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Friday 29 September 2017

Holiday Hiatus -The Kinks

A fairly eay one today given that The Ultimate Collection from which last week's Autumn Almanac was taken had not yet been returned to the shelves.
Asked to name great British bands of the 60's most folk would come up with The Beatles, The Rolling Stones and perhaps The Who. The Kinks are right up there too.
These songs are now over 50 years old and still as fresh as a daisy.

The Kinks - You Really Got Me

The Kinks - All Day and All of the Night

Wednesday 27 September 2017

Holiday Hiatus - Deacon Blue

Deacon Blue - a band who will split opinions from readers of these pages.
I've previously featured the brilliant Dignity and Fergus Sings the Blues so here are another two early ones.
Raintown sprang to mind as I recently listened to a radio documentary by Rebus author Ian Rankin celebrating the 30th Anniversary of the album by the same  name.

Deacon Blue - Raintown

Deacon Blue - Wages Day

Monday 25 September 2017

Holiday Hiatus -Squeeze

Long suffering readers will know the drill by now and the rest of you will cotton on fairly quickly.
A couple of songs every couple of days usually from a fairly established keep you going til I get back.
No preamble and none of the usual in depth research which I am famous for.

Squeeze -Another Nail in My Heart

Squeeze - Tempted

Saturday 23 September 2017

Hit the North

We are off today for our annual two week pilgrimage up North
Week one near Tain on the East Coast of Scotland and week two near Gairloch on the West.

Therefore there will be a  reduced service until we get back (hopefully armed with some charity shop goodies) with just the occasional  holiday hiatus snippet thrown in  here and there to keep you going

The Fall -Hit The North

Kris Drever - Going To The North

Friday 22 September 2017

When Autumn Leaves Lie Thick and Still

When does Autumn start?
In Scotland it is usually after the two or three warm days we get in May or June!
It is 1st September on the meteorological calendar or  today 22nd September if you use the astronomical seasons
Alyson  over at What's It All About knows her seasons so should be able to give the definitive answer.

Whatever, it gives me an excuse to feature a couple of songs with Autumn in the title.

The Kinks - Autumn Almanac

Paolo Nutini - Autumn

Thursday 21 September 2017

This Is Stanley Odd

And now for something completely different.
As an antidote to the wall to wall Americana I have been serving up recently here are Stanley Odd an Edinburgh based hip hop collective.
A couple of songs from their 2013 album Reject focusing on politics and in particular the debate around Scottish independence.
Although things have moved on since 2013 there is a lot of what they are saying still relevant today
The advent of Trump and Brexit should give them plenty of new material to vent their spleens.

Stanley Odd - Antiheroics

Stanley Odd - Marriage Counselling

Wednesday 20 September 2017

Wrecking Ball Wednesday Strike 2

It's the last swing of the wrecking ball today as it demolishes everything left standing.

Let's start with Neil Young with his song from 1989's Freedom album. Rather unkindly described on a list I googled as an absolute dumpster fire .Not as bad as that but not one of his strongest songs and certainly not a patch on  the cover by Emmlou

Neil Young - Wrecking Ball

Neil is followed by an artist who never disappoints the great Gillian Welch with her song being the final track on her 4th studio album from 2003 Soul Journey

Gillian Welch - Wrecking Ball

I'm slightly cheating with my last offering given that it is titled My Wrecking Ball but that is close enough I reckon.You will recognize the voice as being that of Ryan Adams.
From his self titled 14th album from 2014.
Is it only me or does anyone else get annoyed when a band or artist releases anything other than their debut album eponymously?

Ryan Adams - My Wrecking Ball

Tuesday 19 September 2017

Brothers, Sisters ...#3

I'll have a P please Bob.
Right you are - this week brother and sister acts beginning with the letter P
The brothers this week are Joe and Bob Pernice who along with others constitute the fine band imaginatively known as the Pernice Brothers.
Here is the first track from their third album from 2003  Yours, Mine & Ours released on the Ashmont Records label

Pernice Brothers - The Weakest Shade of Blue

A welcome, if temporary, break from Americana  as we  join Soul/pop sisters Anita, June and Ruth Pointer from 1991 on their fourth album Black & White. This song reached number 13 in the US Billboard charts and number 50 in the UK singles charts
Another sister Bonnie has also performed with the band
June died in 2006. Anita and Ruth currently perform as part of a rotating trio along with Ruth's daughter Issa and granddaughter Sadako

Pointer Sisters - Should I Do It

Monday 18 September 2017

Step Inside This House

Step Inside This House from 1998 is the 7th album by Lyle Lovett and unlike  it's predecessors which consisted mostly of self-penned tunes this one is an album of cover songs written by fellow Texans.
Lyle plumped for those artists who were relatively unknown.
The title track is by  Guy Clark.Part of me would rather he had had a go at Slip Inside This House by fellow Texans The 13th Floor Elevators.
Flyin' Shoes is of course the title track of an album by the late great Townes Van Zandt.
My copy of the traditional Texan River Song cuts out at 3 minutes 53 seconds as opposed to the intended 4 minutes and 9 secons so you probably miss a a Fa La La Lee. My apologies

Lyle Lovett - Step Inside This House

Lyle Lovett - Flyin' Shoes

Lyle Lovett - Texas River Song

Sunday 17 September 2017

The Incomparable Charley Pride

Yes, yes I know that I have featured some Charley Pride on vinyl relatively recently.(just checked it was the 25th of June so not quite as recently as I first thought).
However when Mrs CC came in with a couple of compilations by him at 50p a pop it led my to thinking that another airing was justified.
A compilation from 1972 the year after he was chosen as the artist of the year and the best male country vocalist  of the year by the Country Music Association and the top male country artist by Billboard and Cashbox.
His greatest accolade though will always be that he became the first black artist (and pretty much the only black artist) to be recognised as a major country and western artist.
His talent sure burst down a whole number of barriers.
Incomparable indeed.

Charley Pride - Was It All Worth Losing You

Charley Pride - This Highway Leads to Glory

Saturday 16 September 2017

Doctor Velvet

Nick Curran was an extremely talented blues singer and guitarist who died in 2012 from oral cancer at the tender age of 35.
He released 5 albums from 2000 to 2010 with his band the Nitelites. Dr Velvet is the middle one from 2003 on the wonderfully named Blind Pig Records from San Francisco.
He also played with The Fabulous Thunderbirds from 2004 to 2007 and in the band Deguello where he played the drums standing up.

A true talent taken far too early

Nick Curran & the Nitelites -Doctor Velvet

Nick Curran & the Nitelites - Can't Stop lovin' You

Friday 15 September 2017

Returned From Sea

I'm off to a sold out Hug and Pint tonight for an album launch event for Returned to Sea the debut album by Sister John on the Last Night From Glasgow label.
Some lucky folk were there last night.
It is an absolute belter - my album of the year so far.
All songs written by lead vocalist Coatbridge lass Amanda McKeown.
Drew gave the album an excellent review recently as did the Scots Whay Hae website so it saves me doing it.
If you get the chance buy it  from the LNFG link above but be quick as it as it is limited to 500 copies.

As well as the music the gatefold sleeve is a thing of beauty with a great photo of the band in the University Cafe on Glasgow's Byres Road

Sister John - Sweetest Moment

He Came Down is currently my favourite track  (today!)

Thursday 14 September 2017

Grant Hart RIP

I was saddened to read of the death of Grant Hart at the age of 56 after a long battle with cancer.
I must admit that I am not familiar with his solo stuff other that knowing that it has been critically acclaimed.
For me and many others he will be best remembered as the drummer and co-songwriter of the legendary
Hüsker Dü.

Rest easy Grant.

Husker Du -Too Much Spice

Husker Du - Don't Want to Know if You Are Lonely

Husker Du - No Promise Have I Made

New Miserable Experience

I was quite surprised to discover that Gin Blossoms  have never graced these pages before.
I've always had them filed under Americana. I mean with an album entitled New Miserable Experience why wouldn't you?
However whereas it definitely has a Country twang to it  these two songs which are probably their best known (to me at any rate) are more rockier and have a touch of R.E.M. about them.
They were both written by guitarist Doug Howard who was sacked towards the end of the recording of the album due to alcohol issues.Sadly just as the album was becoming a success towards the end of 1993 he committed suicide.
They made brief reappearances in 1996, 2006 and 2010 but they never reached the dizzy heights of New Miserable Experience again

Gin Blossoms - Hey Jealousy

Gin Blossoms - Found Out About You

Wednesday 13 September 2017

Wrecking Ball Wednesday

When I was preparing last week's Rod Picott post I noticed that he had a song called Wrecking Ball on his Girl from Arkansas album.
This got me thinking that I have two albums and at least half a dozen songs called Wrecking Ball which surely warrants a feature. Almost getting into Rol territory here.
You will hopefully be relieved  to note that none of them are the one by Miley Cyrus pictured above.

I suppose that Wrecking Ball is a pretty useful metaphor for a songwriter, particularly one of a country persuasion, as it neatly describes a catastrophic event or series of events impacting on one's life.

Here are the first three - one classic and two bog standard.
We will start naturally with the one which inspired this post and which is one of the one's which is not a classic - the song by Rod Picott

Rod Picott -Wrecking Ball

Now for the classic.The title track from her 1995 album here is the great Emmylou Harris with her version of Neil Young's Wrecking Ball  from his album Freedom. Mr Young obviously approves (and why wouldn't he?) as he provides harmony vocals.

Emmylou Harris - Wrecking Ball

And finally, for this week at any rate, another title song from an album.
The title track from Bruce Springsteen's 2012 album and one which commemorates the then pending demolition of the Giants stadium in New Jersey which becomes a defiant anthem in the face of economic adversity .As I said, metaphors

Bruce Springsteen -Wrecking Ball

More devastation next Wednesday

Tuesday 12 September 2017

Brothers, Sisters #2

Two Country harmony acts for you this week
The Great Atomic Power by Charlie and Ira Loudermilk  commercially known as the Louvin Brothers has appeared here before but given the shenanigans currently going on between Donald Trump and Kim Jong-Un  it is probably worthwhile posting it again before it is too late and you rise and meet your saviour in the end
Oh as Charlie and Ira would have it please remember  that  Satin is Real

The Louvin Brothers The Great Atomic Power

This week's female Country siblings are of a more modern vintage.
Laura and Lydia Rogers record and perform as Americana duo The Secret Sisters.
They are from Muscle Shoals, Alabama a town with a great musical history and they first honed their skills by singing a cappella in their local church
They have recently released their 3rd album You Don't Own Me Anymore which was produced by  the great Brandi Carlile.

The Secret Sisters - Tennessee River Runs Low

More singing siblings next week

Monday 11 September 2017

Hips and Makers

From 1994 Hips and Makers is the debut solo album by Kristin Hersh.
Released on 4AD in the UK and Sire in the States it reached number7 in the UK album charts higher than any  other album by her or by The Throwing Muses
It is more acoustic that the work of  former Throwing Muses colleague Tanya Donelly in The Breeders and Belly.
Michael Stype provides backing vocals on Your Ghost.

Sadly Kristin has been prone to bouts of metal illness over the years. Her 2010 memoir Paradoxical Undressing (Rat Girl in the US) is on the shelves of my local library but I have yet to pluck up the courage to read it.

Kristin Hersh - Your Ghost

Kristin Hersh - Me and My Charms

Sunday 10 September 2017

Vintage Soul Vinyl - Gladys Knight & the Pips

Those of you with children will probably have to explain this Viz cartoon to them.

It was only fairly recently that Gladys Knight & the Pips made the shelves. I thought that The  Motown Years would be a safe bet and I was not wrong there .
I was a wee bit more apprehensive picking up a Best of in my local charity shop as you never quite know what you are going to get.
I needn't have worried as the majority of the ten tracks are pretty good. Here are two that you should all be familiar with - one of which features above.

Gladys Knight & the Pips - Best Thing That's Ever Happened to Me

Gladys Knight & the Pips - Midnight Train to Georgia

Saturday 9 September 2017

Talk Talk

The first in an occasional series about internet providers  ....  not

The Very Best of Talk Talk was part of the collection I inherited from my brother in-law and sister in-law
It wasn't one that was consigned to charity right away or immediately found it's way to the shelves. Rather it was in the pending pile awaiting a play before a final decision.
The fact that it has been there for so long tells it's own story.
I've never particularly been a fan finding them a bit OTT and of their time
A couple of reasonable tracks but a listen did nothing to change my mind.Indeed I never made it to the end.

I'm pretty sure it's not a keeper. On the plus side though it is better than Then Jerico 

Talk Talk - It's My Life

Talk Talk -Life's What You Make It

Friday 8 September 2017

A Camp

When I featured Nina Persson recently on Burnt Offerings 31 there was an outpouring of love in the comments section for her other band A Camp
As I value the taste and judgement of the commentators and as the self titled 2001 album produced by the late Mark Linkous of Sparklehorse fame was available ridiculously cheaply I took the plunge.

First impressions are pretty good with the possible exception of The Oddness of the Lord.
It would be churlish not to feature I Can Buy You championed by Rol or the cover of The Restless Hearts song The Bluest Eyes in Texas highlighted by Drew

As for C and Spence I'm afraid you'll have to make do with the video of Love Has Left the Room until I get round to purchasing Colonia

A Camp - I Can Buy You

A Camp - The Bluest Eyes in Texas

Thursday 7 September 2017

Ooh La La

The Faces were pretty much the identikit rock'n'roll band.
The one which ticked all the stereotype  and cliche boxes of sex,drugs and rock'n'roll.
As much a gang as a band and the one that many a teenage boy would have given his eye teeth to be a member of.
Given the lifestyle it was hardly surprising that Rod,Ronnie L, Ronnie W , Kenny and Mac only lasted for three years and four albums from 1970 to 1973.
I've gone for two of the hits from their final album Ooh La La as they are among the ones I remember most as a youth
Pool Hall Richard would certainly have featured had it not featured before.

From the When Rod was Good era and for George and Walter who have sung their praises before

The Faces -Ooh La La

The Faces -Cindy Incidentally

Wednesday 6 September 2017

Angels, Acrobats, Workshirts and Turpentine

For those of you wondering and worrying I am happy to report that there is still plenty of Americana on the shelves for the sharing of.
Today's numbers are from Stray Dogs the second (of ten to date) album by Rod Picott from 2002.
I saw him in Glasgow and my pal came away with this album and the 2004 follow up Girl From Arkansas. I settled for copies.

Some blue collar/small town America songs with shades of Steve Earle and in particular Bruce Springsteen in places
I know no more.

Rod Picott -Angels and Acrobats

Rod Picott - Workshirts and Turpentine

Tuesday 5 September 2017

Brothers, Sisters ....

A new, if hardly original, series for you today.
Bands with Sister(s) or Brother(s) in their title.
We will start of with bands containing actual brothers or sisters and see where we go from there.

We kick off with the Webb Brothers who are the offspring of the great  songwriter and pianist Jimmy Webb.
When I saw them in Austin and subsequently purchased their 2000 album Maroon there were only the two of them: Christiaan on vocals, piano and keyboards and Justin on vocals and guitars.They have subsequently been joined over the years by younger brothers James and Cornelius.

The Webb Brothers - Summer People

Another band who at one stage contained four siblings are the disco legends Sister Sledge.
At their peak they consisted of Debi, Joni, Kim and Kathy Sledge.
Kathy left in 1989 returning occasionally thereafter and  Joni sadly died in 2017
Here is the LP version of their classic We Are Family - all 8 minutes of it!

Sister Sledge - We Are Family

During my extensive research for this post  I also discovered that there is in fact also a band out there called The Webb Sisters - featuring sisters Charley and Hattie from Kent

More next week

Monday 4 September 2017

Boat to Bolivia

What better way to start the first whole week in September than with the first two tracks from Boat to Bolivia the glorious debut album by Martin Stephenson and the Daintees?
Released  in May 1986 on Kitchenware Records it is a stonewall classic and a must have.
My copy is a second hand one from Missing Records for 99p. Heaven knows how much Oxfam would be asking for a copy these days.
I have their first three albums but nothing since.
Although troubled by alcoholism over the years Martin is still going strong regularly  producing solo albums to critical acclaim.
A great ICA at JC's place from his biographer Rich Cundill is well worth checking out

He is one day younger than me.

Martin Stephenson & the Daintees - Crocodile Cryer

Martin Stephenson & the Daintees -Coleen

Sunday 3 September 2017

Shuggie, Shuggie, Shuggie

The recently completed long running Burnt Offerings series had me revisiting some artists and exploring some that I knew very little about in more detail.
One such artist was Shuggie Otis and I took in upon myself to acquire Inspiration Information the album on which Aht Uh Mi Hed appeared.
The one I plumped for was one of those 2 for 1 CDs the other being Wings of Love.
I'm sharing the title tracks with you.
It can get a bit jazzy and twiddly in places but that is easily overshadowed by some fantastic Psychedelic Soul.
Take it away Shuggie

Shuggie Otis - Inspiration Information

Shuggie Otis - Wings of Love

Saturday 2 September 2017

Hello Starling

I've featured Josh Ritter the man from Moscow (Idaho) a couple of times before but nothing from his third album from 2003 Hello Starling.
I have his second through to fourth albums from 2001 to 2006 but nothing since.

It is quite a polished performance. Nothing wrong with that I suppose but I prefer my music a wee bit rougher round the edges. That is why I have opted for the live version of Kathleen which features on a bonus four track EP of songs recorded in Dublin where he was massive around this time.
Indeed Hello Starling debuted at number 2 in the Irish charts.

Josh Ritter - Wings

Josh Ritter - Kathleen (Live)

Friday 1 September 2017

I Speak Because I Can

I quite like Laura Marling. However, she is one of many an artist who's music  I like but have never quite got round to paying hard cash for. I would however hoover up anything I saw in a charity shop.
She first appeared as part of the nu folk movement (an awful term)  in the mid Naughties first hooking up with Noah and the Whale and then with posh boys Mumford and Sons.
Fortunately for her she had the talent to survive these associations and continues to deliver consistently good and challenging songs.
I Speak Because I Can is her second solo album from 2010 produced by Ethan Jones an a Mercury Music Prize nomination.
Then boyfriend Marcus Mumford appears on drums and backing vocals but we won't hold that against her.

Laura Marling - Rambling Man

Laura Marling -Hope in the Air