A former asylum care-worker who medicated his own demons with drink, Kevin Coyne sang from life’s fault-line – and from the heart. Boasting one of rock’s best voices, this tiny, tubby man made bluesy, folky, comic, sad and marvellously odd music between 1969 and his premature death in 2004. Derby-born Coyne’s fans include John Lydon and Will Oldham.
Another champion, John Peel, signed Coyne’s first band Siren to his shambolic Dandelion label. Siren’s two turn-of-the-Seventies albums were recorded in breaks from Coyne’s art therapist work at Whittingham hospital, Lancashire. Siren pianist Nick Cudworth, now a successful painter, recalls, “He had the voice of Little Richard and Elmore James put together. We’d rehearse at the asylum, which suited our Kafka-esque taste.” The extra tracks on the re-released albums show how ideas just poured out of him.
The deluxe 2CD editions of ‘Siren’ and ‘Strange Locomotion’ are released on 26 November