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Wednesday 25 September 2019

State of the Union - Idaho

George writes:

This week, a song will feature that you all know. This one:

This state is famous for potatoes. Thirty percent of all potatoes grown in the USA are grown in Idaho I thought that Iowa was famous for that reason. I was wrong. Again. It is also the place for gems, 72 different ones are found in Idaho.

Potatoes: unsurprisingly there is an Idaho Potato Museum. It has a cafe, and all  the many potato-based delights would surely be a huge favourite in Scotland. Cakes made from potatoes! Tatties AND sugar, what, people of Scotland, is there not to like? It’s a cupcake, made from mashed potatoes, supplied by Paisley Bakeries, Blackfoot. You can have vanilla or chocolate potato cupcakes. That place called Blackfoot in Idaho: it  is unlikely that it was the inspiration for hairy and dungaree-wearing Brummies Blackfoot Sue, in case you were wondering.

In 2017, the total USA potato crop was 442 million hundredweght. In the USA a hundredweight is 100lbs (in the UK it is the much more logical 112 pounds ie a multiple of 14 pounds, which equals one stone - that is why the USA version is not logical).  That is 19 730 000 tons of potatoes, and thus 5 919 00 tons were produced in Idaho. 

A lot of potatoes, maybe, but per head less than the countries of the EU. Which I find surprising. 

The deepest canyon in the entire USA is in Idaho, at 7 993 feet deep. Thus Hell’s Canyon is way more deep than the piffling 6 000 feet deep Grand Canyon. 

Time for a track, form an album I bought on Bandcamp. Bought for totally spurious reasons, such as (a) daft song titles, (b) there are 104 tracks (yes, 104),(c) I think no musical instruments were used for any of the tracks, and (d) it looks like this album is the result of a mid-life crisis, released when Joe was 50 years old. (some people just pack in working at 50 and move to a country where they can’t speak the language). It is an  idiotic and yet endearing collection, so far, (listening to Larry, You’re Freaking Me Out), and almost certainly destined to be ejected by my partner from the car CD player on our next long journey. WAIT! Track 35 features, I think, some sort of instrumentation. Not this one though:

Not many famous people from Idaho. Sarah Palin (boo!) and Lana Turner (of the original The Postman Always Rings Twice).

Twin Falls is a city in Idaho, named because the Snake River had at one time two adjacent waterfalls. After dam construction there are no longer twin falls. A group called Ben Folds Five do a song called Twin Falls. Well, it’s a cover version, the original is by Built To Spill, and it is whiningly, cloyingly annoying. You are all welcome to discover the charms of this song courtesy of the video-sharing website.Similarly the Ron Pope song of the same name.

So that’s Idaho, where in the city of Pocatello a person may not be seen in public without a smile on their face. Did I mention you get lots of potatoes in Idaho?
Another next week.

CC writes.

Americana singer Josh Ritter is from Moscow, Idaho

Josh Ritter - Idaho

Sunday 22 September 2019

Vintage Country Vinyl - Jerry Reed

This is the 11th and final post in the latest iteration of this series.
All 11 albums were purchased as a job lot a couple of months ago from my local charity shop for the grand total of a tenner.
None of the previous 10 have been startingly brilliant but they have all been reasonably acceptable with Hawkshaw Hawkins, Ferlin Husky and the second George Jones album being the pick of the bunch.

The final album by Jerry Reed (Greatest Hits (A loose use of the term) however is an absolute shocker and will not be a keeper. Probably karma for me inadvertently declaring that I had 10 albums to pay for when I actually had 11.

Jerry Reed Hubbard was a country singer and actor possibly best known for Guitar Man subsequently covered by Elvis Pressley.
He featured as an animated actor in The New Scooby Doo Movies and as a slightly animated actor  in Smokey and the Bandit where he sang the theme tune East Bound and Down.Being a close pal of Burt Reynolds helped.
Unfortunately the only good thing about his song She Got the Goldmine ( I Got the Shaft) is the title

There have since been two further vintage country vinyl purchases and there are others kicking about which have yet to feature so look out for a third series in due course.

Jerry Reed - Promises

Jerry Reed - East Bound and Down

We are now away on holiday for two weeks. Due to time pressures and my (hopefully temporary) inability to share songs stored on my new laptop there will be nothing to see during our break with the exception of a couple of scheduled posts.

Wednesday 18 September 2019

State of the Union - Nevada

George writes:
Yes, it’s a Vivid Dancer Damselfly, the official state insect of Nevada.

Las Vegas is in Nevada. It is ca. 270 miles from the major Californian city of Los Angeles. Reno is also in Nevada, and is ca. 220 miles from San Francisco, and only 130 miles from Sacramento (state capital of California). Is it only  a coincidence that these two major gambling cities are as close as they can be to major populations in the neighbouring state of California?

There will be none of the following, either too obvious, simply not good, or both:

Cocteau Twins, Elvis Presley, INXS, Tony Christie, but you can have the german-language version of that one:

Roberto Blanco is a schlager singer, which I think is the german version of the cheesy pop music in Portugal called pimba.

 And the first good song will be about Reno, by “new country” band Southern Pacific, I hear shades of Little Feat in this:

More on Reno: there’s a song by Mimi and Richard Fariña called Reno Nevada. Mimi has a quite well known sister, Joan. Joan Baez. Their mother was Scottish. 

More on Reno: there’s a Bruce Springsteen song called Reno, which is listenable.

Las Vegas. Charisma Carpenter is from Las Vegas. I recognised the name, she was Cordelia in Buffy The Vampire Slayer (of which I have watched every single episode, and did so whilst in a long-term relationship, let me tell you that!). 

(Thelma Catherine Ryan, born in Ely, Nevada. She was very famous in the late 60s early 70s. She was……..?)

I almost listened to a whole Billy Joel song for today’s piece, I lasted for 53 seconds of Stop In Nevada. Then I stopped. And here’s a 1981 song by Nico, with that instantly recognisable droning vocal you either love or hate. It has a Gang Of Four post-punk feel to it, minus angry male shouty vocal:
The official state artefact is the Tule Duck Decoy. This is not as crap as it might sound. In 1924 archeologists discovered a pile of artefacts that thankfully had not destroyed by miners during the latters’ work, amongst which were 2 000 year-old duck decoys made of reed. 
The miners were not mining gold or silver but bat shit, 250 tons of it.
That’s Nevada, where it is against state law to make public intoxication on offense.

And strangely enough, given its association with gambling, Nevada has no state lottery.
Another one next week

CC writes;
From his brilliant 1990 album
Jonathan Goes Country here is Mr Richman

Tuesday 17 September 2019

Woody, Eric, Alan, Leslie and Derek

It was George, of course, who started it. Isn't it always?
He made some fairly disparaging remarks about Sweet Virginia a song by the tartan teeny pop sensations The Bay City Rollers.
As one who has owned up to having been such a fan that she often dressed head to toe in tartan Alyson was quick to spring to their defence

Fairly even stevens then until the bold Mr Goggins stepped forward. It appears that Ernie is such a big fan that he has even gone as far as amassing tribute songs about Prestonpans' finest.
Trying desperately to regain some credibility he throws in the names Nick Lowe and Yo La Tango but by then the damage is done so let's here it for  Tartan Horde.

While most of the above is admittedly fairly tongue in cheek I remain of the opinion that Shang-a- Lang is a stonking pop song.
To quote Alyson there just isn't enough Roller goodness around here

Tartan Horde - Rollers Show

Bay City Rollers - Shang-a-Lang

Sunday 15 September 2019

Vintage Country Vinyl -Ferlin Husky (Again)

You could be forgiven for thinking that the name of this Ferlin Huskey album is Star of the Grand Ole Opry.
You would be wrong there - if you read the small print it is in fact Easy Livin’. 
Ferlin was the first artist to appear in the rehash of this series and here he is making a return a couple of months later
Not much to add from the last time round so I'll quote some blurb from the album sleeve

He never permits himself to give acommonplace rendition of even the simplest compositions or routines.His approach and conception of any piece of music is inventive,creative, original

Judge for yourself
I'm putting him down as one of the better ones in the series

Ferlin Husky -Heart of Stone

Ferlin Husky - Never Again

Friday 13 September 2019

Broken Chanter

As mentioned yesterday we went to the album launch of Broken Chanter at Glasgow's CCA a week ago today
It was the first time I'd been to the CCA since it was done up and I was pretty impressed. A nice wee theatre styled room for the music which was seated which greatly pleased Mrs CC.

The support act were Cambridge based Mammouth Penguins who I quite enjoyed.

The Broken Chanter set was the album in it's entirity with a couple of Kid Canevral songs stuck in the middle for good measure.
The album  (an Olive Grove /Last Night from Glasgow co-production) is very good indeed.Atmospheric indie folk with a smattering of Gaelic here and there.
A tight band consisting of David McGregor (aka Broken Chanter) on vocals/guitar , Gav Prentice on bass,Audrey Tait on drums, Kim Carnie on keyboards and Jill O'Sullivan on violin and vocals.

McGregor is a great front man - full of patter and interaction with the audience.
I've a couple of  their songs here and there but am not all that familiar with his former band Kid Canaveral. I'm going to make it my business to track down more of their music.
I also remember that Jill O'Sullivan had performed as part of the band Sparrow and the Workshop  a few years ago who were also well worth a listen.

Another very good night out. Thanks to all those involved in putting it togther

Kid Canaveral - First We Take Dumbarton

Sparrow & the Workshop - Into the Wild

Things are pretty hectic here at the moment for one reason or another (but in good way) so expect a slightly reduced service on these pages for the next few weeks.

Thursday 12 September 2019

The Ponderosa Aces

I had the pleasure of bumping in to JC at Broken Chanter's album launch on Friday (more of which later).
As he mentioned recently on his blog he and his good lady are heading to Barcelona this weekend where they are hooking up with Jonny the Friendly Lawyer and his good lady.

I asked him to give JTFL my regards and to advise as to when The Ponderose Aces were likely to appear again on this side of the pond.Sadly JC advised me that they are no more. He then very kindly gave my his copy of their album No Particular Way which is a splendid example of Outlaw honky tonk music.
The story of how Jonny became an Ace is the stuff of blogging legend and can be found here

Hope that the international hook up on neutral territory goes well folks as I'm sure it will. I look forward to hearing the stories.

The Ponderosa Aces -If You Think I've Got a Drinking Problem

The Ponderosa Aces - Raising Hell in Honky Tonks

Wednesday 11 September 2019

State of the Union - Virginia

George writes:
James Drury (Jr.) - The Virginian

Does anyone out there (is there anyone reading these pages apart Charity Chic and myself????) remember that 1960s cowboy programme The Virginian? It sticks in my mind because in England it was broadcast at ten past eight at night. And that marked my bedtime. (Now that I am older I can stay up later). So I can recall that The Virginian wore black, and that Doug McClure was in it. Mr McClure went on to greater things in the films The Land That Time Forgot and then The People That Time Forget. Here’s the theme tune, play it (older readers), it will be familiar to you

And from The Virginian to…………..The Virginian

Neko Case played a concert in Lisbon in June, but I did not attend.

Doug McClure, not Neko Case, and not The Virgininian.

It has been said that the Bay City Rollers have not featured in the pages of CCM often enough, so here’s a first. On their 1977 album It’s A Game is song called Sweet Virginia. Having read the lyrics I am not sure if Virginia is used as a name or the state; having listened to the song all the way through, and a live version I have made the ruling it’s not good enough for inclusion anyway. It was not too difficult a decision to make. That song is certainly not a cracker, but this song by Cracker is (a cracker), and in a first on the series it is not about a city or town, but a river, the James River (named by British colonists after King James VI) which is entirely in the state of Virginia (and thus the rules of the series are adhered to). From the Gentleman’s Blues album. Camper Van Beethoven cover this song, which is not that surprising given that Cracker man David Lowery is also a Camper Van Beethoven man.

And before you ask, Virginia Plain is excluded, it has nothing to do with the state. Similarly that T. Rex song about Virginia Waters, which actually is meant to be about Virginia Water, which is in Surrey (England). It is the most expensive place to buy a house in the entire United Kingdom bar a few boroughs in London.

The state motto of Virginia (Brian, are you reading this?) is sic semper tyrannis which in effect but not literally means that tyrants will always be overthrown.  
That’s Virginia, home to Foamhenge (yes, a polystyrene replica of those strangely unimpressive stones in Wiltshire, England)
That’s Virginia, home to the largest office building in the world

And Virginia was the birthplace for Alvin Pleasant Delaney Carter, his wife Sarah and sister-in-law Maybelle, and also to some other quite well-known people (Mr. G. Washington, Mr. T. Jefferson, Shirley Maclaine and her brother, Mr. S. Earle, Arthur Ashe, and some others).

And the official bat of Virginia is the Virginia big-eared bat

Christ, he’s got bigger ears than me! (not quite! - Ed)

14 more to go.

CC writes:
Not sure if this Vic Chestnutt song has anything to do with the state

Vic Chestnutt - Virginia

Not sure if this is the same as the Bay City Rollers number

Rolling Stones - Sweet Virginia

Tuesday 10 September 2019

Remember You're a Woomble

Roddy Woomble is perhaps best known as the front man of the indie band Idlewild.
However in the mid to late 2000's be began to turn to folk music, took to wearing tweed, moved to the Isle of Mull, wrote a column for the Sunday Herald and curated the Ballads of the Book a collabaritive project between Scottish writers and musicians.
In short he was the prototype hipster.
Wiki lists 2011's The Impossible Song and Other Songs as his third solo album. However the alleged second one 2008's Before the Ruin is attributed to Drever, McCusker and Woomble the Drever in question being Kris and the McCusker John.

Some of you may recognize the wonderful artwork on the cover. It is by Mairi Hedderwick who wrote and illustrated the Katie Morag children's books and who also produces and illustrates an annual Hebridean Diary which Mrs CC faithfully purchases.

Recorded at An Tobar arts centre on Mull.

Roddy Woomble - A New Day Has Begun

Roddy Woomble - Roll Along

Monday 9 September 2019


I got the wee red card through the letter box the other day advising that I had a parcel to collect at the Post Office sorting office.
It was a record (yeah!) but not the one I was expecting.
It is a 10 inch 5 track EP by Emme Woods called It's Ma Party.
I had pledged for it a couple of years ago and wasn't really expecting it to see the light of day once Pledge Music went bust.
Fair play to Morgan (Emme) Woods for finding the wherewithall to eventually get it released.

Emme was the first Last Night From Glasgow artist I ever saw live which led me to tracking down her 2016 single I Don't Drink to Forget (LNFG2)
I thought I'd featured it here before but apparently not.

On first listen It's Ma Party sounds promising. It is however not quite as gothic and menacing as I Don't  Drink to Forget.

Emme Woods - I Don't Drink to Forget

Emme Woods - Be Still

Sunday 8 September 2019

Vintage Country Vinyl - George Jones (Yet Again)

Only three records from the recent Vintage Country Vinyl haul to go.
George Jones is one of two artists who will feature twice. I'm still not sure if I will subject you to the final one yet.
Oh Lonesone Me  is on the Hilltop label. I'm not sure as to the date as it does not feature on the Wiki discography. Discogs also does not mention the year but is willing to sell it to you for as little as £1.35
There is a picture of him on the back cover sporting a crewcut  so I'm thinking early 60's. It does look like from it is around that era.

It has to be said that it is a far superior album to 15 Golden Classics Vol 1 which featured earlier in the series
Strangely the track Life to Go is listed on the front cover with all the other tracks but is missed out on the back cover.

Another artist featuring for the second time next week.

George Jones - Life To Go

George Jones - Tender Years

Saturday 7 September 2019

Hard - Headed Woman

A little bit of Wanda Jackson for you today but with a twist.
Hard-headed Woman is a tribute album by Bloodshot Records artists and friends from 2004 celebrating the songs initially made famous by the Queen of Rockabilly.
I've previously featured Trailerbride's version of Fujiama Mama.
Three other covers for your listening pleasure from artists who are no strangers to these pages.
Firstly Neko Case with her version of Brown-Eyed Handsome Man
Neko is followed by Jesse Sykes and the Sweet Hereafter with Weary Blues from Waiting.
Finally Robbie Fulks pitches in with a cover of Tears at the Grand Ol' Opry from Wanda's country phase, one which I featured before from her1968 album Nobody's Darlin'

Album artwork by Jon Langford.


Neko Case - Brown-eyed Handsome Man

Jesse Sykes & the Sweet Hereafter -Weary Blues from Waiting

Robbie Fulks - Tears at the Grand Ol' Opry

Got my dates wrong so that's why there was nothing to see here yesterday

Thursday 5 September 2019

Donnie Fritts

I was unaware that the great Muscle Shoals Country Soul singer and keyboard player Donnie Fritts had passed away at the age of 76 until I read the August In Memorium post at Any Major Dude with Half a Heart

Coincidently in between listening to the Brexit debacle I have had Testifying by The Country Soul Review on the car radio this week, an album on which he features.
I was not aware that he played keyboards with Kris Kristofferson even although he did so for over 40 years.
I did know, however, that he co-wrote Breakfast in Bed  with the late great Eddie Hinton which was brilliantly sung by both Dusty Springfield and Shelby Lynne and terribly by UB40 & Chrissie Hynde
Here's another he co-wrote with Eddie from Hinton's  Hard Luck Guy album.
A life well lived.
Rest easy Donnie

Shelby Lynne - Breakfast in Bed

Donnie Fritts - Muscle Shoals

Eddie Hinton - What Would I Do Without You

The Country Soul Review (ft Donnie Fritts) - Sumpin' Funky Going On

Wednesday 4 September 2019

State of the Union - New Jersey

George writes
(Above: the best musician from this week’s state)

Week 35. New Jersey. Long Branch is famous as being the place of death of president James Garfield. And Long Branch is the birth place of wife-stabber Norman Mailer. He also wrote some books.  New Jersey is also very famously the birthplace of three of The Four Seasons (Bob Gaudio is the exception). Interestingly, the main wikipedia page for New Jersey fails to mention that Franki Valli was born in Newark. It does though, list the less famous and noteworthy  Bruce Springsteen as a native of the state. Believe it or not I did listen to the relevant Springsteen songs for this piece, from his second album and The River. All the way through. Almost. I even listened to cover versions, and they were worse than the originals, and let me tell you, there’s a lot of them on Bandcamp.

The state is indeed named after the largest of the Channel Islands, Jersey. The state is 189 times bigger, in terms of area, than the island, and its population is 83 times that of the island. 

Now, I could have cheated and just picked two songs from the eighty-eight that Matt Farley has written about towns and cities of New Jersey, but having sampled three I suspect that all 88 are uniformly rubbish. Even worse than Union City Blue.

(Matt Farley, he of the 88 rubbishy songs)

I did discover a track from Jigsaw Records in Seattle, Washington (608 NW 65th Street, Ballard, Seattle, to be precise) but did not splash out the $1 for it. Instead I coughed up zero cents for this indie tune:

(Singer of the B52s)

Frank Bascombe lives in New Jersey. OK, he’s a fictional character, the mainstay of some of Richard Ford’s novels, but it’s a New Jersey connection. The author himself was not born in the state, and he seems to live in one of the New England states so not in New Jersey. 

Even more famous than Frank Bascombe, and real-life human beings, John Travolta, Paul Simon, and Meryl Streep were all born in the state, but at different times and different places. And the B-52s bloke who looks like Kenneth WIlliams was born in Newark

(Kenneth Williams)

I discovered that the New York american football teams the Giants and Jets play in……...yes, New Jersey.. That’s a bit like Manchester United who also don’t play in the city of their name.Or West Ham United, who play in Stratford, Brighton and Hove Albion who play in neither, but in Falmer, 
Second track, a rather gothic country tune, by Kevin Welch.

And that’s New Jersey. I should admit to you all (well, all twenty three of you who read this page on a Wednesday) that I really struggled for music. I spent three hours listening to music on Bandcamp that was really quite depressing. I even emailed Charity Chic himself for suggestions (I rejected them, there’s gratitude for you).

That’s New Jersey, where it is illegal to put petrol in your own car at a petrol station
That’s New Jersey, where it is illegal to wear a bullet-proof vest while committing a murder.
And finally, that’s New Jersey, where it is illegal to slurp your soup (thank christ my old grandad did not live there).

Eat silently please, you’re in New Jersey!

Another one next week.

Charity Chic writes:
23 people reading this is a bit ambitious George
One of my suggestions which you inexplicably chose to ignore

Bruce Springsteen - Jersey Girl