Three for the price of one today! East Kilbride’s finest exploded onto a music scene that was in need of a rock band with attitude, with an element of danger and controversy. Early gigs were short and often descended into violence and mayhem, whilst the songs were drenched in feedback and distortion. But here’s the thing – when you strip the songs back, when you take out all that noise, all that fuzz, that distortion, at their heart these are really great, really simple songs.
Listen hard, and alongside the more obvious Velvet Underground influences, there’s a stack of classic 60s references all the way through – Beach Boys (check out the chorus of Cherry Came Too), Shangri-Las, and the classics of Phil Spector (Ronettes, etc.). If the proof of a good song is that it works just as well with just an acoustic guitar, even our beloved four-string uke, then these are certainly good songs. My first exposure to Jesus and Mary Chain was via. the Some Candy Talking EP, which contained a whole bonus 7″ with acoustic versions, and I loved those almost as much as the effect-laden originals.
So here are three songs from the bands first flush of success in the mid-1980s that fulfil the promise of great songs.
Just Like Honey was the lead track (and later a single) from the bands debut album, Psychocandy. It’s a sweet confection that is atypical of that noise-drenched album, but is a gorgeous song that achieved later prominence through its inclusion in the wonderful Sofia Coppola film Lost In Translation.
Some Candy Talking was a single released between the first two albums, and was their first real hit. As I said previously this was my first real exposure to the band and has remained a favourite to this day.
April Skies was the lead single from the bands second album (and my personal favourite) Darklands. The feedback had largely been jetisoned highlighting a collection of melodic songs that made JAMC stand out from their contemporaries.
So here are the song sheets for each of these songs. Simple structure, simple chords, there’s not much really to say expect have a go. I’ve had a go at transcribing the guitar solos on each of these which you might want to have a go at as well. I can’t vouch for their total accuracy, partly as all the distortion makes it hard to actually work out what is being played. If they don’t work for you, just adapt them. Enjoy!
(n.b. Just Like Honey and Some Candy Talking are in the same key as the originals, April Skies has been transposed a little just to make it a bit easier – for me! – to sing and play)
And just to prove that these songs work on the uke, take a listen to this lovely version of Just Like Honey.