Fri, 26 April 19
Released 23 June 1997
Witty, cutting, rasping, picking, thumping and strumming —Joseph Arthur owes his heritage to Dylan, Waits, Cohen and Young, his record deal to Gabriel and his sound to the technology of the nineties. Arthur is a social and emotional commentator on the western world, armed with an acoustic guitar and a box of Joe’s echoes. Disturbing and extraordinary.
Joseph came home in a good mood. The girl he had been chasing had let him catch her. Life seemed to be taking a positive turn. He turned on the lights and listened to his messages. “Hi. This is Peter Gabriel… got the tape… you write really good songs. I’ll call you back.” He did, several times, and when Joseph Arthur took the tape to his boss as proof of his need for a break from his job, he was on a promise of live concerts and a record deal. His boss agreed. In fact, the job is still there if he needs it, but Joe probably isn’t going back.
“Put my Daddy on Prozac. I don’t think I want him back.” lyric excerpt from 'Daddy's On Prozac'
The promise was kept. Since signing to Real World Records, Joseph Arthur has toured internationally, solo, with a band and as part of WOMAD, and his first album Big City Secrets is released in the new year. Joseph Arthur proves that the classic American singer/songwriter is still alive, angry and actively absorbing and reflecting experiences and sounds.
“And she’s sleeping and screaming watching 90210. She’ll be yelling at the screen until the late night show.” lyric excerpt from 'Marina'
Live and solo, Joseph Arthur is a rasping voice, spitting venom or lamenting lost love over a confidently plucked acoustic guitar. Occasionally, he is supported by his “Jam Man”, building multi-layered sonic loops on stage, like a backing band of Joe’s echoes. He sits and sings and demands a hearing. It is a disturbing experience, captured on his first, raw EP Cut and Blind, four earthy songs on the Sell My Soup Records sub-label.
The album Big City Secrets will emerge all shiny and extraordinary with the new year of 1997. It shows how to lose the luddite in the singer/songwriter tradition. Loops, grooves and low, low sub-bass play a powerful supporting role but the song is still king.
“When they ask you what’s your church, you say I dance.” lyric excerpt from 'Good About Me'
Joseph Arthur’s voice on the album is sweet one moment and saw-toothed the next. His words are razor sharp and cut like the one-line drawings that deface his lyric sheets. He doesn’t sing pretty but while paying homage to the nasal, grating genius of messers Dylan, Cohen, Waits and Young, Joseph Arthur has more heart and more charm.
“I squeeze the last bit of you out of a bottle of your old shampoo. It smells just like you. Now I do too.” lyric excerpt from 'Bottle Of You'
Joseph Arthur remains wary of all this attention. He describes his own journey from Akron, Ohio, to Gabriel’s green Wiltshire refuge, via the seedy and secular sides of Atlanta, Georgia, as a crooked path to Mammon. “Joseph was fast acquiring the snake-like qualities one needs to become king for a day in this expensive world,” he scribbled of himself, only half-convinced of his own ironic intent. But Joseph Arthur’s soul runs the show and on seeing him play or listening to his record, one knows that his cynicism loses the argument to his heart.
Released 11 April 2000
Released 28 July 2008
Fri, 26 April 19
The Manchester based alt-folk duo recorded the album live at Real World Studios.
Fri, 05 April 19
A brief introduction to the music of the Sufi mystics.
Wed, 06 March 19
A blog by Sheila as part of Real World Tales, marking the label's 25th anniversary in 2014.
Tue, 30 April 19