I’d be very surprised if anyone who reads this has actually heard of this band. It was just by chance I heard them. I remember it quite vividly though even though it was back in 89. A group of us headed down to Ayr to enjoy some Saturday summer sunshine. We ended up on the beach at the Heads of Ayr and one of our group had brought along a ghetto blaster/radio. Normally there was a heated debate about what music we were going to listen to but this day the radio was on and tuned into Radio one. It was either Whispering Bob Harris or Johnnie Walker who was on, I think it was the latter. Whoever it was had chosen thmary My Hope release as their album of the week and over the course of the show played 4 or 5 songs from it. I was hooked from first song which was album opener ‘Wildman Childman’. You know that moment where you are not really listening to anything in particular and then suddenly your senses go ‘what’s that?’ and you immediately filter out everything else to focus on that one thing. Well that’s what happened to me. I never left the vicinity of the radio for the rest of the show and no one was allowed to change the station.
Needless to say album was high on the purchase list and it stood up to my initial reaction and has been a regular musical companion over the years. Oddly I’ve never ever heard the band mentioned or their music played anywhere else since that day, so if circumstances had been different or it had been raining I’d probably never have known the album existed.
This was also one of those albums where I didn’t really know anything about the band, who they were, where they came from etc. In the pre-internet days there wasn’t google to satisfy your curiosity. Even now there isn’t a whole amount about them. They came from Atlanta and were founded and fronted by James Hall who did the majority of vocals and played guitar, Clinton Steele was the other guitarist and also sang vocals on the album closer, Sven Pipien played bass and went onto join the Black Crowes in 1998 and the band was completed by drummer Steve Lindenbaum.
Steele and Hall went on to release other music and this project led me to track down some of their later stuff on Spotify. Nothing grabbed me the way the Museum album did although Hall has a more than listenable acoustic album called ‘Talking Freedom With the Jailer’ which has a fantastic acoustic version of Suicide King. James Hall was also part of the Brad touring band in 1997 which is the side project of Stone Gossard of Pearl Jam.
Mary My Hope did have one other release which had four previously unreleased tracks and four tracks from Museum which was really just an extended version of earlier release the Suicide Kings EP. The band sadly disintegrated in 1990.
A selection of tracks below including the brilliant Suicide King.
See you on week 5.