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Jack Badcock - 9th May 2024


II can’t remember the last time I was at a folk club and someone sang a song about physics! Jack Badcock did that, albeit from a poetic perspective… but more on that later.

The first thing you notice when Jack opens his mouth to sing is that he can sing. Boy can he sing. Not everyone who picks up a guitar and vests themselves in the folk singer mantle is gifted a decent voice. Jacks voice effortlessly cruises past ‘decent’ without a gear change straight into the ‘braw’ sphere. If pushed I’d compare his vocal qualities with, perhaps, Michael Bublé, there’s a tonality, a textural richness and a mastery of the notes - melody is in his command. Another comparison which surfaced in my mind would be a young Jim Malcolm, another fine singer from whom music just radiates.

Jack is one quarter of the folk Goliath that is Dallahan, but as a solo prospect he is something quite different. If pushed to pigeonhole him I’d posit folkyjazzyfunky as an apt description of where his music lies but it could equally be jazzyfunkyfolky.

As a songwriter he started taking things seriously only about 5 years ago and, in that time, he has developed into a fine writer; listening to his album - Cosmography - his first ‘proper’ release – I hear songs and performances wreathed in a maturity that belie his age and time served in the craft.

And, at Crail, without the support of the folk ‘n’ jazz giants who accompany him on the album, as a solo performer his songs stand on their own two feet accompanied solely by his nimble-fingered acoustic guitar work

Particular favourites - The Ghost of Leland Birch, a cousin’s poem set to Jack’s music which toasts the illicit high octane potcheen making legend and ‘host we love the most’ Leyland Birch whose bottle, if you have the throttle to drink from it will show you the promised land. Agapi Mou – ‘my love’ in Greek is a tender letter of love to
Jack’s Greek partner and oh by the way, they’re expecting a baby in a couple of weeks so you heard it here first!

A show-stopping, interpretation of All My Trials (Joan Baez et al) brought a haar like hush down - if a pin fell it would have deafened.
And finally, Entropy, the aforementioned song about physics. What’s that about?

Here’s some science…The concept of entropy is a measure of disorder in a system. Physical systems always move inevitably to a state of disorder; to a state of thermodynamic equilibrium. From the 2nd law of thermodynamics, energy always disperses, it’s why your tea gets cold and your pint gets warm. Cosmologically speaking the universe itself is moving to a state of energy equilibrium, towards flat
featureless energy with no stars, no planets, no you and no me - the heat death of the universe.

And Jack, cheerily reminded us of this existential position we find ourselves in … ‘it’s called Entropy’… prosaic but apt… why sweat the title when the word entropy is exotic enough! And who knew the heat death of the universe could sound so funky!

Badcock shoots straight into the premier league with a top-drawer debut album under his belt and highly covetable chops, if he can sustain his muse it’ll be fascinating to watch him develop and mature further as an artist.

How Crail Folk Club keeps coming up with such quality is a mystery. Is the club built on a ley line? Has Tony K forged a Robert Johnson-esque pact with the cloven hoofed one in exchange for a golden touch? Who knows? But, let me tell you this… something mighty spooky is goin’ on there, something uncanny… ‘taint natural!

Words by Callum MacLeod.  Photos by Peter Salkeld

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