Friday Full-Length: Jerusalem, Jerusalem

Jerusalem, Jerusalem (1972)

45 years after its initial release, a couple points continue to be proved by Jerusalem‘s Jerusalem. First point: riffs are timeless. Put on “Hooded Eagle” and “I See the Light” or “Murderer’s Lament” and “Primitive Man” and they hit as hard today as they did when Deram Records put them out as part of the 1969-1973 onslaught of what we now call proto-metal and the roots of modern heavy rock and roll. If anything, the intervening years and influence of the movement/moment in which Jerusalem took part — “the heavy ’70s” — only makes these songs and others on the album more relevant even than they were in 1972, when rather than a tome waiting to be discovered by adventurous listeners, they were part of a pastiche and genre where countryman UK outfits like Peter French-fronted Leaf Hound or Atomic Rooster had already covered most of the territory they would. The appeal has only grown, in other words. Long for an LP of its era with nine songs and 44 minutes, Jerusalem‘s self-titled remains decided un-prog with the shuffle of opener “Frustration” and the swing behind “When the Wolf Sits,” but in the six-minute “Beyond the Grave” there’s nuance of technique and style drawing from psychedelia and Eastern-style circulations, and so there’s more than just raw power on display here as well.

Second point? You can’t beat the value of a good endorsement. Comprised at the time of bassist/songwriter Paul Dean, guitarists Bill Hinde and Bob Cooke (lead), vocalist Lynden Williams and drummer Ray Sparrow, Jerusalem worked with producer Ian Gillan on their debut, and the back cover even featured a note from the Deep Purple frontman sort of blurbing the band the way one author might help promote another on the back of a novel. Gillan called them raw and rough and powerful. They still have his note on their website, and here it is in full:

“This is the first album by Jerusalem, a band which excites me very much; they are rough, raw and doomy with their own strong identity. As they are young and a bit green, they don’t follow many rules, so their material is almost crude — but still immensely powerful in content.

I believe that, whenever possible, the work of writers and players in their formative stages should be recorded; before inhibition and self-consciousness set in, before fire and aggression die down, and while they are still absorbing influences and doing things which others might consider ‘uncool.’ Most important though, before they might develop that self-imposed rigidity which afflicts so many. I hope none of these things happen to Jerusalem, we’ll have to wait and see, this album is just in case. I hope you like it as much as I do.”

Not too bad. Gillan could say that about my work any day of the week and I’d still be reprinting it 45 years later too. The album, of course, lives up to his assessment of it — and Gillan was hardly the only personality out of the heavy rock A-list to dabble in producing at the time; Tony Iommi helmed NecromandusOrexis of Death in 1973 — whether in the bluesy stomp of “I See the Light” or the fuller-sounding bounce of “Midnight Steamer.” Dark and violent themes pervade early cuts like “Hooded Eagle” and “Murderer’s Lament,” which is a distinguishing factor, but the closing trio of “Primitive Man,” “Beyond the Grave” and the catchy “She Came Like a Bat from Hell” transpose that scorch onto more varied lyrical imagery while staying consistent with the noted raw and bluesy overarching vibe, the latter finishing the album with a jammed-out-feeling solo and big rock finish that one can imagine tearing the roof off any number of pubs and other small venues around Britain.

It’s definitely of its era, and I think maybe in calling the band “raw” and “green,” Gillan might have been covering for himself as well as producer, but one can’t deny the natural feel Jerusalem are able to evoke in these tracks, or the impressive span of years they’ve managed to endure while continuing to sound vital. Jerusalem would be the only full-length Jerusalem would release, and like so many others they popped up, presaged the rise of punk in the middle part of the decade and the NWOBHM at its end and into the early ’80s, and were gone. DeanCooke and Sparrow formed the subsequent group Pussy, who resulted in a single (“Feline Woman”) and a number of tracks also produced by Gillan later compiled into the Invasion long-player in 2011.

That later platter was backed by respected purveyor Rockadrome Records, which has also seen to reissues of Jerusalem‘s Jerusalem and, last year, a replica 7″ version of Jerusalem‘s Kamikaze Moth single, which was their only other official offering. Somewhat curiously, Lynden Williams seems to have put together a new version of a band called Jerusalem that includes Cooke and has released three albums over the last eight years — 2009’s Escalator (which included revamps of “Hooded Eagle,” “When the Wolf Sits,” “Midnight Steamer,” “Kamikaze Moth” and a take on Hendrix‘s “Stone Free”), 2014’s Black Horses and 2016’s Cooler than Antarctica, the latter two on Angel Air Records and featuring keyboardist Geoffrey Downes, known for his work in Asia and Yes, among others. Apart from some root in boogie and the reworked pieces on Escalator, these records have a more prog-leaning sound on the whole, but Williams retains a classic heavy rock frontman’s powerful delivery and presence, however specious his claim on the band’s moniker may be in relation to Dean.

As always, I hope you enjoy.

Last night was probably the best sleep I’ve had in the last week and a half, at least. Got up once before the alarm. Just once. It was glorious. The rest of the time, the over-the-head pillow did its magic and kept me out. Been having some real trouble staying asleep for a while now. I crash out early and keep getting up, then the alarm goes off at 4:45AM and it just kind of feels brutal.

I know. Just wait. My mind and body are telling me the same thing for when The Pecan comes. Due date is one month from today. The Patient Mrs. also tired and uncomfortable. More so, of course. She’s stronger than I am though in all things, in addition to more intelligent, attractive, etc. Seriously, she’s got the pregnancy thing down. Glowing and all that. I am continually humbled by how amazing she is. At everything. In every way.

We’re back in Massachusetts now after the trip south to NJ for my grandmother’s memorial service last Friday — thanks to everyone for the kind comments on that eulogy, here and via the social medias; I’m always insecure about how that kind of thing will go over (or not) — and a few subsequent stolen days at the beach in Connecticut. I wouldn’t exactly call it relaxing to be home, but the anxiety is more internal on my part than anything else. Ups and downs. Kind of a rough week. Frustrated about food, the state of my diet, the prospect of raising my son in this grim, depressing place where we live, and so on. From about Monday through Wednesday I barely knew what day it was at any given point.

This weekend we have a hospital visit for a tour of the birthing facility that if all goes to plan we’ll be using in Pawtucket, Rhode Island — about 40 minutes away — as well as the birthing class where they’re going to be like, “Hey jerk, rub your wife’s back and remind her to breathe and stay hydrated while she’s in labor.” That’s like a six-hour thing tomorrow, and fair enough I suppose. Would be kind of a dick move to be on my phone on Facebook or checking baseball scores while she’s having the baby. Though also hilarious. We’ll see how it goes.

I’ll also be starting, today actually, to put together the back end of the Quarterly Review and hopefully begin to plug away at writing that, just to keep ahead so I’m not swamped later on. That’ll be posted the week after next but there’s plenty in store before then as well. Here are the notes, subject to change as per usual:

Mon.: Review of Napalm’s new Monster Magnet reissues; new Fireball Ministry video.
Tue.: Lucifer’s Chalice full album stream/review.
Wed.: Weird Owl album review/video premiere; Six Dumb Questions, hopefully with Jim Forrester of Foghound/Serpents of Secrecy.
Thu.: Review and full stream of the Heavy Traffic/The Mad Doctors split.
Fri.: Wild Rocket review.

Some gaps to fill in there, but we’ll get there, and it’s a good plan to roll with leading into the Quarterly Review, so I’ll take it. Should be plenty to keep me busy, anyhow.

More to say, but I’ll leave it there. I hope you have a great and safe weekend. Thanks for reading, and please check out the forum and radio stream.

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3 Responses to “Friday Full-Length: Jerusalem, Jerusalem

  1. J.T. says:

    Somehow I’ve never heard of this album or band. Thanks for pointing them my way. Thanks for all you do. Love the site.

  2. Mac says:

    Its an album that anyone who visits this site will love. Really enjoyed the review. And didn’t expect it when i nipped onto the site for a browse. Travelling home from work and wizard union off the stereo and jerusalsem is on.

  3. Paul Dean says:

    Many thanks for the great review very much appreciated.

    Just to clear up the situation at the end of the review with regards to Lynden Williams recent releases. These albums musically have absolutely nothing to do whatsoever with the legendary Jerusalem band managed and produced by Ian Gillan. Like the previous releases Escalator on Mausoleum and Black Horses on Angel Air, Lynden has just used the name under false pretenses to try and get sales on the back of the remastered and reissued original Jerusalem album on Rockadrome Records. Even Bob Cooke who appeared on Escalator was against Lynden using the name. Ray Sparrow and myself were the founding members of Jerusalem, we then pulled in Bill Hinde and later on Bob Cooke. Lynden was brought in at a much later date after auditions in London. Lynden’s musical contributions to the Jerusalem album were only the lyrics on 3 songs, the music of which I wrote. Bob Cooke warned me that Lynden was once again going to use the Jerusalem name even though the music bears no relevance to Jerusalem and Bob didn’t even perform on Black Horses or Cooler Than Antarctica. I’m also surprised that a professional company like Angel Air Records would have allowed Lynden to use the name and support such a release under that name. If Lynden is not capable and confident enough of releasing music under his own name, but would rather use and abuse the name of a well respected band from 43 years ago that he was fortunate to be part of for a short time, then he shouldn’t be releasing music. There are also a large number of fans and followers of the real Jerusalem who find it insulting.

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