Micky Greaney: And Now It’s All That

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Well this is an odd one to start with.  Firstly it’s not even a vinyl rip because my phono stage is making an annoying humming noise, so until it’s fixed, I’ll have to stick to CDs.  Secondly, this album has never been released, and it has no artwork or even track titles.  So why bother?

Micky is one of music’s great underachievers.  He’s been called Birmingham’s greatest ever songwriter.  In the 90s he had residencies at Ronnie Scott’s in Birmingham and London.  He recorded an album with John Leckie at Abbey Road.   Despite this he’s released nothing at all, at least not officially, and rarely performs.  Plagued by health problems, a lack of confidence, maybe alcoholism and a general lack of organisation, things never really got moving for Micky, and after the Leckie recording, he disappeared completely for many years.

Various figures on the local music scene have tried to take him under their wing and kick start some sort of comeback, believing that if only someone took care of everything so that all Micky had to do was turn up and sing, all would be well.  All attempts failed after a few low key gigs and Micky fell back into obscurity.

I’ve seen him live quite a few times.  Mostly just Micky and an acoustic guitar, as often as not in a tiny cafe in a garden centre, always with a small, but enthusiastic audience.  His material is mostly superb, and his delivery absolutely gut wrenching.  His intensity puts me in mind of Bonnie “Prince” Billy, although his style is completely different.  Given half a chance Micky goes for big jazz influenced arrangements, but really he’s at his best alone with an acoustic guitar.  All the extras tend to drown out much of what makes him worth listening to in the first place.

His debut album, “Little Symphonies For The Kids” was self released, and as far as I can tell was never available other than from Micky himself.  I bought my copy from Micky after a gig.  I may post that at some point in the future since it’s no longer available.

The Leckie album was recorded in 1996 but never saw the light of day for reasons that were never really clear, although it was at about that time that Micky’s health took a dive and he disappeared from the scene.

A couple of years ago he recorded a particularly intense acoustic gigs, promising to release it as a live album.  True to form though it never materialised.

He’s currently in the midst of his latest comeback, which is rather more organised than anything I’ve seen before.  He has a band, great new material, and is gigging, albeit very rarely. The band is great and it’s easy to see why Micky enjoys playing that way, but I much prefer him solo. He’s even shot a video of some of the new material, but still nothing has appeared officially and the gigs are as rare as ever.

At the start of this particular comeback, at a free gig in the bar of Birmingham’s Symphony Hall, something astonishing happened. Mickey was selling CDRs of the legendary John Leckie album. I’d long since given up hope of ever hearing it, but here it was, and in two versions no less: normal and extended. Both were just folded up in a sheet of A4 paper with no tracklisting or artwork. After that there were no more CDs for sale, at least not at any of the gigs I went to.

So here it is, the long lost Leckie album in its extended form. It’s overproduced of course and as a result a bit blanded out, but Mickey’s superb material and delivery are there. If anyone has a tracklisting for this, please get in touch.

At this point I’d like to direct you somewhere to buy Micky’s music, but since there’s none available, all you can do is watch out for gigs (rarely outside Birmingham though) and do a search on youtube

15 comments

  1. Andy

    Ta for this – I think that Mighty Mighty’s lead singer Hugh was responsible for putting out Little Symphonies For The Kids – must dig out my copy.

  2. Vinyl301

    Hi Andy,

    Yes, I think you’re right. I remember talking to Hugh about it years ago. Does your copy of Symphonies have proper artwork? Mine doesn’t, although I did find some images, on Amazon I think, which look like it did have a cover. Would appreciate a scan if you have them.

    Cheers.

  3. Andy

    My copy does have a sleeve – it’s the B&W cover that appears on Amazon. Just had a fruitless search for it. Will resume the hunt another time. Most of the music I download off the internet is stuff I already have on vinyl or CD, but would take me at least an hour to locate!

  4. Vinyl301

    Yes, I know what you mean. Since I ripped all my CDs and put them on a server, I no longer play them, so finding a particular one can be a bit of an issue. Don’t bust a gut over this – having low-res artwork is hardly the end of the world!

  5. Pingback: The Jazz Butcher: Spooky | Vinyl301
  6. Michael

    How can I get a copy of Micky Greaney’s second album produced by John Leckie? ( in any format) I am a long term and long suffering fan of his music.. Enjoyed your post . Michael Mc

    • Vinyl301

      The John Leckie album is this one. His other album, Little Symphonies For The Kids (produced by Bob Lamb, not John Leckie)) is impossible to find because it never had an official release. I bought mine from Micky years ago, but they’re all long gone. He did a few CDrs a couple of years ago, but they’re gone too.

      It’ll get posted here – I’d do it now but my internet connection is so flaky this week I can’t upload albums. Hopefully next week it’ll be working normally.

  7. Michael

    I also bought my CD of \”Symphonies\” from Micky at his gig years ago. Is there any link to this long lost second album of his via your website that I could download please? You tube links and your posts very informative thanks Andy but I would love to hear more of the album I first listened to in Ronnie Scotts in Birmingham Broad Street before he went to Sawmills and Abbey Road to try and record it with Leckie. Google search reveals Radio to Go as a local website in Brum with an interview with Micky and download of \”Sweetheart\” a track from this \”lost\” era. Thanks – Michael

    • Vinyl301

      The link is the first comment, but you have to do a bit of cutting and pasting to get it to work. Click the “Getting Music” tab if you can’t figure it out.

  8. Pingback: Micky Greaney: Little Symphonies For The Kids | Vinyl301

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