John Platania on stage.
Our dear friend Richard Devlin pulls through once again getting the very talented guitar wizard John Platania to reminisce about his brief encounter with Jimmy during the making of Stumbledown Romancer. Normally John is recording and performing with Van Morrison but his resume also includes other world-class recording artists including Randy Newman, Bonnie Raitt, Judy Collins and Natalie Merchant. Many thanks to both Richard and Mr. Platania.
I flipped over Jimmy's voice the moment I first heard him. I think it was on Robin Trower's first solo album -"Twice Removed From Yesterday". His voice affected me as much as Robin's playing & that's saying a lot.
Man what is it about Glasgow? Besides Jimmy, some other really soulful mothers came out of that tough city - like Davey Pattison & Frankie Miller to name just a couple. Maybe the water?....probably the scotch. But for me, Jimmy was at the top of that mountain.
Bottomline, there's only one way to describe his voice.....soulful.....effortlessly soulful. Jimmy was a completely unaffected & natural soul singer.
Almost as tragic as his untimely passing is how underrated he was & sadly still is. As far as I'm concerned he's right up there with best & I've played guitar for a couple of the best.
Speaking of which, it was at the end of a Van Morrison tour back in '80 or '81 - I think - when Wullie Roche - part of Van's stage production team back then - approached Daoud Shaw, David Hayes & myself and asked if we'd be interested in cutting a few tracks for James' solo album. I for one didn't have to think twice.
So every night for the next few nights or so we grabbed a taxi from Central London to Matthew Fisher's studio in Croydon to record some songs that ultimately became part of, what I believe, Jimmy's only solo album - "Stumbledown Romancer".
The sessions, as I recall, were fun & truly relaxed. What a great great time we had! What, with the quiet genius of Matthew Fisher producing & engineering, a constant flow of tea, great songs and of course with Jimmy's voice delivering them - how could it not be?`
So, God bless you Jimmy....may you rest in peace. It was a honor to have known you for that short while & a privilege to have played guitar for you all those years ago.
- John Platania