In some circles, Mickey Jupp is something of a minor legend, a roots rocker with excellent taste and a cutting wit, best heard on the songs "Switchboard Susan" and "You'll Never Get Me Up in One of Those," both covered by Nick Lowe.
Basher's endorsement is a clear indication that Jupp is a pub rocker, a guy who specializes in laid-back good times, so it shouldn't come as a great surprise that his first band, Legend, was proto-pub, an unabashed celebration of old-time rock & roll, filled with three-chord Chuck Berry rockers and doo wop backing vocals. Nevertheless, listening to their 1970 LP is a bit of a shock, as it's completely disassociated with anything that was happening in 1970, even with Tony Visconti enlisted as their producer.
Legend's sensibility is ahead of its time in its retro thinking, pointing the way to the rock & roll revival of the late '70s and not even that similar to the country-rock of Eggs Over Easy or Bees Make Honey, as this has little of the rustic feel of the Band: it's just straight-up oldies rock, a trait emphasized by those incessant doo wop harmonies that are on almost every cut on this LP (but do disappear on the bonus live cuts on the Repertoire reissue, possibly because they were too busy playing to harmonize).
Those harmonies and the light, almost goofy, touch of Jupp's writing here distinguish Legend and also illustrate why they made no waves in 1970; it's hard to see the counterculture getting roused over the verse "If you were an apple you'd be/Good good eating/If you were a book you'd be/Good good reading."
These slightly silly flourishes do have a lot in common with the wry humor of Nick Lowe, who at this time was denying this mischievous streak as he attempted to sound like Crosby, Stills & Nash, but at this point, Jupp was largely on his own doing this light, good-time pub rock. That may be why it sank without a trace at the time, but heard apart from its era, Legend is a minor delight, one of the first flowerings of the pub rock sensibility.
by Stephen Thomas Erlewine
1. Cross Country - 3:28
2. Cheque Book - 3:22
3. Lorraine, Pt. 1 - 2:58
4. Nothing Wrong with Me - 2:06
5. Somebody in Love - 2:42
6. Goin' To - 2:37
7. Anything You Do - 3:08
8. My Typewriter - 2:57
9. Five Years - 3:00
10. Hole in My Pocket - 2:09
11. Lorraine, Pt. 2 - 3:34
12. I Feel Like Sleeping - 3:16
13. Life - 3:02
14. Late Last Night (Single B-Side) - 3:54
15. Don't You Never - 2:56
16. Someday (Single B-Side) - 2:16
All songs by Mickey Jupp
*John Bobin - Bass, Vocals
*Bill Fifield - Drums
*Mickey Jupp - Guitar, Keyboards, Vocals
*Mo Witham - Guitar, Vocals
the Free Text