Pulling a couple of paragraphs from the dictionary concerning the word Magic; ‘the power of apparently influencing events by using mysterious or supernatural forces’, ‘having or apparently having supernatural powers’, ‘wonderful; exciting’. With these fortune teller thoughts in mind the songwriting of epochal Paul Weller has oft been described with similar revered admiration.
Published by the adept Genesis Publications, entitled Magic: A Journal of Song, this new hardback Modfather dictionary comprises an almanac of cherished lyrics, over 450 pastoral photos (including personal family moments and radiant professionally shot images), radiant artwork from the Modfathers glistening career, with renowned author Dylan Jones adding in valuable narration guiding the reader into the mind of one of the UK’s best singer/songwriters, the likes of which are few and far between these days with the music industry awash with manufactured musical dregs.
This cherished tome begins with Weller paying homage to The Beatles, him and early band mate Steve Brookes would gleefully brainstorm songs on the spot but with the chords of their favourite Fabs tracks clearly influencing their youthful endeavors. With the passage of time, new guitar chord structures and the impact of The Kinks, The Zombies and other dynamite 60’s bands, Weller began a lifelong journey of creative wizardry. There are early shots of Weller looking like a member of Dr Feelgood, large shirt collars and flares which would soon be traded in for the sharp drainpipe Modernist look which would be a staple look of Wellers for forever, the sharpness of his lyrical exertions would also give something of mortal worth to the legions of his followers.
The little anecdotes inserted from Weller are both eye opening and very much welcome. Being a fan of his music from when I was in nappies, literally, these little windows into the tapestry of his work do little but given added meaning behind such classics as English Rose, Boy About Town, The Whole Point Of No Return, Changing Of The Guard, Porcelain Gods and Shades Of Blue, these choices only scratch the surface of what’s encompassed. The writing process of any skilled songsmith is oft seen as the life of riley, Weller’s words give a reality check, the life of an artist is often laid bare to his audience having to live a life in the limelight can be no easy life, often the writing of a song will help the writer vent a frustration or grind of daily life, to his legions of populace this has been an outlet they can firmly relate to, Weller and Jones contributions help to illustrate perfectly the timelines of song, structure and the descendants from each of Wellers albums.
Relics unearthed from the Weller treasure trove include demo cassettes/DATs, reel to reel tape boxes, AAA tour passes, The Jam guitar picks, test pressings, original posters, Weller personalized studio etchings and lyric sheets, outtakes from album shoots, what is also testament to Wellers solo career is over half the book is dedicated to his ventures from The Paul Weller Movement to Fat Pop Volume 1, which is both refreshing seeing him still embracing the new, whilst the glimpses into his extensive back catalogue will no doubt give long needed clarifications for original mods.
A long-awaited unprecedented glance into the industry of a true living lore of Mod, an outstanding piece of work that delivers stunning visual and lilting cadence, the likes of which is rarely seen.
Magic can be purchased via the following link