There’s a moment after the lute solo in “Sucking Out My Insides”, and just before the orchestra and choir come in, when for the first time in his career Graham Days breaks into a beautiful falsetto to deliver the song’s heart-wrenching final verse.
Yeah, right. No, what the listener finds on the first album by Graham Day & The Forefathers are a dozen new versions of songs from Day’s back catalogue (six Solar Flares, three Prisoners, two Gaolers, one Prime Movers) delivered in a reassuringly familiar manner. In fact, they aren’t really what one would call new versions – there’s nothing like Bob Dylan playing Name That Tune with his audience or even Howlin’ Wolf psychedelicizing his blues – Day’s simply got songs out of storage and blasted the dust off with a crate load of Medway TNT. These are brash and boisterous songs performed with super-charged, pent-up energy. It’s like Graham Day of old, only more so. His vocals and wah-wah guitar assaults are the stuff of legend and with Allan Crockford and Wolf Howard’s formidable rhythm section striking everything with extra gusto it’s a heavyweight collection.
If accepted wisdom tells us Dave Davies’s crunching power-chords gave birth to heavy metal then it doesn’t take a DNA test on the Jeremy Kyle Show to show Good Things as one of its errant offspring. It’s such a hard rocking album one can’t help wonder how much of Day’s audience continues to be populated by Mods whose traditional musical preferences lie elsewhere. There is, it seems, space for at least one guitar hero and rock god in everyone’s life. The only time I take my air-guitar off its stand is to play along to Graham Day and I snapped a few strings giving it a workout to Good Things.
Much of Day’s audience though has dipped in and out over the years so some song choices here will be more familiar than others but Good Things is a great leveller. Covering four bands and about twenty five years of song writing it would take an incredibly perceptive ear to distinguish the origins of each track; such is Day’s singular vision to no-nonsense tunes.
It’s fleetingly tempting to listen to these tracks back-to-back with the originals versions to play better/worse but that’s not the point. Good Things is best enjoyed without drawing direct comparisons with the originals; I’ve pointedly not listened to the versions back-to-back but my hunch is some are slightly improved. Day’s music has never been something to over-analyse, so think of this as a live-in-the-studioBest Of Graham Day album. Stick it on your record player, whack it up as loud as your neighbours will allow, and enjoyGood Things.