High Fives 2020 (17) – Kimberley Rew

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It’s fair to say that music’s a lifetime’s work for Kimberley Rew. From his first band The Waves in 1975 through Robyn Hitchcock’s Soft Boys to a long stint with Katrina and the Waves and his 21st century incarnation as a member of Cambridge band Jack, with his partner and bass player Lee Cave-Berry. He’s written a fair few songs along the way as well. We reviewed his retrospective “Sunshine Walkers” in September of this year and we highly recommend it; it’s packed with perfectly-crafted examples of the songwriter’s art and laced with a very wry British humour. Here’s Kimberley’s take on this strange and tragic year:

 

1.

There is a singing, writing and arguing husband and wife team called Kim and Lee, from Cambridge, Cambridgeshire, UK, then St Ives, Cambridgeshire, which we prefer because it’s not so vibrant.

Kim and Lee have been members of a rock band called Jack for twenty years. Jack is the stage name of Roger, and hence his band, deriving from his signature song, Screaming Lord Sutch’s Jack the Ripper. Roger, Lee and Kim attend the Wednesday Session in Cambridge on March 11 2020. We all get ‘flu-like symptoms. Roger tests positive for Covid-19, and dies in hospital. Lee and I recover. Lee and I get special permission to attend Roger’s funeral, which the rules stipulate is immediate family only. As a matter of interest Lee subsequently tests positive for Covid antibodies, I don’t.

Roger’s 6- and 8-year-old grandsons write a tribute song to Roger titled Black Ribbon (after the trademark ribbon on Roger’s Panama hat). They record it with Lee, Kim and drummer Tony. Watch this space!

 

2.

Kim and Lee have been the house band for the Cambridge, UK based John Wright’s Wednesday Session for twelve years. The fact that it’s John Wright’s session, not our own, is a great advantage because it means Kim and Lee don’t have to turn up absolutely every week, sometimes going on expensive holidays to Aberystwyth, Cromer, Weston super Mare etc.

To supply some background; for many of those years the session is based at the Boathouse in Cambridge, but the licensed trade being what it is, landlords change frequently and eventually there comes one who says she doesn’t like live music, so we have to find a new home. The Session moves to the Station Tavern. It is tense when we arrive as on the telly, England are playing football (soccer) to decide whether they will remain in the World Cup. We lose, and the football fans drift away morosely. We hastily set up, the session is a cracking success, then a letter of complaint arrives from the hotel next door. We move to the Brook in Cambridge.

In the ensuing lockdown, after the second to last live Wednesday Session on March 11 2020, Lee uses her technical ability to continue the Wednesday Session from our front room, streaming live to Facebook. The two of us do half an hour, then the ‘headliner’ does his or her half hour from his front room. Our regulars rally to the screen, with messages saying hello to each other, the weekly session having been their social glue; strangely also, scattered enthusiasts from around the world start to join the social group.

Come the summer and slight easing of the rules, we, and several mosquitos, relocate to the gazebo in our garden. John Wright is reinstated, also Tony on the (very quiet) drums, plus whatever ‘headline’ act. A neighbour complains about the noise. Lee protests on Facebook. Nick from The Plough in Shepreth reads this and invites the Wednesday Session to the Plough. He has built a marquee in his garden, with a stage, and stoves like space rockets which radiate smoke. After a few weeks ritzy silk curtains appear too.
We have another lockdown. We relocate to inside the empty pub. Nick is determined, in the face of having to limit the number of his customers, seat them out in the cold etc, to keep the live music happening. His sound, light and technical streaming crew eventually outnumbers the band (tho they responsibly leave two metre gaps between themselves of course), and it includes Justine, landlady of the Flying Pig in Cambridge, who is also determined to keep live music going, and if she can’t do it in the Flying Pig that night, she’ll help to do it in the Plough.
Go to Facebook and type in The Wednesday Session; watch an old one (they stay there for ever until they mysteriously disappear), or watch live at 8 30pm on Wednesday.

 

3.

without Lee there would be no Kim

no one would’ve ever heard of him

confined to the marginalia

brief success then instant failure

(this rhymes if you say it in a British accent)

Lee’s smile is the driving force

and her thumping bass of course

it’s why every week we’re there

tho she often cries ‘what shall I wear’

but then everyone says ’that was fun!’

so let’s do some more in 2021!

 

4.

In 2020 a coffee table book appears called 1001 Songs. Walking on Sunshine by Katrina and the Waves (written by Kim) isn’t in it. But it is in a coffee table book called 1001 Singles. Kim isn’t listed as a ‘notable alumnus’ of his school, Harrow County Grammar. But he is down as a ’notable alumnus’ of his college, Jesus College Cambridge.

 

5.

When you have finished buying Tunnel into Summer by Kimberley Rew (featuring Lee Cave-Berry) because 2020 was its 20th anniversary; and Underwater Moonlight by The Soft Boys (featuring Kimberley Rew) because 20+20 was its 40th anniversary (this one IS included in the companion volume ‘1001 Albums’), don’t forget to buy the latest Kimberley Rew and Lee Cave-Berry compilation, ‘Sunshine Walkers- The Best Of…’, available now, a collection 21 tracks heading into 2021!