Naughty Jack chose not to become a preacher like his father (and father before him). Instead, he fixed upon the life of an itinerant musician. Along his travels, he has played as part of a Venezuelan Waltz band, a traditional Trinidadian "Parang" Christmas band, and is a familiar face at all night sessions in some of the smallest pubs in the world, on the west coast of Ireland. He even managed to pick himself up an Irish/Trinidadian wife somewhere along the road.
He was forced to bid a hasty farewell to his much-loved guitar, when it met its splintery end at the hot embrace of a concertina elbow on an Amsterdam tram. A staunch atheist, he took it as an omen; turning his back on the guitar, he bought himself dobro from the states as his new travelling companion. People have been asking him why he plays with the guitar lying down on his lap ever since.
Naughty Jack has served his apprenticeship as a performer and entertainer well; he has headlined top-secret Cambridgeshire festival "Farmageddon" (recently featured in the Guardian) since its conception in 2003. He has recently performed (accompanying fellow artists) at the Shepherd's Bush Empire and the Tartan Heart festival as well as live on Charlie Gillet's BBC radio show.
After a decade of musical exploration, a week of solitude, a snowed in house in the Peak District and one bottle of Laphroaig was all it took to put down the bones of his richly-flavoured debut album. The album was mixed at Miloco Studios by Finn Eiles (The Kooks, Razorlight, Klaxons) and mastered on the Isle of Skye by Denis Blackham. With all the warmth and honesty one might expect from a preacher's son, Naughty Jacks first offering is brimming with sweet, bluesy dobro licks and worldly inflections.
"If I made compilation of the tracks that inspired me to write each song, it would be my favourite record. And I think that's how it should be." contemplates Naughty Jack in an attempt to map out the origins of Good Times. "There'd be some Tom Waits, The Band and Townes Van Zandt set alongside Hawaiian guitarist, Sol Hoopii and New Orleans pianist, Professor Longhair, definitely some Howlin' Wolf and a gospel song by Nina Simone."
Whilst the guitar, vocals and dobro are all played by the man himself on the album, his touring band of very fine musicians, on double bass, guitar and fiddle give an extra lift for a instantly appealing festival act.
The title track, Good Times, lays out Naughty Jack's manifesto for the album -
"I know where you're going to be / In the sunshine talking with me / Still sitting around when the sun goes down / Pour another drink and raise our glasses to the Good Times"
I really can't argue with that. Count me in.
CD sized 300dpi RGB "Good Times" cover (with text) 0.6mb
A4 300dpi RGB "Good Times" cover (without text) 1.4mb