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Monday 30 April 2018

My Record Shop Day Purchases #3

I didn't post my third and final charity shop Record Shop Day purchase last week as it is broadly similar to the first one, Iron and Wine , and let's face it you can have too much of a good thing. I'm pretty certain that they were handed in by the same person.
Secret Name is the  1999 4th studio album from Duluth, Minnesota  band Low. If you are familiar at all with the trio - husband and wife Alan Sparhawk and Mimi Parker with revolving bass players  with Zak Sally doing the honours on this one - then you will know what to expect.
Gentle whispered vocals , a slow tempo and minimalist arrangements but perfectly capable of upping the volume if the mood takes then.
Not on these two tracks however which are from the slow tempo, minimalist school. Perhaps surprisingly so in this instance given that it is produced by Steve Albini.

Low - Immune

Low - Will The Night

Sunday 29 April 2018

Mariachi El Bronx

A space has been created on the Americana shelves for Marah  fitting  neatly in-between Jesse Malin and Mariachi El Bronx.
The former has  appeared on these pages before (and is probably due another appearance) but the latter haven't. Yet another act that we have to thank/blame George for as he forwarded them in my direction.
Until now I thought that this was the name of the band. Turns out it is and it isn't.
The Bronx are an LA hardcore punk band who  have recorded a number of punk albums alongside some mariachi albums under this pseudonym.
It looks like they have recorded about an equal number of each and I suspect that the mariachi ones are probably the most popular.
This is from the 2009 album Mariachi El Bronx the first of three with the same title.

I'm off now to dig out some Calexico and Flaco Jiminez

Mariachi El Bronx - Cell Mates

Mariachi El Bronx - Silver or Lead

Saturday 28 April 2018

The Return of Saturday Lucky Dip #2

I seem to have made a rod for my own back with my self imposed rule of  posting artists who have not featured before as part of this series.
It may prove problematic.
For example I plucked out Gimme Danger an Uncut compilation. 10 out of the 16 artists had featured before and the other 6 were not much cop.
A different story with Stereotypes another Uncut compilation this time from November 2016. Conor Oberst and Acid Arab featured last time out.
This time round we start with Australian chanteuse Julia Jacklin with Pool Party taken from her album Don't Let The Kids Win. One I have a copy of but it is still working it's way through the production line before gracing the shelves.
The Frightners sound like The Delphonics go Rocksteady. From Queens in New York they are on the mighty Daptone level so quality is assured.
More random nonsense next week - maybe

Julia Jacklin -Pool Party

The Frightnrs - Nothing More to Say

Friday 27 April 2018

Here Come The Miracles

Drew has been banging on a bit recently about The Dream Syndicate including posting an excellent version of John Coltrane Stereo Blues.
The only thing of theirs that I currently have is their equally excellent cover of Dylan's Blind Willie McTell. This is something I quite clearly need to rectify as a matter of urgency.

I do however have some stuff from Steve Wynn, both solo and with the Miracle 3.
I was blissfully unaware that the band had reformed and that Steve was back in his rightful position.
I was also pleased to note that guitarist Jason Victor was part of the fold as his guitar work was incendiary on the couple of times I saw the Miracle 3 play in Austin and Edinburgh.

Steve Wynn - Southern California Line

Steve Wynn - Crawling Misanthropic Blues

Thursday 26 April 2018

Kids In Philly

One of my pals was recently in Philadelphia on business. Another had previously visited there and they began to compare notes on our chat forum.
As is always the case it descended rapidly into nonsense with some musical references such as The Streets of Philadelphia. By the time I got round to referencing Kids in Philly they had moved onto New York!

Marah's second album had always been on my radar but I had never got round to acquiring it. This spurred me on and saw me investing some of my Grand National winnings on a copy.

Described by The Independent as sounding like Springsteen if he'd been brought up by the Replacements something which will have Adam in a bit of a quandary. I can hear a bit of the Drive-by Truckers in there as well.
All of which has  left me wondering what took me so long!

Marah - Christian Street

Marah - Faraway You

Wednesday 25 April 2018

My Record Shop Day Purchases #2

My second charity shop purchase bought on Record Shop Day is sadly nowhere in the same league as the Iron and Wine album which I featured on Monday.

It is an Uncut compilation Born to Run 2003 Volume 2 and as the name suggests it is an album of covers of songs by Bruce Springsteen.
I've had Volume 1 since it was released and it featured a couple of times in my Springsteen Covered Series in the first few months of 2017.
I was curious to see if there were any songs on Volume 2 which came anywhere near to challenging the Boss and 50p seemed  a reasonable amount to pay to satisfy my curiosity.
A resounding no is the answer. They are all pretty poor with maybe one exception. The cover of Thunder Road by Greg Kihn an artist that I had never heard of is actually not bad. Nowhere near as good as the original obviously but streets ahead of the Badly Drawn Boy version from Volume 1,

As I said the rest are poor and I was struggling for a second song to post. So here is a previously unreleased cover of Mansion on the Hill for all you Billy Bragg completists out there.

Greg Kihn - Thunder Road

Billy Bragg & the Blokes -Mansion on the Hill

Tuesday 24 April 2018

The Blues Collection - Memphis Slim

My recording system for The Blues Collection has once again reaped dividends.
I got a text from Mrs CC who was out with her mum quoting some numbers and asking me if I had them.
A couple of texts and a phone call letter I was able to confirm that I  didn't have 3 of the 5 or 6 that she had stumbled upon and they were duly purchased.
One (number 13) was Beer Drinkin' Woman by Memphis Slim.
Not the name that the pianist was born with , that would have been John Len Chatman although his compositions are listed as Peter Chatman which was his father's name.
Born in Memphis in 1915 his career spanned around half a century before dying in Paris in 1988 aged 72.
The first song Late Afternoon Blues was recorded in New York in January 1961 with the album's title track being recorded in London in 1960.
As you will hear he enjoyed spinning a story with a piano accompaniment..

I'm sure his name features in a Bob Dylan lyric but I could well be wrong there.

Memphis Slim - Late Afternoon Blues

Memphis Slim - Beer Drinkin' Woman

Monday 23 April 2018

My Record Shop Day Purchases #1

I never made it as far as a Record Shop (as opposed to Record Store) yesterday.
The reasons?
I didn't fancy getting up at the crack of dawn on a day off work. Also there weren't really any releases that I was particularly desperate to acquire although I wouldn't have minded the special edition version of Future Echoes by The Pictish Trail.
Also I had to go to the barbers and the grass needed cut.

I did however make some purchases as I popped into a charity shop on my way back from the barbers and came away with 3 CDs for a total outlay of £1.50.

Here is the first one The Shepherd's Dog the third studio album from 2007 by Iron and Wine. I was quite chuffed to see this (with a £16 sticker on the front cover) as the only other thing I have from Sam Beam and his band is a burn of the previous album Our Endless Numbered Days  with the Sea & Rhythm EP thrown in for good measure.
I'm impressed on first listen and fully expect it to become a grower.

The other two to follow in due course.

Iron and Wine - Resurrection Fern

Iron and Wine - Flightless Bird, American Mouth

Sunday 22 April 2018

Zoë Bestel

I'm off to the Hug and Pint tonight for the album launch of Transience by  Zoë Bestel.
Released by Last Night From Glasgow it is a thing of beauty both aesthetically and musically.
Some lovely low- fi trippy and ethereal folk which puts me in mind of Rozi Plain and This is the Kit so obviously right up the Swede's street.
From Whauphill in one of my favourite parts of the world Galloway,  it is her 3rd album which is quite remarkable given that she is only 20. She has been recording since she was 14. More details and a free download here

It should be a good night.She  will be supported by Jared Cerose who has been recently signed by Olive Grove records and who has a debut EP  Four Cold Walls available on Bandcamp
The brilliant Annie Booth will also be providing support so little wonder it sold out weeks ago.

It should be a belter.

Saturday 21 April 2018

The Return of Saturday Lucky Dip

The Chords

Until I come up with an original idea here is the return of Saturday Lucky Dip.
A series where a random compilation is selected and a couple of tracks featured.
Where possible I will aim to feature artists who haven't graced these pages below,
The Mojo October 2005 compilation Made in Britain has featured before when Steel Pulse and The Redskins were selected.
This time round  we go down a division and start with Deptford mod revivalists The Chords with their second single from 1980 Maybe Tomorrow which reached number 40 in the UK singles charts. They were active from 1978 -1981 which the obligatory reformation in 2010

They are joined by Nottingham post punks Medium Medium with their 1981 single Hungry, So Angry released on the Cherry Red label.Similar timescales 1978-1983  and then from 2004 onwards.

I don't recall either of  these from first time round.

More random nonsense next Saturday unless anything more original springs to mind.

The Chords - Maybe Tomorrow

Medium Medium - Hungry, So Angry

Friday 20 April 2018

Not Just a Two Trick Pony

I would think that a significant number of the illustrious blogs listed on the right hand side bar have featured either Thirteen or September Girls by  Big Star or indeed both at some stage.
However. these are only two of the many great songs that they recorded in their short three album career (#1 Record, Radio City and Third/Sister Lover) in the early 70's with a 4th In Space coming along in 2005

Like the Velvet Underground in the 60's they didn't really enjoy much success at the time but have since assumed legendary status and have influenced countless bands who have come after them.

A couple of examples. You only have to listen to The Ballad of El Goodo for  the likes of the Jayhawks and a number of other American bands  to spring to mind.
Teenage Fanclub freely acknowledge their influence with their album Thirteen named after the Big Star single. Alex Chilton also collaborated with them in his later years.Again you can see the influence when you play What's Going Ahn.

No life is complete without a bit of Big Star in it.

Big Star - The Ballad of El Goodo

Big Star - What's Going Ahn

Thursday 19 April 2018

The Bottom Line

On Monday Friend of Rachel Worth correctly identified that the post title The Horses Are on The Track was taken from The Bottom Line by Big Audio Dynamite.
It wasn't a competition but there is a prize.
A chance to listen to a 7 minute plus version from the US Remix 12 inch single re-mixed by Rick Rubin no less in the years before he resurrected Johnny Cash's career.

At the time the band led by former Clash man Mick Jones did not need their career resurrected as both tracks (BAD being the b-side)  were taken from their 1985 debut album This is Big Audio Dynamite which reached number 27 in the UK album charts.

Big Audio Dynamite - The Bottom Line

Big Audio Dynamite -BAD

Wednesday 18 April 2018

The Blues Collection - Bukka White

Mrs CC selected Parchman Farm Blues by Bukka White from the Blues Collection (number 23) as a random choice to play at the weekend.
A quick check advises that this is one of the few from the series which has still to feature so here goes.
Bukka was a Mississippi Blues man christened Booker T Washington White after the civil rights activist, Bukka being the phonetic spelling of Booker.
He was a cousin of  BB King's mother , claimed to have met Charlie Patton and had Memphis Minnie on backing vocals on some of his earlier recordings. So a good pedigree then.
He spent time in prison which is also a good pedigree for a Blues man recording for folklorist Alan Lomax whilst in the Mississippi State Penitentiary colloquially know as Parchman Farm.

These song are recorded in Chicago on 7th March 1940.He enjoyed a degree of fame in the 60s when he was feted by the likes of Bob Dylan and John Fahey.
He died in Memphis in 1977 aged either 67 or 70. As is often the case with the old Blues men there is some debate as to his actual date of birth

Bukka White - Parchman Farm Blues

Bukka White - Sleepy Man Blues

Tuesday 17 April 2018

Shook, Rattle and Roll

Sarah Shook & the Disarmers  from Chaple Hill, North Carolina are fast becoming my  new favourite insurgent country act.
I was a bit late getting to the table for their April 2017 album Sidelong only getting it at Christmas after hearing The Nail on the Bloodshot 2017 Sampler album.
It was the first Bloodshot album I ever got on vinyl.
I'm glad to say that they are not mucking about with a new album Years having just been released.
Both albums are available on Bandcamp
Also available on Noisetrade is a free download containing a mix of 5 tracks from the two albums.

Here's one from each

Sarah Shook & the Disarmers - Misery Without Company

Sarah Shook & the Disarmers - New Ways to Fail

Monday 16 April 2018

The Horses Are On The Track

I'm quite chuffed that Tiger Roll won Saturday's Grand National.
The reason? I had it in the office sweepstake and stand to win somewhere between 30 and 40 quid!
I caught the end of the race on the radio and it sounded quite exciting.. I then saw the finish on the news on the telly and it was pretty close. Another couple of strides and the second horse Pleasant Company would have got there.
Mrs CC suggested going out for something to eat with my winnings. I was thinking of buying some records myself!
Here are some loosely associated acts to commemorate this notable event.

Grand Drive - A Ladder to the Stars

The National - Mr November

Tiger - My Puppet Pal

Mott the Hoople - Roll Away The Stone

Sunday 15 April 2018

The Como Mamas

Some gospel for you today courtesy of The Como Mamas.
Thanks are due to our good friend George for bringing them to my attention
As the name suggests Ester Mae Smith, Angela Taylor and Della Daniel hail from the small Mississippi town of Como.
Yet another act discovered by the Daptone Record label they have released three albums all of which are available from Bandcamp
These tracks are taken from their 2017 album Move Upstairs where they are joined by numerous Daptone stalwarts backing them as the Glorifiers Band to deliver some raw and glorious gospel.

I want to go to Como.

The Como Mamas - Out of the Wilderness

The Como mamas - 99 and a Half Won't Do

Saturday 14 April 2018

Inflammable Material

It's time to turn up the volume a bit today with veteran Northern Irish punk rockers Stiff Little Fingers who appear on these pages for the first time.

When putting X-Ray Spex back in the Punk/New Wave section Inflammable Material their seminal debut album from 1979 caught my eye and I thought it was time to give it an airing.
The more astute of you  will point out that 78RPM is not on Inflammable Material  and you will be right but it is a bonus track on the CD version I have along with an interview with Jake Burns.

They are still going strong and play Glasgow's Barrowland every St Patrick's Day -a gig I know that Drew has attended on a number of occasions.

A splendid racket altogether.

Stiff Little Fingers - Suspect Device

Stiff Little Fingers - 78RPM

Friday 13 April 2018


No not that one . This one.
Thriller is also the third album from 1997 by Lambchop. Named after the Michael Jackson bestseller by Kurt Wagner  as a response to the poor sales of their first two albums.
It joins Nixon and Is a Woman on the Americana shelves and yet I'm still not 100% sure whether I like  Lambchop.

Three albums by a band you're not sure about? Well in my defence the combined cost of all 3 was less than the cost of a half pint.
I'm going to persevere in the expectation that I will eventually get it. After all they are Superstars in France

I seem to have got over my mental block of typing Lampchop.

Lambchop - Hey, Where's Your Girl

Lambchop - Superstar in France

Thursday 12 April 2018

The Bots Have Gone

The Bots have finally gone!
A few days of inactivity on the site led to their demise.
I've gone from a couple of thousand hits a day to a couple of hundred (if I'm lucky) and do you know what, I'm pretty happy  about it.
It means I know I'm dealing with real people. A community who take the time and effort to read and sometimes comment about my posts. I know you have been there all along but it is reassuring to know that it is just us again.

All of which puts me in mind of Internet Song from Pii2 by Stephen Solo .His second album recorded directly on to an I-phone and available on a USB cassette from Last Night From Glasgow
It's the future, or  probably even the present.

Stephen Solo - Internet Song

Wednesday 11 April 2018

Carolina Chocolate Drops

Carolina Chocolate Drops are an old-time string band from Durham, North Carolina. A little bit country, a little bit folk. What our American friends would describe as Roots music.
They are one of the very few, if not the only, acts featuring black artists to enjoy a degree of mainstream success in this genre.
Indeed the album featured Genuine Negro Jig won the Grammy Award for Best Traditional Folk Album in 2010.
Lead singer and banjo player Rhiannon Giddens has also enjoyed a degree of solo success and as one of the artists featured on The New Basement Tapes.
One of the acquisitions  from my recent haul.and one where the jury is still out.
Whilst admiring their musical dexterity I'm not sure that their style is for me.I'm more of a Bluegrass man when it comes to banjos.

Carolina Chocolate Drops - Trouble in Your Mind

Carolina Chocolate Drops - Why Don't You Do Right?

Tuesday 10 April 2018

Germ Free Adolescents

I'm still going through a bit of a bis phase after having seen them last week.
I purchased Social Dancing their second studio alum from 1999. It is a 2014 re-release which comes with a bonus disc.
On the bonus disc they do  a decent cover of  the X-Ray Spex song Germ Free Adolescents.
You can see the influence X Ray Spex had on them with similarities in the music  and in the vocal styles of Manda Rin and the late great Poly Styrene.

I thought that I had previously featured the original but it seems not. So here it is together with Identity.
Terrific stuff.

X-Ray Sex - Germ Free Adolescents

X-Ray Spex - Identity

Monday 9 April 2018

Something New and Something New to Me

For a wee change today here is some new music and some new to me music from Glasgow based artists.

A. Wesley Chung is from California but has sensibly relocated to the Dear Green Place.He has previously recorded as The Great Albatross and as part of indie folk collective Boris Smile.
Restless is the first single from his album Neon Coast which is scheduled to be released by Glasgow's LP Records later in the year.
It is  rather good.

Prior to Carla J Easton's gig at Nice and Sleazys last week I featured an acoustic piano version of her  single Lights in the Dark.

The version on the night and all the other mainly new songs featured by her and her band was accompanied by her very own Wall of Sound and it was indeed a splendid racket.
The first band up Bite were four youg guys who put on a good show with vocals reminiscent of Television and the Fall.

Next up were West Princes who were excellent. All jingly jangly guitars reminiscent of the Bhundu Boys and Sacred Paws with a slight folk slant to them..
The only song of theirs that I have been able to track down is the single Wet Bark is a Slug which was a Record Day release last year.
A band I would certainly like to hear more of.

Sunday 8 April 2018

30 #1 Hits by the King

Thirty songs by Elvis Presley which reached the top slot in the official pop charts in the UK, the US or in many cases both on the one CD for 50 pence?
Foolish not to.
Some pretty poor , some average and some brilliant.
These selections come into the later category and perhaps, not surprisingly, are among his earlier songs.

No need to write anything else really.

Elvis Presley -Heartbreak Hotel

Elvis Presley - All Shook Up

Elvis Presley - Hard Headed Woman

Saturday 7 April 2018

Searching for the Wrong-Eyed Jesus

Wrong- Eyed Jesus (The Mysterious Tale of How I Shouted) by Jim White was not part of my haul from last Saturday (see yesterday's post) The reason? It already graces the shelves.
Next to it was another CD attributed to Jim White this one being entitled Searching for the Wrong-Eyed Jesus.
Needless to say this had me somewhat intrigued.
Turns out that this is the soundtrack to a 2003 documentary about the American South where Jim White drives a souped up and beat -up Chevy Impala through a hard-scrabble underworld of Pentecostal church,trailer park,coal mine, prison and truck stop,where the secular and the spiritual are joined at the hip.
It was duly purchased,
The documentary  was commissioned by the BBC and I have a vague memory of maybe having seen it on the BBC 4 Friday Night slot. One I think that I would probably like to watch again.
As well as Jim the soundtrack features the likes of Cat Power, David Johansen, Doc Watson,  the Handsome Family and Johnny Dowd.
As the last two are not exactly a laugh a minute I shall spare you today and rather will share Cat and one from the man himself (not that they are that much cheerier).
Also you are getting  the opportunity to hear Amazing Grace being played on the saw by Melissa Swingle.  Not something you  hear everyday.

Beautiful, dark and weird stuff indeed .

Cat Power - Crossbones Style

Jim White - The Wound That Never Heals

Melissa Swingle - Amazing Grace

Friday 6 April 2018

Another Reasonably Impressive Haul

On Saturday, on my way back from the barbers, I popped into my local charity shop and came away with 6 CD albums and a CD single for £3.50. My best one off  haul for a while.
The majority was Americana so I may space it out a bit rather than subject you to it all at once.
It is rare that you see a Mekons record in a charity shop but on this occasion I came away with not one but two- an album and a single. Just about doubling my Mekons collection in one foul swoop.
I'm featuring the single today. From 1993 Millionaire is off the I Love Mekons album and is  rated by Stereogum as their 8th best song.
The live song was recorded for the feature film Mekons - The Movie.
More Mekons to follow.

Mekons - Millionaire

Mekons - (Sometimes I Feel Like ) Fletcher Christian (live)

Thursday 5 April 2018

The Obligatory Doubler

The final holiday purchase features today and it is the obligatory doubler.
I felt I had dodged that bullet with my system to avoid purchasing duplicates from the Blues Collection but obviously not.
I picked up Untamed by Heather Myles in Newton Stewart. Now I knew that I had two of her albums and that one had a picture of her in a cowboy (or cowgirl )shirt and hat - that would be Highways and Honky Tonks
I couldn't remember what the other cover was like. That'll be it above.

The majority of the album is maybe  just a wee bit too mainstream country for my tastes although these two songs with a Patsy Cline type sound to them are pretty good.The first is one of her own compositions and the second is a cover of a Marty Robbins song.
She has released five albums in total so I had a 60% chance of avoiding a doubler. Needless to say I failed miserably.
Not to be confused with the former Lady McCartney

Heather Myles - When You Walked Out On Me

Heather Myles - Begging To You

Wednesday 4 April 2018

Carla J Easton

I'm off to Nice and Sleazy's tonight to see Carla J Easton. Two gigs in five days -what am I like?

She will be promoting her recent single Lights in the Dark and the forthcoming Wanting What I Can't Have . Both are likely to feature on her album which will be the first  recorded in her own name following previous outings with Teen Canteen and as Ette.
The Sunday Post , not usually renowned for having it's finger on the pulse, gives details here
With a bit of luck she will also feature Best Friend a song she co-wrote with Stewart Murdoch and sings on Belle & Sebastian's How to Solve Our Human Problems Pt 3 EP.

I saw her last August in The Old Hairdressers and she was excellent. More of the same tonight would be most welcome.

Oh and bis were brilliant on Saturday night. Nice and bouncy.The absolute bisters.

Carla J Easton - Lights in the Dark (Piano Version)

bis - Euro Disco

Tuesday 3 April 2018

Essential Bobby D?

Given that at the last count there were already 21 Bob Dylan albums on the shelves and that I already own over three quarters of the songs on the Essential Bob Dylan was it really necessary for me to acquire it in Newton Stewart?
This of of course a purely rhetorical question given that there can only be one answer.
Some reasons as if they were necessary:

  • It's Bob Dylan
  • It was only a pound
  • I don't have some of the songs
  • I only have some as downloads
  • It has Blind Willie McTell on it
  • You can never have enough Bob Dylan
There you are. Totally justified.
Here are two of the songs that I didn't have - Everything is  Broken from Oh Mercy and  Dignity from the Touched by an Angel soundtrack album.and Blind Willie which I only previously had digitally.

And finally something to ponder.Can an album with  only 36 songs  really be described as The Essential Bob Dylan?

Monday 2 April 2018

Disgraceful Dubstar

Disgraceful was the 1995 debut album by synthpop band Dubstar on the Food label. The original album cover caused a degree of notoriety as it was thought to resemble a part of a ladies anatomy. It was later revised to resemble a bunny rabbit slipper.Those of you interested can explore for yourselves.
All of which detracts slightly from the music. You will  all I'm sure  recognize Stars (number 1 in Israel) . I have previously featured  the Not So Manic Now (number 2 in Israel) another well known single from the album.
There are inevitably comparisons made with St Etienne - dance friendly indie pop by a band with three members - two blokes and a female lead singer called Sarah ( in this instance Blackwood as opposed to Cracknell).
There were a further two albums but this is the one I suspect which might feature in the top 50 Greatest Britpop Albums in the World .... Ever over at The Sound of Being OK

A Newton Stewart acquisition.

Dubstar - Stars

Dubstar - Just a Girl She Said

Sunday 1 April 2018

Dandy Highwaymen

No purchases this time round in Faith, Hope and Charity in Whithorn or the Community Shop or the box of records in the Bookshop in Wigton.
So it was  off to Newton Stewart where I struck lucky in the Sue Ryder Shop.

Now if there was ever a competition to come up with a Country supergroup for the late 80s/early 90's anyone coming up with Willie Nelson, Johnny Cash, Waylon Jennings and Kris Kristofferson would surely be onto a winner.
Appearing together as The Highwaymen they recorded three albums, starred in a film called Stagecoach, provided voice overs for Louis L'Amour stories, toured and generally had a whale of a time.

Waylon Jennings'  ill-health and Johnny Cash's resurrection by Rick Rubin effectively led to their demise. I was going to say the end of their career but it was really just a bunch of old pals getting together for a good time and a laugh.

The Highwaymen - Highway Man

The Highwaymen - Committed to Parkview

Adam & the Ants - Stand and Deliver