Jack Lukeman’s 27 Club

It doesn’t matter what you call Jack.  He could be Lukeman, he could be the lock man or he could be plain old Jack Loughman from the garage in Athy.  He could be Jack L, and there was a time when he might have been Jacques Brel, but despite his shape-shifting persona, Jack remains as constant as the seasons – a lifesaving beacon on a turbulent musical ocean.

He has a new thing going these days — or at least, new for me, because I drifted away from him a little over the years, for no good reason.  When Jack was a regular on the stage at Dolans, camping it up with a feather boa, I was a regular in the audience, bouncing along with his bedsprings, being that sailor in the port of Amsterdam, chuckling along with Jackie, that demented old gigolo, and when Jack made his final bow of an evening, the men all cheered, while the women all murmured, Ne me quitte pas, cher Jack.  Ne me quitte pas.

Jack had style when he was simply L, and he still has style now that he’s added ukeman to the initial.

What’s he doing these days, the dissolute old reprobate?

It’s this: he’s touring the 27 Club.

Do you need to ask what that is?  No.  Of course you didn’t.  It’s Kurt Cobain.  It’s Brian Jones.  It’s Amy Winehouse, Robert Johnson, Jim Morrison, Janis Joplin, Jimi Hendrix.  There’s Alan Wilson and Pete Ham.  There’s Pete de Freitas.

Jack covers them all but I have to say that the highlight of the evening for me was his simply staggering a capella version of Ol’ Man River in honour of Jesse Belvin.  I’ve listened to everyone from Aretha Franklin to Bing Crosby sing this song, but I have never, ever heard anyone  imbue it with the heart and soul that Jack gave it in Dolans Warehouse last night, turning it into a song that, for me, suddenly made sense after all these years.  Jack L lifted this song out of the cabaret world and slammed it straight in the middle of Robert Johnson’s crossroads where it belongs.

And speaking of Robert Johnson, who’d have though that the old Jack would be singing Love in Vain with an intensity matched only by Mick Jagger on Let it Bleed and the devil-dealing bluesman himself?  For all I know, Jack is no stranger to a spot of negotiation with the Dark One, since he seems immune to ageing and that handsome baritone voice simply grows rounder and richer with every passing year.

This is not to my credit but I’ll admit it anyway: I didn’t know Jack had such depth and breadth.  I didn’t expect ever to hear him singing Smells Like Teen Spirit.  I’d never have expected to hear him covering Canned Heat or the Rolling Stones.  I certainly wouldn’t have expected to see him strap on an axe and play dirty angry rhythm on Jumpin Jack Flash, but that says more about my ignorance than it does about multi-faceted Jack Loughman.

Here’s a thing that surprised me: so many young(ish) people know all the words of songs like Ruby Tuesday, Mercedes Benz and Paint It Black.  I was a babe in arms when these were in the charts, so how do twenty-somethings know them?  But that’s a by-the-way.

Jack has his finger on the pulse.  He retains that sardonic and slightly satanic glint, while never losing his South Kildare accent, for which I applaud him.  No mid-Atlantic bullshit for Jack L.

If you can possibly get to see this show, off you go.  Go out and buy this album, because Jack L / Lukeman / Loughman is a national resource.

Tellin’ ya now.

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12 thoughts on “Jack Lukeman’s 27 Club

  1. He is beyond epic and a nice guy to boot! I have had the pleasure of seeing him live a good few times now and every time is something new, he is fantastic and a stellar performer :) and that voice, Uggghhhh its like velvet! :D

  2. Hi praise indeed! Especially for a muck save from the savagery of A Thai Cown tee Kill Dare, Hi. I played there manys a time and they weren’t happy until the local yokel dropped his pants to his chosen song every single gig, every feckin time, without fail. He has my admiration for making a living outside of that shithole playing a few tunes. Whereas you so rightly pointed out, JL held on to his accent,where others like the Stunning/Walls or even lead singer of Bell End 1(who’s from Kilmallock BTW) adopted the sawnd of the rawndabawt!

  3. Nanana.
    JL and VM both represent the best of Irish. (In my opinion)
    Would you rather thon would-be blitz kid with his faux gravitas an’ girly boots
    Or the third party in Ireland’s triple gift to humanity RG?
    Fuck U2, a bunch of onanistic cocksuckers wi bendy backs.
    Parasitic cunts.
    Bono is not fit to lick Joe Dolan’s boot, but he can gie yon cunt “Gay by nature” Byrne
    a fucking Harley and the nation goes intae rapture. Gay Bikers on mushrooms fae Tesco’s.
    A bunch ae fucking poofs.
    Go tell Pat Kenny that the taxman is asking questions.

  4. Agree completely about Old Man River, ’twas worth the admission price just to hear that. A fantastic show by Jack and the band – drummer was excellent as well.

    Going to buy the CD at lunchtime today.

  5. Jack is beyond brilliant, he never disapoints, best live performer ever, the 27 club CD IS FANTASTIC.

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