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Sunday, 20 January 2019

Ladies of the Canyon

The general consensus among Joni Mitchell fans, and I include Mrs CC within this group, is that Blue her 4th album from 1971 is her best. Indeed it features in many of those greatest albums of all time lists and often as the highest by a female artist.

I'm not a huge Joni fan although I like her well enough. I am also quite contrary. So for me her best one is the one before from 1970 Ladies of the Canyon
It includes what is possibly her most famous song Big Yellow Taxi  (well her biggest hit at any rate) and also Woodstock.
Being contrary I've selected another two for your listening pleasure.

Joni Mitchell - Morning Morgantown

Joni Mitchell - Ladies of the Canyon

Saturday, 19 January 2019

Double Initials -BB

Well last week's post fairly caught the public's imagination.
Over 30 suggestions for BB which would make for a terrific playlist.
I'd made my choices in advance and they all feature.
With regards to George's challenge to feature acts not mentioned the only name I can come up with is Big Bill Broonzy.

Like C the first one I thought of could potentially be a triple B. We start with B"B" B namely Bobby "Blue" Bland. Sorry C but Ain't No Love in the Heart of the City is clearly not absolutely essential given that it does not feature on my Bobby "Blue" Bland - The Absolutely Essential 3 CD Collection

Early bird SWC identified my other two choices.Billy Bragg ( who could also qualify as the Bard of Barking) is busy building Bridges Not Walls whereas the Bhundu Boys  are talking about the happy and enduring life of a musician

Any yes Dirk had I anything by the Ballistic Brothers or the Bollock Brothers they would have more than likely featured.

I've got my C's sorted. over to you for your suggestions

Bobby "Blue" Bland - I Pity the Fool

Billy Bragg - Not Everything That Counts Can Be Counted

Bhundu Boys - Hupenyu Hwangu

Friday, 18 January 2019

Friday Night Lights

When I was rummaging through the A's for my new Saturday serious I happened across something that I thought would do just the job for Friday night - Scottish power pop.
The band in question are Attic Lights and the album Friday Night Lights is from 2008 on the Island label.

I thought I had featured it before but that was not the case. I did however post their self titled 2005 debut EP in my Tartan Texans series way back in 2014.

As far as I can gather at the time the band consisted of Kev Sherry (vocals/guitar), Colin McArdle (vocals/bass), Jamie Houston (vocals/guitar/keyboards), Tim Davidson (guitar/pedal steel) and Noel O'Donnell (drums).
The album was produced by Francis McDonald of Teenage Fanclub fame which might not come as a surprise when you hear the music.

They had another album Super De Luxe  in  2013 and seem to have Love in the Time of Shark Attacks scheduled for 2019 although I must admit that their name or music have not crossed my radar for a good few years.

Attic Lights - Never Get Sick of the Sea

Attic Lights - Nothing But Love

Thursday, 17 January 2019

On the Level

I only have the one album by New Age crusties The Levellers and that is their 1990 debut A Weapon Called the Word on the Musidisc label.
An album which impressively achieved platinum status despite never troubling the UK albums chart.
Not one I play all that often these days but one I played a fair bit at the time.

I suspect that I bought it after seeing them perform at the Fleadh at Glasgow Green back in 1992
A pretty decent line up  as I'm sure you will agree.
I can only remember seeing them,Martin Stephenson,Kirsty MacColl, Christie Moore, the brilliant Frankie Miller and the grumpy Van Morrison
It is either the sands of time or the Workers Beer Company products on the day that have blurred my memory somewhat.

The Levellers - World Freakshow

The Levellers - Carry On

Wednesday, 16 January 2019

State of the Union - New York

George writes

It appears that I am continuing with the series, and today it’s New York. Unfortunately, according to the rules of the game (the song must include the name of the state itself or a city or town therein) I cannot post Big Apple by Kajagoogoo, a single I bought when it came out and still have. And there’s more than a plethora of songs that could be included but won’t be. But never mind this song nonsense, did you know, and I include any readers from the United States, that each state has an official State Fish? And some states have two – I assume that only the landlocked states have one State Fish. Well all states barring last week’s Indiana, and Ohio and  Arkansas.  New York has the Striped Bass and the Brook Trout. I am unable to discover why the majority of states need an official fish.

 And from fish to cats (what a seamless link) to Cat Power and a cover version of a rather well known song, of course it is far far superior to any other version, including that one by Gerard Kenny.....

And an offering by Loudon Wainwright III,  recounting part of his upbringing in Westchester County, hence the name of the song:

A quick request: if anyone has a decent copy of Loudon Wainwright’s song Jesse Don’t Like it as performed for a John Peel session, can you send it my way?. Not the album version, the Peel Session one.

And in my increasingly desperate search for something interesting about New York, I found that someone tried to kill themselves by jumping from the 86th floor of the Empire State building.......only to be blown back into the building on the 85th floor.

Enjoy the music.

CC writes - as I was downloading this someone on the radio was saying there are at least 161 songs since 1960 which feature New York. It was Tam Cowan on Off the Ball so it may not be entirely accurate.
The first that sprung to my mind was

Ryan Adams - New York, New York

So good, they named it twice

Tuesday, 15 January 2019

Prine Time

I was  going to start this post by stating that it was a long time since John Prine had appeared on these pages but a quick check shows that he has never featured before.
I'm hanging my head in shame as I type.
He has however been namechecked by Zoe Muth and possibly his two finest songs have appeared - Sam Stone covered by Swamp Dogg and Speed of the Sound of Loneliness covered by both Alabama 3 and Nancy Griffith.

Mrs CC and I won tickets to see him at the Glasgow Concert Hall. He was about an hour late in coming on but quickly won the audience over with an absolutely terrific show.
The album featured today is The Missing Years from 1991 on his own Oh Boy label.

It features the likes of Albert Lee, Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers, Phil Everly , Bonnie Raitt and Bruce Springsteen which shows the high regard in which he is held by his contemporaries.

John Prine - Picture Show

John Prine - The Sins of Memphisto

Good timing as I have just read that he has just been inducted to the Songwriter's Hall of Fame. Richly deserved and about time too.

Monday, 14 January 2019

A Cosmic Storage Solution

I'm beginning to experience an acute storage situation.
Plenty of room on the vinyl shelves but the CD's are a different story.
The indie/pop section is totally full which necessitated transferring my three Cosmic Rough Riders CDs to the Americana section. Having said that two of the three gaps have already been filled.

There is really only one Cosmics album that you need and that is the excellent Enjoy the Melodic Sunshine record from 2000. Thereafter main man Daniel Wylie left to go solo and things where never quite the same again.
I've featured that one a few times before so here are a couple of songs from the 2003 album Too Close to See Far which has Stephen Fleming at the helm.

Cosmic Rough Riders - Justify The Rain

Cosmic Rough Riders - Blind

Sunday, 13 January 2019

Jackie Leven Said

Following Drew's recent post of a live version of The Ghetto I was playing A Donny Hathaway Collection with a view to featuring the late great man.
However the CD was playing up so it looks as though I may well have to fork out for the 5 cd boxset after all. It's a hardship I can live with.

The next random disc to go on featured another late great artist in Kirkcaldy's Jackie Leven with Elegy for Johnny Cash. on Cooking Vinyl  from 2005
The post title is the name of another album he released that year along with Rebus author Ian Rankin.  which is a story of the same title read by Rankin with musical interludes from Leven. One I don't have and have never heard.

Contains a late entry for Rol's Top 10 Museum Songs

Jackie Leven - Blue Soul Dark Road

Jackie Leven - Museum of Childhood

Saturday, 12 January 2019

Double Initials - AA

January finds me scrabbling around looking for a new series or two. One or two finished up in December and this time of the year is always a difficult time for inspiration and motivation.
Fortunately George has offered up the State of the Union series.
I think I may have come up with another - artists or bands whose name contains double initials.
I can probably cover most if not all of the alphabet so we will see how we get on.
Unlike State of the Union this one will be alphabetical..

Therefore we start with A and the first artist who sprang to mind was the mighty  country soul singer Arthur Alexander a man who has featured a couple of times before on these pages.
The only other artist I could come up with who I have stuff by is Adam Ant.

A quick glance at the Guinness Book of Hit Singles gives us Alisha's Attic. I tracked down a song of theirs Indestructible on a compilation (the one I featured yesterday) but decided to spare you.
I'm happy to report that I own nothing by Angry Anderson. 
I'm open to other suggestions.
BB next week

Arthur Alexander - Soldier of Love

Adam Ant - Dog Eat Dog

Friday, 11 January 2019

A Friday Random : Woman II

I was flicking through the dodgy compilations the other night  while looking for potential material for a series starting tomorrow.
I found what I was looking for on a compilation called Woman II but ruled  out featuring it  on the grounds of quality control.

However among all the Shanias,Geris, Mariahs and Whitneys there were the occasional diamonds in the rough which merit a listen.

Here are two such diamonds.

Blondie - Maria

Beth Orton - She Cries Your Name

Thursday, 10 January 2019

The Original Memphis Recordings

My last purchase of 2018 was Primal Scream: Give Out But Don't Give Up - The Original Memphis Recordings.
It had been on the list since  I watched the BBC 4 documentary a couple of months ago.
I picked it up in Fopp but hummed and hawed about the price. I came to my senses a couple of days later and got it in  Love Music for 3 quid cheaper!

I don't have the subsequent Give Out, etc  1994 album (my Primal Scream collection consisted of Screamadelica, XTRMNTR and Riot City Blues  before this one) but am familiar with most of the songs.
It starts out reasonably rocky on Jailbird and Rocks but then descends into some wonderful soulful country rock and gospel.
Although it was original recorded and produced in 1993 by the great Tom Dowd  it did not see the light of day until very recently after Andrew Innes found the  tapes in a box in his house
I did not hear  this before  I had  listened to my top album of 2018 - The Last of the Gracious Losers. There are some similarities particularly with the brilliant gospel harmonies.

Here is a fine example

Wednesday, 9 January 2019

State of the Union - Indiana

A new series where George does all the heavy lifting and I throw in the  occasional song if the mood takes me. Over to George

I have been reading a novel called Turtles All The Way Down. It is set in Indianapolis. And all the time I have been reading, well some of the time, occasionally, now and then, I have been thinking of the lyric “can’t go west, can’t go east, I’m stuck in Indianapolis dum dum dum dum  dum duuuh”.  Well, only part of that is the lyric, the rest I just made up. And I also wondered if Charity Chic wanted an idea for a new series, namely a song with a state of the USA in the title, and he’s taken me up on the offer. It was only later that I realised that Indianapolis is a city not a state, the clue being in the “polis” bit.  And before doing some more research I am assuming Indianapolis is in the state of Indiana. It is, and the city is sometimes referred as Indy, I am led to believe, and after further research it is indeed the home of Indycar racing, which I now know does not mean Independent Car Racing. And  home of the Indy 500 race, that one where cars go round a curved cornered rectangular track. And the Indy 500 does not mean 500 laps but 500 miles – there are 200 laps, no prizes for calculating the length of one lap. Sounds more tedious than basketball, the game where a goal is scored every two seconds.
So the series will feature a state of the USA each week (is it each week, CC?) (hopefully! -CC) and the title must contain either a city or town  in the state, or the name of the state. Well, it will for the first few (if I am allowed to get so far as “few”).  Maybe I can get a bit further than the risible two offered by Sufjan Stevens in his aborted series.

The song today is by The Bottle Rockets, who are as far as I am concerned an Americana band, although more southern rock than country. They have featured on these pages before, with the splendid track $1000 Dollar Car, and today it’s Indianapolis.  Whereas $1000 dollar car has a beat-up, indolent musical quality, well matched to the sentiments of the song, Indianapolis is more up-tempo, not by any means cheery given that the singer is Stuck In Indianapolis, but not frantically get-me-out-of-here quick either.  Here it is:

How GOOD was that?
·         I could have featured a song by The Jackson 5, who are from Indiana, called Going Back to Indiana, which would have met my original criterion, but it’s rubbish. So I did not.
·         If this series was to feature musicians from each state I could have featured Axl Rose, born in Lafayette, Indiana. But it is not, and I would rather eat Shaggy’s toe clippings than listen to Guns N’ Roses. Shaggy our dog, not Shaggy from Scooby Doo or Shaggy the reggae chap. Which is not to imply that I would eat the toe clippings of either of those gentlemen.
·         The bloke who wrote Jingle Bell Rock came from Helmsburg, Indiana. The Fall’s version is better, of course.
      And finally from me, there is a rather obvious song that meets my original criterion, one that got to number 2 in the Canadian charts, a song about being chased and finally, possibly, killed after a shoot-out with the police. And here it is! 

       More nonsense , possibly, next week

     CC writes - thanks George. You have come up with the obvious one. I've managed to come up with another.
     Over to you folks 



Tuesday, 8 January 2019

Foxes of the Fleet Variety

Over the holiday period I played the 2008 debut album by Seattle Indie Folk band Fleet Foxes for quite possibly the first time in about 5 years.
It was an album that was released at the time to an incredible amount of hype it debuted at #11 in the UK album charts and peaked at #3
It was critically acclaimed with Q Magazine voting it the 2nd best album of 2008 and Uncut going as far as describing it as the most rewarding of the last 12 months.
They were certainly an act that everyone was talking about at the time.

My take for what it's worth is that I like it well enough but I feel that the fact that I haven't listened to it for years probably tells it's own story. I never felt the urge to pick up their follow up albums Helplessness Blues from 2011 and Crack- Up from 2017 although I do have a burn of the former. I would probably pick them up were I to spot them in a charity shop.

Fleet Foxes - Tiger Mountain Peasant Song

Fleet Foxes - Oliver James

Monday, 7 January 2019

A Fox of the Swamp Variety

As I type this mid afternoon on Sunday, I am still somewhat hungover after a day out yesterday enjoying a hospitality package with my pals at the Dundee United v Partick Thistle game yesterday.
It was a great day out despite a pretty poor game of football which finished one apiece.

The way I am feeling necessitates some slow, gentle and mellow country or soul or even better a bit of both.
Time then to feature Testifying: The Country Soul Review that does just that.On Casual Records and recorded between 31st January and 11th February 2004 it includes great artists such as Dan Penn, Donnie Fritts. Larry Jon Wilson, George Soule and Bonnie Bramlett.

I've opted for the Swamp Fox himself Mr Tony Joe White the man who wrote Rainy Night in Georgia.
It gives me an opportunity to acknowledge  his passing  aged 75 on 24th October 2018 something I failed to do at the time.

The Country Soul Review (ft Tony Joe White) - Who You Gonna Hoo-Doo Now

The Country Soul Review (ft Tony Joe White) - Drifter

Sunday, 6 January 2019


Referencing kevinpat's  epic Hoboken to Athens compilation in the recent Guadalcanal Diary post had me dusting it down and giving it a listen.
A whopping 74 tracks over three discs.
I was pretty familiar with early R.E.M. and the B52s and the Smithereens, Marshal Crenshaw, the dBs and the Waitresses rang bells.
The vast majority of the artists were however new to me.
The one I was most taken with was Pylon a jangle pop band from Athens, Georgia who have broken up and reformed a couple of times over the years.
The songs featured are from 1980 to 1982 and I have been long been meaning to find out more about them. I think I shall make it a New Years resolution to track down the extended version of their 1980 album Gyrate or their 1983 album Chomp or maybe even both*

Pylon - Cool

Pylon - M-Train

Pylon - Beep

* having checked the prices it is highly unlikely that it will be both!

Saturday, 5 January 2019

Joan As Policewoman

The final purchase to feature from my last charity haul of 2018 is To Survive by Joan as Policewoman which is her second album from back in 2008 on Reveal Records in the UK (and Cheap Lullaby in the US).

The non de plume of one Joan Wasser an American artist and producer. Yet another artist whose name I was more familiar with than the music although checking back I see that she featured briefly in my Burnt Offerings series (number 26 if you are interested). She also got a name check recently for having produced the Lau album The Bell That Never Rang which I posted as part of the Monday Long Song thing.

I knew she was indie but was pleasantly surprised in that it was a lot more mellow and soulful than I expected. Mrs CC was particularly taken with her voice. The second song here features Rufus Wainwright an artist who you could easily compare her to.

A good find.

Joan As Policewoman - To Be Lonely

Joan As Policewoman - To America

Friday, 4 January 2019

Guadalcanal Diary

This one is down to Brian
Guadalcanal Diary are a band I first heard of  courtesy of his blog when he featured their song Watusi Rodeo. A couple of their songs subsequently featured on the now legendary Hoboken to Athens compilation CDs by kevinpat.

Brian is on record in saying that he considers Jamboree their second (of four) album from 1986 on Electra as their poorest.
I was not however going to turn down an opportunity to pick it up at a reasonable price among the usual dross in the vinyl section of Oxfam in Clarkston.
A band from Atlanta in Georgia you can see some obvious comparisons with  their near neighbours from Athens R.E.M. Given that this was from when R.E.M were very good this is no bad thing.
Allmusic gives Jamboree 3.5/5 which is probably just about right.

If this is their worst I wouldn't mind hearing the other three

Guadalcanal Diary - Fear of God

Guadalcanal Diary - Lonely Street

Thursday, 3 January 2019

Tonight We're Gonna Party Like It's 2013

Today a post title and a CD which both first featured on this day in 2017.
Mojo: Presents 2013 The Best of the Year was the first CD I picked up in 2017 and one of the last I picked up in 2018.
Yup I've done it again - buying something I already  had.
Still all is not lost as it solves at least one puzzle that being what was the name of that song by Bill Callahan and where can I find it.
It led to the purchase of a Smog EP and I then obtained a Bill Callahan CD via a circuitous route
I make no apologies for featuring it again.

The CD also includes Victim of Love by the great Charles Bradley who sadly died in 2017 and Please Make it Stop from the album The Invisible Way by Low so it was good to give it a spin again before returning one copy to charity.

Bill Callahan - The Sing

Charles Bradley - Victim Of Love

Low - Just Make It Stop

Wednesday, 2 January 2019

June in January

Wishful thinking on Julie's part
Two months for the price of one this time round
For the second month running Julie finds herself relegated from the 1st to the 2nd but given yesterday's post I'm sure she would have understood.

June in January is a song with music by Ralph Rainger and lyrics by Leo Robin which was first published  in 1934. It first appeared in the film Hear in My Heart where it was performed by Bing Crosby.
Many others have covered it including Dean Martin, Guy Lombardo and Jo Stafford

We are now a quarter of the way through Calendar Girl - only another nine to go George!

Julie London - June in January

Tuesday, 1 January 2019

New Year's Day Homage

A Happy New Year to you all
Long suffering readers will know the drill by now and any  newcomers well you will just have to get used to it.

It is a long standing tradition on New Year's Day for CCM to pay homage to two of the greatest artists of all time who both died on this day

Hank Williams died on the 1st of January 1953 aged just 29 and Townes Van Zandt in 1997 aged 52
Two artists who profoundly influenced Country music in their own way. Hank brought it to the world's attention and Townes was influential in inspiring the Americana movement.

I find it inconceivable that there are people out there who don't have any music by them but if you fall into that category you know what to do.
A New Year Resolution that should be easy to keep and one you will not regret.

Hank Williams - Move It On Over

Townes Van Zandt - Tower Song