TOM JANS: so who is this guy?
"Sometimes I feel so good I can feel my body
growing" ... YEAHHH !!! Y'know CBS were really surprised (in fact speechless) when I
enquired about this guy. "Sometimes you surprise me." said the label's adorable
Elly Smith. "I thought only Zigzag knew about Tom Jans." Well there's a
really weird story attached to your humble scribe picking up on this album ...
It was an ordinary Monday afternoon and I wuz just loafing
around the streets of Ealing when I decided to pop into Beggars Banquet, the local record
store, where me mates Ivo and Steve work, which is neat cos they let me listen to the
imports and obscure singles, etc. Now Ivo is quite well defined in his taste and sometimes
I take the piss out of him for being into laid back cowboys like Poco and stuff. So anyway
I see the cover of this Tom Jans album and think 'Gawd another suntanned limpwristed L.A.
bozo' and suddenly my attention is diverted by some jerking rivvums somewhat similar to
Boz Scaggs but not asphyxiated in breathless orchestration. It's damn fine.
Tom Jans? Jeez, well blow me down with a buffalo fart, and
I almost dismissed this guy as the West Coast's answer to Colin Blunstone, So anyway, I
immediately purchase this platter which pleased Ivo no end (well at least it wasn't
Grateful Dead, cheers anyway), went home and played the record so many times that I wished
I bought a deck with automatic replay on it.
So who is this guy? By now it was imperative to find out
everything which brings us back to the beginning -Tuesday morning and a quick phone call
to CBS, shock, surprise etc. As it turns out the guy's coming over (I've done an interview
which will be coming out shortly), later that day I pop out to see Roger Glover who
happened to be producing ex Playmate/ country rock singer Barbi Benton who happened to
have a couple of the demos by the guy. In the evening I pop round to see Jimmy Bain and
Brian Robertson for a loon, so hurriedly I pull the album out of my bag, excelling the
merits of this guy to all around.
"Yer fooking behind the times Makowski," sez
Robertson, "Ah've been raving about this guy fer months."
Ego deflated, but still pleased at the fact that some
other people have latched on to Jans who will undoubtedly become a major songwriting
talent, God that sounds boring for a start. What I'm trying to say is that he writes great
songs, but he's not a boring introvert, 'I throw up before I go on stage' type artist
'cause he's a turd kicking band behind him and with Joe Wissert (a la Boz Scaggs) doing
production honours it all adds up to one gem of an album.
OK YA READY ?
It kicks off with "Ready to Roll" which struts
along somewhat like a turkey wired up on methedrine. "Finelines" is a song
worthy of appearing on a Stones album and there's "Young Man In Trouble. which would
make a fine single, along with "Why don't you love me", which is reminiscent of
Scaggs but much more raw, ruff 'n' ready. It's all good !
And, hey! You wait there'll be lotsa limelighters butting
in wanting credit for discovering this guy, but the truth is Tom Jans has discovered
himself and now it's yo' turn.