Billy Jenkins


Available online at

Track List
Ronald Reagan
Ray Charles
Johnny Cash
Doris Day
Don King
Oliver North/Twisted
Charles Manson
Elvis Presley.

Billy Jenkins - electric guitar
Martin Speake - alto sax
Steve Watts - double bass
Roy Dodds -drums
with contributions from:-

Tony Messenger (voc); John Eacott (tpt); Mark Lockheart (t sax); John Harborne (tbn); Django Bates (kbds, voc); Maria Lamburn (vla) ; Huw Warren (acc, cel); Dawson (perc); Martin France (ride cym,voc); Suzy M, Lindy Lou, Tina G & Lol Graves (voc, party noises). 

Recorded and Produced by Tony Messenger

Recorded at Wood Wharf Studios, London SE10 9th June 1990; 20th February, 18-26th March, 2,4,9,15-19,29,30th April, 7,9,13th May 1991.

First released on CD May 1994 by Babel (BDV9401) 

How the West was Won

This album was actually recorded twice. On 29th April the VOGC assembled in the so called 'Front Studio' at Wood Wharf. B.J. and T.M.(Tony Messenger) were nervous. This was to be the first full blown recording away from Waterfront Studios. Billy had surveyed the room daily for maybe two years. Eventually T.M. installed eight track equipment and at last the great day came. The results of that spring Sunday afternoon? Well, Billy simply said he just sat and looked at the river for six hours - something he rarely had time to do. The music, consequently, was "too laid back." A curious explanation considering the overall sound of the music was to be small band American folkie/popular/jazzy/bluesy/rootsy.

Nonetheless, BJ knew better and so he recalled Speake, Watts and Dodds for 9th June, a Saturday - that probably being the only time the key players could meet. But one could also presume that BJ anticipated more of a 'Saturday' vibe than a 'Sunday' one....

With the backing tracks recorded, T.M. bounced the eight track masters onto sixteen track. Why? Because apart from upgrading the multi track machine but  also knew that an extra analogue transfer would actually add a touch of 'backwoods field recording' to the finished article. Sincere eight track simple miking of simple music could now be hung on a slightly more sophisticated piece of equipment - which would be used to add slightly more sophisticated sounds, or as BJ put it in a letter 29.6.90 to featured alto saxophonist Martin Speake: " .....so Tony and me can carefully weave in a weird-monster-paste-up of all things American as seen by the disinterested but inevitably inspired and curious white English person. So we have four sweet players busking away up front - of which your voice is the fulcrum. Behind - a morass!'

Entertainment U.S.A. Spin-Off Industry

 A book of poems inspired by the music on the CD (Entertainment USA: The Poems) and written by Ivor Cutler, Mick Gowan, Laurence Staig, Andrew Davies, Nick Moore, Rupert M.Loydell, Alexis Lykiard, Hugh Lupton and Fred Sedgewick was published by Stride Publications (ISBN 873012 99 3).

These poems, accompanied by the music were premiered at the 1995 Bath Literary Festival.

How times change. Fifteen years previously T&J had been lampooning such dubious collaborations (documented on the 'Live From London's   Comic Strip' album) with the aptly named piece, 'Jazz and Poetry.' When pushed on this, BJ insists that  T&J were satirising 'bad' music and poetry, whilst the  poems inspired by 'USA' were 'good,' replying with true American brashness - "because the music was."

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