WENDY JAMES showcases her love of Motown on new track Little Melvin, taken from her forthcoming 5th solo album Queen High Straight, which is released on 1st May 2020.
An English singer-songwriter born in London, Wendy exploded onto the British music scene in 1988 as the fearless front woman of chart-topping alt-rockers Transvision Vamp. When the band disbanded, Wendy went on to collaborate with Elvis Costello, James Williamson (Iggy & the Stooges), Lenny Kaye (The Patti Smith Group) and James Sclavunos (Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds), who joins her on drums and percussions for Queen High Straight. Also joining her on this album are James Sedwards (lead guitar), Harry Bohay (bass), Alex J. Ward & Terry Edwards (horn section) and Louis Vause (accordion).
Wendy began writing Queen High Straight after a long stretch of writing/recording/delivering/touring her previous album The Price Of The Ticket, which charted in the UK at No.14. Wendy says of the title track, “I gravitated toward some jazzy type of chords which lent a gentle lilt to the song, it sounded smooth and it reminded me of when I was a young child listening to Sergio Mendes Brazil ’66! Some of those lovely chord progressions, some of that lovely harmonizing the singers did and of course Bacharach and David.”
“Overall, my taste and style have not changed with time,” Wendy says. “The music that excites me now, ultimately, is the same as when I was starting out songwriting and back through my days in Transvision Vamp. I continue to marvel at Lou Reed and The Velvet Underground, I continue to be blown away by The Stooges, I continue to be everlastingly enthralled by Bob Dylan, but of course, the older one gets the more one discovers and I am now informed more cohesively and fully by all the music, new and old, which settles into my consciousness.
“My track listings are never altered from the order in which I write the songs, maybe it’s because it’s too tangential for me to try to shuffle songs around but really I think, in some kind of holistic way, the order in which the songs are written must surely be the very most natural order for them to be listed in. Around about song 14 Bliss Hotel I hit a wall. I did not know where the inspiration was going to come from! But then somehow, miraculously, it comes again and one pushes on through, as it turned out, to some of my favourite songs on the entire album. My perfect moment? song 18 Cancel It… I’ll See Him On Monday; it was a ‘Eureka’ moment. I ran out into the garden and started dancing, ‘I’ve got it! I’ve got it!!!’”
Elsewhere on the album, Wendy embraces Motown with Here Comes The Beautiful One and Little Melvin, she returns, once again, to her favourite guitar guttural filth and sex for Perilous Beauty and an unlikely sounding love song in Chicken Street, ’90s pop groove in Ratfucking, melancholia in Testimonial, Django Reinhardt whimsy in I’ll Be Here When The Morning Comes. On The Impression Of Normalcy, Wendy says, “Thanks to James Sclavunos, who told me to ‘speed the fucking song up’, I have a proper speed punk song.” Finally, track 20 Kill Some Time Blues is the ultimate ’60s girl group number.
Wendy recently toured the UK with her permanent band THE WENDY JAMES BAND opening for The Psychedelic Furs, which was a huge success. She has just rescheduled what should have been a May tour, saying, “By doing simple math, it was easy for me to see that when I’d be due to begin rehearsals in April in LDN, it was just not going to happen, nor an all-clear of COVID19 by 5th May when my tour was scheduled to begin. So making a calculation as best as possible, I’ve postponed all the dates until September 2020. All the ticket links are still valid and working! All the VIP are still valid and welcome!” On the upside she said, “QUEEN HIGH STRAIGHT will have been with you all through the summer months and I expect you to all be able to sing every lyric along with me in September!Listen to JOHN MCCULLAGH with A Celtic State of Mind here:
3RD SEPT – BRISTOL FLEECE
4TH SEPT – SWANSEA CINEMA & CO
5TH SEPT – CARDIFF CLWB IFOR BACH
8TH SEPT – BRIGHTON CONCORDE 2
9TH SEPT – CAMBRIDGE JUNCTION
10TH SEPT – BIRMINGHAM INSTITUTE 3
11TH SEPT – STOKE SUGARMILL
12TH SEPT – PORTSMOUTH WEDGEWOOD ROOMS 15TH SEPT – NOTTINGHAM BODEGA
16TH SEPT – MANCHESTER DEAF INSTITUTE
17TH SEPT – LEEDS BRUDENELL
18TH SEPT – BLACKPOOL WATERLOO MUSIC BAR 19TH SEPT – NEWCASTLE CLUNY
21ST SEPT – GUILDFORD BOILEROOM
22ND SEPT – TUNBRIDGE WELLS FORUM
23RD SEPT – LONDON ISLINGTON 02
26TH SEPT – GLASGOW KING TUTS
27TH SEPT – EDINBURGH BANNERMANS
29TH SEPT – NORWICH ARTS CENTRE
Tickets available via WENDY JAMES LIVE.
QUEEN HIGH STRAIGHT TRACK LISTING:
1. Queen High Straight
2. Perilous Beauty
3. Free Man Walk
4. Stomp Down, Snuck Up
5. Little Melvin
6. Marlene et Fleur
7. A Heart Breaking Liar’s Promise
8. Here Comes The Beautiful One
9. Chicken Street
11. Bar Room Brawl & Benzedrine Blues
13. She Likes To Be (Underneath Somebody) 14. Bliss Hotel
15. Freak In
16. The Impression Of Normalcy
17. I’ll Be Here When The Morning Comes 18. Cancel It… I’ll See Him On Monday
19. Sugar Boy
20. Kill Some Time Blues
All songs written, produced and mixed by Wendy James.
The album is available as a 20-track deluxe gatefold double vinyl, gatefold deluxe CD, regular CD and Digital Download / Streaming.
QUEEN HIGH STRAIGHT is available to preorder at WENDY JAMES STORE and this store is the main driver for all of Wendy’s recordings and associated art, t-shirts, all things Wendy.