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Thursday, 18 August 2016

My Heroes (41): Jake Thackray

It's been a few years since my last post in this series so I am going write about and probably introduce you to Jake Thackray.
Jake Thackray 1938 -2002
John Philip 'Jake' Thackray was a true English eccentric who wrote and sang wryly comical and poignant songs. He was also a teacher, poet and journalist and his music is rather hard to pigeon-hole. He was the epitome of 'lugubrious' and can be compared to the French chansonnier singers like Jaques Brel and was a good friend of Georges Brassens.
Jarvis Cocker, Morrissey, Ralph McTell and Jasper Carrot were also influenced by his style. He accompanied his rich baritone voice with his nylon-stringed classical/jazz-style guitar playing. He is very English and may not have much appeal beyond these shores but he was a great talent who died too young, aged 64 in 2002.
He was a modest man who has been called 'The Noel Coward of the North' but he refused to accept that flattering comparison. I feel that he never quite achieved the acclaim he deserved.
My favourite of his songs are 'La-Di-Dah' - see above and Sister Josephine, below:


Hels said...

I wonder if there is a role for the old-time English eccentric any longer. I am thinking of someone like Oscar Wilde, clever, funny and a writer who was read across the entire English-speaking world. But very eccentric in his clothing, sexual behaviour, politics etc.

It always ended in tears :(

bazza said...

Hello Hels: l suppose Oscar would be disqualified by being lrish but l take your point!

bazza said...


A Heron's View said...

I well recall listening to Jake and of being bemused by his distinctive voice.

re Oscar: yes he was Irish and British too for his time was sixteen years before the Easter Rising in 1916 that eventually led to Irelands Independence.

bazza said...

Hi Heron's View: I think those of a certain age will remember Jake!
As for the wonderful Oscar, Mr Pedant asked me to say to you that we were speaking specifically of English eccentrics, although there are plenty of Irish one's in my wife's family ;-)

bazza said...


Botanist said...

I remember Jake fondly. He used to play regularly on "That's Life", and he came to play a few times at our folk club. I remember once volunteering to collect him from the airport on our sister island of Jersey, and having to navigate the unfamiliar one-way maze of St Helier to reach the B&B where we were all staying. With him navigating and me driving we somehow found our way there in the end :)

bazza said...

Hi Botanist. Nice to hear from you! That's a lovely story. I had forgotten that it was 'That's Life' where I used to see him.

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Bazza - I certainly hadn't heard of him before now ... he was some talent - and I'm glad that he's been given a second chance through his recordings, though the family will benefit presumably. Sad end for him ...

I used to watch That's Life .. but perhaps 'my life' was getting in the way as I was out and about by then ... and so missed him. Thanks for highlighting him for us - cheers Hilary

bazza said...

Obviously you are far too young Hilary!