Hugely chuffed and honoured to discover that a piece I wrote for Tangents a long, long time ago (1999! The prehistoric days of the Interweb!) has been used on the freshly launched website for Michael Head to tell in part his story. Along with his brother John, Mick Head recorded The magical world of the Strands, my Desert Island Disc. So that big an honour. Even more exciting than this though is the raison d’être for the new website – finally, a new record. Well, a release date at least for the Artorius revisited EP by Michael Head & The Red Elastic Band. I’ve been waiting for this since around about the time I posted ‘Full moon’ way back in 2009. This year has also seen Mick back performing live, with his Elastic Band, and on the new website you can see evidence of this in the form of a video of ‘Meant to be’ from the Night and Day café in Manchester. The rest of that night’s set is available here. Sadly no ‘Full moon’ but the new songs make me think there’s plenty of life left in the old dog yet. And Mick’s wearing an English settlement-era XTC t-shirt, making explicit a link I always felt in my bones, although thinking of ‘Love on a farmboy’s wages’, maybe it’s Mummer rather than that earlier LP which is the closest tie.
Geoff King’s introductory piece for the new website, above mine, is well worth reading. He reveals that ‘for The Strands album, Michael composed the songs after studiously spending day after day in Liverpool library reading renaissance and baroque era madrigals.’ I never knew that, but of course it figures, thinking of ‘Queen Matilda’, ‘And Luna’, ‘Hocken’s Hey’, ‘Green velvet jacket’, and the sheer timeless beauty of ‘Something like you’.
After every album, I always think we’ve heard the last of Michael Head, and I count myself grateful for what we have. And yet he keeps getting back up for one more go around the block. One more round in the ring. Long may he continue to do so.
- At the time of posting, there are still copies available of the limited edition Artorius revisited EP by Michael Head & The Red Elastic Band
Photo of Mick Head, Liverpool, December 2012 by Fontilan.