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Tuesday 30 June 2020

Interpreter

From 1996 on the Echo label Interpreter is the 13th solo studio album by Julian Cope and his last before he started distributing his music independently. It is also the last of the 7 albums by him that grace  the shelves at CCHQ.
It is an album that was inspired by Cope's involvement in the Newbury bypass protests and other environmental concerns.Being Julien the prospect of extra-terrestrial travel also pops up from time to time.
It was reasonably well received by the critics but was not particuarly commercially successful reaching only number 39 in the UK album chart his lowest since 1988. None of his independantly released records have troubled the charts.
None of which would have bothered Cope in the slightest as he has always followed his own path.

The album cover depicts the standing stones of Cairnholy in south west Scotland

He does indeed come from another planet baby.

Julian Cope - I Come From Another Planet Baby

Julian Cope - Re-Directed Male




Monday 29 June 2020

Heaven or Hell 10


A much closer contest that the week before  last week with Waxahatchee's Hell trumping Steve Earle and the Dukes' Heaven Ain't Going Nowhere by 6 votes to 3 or 7-3 if you count Rol's voting twice as jiggery pokery .

That makes it now Hell 7 Heaven 2 which may well be a commentary on this blog's demography.
Can Heaven redeem itself this week?
It is maybe time that we called in a Heavenly  big hitter. So here are Tavares with Heaven Must Be Missing an Angel.
But wait, let's put it up against another big hitter in the form of Neil Diamond with Hell Yeah and see what happens.

Heaven or Hell, the choice is yours.


Tavares - Heaven Must Be Missing An Angel


Neil Diamond - Hell Yeah

Sunday 28 June 2020

Testifying


 London's Casual Records who had previously delivered the two great compilations Country Got Soul volumes 1 and 2  pitched up at the studio in Dan Penn's house in Nashville  between 31st January and 11th February 2004 and recorded Testifying by The Country Soul Revue.
This features the likes of Dan Penn, Tony Joe White , Larry Jon Wilson, Billy Swann, Bonnie Bramlett, Reggie Young, David Hood, Spooner Oldham, etc a veritable who's who of the great and the good of Southern Country and Soul

Most of not all of these artists have graced these pages before either from this album or from elsewhere.It's about time that some of them features here again
George Soule is probaby better know as a songwriter writing songs for the likes of Roy Orbison and Bobby "Blue" Bland but also has a wonderful voice.
Larry Jon Wilson popped up in my Friday Three Names series and does great story telling songs. David Hood on bass and Spooner Oldham spreading hisWurlitzer over the top of the song with  his trademark jelly
Donnie Fritts who adly passed away in August 2019 was a Muscle Shoals keyboard and singer.His main claim to fame was probably co-writing Breakfast in Bed a song made famous by Dusty Sprjngfied along with the late Eddie HInton. Accoring to the sleevenotes he has a voice like acup of sausage gravy-warm and lumpy

The Country Soul Review ft George Soule - It's Over

The Country Soul Review ft Larry Jon White - Sapelo

The Country Soul Review ft Donnie Fritts - Adios Amigo



Saturday 27 June 2020

50 Americana Albums You Should Hear Before You Die - Not The Tremblin' Kind


Laura Cantrell's first two album Not the Tremblin' Kind (2000) and When The Roses Bloom Again (2002) both on the Spit & Polish/Shoeshine label are both absolute must haves.
However one of the rules of this series is that only one album per artist can feature and after a fair bit of soul searching and mind changing I have come down in favour of the debut album as you can see from the picture above
Indeed it is hard to argue with an album which none other that John Peel declared was his favourite album of the last ten years and possibly my life
Three songs from the album made Peel's Festive Fifty for 2020
There are some terrific songs on that list and  another couple of artists on there may feature in this series in due course.


There isn't a duff track on the album and any of them could have featured.
Having said that you will not often come across three songs in a row as good as 5 - Two Seconds (written by Robert McCready) 6 - Churches Off the Interstate (written by Laura) and 7 - The Whiskey Makes You Sweeter (written by Amy Allison).
As an added bonus my copy is signed by her from the time I saw her play in Glasgow's Ramshorn Theatre which is a lovely old church
Did I saw it's a must have? If you don't have this album in your life you really need to catch yourself on.


Laura Cantrell - Two Seconds

Laura Cantrell - Churches Off The Interstate

Laura Cantrell - The Whiskey Makes You Sweeter

Friday 26 June 2020

The Sun is Shining


There is a strange orange thing in the sky which they tell me is called the Sun.
So if you are not crammed in cheek by jowl on Bournemouth beach it is surely an opportunity to bop your blues away with some wonderful songs fron the wonderful Sun Records.

We start with the Killer who has surely met some mean women in his time. Then we are off to the jungle for a bit of Ubangi Stomping prior to Bopping the Blues with the great Carl Perkins.

Let's rock

Jerry Lee Lewis - Mean Woman Blues

Carl Mann - Ubangi Stomp

Carl Perkins - Boppin' The Blues




Thursday 25 June 2020

Rosalie


The live version of the Bob Seeger song Rosalie by Thin Lizzy popped up on the i-pod the other day and I felt a great desire to share it with you.
It's worth it for Crumlin's finest Phil Lynott's introduction alone and his pronunciation of Rosalie.
I don't have the Bob Seeger version or anything else by him for that matter.

And while I'm in this kind of a mood, which isn't very often I must admit, let's continue the rock anthem theme with The Boys Are Back in Town from the Jailbreak album.(2011 Deluxe edition no less)

Normal service will be resumed tomorrow - probably

Thin Lizzy - Rosalie (Live)

Thin Lizzy - The Boys Are Back in Town




Wednesday 24 June 2020

Second is better than first, Part 1.


He's back with a new series!

George writes:


I’m sure many of us have read about “second album syndrome”, or something about “the difficult follow-up album”. Or might have thought such a thing when playing The Beauty Stab. Some bands never recover from this, not just ABC. The Flying Burrito Brothers are another example, but it is quite possible that Gram Parsons’ antics did not help in that case. The Gang Of Four also spring to mind. That’s not to say that these bands never released a decent song or decent-ish album. Oh No. Although ABC never did.  And The Smiths recovered their form, quite majestically with the release of their third album (The Queen is Dead). 



But some acts make a second album that is better than their first. You, dear reader, are free to disagree with my choices, and can argue your case below (or possibly in a piece for these pages). And that’s not to say that the first album is necessarily bad. It can even be a fine album. But the follow-up is better. This is the case with today’s selection, the majestic “Celebrate The Bullet” album by The Selecter.
The debut, Too Much Pressure, was a fine debut, very much a ska album, some great pop songs and clever lyrics, and featuring only one duff track. Absolutely not this one:

But musically, it’s a bit one-dimensional. The follow-up was a slight change or adaptation of musical direction, still some outright ska songs (“Bristol and Miami”), some with ska influences (“Bomb scare”) and some with a post-punk/new wave feel (“Their dream goes on”). It’s, well, just more sophisticated.  And man alive it is a dark album, with not a cheery song on it. 

I’ve just discovered that many people’s least favourite DJ, that cretinous, odious buffoon Mike Read would not play the single Celebrate The Bullet, once again showing his remarkable ignorance and stupidity. Quite clearly the lyric “Do you really have to prove it, 'cause you know it won't bring them back to you, back to you” has a different meaning to the clown than the rest of us. Such is the man’s idiocy I’m surprised he’s not a minister for Culture in the Cummings/Johnson UK government.


Some of the tracks reflect the political atmosphere in the time, such as Bombscare, the title track, Bristol and Miami, and there’s some less-than-cheery sentiments in Selling Out Your Future and Red Reflections. Overall, I think it’s a remarkably powerful album, and far far superior to Too Much Pressure. It’s an album that I still play often, much more so than the debut.

The making of Celebrate The Bullet caused two original band members to leave, and shortly after its release the group disbanded. Maybe its relative failure and (idiotically) critical reviews played their part.

Thank you kindly.

CC writes:
Feel free to agree or disagree
Celebrate the Bullet is an album I'm not familiar with at all. I don't even recognise the cover. So I have found this educational.
George advises that he has a few more up his sleeve. I'll also offer up one or two but it's harder than you think. If anyone else wants to join the party you are more than welcome - one song from the first album and two from the second.



Tuesday 23 June 2020

King of Madrid


More Americana for you today - apologies if this is not your kind of thing.
Americana from England courtesy of Peter Bruntnell or perhaps technically from New Zealand given he was born there prior to moving to Kingston upon Thames when he was a year old. Apropos of nothing he is exactly 6 months younger than me.
George kindly pointed his 2019 album King of Madrid on the Domestico label in my direction and very good it is too.
Seeing as how it is relatively new you are only getting the one track namely the opener Broken Wing which is the story of a young person trying to escape from a fundamentalist cult.

It is his tenth album but the first of his I've heard since around the turn of the century when I saw him live on a few occasions. Here are a couple from his songs which I have on Loose Records compilations from that period.

Peter Bruntnell - Broken Wing

Peter Bruntnell - Darling I Suppose

Peter Bruntnell - Here Come The Swells

Monday 22 June 2020

Heaven or Hell 9


Well that was rhe most one-sided contest since the last North Korean presidential election.
Sincere apologies to the Elgins only Alyson saved them from a 12-0 drubbing.
In retrospect it was grossly unfair to put them (or anyone else for that matter) up against Curtis Mayfield.
The scores on the doors are now Hell 6 Heaven 2 . I think that I have just about enough material to make it first to 10 the winner.

Today we have two songs from recent albums for you to choose from. Hopefully it will be a wee bit closer that last week.
In the heavenly corner we have Heaven Ain't Going Nowhere the opening track of Ghosts of West Virginia  the latest album by Steve Earle and the Dukes which examines the role of coal mining in Appalachia and which features songs from the play Coal Country in which Earle stars.(Rolling Stone)

In the hellish corner we have  the equally powerful St Cloud by Waxahatchee where Katie Crutchfield creates a vivid modern classic of folk and Americana .(Pitchfork)

Heaven or Hell, the choice is yours.

Steve Earle & the Dukes - Heaven Ain't Going Nowhere

Waxahatchee - Hell

Sunday 21 June 2020

Tex Mex Sunday


It's Tex Mex Sunday here on CCM courtesy of Los Texmaniacs and their album Americana Groove from 2015 on the Line in the Sand label.
A conjunto band set up by Max Baca in Alburquerque in 1997 and a band very much influenced by The Texas Tornados.
Americano Groove is their 6th album and enjoys guest appearances from the likes of Alejandro Escovedo, Kevin Fowler,Joe Ely and Rick Trevino.

From the tax dodgers:
Star-studded 2015 studio recording from multi-Grammy winner Max Baca y Los Texmaniacs. Max is known to be the premier bajo sexto player today - he is to the bajo sexto what Flaco Jimenez is to accordion in the roots music scene. This album is evenly shared with English-language/country and rock and Spanish-language/Tex Mex tinged repertoire. It also features guest appearances by some very special artists - Alejandro Escovedo, Kevin Fowler, Joe Ely, Rick Trevino, Augie Meyers, and David Hidalgo. The album was produced by Steve Berlin.

I obviously missed a couple of the guests

Los Texmaniacs feat. Alejandro Escovedo - Dow in the Barrio

Los Texmaniacs feat Kevin Fowler - Adios Mamacita

Los Texmaniacs - Muchasos Alegres

Saturday 20 June 2020

50 Americana Albums You Should Hear Before You Die - Satisfied Mind


Woah we're half way there as Jon Bon Jovi once badly sang.

Yes, this week we have number 25 of 50 and to celebrate you are getting Satisfied Mind by the Walkabouts the greatest covers album of all time. As and added bonus you are getting a picture of the cover which is a photo of Herman in the Wheatfield and which is on of the great album covers.

From 1993 on the Sub Pop label (I suspect it will be the only Sub Pop record in the series) it is their 6th album of 13th. I've another three and good as they are quite frankly they are not in the same league or even on the same planet.

A Satisfied Mind also know as Satisfied Mind was written by Joe "Red" Hayes and Jack Rhodes was a major hit for Porter Wagoner.It has been covered around 50 times and I have a good few of those versions.
The one on this album is the best of the lot and is one of the songs I want played at my funeral (along with You're Still On My Mind by the Byrds and Green Fields of France by The Men They Couldn't Hang)

Money can't buy back

Your youth when you're old
Or a friend when you're lonely
Or a love that's grown cold

The other 12 songs on the album are of an (almost) equally high standard. Realistically I could have chosed any of them and  they would be the 2nd and 3rd best songs that you will hear today.
I've gone for covers of songs by Nick Cave and Charlie Rich




Friday 19 June 2020

Destroy That Boy!



Destroy That Boy! -More Girls with Guitars  from 2009 on the Ace label is a sequel to  2004's Girls with Guitars
Twenty four tracks from girl bands from the 60's. I'll let Ace give you the blurb so that I don't have to.
A combination of covers and originals.
From a short list of about half a dozen I've narrowed it done to three with a caveat that I reserve the right to revisit it in due course.

The Termites were sisters Rita and Tina Layzell and Tell Me is a1965 cover of a Rolling Stones number. Not to be confused with The Termites a psychobilly band from Kilmarnock who may be familiar to Craig our Ayrshire correspondent. Must ask my brother if he knows of them.

The Liverbirds were an all -girl group from Liverpool (surprisingly) and were active from 1963-1968 making them one of the first all female rock'n'roll bands in the world and one of the very few in the Merseyside scene. Not to be confused with Beryl (Polly James)  and Sandra (Nerys Hughes). from the BBC TV  sit com. I can feel a Half Man Half Biscuit sing coming on.

The She Trinity were a Canadian/British act who rarely for the period all played their own instruments. One of their members Eileen Woodman went on to play keyboards with Billy Connolly and Gerry Rafferty in the Humblebums. Another member Pauline Moran became an actor and appeared on Agatha Christie's Poirot. Top trivia there

The Termites - Tell Me

The Liverbirds - Talking About You

She Trinity - Climb That Tree

Thursday 18 June 2020

Devoid of Ideas


I'm struggling a little for ideas at the moment - suggestions welcome

In an act of desperation I had a quick search in my hard drive for songs with idea in the title and just about managed to come up with three.

The first one will be no stranger to most of you as it is A Good Idea the second song on Sugar's masterpiece of an album Copper Blue.
The other two are a bit more obscure - to me at any rate
Pearl Charles is a singer/songwriter from Los Angeles. Wiki writes that her sound is a melding of  1960's rock and 1970's cosmic country a description which sound highly promising.
Idea to Her was a 2015 Record Day exclusive which subsequently appeared on Bandcamp I've no idea how it crossed my radar

I know how Stay Voiceless crossed my radar. Clue - they are Welsh. Answer obviously courtesy of our old pal The Robster and more than likely from his wonderful Welsh Wednesday series.
Again we turn to Wiki - born of boredom and frustration in the depths of South Wales they draw influence from the 90's alternative scene and are here to make /ruin your day.

Finally a quick search on Google takes us from a Welsh splendid racket to some Australian power pop with the title track of Orson's 2006 debut album.

Sugar - A Good Idea

Pearl Charles - Idea to Her

Stay Voiceless - These Kids Have No Idea




Wednesday 17 June 2020

The Doubts are Beginning to Mount



Edinburgh band  Mt. Doubt are a firm favourite here at CCM HQ
They have a new album coming out shortly on Last Night From Glasgow and I for one am looking forward to that .
If you can't wait until then they have an excellent  back catalogue of songs on Neil Wilson's  ever excellent Scottish Fiction label which are available on bandcamp
One which caught my eye recently and which features the song below is their 2018 EP This Must Mean Something Awful which is available on a yellow cassette if that is your thing or digitally on a name your price basis.


I don't do Facebook so have missed many of the acoustic sets that bands have put on during lockdown. I've managed to pick up a couple though via Twitter and You Tube including this rather lovely number  
The vocals come courtesy of Leo Bargery and if the young lady looks familiar that is because she is none other than Annie Booth who has graced these pages before with her solo work.






Mt. Doubt - A Head to the Kerb Stone


Tuesday 16 June 2020

The American in Me


Going Down to Laurel by Steve Forbert from his 1978 debut album Alive on Arrival popped up on the i-pod the other day and I surprised myself by singing along word perfect.
I thought about posting it but it has been on  here before and there are three other Steve Forbert albums on the shelves which are probably due an airing.
So here are a couple from 1992's The American in Me the most modern one I have.Not as good as his earlier offerings but these two just about pass muster
All bought cheaply from Echo in Byres Road many moons ago.
I wasn't sure that I'd seen him live but my pal was adamant that we saw him once  in Edinburgh. Sure enough my ticket tin confirms that  we saw him in the Subway in the Cowgate which has given me an idea for a mini-series

Steve Forbert - Responsibility

Steve Forbert - The American in Me

Monday 15 June 2020

Heaven or Hell 8


Jonny will be delighted to know that round these parts the Aces are held in higher esteem than the Mavericks. High praise indeed.
After a mini heavenly revival we know find ourselves back down below with the scores now being
 Hell  5 Heaven  2.
After an all Country contest last week it is now Soul's turn.

In the Heaven corner we have Motown vocal group The Elgins with their most famous song Heaven Must Have Send You.
They have a tough gig given that they are up against the mighty Curtis Mayfield with (Don't Worry) If There's a Hell Below , We're All Going to Go.

Heaven or Hell, the choice is yours.

The Elgins - Heaven Must Have Sent You

Curtis Mayfied - (Don't Worry) If There's a Hell Below,We're All Going to Go



Sunday 14 June 2020

Rose City Band


Regular readers who are familiar with the songs I post will guess correctly that I am not  particularly a fan of  the modern psychedelic music that many of my contemporaries enjoy.
There are however one or two exceptions.
I am quite taken with Rose City Band a side project of Ripley Johnson of Wooden Shjips and  Moon Duo fame.
Rose City Band started out purely as a recording project with Ripley stating I always would threaten to my friends that I’m gonna start a country rock band so I can retire and just play down at the pub every Thursday night during happy hour. I love being able to tour and travel, but I also like the idea of having a local band … more of a social music experience.”

Again anyone familiar with my blog will know that I am partial to a country song or two so these are right up my street.
Fortunately Ripley seems to be fairly prolific. The eponymous debut album, from which the song below, is taken is from 2019. I think it first came to my attention via Walter
Good though it is his follow up from this year Summerlong is even better
Sunday morning coming down music.

Rose City Band - Me and Willie


Saturday 13 June 2020

50 Americana Albums You Should Hear Before You Die - Blue Notes


Some smokey stripped back Americana for you this week courtesy of Paul Burch & the WPA Ballclub with Blue Notes his third album from 2000 on Merge Records in the States and on Glasgow's Spit & Polish/Shoeshine Records in the UK.
Lots of pedal steel, slide guitar and a tight rhythm section.
Slow, sad and blue
I featured this over 5 years ago and I find it quite reassuring that I have opted for the same two songs this time round. Quality endures.
My previous post saves me raiding the ticket box by informing me that I saw him on 7th May 2001 in Glasgow's Tron Victorian Bar paying £5 for the privilege.My CD of the album was £5.99 and was purchased in Missing Records.
Up until now I was not aware that he was also a member of Lambchop at the time that this was released but we wont hold that against him.
He is still recording and has released 14 albums to date.
Shockingly none of the other ones are on the shelves apart from a copy of 1998's Wire to Wire with what looks like George's scrawly handwriting on the cover.

Paul Burch & the WPA Ballclub -Forever Yours

Paul Burch & the WPA Ballclub - Tonight, Tonight

Friday 12 June 2020

Legendary Wild Rockers


Gentle traditional folk music yesterday legendary wild rockers today.

Keb Darge and Little Edith's Legendary Wild Rockers (subtitled a collection of rare Rockabilly, Surf and Exotica) from 2011 on the BBE label is the first in a series of compilations. I think that there may be 5 Volumes in the series.
Another one copied from the record library and one which would set you back over 20 quid were you to visit Discogs
Keb is a Scottish DJ and producer in the genres of Northern Soul, Deep Funk,Garage Punk and Rockabilly music, so an all round good  egg
I can't find a bio for Edith so hopefully someone can fill in the blanks.
The good news/bad news depending on what you think of these three tracks is that there are another seventeen to go. You will recognise the last one from a famous cover.

Ron Thompson His Rowdy Guitar & the Broughmans - Switchblade

Brother Zee & the Decadeswith the Mike Mekto Combo - Sha-Boom Bang

Ronnie Cook & the Gaylords - The Goo Goo Muck



Thursday 11 June 2020

Some Bonnie Music



During Sunday dinner the i-pod came up with a song called You Never Wanted Me.I wasn't sure who the artist  singing  it was but was suitably intrigued to get up to find out.
As the picture above implies it was by Bonnie Dobson who is a Canadian folk singer who was part of the folk scene in the 60's.
She is probably best known for having written the folk standard  Morning Dew. which is a song often accredited to Tim Rose. Dobson alleges that Rose first heard it when Fred Neil recorded her original and subsequently receing 75% of the songwriting royalties .
Interseting though the above is it is not one of the two songs I have on the hard drive. I have no idea where they were downloaded from.
She married and moved to London in 1969 before retining from singing in the 80's. She then performed with Jarvis Cocker in 2007 before reasing her first album for 38 years in 2014


Wednesday 10 June 2020

Covers 22. Stevie Wonder does Bob Dylan


George writes:
Many many weeks ago, actually the very second song in this interminable series, I posted  a Stevie Wonder cover of a Beatles song. And I’m sure CC himself made a derogatory comment about Steveland’s cover of Blowin In The Wind. And because we like a lot of the same songs I crossed it off the list. Well dear reader, it’s back, and it’s right here right now! And CC was wrong, I’d forgotten how good this is:




And you’re very lucky to have Zé Ramalho’s version for your pleasure:






Zé Ramalho is a very famous singer, in Brazil.  According to wikipedia his lyrics  “are very influenced by the socio-economic difficulties faced by the average Brazilian.” Christ, he’s got his plenty of material now that Brazil has that lunatic Bolsinaro in charge.


CC writes:  Stll think Stevie's version is poor but I like Zé's
And that folks is sadly the end of the series as George has run out of steam and inspiration.
I'm sure you'll all agree that it has been educational.
Wednesdays are going to be that bit duller from now on in.

Thanks George

Tuesday 9 June 2020

A Couple of Zoomers


Two songs today from albums I retreived from the shelves during Saturday's Zoom session with my pals. You have to take your inspiration where you can in these troubling times.

The first follows us discussing the death of Steve Priest earlier last week. There can only be one song. One I remember from my primary school discos and which still sounds fantastic to this day.
Are you ready Steve?

The other is from Swiss Family Orbison a short lived Dundee power pop band  with links to Deacon Blue and Danny Wilson. This one came about as we were discussing  friends you have known for the longest time and one of my pals advised that he has known one of the band members since he was four.

Tenious links granted but I refer you to the second sentence above

Sweet - The Ballroom Blitz

The Swiss Family Orbison - I'm in Love

Monday 8 June 2020

Heaven or Hell 7


And last week's winner is ...... R.E.M
A unanomous victory for Heaven making it two in a row and the beginning of a comeback.I make that Hell 4 Heaven 2
Where as most folk rightly expressed a preference for R.E.M. from their I.R.S. days there is no denying than Near Wild Heaven is a far, far better song than Burning Hell.

Can Heaven make it three in a row as two country songs go  head to head.
In the smooth country corner we have The Mavericks with their cover of Bruce Springsteen's All That Heaven Will Allow.
In the raw country corner we have The Ponderosa Aces with Raising Hell in Honky Tonks .
Not that I am trying to influemce things can I mention that our good friend JTFL was a Ponderosa Ace albeit that he is not playing bass on this one.

Heaven or Hell the choice is yours. The Mavs or the Aces.

The Mavericks - All That Heaven Will Allow

The Ponderosa Aces - Raising Hell in Honky Tonks

Sunday 7 June 2020

Delta Swamp Rock


I'm really enjoying the slightly psychedelic country rock feel of Summerlong by Rose City Band but not to the extent that I am willing to fork out over 25 quid for the album.

So today I am settling for Delta Swamp Rock Volume 2 - More Sounds from the South 1968-75 -At the Crossroads of Rock, Country and Soul.
I see on Amazon that this would set me back 30 quid. The world has gone crazy
From the record library from the days when libraries were still open and did that sort of thing.

Apologies - I had intended to share No Fence Around Me by Joe South but my burning software is getting to 80% but no further.
Hopefully these three tracks will suffice

Bobbie Gentry - Touch 'Em With Love

Tony Joe White -Who's Making Love

Gregg Allman- Midnight Rider


Saturday 6 June 2020

50 Americana Albums You Should Hear Before You Die - Golden Age of Radio





There are three Josh Ritter albums on the shelves - his 2nd Golden Age of Radio (2002), 3rd Hello Starling (2003) and  4thThe Animal Years (2006)
Looking at previous posts in this series 1998 -2002 was probably around the time that I hit peak Americana
Hello Starling is good but a bit smooth and The Animal Years has some of his greatest songs on it However it will always be The Golden Age, the first of his albums to be released nationally (on the Signature label) following on from his epoymous self-released debut, which I would go for first
It earned him comparisons with Nick Drake, Bob Dylan and Neil Young. I can't really see the first two but Mr Young maybe
Interesting facts.
  • He is the first artist from Moscow to have featured in this series - that ir Moscow, Idaho.
  • He has always enjoyed a large following in Ireland
  • He was formerly married to fellow Americana artis Dawn Landes
  • This may not be correct but I have it in my head that he lived in Barcelona for a while (got my Josh's mixed up it was Josh Rouse as Ernie kindly pointed out)
The two songs I've posted are a homage to small town America at a time when life was much simpler. Oh, and they namecheck Townes Van Zandt and Patsy Cline and the Grand Ole Opry for good measure




Friday 5 June 2020

Random Acts of Musical Kindness 2


The other day on Twitter I see a post from Lloyd Merideth head honcho of Glasgow record label Olive Grove
He was offering to pop a  free random CD through the letterboxes of folk in nearby areas of Glasgow's Southside while out for his daily Government sanctioned  walk.
I thought I might be out the catchment area but I dropped him a line just in case.
He got back to me straightaway to say he was reasonably close and  that he  would add me to his list.
Then last Friday I got back from work in the sweltering heat to find a lovely wrapped wee parcel in my front porch.
It was a copy of System Hold an EP by Jo Mango & Friends which was very pleasing as I have also got Wrack Lines by them. She also appears alongside A Wesley Chung  who as Circle Meets Dot are responsible for Volume 5 one of the highlights of the Archipelago series

The EP is the result of a collaboration that saw Jo team-up with internationally-renowned criminologist Professor Fergus McNeill (Emerald Publishing) to soundtrack his new book, Pervasive Punishment. More details here

Thank you Lloyd

Thursday 4 June 2020

Bible And a Gun



There have been some shocking scenes from the US on our screens this week following the death of George Floyd after a policeman knelt on his neck for eight minutes with another three policemen also involved.
The anger and the taking to the streets to protest against racism and police brutality was totally justifiable although the looting  slightly detracted from the cause.
Meanwhile the Toddler-in Chief emerged from his bunker threatening to mobilise the army before having protestors teargased to create a path to enable him to pose outside a church with a bible in his hand. It has somewhat backfired as it has not gone down at all well with many senior church leaders.

Given all the above the song which immediately sprung to my mind was Bible and a Gun written by Steve Earle a man who has no time for the likes of Trump and his ilk.
I've been unable to track down a version by Steve. Nor do I have the version by Jason & the Scorchers. Panic not as I have a version by Jason accompanied by Steve from his All Over Creation album.

Coincidentally the first track on The Unravelling the latest album by the Drive- By Truckers  also references a bible and a gun in the title.
This is an angry album full of fury about the state of America and the oaf in office.It is a protest album for our times and I wouldn't be surprised if some of the other songs appear on these pages in the not too distant future.

Jason Ringenberg (with Steve Earle) - Bible and a Gun

Drive-By Truckers - Rosemary with a Bible and a Gun

Wednesday 3 June 2020

Covers 21. Dwight Yoakam does Prince.


George writes:

There’s one Prince album in my collection. Actually, it’s half a Prince album. I seem to have purchased, ca. 1982, the version that omitted the tracks "D.M.S.R.", "Automatic", "All the Critics..." and "International Lover". I’ve no idea how it appeared on the shelves of Chalmer’s and Joy. It’s not been played for over 35 years. So as you can see, I’m not  a fan. And I have listened to several of  his albums, from the period when I was safeguarding a friend’s record collection when he moved to Bremen (where I discovered that the Beck’s served in pubs is no relation whatsoever to that bottled stuff you buy in the UK).


The final track on Dwight’s bluegrass covers album of mosty his own songs, Swimmin’ Pools, Movie Stars, is Purple Rain. So two things to chase readers away, bluegrass with its association of fiddles, mandolins and foot tapping, and Prince. But you should put your listening ears on for this. Once again, a cover of a Prince song is better than the original. Not that that is too hard to achieve. But this is absolutely tremendous:




And here’s a narration in Poruguese. 







That’s it. Another one next week.

CC writes
Hadn't heard Dwight's version before. I'm not sure that too many will agree with your assessment George.It is however better than this:

Dwight Yoakam - Crazy Little Thing Called Love

Tuesday 2 June 2020

Random Acts of Musical Kindness 1



A week or so ago I noticed a couple of folk I follow on Twitter thanking Keven "Al" Archer for their free copies of Apples and Oranges by The Blue Ox Babes.
I did some further exploration and sure enough he was offering copies free and even covering the postage. I quickly popped off an e-mail and  a copy popped through my letter box last
Thursday.
If you are thinking of following suit I'm sorry to say you are too late as the stock of copies is now exhausted.
Kevin formed the Blue Ox Babes immediately after leaving Dexy's Midnight Runners in 1981. They inspired  the "Celtic Soul" image.
They recruited fiddler Helen O'Hara to play on some demo tapes and when Kevin Rowland heard them he recruited O'Hara  and  adopted a similar style leading to the release of Too-Rye - Ay in 1982.

The Blue Ox Babes signed to Go! Discs in 1988 and released three singles to critical acclaim but the album Apples & Oranges was cancelled after just a handful of promo cassettes were circulated.
Thankfully it was eventually released by Cherry Red in 2009 with some- non album B-sides and an unissued demo.

Thanks Kevin/Al

The Blue Ox Babes - Apples & Oranges (The International Hope Campaign)

The Blue Ox Babes - Bedlam

The Blue Ox Babes - There's No Deceiving You

Monday 1 June 2020

Heaven or Hell 6


Heaven knows we're not miserable now.
We're in heaven when we smile as the Dramatics beat Red Star Belgrade by 6-4 and notch up Heaven's first points on the scoreboard.
Is it a flash in the pan or after a faltering start are they now on a charge? We shall see.

This week I'm pitching R.E.M up against ..... R.E.M.

Near Wild Heaven  v Burning Hell
Out of Time v Fables of the Reconstruction
Warner Brothers v I.R.S
Mainstream v Indie
1991 v1985

In which direction are we going this week folks?
The Choice is Yours.

R.E.M. - Near Wild Heaven

R.E.M. - Burning Hell