“Everyone’s from somewhere” says Jack Cooper. “I don’t think it’s particularly important people know this album is about Blackpool, but I think everyone can empathize with the themes on the record.”
Cooper spent the first 13 years of his life in the rural village about five miles outside Blackpool. Passing his summers as a deckchair attendant, meant that he was well placed to observe the variety of people drawn to the once thriving Northern coastal resort. It also enables him to recognize the town's decline as a holiday hot spot. He notes sadly that drug dens and seedy bars are now as common a sight as roller coasters and donkey rides.
Cooper moved to Manchester to play in bands (Mazes and Ultimate Painting) but always wanted to make a record which had the strong sense of place of Terry Allen’s ‘Lubbock (On Everything)' and conjured up the cinematic vistas of Frank Sinatra’s ‘Watertown’. The title track of the latter album has lyrics about killing time and the fact that that there's "nothing much happening except a little rain" which sounds very like the Blackpool experience Cooper evokes on this album.
The nine songs were recorded Nebraska-like on a 4-track cassette machine so there's very little to distract the listener from Cooper's voice although the two-part title track are actually sleepy instrumentals in the form of a bluesy guitar loop.
Titles like Stranded Fleetwood Blues and On A Pier In The Wind speak for themselves and are full of images of people drifting, wandering and "hiding from the lousy weather". They make it plain that calling the final tune Memphis, Lancashire is meant to emphasize the irony.
Despite the desolate mood, there's still an affection for a place that was once dubbed as England's Las Vegas. Even so, the Blackpool tourist office are unlikely to use any of these tunes in their promotional material.
Sandgrown at Bandcamp