For my 18th Birthday all my high school buddies bought me music. This one was bought for me by my good friend Fizz. Fizz was a cool guy. He had some ethnicity in his genes from his old man which meant he rocked a huge Cedric from Mars Volta style afro, like 25 years before that was a thing. Fizz got his name from that crazy ‘fro and he was (fittingly) a naturally talented guitar player.
At that age we both worshipped at the altar of Joe Perry and Slash and those heavy rock dudes who came from the blues school but coated everything in a thin bourbon sweat.
Fizz would introduce me to The Amboy Dukes, I’d spin him some Bad Company. He’d raise the bar with Free and I’d lay down a hand of Alice Cooper. We’d hang out reading Sergio Aragones comics, punishing on our guitars and trading records we bought at boot sales.
We’d both heard Izzy and The Ju Ju Hounds cover version of Pressure Drop on their debut EP and were waiting patiently for the album to come into one of our possession.
Fizz got this for me on cassette so I could listen to it on my bus ride to college. I was studying art and he was still at our local high school. We bootlegged it pretty quick and would compare notes when we met up on which tracks had the best groove or which bass line was favourite.
It’s safe to say the Ju Ju Hounds record was considered a pretty major release to the little band of rockers who hung out on the market stalls after dark.
Shuffle It All was a laid back groove of a tune that stood right out for me. The dreamy slow slide intro and the Heartbreakers groove sounded great on the long ride home each night. Izzy’s languid easy vocals drawling out over those Ohh Ohh Ohhs and that Dylanesque organ sound were just soooo coooool.
I played the hell out of this record between 1992 and 1995. Then it sort of fell away after the cassette got mangled in a car tape deck.
Years later I bought a vinyl copy in a bargain basement for a couple of quid and it sat on my shelf unplayed for a few more years.
When I did get around to putting it on I instantly though of Fizz. I’d not spoken to him for a decade by that point. I don’t know where he is now or what he’s doing these days and that one decade has turned into two. One thing I can say is, as 18th birthday presents go that one was a real corker.