Richard Jobson The Ballad of Etiquette

Richard Jobson will also be remembered for his time in Scottish punk band, the Skids. It might only represent four years of his life, but moments like "Into the Valley” will always define him. That might change with his blossoming film career, but there are other recordings that somehow have been forgotten such as The Ballad of Etiquette, his first spoken word album. At the time, this seemed like a real musical curiosity but considering the career path that Jobson has traversed, it all makes a lot of sense in retrospect. Jobson always fancied himself as a renaissance man, and it turns out he was. Even his lyrics for the Skids had certain poetic element to them, but it wasn’t until he appeared live at the legendary Cabaret Futura shows in London during 1980 and 1981 that people began to take him more seriously. One of those people was Bill Nelson, whose Cocteau label released this, his first solo album in 1981. At the time, it was written off as being indulgent, pretentious nonsense and even now, some of it can simply be labelled as such. But thanks to the musical accompaniment of Virginia Astley, Josephine Wells and John McGeoch (of Siouxsie & the Banshees) it is a very likeable album that has an unexpected sophistication. Jobson’s words are at times funny, perhaps unintentionally so, but his tongue does leave his cheek long enough for some touching, serious moments too. Ballad is very much an acquired taste, and the addition of six bonus tracks make it drag on longer than it has any right to, but it does deserve another listen before being thrown into the vault and forgotten. (LTM)