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Jim Lea's solo LP gets a revamp.....why?



For many Slade fans Jim Lea always was and remains the enigmatic quiet man of the band, the tortured genius who suffered more for his art than the others. Once Slade went their separate ways in 1992 not much has been seen or heard of Lea.

In the years that followed the name of Slade has been kept 'alive' by Hill and Powell turning the 'brand' into a second rate cabaret act, relentlessly murdering Lea's wonderful back catalogue of classic pop tunes to an ageing audience of mullet haired continental aficianados.

Noddy Holder on the other hand has done everything imaginable to reinvent himself as a genial old uncle Noddy figure, always ready to plug himself and offer his own personal musings on the Slade story in a series of 'Rent - A - Nod quotes' whenever required so to do in order to sell another re-release of Slade's recorded legacy. Unfortunately all three in their own little way have mercilessly flogged a dead horse into a pantomime donkey.

While this has been happening for the last couple of decades Jim Lea has quietly kept his counsel.

However hot on the heels of last years Slade vinyl collectors box set comes a re-release of Jim Lea's 2007 release 'Therapy' through Wienerworld.

It would be easy for the cynical amongst us, weighed down with years of being offered pointless re-releases of Slade's back catalogue to see this release along with the accompanying signed copies and extra bonus signed copies of lyric sheets as Lea cashing in on his name. It isn't. Lea is entitled to release his old stuff and do what he wants with it. Unfortunately it will only reach out to a very limited demographic of devoted fans who would lap it up regardless. It will make a change for these fans to be offered something new as opposed to the proverbial turd in a jar recent rehashed releases as the Slade cash cow is lined up for milking once more.

To be fair, and in Lea's defence, he has added three previously unreleased tracks and a second CD featuring most of the 2002 benefit gig he performed entitled 'Jim Jam' which would please the most ardent of fans but not many others. This release is of course aimed squarely at the completist collectors. It is hard to see to whom else this would appeal to save those fans that did not know or couldn't be bothered to obtain the digital copies that have been available for some considerable time.

In the twilight years of Slade when Holder had moved on mentally and left all of the production to Lea, his slavish adherence to synth driven pop as was the vogue at the time elsewhere, was counter productive to the 'Slade sound' and in the albums 'Rogues Gallery' and 'You Boyz Make Big Noize' Slade produced their weakest and most forgettable work, without Holder's voice and crunching rhythm guitar we got The Dummies, and that is basically what we have here. It's nice and pretty in places and the introspective lyric can and often does make one think, but with the utmost respect to James and all who sail in him, it isn't what the Slade fan has been waiting for!

Therapy was conceived originally way back in 2002 following on from the death of his father and some would argue that with the original collection of thirteen tracks that made up the LP he had managed to distance himself from the Jim Lea of Slade, he even took to calling himself James Whild Lea...well, it is his name after all!

The tracks offer an insight into Lea's 'tortured' soul and there may be more than a hint of cartharsis throughout as he tackles subjects close to him without too much of an overt wink to his past. The problem with the LP in total is that it doesn't hit any mark accurately enough to warrant repeated plays, it is the proverbial curates egg with some of the offerings real growers with proper hooks that get under your skin and you will find yourself with one or two of the tracks bouncing around in your head long after hearing them.

So, why has this been released?

The most important thing in my opinion to come out of this offering from Lea is that it hopefully signals the end of his self imposed exile, he has been hugely missed save for his Robin 2 appearance in aid of Downs syndrome. The man is a fucking genius of legendary status and some of us were so so lucky to witness him first hand driving what was the finest live band to grace any stage, anywhere...ever!

It isn't all to my liking, but the very fact that it has resurfaced properly and with decent support behind it bodes well for the future. There are rumoured new releases to come from Mr this space!


David Graham, Slade In England



Click through for Jim Lea's Therapy


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Just Backdated ~ Chris Charlesworth








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