All over Xmas; when I should have been concentrating on the next sausage roll, the dilemma I kept defaulting to was: which Sexsmith album for the list?
I guess it's because I feel a little protective over Ron; I was there at the start, long before Elvis (Costello), boring the arse off my mates, proclaiming this debut essential, risking life and limb shushing everybody at a half full Borderline gig; wallowing in each successive album, sure that this would be the one to break him. After seeing Rocking Ron in a recent BBC documentary, 'break' seems the operative word, such was his fragile nature. He did appear permanently on the edge of collapse during the recording of his last album 'Long Player Late Bloomer'. This, we were told, was his last shot, he'd spent the mortgage (and income from an odd duet with Michael Buble) on bringing in top 'rock' producer Bob erm... Rock (Metallica/Motley Crew) to give the album a commercial tweak.
And it was horrible; our boy was given a makeover that presented him over a backdrop that was Tom Petty Lite; a granny friendly version of himself if you like. Worst of all, Mr Rock put an auto tuner on the famously wandering voice that took away all of that lovely vulnerability and presented us with Sparky's Uncle, Elton Ron.
Still, the back catalogue is a precious thing, but which album?
I got it down to 'Other Songs' 'Whereabouts' or 'Time Being', all beauties, and yet the dog faced boy kept looking at me pleadingly from the cover of his debut and I couldn't resist it. The Mitchell Froom produced pastoral pleasures are irresistible; opaque and ornate, it's an autumnal winter warmer...