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Wednesday 31 July 2019

State of the Union - Ohio

George writes:
The most famous song with the word Ohio in it cannot be included this week, there is no indication that the murder sung about in said song took place in the state of Ohio.

Did you know that there is a Buckeye Tree? And it grows all over Ohio. People from Ohio are known as buckeyes. Unfortunately, it’s not  terribly exotic, it belongs to the same family as the conker (horse chestnut) tree.

(Buckeye Tree? Conker Tree?)

And from a plethora of songs about Ohio, some good, some not so good, first off is the first track on the majestic Soul Journey album, by Gillian Welch:

There are some famous people who were born  in this state. Neil Armstrong, he’s quite famous, isn’t he? Orville Wright. Famous. Ditto Doris Day. Dino Paul Crocetti, Steven Spielberg. Jack Nicklaus. Paul Newman. Toni Morrison. Clark Gable. Thomas Edison. I believe, but I might be wrong, that there are some people born in Ohio who are not famous.

There was a comedy show in the late 70s early 80s called WKRP in Cincinnati, that I remember as being very funny. I will not be watching it any time soon as the DVDs of the show are insanely expensive. 

Second track is from the final Phil Ochs album “Greatest Hits. Which is actually an album of ten original songs.  Phil Ochs did spend some of his childhood and young adulthood in Ohio.

Proof indeed that some of Phil Ochs’ later songs are  good. 

Then there’s well known non-Ohio residents the Super Furry Animals. This is track 4 from Love Kraft:

That’s from my favourite album of theirs.

For myself and CC THE obvious song, and at times one of the Top Ten Tunes Ever Recorded In The Entirety Of Popular Music, is the one where the female love interest  pulls a letter from her bible, and a rose pressed inside the book of Luke, whilst the man lies drunk in a cold a gray apartment in Chicago, where a cigarette drowns inside a glass of gin. (We’ve all been there)

As some would say, if you don’t like that, what is WRONG with you? 
An outfit called Sehnsucht covered the song. Somehow they managed to make  a very moving country song into a tedious guitar-driven dirge.

(A rose in a bible, get it?)

There are a plethora (didn’t I use that word above?) of fine songs that could also have been included, by Damian Jurado, Laura Veirs, even the Jayhawks one is pretty good, there’s the Ian Hunter song. And there’s the ones that should not  be included, but I suspect my good friend will post one of them below. Not the track by CSNY, of course not.

Oh, and Dino Paul Crocett was better known as Dean Martin.

Another one next week-

CC writes : I've gone for one of the good ones that you mentioned.

Tuesday 30 July 2019

Springsteen Frenzy

I've been having a bit of a Springsteen frenzy over the last few days in the anticipation of getting my hands on a copy of Western Stars.

Following a recent post at Rol's place I found myself revisiting Tunnel of Love.
Then in Stanraer I picked up a charity shop copy of Devils & Dust to replace my previous copy which has the words "withdrawn from Newcastle upon Tyne City Libraries" splattered across it.
I also found myself picking up The Essential Bruce Springsteen CD. 37 songs over two discs for 99p. I've got most if not all of the tracks already but about half are on vinyl so it will be good for the car.

Finally I got Western Stars on my birthday and am happy to report that following an initial listen it is very good indeed. Melancholy but in a good way.

Bruce Springsteen - Brilliant Disguise

Bruce Springsteen - Devils & Dust

Monday 29 July 2019

A Splendid Racket -Trompe le Monde

If the title of a series is A Splendid Racket it is obviously compulsory that the Pixies should feature.
It would also be foolhardy in the extreme to ignore a song called Planet of Sound.

From 1991 Trompe Le Monde was the fourth album by the Pixies and the last of the four classic albums by the band before they split the others being Surfer Rosa, Doolittle and Bossanova.
It would be 2014 before the band released another album but they never came close to reproducing the brilliance of this run of records by the classic line up of Black Francis (vocals/guitar), Kim Deal (bass/vocals), David Lovering (drums) and Joey Santiago(lead guitar)

More noisy stuff next Monday

Pixies - Planet of Sound

Pixies -U-Mass

Sunday 28 July 2019

Vintage Country Vinyl - George Jones (again)

George Jones is one of the artists in this series who also featured last time round
However it has to be said that the recently acquired 15 Golden Classics Vol 1 is not a patch on the previously featured Poor Man's Riches.
It  also could perhaps be argued that the title is somewhat of a misnomer.
It seems to me that George is going through the motions somewhat but let's face it even when he is going through the motions he is head and shoulders above most other Country singers.

I'm not entirely sure whether this one is a keeper.

George Jones - Tarnished Angel

George Jones - On the Banks of the Ponchertrain

Saturday 27 July 2019

A Final Sweet Treat

A final Sweet related treat after Rachel and Matthew.
It's Brian, Mick, Steve and Andy for you this week. known collectively as The Sweet.
A British Glam Rock band who gradually became rockier as the years progressed.

Let's start in 1973 with the masterpiece that is Blockbuster. It was great then and it is still great now. Absolute pop perfection.
Moving on to 1975 we have Fox on the Run  and finally from 1979 their last top 10 single Love is Like Oxygen

There have been various reformed versions since the mid 80's often competing with each other but in reality it was all over by then
Lead singer Brian Connolly was a half brother of Marc McManus of Taggart fame.They both liked a drink.

The Sweet - Blockbuster

The Sweet - Fox on the Run

The Sweet - Love is Like Oxygen

Friday 26 July 2019


The holiday is over but  I am still off work as it is my birthday today. I'm 58.
Above is the card that Mrs CC gave me! She claims there are certain similarities.

I nearly didn't post today as I couldn't think of what to feature as all the obvious angles have been exhausted.
Then I had an idea.
I got the 5 CD Cherry Red box set Big Gold Dreams - A Story of Scottish Independent Music 1977-1989 as a present for my birthday.
So here is track 58 by Biff Bang Pow! and track 61 (the year of my birth ) by The Wee Cherubs.

I'm fairly certain that this box set will feature again - many times!

Biff Bang Pow! - There Must Be a Better Life

The Wee Cherubs - Dreaming

Wednesday 24 July 2019

State of the Union - South Dakota

George writes:

South Dakota.

First interesting fact about South Dakota: they can’t pronounce their own state capital properly! It is the city of Pierre. South Dakotans say “peer”. 

Kinky Friedman wrote, and performed, a rather nice song called Rapid City, South Dakota. Dwight Yoakam has covered the song on the If There Was A Way album. Kinky manages to garble the state into sounding like South Dakoarter, rhyming it with “the letter that I wrote her”.  

Interesting fact number 2. In 1900 a settlement of prairie dogs was found. 400 Million of them. In an area 250 by 100 miles. That means that each beastie  had a square of length 40 feet to itself. In theory, not in practice, they are highly social animals, and live in large colonies.

Interesting fact 3: Prairie dogs are not dogs, they are rodents

Famous South Dakotans. Here are 9 of the most famous people from South Dakota according to website OnlyInYourState:

Bob Barker, January Jones.,Brock Lesnar, Mike Miller, Adam Vinatieri, Tom Brokaw, Chad Greenway, Mary Hart, Mike Ellis.  Are these people famous in the USA? The list omitted ex-vice president Hubert Humphrey, and 1972 presidential candidate George McGovern.

Wikipedia gives a huge list. One of whom is Abby Whiteside, who was a piano teacher. Good grief, that’s not even in close proximity to the barrel to allow you to scrape it.

First song, by Andre Williams. He co-wrote Shake A Tail-Feather. He had a fairly desperate time of it in the 1980s, and maybe living in Chicago helped him to recover somewhat, because in the late 90s Andre WIlliams signed for Americana label Bloodshot, and he made an album with The Sadies. This track is from a splendidly swampy garagey album from 1997 called Silky. 

Andre WIlliams has a song called Pass The Biscuits Please. Given his reputation for rather bawdy and sleazy songs, I am wondering if that song title does not really refer to a packet of Digestives, but I will do no further probing in that direction.

The Bee Gees could have been included today, with South Dakota Morning, a 1973 track, so a pre-disco Bee Gees. It’s a slow tedious rather pathetic and whiny song. There’s nothing worse! Trump? Nope! Alexander de Bastard Johnson? Nope. Whiny Bee Gees song, the worst!

And regular readers of this series will know that 20 weeks ago, in the North Dakota piece, I referred to a song from the album Funeral Songs For George Wallace, by Heavy Water, the song being East Grand Forks, which is in South Dakota. Here it is:

Interesting fact number 4. That T. Rex fossil that everyone is familiar with……..found in South Dakota!

Really interesting fact: all hotel rooms in South Dakota must have two twin beds, kept two feet apart. And it is illegal to have sex in that two foot gap. 

And, in Spearfish, South Dakota……….if three or more Native Americans are walking down a street together they are considered a war party…………...and can be shot at

Next week, Mr President, it’s the state of East Dakota,

CC writes:
Bugger - I had Andre Williams lined up.
Also I couldn't find a copy of Black Hills of Dakota by Doris Day
Rapid City, South Dakota is not on the original version of If There Was A Way - I have checked both my vinyl and CD copies.
I did however manage to source it.

Monday 22 July 2019

A Splendid Racket - Adore Life

It was The Robster from the much missed Is This the Life? blog who first brought English post punk band Savages to my attention.

Adore Life is their second album , Silence Yourself being the first.
I was quite surprised to note that it was released as far back as January 2016 (on the Matador label) as I didn't think it was quite as old as that.A sure sign that I am getting older.
It got to number 26 in the UK  charts and was also a a Mercury Prize nominee.It garnered a fair amount of critical praise and indeed hype.

Lead singer Jehnny Beth is often compared to Siouxsie Sioux and it is easy to see why.

Critic Ludovic Hunter-Tilney described the music as, "Distorted guitars set up flayed layers of sound, backed by sinewy drums and bass"
Meets the criteria for this series then.

Savages - The Answer

Savages - I Need Something New

Sunday 21 July 2019

Vintage Country Vinyl - Hawkshaw Hawkins

I think that 16 Greatest Hits of Hawkshaw Hawkins might well be the pick of the recent Country vinyl haul.
Born Harold Frankiin Hawkins in Huntington, West Virginia  on 22nd December 1921.
He died aged 43 on 5th March 1953 in the same plane crash as Cowbow Copas, Patsy Cline and Patsy's manager Randy Hughes.
He was married to fellow country singer Jean Shepard.

More Hawkshaw facts. He got his first guitar by trading five rabbits for it. (I don't know whether they were dead or alive)
Because of his height of six feet, five inches and his outgoing personality, he was nick-named "Eleven Yards of Personality"

More of the same next Sunday.

Hawkshaw Hawkins - I'm Slowly Dying of a Broken Heart

Hawkshaw Hawkins - Lonesome 7-7203

Saturday 20 July 2019

More Sweet Saturday Sounds

Last Saturday Rachel Sweet, this Saturday Matthew Sweet.
In the absence of a new Saturday series a couple of Sweet Treats to keep you going.

From 1995 on the Zoo Entertainment label 100% Fun is Matthew Sweet's 5th album and one of the two of his that I own, the other being 1999's In Reverse. I'm told that Girlfriend is the one to get.
Described as alt rock although Mr Sweet is widely considered to be  the king of powerpop.
Apparently the album is best known for the single Sick of Myself.I prefer the two tracks below myself.

We are off on holiday for a few days tomorrow so there will be a reduced service  round these parts with regular series only until we get back (hopefully armed with new material).

Matthew Sweet - We're The Same

Matthew Sweet - Everything Changes

Friday 19 July 2019


My i-pod Classic is a bit gubbed these days. It works ok on the docking station but the on/lock switch is broken and for a while I was having problems getting it to work properly  when I was on the move.
These problems now seem to have been resolved and I have taken it for playing at work for the quieter summer days.
One song on the shuffle stopped me in my tracks the other day.
It was a song called You'd Rather Run from an album called Autumn Fallin' by someone called Jaymay.
Further investigation was clearly required and any pretence of work was swiftly abandoned.

The internet tells me that this was the debut album by Jaymay which was released in November 2007 on the Heavenly label.
Jaymay is the stage name of American singer songwriter Jamie Seerman.
All the information I need to track down a copy. Fortunately it appears to be easily and cheaply available on Discogs.

Jaymay - You'd Rather Run

Thursday 18 July 2019

Some Alvin ... But No Stardust

It has been a wee while since the legend that is Dave Alvin has graced these pages. Time to put that right.

I had dug out a live album by Dave Alvin and the Guilty Men called Out in California  but sadly the recording quality was pretty poor.
There is of course always a plan B.
Here are a couple of tracks from what I consider to be his masterpiece, 2004's Ashgrove, on the ever reliable Yep Roc label out of Chapel Hill, North Carolina. If, God forbid, you only have room in your life for one Dave Alvin album this should be the one.

The first number would not be out of place in  Rol's epic Radio Songs series.
The second song is about his father's dementia. It is amazing how someone can write and sing such a beautiful song about such an awful condition.

Dave Alvin - Nine Volt Heart

Dave Alvin - The Man in the Bed

Shockingly low viewing figures as of 7pm.
Only 5 views so far. Philistines!

George has suggested that a video of Alvin Stardust may help.
I have my doubts but  here goes:

Wednesday 17 July 2019

State of the Union - Rhode Island

George writes:
I have a feeling this will be the most challenging state yet. We shall see. Of course you all know that Sonic Youth could have provided a song here, but it’s that crappy filler, track 2 side 3, on Daydream Nation, sandwiched by Hey Joni and Candle.  Given that The Throwing Muses all hail from Rhode Island you might have thought that would yield one song from their at times tedious  varied output. But no.

Then there is Little Rhody (the littlest state with the biggest heart) by Timmy May. Remember your sick bucket when you play that one. But Rhode Island is the title of this splendid song, from The LoveHowl, a soul-infused rock band:

Interesting facts about the state of Rhode Island. 1. It is not an island. 2. The state is not called Rhode Island. 3. Does my ignorance of the states of the USA know no bounds?

(Not from Rhode Island)

I did a search to see if I recognised any of Rhode Island’s famous people. Top of one of the lists (Eleven famous people from Rhode Island) was Viola Davis. She is not from Rhode Island. I did recognise two of the names, but of those one was not from Rhode Island. 

(He IS from the state, but who is he?)

Neither was Samuel Slater, Slater The  Traitor, from Rhode Island. He was from Derbyshire (England), moved to Rhode Island and kickstarted the American Industrial Revolution, using his knowledge of British textile technology.This was in the newly independent USA, hence his nickname.

(Samuel “Slater the Traitor” Slater)

Interesting Rhode Island? Well, the state shell is the quahog. Now that did sound interesting. It’s a clam. Maybe it’s very wealthy? Nope, about 20th using a “per person income” index. But it did give us the Newport Folk Festival. I knew that, and so did you. It also gave us the Newport Jazz Festival. I did not know that.

Now, as we all know, there are just NOT ENOUGH KAZOOS in popular music. Mark E Smith made a brave attempt to popularise their use in song on A New Face In Hell. And The Jolly Light Connection have given us this ramshackle song, with a plaintive and at times in tune vocal,  Walking Into Murals (In Rhode Island, during the festival) from the Golden Era Of Spoons album. And yes, I have the album now.

So that’s Rhode Island, properly known as the State of Rhode Island and the Providence Plantations. It’s a bit nondescript. Like Surrey (England).

Another next week.

CC writes
America's answer to the Isle of Whithorn, Also not an island.
I've avoided the obvious one by Ike and Tina Turner as I think that is about a chicken

Dale Hawkins -Poor Little Rhode Island

Tuesday 16 July 2019

With a Fascist in the White House

Even by his own extraordinarily low standards Donald Trump has excelled himself with his latest series of racist tweets
If you or I or indeed  most government officials were to tweet something similar we would quite rightly be in danger of losing our jobs. The man clearly feels that he is above the law.
Shortly he will be joined by our very own blonde buffoon who also has previous when it comes to racism.

The post title is a line from a song called 2016 by Nadine Shah a singer and songwriter from Whithburn in South Tyneside on her  2017 album Holiday Destination  which received a nomination. for the 2018 Mercury Prize 
Sadly Nadine has personal experience of this dangerous and devisive rhetoric that Trump is spouting

“people were starting to say to me on social media: ‘Go back to where you come from’, and I was like: ‘What? Whitburn?’”

Nadine doesn't shy away with difficult subjects with the title track Holiday Destination tackling the Syrian refugee crisis. As she says she sings of things that are still going on but not front page news anymore

How You Gonna Sleep Tonight?
A question which I suspect probably won't trouble the current incumbent of the White House.

Holiday Destination is the only vinyl album I have which has music on three sides and nothing on the fourth side which is kind of strange.

Nadine Shah - 2016

Monday 15 July 2019

A Splendid Racket - Weld

My research for this post consisted of listening to both discs of Weld on the commute to and from work  last week. All 16 tracks, all 121 minutes and 49 seconds.
A live album from 1991.Neil claims that he permanently damaged his hearing while mixing the album. I may have done the same while listening to it.
Neil Young at his thrashiest. Crazy Horse at their craziest. Look at those amps!!

There were about half a dozen classic songs in contention. After much deliberation I've gone for this one which at 14 minutes means it can double up as a Monday Long Song.

My abiding memory of this song was it being belted  out by me and three others  in a taxi late at night as we criss-crossed Edinburgh  to pick up a carry out after climbing some scaffolding but prior to getting a taxi to St Abbs and back (about an 80 mile round trip). Drink was involved.

Neil Young & Crazy Horse -Like a Hurricane

Sunday 14 July 2019

Vintage Country Vinyl - Ferlin Husky

Long suffering visitors may recall a series called Vintage Country Vinyl running from June to September 2016. It ground to a halt when I ran out of material. The good news is that it's back courtesy of me picking up a veritable slab of country for next to nothing in my local charity shop a few weeks ago.
And the even better news is that most of the artists have never featured here before.

One who has however, albeit briefly, is the wonderfully monikered Ferlin Husky.
He is of course most famous  for the song Wings of a Dove from 1960 which featured last time round.
Nothing as famous on The Country Sounds of Ferlin Husky, a Music for Pleasure compilation which is featuring today.
Side one is pretty poor but side two starts of reasonably well with the two songs featured below. A country song about cheating - who would have thunk it!

Ferlin fact - he began his recording career using the name of Terry Preston a name he ended up giving to his seventh child.

More of the same next Sunday.

Ferlin Husky - She Cheats On Me

Ferlin Husky - Too Soon To Know

Saturday 13 July 2019

Sweet Saturday Sounds

I had planned to subject you to a new series today but I have now decided to save it for Sundays.
Instead you are getting a couple of tracks from the recently acquired ...And Then He Kissed Me by Rachel Sweet.
She shot to fame  in 1978 as a 16 year old on the Stiff label with her version of Carla Thomas' B-A-B-Y. When I say shot to fame it got to number 35 in the UK singles charts. She was also part of the Life Stiffs Tour.
After two albums on Stiff she was signed by CBS with this being the first released in 1981. She only released one further album prior to returning to her studies.
She returned to music sporadically before becoming a successful writer and TV producer.

While she clearly had a great voice it would appear that CBS didn't really know how best to market her .The album has only 8 tracks but is  a mixture of 60's pop and Maria McKee style ballads.
It would have been interesting to see in which direction her career would have gone had she hung around a little bit longer.

Rachel Sweet - Then He Kissed Me/Be My Baby

Rachael Sweet -Party Girl

Friday 12 July 2019

What I Deserve

What I deserve and indeed what you deserve on a Friday is some music by the Americana artist Kelly Willis
I've featured her once before but not with anything from the only album of her's  that I have namely 1999's What I Deserve on the Rykodisc label. It was her fourth studio album There have been another seven since.
Kelly and her husband and fellow musician Bruce Robison stay in Austin where they are seen as Alt Country royalty.
Bruce writes a few of the songs on the album (including the two below) where he appears with his brother Charlie and the likes of Chuck Prophet and Jon Dee Graham. What I Deserve is seen as a response to the treatment and the way she was marketed as an artist on her previous label MCA

Robbie Fulks does not appear on the album nor does the song Parallel Bars but I wasn't about to pass up an opportunity to share it with you.

Kelly Willis - Not Forgotten You

Kelly Willis - Wrapped

Robbie Fulks & Kelly Willis - Parallel Bars

Thursday 11 July 2019

The St Andrew Vinyl Extravaganza #6 and #7

Two for the price of one today as we feature the last two albums from the haul picked up in the British Heart Foundation shop in St Andrews for a pound a pop.
These two artists have appeared in this series before and given this is the second album from both they are getting a brief mention today for the sake of completeness.

Some of you may be familiar with the first artists a four piece combo from Liverpool called The Beatles. They featured before in this series with the White Album. If I was pushed and had to name my favourite Beatles song it would probably be A Day in the Life which I believe was the final track on Sgt Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band.
As the picture above suggests the album purchased, and on which it also features, was The Beatles 1967-1970 which Mrs CC informs me will be accompanying us on our Autumn holiday.

It is highly unlikely that The Unknown Soldier a 1980 album from Roy Harper on the Harvest label will be joining us
My favourite song by him won't be featuring today is it was on his previously featured HQ album.
If I'm honest I was struggling to feature anything from this album and have chosen this song solely on the basis that it also features Kate Bush. Dave Gilmour is on guitar.
Albums like this make you pretty grateful that the Punk revolution was in full swing around then.
As I said posted for the sake of completeness.

Wednesday 10 July 2019

State of the Union - Utah

(A characteristically gigantic temple of the LDS, this one on Brigham City)

George writes
Utah this week and I am going to do my very best to avoid making inane childish comments regarding a major organisation based in the 11th least densely populated state in the USA. And one reason is because Utah is absolutely fascinating regarding its natural phenomena.  For example, the picture below is a snapshot of a forest, but amazingly that forest that appears to consist solely of one species of tree is actually one gigantic root system, giving rise to 47 000 trunks. It is 80 000 years old! So it predates any humans on the continent by 50 00 years.

(Pando aspen grove)

If that is not sufficiently interesting, Salt Lake City is home to a factory producing up to 
20 000 rubber chickens every year. The same company also makes plastic dog crap and fart whistles. 

First song. I love this video, and you will too

The second song will absolutely not be I Lost My Sugar in Salt Lake City by Julie London but I suspect my thrawn friend will make it available below my ramblings. It will also not be the Beach Boys song about Salt Lake City, it’s one of their “painting-by-numbers” tracks. It is by Evan P Donohue, from an album called Late Autumn Cassette, a collection of lo-fi ramshackle songs that manages to steer clear of being too clever or twee and too rubbish.

Did you know that the Great Salt Lake (ie the body of water near Salt Lake City) is a terminal lake ie no rivers flow out of it?  As are the Caspian Sea,the Dead Sea and the Aral Sea (which has been all but killed by diverting its rivers to such an extent it now has only 10% of its 1960 area of 68 000 km2 ).

The people of Utah eat twice the amount of green Jell-o (that is common jelly to people in the UK) than the rest of the USA. And add grated carrot to it. Do they not have custard there?

And there’s more. For example, Bryce Canyon is “a hell of a place to lose a cow” according the person it is named after. And it’s not a canyon but a series of natural amphitheatres made by tall thin rocks (known as hoodoos).

Music. I found a track on Bandcamp called Spanish Fork, and given that it’s by a bloke from Provo, Utah, I am sure that the name of the city in Utah gave the song its name. Yours for $200. That is not a typo. The mighty Dave Donner and The Dynamites come to the rescue with a fine rock-y Americana  track, Utah. The album is free, from Bandcamp. The vocal is endearingly slightly off-key, the music is well played, some nice songs, go on, splash out….(but not in an onanistic way).

And the first ever KFC (Kentucky Fried Chicken) opened in Utah. There used to a KFC in Birmingham, England, called Karachi Fried Chicken; it did a great  plate of veg samosa and chips.

So that’s Utah, And yet again I have seen more stunning, beautiful scenery, and I am coming to the conclusion that the USA is, visually, absolutely fascinating and fantastic. And I also discovered why members of the Church of Latter Day Saints are called mormons, but I think they don’t like it very much, but it did not seem offensive to me.

CC writes.
George, I'm afraid you will have to wait until  the 1st of August for more Julie London.
By way of consolation here is Marty Robbins
I can vouch for the excellent samosas in Karachi Fried Chicken