Polly Jean Harvey hit the jackpot in 1988. Back then, she was a small town teenager making trips to nearby Yeovil and in sherborne, the closest place in her part of england that rock 'n' roll bands came to play. one of her favorites was Automatic Dlamini, led by singer / drummer John Parish. She had even asked them to play her 18th birthday party. parish and company never played that gig, but harvey got something even better - an invitation to join the band.
Harvey still remembers going to Parish's house for her audition, sitting in a room and going over guitar parts she would play if she made the cut. "I was utterly petrified,". parish eventually set her at ease, by drilling her on a riff until she got it right. "after about the third hour of playing the same line, i began to lose my nerve." parish remembers harvey showing up to gigs and giving him tapes of her songs. he was impressed that a teenager could have such an "incredibly mature, wise-sounding voice," and says she was the first person he thought of when he needed a new band member. he enjoyed watching her grow as a musician. "it was exciting watching her change from a shy, retiring 18-year-old to pj harvey,".
Since then, Parish and Harvey have worked together often, with Parish acting as a musician and producer on several of Harvey's albums
'A Woman A Man Walked By.' like much of Harvey and Parish's work, together or as individuals, is both atmospheric and angular, sometimes even confrontational. Their hooks aren't for humming, they're for digging into your subconscious - primal yet precise. Their history as student and mentor is certainly part of what makes them so effective as collaborators (Harvey notes that when parish is playing as her sideman, he can immediately play any guitar part back to her exactly as she played it to him the first time). but they're also kindred musical spirits - fellow captain beefheart fans - with a distaste for backtracking onto old music ground, even if that might make them more popular. "We both have this kind of unspoken rule - we're making music for ourselves," Parish says. "We really hope other people like it, but you can't make things for what you think other people might like or might want to buy. You have to do what you want to do and assume if you like it that somebody else is going to like it."
Vinyl reissue 2021 details: Reissue is faithful to the original recording with the vinyl cutting by Jason Mitchell at Loud Mastering, overseen by John Parish.