Johnny Vegas directs video for Jacqui Abbott's return with Paul Heaton

St Helens Star: Paul Heaton and Jacqui Abbott Paul Heaton and Jacqui Abbott

ONE of the town’s biggest names has helped one of its greatest musical exports ahead of her big comeback.

Johnny Vegas got behind the camera to direct a video for the return of Jacqui Abbott, the former vocalist of the Beautiful South.

As the Star reported earlier this year Jacqui, from St Helens, is back recording with former band mate Paul Heaton, the collaborator she enjoyed critical acclaim with in the 90s.

Alongside Heaton, she recorded hits such as Rotterdam, Perfect 10 and Don’t Marry Her before stepping away from the limelight.

Admirers say St Helens has produced few better singers.

Little has been heard of her in the past 14 years but she has reunited with Heaton for the forthcoming album, What Have We Become, to be released in May, and an eagerly awaited tour.

For the track DIY the pair turned to Vegas, real name Michael Pennington, who is a mutual friend and a huge fan of their music.

Johnny – who has also directed a video for Billy Bragg – told the Star: “Jacqui is unbelievable. Her voice is amazing and musicians across the board would say that about a girl who was discovered after Sherdley Show at a party by Paul.

“I’ve been a huge fan for years of the Beautiful South and was thrilled to bits when Jacqui joined.

“I remember seeing her years ago at Euston Station when she was off to do Top of the Pops and I was off to do a gig promoting biscuits and that was where we were both at.”

Johnny described recording the video as “great fun” and is keen to see the duo’s music released.

Their new album What Have We Become is due to be released in May before they go on a nationwide tour.

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