Tarka Cordell may well have counted Evan Dando and Keith Richards among his numerous mentors, while the London denizen would socialise with the likes of Sadie Frost, Kate Moss and Sienna Miller at weekends. Indeed, it was his want for women that reputedly led Richards to apply his encouragement elsewhere. But despite his essential lack of application, Cordell pieced together and put out a lone full-length, Wide Awake in a Dream, in 2004 before taking his own life four years later.
Celebrating said life, a motley crew of cronies, associates and so on, under the guidance of his brother Barney and enduring chum Alex Elena, have since gotten together to record songs from Wide Awake in a Dream, Dando himself redoing Lovely New York – the city on the periphery of which Cordell recorded the album – for instance. “I’m still high, it’s the constant kicks that keep me stoned” he sang in typically intoxicating fashion, and Lily Allen’s subdued rendition of Shelter You works similar wonders. Reminiscent of much of Mazzy Star’s So Tonight That I Might See, as much as it glints with scintillating modicums of Procul Harum’s A Whiter Shade Of Pale – a track that Tarka’s father Denny incidentally produced – Louis Eliot’s sombre acoustic strums may be too clean to be congruous with lyrics of “this dirty town.” But as this lullabying beauty slowly builds to a masterfully softened denouement, it ultimately makes for the most poignant of tributes.
Shelter You is lifted from Tarka & Friends: Life, which is anticipated February 10th via Room 609 Records.