On first listen, Jake Thackray’s music might seem like pure embellishment, mawkish even. The Yorkeshireman was tall, lean, and looked like a more robust Dean Martin. With his fashionably unfashionable flair, he appears into view as though a national treasure. Then comes the voice: lugubrious, rising like the Dales, and quieting into a mist. Finally, the lyrics take shape, affixing a continental tone to Ivor Cutler-esque quirks. A Francophile, a chansonnier, who, in Britain was confined to pub humour and everyday bawdiness, Thackray might have been a French or Belgian master. Away from the very real abuse of his childhood, Jake delved into imaginative, poetic slapstick with absurdist compassion.
A favourite: ‘Lah-Di-Dah’