In founding the post-punk prefacing Swell Maps, Nikki Sudden and his drumming brother Epic Soundtracks charted new territory for racket and corrosive guitar. But after folding Swell Maps at the dawn of the ’80s, Nikki Sudden plowed through another decade’s worth of terrifically fertile ground. Drawing on his devotion to the Rolling Stones and T. Rex—alongside guitarist Dave Kusworth as Jacobites, plus a cheekily named cohort of British sidemen—Nikki Sudden cut a string of raw, inspired rock ‘n’ roll records, etched with double-edged travel melancholia and hard-bitten punk dejection.
Unavailable in their native format since the 1980s, Nikki Sudden’s own Waiting on Egypt and The Bible Belt, plus Jacobites and Robspierre’s Velvet Basement—Sudden’s stellar collaborations with Dave Kusworth—return to LP on November 12. These first four missives in a 7-LP Nikki Sudden reissue project get the high-standard treatment JR and Numero buyers know and love: replica album cover artwork and labels, original tracklistings, tip-on sleeves, and the handsome obi that has become a JR hallmark.
Waiting on Egypt
Nikki Sudden’s 1982 solo debut cut back on the skronk and clatter of his own latter-day Swell Maps. Unused Maps material received Sudden resurrection, while Nikki’s new ideas moved confidently in a Bolan direction. Elsewhere, early Stones gem “I’d Much Rather Be With The Boys,” recast in withdrawn piss and vinegar.
The Bible Belt
Sudden’s second LP marked his first collaboration with writer/guitarist Dave Kusworth, the alliance that would forge Jacobites. On The Bible Belt, Sudden stands in rock reverence to his own saints, from Bowie slink and Dylanesque strum to the mandolin post-punk of “Missionary Boy.”
1984’s Jacobites marked the first appearance of Nikki Sudden and Dave Kusworth under that loaded Brit imprimatur. The matching LP trafficked in dramatic rock classicism: vital, shambolic, anchored by a healthy obsession with plaintive Dylan phrasings. Here, Sudden & Kusworth took grim new looks at the same hills Mick and Keith had long since rolled past.
Robespierre’s Velvet Basement
The lush second Sudden/Kusworth album as Jacobites, 1985’s Robespierre’s Velvet Basement is a decadent and inviting garage, decorated by unabashed devotion to Faces, Stones, and the folky young Bolan. Originally planned for four sides of vinyl, it pared down to hit a pinnacle in Sudden’s oeuvre, a loose and grandly bedraggled portrait of British rock at the crossroads.
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