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Tuesday, 21 February 2017

3..6..9 Seconds of Light

The above picture is the view from our bedroom window on Friday night in the Inn at Ardgour where we had an overnight courtesy of a Christmas present from my brother and sister-in -law. Thank you folks.

A lovely drive there and a five minute ferry journey there and back.Also an opportunity for a quick trawl of the charity shops of Fort William and Oban.
Meagre pickings with the exception of one fantastic find which will feature shortly
The only purchase in Oban was 3..6.. 9 Seconds of Light a 1997 EP by Belle & Sebastian on the Jeepster label picked up for a pound.
I've still to give it a proper listen but tracks 3 and 4 where the ones that made an initial impression
You are actually getting three for the price two as  track 4 also contains an unlisted hidden track Songs for Children. Don't say I'm not good to you.

Belle & Sebastian - Beautiful

Belle & Sebastian - Put The Book Back on The Shelf

Monday, 20 February 2017

A Mass Romantic Car Journey

In the comments section from Burnt Offerings 6 Brian suggested that I give the title track from Mass Romantic the 2000 debut album by The New Pornographers (not a band to google at work!) a listen to in the car.
A band featuring among others Neko Case and the afore- mentioned A.C. Newman listed here as Carl.
The following day  I had  the perfect opportunity given that major road works on the M74 resulted in my normal 45 minute commute taking more than an hour and a half.
Brian is quite correct , it is an excellent piece of power pop.
Not an album  I have listened too in a while and  one I found it a bit patchy in places. I had forgotten how brilliant Letter From an Occupant is . A song which has featured on many a compilation from me.
I have resisted the temptation of posting The Fake Headlines and dedicating it to President Chump.

The New Pornographers - Mass Romantic

The New Pornographers - Letters From An Occupant

Sunday, 19 February 2017

Some Definitive Impressions

Definitive Impressions is one of those career spanning anthologies that the great Kent Soul label specialises in.
Twenty eight songs and everyone a cracker from the Doo Wop of 1961 through to 1968 and featuring the seamless and indeed peerless harmonies of  Curtis Mayfield, Sam Gooden and Fred Cash.
It was a bit of a dilemma in deciding what to choose but in the end I went for the two  most obvious ones on the basis that you can't improve upon perfection.
You will not hear two better songs today or possibly for the rest of the week.
As the album sleeve says defining moments in 60's Soul from Chicago's greatest group

The Impressions - Keep On Pushing

The Impressions - People Get Ready

Saturday, 18 February 2017


I very nearly bought New Adventures in Hi-Fi by R.E.M. in my local charity shop the other day but I wasn't sure if I had it or not. Turns out I  don't so I'll pick it up next time I'm in if it's still there.
This got me checking and confirmed what I thought. I actually own more post Out of Time/Automatic For The People  R.E.M. albums than pre ones. I suspect that  this is because they are more readily available in charity shops.
The only pre ones I own are Reckoning and the 1991 Best Of from the IRS years.
This is clearly wrong as it is an established fact that their early stuff is much better that their later offerings. Here is some proof.

For all things R.E.M. can I point you in the direction of The Robster

R.E.M. -Radio Free Europe

R.E.M. - I Believe

Friday, 17 February 2017


We have featured Americana here many times before (too many ......  that's enough of that - Ed) and Americana from Canada and Britain. Today it is the turn of Sweden
First Aid Kit comprises of sisters Klara (vocals and guitar) and Johanna (vocals/keyboard/autoharp) Söderberg 
They started out in  their native Sweden since 2007  shooting to international fame in 2008 with their You Tube version of Fleet Foxes - Tiger Mountain Peasant Song

This led to a record deal (first with Wichita and then Columbia) and they have since gone on to record three albums the middle one of which from 2012 is The Lion's Roar

Here is the title track from that album together with This Old Routine.

First Aid Kit - The Lion's Roar

First Aid Kit - This Old Routine

I was going to give you the brilliant Emmylou but I have featured that before
They are older than their years

Thursday, 16 February 2017


Another one that is down to The Swede. Just to let you know sir that when my bank manager comes calling I shall be forwarding him/her in you general direction.

Rozi Plain is originally from Winchester where she was born as Rosalind Leydon. She also regularly plays with This is the Kit another act that The Swede first brought to my attention.
She has released three albums on Lost Map the record label from the Isle of Eigg founded by The Pictish Trail.
Here is a song from her excellent 2015 album Friends followed by a track from a Lost Map sampler which you can pick up on Bandcamp for nothing although I would suggest a small donation as small independent labels need all the support they can get.

Rozi Plain - Tap to The Chest

Rozi Plain - See my Boat (Alexis Taylor Remix)

Wednesday, 15 February 2017

Burn Offerings 6

First the bad news - there has been an incremental reduction in interest for the Burnt Offerings posts over the previous five weeks.
Now the really bad news - there are 32 in the series and  I plan to continue until the bitter end.

You will all be familiar with the first song this week but not perhaps with the singer. Petra Haden is an American singer and violinist who has been a member of That Dog, Tito and Tarantula and The Decemberists.
I shall spare you her acapella version of Journey's Don't Stop Believing

Petra Haden - God Only Knows

A.C. Newman is a Canadian singer/songwriter who as well as performing sol plays with The New Pornographers.
His name is Allan Carl Newman and chose  "A.C." for his solo career because "it sounded like a pseudonym, but it's not a pseudonym." So now you know. Miracle Drug is the first song on his 2004 debut solo album The Slow Wonder.

Today's final choice is a bit of a mystery. I can't find any references anywhere to The Eric Hinshaw Band leading me to suspect that I have totally the wrong name. If anyone can help me out I would be eternally grateful.
All I can say is that they are more classic Country than Americana and he almost certainly wears a hat.

Volume 7 next week whether you like it or not

Tuesday, 14 February 2017

Robert Fisher RIP

The Swede  passed on to me the very sad news of the death of Robert Fisher who had been suffering from cancer.
I'm sure he will post his own tribute but I felt that  I should also mark Robert's passing
Although he  occasionally sang solo  as seen below  with a number from the Song Circle 2002 acoustic album he recorded with Steve Wynn, Deanna Varagona and Walter Salas- Humara he is best remembered as the front man of Americana band Willard Grant Conspiracy
Founded in 1995 in Boston they have released a number of albums on labels such as Glitterhouse, Rykodisc and Loose with 10 studio albums and 4 live albums to  their name.
Sometimes I thought that his music was a wee bit bleak even for me but there is no denying that he had a fine voice and that he was a very good songwriter.
Rest easy big man.

Robert Fisher - Closing Time

Willard Grant Conspiracy - Soft Hand

Monday, 13 February 2017

Don't Try This At Home

Wilco last Monday and Billy Bragg & Wilco on Friday. So logically (or perhaps lazily) I thought it time for a solo outing from the Bard of Barking.
When writing the Protest Song post I had in my head lyrics from a Billy Bragg song which mentions Woody Guthrie and old Joe Hill. However, I can't for the life of me remember which one. Feel free to put my out my agony.(A Steve Earle song as it turns out - see FBCB's comment below)
This led to me scouring the Bragg section and thinking that it was a long time since I had played 1991's Don't Try This at Home.
I put it on the car on the way to work and was immediately stuck by Everywhere  his version of a song by Sid Griffin and the recently departed Greg Trooper  I've obviously heard it a number of times before but this is the first time it has grabbed me.
On the other hand Tank Park Salute, his tribute to his late father, gets me every time.

Billy Bragg - Everywhere

Billy Bragg - Tank Park Salute

Sunday, 12 February 2017

Celtic Connections - The Verdict

That's Celtic Connections over for another year.
We attended three concerts this year all pretty good but none absolutely outstanding.

The first one Tom Russell at St Andrews in the Square was a bit of a revelation. I was expecting some Americana which we got. What I was not expecting was the showmanship and continual interaction with the audience. It was very entertaining but something I think I could only take in small doses. The songs when he got round to playing them were pretty good though.
We were late for Rachel Sermanni at the Mackintosh church as I got us lost including driving past the venue at least once. A lovely but draughty church with narrow pews which meant the entire row had to shuffle out if anyone needed the loo. Talking of loos I'm getting a bit old for unheated Portaloos in January.
Rachel Sermanni  seemed a bit nervous but put on a good show with a combination of acoustic solo numbers and songs from a pretty tight band.
Although the Tom Russell show was slightly better if I had to choose I would probably opt to  go and see Rachel again if that makes sense.
Heidi Talbot at the Mitchell Theatre was also very good taking advantage of Celtic Connection's generosity to front a seven piece band, a luxury I suspect she can't afford most nights.Her new stuff led us to purchasing Here We Go 1.2,3 which will no doubt feature here in the future.
I would probably give all three 7 or 8 out of 10.

None of the supports bands made much of an impression. Cera Impala was pleasant and an excellent banjo player but I felt her voice was a bit weak. We missed half of Jolie Holland and Samantha Parton's set which was perhaps just as well as Mrs CC particularly disliked them. I thought some of their versions of Be Good Tanyas songs were ok but didn't think much of their newer stuff.
John Smith was easily the pick of the bunch. An able singer songwriter who dealt admirably with a particularly enthusiastic heckler. I enjoyed his music in a live setting but don't know whether I would listen to his records all that often.

All in all a good year.

Tom Russell - He Wasn't a Bad Kid , When He Was Sober

Rachel Sermanni - Banks Are Broken

Saturday, 11 February 2017

It's All Over Now Baby Blue

They think it's  all over ............ well it is now.
A valiant attempt by The Long Ryders with their version of Just Like Tom Thumb's Blues but it was a closer than I expected victory for Bob giving us a final score of Bob 10 Cover Artists 6.

A quick name check for the artists who got one over on the great man - The Byrds, Townes Van Zandt, Emmylou Harris, Mojave 3, Tom Robinson Band and Bryan Ferry

Here is one I thought about including and may have done so had the series continued. Bob's prototype rap song and an upbeat version by the Walkmen.
It won't count for anything but I would be interested to hear your views.
I've really enjoyed the interactive element to this series with many of you giving your opinions and sometimes even surprising yourselves with your choices.

I may do it again sometime perhaps with the songs of Neil Young, David Bowie, Townes Van Zandt or even Bruce Springsteen!

Bob Dylan - Subterranean Homesick Blues

The Walkmen - Subterranean Homesick Blues

Friday, 10 February 2017

Too Many Protest Singers, Not Enough Protest Songs

Well that's three weeks now although it feels like an eternity.
God knows how much damage has been done and how much more lies in wait.

However, there have been a number of positives. The astonishing turnout and the power of the Woman's March on Washington, the judiciary standing up to laws made up on the hoof  and the press refusing to be cajoled and stiffled.
Even in Britain we have had an unlikely hero in the form of Speaker Bercow

It seems that despite the heavy handed tactics that the public will not be silenced and for every executive order that is beyond the pale more and more people are standing up and being counted.
There is hope yet.

Billy Bragg and Wilco - She Came Along to Me

Neil Young - Let's Impeach the President

Woody Guthrie - This Land is Your land

Thursday, 9 February 2017

The Ubiquitous Louis Abbott

Sometimes it feels as though Glasgow can be a bit of a village.
This year at Celtic Connections we saw Louis Abbott of Admiral  Fallow fame in action not once but twice. Firstly he played drums and sang with Rachel Sermanni and a week later there he was again this time playing guitar and singing with Heidi Talbot.
A few months back we saw him playing drums and singing with Kris Drever.
It is only right then that we feature him with his band Admiral Fallow with a couple of tracks from their 2010 debut Boots Met My Face voted the best album of 2010 by The Pop Cop.
There have only been a further two albums since probably because he is too busy performing with other people.
A man's got to make a living I suppose.

Admiral Fallow -Dead Against Smoking

Admiral Fallow - Subbuteo

Wednesday, 8 February 2017

Burnt Offerings 5

One of the objectives of this series is to feature artists who have not previously appeared on these pages before. This can lead to having to select three from only four of five which can prove challenging. indeed this may prove impossible further down the line.
No such problems today however.
We start with Magnolia Summer an Americana band from St Louis who are led by Chris Grabeau and a song from their second album from 2006 From Driveways' Lost View. Not a band I know much about I'm afraid.

Magnolia Summer -Once In A While

They are followed by Juliette and the Licks a side project of actress Juliette Lewis where she attempts to become a rock chick.On this the title song from their first full length  album from 2005 she pretty much succeeds.They were on the go off and on from 2003 to 2009 with a brief reappearance in 2015.

Juliette & the Licks - You're Speaking My Language

Country/folk singer Eliza Gilkyson is easily the most established of the three acts featuring today. She is the only one I have seen live and I am a wee bit surprised that she hasn't appeared previously.She has well over 20 albums to her name with this track appearing on her 2005 album Paradise Hotel.
Today's trivia fact - her father Terry wrote The Bare Necessities song which features in The Jungle Book

Eliza Gilkyson - Borderline

The 6th volume of assorted nonsense next week.

Tuesday, 7 February 2017


C at the ever wonderful Sun Dried Sparrows has recently published a quite excellent post on Psychedelia featuring a fanzine that she wrote a number of years ago and which includes some of her brilliant artwork. She also name checks a number of fellow bloggers who have recently posted songs with a psychedelic hue.
I thought I should get in on the act but was struggling as I don't have much music from that genre that I could feature.
Step forward Drew who came to the rescue by recently featuring the 13th Floor Elevators with their version of  Dylan's Baby Blue.
I have two 13th Floor Elevators albums Easter Everywhere and The Masters a compilation which my brother bought and gave to me as he thought it was rubbish. He was wrong there.
These two tracks appear on both.

13th Floor Elevators - Slide Machine

13th Floor Elevators - Pictures (Leave Your Body Behind)

Monday, 6 February 2017

May The Force Be With You

Like many of you I suspect I took advantage of the free download of Star Wars by Wilco upon it's release in July 2015. Let's face it, it is not the kind of offer that you would turn down.
Having said that the download lay in a folder on my PC for well over a year before I finally got round to playing it.

I've documented it before but Wilco and I began to take diverging paths around the turn of  the century. I loved them up to then but their music and my tastes fairly rapidly began to go in opposite directions.
However, I quite liked Star Wars. Would I pay full price for it? No Would I pay a couple of quid in a charity shop? Probably.
Being an old fashioned sort of bloke I stuck a copy on a CD to play in the car.No details as to the track names were forthcoming and I  opted for tracks 3 and 6  which I now know to be Random Name Generator and Taste The Ceiling

Wilco - Random Name Generator

Wilco - Taste The Ceiling

Sunday, 5 February 2017

Some Solo Sam Sunday Soul

Before you get too excited this is not the return of the Sunday Soul series - rather it is some soul posted on a Sunday. Glad we cleared that one up.
Today Dave gets a well deserved rest as Sam takes centre stage. Yup it is the great Sam Moore with his "lost" solo album Plenty Good Lovin'
Originally recorded in 1970 for a variety of reasons it was not until 2002 that it finally saw the light  of day.
Mostly consisting of covers the first I have selected Stop has previously appeared on a Sam and Dave anthology.
The second is a quite magnificent rendition of Clay Hammond's Part Time Love.

Take it away Soul Man

Sam Moore - Stop

Sam Moore - Part Time Love

Saturday, 4 February 2017

Dylan Covered - Just Like Tom Thumb's Blues

A fairly comfortable victory for Bob last week over a well received Thea Gilmore  with I Dreamed I Saw Saint Augustine.
It looks as though we are now reaching the home straight given that the scores are now Bob 9 Cover Artists 6.
Whereas I agree with Swiss Adam that John Wesley Harding is a fantastic album I  couldn't let this series conclude without featuring something from my favourite Dylan album Highway 61 Revisited.
A bit of a poisoned chalice but The Long Ryders have bravely stepped up to the plate with their version of Just Like Tom Thumb's Blues. An admiral stab ( © The Swede) by singer Stephen McCarthy (as opposed to Sid Griffin as I originally posted) but let's face it you cannot improve upon perfection.
I doubt any cover of any of the tracks would come remotely close.

In the unlikely event of a Long Ryders victory we shall reconvene next week. Failing that thank you all for your participation. It has been a blast.

Bob Dylan - Just Like Tom Thumb's Blues

The Long Ryders - Just Like Tom Thumb's Blues

Friday, 3 February 2017

Celtic Connections - Heidi Talbot

The third and final Celtic Connections concert tomorrow night when we are off to see Irish born but Scottish based folk singer Heidi Talbot at the Mitchell Theatre.
She is the only one of  the three acts this year that we have seen before at the Paisley Arts Centre when she was touring her 2013 album Angels Without Wings.
This time round she is promoting her latest offering Here We Go 1,2,3. Both albums available on the excellent Navigator Records  label.
She will be supported by Devon-born singer/songwriter and guitarist John Smith of whom I know nothing.

A review of the three evenings to follow in due course.

Heidi Talbot - Wine and Roses

Heidi Talbot - Bedlam Boys

Thursday, 2 February 2017

Mull Historical Society

I blame Brexit myself and Trump.
My local C.H.A.S. charity shop has raised the prices of their CDs by a whopping inflation busting 2.04%
No longer 49 pence but an increase to 50 pence - outrageous.
Therefore it was with much trepidation and a degree of swithering that I picked up Mull Historical Society's 2001 debut album Loss particularly given that I have previous forked out similar sums for the CD singles Watching Xanadu  and Animal Cannabus from the album
I would describe it as Mika meets power pop.
Whereas I quite enjoy the first song posted I can imagine that it may get quite wearing after a few listens.
I was sure I had another one of theirs but couldn't find it leading to a misfile panic. Turns out it is under main man  Colin MacInytre's own name so was not misfiled after all.

Mull Historical Society - Public Service Announcer

Mull Historical Society - This Is Not Who We Were

Wednesday, 1 February 2017

Burnt Offerings 4

It's Americana all the way this week I'm afraid. So if that is not your cup of tea you may wish to take yourself off somewhere for the next 15 minutes and make yourself a cup of tea.

Let's start with the first song on Volume 4 Jimmy LaFave with the beautiful Blue Nightfall from the 2005 album of the same name.
Jimmy wears a beret but he is from Willis Point , Texas as opposed to Dundee.
A great admirer of Woody Guthrie (who isn't?) he produced and toured with a tribute show called Ribbon of Highway, Endless Skyway

Where are Woody's heirs in America's hour of need?

The Silos are a New York band fronted by Walter Salas- Humara founded in 1985 and still going strong with 17 albums to their name along with a number of solo ones from their front man
The Only Love is the opening track on their 2004 album When The Telephone Rings on the legendary German Blue Rose record label.

Last but not least we have Scrappy Jud Newcomb. Originally from Mississippi  he, like last week's featured Beaver Nelson, is an integral part of the Austin, Texas music scene
This track is from his second solo album Byzantine from 2005.
One of his ambitions is to hike in Slovenia. Let's hope it happens

Volume 5 next week