St James Infirmary: Almanac 2009 “(christmas) Smells Like ***** Juice”

Forgive them the Viz like title for their Christmas ditty and celebrate a whole year of free CDs that they have been sending out to their fans. I include myself in that. ST JAMES INFIRMARY are from that small northumbrian mining village called Ashington. And they have been going a long, long, time. I first came across them in about 1986/87 back in the Wansbeck Music Collective. They were led then, as they are now, by the irrespressible G W Lang (Gary to his friends). I actually got to see them a few times back then and still have some of the cassettes that they used to give away at gigs. Fast forward to 2009 and they have come back onto my radar. They have been giving away a CD each month for a year. Their ALMANAC began back in January and has just been completed with a special Christmas package. Almanac 2.10 and 2.11 popped through my letterbox with a special Christmas CD  entitled; Almanac 2.12 (Christmas) smells like fanny juice.

Almanac 2.10 contains their last set of new tunes for the year. All Dead Rock Stars is a superb opener but my favourite is the Byrds like Death Cars of the Rich and Famous. 2.11 is a DVD of their recent gig at the Cumberland Arms in Newcastle. If you can get passed Garys swearing, he puts rude kid to shame!!! He really should know better at his age!!! You will get a feel for their live experience. The best track, in my opinion, is the superb Matty Cabbage House which mixes the C86 shambling sound of the Pastels with the lyrics of  Half Man, Half Biscuit. Eight for a Fiver is a song in love with cheap carry-outs and the Fall. It can be found in studio version on Almanac 2.05. Red Coo Coo is also an old favourite from Almanac 2.01. The lyrics are superb and full of northern wit. Young People: F*** Off with its tales of invalid cars and home helps will have you in stitches. As well as the gig there is film of the soundcheck including a great version of Back to the Bar Stool. Finally their Christmas number. Not my cup of tea, but hey it all adds to the legend that is St James Infirmary. Check them out at www.myspace.com/thestjamesinfirmary. Get in touch and I am sure they will send you some stuff. Go see them live and don’t be offended by Garys swearing. As one of their many fans commented “Better than the new Flaming Lips LP”. Praise indeed.

By peter on January 4, 2010


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  1. gary lang…one of the best songwriters not to have ‘made it’ but keeps on turning out class stuff year after year,wit and misery superbly blended! and with the ever changing format of the band, every gig is a new experience. i love to see them.

    Comment by Tony — January 6, 2010 @ 1:30 pm

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