WENDY JAMES returns with her new album QUEEN HIGH STRAIGHT. Released on 1st May 2020, it is her 5th solo album. English singer-songwriter Wendy, who was born in London, exploded onto the British music scene in 1988 as the fearless frontwoman of chart-topping alt-rockers Transvision Vamp. When the band disbanded Wendy went on to collaborate with Elvis Costello, James Williamson (Iggy & the Stooges), Lenny Kaye (The Patti Smith Group) and James Sclavunos (Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds), who joins her on drums and percussions for QUEEN HIGH STRAIGHT. Also joining her on this album are James Sedwards (lead guitar), Harry Bohay (bass), Alex J. Ward & Terry Edwards (horn section) and Louis Vause (accordion).
Wendy began writing QUEEN HIGH STRAIGHT after a long stretch of writing/recording/delivering/touring her previous album ‘The Price Of The Ticket’, which charted in the UK at No.14. Wendy says of the title track, “I gravitated toward some jazzy type of chords which lent a gentle lilt to the song, it sounded smooth and it reminded me of when I was a young child listening to Sergio Mendes ‘Brazil ’66’! Some of those lovely chord progressions, some of that lovely harmonizing the singers did and of course Bacharach and David.”
“Overall, my taste and style have not changed with time,” Wendy says. “The music that excites me now, ultimately, is the same as when I was starting out songwriting and back through my days in Transvision Vamp. I continue to marvel at Lou Reed and The Velvet Underground, I continue to be blown away by The Stooges, I continue to be everlastingly enthralled by Bob Dylan, but of course, the older one gets the more one discovers and I am now informed more cohesively and fully by all the music, new and old, which settles into my consciousness.
“My track listings are never altered from the order in which I write the songs, maybe it’s because it’s too tangential for me to try to shuffle songs around but really I think, in some kind of holistic way, the order in which the songs are written must surely be the very most natural order for them to be listed in. Around about song 14 ‘Bliss Hotel’ I hit a wall. I did not know where the inspiration was going to come from! But then somehow, miraculously, it comes again and one pushes on through, as it turned out, to some of my favourite songs on the entire album. My perfect moment? song 18 ‘Cancel It… I’ll See Him On Monday’; it was a ‘Eureka’ moment. I ran out into the garden and started dancing, “I’ve got it! I’ve got it!!!”
Elsewhere on the album, Wendy embraces Motown with ‘Here Comes The Beautiful One’ and ‘Little Melvin’, she returns, once again, to her favourite guitar guttural filth and sex for ‘Perilous Beauty’ and an unlikely-sounding love song in ‘Chicken Street’, 90’s pop groove in ‘Ratfucking’, melancholia in ‘Testimonial’, Django Reinhardt whimsy in ‘I’ll Be Here When The Morning Comes’. On ‘The Impression Of Normalcy’, Wendy says, “Thanks to James Sclavunos, who told me to “speed the fucking song up”, I have a proper speed punk song.” Finally, track 20 ‘Kill Some Time Blues’ is the ultimate 60’s girl group number.
Listen to the first double-A single ‘Perilous Beauty/ Chicken Street’ - BELOW:
Wendy recently toured the UK with her permanent band THE WENDY JAMES BAND opening for The Psychedelic Furs, which was a huge success. She will be playing a 19-date UK tour in May – dates below.
Wendy currently divides her time between New York City, Paris, South France and London
1. Queen High Straight
2. Perilous Beauty
3. Free Man Walk
4. Stomp Down, Snuck Up
5. Little Melvin
6. Marlene et Fleur
7. A Heart Breaking Liar’s Promise
8. Here Comes The Beautiful One
9. Chicken Street
11. Bar Room Brawl & Benzedrine Blues
13. She Likes To Be (Underneath Somebody)
14. Bliss Hotel
15. Freak In
16. The Impression Of Normalcy
17. I’ll Be Here When The Morning Comes
18. Cancel It… I’ll See Him On Monday
19. Sugar Boy
20. Kill Some Time Blues
All songs written, produced and mixed by Wendy James.
5TH MAY TUNBRIDGE WELLS FORUM
5TH MAY SWANSEA CINEMA & CO
7TH MAY BRISTOL FLEECE
8TH MAY NORWICH ARTS CENTRE
9TH MAY STOKE ON TRENT THE SUGARMILL
11TH MAY NOTTINGHAM RESCUE ROOMS
12TH MAY MANCHESTER DEAF INSTITUTE
13TH MAY BRIGHTON CONCORDE 2
14TH MAY LONDON ISLINGTON o2
15TH MAY CARDIFF CLWB IFOR BACH
16TH MAY PORTSMOUTH WEDGEWOOD ROOMS
17TH MAY GUILDFORD BOILEROOM
19TH MAY LEEDS BRUDENELL SOCIAL CLUB
20TH MAY NEWCASTLE CLUNY
21ST MAY GLASGOW GIG TUTS
22ND MAY BIRMINGHAM INSTITUTE 3
23RD MAY CAMBRIDGE JUNCTION
24TH MAY BLACKPOOL WATERLOO MUSIC BAR
25TH MAY EDINBURGH BANNERMANS
The album is available as a 20 track deluxe gatefold double vinyl, gatefold deluxe CD, regular CD and Digital Download / Streaming.