Morton Valence “Summertime In London” – but, was it this Summer? – Americana UK

Morton Valence “Summertime In London” – but, was it this Summer? – Americana UK

Having reached the Autumn Equinox (an event to be celebrated now by not just one, but a fine pair of albums from this guy) it may seem strange to be featuring a Summery song.  And it would be, if the new single from London’s Morton Valence was not completely Autumnal in feel.  Even the weather is suitable “we pulled away around midnight / as the rain came pouring down” sings Robert ‘Hacker’ Jessett, as he recalls a night that stretched away into the early morning “we were dancing ’til the sun came up / we walked home by the old canal.”  It’s a reflection on the city as well, although the waves of pedal steel (played by multi-instrumentalist BJ Cole, who also produced the album) and the slow percussion seem to be stirring the dust of ages – not, perhaps, today’s ever gentrified London but a not so distant London of dirty streets and endless rows of bedsits and two room flats with only glimpses of a rugged glamour shining through.  The intertwined vocals of Jessett and Anne Gilpin (the other half of Morton Valence) take a weary psychogeographic stroll through this doubtless soon to be forgotten cityscape.

All the more ironic that the song was written in Madrid – at the onset of the pandemic which found Rob and his wife stuck in a tiny apartment on the outskirts of a city which, in one day, had effectively gone from being a 24-hour fiesta to a ghost town.

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Sure, I could climb high in a tree, or go to Skye on my holiday. I could be happy. All I really want is the excitement of first hearing The Byrds, the amazement of decades of Dylan’s music, or the thrill of seeing a band like The Long Ryders live. That’s not much to ask, is it?

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