Therapy (James Whild Lea album)
|Studio album by James Whild Lea|
|Label||Jim Jam Records|
|James Whild Lea chronology|
Therapy is Lea's first full album of solo material although he has released other material under various pseudonyms since the early 1980s. Since Slade's split in 1992, Lea released a few singles of new material, as well as the 1992 album A Day in the Life of The Dummies, which collected early 1980s recordings from Lea's side-project band The Dummies.
In 2007, Lea re-emerged with Therapy - an album written, produced and recorded by Lea. The album's artwork features a 1976 sepia drawing of Lea. On his official website, Lea stated: "I was never a naturally public figure, but now I am re-emerging as an artist in my own right, mostly free from the restrictions of the industry. There will be more to come soon, but for now make the journey, step on the train, and get some Therapy." He also stated a reason for the website, "The reason I have adopted this website approach, for now at least, is that every time I have spoken to a record company about putting my music out there, it always seems to be inexorably linked with touring, which is a great consumer of time, energy and of course money, in other words, a great obstacle."
The album was received well by Slade fans and critics. The album was not promoted and no singles were released from the album, although the opening track "Heaven Can Wait" appeared on a magazine promotional CD titled "Now Hear This! 54".
Since the album's release, Lea has announced his future music plans which include the "String Theory" project and a future pop-themed album.
The opening track "Heaven Can Wait" was rated eight at the time on the cover mount from the Word magazine with the following message: "They used to call him Jim Lea when he wielded the bass, sharing the songwriting credits and got most of the girls in the mirror-hatted heyday of Slade. Since then he has only rarely been seen outside his home in the Midlands and has dedicated himself to know as much about the workings of the human mind as possible. In the years since he left Slade he has played only two shows, both benefits."
The song "Big Family" was originally recorded in 2000 by Belgian boy-band Mama's Jasje under the title "Samen Door Het Vuur". The following year, Mama's Jasje released a cover of Slade's 1987 song "Still the Same" which reached the Top 5 in Belgium.
"Dead Rock U.K." references numerous musicians, mainly from the 1970s, including Marc Bolan, Freddie Mercury, Phil Lynott, John Lennon and John Bonham. During Lea's 2002 live performance at the Robin, he revealed that "Go Out in Style" was written about Keith Moon, the drummer of the English rock group The Who.
The album contains a remake of "Universe", a song that was written by Lea for Slade, originally released as a single in 1991. This song was Slade's last single, lost to the Christmas rush that year and failing to chart. The song came to Lea when he was about to head out to an Indian restaurant for an evening meal.
Robin 2 Live
In 2002, Lea performed live for charity event at the Robin 2 venue in Bilston, near Slade's old local pub, The Trumpet. Lea performed two original songs titled "Great Big Family" and "Over the Moon" which both later appeared on the "Therapy" album, with the latter being re-titled "Go Out in Style".
The entire Robin 2 gig was released in 2007 as a download-only option on Jim Lea's official site. Later in 2009, the gig was added as a bonus disc on a double CD edition of "Therapy". Although the disc covers the entire setlist, it does not feature the encore tracks which included Get Down and Get With It, Teddy Bears Picnic, Johnny B. Goode, Gudbuy T'Jane, Twist and Shout, and Purple Haze.
During the Robin 2 gig, Lea also performed covers of Slade hits "Cum On Feel the Noize", "Mama Weer All Crazee Now" and "Far Far Away". A cover of "I Saw Her Standing There" was also performed, a track which rock band The Red Beards from Texas released as a single in 1986, produced by Lea himself.
On a life timeline via Lea's own site, Lea was asked to play live again in 2003 but he declined to do so, asked what he was going to do he replied "I'm going to make an album and it will be Therapy."
Aside from the original 13-track CD and digital release on Jim Jam Records, the album was also released as a double CD to include the Robin 2 gig on the second disc. In September 2016, the album was re-issued as a double CD by Wienerworld. In addition to an altered sleeve, the reissue features three previously unreleased bonus tracks: "21st Century Thing?", "Thank God It's Friday Right Now" and "Am I the Greatest Now?" The 16 page booklet features new liner notes from Lea, as well as memories of the Robin 2 gig by owner Mike Hamblett.
A vinyl edition of the 2016 reissue is slated for release in December 2016. It will feature an additional three bonus tracks, two of which are previously unreleased: "Misty Morning Light" and "Dare to Be Great". The other bonus track, "I'll be John, You Be Yoko" was released in 2000 as a single under the name Whild.
|1.||"Heaven Can Wait (For Those Who Pray)"||Jim Lea||4:12|
|2.||"Big Family"||Jim Lea||3:55|
|3.||"The Smile of Elvis"||Jim Lea||3:27|
|4.||"Dead Rock U.K."||Jim Lea||5:26|
|5.||"Could God Be A Woman"||Jim Lea||4:39|
|6.||"Go Out in Style"||Jim Lea||4:11|
|8.||"Time and Emotion"||Jim Lea||3:29|
|9.||"Your Cine World"||Jim Lea||4:18|
|10.||"The Valley of The Kings"||Jim Lea||3:47|
|11.||"Why is Youth Always Wasted on The Young"||Jim Lea||4:31|
|13.||"Let Me be Your Therapy"||Jim Lea||5:37|
|Disc Two of Double Set (Live At The Robin 2 Club - 2002)|
|2.||"Shakin' All Over"||Frederick Heath||3:37|
|3.||"I Saw Her Standing There"||John Lennon; Paul McCartney||3:43|
|4.||"Hey Joe"||Billy Roberts||5:58|
|5.||"I Am the Walrus"||John Lennon; Paul McCartney||3:21|
|6.||"Cum On Feel the Noize"||Neville Holder; James Lea||5:10|
|7.||"Great Big Family"||James Lea||4:41|
|8.||"I Got You"||James Brown||3:42|
|9.||"You Really Got Me"||Ray Davies||2:48|
|10.||"Far Far Away"||Neville Holder; James Lea||5:34|
|11.||"Pretty Vacant"||Paul Cook, Stephen Jones, Glen Matlock, Johnny Rotten||3:54|
|12.||"Over the Moon"||James Lea||3:57|
|14.||"Goin' Bak to Birmingham"||James Lea||3:23|
|15.||"Mama Weer All Crazee Now"||Neville Holder; James Lea||4:57|
|16.||"Wild Thing"||Chip Taylor||5:17|
|Bonus tracks on Therapy 2016 reissue|
|14.||"21st Century Thing?"||Lea||3:13|
|15.||"Thank God It's Friday Right Now"||Lea||3:21|
|16.||"Am I The Greatest Now?"||Lea||3:51|
Upon release, Bubblegum Slut magazine wrote "It must be frustrating being former Slade guitarist Jim Lea, when all your musical achievements - which on this solo record are quite considerable - all the great British public wants from you is an annual re-appearance to remind them it's Chriiiiistmas! 'Therapy' is an appropriately named, open-hearted, on-the-couch record from a man whose public persona has always been rather one dimensional. As a result there seems to be something of a watershed here; different styles and ideas are crammed in hectically and most songs feature some candid emotional outpouring.
Amid the melee though Lea returns to a couple key themes with enduring affection. Tracks like "The Smile of Elvis" and "Dead Rock U.K." plead for a return to the golden age of Hollywood and the heyday of British rock 'n' roll respectively to a nostalgic soundtrack of Beatles melodies and Squeeze pop prowess. On a personal note the tracks "Time and Emotion" and "Why is Youth Always Wasted on the Young" wonder just that, sighing for far away wild days (the line "I wanna go wild, wild, wild..." cheekily dropped in). "Therapy" is a record which raises a lot of issues for its author - listen only if you're prepared for some seriously thought provoking pop."
The Last Word magazine described the album as a "fantastic solo record from former backbone of Slade" and wrote "Of all the things I didn't expect to enjoy this year, a solo album by the guy who used to play bass (and violin and piano) in Slade was right up there at the top. It's been 16 years since Lea's last album - in which time he's qualified as a psychotherapist - but on this evidence he's kept up with both pop and rock. Especially if it's the sort of pop and rock that owes its very existence to Slade. So, "Great Big Family" and "Your Cine World" appear to have been written by someone who really likes Oasis a lot, whereas "Dead Rock U.K." appears to be someone who actively hates them. Easily done, really. "The Smile of Elvis" and "The Valley of the Kings" would both arm-out-of-the-window bout of drivetime Radio 2. A truly surprising pleasure.
Classic Rock magazine described the album as the "return of the interesting member of Slade" and wrote "Jimmy Lea or as he's now known James Whild Lea was always the most enigmatic, talented and attractive member of Slade (the latter not being a difficult feat!). Now pursuing a successful career as a therapist (hence the title) his solo album seems to be more a labour of love than a stab at a comeback. Virtually a one man show a la Todd Rundgren/Roy Wood, Lea doesn't hide his influences, lyrically it's a universe away from the dyslexic musical football chants of his former employees. "Heaven Can Wait" is a Beach Boys' "God Only Knows" in all but name and "Your Cine World" is the song that Noel Gallagher is waiting to write. It's a treasure trove of lo-fi nuggets. And any album that name checks John Bonham and Phil Lynott in one verse has got to be worth the price of admission. Commendable and inspiring."
Trucking magazine wrote "In 2004, and out of the blue, Jim announced he'd be releasing a new CD called "Therapy". That's now available but only from the www.jimleamusic.com site. OK, it's definitely not Slade Mk II - and it's not even The Dummies Mk II. It's light years from "Cum On Feel the Noize" but is not easy to pigeonhole, being a collection of tracks that are clearly the work of a multi-talented one-man band a la Roy Wood. And while Therapy's pop/rock songs are nowhere near musicailly schizophrenic as Wood's material, the occasional track could be just a little simpler and fly off on a few less tangents. Broadly speaking though, it's a great album to listen to - and 'listen' is the key word. You get the feeling these are personal lyrics, a genuine labour of love in both words and music - and because of that, maybe not necessarily a serious comeback in terms of chart success, but more a case of 'doing what I like, how I like it'. Jim promises more in the future and I personally can't wait."
Robin Dart of Subba-Cultcha wrote a review of the album under the heading "James Whild Lea reminds us that song writing is not a lost art." The review wrote "There really is something to be said for not reading the press release before listening to an album. Who knew James Whild Lea was in 70s nightmares, Slade? I imagine a lot of people actually; but listening to the album with absolutely no preconceptions allows you to enjoy a record on its merits, and enjoy it you will. Therapy is Jim Lea's first solo album since the early 90s, the man who was responsible for penning Slade's hits back in the day, old enough to be your dad, but that is not immediately obvious from listening to the record. Wonderfully crafted songs, it is an album in the true sense. Moving effortlessly from the power ballad 'Universe' which lives up to its expansive name, and 'The Smile Of Elvis', which, if a little sentimental, has the best use of oboe on a rock album since Sufijan Stevens, to the grunge apery of 'Deadrock U.K.' this is a chameleon of an album. Lyrically it can be a little frustrating, 'Why Is Youth Always Wasted On The Young', is all a little bit obvious, and the 'rap' on 'Could God Be A Woman' is dubious, but the tunes and schmaltzy strings is catchy enough to override any doubts raised. On Therapy, James Whild Lea showcases his song-writing ability, by penning the kind of songs which are quite simply really well written. In a world of mediocre songwriters pushing albums on more style than substance this record harks back to the Paul McCartneys of song-writing, welding effective melodies to imaginative arrangements, and it is quite simply a joy."
- Jim Lea - vocals, all musical instruments (except where noted), strings
- Mark Viner Stuart - recording, mixing engineer, drumage, extra percussion
- Trevor Hallesy - recording and mixing on "Universe", additional engineering
- Paul Hodson - pre-production
- John Astley - mastering
- Heidi Bowdler - French Horns
- Vicky Adams - Oboes
- Rob Adams - Trumpet
- Andrew Kosinkski - extra violin on "Heaven Can Wait"
- Graham Carter - all Cellos
- Tony Clarkin - singalong assistance on "The Valley of the Kings"
- Paul Hudson - backing vocals on "Great Big Family" and "Time and Emotion"
- Andrew Sadowski - drums on "Deadrock U.K."
- Alan Barrow - cover photography
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