The Chatham Singers is the another outlet for Billy Childish’s blues work. Their first album was released in 2006 and although Billy had been playing and recording blues for over a quarter of a century, this was the first LP has made in this genre in for many years. As well as featuring great tunes, ‘Heavens Journey’ also served as a showcase for many new poems that have been recorded by this legendary painter, writer and musician.
On the first outing Billy is accompanied by his wife Julie on backing vocals and bass guitar. Julie is American by birth and her father’s family are free Blacks and Winyah Indians from North Carolina. On drums we have Billy’s friend Wolf, who has collaborated with Billy for the past 15 years, most notably with his ‘dustbin mod’ group The Buff Medways. Sitting in on Harp is ‘Bludy’ Jim, an old friend since the punk days. Heavens Journey’ was a great introduction to The Blues and poetry of Billy Childish and showed his versatility and unique position in writing and music: An anachronism who is forever influencing the world of contemporary art and music.
As ever, these recordings are sophisticated, homemade and primitive, which Billy explains is ‘the only way to connect with the heart. Heaven’s Journey certainly achieves that in spades.
Their second recent album ‘JuJu Claudius’ was released in 2009, preceeded by a limited 7” ‘An Image Of You’ in December 2008.
The Chatham Singers are: – Billy Childish – Vox / Guitar Nurse Julie – Vox / Bass Wolf Howard – Drums and & ‘Bludy’ Jim on Harp On the new album they are joined by guests James Taylor (The Prisoners /James Taylor Quartet) on piano and hamond, Graham Coxon (Blur) on occasional guitar.