Sarah Jay performs Dory Previn’s ‘Mythical Kings and Iguanas’, in full, accompanied by Dean Bargh and Richard Gibson.
Tickets are £10 available from www.dorothypax.com.
A long-awaited opportunity to once again hear one of pop music’s most authentic voices, interpreting a magical and neglected classic.
Sarah Jay is an art-pop singer-songwriter, best known for ‘Dissolved Girl’ on Massive Attack’s platinum-selling album ‘Mezzanine’. Whilst in recovery from a series of unfortunate events, a stroke, breast cancer and a car crash, Sarah focused on music and writing to rewire her broken brain and heal her battered body. This is a tribute to one of her most formative influences, Dory Previn’s album ‘Mythical Kings and Iguanas’.
“I was just three years old when this album was released in 1971. It was my older sister’s record and I was obsessed with it as a kid and beyond. It is song-poetry at its finest. Dory sings of her quest for love, intimacy and spiritual connection moving through different stages of a woman’s journey in life. She reached me, touched me, and taught me so much about love, life and the art of songwriting. It’s always surprised me how few people have heard this awesome album. Maybe she was overshadowed by Joni Mitchell, Joan Baez, Sandy Denny and other female folksy song-poets of this era.
“There’s a wonderfully eclectic mix of instruments, beautifully arranged to support her stories. This gorgeous palette of sounds seems quite singular to this release. Trombone and synthesizer, cello and trumpet, viola and French horn, all blended beautifully by producer Nick Venet, who also produced The Beach Boys, Glen Campbell and The Walker Brothers, to name but a few.
“My mum died when I was very young and I turned to female singer-songwriters for company, guidance and comfort. Dory helped shape me as a young female lyricist and writer. I love her honesty and irony, the way she explores psychology through poetry. Her words and melodies moved and inspired me and talked to me when I was lonely. She was one of my many musical surrogate mothers and mentors.
“Her autobiography, Midnight Baby, talks of her impossibly traumatic Catholic upbringing. Her father’s mental health deteriorated after coming home from the First World War, and culminated in a paranoid episode when he boarded up in the family home and held them all hostage at gunpoint for months. This had a huge impact on her later life and work. Like all great artists, her songs are the salvage from her pain. She wrote many Oscar-nominated songs for musicals in the fifties and for other artists such as Frank Sinatra and Judy Garland with her husband André Previn. When he left her for a pregnant Mia Farrow, Dory had a breakdown and underwent electroshock therapy for her psychosis as she attempted to deal with Stockholm syndrome and incest.
“During her recovery from this, she wrote Mythical Kings and Iguanas. This album for me is a sharp light full of insight, wit and resilience that shines through the cracks in her crumbling armour. Her songs are full of emotionally frail and colourful characters dealing with desperation, feminist issues and the male ego.”
Dory died in 2012 aged 86 at her farm in Massachusetts.