Comedian Top Joe on his favourite Mersey musicians
Elusive Welsh comedian Top Joe is not just a raconteur, Buddhist, bilingual and bon viveur, he’s a music fan. During his shows, Top’s been known to promote the virtues of 80s power ballads and lament the failings of his own music career.
When Top heard we were filming bands from our secret Liverpool location he kindly sent us his top six Merseyside musicians past, present and future.
One of Huyton’s best loved boys, Meat has carved a niche career out of his true to life observations and social commentaries, never straying far into celebrity stardom and forgetting his roots. Still a resident of Huyton you can often see him at the dump looking for that next spark of inspiration. I always enjoy a chat with him to see how he’s getting on. He looks considerably different to the photos and iconography you see on his albums and videos, but he tells me it’s all down to computers. I always enjoy a chat with Meat.
She’s avant garde, and I love that. Yoko is all about shifting perceptions and that is one thing Liverpool music has always done from Billy Fury, through to Teardrop Explodes and including what people like Esa are doing now. People start to think there’s a certain way to do things until one of these plucky chancers, like Yoko, pops up and says ‘how about this way, la’?’ Over the counter.
I was delighted to have Esa as the inaugural guest for Top Joe’s Regular Gig. Like me, Esa is part of the nocturnal community and his considered pop orchestrations reflect the richness of Liverpool’s nightlife; the characters, the moods and the excitement and I can really connect to that. His album Ovum Caper, in my opinion, is one of the finest records to come out of the city in the last 12 years.
I really enjoyed the sounds of The Zutones, the saxophony, zany lyrics, all set against those scouse pop song structures. David [McCabe] is obviously a renegade, a loose canon who likes to deal in the currency of payback and ramifications. He once called my a friend of mine, Jimmy Wintle, a ‘munchkin’, but regardless I think with songs like The Zutone Fever you can see he is a rough diamond with a heart of gold, a 20 carat talent.
I don’t think it’s hyperbole to say these four canny Scousers changed music. Where would we be without Chasing Rainbows or the Riverboat Song? It was revolutionary. I remember first hearing that album and stopping in my tracks. The legacy of Bonehead and Alan White’s song-writing partnership lives on to this day and hasn’t been paralleled. All the elements were in place really – the port city, the Hamburg connection, skiffle and the Cunard line – these lads just took it to the next level.
The natural conclusion to the Oasis legacy. It’s Chris’s sincerity that I like. This is a man who has nothing but he’s fought his way to the top and now produces some truly wonderful work. He also runs his own school so he’s putting something back which I think is extremely important. He’s come along considerably since learning to ‘control me (his) nerves’ on prime time television.
See Top Joe:
Saturday 12 December
The Well Space, Liverpool
Top Joe's Regular Gig Christmas Special
Music from A Lovely War and Charlie McKeon
Comedy from Terry Arlarse, and Man With A Porpoise
All proceeds go to - Claire House Hospice