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