Sunday, July 28, 2013

Gary Shearston: I Get a Kick Out of You

At the end of September 1974 I contracted bronchitis and was off school for a couple of weeks. This period coincided with the second general election campaign of that year, and I got into the habit of staying up to watch the late night election programmes.

I was already interested in politics, partly as a result of the Liberal Party's recent by-election successes - Alan Wyburn-Powell reminded us that Friday was the 40th anniversary of our double triumph at Ripon and the Isle of Ely. But those two weeks were certainly a factor in making me far more interested.

Who knows? If I had kept healthy as a 14-year-old there might have been no Lord Bonkers.

The record that reminds me of lying in bed, feeling ill and listening to Radio 1 in those weeks is this one. Gary Shearston, it turns out, had a considerable reputation as a folk singer in his native Australia and was later ordained as an Anglican priest.

Is it any good? Nor really, though it is hard to dislike and it is at least a version great Cole Porter song. Perhaps its success (it reached no. 7 in the singles charts) was a sign of the coming of that strange period, between the height of glam rock and the coming of punk and disco, when the charts seemed unusually full of novelty hits.

Something made me think of this song the other day and look Shearston up. I found he had died on the first of this month, aged 74.


Simon Titley said...

This record became a hit in the UK because it was discovered, championed and played repeatedly by John Peel.

Jonathan Calder said...

Thanks, Simon.