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Tuesday 31 March 2015

Cosmic American Music

I was playing Grievous Angel by Gram Parsons the other day when it dawned on me that he had yet to feature on CCM - time to rectify that anomaly
He never quite made it to the 27 club dying as he did a couple of months short of his 27th birthday.
He did however pack a lot of fine music into his short life as a member of The Byrds and The Flying Burritto Brothers as well as his two great solo albums GP from 1972 and Grievous Angel from 1973 not forgetting his involvement and influence on Exile on Main Street.
Solo albums may be a misnomer as they would not be  the same without the seamless harmonies with Emmylou Harris.
Emmylou has dueted with many fine singers (a possible series there?) but nothing ever came close to the telepathic understanding she had with Gram.
Listen and weep.

Gram Parsons - $1000 Wedding

Gram Parsons - In My Hour of Darkness

Monday 30 March 2015

It Takes Two to Tango

A recent acquisition from a Prestwick charity shop is Libertango by Sharon Shannon and Friends.
The friend in question on the title track is the late great Kirsty MacColl and as the sleeve notes acknowledge  this was first recorded by Grace Jones and is based on a tune of the same name by Argentinian accordionist Astor Piazzola.
Grace uses the title I've Seen that Face Before (Libertango) and the sleeve notes of Island Life state this combines the role of the Parisian chanteuse with a new more irresistable rhythm base. The bistro accordion and Grace's French dramatic asides bring an old role to life by combining tango and reggae,blending chic with street.
Whatever - it is a great tune.

Sharon Shannon with Kirsty MacColl - Libertango

Grace Jones -I've Seen That Face Before (Libertango)

Sunday 29 March 2015

Some Sunday Talcum Soul #2

It's time for disc 2 from the 6 disc Talcum Soul series of Northern Soul tunes.
The first one was well received with a lot of love in particular for She Blew a Good Thing  by The Poets.
It was groups the last time out but this time round it is the turn of the ladies.
Patrice Holloway sadly is no longer with us having died in 2006 from a heart attack at the age of 55.
Ecstasy is one of the singles she recorded on Capitol Records in the mid 60s. Seemingly, she is best remembered as the voice of Valerie in the Hanna-Barbara TV series Josie and the Pussycats.
Timi Yuro enjoyed a longer and more successful career being considered as one of the first blue eyed soul singers of the rock era and often being referred to as the little girl with the big voice.She died aged 63 in 2004.
More Talcum Soul next Sunday.

Patrice Holloway -Ecstasy

Timi Yuro -It'll Never Be Over For Me

Saturday 28 March 2015

Saturday Lucky Dip

It's reggae week on the Saturday Lucky Dip slot courtesy of Sun is Shining - 15 Reggae Summer Scorchers a Mojo compilation from July 2007
It features a "rare"Bob Marley track with a live recording of Exodus from the obligatory 30th Anniversary deluxe edition of the album of the same name. One imagines that the accompanying magazine had an overlong feature about Mr Marley and the recording of this album.
We are going for two songs from different ends of the reggae spectrum.
From the more poppy and commercial end we start with What is Life by the great Black Uhuru (Uhuru being Swahili for Freedom)Taken from the album Anthem which won a Grammy for Best Reggae Recording in 1985.
I suspect that Prince Far I has never appeared before the Grammy judges.Mores the pity as I'm sure they would have been blown away by the fantastic Black Man Land.

More random nonsense next Saturday

Black Uhuru - What Is Life

Prince Far I -Black Man Land

Friday 27 March 2015

Gentleman Jim

If there is a stack of vinyl in a charity shop it is a physical impossibility that it does not contain at least one Jim Reeves album.
Most are absolute twaddle - cheap and nasty compilations cashing in on his untimely death in July 1964 following a plane crash.Like so many artists who have passed on early he has sold far more records dead than alive.Seemingly, his widow Mary was down the middle of a lot of this keeping the industry going
Not so the two albums from which these songs are taken from He'll Have to Go from 1960 and Gentleman Jim from 1963  were recorded prior to his death and  my copies are the RCA Victor originals in fantastic condition picked up for a pound a piece in a St Andrew's charity shop. They unlike much of which followed are quality records.

He was a pretty unlucky guy in that he only turned to singing when a leg injury put pay to his baseball career.
And just to set the record straight he is not Vic Reeves dad!

Jim Reeves - He'll Have To Go

Jim Reeves - I Love You Because

Thursday 26 March 2015


Australia's Courtney Barnett has just released her debut album Sometimes I Sit and Think and Sometimes I Just Sit.
I figure this gives me an opportunity to plug some of her earlier work which I suspect that many of you will already be familiar with.
Indeed Avant Gardener has already become a modern classic with just short of  a million and a quarter hits on You Tube

It is taken from her EP How to Carve a Carrot into a Rose which together with another  EP  I've Got a Friend Called Emily Ferris  were released together on a 2013 CD  A Sea of Split Peas.
But then again you knew that.
Here's a track that namechecks another great Australian band

Courtney Barnett -Anonymous Club

And as an added bonus here is a soundcloud song from another Australian Larissa Tandy albeit one who alternates her time between Melbourne and Vancouver in Canada.

Larissa Tandy - Shut Down (Soundcloud)

Wednesday 25 March 2015

Another Tenuous Name Link

Another extremely tenuous name link.
The other day I was listening to the news on the radio.There was a story about a toddler in the United States who had survived for something like 18 hours upside down in a submerged car thanks to the straps on her car seat ensuring her head was kept above the water.
There was an interview with a local law enforcement officer who had a very peculiar way of pronouncing the word vehicle.
What caught my attention most, however, was that his name was Matt Johnson.
This in turn led me to looking out the above single by the band which was effectively a vehicle for the great man with the same name.
I can't remember where or when I bought it but a sticker on the cover tells me I paid £1.25 for the privilege

The The - Infected

The The -Infected (Energy Mix)

The The - Disturbed

Tuesday 24 March 2015

Cowboy Jackie Ingram

The country singer Jack Ingram sometimes goes by the moniker of Country Jack Ingram.
Around the same time as his 1997 album Livin' of Dyin' was out in the British soap opera Coronation Street one of the lead roles Mike Baldwin had a new love interest Jackie Ingram As you can see from the above picture it all ended in tears.
The less mature among us ( you know who you are George) took to referring to her as Cowboy Jackie Ingram.
I saw Jack (as opposed to Jackie ) at King Tuts and he was rather good.
For those of you who can perhaps detect a little bit of Steve Earle in his music it will come as no surprise to learn that the album was produces by the Twang Trust - namely Ray Kennedy (not the former Liverpool footballer) and the afore mentioned Mr Earle

Jack Ingram - She Does Her Best

Jack Ingram -Airways Motel

Monday 23 March 2015

Is There a Doctor in the House

The  final of  the Auchterarder purchases is Locked Down by Dr John from 2012 on the Nonesuch label.
It is his Rick Rubin album except that it is not the bearded one behind the controls but rather Dan Auerbach of Black Keys Fame
Malcolm John "Mac" Rebennack is a New Orleans institution and has been on the go since the 50's.
I must admit I thought he was no longer with us so I was pleasantly surprised when he popped up on the recent excellent Reginald D Hunter's Songs of the South series on the BBC.
Apparently Locked Down is an exercise  in and a deep expression of the fading, almost lost art of tricknology - I thought as much.
The Zulu King of New Orleans.

Dr.John - Ice Age

Dr.John - Kingdom of Izzness

Sunday 22 March 2015

Some Sunday Talcum Soul

Long suffering readers of these pages may recall how as a rule I generally prefer my Soul to come from below the Mason Dixon line.
However this did not stop me acquiring Talcum Soul Volumes 1 to 6 as a job lot from HMV in Sauchiehall Street a few years ago.
The first volume is subtitled - 26 Stonking Northern Soul Greats and it does what it says on the tin.
A few tracks have popped up here and there but over the next six Sundays I will feature a couple of songs from each volume.
From the  first one then here are two guaranteed dance floor fillers courtesy of The Casualeers and The Poets.

More Talcum Soul next Sunday

The Casualeers - Dance, Dance, Dance

The Poets - She Blew a Good Thing

Saturday 21 March 2015

Saturday Lucky Dip

This week's random offering is Panic - 15 Tracks of Riotous '80s Indie Insurrection! which came free with Mojo in April 2011.
As you would expect it contains many of the usual suspects -Billy Bragg,The Mekons, Redskins, McCarthy, etc,etc.
I am pretty familiar with 12 of the 15 acts on the CD so it was a case of perm 2 from the other 3  to feature.
The one which missed out is Who Snatched the Baby? by The Band of Holy Joy which I didn't think was that good.
First up are The Nightingales who have previously featured on George's Birdy Saturday
Then we have an absolutely splendid one minute fifty seven seconds of Getting Nowhere Fast by Girls at our Best! a band I intend to explore further.

More random nonsense next Saturday

The Nightingales - First My Job

Girls At Our Best! - Getting Nowhere Fast

Friday 20 March 2015

That Summer!

There has been much  recent discussion on this and other blogs as to the merits of That Summer! a 1979 compilation from the movie of the same name
Brian is on record as saying that it was a cornerstone of his musical education.He has a point there. It should be a compulsory part of the national curriculum and be played in every school in the land.
Even if you were to tie me to a radiator and subject me to non-stop Phil Collins music I would be hard pressed to come up with a better compilation.
When I previously mentioned that I no longer had my copy For Malcontents Only very kindly obliged by forwarding me the tracks.
After all, he is the man who has actually seen the film having been working in Torquay (where the film was set) when it came out.You will be glad to know that it features three loutish Scottish youths who have some confrontations with Steve (played by Ray Winstone) and then frame him for a robbery at a chemist shop.
All 16 songs are absolute essential must haves and I am sure that most of you have a reasonable number of them in your collection.
These are the two which my mind has always conjured up over the years whenever I think of this record.

Wreckless Eric - Whole Wide World

Mink DeVille - Spanish Stroll

Thursday 19 March 2015

Hazy Malaze

Bluesy power pop combo Hazy Malaze also appeared on yesterday's featured Greetings from Fargo CD.
I briefly thought about including them but after due consideration I felt that they merited a post in their own right.
Some of you will be familiar with singer and guitarist Neal Casal either as a solo artist or as a guitarist in Lucinda William's band.
In Hazy Malaze he is joined by Dan Fadel on drums and stuff and Jeff Hill on bass.
Their 2003 debut album from which these tracks were taken was recorded and mixed at Village Recorders in Los Angeles in eleven days.
Up until now I thought this was their only album being blissfully unaware of 2004's Blackout Love and 2009's Connections.
So many records, so little money!

Hazy Malaze - Satisfy The Jones

Hazy Malaze - Chicago Blondes

Wednesday 18 March 2015

Greetings From Fargo

Greetings from Fargo.
No, not the largest city on North Dakota (population 113,658) and the county seat of Cass County.
Nor the fantastic 1996 film of the same name by the Coen Brothers.

No, the Fargo in question is actually a record label albeit one that does not originate from North Dakota but rather from Paris, France
Another great European record label (alongside Germany's Blue Rose and Glitterhouse and the Dutch Munich Records) which specialises in Americana music.
The two artists featured have graced the pages of CCM before.
Paula Frazer the erstwhile lead singer of Tarnation would I suspect not be out of place in a Coen Brother's film.
I'm sure that they could also find some suitable parts for Canada's Great Lake Swimmers.

Yah, you betcha!

Paula Frazer - Like a Ghost

Great Lake Swimmers - Moving, Shaking

Tuesday 17 March 2015

Black Star Liner

On the recently featured Mojo Rebel Music CD there is a track by Tapper Zukie extolling the virtues of the MPLA - the Popular Movement for the Liberation of Angola or in the Portuguese Movimento Popular de Libertação de Angola 
A reference in the song is made to Black Star Liner.
My subsequent research tells me this was the name of a shipping line set up by Marcus Garvey to transport goods and ultimately African Americans throughout the African Global economy

Black Star Liner is also the name of a band from Leeds who played Asian influenced dance music and dub reggae.
Recently I picked up a cheap copy of one of their singles Rock Freak from 1997. The title track is a load of pants but the other songs on the single are not too bad

Monday 16 March 2015

Tougher Than The Rest

Saint Etienne are one of the many British bands from the late 80s/ early 90s who completely slipped under my radar whilst I  was immersing myself in Americana music.
They are also one of the many British bands that I am now rediscovering thanks to the blogging scene and the good taste of my esteemed colleagues on the right hand side bar.
A year or so ago I picked up Too Young Too Die -Singles 1990 -1995 in a charity shop which was a good place to start.
Last week I picked up So Tough on the Heavenly label their second album from 1993 in my local charity shop.
49p well spent.

Saint Etienne - Mario's Cafe

Saint Etienne - Calico

Sunday 15 March 2015

Some Sunday Soul

Dave Hamilton's Detroit Dancers is the first in a series called The Soul Providers dedicated to producers, arrangers, writers and musicians who have moulded the shape of Soul music while the artist stole the headlines.
Dave Hamilton, the man in the middle of the album cover was a Detroit session guitarist who contributed to all the tunes on this album including a few of his own.This blurb from Ace Records gives some more details about the man and the record.
I had never heard of him or any of the artists features and I suspect I bought this primarily because it was on the Kent label which is almost always a cast iron guarantee of quality.
Little Ann and Tobi Lark made the short list and will feature at a later date.
However, I have gone for the fantastically named  OC Tolbert and Gil Billingsley with two terrific songs.

Not to be confused with Diddy David Hamilton who is a diddy.

OC Tolbert - I'm Shooting High (I Reach For The Sky)

Gil Billingsley - That's All She Wrote

Saturday 14 March 2015

Saturday Lucky Dip

This week's random album from the compilation section is Rebel Music - Sons of Protest and Insurrection which came free with Mojo magazine in November 2008.
It features protest songs from the worlds of soul, reggae, blues, hip hop and folk book ended by a couple of live tracks by The Clash
Soul is represented by The Impressions with Choice of Colours. Curtis Mayfield has featured on more that one occasion on CCM but this is The Impressions first outing.
We follow this with some World Punk with Rock El Casbah by Rachid Taha, the Algerian Joe Strummer

More random nonsense next Saturday

The Impressions - Choice of Colors

Rachid Taha - Rock El Casbah

Friday 13 March 2015


Another recent Paisley purchase was Va Va Voom the 1998 debut by Cinerama.on the Cooking Vinyl label.
Cinerama were a side project of David Gedge from The Wedding Present with his then girlfriend Sally Murrell
For more information on the life and times of the boy Gedge can I refer you to The Robster's place where he picks out the highlights of Mr Gedge's long and varied career.
Va Va Voom contains the usual clever Gedge lyrics in songs primarily about love affairs and break ups.
A particularly bad break up is featured in Hate so bad in fact that the dumpee not only hates their ex but the country and indeed the continent from where they hail!
Me Next is about someone looking to capitalise after a recent dumping

Big Peel favourites Cinerama were number one in the 2003 Festive Fifty with Don't Touch That Dial.

Cinerama - Hate

Cinerama - Me Next

Thursday 12 March 2015

So That's What The Cover Looks Like

One of my purchases on my recent foray to Paisley to see the What Presence exhibition was The Silencers third album from 1991 Dance to The Holy Man.
There was no front cover just a picture of the band who for this album consisted of Jimme O'Neill, Cha Burns, Davy Crichton, Tony Soave, Lewis Rankine and JJ Gilmour.
Whoever handed it in obviously prefered the artwork to the music!
Founded in the late 80's by O'Neill and Burns who were in the post punk band Fingerprintz.
I thought that they had a national profile but comments from a previous post suggest that it was only really in the West of Scotland that they enjoyed a degree of prominence. Hardly surprising given that they hail from deepest darkest Lanarkshire
They also enjoyed a considerable cult following in France
They are still on the go having enjoyed various line ups over the years with only Jimme O'Neill from the line up above still playing with them today

The Silencers - One Inch of Heaven

The Silencers - I Want You

Wednesday 11 March 2015

The Iris Tape

Throughout his life our good friend Dirk has had a particular problem in that girls keep approaching him and thrusting compilation tapes at him.
To his credit he has learnt to live with it and recently he has  even plucked up the courage to write about it which I am sure has been somewhat cathartic for him.
His particular (musical) favourite is The Iris Tape which is indeed the stuff of legend.

I suspect that the Iris in question is not the country star Iris DeMent. But in the case of Dirk you just never know!

Iris DeMent - Sweet is the Melody

Iris DeMent - No Time to Cry

Tuesday 10 March 2015

The Blues Collection - Sonny Boy Williamson II


Long suffering readers of this blog may recall that between Christmas 2013 and January 2014 I picked up 39 CDs from the Blues Collection in my local Charity Shop
The Blues Collection was a magazine that was produced between 1993 and 1997 with a CD provided with each of the 90 editions.
I'm happy to report that I have just acquired number 40 in the shape of Nine Below Zero by Sony Boy Williamson II
Born Alex Ford his manager billed him him as Sonny Boy Williamson in an attempt to cash in on the success of  the fellow harmonica player of the same name (born John Lea Curtis Williamson) who died in 1948.
In a career spanning from the mid 30s to the mid 60s he played with everyone from Robert Johnson through to Eric Clapton.
I've chosen the title track Nine Below Zero as I saw the band of the same name doing some great concerts in the late 70s/early 80s. I don't have any of their stuff as I suspect they were  better as a live as opposed to studio band.
The second track Born Blind I chose because it is very good.

Sonny Boy Williamson II -Nine Below Zero

Sonny Boy Williamson II -Born Blind

Monday 9 March 2015

Benny and Graham

Gallagher and Lyle  sadly weren't a side project of golfers Bernard and Sandy.
No, rather they are the Scottish duo of  Benny Gallagher and Graham Lyle.
Former members of McGuinness Flint they were the writers of the hit single When I'm Dead and Gone.
From 1976 Breakaway was their fifth album and the one which brought them to national prominence.
It reached number 6 on the UK album charts and they had the dubious honour of Art Garfunkel covering the title track.
They split in 1980 and both enjoyed considerable success playing and writing for a myriad of other artists.
Somewhat inevitably they had the obligatory reunion in 2010.

Gallagher and Lyle - I Wanna Stay With You

Gallagher and Lyle - Heart on my Sleeve

Sunday 8 March 2015

Some Sunday Soul

Today we feature The Godfather of Soul and The Hardest Working Man in Show Business Mr James Brown.
Not a particularly pleasant individual with a history of domestic violence and drug abuse with a prison service for drugs and weapons offences.
He was however an extremely hard worker being in the business for six decades often performing upwards of 330 shows per year with the James Brown Review.
He was also a hard taskmaster demanding discipline, perfection and precision from his musicians and dancers. He often fined members of his entourage for alleged misdemeanours . In other words the musical equivalent of Jim McLean
I turned down an opportunity to see him at the Glasgow Academy shortly before his death something which in hindsight I probably regret.
To me his music seems to be pretty much variations on a theme albeit a theme that you can't help but strut your funky stuff to.

James Brown - Gut Bucket

James Brown - Get on The Good Foot - Live

Saturday 7 March 2015

Saturday Lucky Dip


Today's selection is an absolute cracker.
From December 2002 Uncut gives us The Devil's Music - Keith Richards' Personal Compilation of Blues, Soul and R&B Classics
Twenty six tracks and not a dud among them. An album you would pay good money for.
Anyone who has read his highly entertaining autobiography will know that Keef is a true muso who has huge respect for many of his predecessors. Unlike most such albums, in his case you can imagine him actually selecting these songs rather than leaving it to some record company lackey.
What to choose?  Decisions, decisions
From 1951 Rocket 88 by Jackie Brenston is one of several records quoted whenever there is a debate as to what was the first rock'n'roll record. Maybes aye, maybes naw as King Kenny was want to say. Whatever, it is a terrific song.
Billie Holliday was name checked on my latest Sunday Soul offering. Somewhat criminally she has yet to feature on CCM. Time to rectify that with He's Funny That Way

More random nonsense next Saturday

Jackie Brenston - Rocket 88

Billie Holliday - He's Funny That Way

Friday 6 March 2015

True Grit

I watched the televised performance of this year's Celtic Connections concert of Martyn Bennett's  last studio album Grit recorded in 2003 prior to his death from cancer in 2005 at the tragically young age of 33.
It was pretty good.
However, what totally blew me away was a repeat of the Artworks documentary on the making of the album which preceded this.
Featuring Martyn, Michael Marra and Sheila Stewart of Rattray a traveller who sings on the album - all three sadly no longer with us.
I had ordered the album within ten minutes of the programme finishing.
It is a truly astonishing mixture of traditional Scottish music and songs from the travelling community mixed with contemporary dance sounds
This post from Martyn's webpage gives some more detail as to the making of the album

The first song Move features Sheila Stewart and  extracts from a Euan MacColl song Moving on Song. The second Blackbird features Lizzie Higgins on vocals
I am no fan of dance or techno music and this record is quite unlike any other record I possess. It is,however, quite magnificent.
Buy it!

Martyn Bennett - Move

Martyn Bennett - Blackbird

Thursday 5 March 2015


On our recent overnight trip to Blairgowrie we stopped off for a coffee on the way in the pretty wee Perthshire town of Auchterarder.
It is effectively one long street and I visited the Red Cross the only charity shop whilst Mrs CC pottered elsewhere.
I got a good haul - the previously recently featured Neil Young and Gaslight Anthem albums and a yet to feature Dr John record.
As I vacated Mrs CC was coming up the street and went in for a shifty. Rather than stand out in the cold I decided to join her.
In the two or three minutes I had been out the shop the shelf had been restocked including three Emmylou Harris albums.
We have a few Emmylou's on the CC shelves. I knew we had the live album At The Ryman but I wasn't sure about Cowgirl's Prayer or Brand New Dance.
They were only a pound each so I decided to take a punt and it turns out we didn't have either of them - result.
Even better it turns out it was buy one, get one half price so they actually only came in at 75p each - double result!

Emmylou Harris -A Ways To Go

First Aid Kit - Emmylou

Wednesday 4 March 2015

Ryan Adams or Bryan Adams?

Ever since my recent purchase of The '59 Sound by The Gaslight Anthem I have been pondering whether they are more Ryan Adams or Bryan Adams.
On a scale of 1 to 10 with Ryan Adams being 1 and Bryan Adams being 10 (with 7.5 being the red do not enter  critical danger level) I think I would place them as a 6.
They are currently in the Americana section but that could well be temporary.
Your views please ladies and gentlemen.The collective viewpoint will determine their place on the CCM shelves.

The Gaslight Anthem - The '59 Sound

The Gaslight Anthem -Meet Me By The River's Edge

Tuesday 3 March 2015

His Name is Luka

On my travels recently I bought Turf a 1994 album by Irish singer songwriter Luka Bloom in a charity shop in Blairgowrie for a pound.
I went to download a song to share with you good people but for some reason my burning software wasn't playing.
Rather than disappoint you I went and downloaded a track at 79% of the cost of the album - don't say I'm not good to you!
Younger brother of Christy Moore - not to be confused with our Italian friend Luca the quiet one

Luka Bloom - Cold Comfort

Suzanne Vega - Luka

Monday 2 March 2015

What Presence!

I visited Paisley Museum the other day to see the exhibition curated by Ken McCluskey on the photography of Harry Papadopoulos.
This article gives a sneak preview of some of the great photographs on display.
The exhibition has previously been shown in Glasgow but given that Harry had studied at Paisley Tech it also got a showing in Paisley.
Paisley Tech is now part of the University of the West of Scotland. I had pals who studied there and there was half price drinking in the Student's union on a Friday afternoon. This clashed with my Economics lecture but there was always only going to be one winner.
Given the location local punk bands The Fegs and XS Discharge also featured prominently.
On the way back to the station I hit the Paisley Charity Shops picking up four albums.
Coincidentally, or otherwise, two of the bands had featured in the exhibition.

The Wedding Present -Brassneck

The Silencers - Just Can't Be Bothered

JC - The New Vinyl Villain also posted a far more eloquent post today in his Read it in Books series

Sunday 1 March 2015

Some Sunday Soul

It's confession time. There is a CD on the CCM shelves by an X Factor contestant! And it is a cracker.
Rebecca Ferguson, Scouse girl next door and mother of two was the runner up in 2010 to someone called Matt Cardle. No, me neither!
A certain One Direction trailed in a poor third.
Her debut album Heaven from  2011 is pretty good and I would recommend that you pick it up if you see it cheap. She co-wrote all the songs, something I suspect One Direction have never done.
She followed this up with 2013's Freedom and has just released Lady Sings The Blues a song by song interpretation of the Billie Holliday album.
I suspect that the man with the trousers up to his oxters might try to pull these tracks so get in quick.

Anyone else willing to own up to owning an X Factor record?

Nothing's Real But Love

Glitter & Gold