JACKIE LOMAX, WHO DIED at the weekend, was one of the great mislaid talents of British rock. As one of The Undertakers, he was a contemporary of the Beatles on the Liverpool beat scene at the turn of the ’60s, and was the recipient of the Fabs’ well-meaning but ultimately misdirected largesse as a signee to their scattershot Apple label. Lomax is possibly best known for his cult rendering of George Harrison’s Sour Milk Sea, a brilliantly excitable recording of a song whose typically accusatory tone probably doomed it to chart failure (cheers, George) despite the contributions of McCartney, Harrison, Ringo, Eric Clapton and Nicky Hopkins – no mean backing group. Yet the subsequent album title, Is This What You Want?, almost implied its makers’ lack of confidence in its commercial appeal.
How The Web Was Woven was Lomax’s final single for Apple, recorded when he was already halfway out of the door and destined for a shortlived berth in Heavy Jelly, yet his authentic country-soul phrasing and the quality accompaniment by the on-fire Leon Russell makes for a terrific, rough-and-ready version of this Clive Westlake/David Most tune.
And here is is...
Of course, and perhaps typically of the Lomax story, the big guns were about to roll up and blow his version out of the water. Ladeezngennelmen, cue Elvis.
Lomax soldiered on through the ’70s. There were solo albums on Warner Bros and Capitol, and plenty of quality, typically unshowy performances. And although the big breakthrough remained as elusive as ever, those who met ‘Liverpool Slim’ say there was no bitterness in him. File him in the annals of Mersey might’vebeens whom savants will always value.