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Saturday 29 February 2020

50 Americana Albums You Should Hear Before You Die - Your Favorite Fool

Marks of for spelling this week
This week's offering  is Your Favorite Fool by Rex Hobert and the Misery Boys which was their third album (I think) all of which were on the Bloodshot label. Your Favorite Fool's catalogue number is BS 094 if you are remotely interested although  I expect that it is just me. It was produced by Pete Anderson of Dwight Yoakam fame - again probably just me.

I'm pinching the following from a previous post -   they hail from Kansas City , Missouri and play  wonderful drink soaked and misery tinged honky tonk country music.
One reviewer accurately describes them as being in the beers and tears vein of classic country. go further: Rex Hobart and the Misery Boys fit in with the "alternative country" scene only to the extent that they're playing stuff no one looking for country & western airplay is going to bother with these days -- this isn't country-rock, this is old-school honky tonk music served straight up, with no chaser.
They are on Bloodshot, so they are Americana in my book. Plus, we love a bit of honky tonk round these parts.
In addition to Rex, the Misery Boys are  J.B. Morris (Lead Guitar), Solomon Hofer (Pedal Steel), Blackjack Snow (bass)  and T.C. Dobbs (drums).
They released a 4th album Empty House in 2004 and then there was a gap until 2015 when Long Shot of Hard Stuff was released on Little Class Records prior to being reissued by their spiritual home
As an added bonus the great Kelly Hogan ( their next-door neighbour on the Americana shelves) provides vocals on Golden Ring.
Don't say I'm not good to you.

Rex Hobart & the Misery Boys - Gotta Get Back to Forgetting You

Rex Hobbart & the Misery Boys with Kelly Hogan -Golden Ring

Friday 28 February 2020

30 Something

2020 Charity Shop Purchase 14 - Carter USM - 30 Something

Our weekend away saw us visiting some pastures new and inevitably some charity shops. No purchases in forays to Annan and Dalbeattie but  a degree of success in the Greyhound Rescue shop in Lockerbie.
A small town in Dumfriesshire just off the M74 it is sadly best known as the sight where Pan Am Flight 103 crashed following a terrorist bomb on 21st December 1988.
It is a very pleasant little country town.

My first purchase was 30 Something the second album by Carter The Unstoppable Sex Machine on Routh Trade from 1991
Up until now the only thing I had of theirs was Straw Donkey - the Singles.
Whereas they are probably best known for their singles this is a cracking little album and is just the thing for a Friday night.

Carter USM - Surfin' USM

Carter USM - Anytime, Anyplace, Anywhere

Carter USM - Sealed with a Glasgow Kiss

Thursday 27 February 2020


We were away at the weekend and I looked out my old i-pod to provide some sounds for the road trip.
It has seen better days and is a bit gubbed. When I stuck it on at first the playlists came on but no music.
I resorted to other means of providing musical accompaniment until about half an hour before we got home when I stuck it back on again and The Jam came blaring out.

Quite strange.

The Jam - A- Bomb in Waldour Street

The Jam - When You're Young

The Jam - The Eton Rifles

Wednesday 26 February 2020

Covers 7 - Buck Owens does The Beatles

Tempting as it was to never include a country version of a Beatles song, despite the inspiration for the series, when the cover is better than the original I felt I had to share it with you. Just listen to the different emphases Buck uses here, the twisted pronunciations, mangling words, all in the finest country traditions. Well, the traditions of George Jones (emphasis, twisting pronunciations) and Carl Butler (singing out of one side of the mouth, mangling words). And the song is not about the mother of Jesus, I’m sure of that.

The original is not amongst the Beatles finest, it runs out of steam after a minute and a half (so at least it holds the interest a lot longer than that ridiculous riff-turned-song Start Me Up).

And here’s, well not a Portuguese version, but performed by a Portuguese woman (or possibly Brasilian). I think she plays a kazoo, so that’s definitely a reason for watching the multi-instrumentalist Ms Pessoa. She also plays what I think is a melodian (melodica- see comments below - Ed), which seems to be a recorder with a keyboard instead of holes in the tube. And a matchbox. But not all at the same time, unfortunately. Some of you might feel Ms Pessoa’s cover is a bit twee, a bit too Carol-Bayer-Sager-Moving-Out-Today annoying (yup - Ed), and I can see where you get that.

Another cover next week.

CC writes : it's George's birthday today and he is having a copy of days in Lisbon but still he
takes the trouble to forward this short post. Happy birthday youth.

Tuesday 25 February 2020

Compare and Contrast

I've been enjoying listening to Designer the recent album by New Zealander Aldous Harding which is produced by John Parish and is on the 4AD label.

It was the Robster who first broght her to my attention in his short reappearance over Christmas and New Year, hardly surprising perhaps given that she is now residing in Cardiff. George also got in in the act.

The third track on the album Zoo Eyes immediately put me in mind of the track Little Bird on Seventh Tree, my favourite Goldfrapp album.

See what you think

Aldous Harding - Zoo Eyes

Goldfrapp - Little Bird

Monday 24 February 2020

Savage Mansion - Revision Ballads

Can I draw your attention to Revision Ballads the debut album by Savage Mansion which has just been released on Lost Map Records the label run by The Pictish Trail on the Isle of Eigg.

It is very good indeed and I recommend that you pop over to Bandcamp where it can be purchased at a very reasonable price.
Savage Mansion is the non de plume of Craig Angus  described on the Lost Map site as a Glasgow based purveyor of scuzzy slacker guitar pop,
That description alone should have you reaching for the purchase button.

It reminds me a bit of Pavement and Lost Map seemingly agree describing the music as wearing its influences from the Velvet Underground, Neil Young,REM, Pavement and Parquet Courts proudly on its sleeve

Here's a taster

Mr Angus is clearly a man in a hurry as while Revision Ballads was only officially released on 15th February he has already stuck out a video of Karaoke which will feature on the follow up album Weird Country.
Something to look forward to

Sunday 23 February 2020

Two Hearted Rounder

Two Hearted Rounder, the new album from Sarah Lee Langford, is on a precipice. More specifically: A barstool – a place where life is messy, but the whiskey is neat. Backed by a gang of Birmingham, AL’s greasiest rockers, including members of The Dexateens and Vulture Whale, Two Hearted Rounder is blessed with loose limbs as well as deadly aim.
The Bandcamp page of Sarah Lee Langford is not mucking about.

I'D no idea what a Two Hearted Rounder was but I suspected that it was not complimentary
A little research confirms this stating that a rounder is a man of poor worth and habits.Well that narrows it down a bit.

Thanks are due to George for bringing this one to my attention. He's clearly not a rounder.
There are obvious comparisons to the great Laura Cantrell  and  also to the likes of Gillian Welch which is not a bad thing. Indeed, it is a very good thing.

The album is from 2019 and is on the Cornelius Chapel record label.
I can't find much info on Sarah Lee but  the quote at the top of the page suggests that she may be from Alabama. But then again, maybe not.

As far as I am aware she is no relation to the great man

Sarah Lee Langford - Two Hearted Rounder

Saturday 22 February 2020

50 Americana Albums You Should Hear Before You Die - Trouble in Mind

Houston's Joshua Hayes Carll has been releasing records since 2002 but it was not until the release of his third album Trouble in Mind in 2008 on Lost Highway Records that he began to receive more wider recognition.
Lost Highway is a subsiduary of Universal Music Group Nashville who recognised an opportunity to capitalise on the increasingly popular Americana sector. The likes of  Lucinda Williams and Steve Earle also got snapped up around this time

Hayes by this stage had a growing reputation as a poetic singer-songwriter who often injected a degree of humour into his songs.
She Left Me For Jesus is probably his most famous song but  steers dangerously close to being seen as a novelty song.
Drunken Poet's Dream co-written with the great Ray Wylie Hubbard , and Bad Liver and a Broken Heart written by Scott Nolan are probably a truer reflection of hiscraft.

I'm not familiar with his 2002 debut  Flowers & Liquor but 2005's Little Rock on Highway 87 Records is worth checking out.

I couldn't really get into KMAG YOYO  (a US Army acronym for Kiss My Ass Guys You're On Your Own  apparently ) the 2011 follow up and consequently didn't bother with 2016's Lovers and Leavers and  2019's What It Is.

Trouble in Mind also features such luminaries as Al Perkins, Pat Buchanan, Will Kimbrough, Fats Kaplin, Thad Cockrell and  Dan Baird a veritable who's who of Americana a number of whom have previously graced these pages.

Hayes Carll - Drunken Poet's Dream

Hayes Carll -Bad Liver and a Broken Heart

Hayes Carll - She Left Me For Jesus

Friday 21 February 2020

Show Your Bones

2020 Charity Shop Purchase 13 - Yeah Yeah Yeahs - Show Your Bones

Thrilling - Q
Magnificence - Uncut
Effortless rock'n'roll -Mojo
A vital album - The Observer

Absolutely no debate about whether  the second recently purchased CD is a keeper.
Show Your Bones the 2006 second album by Yeah Yeah Yeahs on the Fiction label joins fellow charity shop purchases 2003's  Fever to Tell and 2009's It's Blitz on the shelves alongside the 2001 self-titled debut EP.
Named as the second best album of the year by the NME when it was still a reasonably relevant point of reference
Cheated Hearts is the 3rd single from the album , the others being Gold Lion and Turn Into.
Phenomena featured in the 2008 horror film The Ruins and also in a Cadillac TV advert.
It would not have been out of place as a single but then again there is not a duff track on the album.

A find.

Yeah Yeah Yeahs - Cheated Hearts

Yeah Yeah Yeahs - Phenomena

Thursday 20 February 2020

Death Cab For Cutie

2020 Charity Shop Purchase 12 - Death Cab For Cutie - Plans

My local Charity Shop is now doing 5 CDs for a pound. On my last visit I could only see two that piqued my curiosity. They still charged me a pound! I decided to let it go.

One of the two was Plans the 5th album by Death Cab For Cutie from 2005 on Atlantic/Barsuk.
A band named after a Bonzo Dog Doo-Dah Band song and obviously a name which sticks in the memory even if you are not familiar with their work.

They first crossed my radar when their song A Movie Script Ending appeared on Treats a Barsuk Records sampler When I featured it I said that some further exploration was required so it was a no- brainer when I saw this one.

It was released to generally favourable reviews. I think that it is probably one which will benefit from a few plays but after an initial listen it looks like a keeper.
After a slow start I Will Follow You Into the Dark subseqently became their best selling single to date. It was the track which most caught my attention first time out.

Death Cab For Cutie - I Will Follow You Into The Dark

Death Cab For Cutie - Brothers On a Hotel Bed

Wednesday 19 February 2020

Covers 6 - Not Nina Simone, but Wilson Pickett

There are many country covers of Beatles songs, so in my usual thraun way I have chosen,   a soul song instead. There is not a single purchase (or copy) of any Beatles album here on the shelves, and if this was to be changed, let me tell you this and tell you no more, it would not be the 1968 album The Beatles. Yes, I have heard it all the way through, and through the B&Ws, but it was not my (or my partner’s) record.

Today’s version is not  by the gregarious, life-and-soul-of-the-party singer Nina Simone, unfortunately, whose song Revolution is a response to the original, not a cover. And you’d be right in thinking I thought Nina Simone’s song was a cover until I listened to it again.

So instead you have a simply tremendous version of Paul McCartney’s song about John Lennon’s son. Well, I think that’s what it’s about. And the original, I have come to realise is a great song, that change at 50 seconds  ( And anytime you feel the that moment) is genius. It’s a pity it  na nas for so long, but the first three minutes or so are sublime. So here’s Mr Pickett’s version, with a quite famous guitar man playing out the song:

And, if CC allows this series  to run for a wee while longer this will not be the only time Wilson Pickett features. ( ok seeing as it is Wilson - Ed)

Wait! You want Nana Mouskouri’s version too? (of course you do - Ed)

And here’s the now-obligatory portuguese version. And let me tell you this, they have played fast and loose with those lyrics

More next week

Tuesday 18 February 2020

The Blues Collection - Buddy Guy

2020 Charity Shop Purchase 11  - Buddy Guy - Stone Crazy

Apologies for non- Blues fans (probably the majority of you) but I am still trying to post my 2020 charity shop purchases chronilogically. Unfortunately for you then in addition to Bessie Smith (and Laura Marling) the third Troon purchase was another Blues number Stone Crazy by Buddy Guy.
Although, in fairness, I snuck Sandy Denny in in-between.

Another one from The Blues Collection; number 4 in the series and the 55th to appear on the shelves.
Given that such magazine series' topload the big hitters early doors it would appear that George (Buddy) Guy is held in great esteem.
Indeed, some boy called Eric Clapton proclaimed him to be the best blues guitarist alive.Mr Guy has been active since 1953 and is very much still with us at the age of 83. He is also ranked at number 23 in Rolling Stone's 100 Greatest Guitarists of All Time.

The CD sleeve states that it was only in 1991 that he received the accolades from the likes of Clapton, Jeff Beck and Mark Knopfler. However the CD concentrates on his work from the 1960s

On these pages, it is not just Buddy who has to suffer with the Blues!

Buddy Guy - Watch Yourself

Buddy Guy - I Got a Strange Feeling

Buddy Guy - I Suffer With the Blues

Monday 17 February 2020

Solo Sandy

I was quite surprised to discover that Sandy Denny has never graced these pages as a solo artist before . She has of course featured as part of Fairport Convention with the majestic Who Knows Where The Time Goes.

On the  Dutch Disky label from 2003 Heritage seems to have been part of a Folk series  with albums of the same name by The Incredible String Band, Fairport Convention, Tim Hart & Maddy Prior and Renaissance also appearing A charity purchase from a few years back, it is the only one in the series that I have.

A few years ago I  posted some different versions of Make Me a Pallet on Your Floor featuring Lucinda Williams,Gillian Welch and Mississippi John Hurt.
Not sure how I managed to miss out Sandy but better late than never I suppose.

Sandy Denny - The Last Thing on my Mind

Sandy Denny - Make Me a Pallet On Your Floor

Sunday 16 February 2020

Bessie Smith The Empress of the Blues

2020 Charity Shop Purchase 10 -  Bessie Smith - The Empress of the Blues 

No not The Blues Collection although Bessie Smith has featured as part of that series before
Oxfam in Troon has proved to be a happy hunting ground for Blues CDs and this visit was no exception.
The Empress of the Blues is a cheap and cheerful 23 track compilation of songs by the most popular female Blues singer of the 1920s and 30s.
Popular and controversial both in her lifestyle and in her songs.
Not only was she the Empress of the Blues she was also the Queen of the Ephemism and the Duchess of the Double Entendre.
I have not posted Need a Little Sugar in My Bowl as I am conscious that there are children and people of a nervous disposition out there. For the same reasons I shall forego Nobody in Town Can Bake a Sweet Jelly Roll Like Mine

According to Wiki  Smith advocated for a wider vision of African-American womanhood beyond domesticity, piety, and conformity; she sought empowerment and happiness through independence, sassiness, and sexual freedom. Although Smith was a voice for many minority groups and one of the most gifted blues performers of her time, the themes in her music were precocious, which led to many believing that her work was undeserving of serious recognition.

Here are a couple you may be familiar with and one which I suspect may well involve ephenisms.

Bessie Smith - Nobody Knows You When You're Down and Out

Bessie Smith - T'Ain't Nobody's Business If I Do

Bessie Smith - You've Been a Good Ole Wagon (But You Done Broke Down)

Saturday 15 February 2020

50 Americana Albums You Should Hear Before You Die - The Droma Tapes

Seven weeks into this series and man of Leith Dean Owens becomes the first artist to have appeared twice following him featuring in week two as the lead singer of the Felsons
Described by Irvine Welsh as Scotland's most engaging and haunting singer-songwriter

The Droma Tapes from 2001 is his first album as a solo artist and was recorded when he and the other artists who contribute to the album (Kevin Maguire,Marianne Campbell and Gary Martin)
 retreated to  a studio in an isolated cottage at Loch Droma in the Scottish Highlands . .
I actually won my signed copy in a Radio Scotland competition , one of two such albums acquired in this manner, the other being A Happy Pocket by The Trashcan Sinatras.
It has a wee bit of a folk and Celtic feel about it given the use of strings but he remains on the Americana shelves as opposed to the folk section chez CC.

I've decided not to feature the song New Mexico as it has featured here twice before once as part of George's epic State of the Union Series and once as a series of it's own New Mexican Monday a follow up to a series I did back in 2013 called Mexican Monday

Dean is an artist I've seen on numerous occasions both with the Felsons and in his own right, from his appearance at Hopeton House where he was rightly excited to besharing a stage with the likes of Little Feat, Steve Earle and Emmylou Harris to a pub in Glasgow in front of less that 20 paying punters.

I've got the first three of his records listed here but The Droma Tapes is the one I  have listened to most often and the one I keep coming back to.
He is still doing the rounds, Indeed one of my pals saw him recently and gave some positive feedback despite not recognising many of his newer tunes.

You should make a point of catching him if he pops up anywhere near you

Dean Owens - Strangers Again

Dean Owens - Anything

Friday 14 February 2020

Alas, I Cannot Swim

2020 Charity Shop Purchase 9  -  Laura Marling  - Alas, I Cannot Swim 

Oxfam in Troon had some original 60's Scott Walker vinyl albums which would have been rather nice to own, but not at £25 a pop.
Rather, I settled for 3 CDs  the first of which was Alas, I Cannot Swim, the 2008 debut album by Laura Marling on Virgin.
An album I previously had as a burn but one I was happy to upgrade to the real thing for 99p.

In a comment on a previous post  about  the follow up I Speak, Because I Can Spence, our Sheffield correspondent, commented that although I like LM, there's an inscrutability about her that I struggle to fathom. I would concur.

Her songs can be both sparse and  intense and  yet also somewhat quirky at the same time.
I quite like it but it is definitely not something you could listen to all the time. It is more music to dip in and out of. Probably best described as alternative Folk.

Laura Marling - Ghosts

Laura Marling - My Manic and I

Thursday 13 February 2020

Frankie Boy

2020 Charity Shop Purchase  8 - Frankie Miller - Darlin' - 7" single

Great British Male Blue  Eyed Soul singers?

Rod Stewart - yup

Steve Marriott - certainly

Marti Pellow?

Ladies and gentlemen I give you  Glasgow's finest Mr Frankie Miller

We were in a very blustery  Troon on Saturday as we were taking Mrs CC's mum for a birthday lunch. Afterwards we had time to hit a couple of charity shops before the weather beat us.
The Ayrshire Hospice shop had no CDs which is I suppose a sign of the times. It did however have some vinyl and I came away with a copy of Darlin' for 50p.

From 1978 it was the most successful of his four UK charting singles by a long chalk getting as high as number 6. One I'm sure that you will all recognise and one that you will  now find yourself singing to yourself sometime over the next few days

I was only fortunate enough to see Frankie once at the Glasgow Fleadh back in 1992 and he was very good indeed.
Sadly he suffered a brain haemorrhage in 1994 and after a few months in  a coma was unable to speak or  sing.  On a more positive note he is still going strong at the age of 70.

Described by Rod Stewart as the only white guy that's ever brought a tear to my eye

Frankie Miller - Darlin'

Frankie Miller - Drunken Nights in the City

Wednesday 12 February 2020

Soul Covers - Al Green does The Beatles

George writes:

Week 4 and still no country cover of a Beatles song, despite the inspiration of the series. Some might say this is deliberate, some might say it’s incompetence…………..Well, this week it’s a very very very famous song, it has sold twelve million copies. Man Alive that’s a lot. It had one million advance orders in the UK. I don’t think Mr Green sold that many, but this is simply splendid. It sounds like a Stax rather than a Hi! Recording, nevertheless it is on Hi!, and is on Al Green’s second album, Green Is Blues.

Did you know that Dollar covered I Want To Hold Your Hand? You do now, but for the sake of your wellbeing don’t go there. Did you know that two of Charity Chic’s friends like to dress up as Dollar? 
(see below - ed)

Oh, ok, here’s Dollar…..and watch the way Mrs Dollar sneaks up on Mr Dollar, she looks like she’s going to stab him………

And here’s your Portuguese version, which  translates as I Want to Love You, because “eu quero amar vocé” scans much better than “I quero agarrar seu mão” for “I want to hold your hand” The Fevers are Brasilian, and there’s a F***b**k page devoted to Brasilian covers of famous songs……

Another one next week.

CC writes:
Possibly the first (and last) time Dollar have graced these pages.
Still it gives me the opportunity to share the story that George alluded to of when a guy I know and his wife , both bottle blondes walked into the bar at Shawfield Greyhound Stadium in Glasgow. The barmaid looked up and uttered the classic line : "Bloody hell, here comes Dollar"

Tuesday 11 February 2020

Jim Ford Songs

I always thought that Harlan County by Jim Ford was pretty much a one off. What I was not aware of until my "research" for last Saturday's post was that he was also a pretty successful songwriter.

I knew from the sleevenotes that he had written 36 Inches High which appears on Nick Lowe's Jesus of Cool album.
He also wrote Harry Hippie (as opposed to Happy Hippy which I originally typed) which appeared on  Bobby Womack 's 1972 album Understanding.
He also co-wrote half a dozen songs with Bobby for the 1982 album The Poet II

His songs have also been covered by P.J.Proby, Aretha Franklin, Ronnie Wood, Brinsley Schwarz, Dave Edmunds and Bobbie Gentry.
In his biography Cruel to be Kind Nick Lowe says that Ford claimed that he was the writer of Bobbie Gentry's Ode to Billy Joe, a claim that Lowe finds plausible!

Nick Lowe - 36 Inches High

Bobby Womack - Harry Hippie

Bobby Womack - So Many Sides of You

Bobbie Gentry - Ode to Billy Joe

Monday 10 February 2020

Faulty Inner Dialogue

My first non- charity shop acquisition of 2020 was Faulty Inner Dialogue the 2016 third and at the moment final album by Kid Canaveral on Pictish Trail's Lost Map record label from the island of Eigg.
Although familiar with the name and the song First We Take Dumbarton it was only after seeing and picking up the album Broken Chanter, David McGregor's most recent project that I began to dig into the past in a wee bit more detail

David is joined by Kate Lazda who also comtributes a couple of songs,Rose McConnachire on bass, Scott McMaster on drums and Michael Craig on percussion.
The band is currently in hiatus as Kate has decided to take a break

I suspect this one will gain a seal of approval from Brian who met David when he was over for the Glasgow Blogger's Convention.

Kid Canaveral - Lifelong Crisis of Confidence

Kid Canaveral - Listen to Me

Sunday 9 February 2020


2020 Charity Shop Purchase  7 -  White Lies - Ritual

You know what it's like . You have picked 2 CDS from the 3 for 2 quid section and you are scrabbling about looking  for a third.
As you get more desperate you think sod it and take a punt on the first thing that catches your eye and/or remotely whets your curiosity.

This selection was pretty random. The name White Lies rang some vague bells and sure enough they generated a degree of hype around 2009 with numerous polls highlighting them as one to watch or the next big thing.
Also known as Fear of Flying they are a trio from Ealing in that London.
Ritual is their second album from 2011 on the Fiction label and was released to mixed reviews suggesting that either it's not very good or  that the hype had worn off .

In my eyes it is the former. It has a retro 80's vibe about it  but not necessarily in a good way and is full of dramatic over the top anthemic numbers which are really not my cup of tea at all. Bigger than Us , the first single from the album. is the only one  on the album that I could bring myself to share with you..
This one is going back.

On a more positive note it would not be out of place in Walter's Purchased Because of the Cover Series given the excellent picture of Alice and Jessica Hartridge

White Lies - Bigger Than Us

Saturday 8 February 2020

50 Americana Albums You Should Hear Before You Die - Harlan County

An obscure lost classic for you this week in the shape of Harlan County by Jim Ford  which was originally recorded in 1969  and which for a while was the only music by him committed to record.
It went pretty much unnoticed for  almost thirty years until  the song Harlan County was "rediscovered " by Dave Woodhead a friend of Andy Kershaw. This led to Kershaw featuring it on his radio show to great acclaim and including it on a compilation modestly entitled Great Moments in Vinyl History. 
This in turn led to a re-release of the album in 1997 on the Edsel/Demon  Records  label the original having been on Sundown Records as featured on the album cover.

The album features brothers Pat and Lolly Vegas and the booklet features a picture of their album At the Haunted House.I spent a few years trying to track it down. When I eventually did sadly it turned out to be not that good

In 1971 a band called Brinsley Schwarz (you may have heard of them) were hired to provide back up for a follow up album.
Nick Lowe (you msy have heard of him) says we spend three days in Olympic Studios, London trying to play with Jim but frankly we weren't good enough.
After we were fired the Grease Band were called in to have a go and they fared no better than us.
The album never saw the light of day.

I've just read that Jim Ford wrote Harry Hippy for Bobby Womack! Wiki advises that Nick Lowe describes Ford as his biggest musical influence and Sly Stone called him the baddest white man on the planet.
Ford was found dead early in the evening of Sunday, November 18, 2007, in his trailer home, by the Mendocino County Sheriff's department
Bear Records subsequently released a couple of albums of rare and unreleased material.

JC has a series called Some Songs  Are Great Short Stories. The song Harlan County is a novel in itself.

Where the cold winds blow and the crops don't grow
A man's tired of livin' when he's twenty
I was diggin' hard coal at twelve years old
Way down in Harlan County

Jim Ford - Harlan County

Jim Ford - I'm Gonna Make Her Love Me

Friday 7 February 2020

Bright Eyes - Motion Sickness

My 6th charity shop purchase of 2020 and the 2nd from the 3 for £2 selection from Oxfam is Motion Sickness by Bright Eyes.
On Team Love in the US and Saddle Creek in the UK and from 2005 it is a live album documenting their I'm Wide Awake,It's Morning tours from the first half of 2005.

Being Conor Oberst it is somewhat eccentric and idiocyncratic.From the brilliant to the not so brilliant. For me on this one the good outweighs the bad so it is definitely a keeper.

That's a couple of his that I have picked up in charity shops recently.

They had a single called Motion Sickness in 2000. It does not feature on this record.

Bright Eyes - Make War

Bright Eyes - Landlocked Blues

Thursday 6 February 2020


Alongside Zeke Manyika's Call and Response album I came away with 3 CDs for £2 from Oxfam in Victoria Road

The first and so technically my 5th charity shop purchase was Captured by Trish Murphy an artist that I had previously picked up another one of her albums Rubies in the Lawn as a random charity shop purchase

This one from 2001 is the follow up and was recorded live in June and July 2001 in the Saxon pub and Flipnotics Coffespace in Austin, Texas. and was released independently on Southbound Records.

Aftet an initial listen the jury is still out as to whether  it is a keeper or not.
This leads me to a counting dilema .Do I subject you to all the charity purchases (the good and the not so good) and how do I list them?
Is it numerically for all or do I differentiate between keeps and returns? Or both ie 20 purchases - 16 kept 4 returned? (sounds a good ratio)

First world problems, eh?
Views welcomed

Trish Murphy - St Francis Rose

Trish Murphy - Vanilla Sun

Wednesday 5 February 2020

Country Covers - Dolly Parton does Led Zeppelin

George writes -

Can you guess what it is yet?

I’ve been looking through some Johnny Cash albums for a good cover of a very very very famous song, specifically a Beatles cover, but I was cringing when I played his version of In My Life so I thought I’d look elsewhere. What other country singer might have done a Beatles song? Dolly Parton absolutely murders Help!| and not in a good way. My mind then wandered to Coat Of Many Colours,  covered by Billy Connolly, who does it remarkably well, but it’s a country cover of a country song so it can’t be included. So instead it’s Stairway To Heaven. My dilemma is this: is Stairway To Heaven a very very very famous song? Consider the first two songs in the series and I defy you to find any one who is not familiar with either song. Well, maybe some surly and stroppy teenagers, but anyone older? They will ALL be familiar with said songs. Stairway To Heaven is not in the same category, and certainly not as good as Rivers of Babylon (Boney M or Steve Earle versions) but I’m labelling it as Pretty Damned Famous. And Ms Parton does a splendid  country-bluegrass version, with the added bonus of no Jimmy Page guitar histrionics

And, Praise Be! Here’s a version in Portuguese, and see if you can get past the choral bits at 40 seconds.
“Há uma mulher que pensa que todo brilha é douro”

I think Claudio and Sérgio are Brasilian.. And that’s my own attempt at translating.

Another cover next week, and it can certainly be classed as Very Very Very Famous

CC writes:
Fortunately I don't have the original to hand or the version by Heart

Tuesday 4 February 2020

Call and Response

Call and Response a 1985 album by Zeke Manyika on the Polydor label is my 4th charity shop purchase of 2020. Bought for £1.99 in Oxfam on Glasgow's Victoria Road.

Bought primarily for the song Kelvingrove which I used to have on cassette and which has long been a favourite of mine.
Zeke was born in Zimbabwe  but has spent most of his life in Britain including Glasgow were Kelvingrove Park is located.
He was the drummer in Orange Juice from 1982 to 1984 playing on their massive hit Rip It Up.
He also played on Edwyn Collin's solo album Hope and Despair

He has also featured on records by The Style Council and The The.

It joins his1988 album Mastercrime and the 1989  12 inch single Love You Feel on the  shelves.

Zeke Manyika - Kelvingrove

Zeke Manyika - Call and Response

Monday 3 February 2020

Celtic Connections Review

Well that's the first three concerts of the year attended all courtesy of Celtic Connections.
One which I suspect may not be surpassed, one which will hopefully be the worst one I go to and one somewhere in the middle.

Monday 20th January - Iris DeMent - Royal Concert Hall  7/10
Surprisingly the Concert Hall was not quite sold out for Iris DeMent.
The support was from Pieta Brown who seemed very nice but who's music was instantly forgetable.
You wouldn't forget Iris' unique voice. She alternated between piano and guitar.I was not familiar with any of the songs as none from the two albums I have featured. She ws joined by Celtic Connections stalwards John McCusker and Mike McGoldrick who performed with their usual aplomb
Folk Radio UK wrote that she gave  a profoundly satisfying performance at the crossroads of country, folk and gospel, playing intricate melodies and singing in an edgy, versatile voice that sounds alluringly rooted in the past.

Sunday 26th January Roaming Roots Revue presents: Born to Run:70th Birthday Tribute to Bruce Springsteen. 10/10
Roddy Frame's annual tribute concert where he is joined by his band the Lonsesome Fire and a handful of guests
This year he was joined by Lisa Hannigan, Ryan Bingham, Craig Finn of The Hold SteadyThe Rails,Karine Polwart , Jonathan Wilson and Phil Campbell the former  frontman of The Temperance Movement.
Every one of them were absolutely brilliant with Craig Finn and Phil Campbell for me being absolute revalations. And kudos to Karine Polwart for her choice of songs the originals of which are featured below.
Such was the demand that an additional concert was put on on the Monday in the Old Fruitmarket.
Here is a great review from Murray over at  Everything Flows on that one complete with setlist

Thursday 30th January - Kacy& Clayton - CCA  4/10 (and that's me being extremely generous).
They were appallingly bad - totally disjointed and disorganised and for cousins there was a total lack of chemistry between them.
Clayton can't sing, the guitar riffs were all the same with only the harmony vocals being just about passable.
This was a huge disappointment to me as The Sirens Song is avery good album and we went to see them on the strength of that.
Support act Avocet were much better but then again that wouldn't be hard
As we were leaving early (we were by no means the first) Kacy announced "we are the most unprofessional band in the world" which just about sums it up.

All in all an intersting start to the year!

Bruce Springsteen - The Ghost of Tom Joad

Bruce Springsteen - The Rising

Sunday 2 February 2020

Andy Gill RIP

Very sad to read that Andy Gill guitarist with Gang of Four has passed away at only 64.
A band that I only have a couple of albums by but one who have a well deserved reputation as  politcally sound post punk performers.And it was also music you could shake your booty to.
That he passed away just after we exited the UK  makes his passing  all the more galling.

Rest easy Andy

Gang of Four - To Hell With Poverty

Gang of Four - At Home He's a Tourist

Gang of Four - I Love a Man in Uniform

Saturday 1 February 2020

50 Americana Albums You Should Hear Before You Die - Country Love Songs

You can't really go wrong with a Robbie Fulks album with the exception of Let's Kill Saturday Night  when he briefly left Bloodshot for the mainstream Geffen label.

My go to Robbie Fulks record is always his debut from 1996 Country Love Songs  album number BS011 on Chicago's Bloodshot label. Although his early years were spend in North Carolina Robbie is very much a Chicago instituition.
I think I first heard hin on the Andy Kershaw radio show with She Took a Lot of Pills And Died.That was enough to make me track down the album.
That song won't feature today as it has featured here before on a couple if occassions. Similarly Rock Bottom,Pop.1 and Papa Was a Steel-Headed Man have also graced these pages.
Therefore you are getting another couple of numbers from the album. Don't worry though there is no reduction in quality.

There are at least another dozen albums out there plus collaborations with The Mekons and Linda Gail Lewis  along  with countless contributions to Bloodshot compilations

Described by Jack Weaver on allmusic as cleverly twisted, deliciously irreverent, and one of the best of the new country singer/songwriters
In No Depression magazine Kevin Roe writes Country Love Songs touches all of the right traditional country bases in showcasing Fulks’ knack for memorable melodies and gleefully left-of-center lyrics 

No home should be without this album. For people who don't think they like country music

Robbie Fulks - Every Kind of Music But Country

Robbie Fulks - The Buck Stops Here