The reason Jack Lukeman’s (Jack L) album, ‘The 27 Club” isn’t getting a regular review, is because you’ve all heard the songs before and all of these songs will have some personal meaning to any number people. So I have decided to look at this albums entirely subjectively, as that is the way anyone who listens to it will judge any given song on the album. Also it’s honestly not possible for me to review Jack L subjectively, plus I am fascinated with the club 27….
- Paint it Black (Rolling Stones- Brian Jones “Death By Misadventure” at 27) – I have to admit it in a public forum now; I don’t like The Rolling Stones. I think they are overrated and only have a handful of decent songs. This song has been a favourite of mine since my early teens, despite my anti-Stones stance and Lukeman enhances it tremendously. It keeps it’s haunting presence, only increasingly so, and Lukeman’s voice adds a drama that Jagger’s couldn’t.
- Touch Me (The Doors- Jim Morrisson alleged heart failure at 27)- I wouldn’t go so far as to say I am a huge fan of The Doors but I love many of their songs, and while I like this one, it wouldn’t be on my top three list. Lukeman was made to sing this song though, it seems. His voice is clean cut and it is reminiscent of the sexy, poetic sounding vocals of the wonderfully whimsical Morrisson.
- Killing Moon (Echo and The Bunnymen- Pete De Fritas Motorcycle Accident at 27)- Like most people in their early 20’s I discovered this song, and the post-punk heroes, through Donnie Darko. It is still one of my favourite songs of all time and I was skeptical when I saw that Lukeman covered it. My doubts were laid to rest immediately; it is decidedly different to the original which is fantastic as carbon copies tend to run dry. With the string arrangement this could easily have been a lost-bond theme.
- Purple Haze & Voodoo Chile (Jimi Hendrix Asphyxiation at 27)- I am a massive Jimi Hendrix fan, I was raised right by my brothers, you see. Purple is jazzed up a bit and it couldn’t possibly be further from the original unless it was an entirely different song. The famous guitar riff is hidden among hazy piano and it works perfectly. It segues seamlessly into Voodoo Chile which really takes off with a rock feeling to it. Amazing is the only word to describe it.
- Goin’ Up The Country (Canned Heat- Alan Wilson, Overdose at 27)- Canned Heat. I’ve never really listen to them fanatically but this is a great version of a classic song. There is something about the way in which Jack L sings it that brings to mind Johnny Cash; another musical legend.
- Mercedes Benz (Janis Joplin – Possible Heroin Overdose at 27)- Janis Joplin is a musical legend though and through and it you can’t take away from her songs, you can’t make them your own, and thankfully Jack L doesn’t try. It is just his voice singing the well known song, and it is actually very refreshing to hear a man singing it in such a different tone.
- Motorcycle Emptiness (Manic Street Preachers, Richey Edwards, Missing at 27, Officially Presumed dead in 2008)– I was nervous about this one as well. It has been one of those songs I have carried with me, pretty much since I was old enough to give meaning to a song. I love it and Jack L does it justice, so much so that it is likely to jerk a few tears (sniff). The only problem is, when I try to sing along with it, which I can’t resist, I can’t keep in time with Lukeman’s version.
- Smells Like Teenspirit (Nirvana, Kurt Cobain, Suicide at 27)- As silly as it may seem, I have three number 1 favourite bands, and Nirvana is one of them. I am not one of those fans that shuns every cover of any of their songs and because the original is so stale I welcome most covers of Teenspirit with open ears. I love this version; it’s haunting and quite possibly is a taste of the direction Cobain would have liked to take Nirvana if he had the will to go on.
- Ruby Tuesday (Rolling Stones)- Another rare song that I like by The Rolling Stones; in fact it was the second ringtone I ever had on my Nokia 3210 when I was in primary school… anyway, Jack L achieves the impossible here. He makes an already stunningly beautiful song even more emotive. It theatrical, passionate and Lukeman’s voice perfects it.
- Up on The Roof (The Drifters, Rudy Lewis, Drug Overdose at 27)- Ah, I was wondering when this would turn up. Lukeman’s voice tones down a bit in this classic R&B song. Lewis’ voice is one of the most memorable voices to sing with drifters and he pays a wonderful tribute.
- The Crystal Ship (The Doors)- As I said I’m not the biggest doors fan in the world and I actually never heard this song before. I compared it to the original and once again I have myself wondering what it would be like if Jack L was in a Doors Tribute band. He eloquently sings Morrison’s provocative lyrics. Wonderful.
- Lithium (Nirvana)- Not sure about this one. It’s very “Lounge singer does Nirvana” and I have to say, I chuckled at the “Yeah-eah-eah-eah” bit. I don’t think this one is well suited to Lukeman’s voice or style of singing. Some songs are better left untouched.
- Love is a Losing Game (Amy Winehouse, Alcohol Poisoning at 27)- I was upset by this. People who know me very well will know that I am huge fan of Amy Winehouse. I’ve loved her since her début album Frank and sometimes I forget that she passed away last year. It genuinely upsets and Jack L couldn’t have picked a better song to pay tributed to fragile and damaged songstress.
- Keep Dancing (Jack L, Still Going at 39)- I love Jack L, his music is haunting and totally original but because this was a cover album, I don’t really get what it’s on here.
- Thirteen (Big Star, Chris Bell, Car accident at 27)- I won’t lie, the prospect of Jack L singing this power pop classic excited but I am also moved by this acoustic version. It’s not as jaw dropping as many of the tracks on the album but it is worth a listen.
- Jumpin’ Jack Flash (Rolling Stones)- Not a fan of this song, in general, and Jack L doesn’t venture too far away from the original. He is obviously a huge fan of The Stones and it has to be said he does at a new level to their songs with his deeper, less whiney voice.
- Love in Vain (Robert Johnson, allegedly poisoned at 27) Robert Johnson was one of the first to join Club 27 back in the 1930s. This is one of those songs that most people know and Lukeman does it totally unplugged. It’s excellent, intimate sounding and thankfully it doesn’t veer away from the bluesy notation of the song.
- Alabama Song (The Doors)- I LOVE this song and have for many years. When I younger I thought it was quite a funny song, but now I realise how dark and worrying the song is; it is probably a great insight into how Morrisson’s mind work. This is a great one to end it on; all of the members of club 27 were troubled by mental illness, drug addiction or alcoholism and this truly reflects that in the words of one the most famed members.
Overall this is an entertaining listen; if you’re anything like me you will appreciate a clever cover song and there are plenty of them on this album. Jack L will be taking his Club 27 show to the Olympia on November 30th. Visit Ticketmaster.ie.