Thursday, 11 November 2010
RAVIN' RAVENSCROFT -
NOT FOREVER YOUNG!
IT should have been a meeting of two great musical minds.
When Cheshire-born warbler Ian Ravenscroft linked up with Canadian rocker Neil Young on the 'Checked Shirts For Men' internet dating website, it seemed a match harvested in heaven.
Within minutes of swapping tales of lonesome dusty roads travelled the kindred spirits were plotting a recording session in the egotistical Englishman's Haxby hideaway .
Their joint venture had been due to hit the shops today to coincide with worldwide celebrations marking hedonistic Ravenscroft's 60th birthday - a landmark he was once famously cursed never to reach.
But the collaboration - tentatively titled 'Yee Yee and Shakey Sing Songs of War and Masturbation' - will never see the light of day after Young removed his partner's vocals from the album, citing the Newcastle-based uncivil engineer's 'alcoholic amnesia' and 'psychotic passion for prescription drugs' as motive.
And in a fall-out even deeper than that which led to Lennon's ferocious attack on McCartney - the vitriolic 'How Do You Sleep?' - Young has lambasted Ravenscroft and the "sycophants that surround him" in the deceptively jaunty country-blues tinged, 'If He Was My Da (I Would Never Admit It)'.
In a statement issued through his fanzine, Thrasher's Wheat, Young bleats: "There's a small group Ravenscroft keeps close to him. I think they're called the Friday Night Freaks. They are his Memphis Mafia and their influence is insidious. They lick his ass at every opportunity, stroke his fragile ego and no doubt provide him with sexual release in the darkest hours of his night."
Young added: "It's a pity. During the recording process I felt close to Raver, my affectionate name for Ian. We were like brothers. Sure, some of his vocals were sickly, rancid and syrupy sweet, but on other occasions he really touched my soul. There was one song of his we recorded called 'War is for Wimps'. I could have written it. It was that good.
"Trouble was he couldn't get through a session without reaching for a bottle or staggering to the drug cabinet. If it wasn't Deuchars it was Diazepam. That guy was rattling."
Happily, a few of the duo's original duets have found their way into the hands of bootleggers.
In one of the best recordings, the punk pastiche, 'Old Tommy Makes Me Puke', Ravenscroft wails, Yoko Ono-like: "I like to prance and have a laugh, take chemical stimulants and break wind in the bath."
Approached for comment at a bar in the heart of Newcastle's Pink Lane, a happily inebriated Ravenscroft, said: "Yeah, I enjoy a drink as much as the next man but I always take a day off the sauce whenever Halley's comet is visible with the naked eye. The truth is that Neil gave me an ultimatum - "It's the Friday Boys or me!" I told him: "Eat a peach, Neil!"