On the basis that any fan of Jonathan Richman had to be alright with me, I went and bought The Rockingbirds' first single, 'Jonathan, Jonathan', on no more than a good review in the NME, whose opinion I had already been wary of since 1978 when I bought an album by The Pop Group (or it might have been The Birthday Party) on the strength of a glowing write-up by someone who I assume was either profoundly deaf or doing it as a joke.
Returning the album to the shop within the time it would have taken to listen to it in its entirety, I was allowed to exchange it for The Fall's 'Totales Turns', which - while not without its challenging aspects - remains a favourite today.
The Rockingbirds single didn't disappoint, and the album which followed was an absolute belter. I went to see them play their last gig, and heard about the death of Kurt Cobain on the way there.
When Nirvana's 'Nevermind' came out, I borrowed it from the local library on CD, and remarked to the chaps I was lodging with at the time that if the band came over to the UK I wouldn't mind seeing them. They pointed out that we'd all seen them a few weeks before at the Reading Festival, but try as I might I could remember nothing about them, unlike most other bands there they had made no impression whatsoever. The next year they headlined, I lost interest after a couple of songs and went to see Tindersticks in the little tent instead, and have no regrets about doing so. Unlike, say, The Rockingbirds, or Tindersticks, they just didn't do it for me live.
The Rockingbirds gig was fantastic, it's a real shame that nobody bought their records, which seemed to be the main reason they split - they certainly appeared to have no problems with each others company during that last hoedown. I was wandering around the stone circle on the sunday of Glastonbury this year, and heard Rockingbirds songs blasting across the field between the circle and the Park Stage, and realised that it was Alan Tyler (the band's singer) playing in one of the guest spots. In good voice, too.
Doubting my stamina would allow me to get there and back and still remain upright for the rest of the day's anticipated fun, I sat and listened in the sunshine, grooving to the ideal summer soundtrack.
I still dust this first album off regularly, and - having checked its availability (zilch, apparently) - thought that I'd put it up here.
Hope you like it!