Messrs Connolly and Rafferty
Listen/download – The Humblebums – All the Best People Do It Listen/Download – The Humblebums – My Apartment
Got the sad news this week that the great Gerry Rafferty had passed away at the age of 63.
Rafferty’s music was a major fixture on AM and FM radio when I was a kid, first as a part of Stealers Wheel (‘Stuck In the Middle With You’) and later with huge solo hits like ‘Baker Street’.
As the years went on, I discovered that Rafferty had had a much longer and more interesting career than I originally thought, having played and recorded with a young Billy Connolly in the Humblebums, and later working with Richard and Linda Thompson.
I’m republishing this post (originally up in May of 2010) so you can check the group out, and remember Gerry Rafferty.
Originally posted 5/2010
I return to you following a weekend of non-wellness, in that it was spent in the company of physicians, nurses and whatnot, part of the time devoted to me figuring out how quickly I might get in and out of the hospital (for yet another procedure) and back to my lair where I might cavort with my wife, kids, and eventually, records…
That said, I set out to pick a selection for today and discovered once again that I had forgotten to photograph the record, so I dipped back into the reserves and grabbed something else.
Today’s selections are by the same group, which would seem obvious until you listen to them and realize that they were clearly the work of two divergent stylists.
That they happened to be in the same band, and both went on to a significantly higher level of fame and fortune is where we get started.
I first heard/heard of the Humblebums maybe 20 years ago when I happened upon one of their tracks on a compilation of UK folk rock and discovered that among their ranks were Billy Connolly (the world famous comedian who has since become a fave of mine) and Gerry Rafferty (he of the 70s AM gold).
That first tune didn’t make much of an impression, but I was always intrigued by the concept of a band that included both of them. It wasn’t until last year, as I was digging down in Washington, DC that I actually happened upon one of their albums.
When I had the chance to give it a listen I was pleased to discover that it wasn’t a mass of comedic novelties, but rather a satisfying intersection of Connolly’s wry, folkie vibe and Rafferty’s pure pop.
Rafferty was not an original member of the group, joining after their first LP. The roots of his later hits are clearly visible in ‘All the Best People Do It’, with his pleasing voice, Beatle-y hooks and arrangements. I really dig the electric piano on this track.
Connolly’s track, ‘My Apartment’ reveals that he was a pretty good singer, shedding much of his thick brogue for an American accented style, no doubt honed playing country and folk in Scottish bars.
The rest of the album is similarly divided stylistically, which goes a long way to explaining why the band broke up by 1971, with Rafferty moving on to Stealer’s Wheel and Connolly to a hugely successful career as a stand-up and actor.
I hope you dig the tracks, and I’ll be back later in the week with something cool.