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2023/4 Albums Thing 286 - Monica Queen “Stop That Girl”

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There are a couple of reasons I went and searched out this album but honestly the first thing I thought of was, I don’t have any albums by artists beginning with the letter Q ! I couldn’t go through this whole thing and not cover all 26 letters of the alphabet, so I hunted this one down.

Now that wasn’t the only reason, when we get to the T’s you’ll find out that I’ve been a long time admirer of Monica Queen and her incredible voice, it just so happened that she released this album in 2022 on clear vinyl and her surname scratched an itch…I have a Q!

I first encountered Monica Queen in a park next to a Sikh Gurdwara in Bilston ! Since then she’s been around a bit, I have a solo album (on CD) from 2001, “Ten Sorrowful Mysteries”, and she made another in 2004. She’s also sung with Tenement and Temple, Belle and Sebastian (on the single “Lazy Line Painter Jane”), The Jayhawks and The Pogues. She really does have an astonishing voice, a voice much, much bigger than her petite stature, and that was what drew me to her in the first place. It’s a voice equal parts Emmylou, Mille Jackson and gentle Scottish Folk, quite the ingredients. 

“Stop That Girl” was recorded live in an old mill building with musicians, many of whom had recorded for groups involved with Glasgow’s legendary Postcard Records (Aztec Camera, The Blue Nile, Bourgie Bourgie, Jazzateers, Love and Money, Paul Quinn and The Independent Group). The track list is a mix of Monica Queen originals and cover versions by the likes of Orange Juice, Captain Beefheart, Gene Clark and The Velvet Underground.

Opener “Give You Love” is (I believe but I’m happy to be corrected) a song originally by Bourgie Bourgie. That is followed by Captain Beefheart’s “Too Much Time” originally from his 1972 album “Clear Spot”. Now I’ve had a long standing dislike of Captain Beefheart, to my mind he’s a vastly overrated chancer responsible for way too much unlistenable garbage, but Monica turns this into a Southern Soul style belter, think something akin to “Too Busy Thinking About My Baby”. I have no clue what the original is like and honestly, even less desire to find out.

“Stop That Girl”s title song is from Vic Godard’s. 1986 album “T.R.O.U.B.L.E.” and is another pop soul delight. That’s followed by the first of Monica’s originals “What Is Home ?” a shimmering, fragile ballad backed by a string section.

The next two songs “Deep In My Bones” and “I Want You To Stop, You're Killing Me” close side 1 and open side 2 respectively. Both are written by Douglas McIntyre, formerly a member of the Jazzateers and Love & Money. Whoever the guitar player is on both of these songs is channeling the sound of Monica’s old band Thrum.

The absolute highlight of this album is the version of Gene Clark’s (he of The Byrds) stunning “Why Not Your Baby”. Originally recorded during the session for Clark’s 1968 album with Doug Dillard, “The Fantastic Expedition of Dillard & Clark”, but not included on the album, it was eventually released as a standalone single in 1969. It’s an utterly gorgeous song (one that convinced me to invest in a 3xLP best of Gene Clark) which Monica delivers fantastically well. I really wished there was a YouTube link to it that I could drop in here for you but no such thing seems to exist. I’d urge you to go listen to Gene Clark’s original.

Unusually for music now, very little of this album is available to stream or download anywhere. I did read somewhere that the record itself had to be withdrawn due to some copyright difficulties. If anyone out there knows anymore about this record or anything else Monica Queen is up to, I’m all ears.

Too Much Time - https://youtu.be/xGBWegRdnEc?si=q2CdJAOzeWyprKEl

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