London-based band The Jujubes are purveyors of a stripped-back blues sound that leans towards the dark and mysterious, as shown by their recently released second album Raging Moon. But what kind of stuff gets the trio of Nikki Brookes (vocals), Sandy Michie (guitar) and Pete Sim (guitar and harmonica) all hot and bothered? Now's their chance to tell all, as they share 5 songs that have pricked up their ears lately, 5 artists who have given them inspiration, and 5 characters they'd love to get round the table for a long lunch. Let's get the party started, Jujube people!
|The Jujubes take us Through The Keyhole|
‘Tomorrow Never Knows’ by Junior Parker: “From the album Love Ain’t Nothin’ But A Business Goin’ On. Just a stunning, unexpected minimal cover. I wonder how this came to fruition? It’s so different from the original Beatles version and works in its own right.”
‘Rollin’ Stone’ by Johnny Jenkins: “From the album Ton-Ton Macoute! Anything with Duane Allman playing slide is going to be great. Again another minimal production with some tasteful Dobro licks, playing for the song not for himself. Released in 1970 just as the Allman Brothers were about to go big.”
‘Hard To Stay Cool’ by Cedric Burnside: “From the album Benton Country Relic. We saw Cedric live at what was then Dingwalls in Camden and were blown away by his performance. We became complete fans buying the album at the gig and getting pics with him. This track captures what he’s all about; cool, stripped back blues just the way we like it.”
‘Anyone Who Knows What Love Is’ by Irma Thomas: “From the [compilation album] Straight From The Soul*. We got to know this song from the TV show Black Mirror. It gets right under your skin. The most beautiful ballad with a haunting understated vocal.”
‘Dance Me To The End Of Love’ by The Civil Wars: “From the album Barton Hollow. Can’t
|The glorious Rory Gallagher|
Gimme 5 artists or bands who have had a big influence on your work.
Rory Gallagher: Rory is Pete’s big influence. “My friend Ned Carty (an amazing guitarist from Limavady) introduced me to Rory Gallagher many, many, many years ago. The intensity, no prisoners taken approach coupled with an incredible technical ability along with a mastery of acoustic guitar, harmonica and mandolin made me want to be like him when I grew up! I’m still trying. If there was a living embodiment of the blues outside of America, it would be Rory.”
John Lee Hooker: “Nikki’s dad was a Blues obsessive and took her to see John Lee Hooker when she was little. Seeing him, sat with just a guitar holding an audience captive made a big impact on her. When we started The Jujubes, getting back to the real, raw roots of the blues was something that all three of us really wanted to try and do.”
Jack White: “Sandy and Nikki heard ‘Dead Leaves And The Dirty Ground’ by The White Stripes on the radio when they were trying to create their own Blues-based band many years ago, and
|They don't make 'em like Marlene any more|
Marlene Dietrich: Ms Dietrich is Nikki’s big influence. “Seeing a woman in a man’s suit with a vocal that sounded so world weary and strangely disinterested completely captivated Nikki as a child and really influenced her on the type of performer she wanted to be. She was so far removed from the typical image of a woman at the time. Androgenous, strong, in control and no desire to please anyone.” [How about an earful of Marlene's world-weary crooning? Why not? Here she is with 'The Laziest Girl In Town', from the Hitchcock movie Stage Fright.]
The Beatles: The Mop Tops are Sandy’s big influence. “Every day is a Beatles day as far as Sandy is concerned. It was like the world turned from black and white into colour when he heard them as a child growing up in Scotland and made him want to pick up the guitar and be in a band. Their ability and desire to constantly learn and create really inspired him and still does. That love of being able to create something with other likeminded musicians and then connect with the audience has never diminished for him however hard and frustrating it’s been at times.”
Gimme 5 guests you’d love to invite to your ideal long lunch.
Buddy Guy: “Probably the last living connection to Chicago blues. Imagine the stories he could tell you about finding his way, playing with Son House and Muddy Waters, recording at Chess, the blues revival in the 80s, it would be a long lunch!”
|Brian Cox, keyboard playing physicist|
Professor Brian Cox: “To be able to listen to him answer all the questions about the universe that make your brain hurt, would be fascinating. From his past as a musician, he could then have a jam with us – a perfect combo.”
Irvine Welsh: “Known for being sweary and straight talking he would be a great addition to keep the conversation alive. We can’t imagine there is a topic which he wouldn’t have an opinion on.”
Nigel Kennedy: “He is a true original, recently pulling out of playing at the Royal Albert Hall as his choice of wanting to play Jimi Hendrix’s ‘Little Wing’ in a Celtic style of Ralph Vaughan Williams was snubbed by the concert organisers. Like Irvine he is not afraid to express his views and has a sharp wit.”
Jane Fonda: “If anyone could hold court its Jane Fonda. With an intriguing past of movie star to activist, sparks would fly with some great political debates with them all.”
Just one track – pick one of your tracks that you’d share with a new listener to introduce your music.
“Our pick is ’John the Revelator’, from our first album Where Are We Now. It’s one that shows our love of the blues but hopefully with our own stamp on it, bringing it in to the present without losing its roots. I’m slightly obsessed with the tempo of songs,” says Nikki, “and had a very clear idea of wanting it to be really slow. It nearly drove Sandy and Pete mad when we recorded it but they begrudgingly had to admit I was right in the end!”
Find out more about The Jujubes on their website, here.
*In the interests of completeness, 'Anyone Who Knows What Love Is' was originally released as a single in 1964, with 'Time On My Side' on the B-side, and then featured on Irma Thomas's second album Take A Look in 1966.