrangement of It’s So Easy.