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Monday 30 June 2014

There's A Train a Coming

I've recently contributed a train themed mix to the ever excellent Cooking up a Quiet Storm
You can listen to it here
Here are two tracks (bit of a pun there!) which did not make the final selection for whatever reason.
Down There by The Train a Tom Waits song but here performed by Johnny Cash on the masterpiece that is American Recordings.
From American Recordings to American Music with the mighty Alvin Brothers aka The Blasters with Jubilee Train.
Annoyingly I couldn't locate a copy of  Midnight Train to Georgia. I refuse believe that I do not have it somewhere so I'll keep looking!

Johnny Cash - Down There By The Train

The Blasters - Jubilee Train

A historic day for CCM - the 500th post!

Sunday 29 June 2014

Southern Soul Sunday 39

Apologies - what with the World Cup and family commitments I haven't been able to give SSS the usual commitment and in-depth research and thought that I usually do (ie 20 minutes on a popular search engine)
Rather I have selected two tracks from Raw Soul a Mojo compilation from March 2004 which was kicking around as I took last week's Mess Around by Ray Charles from it.
It is another excellent album to get free with a magazine.
As well as Ray Charles there are a number of other big hitters eg Solomon Burke, Bettye Swann, Wilson Pickett. Ike and Tina, Otis and the Isley Brothers.
However, I have gone for two of the lesser known artists about whom I know absolutely nothing about other  than the songs are fantastic.
Haven't been able to find out much about Felice Taylor other than she is from Richmond California and that she used to perform with her sisters as a trio The Sweets.
Albert Washington from Rome in Georgia (as opposed to Italy) comes from a gospel background and performs a pleasant mixture of Blues and soul.

Felice Taylor - I Can Feel Love

Albert Washington - Hold on Baby

This briefly appeared yesterday so some of you got a sneak preview!

Saturday 28 June 2014

Bobby Womack RIP

The coolest  cowboy of them all has just ridden off into the sunset
Rest easy Bobby.

Bobby Womack - Bouquet of Roses

Saturday Lucky Dip

Hasn't the World Cup been great so far?
A true festival of football and as Luis Suarez might say plenty for the neutral fans to get their teeth into.
My fear is that now we are down to the last 16 teams may get more cautious and the football wont be as free flowing as it has been. Hope I'm wrong.

To this weeks Lucky Dip and two tracks taken from Uncut's October 2013 selection Fill Her Up Jacko! (lyrics from a Strummer song? Swiss Adam to advise)
First up is America by Laura Veirs with the great opening lines
How can it be so cold out here in America
Everybody is packing heat in America
Training their barrels on the city streets of America

Lovely - nice and mellow
The same can't be said for City Job by The Icarus Line. They are noisy buggers but are none the worse for that.
Filed randomly by my download software under Deep Purple - obviously

Laura Veirs - America

The Icarus Line - City Job

Friday 27 June 2014

Polly Scattergood

I'm willing to admit that I bought Polly Scattergood's  self-titled 2009 debut album from a charity shop in Fort William purely because I liked the name.
I had never heard of her.
As a wee bonus it is not bad at all - slightly quirky in a Goldrappy or Bjorkesque  sort of a way.
The album got to number 157 in the UK charts - I never knew they went that high. I can just about remember them going as high as 75.
She released a follow up album called Arrows in 2013.
Polly Scattergood is not a made up name, she comes from Colchester and she is 27.
I know no more.
A good find.

Polly Scattergood - Other Too Endless

Polly Scattergood - Please Don't Touch

Thursday 26 June 2014

Two Spoonfuls of Lovin'

The recent mention of John Sebastian and the wonderful weather we have been having recently had me reaching to the shelves for Lovin' Spoonful's Greatest Hits.
They took their name from the lyrics from Mississippi John Hurt's Coffee Blues.
They shone briefly and brightly between 1965 and 1967 with some great radio friendly singles which still get a regular airing today.
Altogether now:-
Hot town, Summer in the City
Back of my neck getting dirty and gritty
Been down, isn't it a pity
Doesn't seem to be a shadow in the city

Terrific stuff

Lovin' Spoonful -Summer in the City

Lovin' Spoonful - Do You Believe in Magic

Wednesday 25 June 2014


Not this Tippi

The Tippi featured today is the erstwhile lead singer of the previously featured Hedrons as opposed to the actress Tippi Hedren who appeared in Hitchcock's The Birds.
You can imagine the confusion when trying to locate her in popular search engines!

Tippi, the singer, was in a Glasgow punk band and then went solo with a more mellow approach as these tracks demonstrate.
I am not a fan of the Blue Nile , in fact I would go as far as to to say I positively dislike them. Chances are, if I had noticed that the Tippi cd single I picked up was a cover of one of their records I may not have bothered.This is probably the closest they will get to featuring on CCM.
Her own song Reminisce is pretty good however. Plus it was only a pound

My single is signed - "David, best wishes Tippi" - so that's my brother's Christmas present sorted!

Tippi - Reminisce

Tippi - Tinseltown in the Rain

Tuesday 24 June 2014

$Million Sellers$ - Country Favourites


Now the album may have been titled $Million Sellers$ but I managed to pick up a copy for 50p in Oxfam.
Some classic early 60's Country.
Side 1 Four tracks from Claude King - Commancheros, Big River Big Man, Tiger Woman and his 1962 signature tune Wolverton Mountain written with Merle Kilgore based on a real character Kilgore's uncle Clifton Clowers who lived on Wolverton Mountain near Morrilton, Arkansas


Next up is Ferlin Husky - you don't get names like Claude and Ferlin these days- more's the pity
He was supposed to be called Furland (even better!) but his name was mis-spelt on his birth certificate
Side 2 Four tracks - A Fallen Star, Just for You, Gone and the ever excellent Wings of a Dove

Monday 23 June 2014

Creation Stories

Going from reading Sweet Soul Music by Peter Guralnick to Alan McGee's Creation Stories is a bit like going from a broadsheet newspaper to a red top tabloid.
From in-depth analysis to salacious tittle tattle. But it is none the worse for that -an interesting and entertaining read.
McGee comes across as a bit of a twat, something he himself concedes from his time on the drink and drugs.
I'm not particularly sure that I would enjoy his company.
However his legendary status as the founder of Creation cannot be ignored - Jesus and Mary Chain, Primal Scream, My Bloody Valentine, Teenage Fanclub, Oasis et al.
Also he and Bobby Gillespie were Mount Florida boys. For  a few years I had a flat a few hundred yards from his boyhood home 36 Carmunnock Road, Mount Florida,Glasgow in the shadows of Hampden Park

Primal Scream - Loaded

Teenage Fanclub -Alcoholiday

Sunday 22 June 2014

Southern Soul Sunday 38

Along with Sam Cooke Ray Charles Robinson was responsible for the origins of soul music by bringing gospel songs to a wider more secular audience.
For I Got a Woman he adapted a traditional gospel song putting secular lyrics to it and turning it into an r&b number.
After that he could do no wrong and for the next ten years or so his success was without artistic or commercial parallel within the black community.
He was also one of the first black artists to succeed in the crossover to being acclaimed by white audiences also.
This may partly be due to the range of his music - jazz, blues, soul, gospel and pop. He even came up with the great 1962 album Modern Sounds in Country and Western Music for goodness sake.
Blind for the age of seven, he was also a heroin addict for over 20 years which ultimately impacted on his career

I will leave you with his own words from Let the Good Times Roll
"Hey y'all tell everybody Ray Charles is in town
I got a dollar and a quarter and I'm just rarin' to clown"

Ray Charles - I Got a Woman

Ray Charles - Mess Around

Saturday 21 June 2014

Saturday Lucky Dip

One of the interesting aspects of the Saturday Lucky Dip is working out where my download software will randomly file the tracks.
It took me about 10 minutes to find last weeks.
This week Uncut's Unconditionally Guaranteed 10 from November 1999 was filed under John Sebastian!
There is a Loving Spoonful song on it which made the shortlist as does Joe Strummer and Matthew Sweet.Worry not , however, as they will all feature in their own right in due course.
Counting Crows are a band  I don't have a lot from - only August and Everything After.This track, Mrs Potter's Lullabye from This Desert Life is also pretty good.
I was struggling to choose between Johnny Thunders and Vic Goddard for the second track so you are getting them both you lucky, lucky people.

Friday 20 June 2014

Trouble is a Lonesome Town

You won't find it on any map but take a step in any direction and your in Trouble
Following the phenomenal success on CCM of Trouble Town by Jake Bugg the theme tune to the BBC's Happy Valley series we go back to the original town called Trouble.
As far back as 1963 in fact and the masterpiece that is Trouble is a Lonesome Town by the late great Lee Hazlewood.
It is a story teller's album featuring a number of country cowboy ballads with a narrative preamble concerning the fictitious town of Trouble - "nothing with a railroad running through it"  and is loosely based on his birthplace
It is like a spoken and singing version of a William Faulkner novel or a Coen Brothers film just dripping with atmosphere.

Re-released in 2013 by Light in the Attic records  with  extra tracks including his work with Duane Eddy and a six part narrative related by the man himself - well worth checking out

Lee Hazlewood - Trouble is a Lonesome Town

Lee Hazlewood -We All Make the Flowers Grow

Thursday 19 June 2014

Surf's Up

We are having something of a mini heatwave in Scotland this week.
Just back from a couple of days in Portpatrick with sunburn as a souvenir.
In weather like this one's thoughts turn to the sounds of summer and in particular to the Beach Boys and their surfer songs.
Now I have never surfed in my life and given that I am old and decrepit I am highly unlikely to start now.
However it doesn't stop me appreciating a good surf song when I hear one and here are three from the masters of the genre.

The Beach Boys - Surfin' Safari

The Beach Boys - Surfin' USA

The Beach Boys - Surfer Girl

Tuesday 17 June 2014

More Downs Than Ups

 Swiss Adam posted an interesting  and eloquent piece on R.E.M. recently.
He was of the view that they produced little of note after New Adventures in HiFi. He is probably correct although others may go back still further.
What is not in doubt is that they should have called it a day long before they actually did.
On the positive side you can pick up their later albums in Charity Shops for next to nothing which is probably just about how much they are worth,
I've only heard Up and Reveal of their last 5 albums but I'm wondering if folk reckon that you could select enough tracks from these 5 albums to create one half decent one?
Here are two possible contenders from Up

R.E.M. -Hope

R.E.M. - Falls to Climb

Monday 16 June 2014

The Blues Collection - Walter Horton

Described by Willie Dixon as the best harmonica player he had ever heard Big Walter Horton never quite enjoyed the commercial success of some of his peers
Born in Horn Lake, Mississippi in 1918  he was playing harmonica by the age of five prior to moving to Memphis as a teenager and was one of the first artists to record at Sam Phillips Sun studio
Like many other Southern musician he graduated to Chicago and became part of the Blues scene there
He was also known as Mumbles and Shakey because of his head motion whilst playing the harmonica.
These two tracks were recorded in the splendidly named Knickerbocker Club in Boston in 1980 shortly before his death in 1981 at the age of 64

Walter Horton -Little Boy Blue

Walter Horton -What's On Your Worried Mind

Sunday 15 June 2014

Southern Soul Sunday 37

I've just finished reading Sweet Soul Music- Rhythm and Blues and the Southern Dream of Freedom by Peter Guralnick and very good it is too.
I got it following a recommendation in a post on the excellent Funky 16 Corners blog.
It has sections on the giants of Southern Soul most of whom have already featured in this series.
It also gives detail of the influence of Muscle Shoals, Macon and Memphis and the rise and fall of the Stax empire.
As with all such books I was familiar with some of the content but had learnt a great deal more by the time I have finished reading it.
I was aware of Sam Moore and Dave Prater, for instance, but had no idea as to how absolutely huge they were as the most successful soul duo and second only to Aretha in terms of chart success.
Also terrific live apparently and often preceding Otis at shows making him perform to an even higher standard so as not to be outdone by them.
Here is I Thank You one of their biggest hits and an Isaac Hayes and David Porter production of I Can't Stand Up For Falling Down which knocks Mr Costello's version into a cocked hat..

Oh, and I also found out that Rothesay's finest Lena Zavaroni was at one time signed to Stax!!

Sam and Dave - I Thank You

Sam and Dave -I Can't Stand Up For Falling Down

Saturday 14 June 2014

Saturday Lucky Dip

This week we change magazines and it is the turn of The Word with Now Hear This from August 2008.
Now I am unfamiliar with The Word and don't recall ever having purchased it.
Which is a shame as I have picked up a couple of their compilations recently and they are a fine eclectic mix.
They come in a cleverly designed cardboard sleeve with lovely artwork by Yuko Shimizu an example of whose work is featured above.

As the weather appears to have taken a turn for the better I have selected two tracks which I know nothing about but which have a distinctive summer vibe.
El Arbol is by LA artiste Ersi Arvizu from her 2008 album Friend For Life. Turns out she is lead singer of El Chicano who were on the previously featured Chavez Ravine album by Ry Cooder.
The Apples have certainly never featured before.They are a nine piece Israeli funk band with Upskirt appearing on their third album Buzzin' About from 2008.

Ersi Arvizu - El Arbol

The Apples - Upskirt

Friday 13 June 2014

50.000 Fall Fan's Can't Be Wrong ....... Or Can They?

As George has alluded to on more than one occasion I am not the world's biggest Fall fan.
The only album of theirs I have is the compilation 50,000 Fall Fans Can't Be Wrong.
I've yet to come across any of their albums second hand or in a Charity Shop and I would not really be tempted to pay full price for them.
I've seen them live twice at the Renfrew Ferry in Glasgow- the first time they were absolutely fantastic, the second time they kept everyone waiting for ages, were only on for about 20 minutes and were absolutely awful.
It has to be said that I probably like them more now than I did a few years ago and listen (and occasionally download) most of the tracks that the likes of George and Drew put on and find the majority of them ok.
Here are a couple from the compilation which I particularly enjoy.

The Fall -How I Wrote Elastic Man

The Fall -Eat Y'self Fitter

Thursday 12 June 2014

Starsky and Hutch

I was going to give Walter first refusal on this in the hope and expectation that he would post it in his That's What I Watched on TV Years Ago series
However as he is currently taking a  well deserved temporary break I have decided to post it myself and to dedicate it to him.
Some jazz funk from The James Taylor Quartet on their 1988 album Wait a Minute which I managed to get reduced in Oxfam from 99p to 50p - in the same shop who were not willing to consider an offer of £10 for 3 1960's Country albums on sale at £3.99 each. I may make the same offer next year as I suspect they may well still be there!

The James Taylor Quartet - Theme from Starsky and Hutch (Funky People mix)

The James Taylor Quartet - Say a Little Prayer

Wednesday 11 June 2014

Championship Soul

Never mind your 99p Soul today's offering is your actual 50p Soul in the shape of Soul Searching -Volume One- a compilation purchased in Oxfam for the grand total of 50p
It includes the likes of Billy Ocean, Millie Jackson,Jonathan Butler, Glen Jones, Precious Wilson and Vanessa Bell Armstrong.
With the World Cup now just about upon us I have borrowed a football analogy from Darcy on the great Feel It  and would describe this as Championship Soul.
Darcy differentiates between Premiership Soul the creme de la creme and Championship Soul that whilst still good does not quite merit being included at the top of the pile.
There are a couple of pretty good tracks on this album.
Hurting Inside by Ruby Turner produced by Womack and Womack and Children of the Ghetto by The Real Thing.
I've got them down as the losing semi-finalists in the Championship play offs. Close but no cigar.

Ruby Turner -Hurting Inside

The Real Thing - Children of the Ghetto

Tuesday 10 June 2014

Tartan Texans - Vera Cruise

We are back to Glasgow this week and the featured band are Vera Cruise.
They are towards the Wilco/Centromatic end of the Americana spectrum
I don't know a whole lot about them other than they had a record out on Loose in 2002 Come Alone and Fall Apart
I've found a few lines on a Loose Sampler advising that the morning after signing them in Glasgow's salubrious Nice  & Sleazy bar the Loose honchos limped back home with a hangover the size of Texas.
They have also supported Mark Mulcahy and Teenage Fanclub.
They look the part -all beards, plaid shirts and the obligatory John Dere Tractor skip caps. Plus I think that their lead singer is indeed a bona fide American

Vera Cruise -Wasted Sounds

Vera Cruise - Rejecting Mobile Phones

Monday 9 June 2014

A Slice of Watermelon

Watermelon Records are one of many record labels operating out of Austin, Texas
To quote the blurb on The Watermelon Sampler Volume 1 "Watermelon has all but defined the vast parameters of the Texas music sensibility, a realm where the only borders are the limits of an artist's creative imagination"
Aye - whatever.
As with most samplers there are some hits and some misses.
Here are a couple which I quite enjoyed.
Webb Wilder is a new name on me but I am advised that he is "the last of the full-grown men" with his own philosophy "work hard,rock hard,sleep hard,eat hard, grow big,wear glasses if you need them" Something we should all aspire to I think.
He is also of the view that you should Stay Out of Automobiles
Timbuk3 from Austin had a smash  hit with The Future's So Bright I've Got to Wear Shades" and are in fact a husband and wife team of Pat and Barbara K MacDonald accompanied by a boom box playing backing tracks.
You are getting some Dirty,Dirty Rice. Hopefully I have not offended Gwyneth Paltrow who was on the net recently indicating that rice has feelings!

Webb Wilder -Stay Out of Automobiles

Timbuk3 -Dirty, Dirty Rice

Sunday 8 June 2014

Southern Soul Sunday 36

This week we return again to the record that kicked this series off - Southern Soul Showcase : Cryin' In The Streets on the mighty Kent label.
This features songs and artists on Shelby Singleton's SSS international group of labels.
Bettye LaVette, Doris Allen, George Perkins and Johnny Adams have already featured.
To be perfectly honest I  could have chosen any two of the other remaining artists as they are all  equally good.
I've chosen two songs from 1969
First up is Peggy Scott from Pensacola, Florida.Best known for duets with Jo Jo Benson but you are getting a solo number the tremendous You Can Never Get Something  for Nothing on the SSS International label.
Peggy is followed by Mr and Mrs Dynamite's wee boy Johnny with a superb country soul ballad Everybody's Clown  on the Minaret label. This was his only single which is a crying shame.

Peggy Scott - You Can Never Get Something for Nothing

Johnny Dynamite - Everybody's Clown

Saturday 7 June 2014

Saturday Lucky Dip

CCM briefly went viral recently with a phenomenal response to The Theme to Happy Valley post featuring the music of young master Bugg.
Things seem now to be getting gradually back to normal.
However it seems as though some of the new viewers have stuck with us as the viewing numbers appear to have increased.
So if you are new welcome. Relax, sit back and enjoy the show.
If you are one of the usual suspects then you know what to expect.

This week's Saturday Lucky Dip is another Uncut compilation this time from August 2001 with no fancy title - just 19-Track guide to the month's best music.
It features a lot of Americana which to me is no bad thing
I have selected two artists whose names I am familiar with but whom I do not have anything from apart from the occasional track here and there. On the strength of these two tracks this clearly needs to change
M Ward (Matthew to his mum) is from Portland, Oregon and has been on the go for a wee while .He is the Him in She and Him, the She being actress Zooey Deschanel.
Tim Buckley I suspect needs little or no introduction. 60s and 70s folk singer, dad of Jeff and dead of a heroin overdose at the age of 28
Two terrific songs. Enjoy

M Ward - Carolina

Tim Buckley - Falling Timber

Friday 6 June 2014

War Ina Babylon

It's Friday reggae time again and this time up it is the great Max Romeo and the Upsetters with 1976's War Ina Babylon on the Island label.
Produced by the mad professor that is Lee "Scratch" Perry and part of the Black Ark holy trinity of records along with the previously featured Police and Thieves by Junior Murvin and also Party Time by The Heptones which has now gone to the top of the reggae wanted list following this acquisition.
Can I just apologise in advance to all your friends and loved ones as I just know that you will be singing these songs all weekend and annoying them intensely!
It is impossible not to

Max Romeo & the Upsetters - I Chase the Devil

Max Romeo &the Upsetters - War Ina Babylon

Thursday 5 June 2014

Sipping Jack Daniels in Third World Bars

I purchased Modern Times by Latin Quarter on e-bay a few years ago from Germany and had a devil of a job paying for it.
For some reason paying by Paypal was not an option.
I ended up in prolonged e-mail correspondence with the seller in Germany with English on my part and German on theirs.
At the time I was blissfully unaware of the translator function so was forwarding e-mails to friends in Germany to translate.
It was all finally and very amicably resolved by me posting off 10 Euros to my new friend in Germany.
The on -line encyclopedia describes their music as pop, rock, reggae and folk.I would argue that it has more of a jazz feel about it.
Their songs are well written with a political hue about them particularly the two featured below.
However I can't say I play it all that often these days but it was nice to dust it down and to have a listen for the first time in a long while

Latin Quarter - America For Beginners

Latin Quarter -Radio Africa

Wednesday 4 June 2014

Chavez Ravine

Chavez Ravine is a concept album by Ry Cooder which tells the story of a Mexican American community demolished in the 1950's supposedly to make way for public housing
This being America and in the 50's the project ground to a halt given fear of communism and  the belief that  public housing  somehow equalled  socialism.
Meanwhile the majority of the residents had been relocated thus destroying a community.
The LA Dodgers baseball team subsequently built the Dodgers stadium on this site with  the help of public money and some political skullduggery.
I assume that  you are re-assured that something similar would never happen in your town or city ........ right?

Ry Cooder - Corrido de Boxeo

Ry Cooder - It's Just Work For Me

And yes, before anyone asks, that is indeed the mighty Flaco Jiminez on the accordion on the first track

Tuesday 3 June 2014

An Empty Bottle, A Broken Heart and You're Still on My Mind

When I finally pop my clogs the three songs I would like played at my funeral are the previously featured Satisfied Mind by the Walkabouts, Green Fields of France by The Men They Couldn't Hang and You're Still on My Mind by The Byrds
It is taken from their 1968 album Sweetheart of The Rodeo.
This was probably one of the least commercially successful albums of their career and few if any of the tracks feature in  most Best of compilations.
However to me, and many others, it is one of the most important and seminal albums of all time.
It is attributed as starting both the Country Rock movement and further down the line the whole alternative country scene.
The catalyst was of course the influence of Gram Parsons who was not credited as a full member due to contractual problems. Indeed on the album he is only credited on guitar with some of his lead vocals having being replaced by Roger McGuinn.
However he is still at the helm on these two quite magnificent songs

The jukebox is playin'
A honky-tonk song

"One more," I keep sayin'
"And then I'll go home"
What good will it do me
I know what I'll find
An empty bottle, a broken heart
And you're still on my mind

The Byrds - You're Still on My Mind

The Byrds - Hickory Wind

Monday 2 June 2014

Girl Power

I seem to be going through a phase at the moment of buying cheap and cheerful compilations of 60's girl groups.
A couple of months ago it was Boyfriends and Love - Girl Groups of the 60's. This time around it is Girl Power - The First Ladies of Rock'n'Roll
You should be familiar with most of the bands and tracks, As you would expect the queens of this sub genre The Shangri-Las and The Crystals both feature along with Betty Everett, Mary Wells, Lesley Gore and The Angels with the obvious songs you would expect.
Detroit's The Chiffons are also present and whereas the terrific Sweet Talkin' Guy features I am going for the slightly less well known One Fine Day

This is followed up by probably the only track on the album that I was unfamiliar with You Don't Have to Be a Baby to Cry.
It is by The Caravelles an English duo namely Lois Wilkinson and Andrea Simpson and it is pretty good

The Chiffons - One Fine Day

The Caravelles - You Don't Have to be a Baby to Cry

Sunday 1 June 2014

Southern Soul Sunday 35

It's instrumental week on Southern Soul Sunday featuring the house band(s) from the legendary Stax label.
The Mar-Keys were an all white band who evolved from the Royal Spades who included Steve Cropper, Duck Dunn and Packy Axton son of Stax co-founder Estelle Axton among their nuumber
However when the million selling Last Night was recorded some members were deemed not good enough and were replaced by mainly black session musicians
The Mar-Keys in turn evolved into Booker T and the MGs. The young Booker T Jones was a constant feature at the Stax Studios and record shop in the former Capitol Picture House in East McLemore, Memphis.
Unusually for the time in the segregated South the band boasted both black and white members in their midst with the classic line up pictures above
Duck Dunn on bass, Booker T on organ and piano, Steve Cropper on guitar and Al Jackson on drums.
As well as their own instrumental numbers they played on hundreds of other records by artists from the Stax stable.
I got to see them many years later as Neil Young's backing band at the SECC in Glasgow

The Mar-Keys - Last Night

Booker T & The MG's - My Sweet Potato

Booker T & The MG's - Zippity Doo Dah