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Thursday, April 14, 2016

At Heatongrad! A Paul Heaton & Jacqui Abbott playlist

Among the amazing gigs and events scheduled for the next months, there's one that occupies a pretty special place in the heart of this humble blogger: the Paul Heaton & Jacqui Abbott gig coming this Saturday, as part of the 'Blues i Ritmes' Festival taking place in Badalona (ouch!). Finally, after so many years being a fan, I'm going to see them live. It's sort of the closing of a pending music chapter for me. You know, like that moment when you are about to strike out one of those looong-time things remainig to do in your due-to-list. But bigger, because I really thought I wasn't going to have the chance. So, I'm sure you understand my excitement. The wait is finally over... after... 19 years!

I'm counting back from early 1997, when I grabbed my copy of 'Carry On Up the Charts', my first The Beautiful South record, quickly followed by Housemartins' 'Now That's What I Call Quite Good'. On those years, this huge R.E.M. and Crowded House fan, found his third "music" pillar, haunted by the knack for melodies, the joyful vibe (some ace and somber ballads too) hiding Heaton's not just witty but masterful lyrics, a true social chronicler with a true socialist heart (beat that!) and the discovery of one of my favourite vocalist ever, Jacqui Abbott. One of my most desired music wishes is that 'The Later With Jools Holland Special' gets a proper release. I had three VHS copies of the edited version (roughly 30 minutes) shown by Catalonian program Sputnik that now are completely wasted after watching it zillion times. If, after watching Jacqui singing 'You've Done Nothing Wrong', you don't get moved, I won't believe you're human, sorry.    

But, at least to my knowledge, TBS never made it to Barcelona, Jacqui left (no offense to the previous & later female singers, but she's incomparable and irrepleceable) and later the band called it a day. Being honest, I remember my interest on the band sort of vanishing although, funnily enough, The Housemartins, in particular 'Caravan of Love', became the soundtrack of some crucial years in my life (longs, slightly surreal story related with my then job, I'm saving it for another day), and despite keeping track of Paul's solo career ('Fat Chance' has many tunes to celebrate) I couldn't make it when he visited Barcelona a few years ago (I was in the States). Besides, there was, clearly, "something" missing. Until 2013, when I found (and wrote about enthusiastically here) the reunion of Paul Heaton and Jacqui Abbott was a reality. Now, with two lovely albums as a result of that comeback the opportunity to see them live has arrived. Heatongrad arrives to the city!

Here's a playlist with, arguably (it's very hard to choose so few), my favourite 19 + 1 (one for every year being a fan) tunes of their career. See you on Saturday!

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