"Make another failure like that... And you'll be immortal" Thus begins the autobiography of Liverpool's Zelig-like figure musician, Paul Simpson.
Simpson's is a storied career, the first keyboard player in Teardrop Explodes, writer and singer Revolutionary Spirit by Wild Swans, "the greatest single ever released on Zoo Records." (Bill Drummond). The other Wild Swans eventually left him and ended up on Top of the Pops as The Lotus Eaters... Simpson was the singer in the duo Care with Ian Broudie that had a proper pop hit then promptly left, forcing Broudie to go it alone as The Lightning Seeds. Simpson then reformed Wild Swans having college radio hits in the US but nothing anywhere else. He released solo records for years to little acclaim before hearing that somehow or other he was a star courtesy of his Wild Swans and Care songs in The Philippines, so plays gigs to great local acclaim firstly with a band made up of the likes of ex-Bunnyman Les Pattinson, and Ricki Maymi of Brian Jonestown Massacre, then with a Filipino Wild Swans tribute band...
So far so good but we've heard or read most of it before because, like there are now at least 35 books telling the Factory Records story, so you find yourself reading the same stories about the Eric's/Zoo Records scene in Liverpool via numerous books by Bill Drummond, Julian Cope, Will Sergeant, Ian Broudie et al.
What sets Paul Simpson's excellent book apart from all the others is the writing. Simpson's lyrics were always big, flamboyant stories, and this is reflected in the way he has written this book. There are great set pieces, genuinely funny writing throughout, but the book retains a quite down to earth charm at the same time.
Unlike a lot of the books by the musicians above you can read Revolutionary Spirit without knowing much about the Liverpool scene and still enjoy it as much as I did.
If Outsideleft gave out stars or hearts for books like the do for record and films this would get 4.5 out of 5 simply because we've still not had an autobiography by Liverpool raconteur in chief Cliff God aka Pete Wylie.
Just to update even before this book has been published , Paul Simpson has already been commissioned to write a second volume. I can't wait!
Paul Simpson's Revolutionary Spirit, published by Jawbone is available here