What do you get if you take the ex-drummer of ‘60s psych-pop band John’s Children, the manager of kooky glam band Sparks (who had also been in John’s Children), add a guitarist, bassist and a singer-songwriter, throw in boots, braces and cropped hair, blend with some teen rebellion lyrics and top with a publishing deal from Mickie Most at RCA? The result of that rather interesting mix is The Jook.
This mid-‘70s band comprised guitarist Trevor White, vocalist Ian Kimmet, bassist Ian Hampton and aforementioned drummer Chris Townson and were the brainchild of John Hewlett (he of Sparks management and earlier member of the Smashed Blocked psychsters along with Chris). Being signed to RCA, who were also home to The Sweet and Bowie, should perhaps have helped this bunch to a higher slot in pop/rock history. But none of their five singles had any impact on the charts – so who would remember them? My own pre-teen recollections of mid-seventies UK chart music are dominated by Mud and Gary Glitter…
Retrospectively, however, I find the look and the sound of The Jook quite fascinating. It seems so obvious to me that they bridged a gap between the sparks and glitter (literally) of early ‘70s pop and the stripped-down, hard-edged presence of punk which was soon to follow. It’s kind of power pop too.
Anyway, I present for you the track, ‘Aggravation Place’ as I like its guitar sound - not dissimilar to that of the Clash’s Mick Jones (the intro could have come straight off the ‘Give ‘Em Enough Rope’ album) – plus there are some Jam-like bits in there to my ears, with one of those great stuttered endings - and, well, it just has a great title and sentiment… I do like this. I also love the pic of them shown here, looking tough and bored in their bovver-boy style clobber, photographed in very un-glam monochrome against that graffiti-daubed wall.
I’m not so keen on other songs I’ve heard but overall they seem very much to be an integral stepping stone in the path from glam to punk (see also Iron Virgin’s ‘Rebel Rule’). In fact, The Jook were quoted as saying in the music press at the time that they wanted “...to be masculine but not violent. We just want to have a good time. We want to cater for working class kids, not just on a visual level, but by giving them the music they really want to hear” - a sentiment which rings a good few bells with the words of many a punk protagonist.
(‘Aggravation Place’ can also be found on the compilation CD ‘Glitterbest, UK Glam With Attitude 1971-1976’ on RPM Records)