Paul Heaton & Jacqui Abbott will release their third album ‘Crooked Calypso’ on Virgin EMI on 21st July. ‘Crooked Calypso’ boasts all the hallmarks of Heaton’s peerless songwriting: songs buoyant with melody, and redolent with biting wit, but also real emotion. Opening track ‘I Gotta Praise’, a euphoric secular Gospel anthem, raises the roof and opens the record in style. ‘The Lord Is A White Con’, meanwhile, considers religion as an exploitative tool of empire builders, while ‘She Got The Garden’ is the wittiest divorce song since ‘D-I-V-O-R-C-E’. And then there is ‘Blackwater Banks’, a gorgeous Irish waltz that the Dubliners would be proud to call their own.
Produced by long time collaborator John Williams who produced both Housemartins albums and the previous two Paul Heaton & Jacqui Abbott albums – ‘What Have We Become’ (’14) and ‘Wisdom, Laughter & Lines’ (’15) both reaching Top 5 in the charts – the record was recorded at the Chairworks studios in Castleford West Yorkshire. As is Paul Heaton’s habit the lyrics were written in Monnickendam and Volendam in Holland and the music was composed in a hotel in Puerto Rico, Gran Canaria in the Canary Islands. Since 1985 (ie every song he’s written since ‘Flag Day’ and ‘Happy Hour’ with the Housemartins) Heaton has recorded the songwriting process on an old portable Phillips tape recorder, but for this record he has dramatically broken with tradition and has committed the early versions of the songs to a smart phone.
Paul Heaton & Jacqui Abbott are playing a sell out show at Hull’s 23,000 capacity KCOM Craven Park Stadium today (Saturday 3rd June).
Says Paul: “This album was good fun to write. The whole process of songwriting for me has become easier, more enjoyable. I used to go away to write songs, and put myself in a deliberate rut in pursuit of melancholy. I don’t do that anymore.
I suppose it’s been a good few years for me. There’s a sense that people are happy to see us again. That’s made me more confident, and I suppose you can see that in the writing. Don’t get me wrong, I’m still grumpy, but I’m content in my grumpiness now. I’m no longer frothing at the mouth.”
Says Jacqui: “Singing was something I was never going to do with my life. I just sort of fell into it, an accident, the result of me being in the right place at the right time. But I’ve always loved singing Paul’s songs, and I love them even more now. I’m biased, of course, but he’s just becoming better and better. It’s an honour to sing alongside him.”
The full tracklisting of ‘Crooked Calypso’ is:
1. I Gotta Praise
2. He Wants To
3. If I May
4. She Got The Garden
5. People Like Us
6. Blackwater Banks
7. The Lord Is A White Con
8. Silence Is
9. Love Makes You Happy
10. The Fat Man
11. Your Bit Of Stuff
12. He Can’t Marry Her
The deluxe edition will feature four additional new songs:
13. Market Street
14. Since My Dearest Husband
15. The Future Mrs Heaton
16. The Dice