Jimmy Norman: Little Pieces (Wildflower)

 |   |  1 min read

Jimmy Norman: Little Pieces
Jimmy Norman: Little Pieces (Wildflower)

Quite why and how this 2004 album has turned up only now is a mystery to me, but here it. Better late than . . .

This old journeyman r'n'b singer co-wrote eight songs with Bob Marley in early '68 (a few appear on the Soul Almighty collection) and Marley recorded a number of his originals, and Norman apparently wrote some lyrics for the Irma Thomas/Rolling Stones hit Time is On My Side (which is always only credited to Jerry Ragavoy).

A young Jimi Hendrix jammed with him in New York clubs -- but mostly Norman lead a version of the Coasters for a few decades.

All that aside, he has an aged voice which hints at the Sam Cooke era and the quiver and fragility in it becomes more appealing over repeat listens. It's a tightrope walk to the melody.

The story behind this album is that when people were cleaning out his untidy apartment a few years back they came on a box of old lyrics from the 60s and 70s and encouraged Norman to record them, which he did -- in his apartment.

With backing by a studio band of friends and admirers added, these are period pieces in a way, but that actually lends them even more charm -- and to hear an old man singing of love takes the lyrics out of their post-teen dimension and into some other place.

Norman may not quite be the great lost artist that his record company and PR people would have you believe, but he is certainly someone who is a bridge back to another time, and this album stands on its own merits even without the interesting backstory.

Share It

Your Comments

post a comment

More from this section   Music articles index

BEST OF ELSEWHERE 2011 Jonathan Besser: Campursari (Rattle)

BEST OF ELSEWHERE 2011 Jonathan Besser: Campursari (Rattle)

Since coming to New Zealand more than 30 years ago, the pianist-composer Jonathan Besser has enjoyed a highly successful and diverse career, first with violinist Chris Prosser in the Besser and... > Read more

Midge Marsden: Travel'n Time (Liberation)

Midge Marsden: Travel'n Time (Liberation)

The success of this Acoustic Series in Australia -- where the likes of Deisel sat down to play stripped back versions of their songs -- has been successfully adopted here with similarly conceived... > Read more

Elsewhere at Elsewhere

Keith Jarrett and Charlie Haden: Jasmine (ECM/Ode)

Keith Jarrett and Charlie Haden: Jasmine (ECM/Ode)

Here is a rare one: this is Elsewhere regular, Keith Jarrett's first recording outside of his trio in . . . well, it almost seems like forever. And his choice of companion is the great bassist... > Read more

THE BARGAIN BUY: Black Keys; El Camino

THE BARGAIN BUY: Black Keys; El Camino

Given this album was in the Best of Elsewhere 2011 list (see here for the full list . . . and here for this album) -- and in fact every decent best of the year countback -- it is hard to deny it... > Read more