Friday, April 2, 2010

Ivor Cutler - Jammy Smears (1976)

Ivor Cutler's final album for Virgin Records, 1976's Jammy Smears, is one of the best releases of his career. Kicking off with the jazzy piano tune "Bicarbonate of Chicken," a funny and bizarre dialogue with a waiter, the album runs through 31 brief songs, poems, and surreal short stories like the hilarious "Big Jim." About evenly split between recitations and songs like the catchy shaggy dog story "Barabadabada" and the oddly philosophical "Everybody Got," Jammy Smears features more of Cutler's piano playing than any of his albums other than 1967's jazz trio album Ludo. His trademark droning harmonium makes only a small handful of appearances. As on its predecessor, 1975's Velvet Donkey, Cutler's friend Phyllis April King reads five of her own poems and a short story, "The Wasted Call," on Jammy Smears, all of them based on life in and around a cottage in Dorset. Because most of Cutler's pieces this time out share the rural theme, with an episode of his ongoing Life in a Scotch Sitting Room, Volume Two centered around a family walk in the country and several poems and stories about birds, bugs, and other wildlife, King's contributions are much more smoothly integrated with the whole than they had been on Velvet Donkey. Cutler's usual morbid obsessions crop up infrequently, making Jammy Smears one of his sunniest and most playful albums.

01 Bicarbonate of Chicken
02 Filcombe Cottage, Dorset
03 Squeeze Bees
04 The Turn
05 Life in a Scotch Sitting Room, Volume Two, Episode Eleven
06 A Linnett
07 Jumping and Pecking
08 The Other Half
09 Beautiful Cosmos
10 The Path
11 Barabadabada
12 Big Jim
13 In the Chestnut Tree
14 Dust
15 Rubber Toy
16 Unexpected Join
17 A Wooden Tree
18 When I Stand on an Open Cart
19 High Is the Wind
20 The Surly Buddy
21 Pearly-Winged Fly
22 Garden Path at Filcombe
23 Paddington Town
24 Cage of Small Birds
25 Life in a Scotch Sitting Room, Vol. 2 EP.6
26 Irk Cutler 3:09
27 Lemon Flower
28 Red Admiral
29 Everybody Got
30 The Wasted Call
31 Wasted Call

thanks to JIM!


marram62 said...

Miles said...

This sounds interesting. I don't know much about Ivar Cutler, but perhaps this will be a good place to start. Thanks for the introduction.

Puzzle said...


Can we please get said Velvet Donkey next? Please?

Even if we can't, thank you for this extremely yummy public service you've done.

marram62 said...

i show up now and then and say what i wanna say and then, POOF! i'm gone...THANK YOU! is what i wanna say to all the groovy people who show up here and be all like, groovy and cool and diggin' it. you are all WELCOME!

PETER said...


Stratis said...

thanks very much for the album!

kinabalu said...

Would be nice to have the "Life in a Scotch sitting room" on this blog. Not for my sake, I have it, but for those who'd like a comprehensive view of Mr. Cutler. I do remember the excerpts from John Peel's programme on the Beeb.

buy abilify said...

Awesome post! please keep up the great work i would love to hear more like this.

Abigail Gonzalez said...
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