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Thursday, 28 February 2019

Yesterday is No Tomorrow

Booze- soaked rockets that sound refreshingly, genuinely carefree and debauched  -Time Out

Grotty NY sleeze-bags fronted by Hell's own angel channelling the whiskey-slugging spirit of Motorhead - NME

If drinking, fighting and good old-fashioned rock'n'roll are your mantra Brooklyn punks Stalkers are about to change your world.

All the above is blurb on a CD promo single I picked up somewhere along the way and which was mis-filed next to Tuesday's Mo Solid Gold
I haven't been able to find out that much about them. Yesterday is No Tomorrow was an album on One Little Indian released in 2004. They were signed  to the label on the recommendation of Jesse Malin.
The release of the single in 2007 seems to coincide with a tour of Britain where they played at Leeds and Reading.
The second song is by the Rolling Stones and was on their Aftermath album. It has also been covered by The Searchers and The Kynd 
That's it.

Stalkers - Yesterday is No Tomorrow

Stalkers - Take It Or Leave It

Wednesday, 27 February 2019

State of the Union - Pennsylvania

George writes

Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, is by no means one of the rainiest cities in the USA. It’s average yearly rainfall is 38.2 inches (970mm to us Europeans), which although significantly higher than the USA as a whole (a mere 30.2 inches/767mm)  is actually below the average for the

state (42.9 inches/1089mm).  So does Pittsburgh experience  it’s rain as “little but often” or “occasional massive downpours”? I think it’s closer to the former, Pittsburgh has 151 rainy days per year, making it, by that measure, the fifth rainiest city in the entire USA; the city only has 59 clear sunny days a year, 103 partly cloudy, and 203 cloudy, putting it on  a par with Seattle. And Seattle has slightly less rain, on average, than Pittsburgh. But compared with San Antonio Texas, 151 days a year of rain is A LOT (San Antonio only has 77 days a year) which might help to explain why Jim Carsten wrote today’s first song (he’s from San Antonio), and you must by now have guessed what it is, you would have to on an intellectual par with Chris Grayling not to.

In 1985 The Vibes did a cover version of the song I’m In Pittsburgh (And It’s Rainin’), which is absolutely tremendous. Loud, fast, shouty, frantic, desperate, moaning, screechy guitar, screaming, it’s the best song you will listen to today. It’s on the 12 inch single Inner Wardrobes of Your Mind, which also has the even better song I Hear Noises.

I have given you the best song you will hear today, and possibly for the next seven days, so it’s a bit difficult to follow it up. But follow it I must, and will.

And it would be completely perverse to exclude a song with Philadelphia in the title, and here’s one that fits that category. No, not Hall & Oates “Fall in Philadelphia”, which if it was actually about Mark E Smith and co. in that city would absolutely be included. Not James Taylor’s “Sailing to Philadelphia” (get a grip, how the hell would you expect that???), not the song from the film Philadelphia, the one by Neil Young, which is just too dreary for words, and not even that splendid pop song by Elton John. Nope, it’s a version of a well-covered song, by Bonnie Owens. That would be Mrs Buck Owens.

That’s a Woodie Guthrie song for you. Performed by Mrs Merle Haggard.

That’s Pennsylvania, the home of the town of Hazleton, where 19 miners were shot dead in 1857, and where it is illegal for teachers to drink a fizzy drink whilst teaching. Quite right. And where Betsy Ross did not make the first version of the national flag of the USA.

More next week.

CC writes
George, it was either this or Springsteen

Elton John - Philadelphia Freedom

Tuesday, 26 February 2019

Mo Solid Gold

A weekend blogging highlight is Saturday Snapshots offer at Rol's place.A series that has been on the go for an amazing 72 weeks. 10 pictures and 10 cryptic clues and you have to guess the artist and song.
You have to be quick mind you. If you don't get there between 8.30 and 9.00 am chances are that all the clues have been solved.
This week Rol managed to stump all and sundry with the song David's Soul  by the band Mo Solid Gold
The first of four singles they released along with 2001 album Brand New Testament.
I have one of their other singles Safe From Harm. I've no idea why as it is not the  kind of thing I usually go for.

But hey if it's on the shelves chances are it will appear on these pages.
Yours for 34p at discogs

Mo Solid Gold - Safe From Harm

Mo Solid Gold - Voodoo

Mo Solid Gold - Love Keep On

Monday, 25 February 2019

Scotland's Shame

Fortunately those of you who are not from Scotland will probably have no idea what I am on  banging on about  today.
I'm talking about the scourge of sectarianism  which once more has raised it's ugly head.
While undoubtedly a societal problem which is prevalent in the West of Scotland  it  manifests itself  most often among the fans of the two main Glasgow football teams Celtic and Rangers.

In the last week Kilmarnock footballer Kris Boyd (a Protestant) has been subjected to sectarian abuse from Celtic supports and then Killie manager Steve Clarke ( a Catholic) was the butt of sectarian abuse from Rangers fans.
He had the courage to speak out about it and rightly pointed out that it belongs to the Dark Ages
Sadly Kris Boyd felt it was water of a duck's back given that it happens so often.

There has been the usual handwringing, buck passing and whataboutery. A lot of talking and very little action.
The harsh truth is that both of the Old Firm may deliver platitudes but they have a vested interest in ensuring that it continues as it represents a significant cash cow for both of them.Those of you who think that the Scottish Football Association will do anything like levy fines or dock points are living in cloud cuckoo land.

The vast majority of folk go around their business without getting involved in this nonsense. Sadly the knuckle draggers are not going away any time soon.

Ballboy - The Sash My Father Wore

Sunday, 24 February 2019

The Golden Age

Mrs CC randomly plucked Columbia Country Classics Volume 1 - The Golden Age from the Country shelves to accompany Saturday breakfast.
She also solved my conundrum as to what to feature today.

In case you are wondering the Golden Age appears to be from 1935 to 1953 as the 27 songs featured were recorded between these years.
You will all be familiar with most of the songs on the CD and will certainly recognize the 1st and 3rd songs featured below
The 2nd one is probably not as well known and is one of the many gospel songs penned by Hank Williams
It is Sunday after all.

The Carter Family -Can the Circle be Unbroken (Bye and Bye)

Molly O'Day & the Cumberland Mountain Folks - When God Comes and Gathers His Jewels

Roy Acuff & his Smokey Mountain Boys - Wabash Cannonball

Saturday, 23 February 2019

Double Initials GG

A deep dive into the hard drive, plenty of interesting suggestions and a little help from my friends meant that I  finally managed to come up with three GG's to feature today.

Apart from the obvious one who of course was never going to appear there was the other obvious one with Lynchie being the first to suggest Gloria Gaynor. However I'm not posting the obvious one. Rather you are getting Honeybee an album track from her 1975 album  Never Can Say Goodbye ( the title track of which might have been another obvious one).

George was the first of you to come up with the Go-Go's. Their website proclaims them as The most successful all female band of all time. That may be so but they don't appear on the shelves.I did find something on the hard drive though. The band who gave us Belinda Carlisle. Calm down there Jez

Marie cleverly ensured that one of her choices got a mention by forwarding me a track.It is the first I have heard from 50's Rockabilly artist the splendidly named Glen Glenn and it is rather good.

Like Rol  I have a couple of solo covers by Glenn Gregory which I don't recall having listened to. I give his version of Wichita Lineman a listen. You may notice that it does not feature. That is because I've taken one for the team. Sacrilege is all that I will say

HH next week.Another pretty tricky one but I think I can come up with a couple

Oh and if you are in the vicinity of Aachen and you see a house with a lovely garden pop in and say hello to Dirk

Gloria Gaynor - Honeybee

The Go-Go's - The Whole World Lost Its Head

Glen Glenn - Everybody's Movin'

Friday, 22 February 2019

Fat Possum Friday

Given it is the end of the working week I figure its time for some bad ass Blues.
And who better to provide such fayre than Fat Possum Records out of Oxford, Mississippi?

A label who  made their reputation by discovering  ageing but previously unknown Bluesmen more often than not with something of a chequered past.. Sadly they have all gone now.

Perhaps the most famous horse in their stable was R.L.Burnside who had been convicted of killing a man over a game of dice. He quit touring at the age of 72

Junior Kimburgh died of a heart attack following a stroke at the age  of 67 in 1998 and apparently he was survived by 36 children. Looks like he was too busy to get up to no good

T-Model Ford made it til 90 albeit he only began his musical career in his early 70's He also had  a conviction for murder and a good few run ins with the law. I missed an opportunity to see him at King Tuts something I regret to this day.

It's bad you know

R.L.Burnside - Just like a Bird Without a Feather

Junior Kimbrough - I Gotta Try You Girl

T-Model Ford - Bad Man

Thursday, 21 February 2019

Down to the Well

Still going through the G's . Today I've gone for the Americana shelves and have plucked out Down to the Well a 2000 album from Kevin Gordon on the Shanachie label.
The blurb on the back of the CD reads
East Nashville roots-rocking renegade Kevin Gordon delivers haunting story-songs about extraordinary people living in the margins of American life

That description might tempt you to part from your hard earned cash. Except in my case it didn't as it is a burn.
A high quality burn in that whoever did it took the trouble to copy all the lyrics and include them as a booklet.
I've no idea who I got it from, Perhaps  it was from my now sadly departed pal Harry. I also can't recall having played it before but I suspect I must have at least one.

Perfectly pleasant if hardly earth shattering rootsy Americana with the first track benefiting from a contribution by the great Lucinda Williams

Kevin Gordon - Down to the Well

Kevin Gordon - Burning the Church House Down

Wednesday, 20 February 2019

State of the Union - Colorado

George writes:
That magnificent beastie is, as some may know, the Colorado Hairstreak Butterfly, the official insect of today’s state, Colorado. Which is Spanish for red. So here’s another piece where I supply a couple of songs about a state of which I know nothing, apart from knowing that Denver is in Colorado (and the official insect is the above butterfly). Warren Zevon does not, unfortunately, supply a nice long list of things to do in the state capital apart from suggesting finding a motel with unseemly cleaning habits. But he did give us a splendid song. Here we go:

That sounds like some Flaco flourishes on that track.

Unlike Arkansas, Colorado and it’s cities have a plethora of good songs:
  • Emmylou Harris - Boulder to Birmingham
  • That Townes van Zandt song
  • …….John Denver - I guess he’d rather be in Colorado

John Denver changed his name to Denver from Deutschendorf, and dropped his first name, Henry. He was not born in Denver.  But he wrote songs about the state of Colorado, the one above, a song about Aspen, and Rocky Mountain High. And he lived there.

I wanted to include a song about Telluride, because of its link to the element tellurium. And I wanted to do that because tellurium, is in the same group of  the periodic table as oxygen, sulphur and selenium (it lies directly below selenium). And given the nature of these groups, tellurium-related breath of humans is even stinkier than that due to sulphur and selenium. And you know how smelly hydrogen sulphide is: that rotten egg, stink bomb smell. So if tellurium gets in your body you will smell so bad you will have to stay indoors on your own (honestly, it’s that bad). But the Tim McGraw song is unfortunately one of those 1980s style country-music-by-numbers songs.

There’s (yet another) dreadful dreadful syrupy country that I listened to, so you don’t have to, dear reader, called Columbine by C. W. McCall. My research has revealed to me that there seem to be plenty of dreadful songs about this state (Merle Haggard, the Pure Prairie League, the Flying Burrito Brothers, Hank Snow, Ozark Mountain Daredevils, for example), a right load of dreary old tosh. I was on the verge of sticking pins in my eyes………..which would certainly have been preferable to listening to all of  the truly execrable Colorado Trail by the Kingston Trio. Speaking of truly execrable songs there’s this, sung by Elton John, dating from ca. 1970. I DARE you to listen all the way through_

Anyway, here’s something that cannot fall to better than that, a track that is also about Denver. And it is not a country song either, but, for the first time in the series, and not the last, let me tell that and tell you no more, a blues song! From our favourite German label Trikont, from the album Blue and Lonely, a track by Tampa Red

Hudson Woodbridge was not born in Tampa but in Smithville, Georgia. He did, though, move there aged 10.

Unfortunately Colorado Kool-Aid by Johnny Paycheck cannot be included, it is set in Houston, in a bar frequented by knife-wielding Mexicans. An ear is sliced off, but the slicer returns it to its owner. And Hank Williams Jr wrote a song about ODing in Denver, which is not a bad song at all, but obviously the drug reference is to be severely frowned at.

And that’s Colorado for you. Another one next week?

CC writes:
When I went with a couple of pals to see Cathryn Craig play in Blackfriars in Glasgow at the end of the show we expressed some polite disappointment that she hadn't sung Colorado. She got out her guitar, sat down and played it for the three of us. Quality

Tuesday, 19 February 2019

Black Cherry

An interesting and welcome by-product of my current Double Initial series is that it has you forensically scouring the shelves of the various genres for the initial concerned,
Next up in the series is G hence the prompt for Goldfapp featuring today.
Regular visitors to these pages will note that there is not very much electronica featured. That is because I am not particularly a fan, I do however like me a bit of Goldfrapp with their first 5 albums having been acquired mainly from charity shops over the years.
I would describe then as electronica lite.

Their second album from 2003 Black Cherry is described as having a glam rock feel to it with Baccara being cited as an inspiration. What's not to love about that?
Clearly something if you are an Austrian given it is the only one of their albums not to chart there

Goldfrapp - Train

Goldfrapp - Black Cherry

Monday, 18 February 2019

Freddy Fender's Sohn

Featuring Freddy Fender on Saturday's Double Initial series had me reaching for the only record I have ever bought in Belgium.
Said album is Son of Kraut by Peel favourite's F.S.K.
As Walter and Dirk will be aware F.S.K. is an abbreviation for Freiwillige Selbstkontrolle which is German for voluntary self control.
They can fairly accurately be described as a German Mekons

The blurb in the inner sleeve describes Freddy Fender's Sohn  as Roman Catholicism and Latin Drugs in stereo. Glad we cleared that up.
Germany famously demolished a wall. America is trying to build one.

Finally, as I'm sure you are all well aware When in rains in Texas it snows on the Rhine

F.S.K. - Freddy Fender's Sohn

F.S.K. - The Wall

Sunday, 17 February 2019


Another contribution to my occasional and accidental series Soundtracks of Films I've Never Seen.
Form 1972 Superfly was a blaxploitation crime drama starring Ron O'Neal as the fantastically named Youngblood  Priest  a pimp and drug dealer trying to quit the underworld drug business.
No wonder the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) were unimpressed.

It crossed my radar recently as it is fairly extensively referenced in Stuart Cosgrove's Harlem 69 The Future of Soul book.
The film was almost exclusively shot in Harlem and Cosgrove points out that the lead appears to be based on a high profile Harlem dealer William Terrell known as Goldfinger.

More importantly and probably more famously the music is by the mighty Curtis Mayfield in one of his early solo projects following his departure from The Impressions
Largely on the back of the success of Freddie's Dead the album was one of the few soundtracks to out gross the film it accompanied.

Everybody's misused him
Ripped him up and abused him
Another junkie plan
Pushing dope for the man

Curtis Mayfield - Freddie's Dead

Curtis Mayfield - Superfly

Saturday, 16 February 2019

Double Initials - FF

Had you going for a minute there! For the avoidance of doubt C this is as near that the Foo Fighters are ever likely to get to these pages.
Plenty to choose from this week and the usual great suggestions.

Ernie  was straight in with what George correctly pointed out the obvious one - namely Tejano legend and Texas Tornado the one and only Freddy Fender. Apologies for the sound quality of the Best Of on the Pegasus label which sounds like it has been recorded off the telly.

The Swede nearly got in on the act with Franz Ferdinand.They nearly featured until I decided to go for someone more obscure namely Detroit based Soul group The Fantastic Four.Also nominated by Rol with a seconding by Marie.

I thought I had beaten the panel with the Friedberger siblings Matthew and Eleanor collectively known as The Fiery Furnaces until  Dirk sneaked in with a late post.

Once the obvious one was ruled out for the obvious reasons GG has proven to be more difficult than I thought . I've got some things in mind. How about you?

Freddy Fender - Wasted Days and Wasted Nights

The Fantastic Four - i Don't Wanna Live Without Your Love

The Fiery Furnaces -Asthma Attack

Friday, 15 February 2019

Nathaniel Rateliff & the Night Sweats

I would be interested to hear your views on Nathaniel Rateliff & the Night Sweats.
I found a previous post from September 2015 when I described them as producing fantastic soulful R& B.
Nowadays I am not too sure.
I haven't listened to the 2015 debut album in a long while and when I did so this week I was not that impressed.

To me they are a band in the same vein as the likes of Mumford & Sons and Seasick Steve.acts who feature on Jools Holland or some such thing and generate a fair degree of hype but who are not as good as many in their genre who have been producing the goods for years but who have never had the breaks. (A long sentence there).
In their case I would cite Sharon Jones & the Dap Kings, St Paul & the Broken Bones and in particular Barrence Whitfield & the Savages who are far better.

Interestingly a couple of years previously he was trotting out some bog standard Americana.

Nathaniel Rateliff & the Night Sweats - I Need Never Get Old

Nathaniel Rateliff & the Night Sweats - S.O.B.

Thursday, 14 February 2019

Digging You Up

This week I have been mostly listening to music by Albuquerque  Gothic Americana band Hazeldine.

I started with their 1997 debut album How Bees Fly which is on the great German Glitterhouse label. I was listening to this with a view to posting but a quick check confirmed that it had already featured.

This led to my digging out Digging You Up (see what I did there?) their second album from 1998 on Polydor.
This has not featured before which I found strange considering I have had it considerably longer that How Bees Fly. Then I realised that Bees was one of the great Stanraer Americana Haul (8 in total)  from late 2015 and suddenly it all made sense.

So Digging You Up it is.

There are 4 songs which feature on both albums presumably because of their close proximity and the change of label. Easier to dig out some of the old stuff given that short period of time.

The first song appears on both and is for Spence. He'll hopefully know why
The second as far as I am aware is exclusive to Digging You Up.
There is also a good cover of Summer Wine which I will save for another day.

Hazeldine - Apothecary

Hazeldine -Right To Feel

Wednesday, 13 February 2019

State of the Union - Arkansas

George writes

Week 6. Researching this state for a long time…...getting desperate, might have to include a song by the bloke from Long Branch, New Jersey…...listened to all five minutes twenty seconds……………’s not getting included.

I’ve listened to a right load of old nonsense trying to find ONE song that references this damned state in the title.

  • Lee Ann Dorsey - A little time past Little Rock. The worst kind of bland country music.
  • Said The Whale - Jesse, AR.  Started off as a nothing pop song but had an almost prog. rock change of direction part way through, then reverted to bland nothingness.
  • Don Williams, turned out his song about the Arkansas River referenced Oklahoma, and it was nonsense anyway
But thankfully Glen Campbell can supply a song. Not “Delight, Arkansas”,  not “Arkansas”, where he rhymes “opportunity” with “do to me”, and laments ever having to leave his home state, but  Arkansas Farmboy

Al Green was born in Arkansas. But did he think to write a song about it? Obviously not otherwise it would be here.

And even more  thankfully the second son of Carrie Cloverlee was born in Kingsland, Arkansas, and wrote and performed a song called Arkansas Lovin’ Man in 1972

That’s Arkansas, home of the World Championship Duck Calling contest. Here’s a thirty-two minute clip of the 2017 contest. I think the contestants get 90 seconds of duck calling each. I listened to all of number one, started on the second one but it sounded the same, skipped ahead to number six…..which sounded the same.

And  that’s Arkansas, whose town of Alma is the world spinach capital.

More next week. Will any other state be less inspiring?

CC writes
I was going to post Arkansas Traveler by Michelle Shocked but reading between the lines I think that George secretly wants this

Bruce Springsteen -Mary Queen of Arkansas

Tuesday, 12 February 2019

Slim Charity Pickings

There have been slim charity pickings in 2019 to date.
A couple of reasons a) I have not visited too many charity shops this year so far and b) I am trying to be a bit more discerning both from a space and quality point of view.

Only two purchases this year as I type. The Robert Johnson Blues Collection CD which I featured last week was actually the second acquisition.
The first was XTRMNTR the 6th studio album by Primal Scream from 2000 and the one with a severe vowel allergy.
50p and bought to replace a burn so no space implications.Not as sure about the quality criteria . It is probably not one I'll play that often but it will do the job for when I am in the mood for a splendid racket.

Primal Scream -Kill All Hippies

Primal Scream - Swastika Eyes

Monday, 11 February 2019

Stay Positive

Thanks to George for forwarding me a copy of Stay Positive the 2008 4th studio album by Brooklyn band The Hold Steady.
Yet another band who I had heard of but hadn't really heard much by.
I was quite impressed. It is a lot better and indeed noisier than I thought it might be.
The first single from the album Sequestered in Memphis would almost certainly have found a place in my Memphis v Nashville series had I been aware of it at the time.

George may not thank me for this but I can hear shades of Springsteen in places. A band that I will definitely explore further.

The Hold Steady - Sequestered in Memphis

The Hold Steady - Stay Positive

Sunday, 10 February 2019

Some Country Standards Covered

I was listening to an excellent compilation from Loose records on the commute the other day - New Sounds of the Old West Volume 3 since you ask
A quality selection of twenty of your favourite Americana artists - Loose being the UK label on which many of the American bands feature on  on this side of the pond.
It includes some interesting covers of country standards. Maybe not for the purists but certainly for the curious.
The album starts with a cover by Grandaddy of Best of All Possible Worlds a song by the great Kris Kristofferson.

Next up are Sparklehorse with their take on a Jimmy Webb standard made famous by Glen Campbell 

When I Stop Dreaming is a song by The Louvin Brothers although many of you will  be more familiar with the version by Emmylou Harris or by The Everly Brothers. Glen Campbell also got in on the act again.
This version by Beachwood Sparks is sadly not in that league

Grandaddy - Best of all Possible Worlds

Sparklehorse - Galveston

Beachwood Sparks - When I Stop Dreaming

Saturday, 9 February 2019

Double Initials -EE

The first tricky one this week hopefully successfully negotiated.
Fortunately for some and sadly for others I didn't have to resort to Edward Elgar.

Although I had to dig deep and penetrate the soul compilations to come up with two acts - one which Ernie and George both came up with and one nobody else got.
From the wonderful Kent compilation Dave Godin's Deep Soul Treasures  -Taken from the Vaults Volume 4 the act that the audience suggested was the duo that are/were Eddie and Ernie.
Before I continue if you don't already have the 4 volumes of Dave Goden's Deep Soul Treasures you should rectify that immediately. They are must haves,.

The other one that nobody got is from yet another excellent Kent compilation in this case King's Serious Soul : Too Much  Pain celebrating (surprisingly) songs from the King record label. An artist who features twice is Eugene Evans.

And finally as suggested by C we may be bending the rules somewhat  with Eric and Ernie but what the hell

A lot of Ernies featuring today!

Eddie & Ernie - I Believe She Will

Eugene Evans - Lonely Man

Next week is somewhat easier with FF.
I've got my choices in mind. let's hear yours

Friday, 8 February 2019

Some Early Calexico

I was a fan of the early work of Tuscon desert noir band Calexico,  a band not afraid to throw a bit of  mariachi and conjunto into the mix.
They were founded and are fronted by Joey Burns and Jon Convertino  the erstwhile rhythm section of Giant Sand.
I followed them fairly faithfully until their brilliant 5th album from 2003 Feast of Wire and then we gradually drifted apart.
I was pretty disappointed when I saw them live at the Glasgow Academy which may have contributed to the parting of the ways although it wasn't  really a conscious decision. I just moved on to other things.

For your listening pleasure today I have gone for the title tracks from their second album The Black Light (1998) and  their third album Hot Rail (2000)

Calexico - The Black Light

Calexico - Hot Rail

Thursday, 7 February 2019

Out Left Field

The Saturday Double Initials series is throwing up some great suggestions. Some that I wish I'd thought of and some which I have never heard of.

John Medd's suggestion for DD would have failed on a technicality. It did however help me decide what to post today when nothing else was floating through my head.
In the same spirit here are 3 BB's 2 of  which would again have fallen at the final hurdle.

Ramones - Beat on the Brat

Ramones -Blitzrieg Bop

Ramones - Bonzo Goes to Bitburg

Wednesday, 6 February 2019

State of the Union - Oregon

George writes:
The official state nut of Oregon is the hazelnut. (Oregon is the only state with an official state nut).
 And Florence, Oregon is known as Oregon’s rhododendron capital. Is that true? Can anyone verify that?
 “Where are you from?”
“ the Italian one or the rhododendron capitol of Oregon?”

But I think my favourite piece of information is that the official state seashell is the Oregon hairy triton. Was there a vote on this? What were the other candidates? And by the way, a search for Hairy Triton can be safely done at work.

Time for a song. There is a city in Oregon called Eugene,but you’re not getting the Dolly Parton track, but for the second week in a row I am featuring another simply beautiful song by Sufjan Stevens, this time from the Carrie & Lowell album. This album is not a bundle of laughs, given the topic, not one for playing if you’re a bit low, a bit melancholy. Eugene is a simple acoustic number, part of it recalling time he spent there as a child, and part relating to a illness and death. I think some of Sufjan Stevens’ work is fantastic, but it will not be featuring in this series every week. Maybe not again.

And from Eugene to Portland, and possibly a track many are already familiar with. Not the one by Belle and Sebastian, not the one by The Replacements, not the one by The Purple Riders of The New Sage, not even Portland Town by Joan Baez……….but the track by Loretta Lynn and Jack White.

And that was 305th best song of the 2000s. According to Pitchfork magazine. (“Destroyer” by The Sublimination Hour was ranked 304, a song with musical references to Hunky Dory so blatantly obvious even I can hear them.)

The fourth-largest city in Oregon is Gresham. Someone wrote a song about it. Twee beyond belief.

Another state next week.

CC writes - stumped this week. I had Loretta and Jack in mind.
Had to cheat a little

Tuesday, 5 February 2019

Belated and Brief Gig Reviews

A lack of time and a degree of lethargy means I have left it pretty late to feedback on the three recent gigs I attended.
So somewhat belatedly and briefly here goes. Better late than never I suppose

25th January - Poetry Club SW3 - Sister John Album launch  (8.5/10)
A new venue for me and a bit hot and claustraphobic but that didn't detract from a great evening.
First up was the poet Stephen Watt - well it was Burns Night after all.Some good stuff
He was followed by Wojtek the Bear. I was pretty excited about this as I had just got their album A Talent for Being Unreasonable. They were excellent. Some great songs and really good jangly guitars.
The main act were of course Sister John lauching their eponymous second LP on the Last Night from Glasgow label More variety in the style of songs than Returned From Sea  and maybe slightly darker but all the better for it. I was particularly taken with  Lost and Won  and Love Me or Not
Some slight technical problems including a drum kit being repaired with gaffer tape didn't detract from an excellent set. Looking forward to seeing them again at Stereo on 16th March.  

27th January - Karine Polwart and Kris Drever with the Scottish Chamber Orchestra - Kings Theatre (9/10)
I've already writen about the support act The Local Honeys. Karine and Kris were phenomenal with the orchestra behind them. At first I thought they might be drowned out but thankfully that wasn't the case. Highlights included Suitcase and Cassieopia from Karine's latest album Laws of Motion and Ghosts  and Steel and Stone by Kris.A lovely venue (but again very hot) with brilliant acoustics.

31st  January - Emily Smith and Jamie McClennan  - Mitchell Theatre (6/10)
The weakest link of the three. The support were Raices Aereas with some experimental Galician music which I would politely describe as interesting.
I know Emily Smith as a traditional Scottish folk singer. Here she was singing with her husband as a duo and rebranded as Smith and McClennan. Both Mrs CC and I felt that for us this didn't really work. It didn't pay justice to her wonderful voice. Thankfully there were a couple of examples as to what could have been. She has been performing for over 10 years and you can understand them exploring a new angle but it is not for me I'm afraid. We ended up purchasing Echoes one of her older albums rather than the new one which tells it's own story.

Next up Bis on the 15th of February in the Glad Cafe

Kris Drever -Steel and Stone (Black Water)

Emily Smith - While Roving on a Winter's Night

Funny how there is a lot less traffic when I forget the music. And here's me thinking you came here for my dazzling wit and repartee!

Monday, 4 February 2019

The Blues Collection -Robert Johnson

Long suffering readers will be aware 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.(there are actually 93 in the series)
Ever since I have been scouring charity shops to add to the collection and have even taken the trouble to note down the numbers of those I don't have and keep it in my wallet following the purchase of a couple of doublers.
On Saturday in a charity shop in Troon I reached a milestone with the purchase of number 6 in the series. Red Hot Blues by Robert Johnson taking my total to 50.
It matters not that I already had most, if not all, of the tracks on Cross Road Blues as it is another towards the total.
The man who allegedly sold his soul to the Devil at a Mississippi crossroads to achieve success.
He died aged just 27 in 1938 but not before two famous recording sessions.
These two are taken from the recording sessions from 23rd  to 27th November 1936 in room 414 of the Gunter Hotel in San Antonio
The other sessions were held in the Vitograph buildin in Dallas between 19th and 20th June 1937.

He only ever recorded 29 songs but his legend endures

Sunday, 3 February 2019

Harlem 69 - The Future of Soul

I am currently enjoying reading and being educated by Harlem 69:The Future of Soul the final installment in Stuart Cosgrove's excellent Soul Trilogy.
There are a number of references in the book to 110th Street which is seen as the boundary between Harlem and Central Park.
Cosgrove also references the 1972 crime drama film Across 110th Street which as the title suggests is set in Harlem.
I am not familiar with the film but am familiar with the song thanks to Tarintino's film Jackie Brown which first drew my attention to the music of Bobby Womack who until then was only a name to me.
The song is quite superb. I have featured it before and no doubt I will feature it again.
I was not aware that there was a Part 2 until I stumbled upon it on an Uncut compilation The Original Funk Soul Brothers and Sisters!
Interesting but not a patch on Part 1

Bobby Womack -Across 110th Street

Bobby Womack - Across 110th Street (Part 2)

Saturday, 2 February 2019

Double Initials - DD

You will be glad to see that I refrained from posting the now infamous David Davies double D picture (feel free to look it up)

And sadly no Dobby Dobson or Diblo Dibala this week sorry to disappoint you Dirk and George.

None of you managed to guess my first choice which is Dublin folk singer Damien Dempsey a man with an Irish accent thicker than Kerrygold butter. Here is his take on the Pogues song A Rainy Night in Soho.

George managed to assuage his disappointment somewhat by correctly guessing the Dallas band The  Deathray Davies. To be fair there was a certain degree of local knowledge as he knows that I like them having seen them in Austin. Today's song is from the splendidly named 2001 album Return of the Drunk Ventriloquist.

Ernie got in on the act marginally before Rol by correctly guessing Desmond Dekker as the third artis. I've gone for the second most obvious song

Rol however sprung back with his tongue firmly in his cheek by  suggesting Duran Duran. I'm going to feature them as Mrs CC was a bit of a Duranie and if I am ever going to post them it may as well be here.

We are about to hit the first tricky one with EE. For a while you nearly getting Edward Elgar until I manged to come up with someone else.
I may struggle for three unless I adopt a bit of jiggery pokery or you good folk come up with some interesting suggestions.

Damien Dempsey - A Rainy Night in Soho

The Deathray Davies -The Bitter old Man Blues

Desmond Dekker - 007 (Shanty Town)

Duran Duran - Save a Prayer

Friday, 1 February 2019

February Brings The Rain

It's the first of the month again so it is time for the February number on Julie London's Calendar Girl album.Wonder wht the big heart is for.
We are a third of the way there already George.
February Brings the Rain sings Julie. I'll settle for that given that we have had a bit of snow during the week. Plus it is really good to finally see the back of January.

I don't have much intel on this one I'm afraid other than it was written by Bobby Troup and it was recorded with The Pete King Orchestra in 1956.
It was also the  b-side of the wonderful Cry Me a River.
That's us until next month.

Julie London - February Brings The Rain