40 years of Jackie Leven

I’ve been trying to write about the death of Jackie Leven and the impact it has had upon me, since he died in the middle of November in 2011. There’s a few drafts but nothing ready yet as it changes, sometimes radically from draft to draft. Although I only talked to him at any length once, we exchanged some letters and he was very encouraging of my poems, which meant a great deal. I saw almost every gig he played in London for a few years following the album launch gig for ‘The Mystery of Love is greater than the Mystery of Death’, his 1990s solo career come back. The best of these gig was the two and a half hours at the 12 Bar, which was released in shortened form as ‘For peace comes dropping slow’. This remains the best gig I have ever seen by anyone.

Below is a link to my beginner’s guide to Jackie Leven for those who do not yet know and love his music.  It features tracks ranging in date from his first album recorded in 1971, under the name Jon St Field, right though to his last album released in 2011. The list includes tracks from albums by Jackie’s band Doll By Doll, possibly the most underappreciated great band in music history. They were born in the punk era but were not punk, or post punk but in a genre all their own, a genre at once startlingly beautiful and terrifying.


Soft Lowland Tongue Jackie Leven
Mansion Tension Jackie Leven
Burning The Box Of Beautiful Things Jackie Leven
More Than Human Doll By Doll
Fear Of Woman Jackie Leven
Defending Ancient Springs Jackie Leven
Boy Trapped In A Man Jackie Leven
Stripshow Doll By Doll
Exit Wound Jackie Leven
Raerona Jackie Leven
Main Travelled Roads Doll By Doll
Classic Northern Diversions Jackie Leven
Here Come The Urban Ravens Jackie Leven
Human Face Doll By Doll
Dust Elegy Jackie Leven
Savannah Waltz Jackie Leven
The Garden Jackie Leven
Hand Is Pale With Holy Kisses Jackie Leven
A Little Voice In Space Jackie Leven
Last Of The Badmen Jackie Leven
Some Ancient Misty Morning Jackie Leven
Billy Ate My Pocket Jackie Leven
Shadow In My Eye Jackie Leven
Highland Rain Doll By Doll
The Crazy Song Jackie Leven
Caritas Doll By Doll
Working Alone/A Blessing Jackie Leven
Beware Soul Brother Jackie Leven, Michael Cosgrave
Janice Doll By Doll
Marble City Bar Jackie Leven
Butcher Boy Doll By Doll
Slim Slow Slider Jackie Leven
Sleeping In Bracken Jackie Leven



2 Responses to 40 years of Jackie Leven

  1. steve switzer says:

    Only saw him once in 2010 but couldn t forget his weird songs
    Now too late i am in awe of his genius

    Sorry i missed u jackie


  2. David Tierney says:

    Listenening to ‘Billy Ate My Pocket’ , what a truly gifted artist , was lucky enough to see the big man live 3 or 4 times … ‘A King Who’s on this Earth No More’ , God Bless you Jackie…

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