Joe Not-So Solo and Very Musical

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Have Hull-born singer-songwriter Joe Solo and author Tim Roux grabbed a worldwide first for the city of Hull by creating the first musical novel developed specifically for an e-book format?

Joe Solo has been treading the boards alone since the demise of his band Lithium Joe eight years ago, building up a devoted following in the North of England for his distinctively engaged unplugged rock-folk compositions.

However, recently, he has teamed up with a couple of local writers - Andy Wilson who is penning short stories around Joe's latest release 'Potter's Field' and Tim Roux who has written the novel '(Just like) El Cid's Bloomers' around Joe's collected works.

So have Joe and Tim grabbed a worldwide first for the city of Hull by creating the first musical novel developed specifically for an e-book format? Neither is particularly a fan of e-books or of musicals, but what do you do when you have a gripping romantic comedy wrapped around nineteen great songs?

The story of '(Just like) El Cid's Bloomers', which takes time out to celebrate the growing music and literary scene around Hull, revolves around the totally fictional 35 year old Hull singer-songwriter Jake Pembleton who is torn between the fury of his separated wife, the love of his children, and the nagging concern that his breathtakingly sexy new teenage girlfriend might prove the death of him.

Tim got into contact with Joe when he was reviewing the latter's 2008 'Me & Billy the Kid' album for The A63 Revisited (who sponsor 'El Cid'), being introduced to him by a mutual friend - the award-winning Hull crime fiction writer Nick Quantrill whose own eagerly awaited new novel 'Broken Promises' is due for release later this year.

When the novelist (whose 2008 Hull gangster novel 'The Dance of the Pheasodile' has been warmly received in the city of his birth) proposed the idea of a book written around Joe's songs, he expected to receive a flat-out refusal, but the famously open-minded and courageous ex-punk rocker made only one stipulation - that his private life should not become in any way confused with that of the hapless Jake, a request which was not hard to comply with as Tim has never met Joe, has never even spoken to him, and the only thing he knows about his private life and opinions is that Joe prefers dogs to cats, a fact that he scrupulously left out of the book.

And working with Joe's lyrics and songs has given Tim, already a devoted fan, an even greater appreciation of Joe's work. Despite having to replay individual tracks over and over again as he wrote the book, Tim found that far from tiring of them, they got further under his skin with every listening.

And why the title '(Just like) El Cid's Bloomers'?

It is the name of Jake Pembleton's would-be breakthrough album in the story but it is inspired by the rather fierce statue of a mediaeval knight that has been sitting in a home and garden salvage yard at the top end of the Hessle Road in Hull, next to the Alexandra Hotel, for as long as anyone can remember and no-one seems to have the foggiest idea of why it is there.

Does the book give Jake a happy ending?

Tim refuses to work out the conclusion to his novels until somewhere during the final chapter, otherwise he believes that it would spoil the fun of writing the book, so even he does not know how a story will end until he gets there. 'El Cid' is a romantic comedy so it could be that Jake gets everything Tim might wish professionally for Joe Solo, but like his friend and fellow Hull writer Nick Quantrill, Tim is proud to boast a twisted mind where plots are concerned, so it could go either way.

From the back cover:

Jake Pembleton is a Hull-born singer-songwriter who once killed a man. This doesn't make him the East Riding folk-singing Yorkshire Ripper of CrackTown's famous song, but it still plays on his conscience.

Now he is in real trouble. Ever since returning home to his wife and kids to find his suitcases parked outside his front door, Jake has been holed up in that wild and lawless part of Hull known as 'The Avenues' with a springy nineteen year old groupie who is so sexy that she nearly gives him a heart attack each time she steps out of the shower.

Jake's only hopes are Harry, his wife's new boyfriend who keeps her sane, and that he will never meet his Kirkella-dwelling parents-in-law again. Beyond that, he just sits there clutching his guitar, writing his songs, loving his girl, and praying for better days and relief from a day job he is too ashamed of to talk about.

To order a copy of the e-book by file download or as a physical CD, click here:
For more information on Tim Roux, click here:
For more information on Joe Solo, click here:

Or you can contact Tim Roux at timroux(at)mudvalley(dot)co(dot)uk .

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