John Jenkins, Postcards From Mabelthorpe. Single Review.
Liverpool Sound and Vision Rating 8.5/10
For many the seaside was not just a place of fun, of rest from the daily grind and the knowledge that for a week or two there would be something other than the feeling of oppression in the factory air, it was a home, it was the place where you could be yourself and see the world with fresh eyes and a clean soul. For the British before the advent of package holidays and the young spending their money on the excitement of going abroad, this was also the time when the family got together, where perhaps the differences between the generations were slowly eroded away and in between bouts of boredom, something magical may happen, something that always ended with the words Wish You Were Here on the back of a set of Postcards from Mabelthorpe.
As always John Jenkins makes the very most of the sheer number of talent that resides in the Liverpool area, musicians with a colourful and luminosity that shines into the very deepest crevice and one that reveals a world of wonders, unseen in normal circumstances but one in which each one excels and adds to the sum total on offer. These performers, absolutely magnificent in their own right, bring a sense of cohesive endeavour to bring Mr. Jenkins’ work to the very forefront, that his work remains incomparable and positively enthralling.
With Jon Lawton, Scott Poley, Chris Howard, Scott Whitely, Jake Woodward, Vanessa Murray, Camilla Sky and Megan Louise all joining in the painting of this luxuriant set of Postcards from Mablethorpe, the story of times spent on British holidays, the wonderful sense of the past and in many ways now lost to us as big hotel firms build more and more conveniently priced rooms, all the same, the identical and matching rooms with about as much character as a dull man whose sole conversation revolves around computer games and why it needs an hour of talking to explain the game to you.
The days of the bed and breakfast might be diminishing, they might be a sight that the picture postcard from the likes of Lincolnshire, Southport or Prestatyn will one day become a faded memory of, and it is this song that the character of those far off times exemplified, the owner of the B & B with their own rules and regulations, the sour looks and the knowledge that they opened their doors only for the easy cash they could make.
Postcards from Mablethorpe is something very discerning from John Jenkins, it is a song that really showcases his talent of not being a songwriter but an observer of the human spirit, the remains of what was once taken for granted, now only left to those who experienced such days to comment upon, that the seaside, the once trusted and valued commodity of the British worker, is now, like everything else, up for sale.
A beautifully paced song, John Jenkins offers memories and finds them tantalisingly charming and scenic.
Ian D. Hall