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Tuesday 31 December 2019

Alasdair Gray RIP

It was sad to hear about the death of artist and suthor Alisdair Gray at the age of 85.
Mrs CC and I were in the Ubiquitous Chip in Glasgow's Ashton Lane on Sunday for  lunch. We then went to the bar for a drink. I popped to the loo and when I returned I commented that it was good to see his mural.When we got home I switched on the computer to find that he had passed away.
He also has murals on display in Oran Mor and Hillhead Subway station

We attended the retrospective of his work a few years ago at Kelvingrove Art GalleryDirk that is the building you walked through to tick the culture box on your trip to Glasgow.
I also saw him one time in the Scotia Bar where is wife was trying, unsucessfully, to move him on.

He is of course best remembered for his critically acclaimed  novel Lanark
I liked the Glasgow of Duncan Thaw but struggled with the dystopian Unthank.
My personal favourite of his books was Old Men in Love.

A total one off eccentric and a gifted genius. Rest easy sir.

He appeared on the Ballads of the Book project and also provided the cover

Lord Cut-Glass & Alasdair Gray - A Sentimental Song

Monday 30 December 2019

Ace of Spades

I was giving O.V.Wright - Giant of Southern Soul 1965 -1975 a spin when a song called Ace of Spades popped up
As this is currently the silly season my mind began to wander to some strange places
Here's Lemmy who passed on 5 years and two days ago. That should blow away some cobwebs

O.V. Wright - Ace of Spades

Motorhead - Ace of Spades

Motorhead - Ace of Spades (Acoustic)

Sunday 29 December 2019

A History Lesson

Fairport Convention, probably the world's most well known folk group have been on the go for what seems like forever.
Actually it is only from 1967 so they are not as old as me. Hard to believe but there you are.
The History of Fairport Convention anthology on the Island Masters label is from 1972 and covers the period when they were at their peak
A time when the line up included the likes of Richard Thomson, Ashley Hutchins and Sandy Denny among others
Indeed in 1969 alone they managed to produce three classic albums  in What We Did on Our Holidays, Unhalfbricking and Liege &Lief - the Ryan Adams or Jack White of their day in terms of their prolificity

A version of the band including veterans Simon Nicol and Dave Pegg is still on the go and curating their annual Cropreddy Festival.

A band worthy of a family tree

Fairport Convention - Meet on the Ledge

Fairport Convention - Fotheringay

Saturday 28 December 2019

Cruel to Be Kind

Welcome to that strange time  between Christmas and New Year when you don't know what day of the week it is.
A quick glance at the calendar tells me that it is actually Friday so there you go.

I hope you had a good Christmas and that Santa was kind to you.
I was pleased to get the book above Cruel to be Kind -The Life &Music of Nick Lowe from Mrs CC.
Written by Will Burch one-time Kursaal Flyer and also the author of the magnificent No Sleep Till Canvey Island.
I have followed parts of Nick's career but not its entirity so am looking forward to filling in the blanks.
It should be a good read.

Nick Lowe - So It Goes

Nick Lowe - Nutted by Reality

Nick Lowe - Man That I've Become

Thursday 26 December 2019

Boxing Day Birthday

It's Boxing Day today and no we will not be braving the sales.

Rather we will be getting up late, having a champagne breakfast and generally relaxing as it is Mrs CC's birthday.
We plan to go out for a meal later in the week but today it is highly unlikely that we will  actually leave the house.
A few drinks, some telly and a listen to some music.
Given that the two artists below are among Mrs CC's favourites I would imagine that they will feature.
We saw Jessie Buckley earlier this year and are scheduled to see Ward Thonas in April.

Happy birthday XX

Jessie Buckley - No Place Like Home

Ward Thomas - Cartwheels

Wednesday 25 December 2019

Christmas Day

Hope your day went well and that you had a lovely meal and got loads of nice pressies.

However if you are feeling familied out and/or a bit melancholy why don't you take yourself and a glass into a quiet corner and listen to  seven minutes and fifteen seconds of Jim White.

Even better that Mrs Brown's Boys

Jim White - Christmas Day

Tuesday 24 December 2019

A Christmas Gift For You

As is traditional on this blog and many others on Christmas Eve here is A Christmas Gift For You from Phil Spector, Darlene Love  and indeed me..
A Merry Christmas to you and yours and I hope that  Santa is good to you.

I finish work today and am off until 3rd January 2020 which is a Christmas present in itself

Darlene Love - White Christmas

Darlene Love - Christmas (Baby Please Come Home)

Monday 23 December 2019

My Albums of the Year

For the second year running  I managed to purchase more than 10 new albums during the year.
The three that missed out on the top 10 run down were two from Last Night From Glasgow  namely A Gift From Midnight by Fenella and This is Not a Zen Garden by Domiciles neither of which was my cup of tea. I've still to pick up the Cloth album which I imagine would have featured.

Following the hype I picked up It Won't Be Like This All the Time by The Twilight Sad. So far it is doing nothing for me but listening to it in the car I saw it in a new light so there is hope yet.

Here goes

10 - Siobhan Wilson - The Departure

Released on her own Suffering Fools label it is the follow up to There Are No Saints which is a pretty thankless task.I really like the songs she does in French

9 -Yola -Walk Through Fire

A very recent purchase picked up when we saw her live so it hasn't had too many listens.I suspect that it will be a grower but it  doesn't quite do her live act justice

8 - Calexico/Iron & Wine - Years to Burn

Probably more of an Iron & Wine album with Calexico rather than a true collaboration. That in itself is no bad thing but I could have done with more Calexico. I bought it on the back of re-discovering the In The Reins EP which is better

7- Tenement and Temple - Tenement and Temple

A self released album by Johnny Smillie and Monica Queen as Tenement and Temple and a thing of beauty. The plaudits on the bandcamp page describe it better that I ever could. Only available on CD (which might be sold out) or digitally. Wonderfully ethereal.

6 - Broken Chanter - Broken Chanter

The self-titled dedut album by David McGregor of Kid Canaveral fame. Released jointly by LNFG and Olive Grove Records it is a lovely mix of indie and folk with a slightly Gaelic feel as mentioned in this review from the Skinny

5 - Bis - Slight Disconnects

Bis are back and as bouncy as ever.
While their records never quite capture the magic of their live performances they are still enormous fun. For their Glasgow concerts First Bus put on a free Bis Travel package for those attending the shows!
Impossible to listen to without smiling

4 - Bruce Springsteen  - Western Stars

It's not just Bis who are back. The Boss also makes a welcome return with Western Stars. He turned 70 this year and this album is somewhat of a melancholic and cinematic look back at his younger days.
Shades of Nebraska in places. His best for a number of years

3 - The Dream Syndicate - These Times

I wasn't too sure about this one at first but it is one of those records that really grows on you every time you play it
As this review from Pop Matters states this is not a band pre-occupied with the past but looking to the future. I'm always up for anything  from Steve Wynn

2 - Sister John - Sister John

The eponymous second alum from Sister John following on from Returned From Sea their debut album which was my album of the year in 2017. Three quarters of them are part of The Gracious Losers whose album The Last of the Gracious Losers was my album of the year last year so they must be doing something right.
Slightly darker than their debut but none the worse for that. A band that I managed to catch three times this year.
Some info on the band courtesy of LNFG

1 - Better Oblivion Community Center -  Better Oblivion Community Center

The first album that I bought in 2019 and one that was not bettered.
Connor Oberst doesn't always get it right but here when he teams up with Phoebe Bridgers he gets it right big style.. They gel effortlessly  to deliver some Americana of the highest order. I'll even forgive them for their spelling of Centre!

Sunday 22 December 2019

I Just Lived a Country Song

Long suffering readers may recall my Most Country of Country Song Titles themed series a couple of years back.
Robbie Fulks is one of the best for coming up with such titles - She Took a Lot of Pills (and Died), Rock Bottom Pop 1, Papa was a Steelheaded Man. etc

On his latest  album Wild! Wild! Wild! on the Bloodshot label where he collaborates with Linda Gail Lewis he goes one better by announcing that I Just Lived a Country Song.

72 year old Linda Gail Lewis is an interesting character .She is the sister of the great Jerry Lee Lewis and has also recorded with her two daughters as the Lewis 3
Following one record in 1969 she recorded a good few in the 90's and ever since.

I picked up one of her albums once which was truly awful and which was swiftly recycled  back to a charity shop. She is in fine form on this album though

Robbie Fulks & Linda Gail Lewis - I Just Lived a Country Soung

Saturday 21 December 2019

My Gigs of the Year

This year I managed to attend 15 gigs which is one up from last year.

I have decieded to rank them and to give you my top 5.
Here are the ones that didn't make the final cut although  Bis and Sister John came very close

25/01 - Poetry Club, SWC - Sister John - 8/10
31/01 - Mitchell Theatre -Emily Smith and Jamie McLellan - 6/10
15/02 - Glad Cafe -Bis -  8/10
16/03 - Stereo - LNFG (Annie Both/Cloth/Foundlings/Sister John) - 8/10
29/03 - Blue Arrow - Fenella - 6/10
16/08  -Old Hairdressers - Domiciles/Slime City - 7/10
06/09 - CCA - Broken Chanter - 8/10
12/10 - HMV Argyle St - Sister John 8/10
20/10 - Webster Theatre - Kris Drever 7/10
17/12 - Royal Concert Hall - Phil Cunningham Christmas Show 8/10

So quite a high bar to make the top 5.
Here they are in descending order (although from 5 to 3 were pretty much on a par)

Number 5
05/08   St Lukes - Camera Obscura - 9/10
First time I have seen them and their first concert for a couple of years not that you would have known.Some magnificent musicanship complimented the wonderful voice of Tracyanne Campbell.

Number 4
29/10  St Lukes - Dave Alvin and Jimmy Dale Gilmore -9/10
I had seen both before  Dave as part of the Blasters and Jimmie Dale  as a Flatlander but never together. A fantastic mix of Blues and Country. Amazing performances on guitar by Dave Alvin and on drums by Linda Pankratz.

Number 3
30/11  Oran Mor - Yola - 9/10
This one was a bit of a punt and completely blew me away .
An amazing personality and a voice that can effortlessly sing  country, blues and soul  and often all within the same song.
If there is any justice in this world she will become a huge star.
Oran Mor is probably my least favourite venues but I'm glad we made the effort.

Number 2
27/01 - Kings Theatre - Karine Polwart and Kris Drever with the Scottish Chamber Orchestra  - 9/10
In any other year this may well have been the winner.
Copied from my mini review from 05/02
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 very hot) with brilliant acoustics.

Number 1
27/06 St Lukes - Jessie Buckley 10/10
This one took me completely by surprise
We were a bit apprehensive going in thinking that we were potentially in line for karaoke or line-dancing but we couldn't have been more wrong.
Boy can she sing.
Blues , country you name it. A bundle of energy with a terrific personality.
I think that it may have been one of those nights when all the stars aligned. The crowd  and Jessie were totally up for it probably on the back of the film Wild Rose having been set in Glasgow and St Lukes (which is a great venue) was absolutely bouncing.
We watched a video of a daytime performance at a festival in Belfast a couple of days later when both Jessie and the crowd were pretty flat

Six  gigs already lined up for 2020!

Dave Alvin & Jimme Dale Gilmore - Downey to Lubbock

Jessie Buckley - Country Girl

Friday 20 December 2019

Liar, Liar, Pants on Fire

From one serial liar to another.
The Child -in - Chief of the USA is incapable of uttering a sentence or posting a tweet without lying through his teeth.

Having said that I am in two minds as to the current impeachment hearings.
On the one hand he is clearly as guilty as sin of bringing the Office of President into disrepute by abusing his power by pressuring Urkaine  to dig up damaging information on Joe Bidon by threatening to withdraw military aid.

On the other given the partisan nature of politics any vote by the Democrats in the  House of Representatives will be overruled by the Republican led Senate making impeachment highly unlikely.

Trump will then use this to galvinise his supporters and it could give him some much needed momentum in his bid to be elected for a second term.

Given that the world has gone mad I suspect that this is what probably is going to happen.

Neil Young - Let's Impeach the President

Chvrches - Liar

Thursday 19 December 2019

State of the Union - An Appreciation

As mentioned yesterday I am using today's post as an appreciation for George's just completed State of the Union series.
For the last 50 Wednesdays he has provided/subjected you to songs with either State names or the names of towns and cities from the state in their title.
He has also provided a lot of useful informaton on frogs, state fish, geology, famous people, panhandles and a list of do's and dont's should you ever pitch up in one of these States.
At the last count he is now barred from 37 of them.

Where possible he shied away from the more obvious songs going for the more obscure. Phil Ochs has never had such a high presence on these pages.

I was happy to let him loose and thought it would give me a rest. However, I couldn't resist trying to add a song or two of my own which sometime defeated that objective.

He is probably currently advertising his services across the blogosphere. If there are no takers  I am happy to take him back after a well deserved Festive break if he is willing and if we can negotiate a suitable deal.
He may have a series in mind but if not feel free to offer up some suggestions.

Finally, much as it loathes me to say it he actually missed out one state.
Yes, as you munch on your chlorinated chicken and wonder whether your life savings will stretch to paying for an X-ray on a sprained finger remember that the UK is indeed the 51st State of the USA

The The - Heartland

New Model Army - 51st State

Wednesday 18 December 2019

State of the Union - Louisiana

George writes

Final one. I was hoping the series would  somehow go viral and attract thousands upon thousands of followers, it would be the talk of the internet, there would be radio and tv interviews about the latest great internet sensation………….”brilliant idea”............”what inspired you”...........”how did you manage to unearth such great music”.........”did you ever feel like giving it up”......and  “why didn’t you use your own blog instead of polluting my pages”.............I would find fame and fortune. Well, I did manage to garner thousands of viagra sellers and followers from Indonesia. I also managed to lose the pages of Charity Chic Music scores of readers, which was not exactly my intention……..

So, here it is, Louisiana, a state home to a plethora of musical styles. And here’s a Louisiana ICA, and before you ask, no, nothing by Dr John

  1. Led Zeppelin - Royal Orelans    (about a hotel in New Orleans)

And that is it.  Thanks to my good friend for turning over his site to me every wednesday for the last 50 weeks. 

CC writes
Many thanks George. An epic series and a magnificent effort.
A fuller appreciation tomorrow.
Meanwhile here is my ICA which includes a couple of the songs above but by different artists. Oh, and something by Dr John

Tuesday 17 December 2019

Down Where The Spirit Meets The Bone

After all the vitriol in recent weeks here is a wee poem for you from Lucinda William's dad.

Have compassion for everyone you meet,
even if they don’t want it. What seems conceit, 
bad manners, or cynicism is always a sign 
of things no ears have heard, no eyes have seen.
You do not know what wars are going on
down there where the spirit meets the bone.

                                           Miller Williams

A poem which inspired Lucinda's 11th studio album from 2014 and one which I picked up recently and one which just about completes the set on the shelves.

It would have been useful to have had a copy of the second song for the Memphis v Nashville series.
Maybe next time around

Lucinda Williams - Compassion

Lucinda Williams - West Memphis

Monday 16 December 2019

Days Like This

Mrs CC randomly selected Days Like This the 23rd studio album by Van Morrison from 1995 as one of the albums to accompany Sunday brunch and a read of the papers.

Given the weather, the time of the year, a cousin's bereavement and other well documented things which have been going on recently these two songs from the Grumpy Irishman seemed somewhat  appropriate:

Van Morrison - Underlying Depression

Van Morrison - Melancholia

Sunday 15 December 2019

Take Down the Union Jack

Since the election I have been mostly listening to Billy Bragg and the Clash.

Like everyone else I have been totally down in the dumps.
However two things have cheered me up.

The return of The Chain at Jez' place and the demonstration in Glasgow's Buchanan Street on Friday night by a large number of young people proclaiming that Boris Johnston "is not my Prime Minister"
Maybe there is hope for us yet.

One country wen to the polls on Thursday and two returned.One philosophy based on fear and suspicion of others,captured the heart of England but repelled and disgusts Scotland
Kevin McKenna, The Herald 14/12/19

I do acknowledge, however, that a lot of good people in England are also suffering and are repelled and disgusted.

Billy Bragg & the Blokes - Take Down the Union Jack

The Clash - Justice Tonight/Kick it Over

Friday 13 December 2019

Too Late to Pray

A prothetic title I suspect.

No Bloodshot Sampler for you this year.
This, I suspect, is because that given it is their 25th Anniversary they have released Too Late to Pray: Defiant Chicago Roots to celebrate this milestone. Available, as ever, on Bandcamp

This makes me feel rather old as surely it cannot be 20 years since I purchased Down to the Promised Land the compilation celebrating their 5th Anniversary.Surely.
How time flies when you are listening to insurgent Country music.

22 artists on this one - some of my old favourites but many new to me artists. Here's one of each.
Any opportunity to listen to Kelly Hogan aka The Voice is surely one that must be grabbed with both hands.
Big Sadie are one of the one's new to me. Here is a link to their web page which tells you all you need to know. I was a bit apprehensive when punching Big Sadie into a search engine.

Here's to the next quarter century.

Kelly Hogan - Gotta Have My Baby Back

Big Sadie - You Never Told Me

Thursday 12 December 2019

A Bad Feeling

I've got a really bad feeling about today.
I suspect that the Tories will get in with a working majority although how anyone can vote to have the lying charlatan that is Boris Johnston as Prime Minister is quite beyond me.

Anyone who votes for him to Get Brexit Done is in for a rude awakening as there will be years of negotiations with countries who have a much stronger bargaining hand.
While this is going on the fruit will not be getting picked, the fish will not be getting gutted and the elderly in the Care Homes will be getting neglected, as Trump cherry picks the profitable parts of the NHS.
Still as long as we get Brexit done, eh?

Those shocked at the BBC's obvious bias  over the last few weeks were clearly not paying attention during the Scottish Independence Referendum. No-one is shocked up here.

Labour had a cast iron opportunity to stop all this. It should have been a shoe in.It was there for the taking.
Sadly they couldn't get their act together trying to be all things to all men and failing miserably

I hope to god I'm wrong.

Take it away Billy

Wednesday 11 December 2019

State of the Union - West Virginia

George writes:
The penultimate state of the series is “country roads take me home back where I belong” West Virginia. Why is it that I know those lyrics and almost nothing from albums I have acquired over the last ten years? I’ll see if I can rustle up a couple of tunes this week.

Ann Magnusson, founding member of band Bongwater, was born in this state. Even better, Bill “I Can’t write left-handed” Withers was born in this state, and if you play that it will be best song you hear today, and quite possibly this month. 

And the first song is by the “woo-oo-ooh baby please don’t go” band Chicago. Yes, Chicago. But this song is no “woo-oo-ooh baby please don’t go” sentimental hogwash but a rather fine piece of short progressive rock. I hope my account can withstand the deluge of downloads that will ensue:

And if that doesn’t lose CC even more readers, maybe this one will:

Still here? One more for you:

There are only two noteworthy things  about West Virginia, according to USA Today. One  is that Harpers Ferry (West Virginia) is where John Brown led a raid in an attempt to start a slave rebellion there. His death resulted in a famous song. The other is, yes, that damned country roads song.

And that’s West Virginia. One more state to go. No, not East Virginia, Mr Trump.

CC writes.
Was unsure whether Bobby Bare's Charleston Railroad Tavern refers to South Carolina or West Virginia
Here it is anyway

Another version of Salt Pork, West Virginia?  Why not

Finally here is Phil Ochs, no stranger to this series

One to go!

Tuesday 10 December 2019

The Blues Collection - Roosevelt Sykes

After a gap of nearly a year today sees a further instalment of the Blues Collection.
This is primarily because I picked up three from the series for a pound in Missing Records taking the total on the shelves to 53 out of 90. Getting there slowly.

Today's offering is "44" Blues by pianist Roosevelt Sykes who was also known as The Honeydripper.
Born in Arkansas in 1906 he was spotted by a talent scout and travelled to New York in 1929 to record for Okeh Records with 44 Blues being his first release .

He moved first to Chicago and then onto New Orleans where he continued to play and record until the 70s dying of a heart attack in 1983 aged 77

Two more in the tank for you to look forward to.

Roosevelt Sykes - "44" Blues

Roosevelt Sykes -Poor Boy Blues

Monday 9 December 2019

A Degree of (New) Order Restored

Confession time - New Order have never appeared on these pages until now.
A cou[le of covers of their songs yes but not the band themselves.

One reason probably is that up until a recent charity shop purchase of the compilation (the best of) New Order is that the only thing of theirs that I owned was the 12" single of Blue Monday (me and a million others).
I remember the song banging out an old ghettoblaster when I was doing the dishes and my mum thinking there was something wrong with the plumbing.

Another reason is that I have never really been a fan - gasps from many of those on the right hand sidebar.

From 1994 most of the songs on the album appear to have been taken from 1989's Technique and 1993's Republic
This version of True Faith was previously unreleased and Thieves Like Us was released as a single only.

Blue Order - True Faith-94

Blue Order - Thieves Like Us

Sunday 8 December 2019

The Other Side

I briefly featured The Other Side : Music From East Nashville  back in October when I posted a couple of songs from it about the great John Peel
As I said then it is   a compilation from 2006 on Red Beet Records  which benefitted the Martha O'Bryan Center in East Nashville which offers employment and education to local residents.

I think I paid 3 quid for the double CD which features 30 mainly Americana artista with Todd Snider the only artist to appear twice.
I have one album by Austin based but Portland born Todd. It's called The Devil You Know and from memory it is not that good. However the opeining song on this album Some Things Are is not bad at all.

I'm sticking with  male artists who's first name begins with T today.The three female artists whose name begins with C is aproject for another day
Tim Carroll started off in Indiana punk bands prior to graduating towards country.I can hear comparisons to the Drive-By Truckers  with this song about Music Town.

Finally Thad Cockrell has a goal to put the hurt back into country a commendable aim from the son of a Baptist preacher.
A New Year resolution which I intend to keep is to obtain a copy of the album Begonias which he recorded with Caitlin Cary formerly of Whiskeytown fame

Todd Snider - Some Things Are

Tim Carroll -Five Year Town

Thad Cockrell - Senselessly Blue