The Incomparable Jinky

Posted on Sunday 18th June 2017 23:10 by FreckFest

We've had JJ Gilmour play for us a handful of times, but Friday night's show at the HAC may well be the most powerful one of all.
Opening act King Of Birds provided the ideal warm-up, their brand of Caledonian Everly Brothers by way of Waterboys and early REM going down well with the capacity crowd. As it turned out, it would be a wee while yet before the audience heard anything as jaunty and uplifting.  
On the back of his latest album 'DIx', Jinky had augmented his usual live line-up to include acclaimed violinist Seonaid Aitken who accompanied Phil Kane, his long-time keyboard-playing foil and the butt of many of his jokes. For this show, he also dispensed with his guitar for much of it, preferring instead to stand out front dressed to the nines in a second-hand dinner suit and bow tie. "You've got to look the part when you're playing with Seonaid," he explained, acknowledging her role as the classically-trained go-to violinist for every string-minded musician in the land. Her understated playing suited the music perfectly.
The music. Jinky never does happy. He's exceptionally funny, but as he says himself, "If you're expecting 'If You're Happy And You Know It Clap Your Hands' you can leave now. This new album isn't exactly 'Agadoo'."
Indeed it's not. 'Good Guys Always Win' retells the story of actor Ricky Tomlinson's long fight with the authorities to clear his and 13 of his friends' names for striking against poor working conditions in the building trade. 'The Lighthouse' features an autobiographically metaphorical lyric for someone trying to escape the 'dark dog' of depression. 'I Guess That's Why They Call It Moving On' tells the true story of a Western Isles house sold at auction, complete with the entire contents of the house; furniture, old pictures, documents, left unloved by the family who had put their dead relative's house up for sale. It was quite heavy-going in parts, even if Jinky's voice sounded absolutely spot-on; crystal clear, controlled and soaring in melody when required.
Anyone seeing Jinky live for the first time might be thinking, "Hang on, I thought his guy was supposed to be funny," but the between-songs patter was still gold. 
A short break after the album set found Jinky (and audience) in more familiar territory. "This is the hits section' explained Jinky, and after a comic pause he hit us with the punchline. "Not that I've had any." The songs that followed through are worthy of 'hit' status in anyone's book; upbeat, bittersweet pop songs, brilliantly played and sung. Before 'Dancing Shoes' he tells a brilliant story about being edged out of a photograph featuring Angie and Calum Best - "There's a big musical on tonight about the life of George Best," explained the photographer. "I know," replied Jinky. "I'm the one who wrote it...." The show ended, as Jinky's shows almost always do, with 'Me And You', the audience singing the chorus back to Jinky, his 'greatest hit' enriched by Seonaid's meandering violin and Phil's understated keys. The perfect end to a perfect gig.

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