David Westlake tonight. In session for Janice Long and backed-up by The Go-Betweens from January 14, 1987.
David Westlake, singer/songwriter and founder of the band The Servants were around from 1985-1991. The Servants first came to everyone’s attention as part of the NME C-86 compilation and were associated for a time with the Shambling movement who were represented by that compilation album.
Westlake, in an effort to distance himself from the Shambling association, did a solo project, backed up by the Australian indie-band The Go-Betweens. The resulting mini-album, Westlake has been considered a minor classic, and this session comes several months ahead of that release, which began recording in April of that year and not released until November.
Westlake would continue with The Servants until 1991, while also maintaining solo status. His follow up album, Play Dusty For Me wouldn’t be released until 2002 and, after selling out the first pressing, was deleted and didn’t resurface again until 2012.
A somewhat confusing series of events; some having to do with their record label (Creation) at the time, Westlake was a critically well-regarded artist, but his failure to match critical success with his record sales put him in the category of overlooked and underappreciated.
Reunited in 2014 with former bandmate, Luke Haines after some 23 years for a gig at The Lexington in London on May 14th of that year. David Westlake put aside his singer/songwriter career in order to pursue a career in Law and has been a guest-lecturer at Brunel University.
All in all, an interesting artist with a confusing past. Although his label, Creation Records, had a distribution deal with Sony, I don’t recall seeing either Westlake’s solo albums, or his work with The Servants showing up here in U.S. record stores aside from as imports.
An artist that, if you don’t already know about, should spend a little time with this session. Always some aspect of a decades worth of music left to discover.