Looks like death is on the loose, and in the last two days the music world has lost not one but two prime movers.
One of these was JJ Cale, a hugely talented songwriter and guitarist whose economic style inspired the best of them, from Eric Clapton who recorded John’s “After Midnight” on his 1970’s self-titled solo debut, played many of his tunes and even cut an entire album with him, 2006’s “The Road To Escondido”, to Mark Knopfler. Cale’s songs have been covered in numbers: NAZARETH and Clapton chose “Cocaine”; LYNYRD SKYNYRD picked “Call Me The Breeze” and “I Got The Same Old Blues” as did Captain Beefheart, Freddie King, Bobby Bland and Bryan Ferry; Herbie Mann took “Cajun Moon” – to name but a few. Immensely revered, Cale preferred to keep his profile low but always scaled the heights. He died of heart attack and will be sorely missed.
The same can be said about Mick Farren, although he used to divide opinions with his inflammatory anti-capitalist rhetoric – as a journalist and a major counterculture figure – until his last days. Active on Facebook and on-stage, where he died, Mick has left an interesting musical legacy, both with his band THE DEVIANTS – "Ptooff!", "Disposable" and "3" are all minor classics of psych tinge – and solo, most notably on "Mona - The Carnivorous Circus", as well as collaborations with the likes of MC5’s Wayne Kramer and British blues saxophonist Jack Lancaster and a lot of poetry and prose, plus lyrics including ones for MOTORHEAD. Farren’s real value is yet to be measured, but Mick’s passing is a great loss.
Read Twink and Tim Blake’s memories of Mick Farren.