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Sunday, 16 January 2022

No Depression #47 - Lyle Lovett


No Depression - The Bi-monthly Journal of Alt- Country
#47 -   September - October  2003

The gentleman who looks like he has been out in the sun is none other than Lyle Lovett probably most famous for his big hair and the fact that he was briefly Mr Julia Roberts.

The article by Geoffrey Himes focuses on his returning to stay in the house which had belonged to his grandfather in Klein Texas (he has an uncle called Calvin Klein!) and the forthcoming release of his album My Baby Don't Tolerate on Curb/Lost Highway. It is not one I have as me and Lyle had parted company by then.

The article also gives a brief resume of his career. He was one of the so called Texas "Class of 86" alongside Dwight Yoakam, Steve Earle and Randy Travis with Nanci Griffiths  snapping at their heels.Throw in couple of old timers in Guy Clark and Townes Van Zandt and Belleville, Illinois' Uncle Tupelo and it was effectively the birth of alternative Country.

However after the release and success of his first two albums Lyle Lovett (1986) and Pontiac (1987) he took a different path  going down a  big band route playing swing, blues, jazz, gospel and honky tonk in a similar style to Willie Nelson and Ray Charles.

I only have three of his albums  - the aforementioned Pontiac, the Grammy winning 1996 The Road to Ensenada which Himes claims is his best album  but one which does nothing for me and Step Inside this House from 1998 a double album of covers of songs by fellow Texans. One track from each I think.

For this week's One from the Top I've gone for Shelby Lynne

Saturday, 15 January 2022

Seen at King Tuts - Neal Casal


Neal Casal

Thursday 28th October 2004           £10.00                       Ticket No  GA0 12

I'd previously seen Americana singer/songwriter Neal Casal at Glasgow's 13th Note Club so King Tuts was very much a step up in terms of size and status

His 2000 album Anytime Tomorrow has long been a   favourite of mine and I had enjoyed the rockier 2003 album that he had released as part of the band Hazy Malaze alongside Dan Fadel and Jeff Hill.

He released a compilation Leaving Traces :Songs 1994- 2004 which may well have been promoted at the gig and almost certainly contributed to a major part of his set.I may even have picked it up at the show.
I kind of lost touch with him shortly after this although I have his 2006 album NoWish to Reminisce which I think George gave to me.

In addition to the above he played as part of numerous bands most notably with Ryan Adams and the Cardinals and the Chris Robinson Brotherwood. I once saw him playing guitar as part of Lucinda Williams backing band in Austin.

Sadly he took his own life at the age of  50 in August 2019. 
Coincidentally I have just recently downloaded Highway Butterfly a tribute featuring 41 of his songs from artists including Hiss Golden Messenger, Steve Earle, J Mascis and Jonathan Wilson which I haven't had a chance to listen to yet. An artist who was clearly held in high regard.

A couple of his songs that would have almost certainly been part of the set and one by Hazy Malaze.

Friday, 14 January 2022

Ronnie Spector R.I.P.


It was sad to hear of the death of the great Ronnie Spector at the age of 76. The first great musical icon to pass in 2022 unless I've missed something.

She was of course the lead singer of the revolutionary all female early 60's band The Ronettes along side her sister Estelle Bennett and her cousin Nedra Tally. They smashed the glass ceiling and many other great all female bands followed.

She was a tough character. Let's face it you would have to be to survive a marriage to Phil Spector. The title of her memoir Be My Baby: How I Survived Mascara, Miniskirts and Madness,or, My Life as a Fabulous Ronette pretty much says it all.

Rest easy Ronnie

The Ronettes -Be My Baby

The Ronettes - Baby I Love You (Isolated Vocal)

Ronnie Spector -She Talks to Rainbows

Thursday, 13 January 2022



I was watching a video flick through of records for sale when I saw Feline by The Stranglers going for 9 quid.

I've got that I thought and the other day I dug it out for a listen. I couldn't remember how or where I had got it or whether I had ever listened to it before.

From 1993 on Epic it is their 7th album and is as far removed from Rattus Norvegicus and No More Heroes as you could possibly imagine.It is maybe of its time experimenting as it does with electronic drums and synthesizers

Released to a mixed reception with Trouser Press describing it as restained and dignified but also lackluster and boring which is probably fair. All Music wrote while not an instant classic, it does repay repeated listening ... Instead of the belligerent tunefulness of yesteryear, the Stranglers were trying to expand their sound and reach. Too often on this lackluster effort, however, it comes across as boring and unengaging

 The European Female, with vocals by Jean-Jacques Burnel, reached number 9 in the UK singles chart and just about passes muster. The rest is much of a muchness. It comes with a one -sided spoken single called Aural Sculpture Manifesto.

If anyone was daft enough to offer me 9 quid I would bite their hand off. An excellent cover though.

The Stranglers - The European Female

The Stranglers -All Roads Lead to Rome

Wednesday, 12 January 2022

Too Long in the Wasteland


Rol pulled a rabbit out the hat when he announced that The Horses and the Hounds  by James McMurtry was his number 1 album from 2021.
He stated that James McMurtry is an artist who has existed on the periphery of my vision until now. I've got a couple of his albums in my collection, but I obviously haven't devoted enough time to them to pick up the finer details of his craft

That could have been my that wrote that, but obviously not so eloquently.
I'd heard snippets of his work here and there and in particular Ray Wylie Hubbard's cover of Choctaw Bingo. This was enough for my to track down his 1989 debut Too Long in the Wasteland although curiously I have only ever followed that up with a copy of 2015's Complicated Game.

The album title and cover give a clue as to what to suspect. He is primarily a storyteller telling  grizzly tales about the dispossessed and the American way of life that never features in the Hollywood blockbusters.
As AllMusic has it his lyrics are stories, telling about everyday life, the predictability of work, the troubles of teens, and the pain of love when it isn't all roses and sunshine. Maybe some of his writing talent comes from his father, author Larry McMurtry.

I've just discovered that the album was produced by John Mellencamp. Maybe that's another reason why Rol likes him so much!

As I often say on these pages further exploration clearly required.

Tuesday, 11 January 2022

Amy Amy Amii


We will start with one of the more obvious ones  this week namely the late great Amy Winehouse. The sad story of her far too short life has been documented many times before and you don't really need me to delve into it. All I will say is that she was a fantastic talent and a great soul singer, but you knew that already. There is a song on her debut album Frank called Amy Amy Amy but I was unable to record it without including the Outro

Actress, singer songwriter and upright bass player Amy LaVere first came to my attention when her song Rabbit popped up on an Uncut compilation. I subsequently sought out her 2014 album Runaway's Diary on Archer Records.It's not bad but none of the other tracks come close to Rabbit

As you will see from the post title I am allowing deviations from the traditional spelling.I was really surprised that out of all the thousands of physical and digital songs at my disposal I couldn't find a copy of the disco classic Knock on Wood by Amii Stewart despite having about half a dozen Disco compilstions. Remedial action has been taken.

I think I can probably just about squeeze in a third selection next week.

Amy Winehouse -Tears Dry On Their Own

Amy LaVere - Rabbit

Amii Stewart -Knock on Wood

Monday, 10 January 2022

Givin' It Back


A good few years ago when Record Libraries were still a thing I took out The Islay Brothers Original Album Classics  and duly took a copy of each of the 5 CDs (as you do).

For some strange reason the only one that I bothered to burn onto  CD was 3  + 3 probably because it included That Lady and more crucially Summer Breeze.
I really should have burned them all particlarly Givin' It Back their 9th album from 1971 on the T Neck/Buddah Records label. Fortunately I retained the electronic copy.

After years of having songs like Shout and Twist and Shout recorded by other artists and subsequently becoming huge hits they decided to return the favour .
I've posted the opening track a social commentry medley of Neil Young's Ohio morphing into  Hendrix' Machine Gun before and it is an absolute belter.
I don't think that Lay Lady Lay was ever included in my Dylan Covered series. Had it been they would surely have given his Bobness a run for his money.

Twenty minutes of pure quality to ease you gently into the week.