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My Top 18 Albums Of 2013: # 5 – Yes, You – Jahn Xavier And The Bowerytones

Yes, legs























Anybody who stalks Jahn Xavier on Facebook will see a working musician, always up for a gig, they will see a family man, with an extended world of fans and friends, and a daughter!, but mostly they will see a soul man.

Jahn came out of 1970s punk band The Blessed, to play bass with Richard Hell And The Voidoids, and form new wave soul band The Nitecaps. Decades later Jahn is still a soul man and Yes, You, an album recorded with backing band the Bowerytones, is the eagerly anticipated result.

To say Yes, You, a dystopian worldview of encroaching armageddon as self-fulfilling prophecy via Hurricane Katrina, hasn’t reached its audience is an understatement. This is a major full blooded soul album, with nearly an hour of hard soul and political commentary, softened only by an occasional personal song to an ex. Rather than being self-referential or solipsistic, it takes on hypocrisy, political and otherwise, with an Old Testament fervor and a UK punk youthful fury. It is, in a word, incredible and it should have been huge -certainly the UK would worship it.

None of these would matter so much if the songs weren’t so great, nary a clunker in the lot, opening with a missile at the heart of racism “I Still Yearn” and coming full circle with closer “The Crest” (of a wave) and Jahn condemning himself for the sin of omission, “God forgive me” becoming “murder by my hand, I say”. On stage Jahn closed his set with “Shine A Light” but  on Yes, You there is no exit except for death and regret.

This sounds like a downer and it is, but remember, great music restores truth with art and in song after song this is what Jahn and his terrific band do, songs as lovely as “Black Water Blues”, “Walk The Other Way”, full on romantic loss “Under The Moon”,  as ell as “Hang Together”   are spotted among the biggest moments and held together by Xavier’s astounding vocal tour de force.

I don’t know anybody who’s heard Yes, You not being thrilled and blown away by this epic performance. A thrilling, heartbreaking ride. It’s the sort of album which had people taking their picture with the CD cover and forwarding to Jahn (we reproduced  them here), it is the sort of album that connects a music scene in the sure knowledge some people  are  doing not just the best music of their careers but the best music of any one’s career.

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