Sunday, December 12, 2010

Getting There From Here: The Hatcher-Briggs Collective and the Genius of Jeffrey Hatcher

Maybe R.E.M was wrong when Stipe sang Can't Get There From Here. Jeffrey Hatcher has finally resurfaced and released some new material with The Hatcher-Briggs Collective. Getting There From Here is the album title, and although it's not available on iTunes or at all of your local record stores yet (see bottom of this post), it's worth seeking out, as is everything Hatcher has been involved with. Back when Hatcher and the Big Beat released the Cross our Hearts album in 1987, it was on heavy rotation in the record store where I toiled. I always thought it was good, but forgot about it until last week when I ran across a copy. You know what? The album's full of roots-rock genius! At that point in time, Hatcher was out-Costello-ing Elvis, dare I say making Bruce music almost as well as Springsteen (Tunnel of Love is one of my favourites, but Human Touch and Lucky Town are just okay, and yeah, I own Blood and Chocolate and King of America, this one's more essential).

In My Hand - Jeffrey Hatcher and the Big Beat by scruffy the yak

Frozen in Place - Jeffrey Hatcher and the Big Beat by scruffy the yak

The Jeffrey Hatcher and the Big Beat videos from the 80s have not necessarily dated well, but it's the songs that count.

You can read more about Jeffrey Hatcher and his road from The Fuse to the Big Beat to Blue Shadows and beyond in Paul Cantin's excellent article from 2009 entitled "Jeffrey Hatcher's Songs of Healing" in No Depression #77 bookazine (excerpted here), and you can hear excerpts from songs taken from throughout Hatcher's career here (Cantin also wrote the liner notes for The Blue Shadows' On the Floor of Heaven reissue).

Here's a few Hatcher-Briggs Colective videos posted by the amazing Stu Reid, if you want to promote a show in Winnipeg, you need him to create your posters, and if you have anything to do with roots rock, he might put you on his radio show. In fact, if you want to know about Jeffrey Hatcher, ask him, I'm just learning what I missed myself and we're only skimming the surface here. You can also check out Teenage Dogs in Trouble Blog, where you might find some goodies on Hatcher-Briggs for you to enjoy.

Many videos by the Blue Shadows have embedding disabled so I can't put 'em on here for ya. That makes lots of sense (is there a dripping-with-sarcasm font?), since the band has been gone for many years, Billy Cowsill is no longer around, and there absolutely no reason that people should learn more about the underrated timeless music of Hatcher and Cowsill.

The Blue Shadows-When Will This Heartache End by scruffy the yak

The Six was a pretty fine Hatcher and Briggs project, don't you think?
Warning - some prime examples of eighties dancing styles are contained in one or more of the following, do not watch if you are weak of heart, are currently taking medication, et cetera.

To buy the new Hatcher-Briggs Collective cd you must send an e-mail to Listen to and purchase The Blue Shadows' On the Floor of Heaven deluxe 2-Cd reissue here. And hey. Leave a comment. It's the seasonal thing to do.


Albert Bannatyne said...

Isn't that amazing?

Next thing you'll be telling us that Graham Shaw is gigging again!

jeffen said...

Nice history, I didn't know there was video of The Six - it's not so far from The Blue Shadows.

A.B. I really thought about going to see GS comeback show but it was at the casino.