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Saturday, 26 September 2020

50 Americana Albums You Should Hear Before You Die - Car Wheels On a Gravel Road


Lucinda Williams was always going to feature here but which album?

I've got pretty much all of the 15 albums that she has released from her original Blues albums through Americanand then back to a mixture of both.

Her albums and songs are always of a high quality and yet she probably doesn't have that stand out album  or go to song that most artists have. Her most famous song is probably Passionate Kisses but then probably via the version by Mary Chapin Carpenter as opposed to her original version.

I've gone for her 5th album Car Wheels on a Gravel Road from 1998 on the Mercury label as this is round about where I came in

I'm just reading that in was her first album to go gold and remains her biggest selling album. It was voted best album of 1998 in The Village Voice annual Pazz and Jop critics poll and received a Grammy award for Best Contemporary Folk Album, so it doesn't look as if I am alone in my admiration.

In 2003 Rolling Stone magazine called it an alternative country masterpiece and ranked it as 305 on their list of 500 Greatest Albums of all time.

Again no one track necessarily stands out  as better than the rest but for me the run of tracks from 4 to 6 are hard to beat.

Drunken Angel is about Austin singer songwriter Blaze Foley who was shot and killed in 1989 defending a fried from theie violent son.

Lake Charles is about Clyde Woodward a former boyfriend who died  long after they split up

Lucinda Williams - Drunken Angel

Lucinda Williams - Concrete and Barbed Wire

Lucinda Williams - Lake Charles

We are off on holiday for two weeks so nothing to see here apart for the next two in this series

Friday, 25 September 2020



2020 Charity Shop Purchase 40 - James - The Best Of

I think that I've mentioned before that without being a huge fan of James I have picked up a few of their albums over the years either as cheap second hand or via charity shops. At the last count I had Strip-mine, Gold Mother and Seven on vinyl with Stutter and Laid on CD.

Therefore it was probably laziness on me part to pick up The Best Of from 1998 given that I have most of the tunes. It will save me digging out the albums if I fancy a quick blast of some of their more popular tunes.

I'm pretty sure that I've picked this up before only to find that the box was empty. So second time lucky I suppose.

To date it looks like I've only featured two out of the five albums above. Come Home is from Gold Mother which has not featured yet. Destiny Calling  was a single released released in the run up to the release of the Best Of album and Hymn From a Village is from an early EP James II

James - Come Home

James - Destiny Calling

James - Hymn From a Village

Thursday, 24 September 2020

Vanishing Point


2020 Charity Shop Purchase 39 - Primal Scream -Vanishing Point

In  a previous post I ventured that I felt that I probably had all the Primal Scream albums that I need.

One or two of my blogging colleagues took issue with this stating that I really needed Vanishing Point. I duly picked up a copy as part of my recent charity shop haul.

After an initial listen I can't say that I'm entirely convinced.Lots of twiddly bits but not much in the way of tunes.I will persevere meantime but I'm not sure that it is a keeper.

The only consalation is that is it is second hand no money goes the way of the band which is good given their shameful treatment of Denise Johnson and their extremely lukewarm reaction to her passing

Primal Scream - Medication

Primal Scream - Motorhead

Wednesday, 23 September 2020

Second Is Better Than First. Part14.


George writes:

After the noisiness of last week’s heavy offering, a more gentle sound but in its way no less noisy.

There is no doubting the sentiment and passion of the lyrics on the first album, but the follow-up us is a much more vehemently angry album. The protest songs on All The News That’s Fit To SIng are more wry and sardonic than furious, but, like its successor, it’s an album that has some poetic songs, and some that tell a true story (The Thresher, about a submarine that sank: Ballad of William Worthy, more of which can be found here). A good enough debut album worth repeated playings (unlike that twaddle Pablo Honey), all the songs demand close listening to the always interesting lyrics, but without the gut-punching righteous anger of the standout tracks of I Ain’t Marching Anymore.

This is a rather beautiful song about Woody Guthrie:

Phil Ochs - Bound for glory

So that I did not quickly lose patience with another 14 acoustic guitar tracks by the same artist I had a very enjoyable interlude with Red (King Crimson, quintessential prog!) and Forever Changes (quintessential psychedelic-folk-rock-psychedelic-y-with-horns music). Then back to the protest songs (and more) of Phil Ochs. I wonder if the tone of this album was affected by the ever-increasing involvement of the USA in Vietnam and the growing civil-rights movement? Mere speculation, of course. The power of the songs is helped by his impressed vocal, it’s more assured, less light-and-quavery (do you still get Quavers in the UK?), as can be heard here:

Phil Oches - That was the president

I think that’s a tremendously moving song, and even though in other songs we can hear Phil Ochs’ anger at the unfolding war in Vietnam, it is obvious that Kennedy’s death had a big effect on the  24 year old Phil Ochs . The same musical tone is also heard in the poetic song The Highwayman. The biting anger is of course heard in so many songs, the absolutely fantastic song Here’s To The State Of Mississippi, which I included in a previous series for these pages, being the most obvious example. And there’s tale of driving through The Hills Of West Virginia, with its descriptions of the natural scenery, the dwellings and the people:

Ochs also talks of southern hospitality in Talking Birmingham Jam. It’s not a particularly hospitable hospitality though. Days of Decision is another civil-rights-themed song. And looking at the state of the USA today, these are indeed The Days Of Decision. Between those two is the Ewan MacColl song Ballad Of A Carpenter, where rather unsurprisingly Jesus is hero for the poor.

Phil Ochs - Days of decision

I Ain’t Marching Anymore is a great record,I can play it all without feeling a bit twitchy, not feeling the songs aren’t strong enough to hold my limited attention in one sitting. Although I can live without the “bonus track” of the electric version of the title track. 

Thank you kindly.

CC writes 

This is probably the end of this particular series as George has run out of steam. If anybody out there has something they wish to contribute I'm happy to continue with it..

A fine artist to finish with. How America could do with protest singers like Phil Ochs right now.

Here's to the State of Mississippi is as relevant now as it was then.

Yes we still get Quavers.


Thank you kindly

Tuesday, 22 September 2020

Mellow Doubt


2020 Charity Shop Purchase 38 - Teenage Fanclub - Mellow Doubt

It's always good to pick up something new from Teenage Fanclub even if it is only a CD single 

From March 1995 Mellow Doubt, on the Creation label, was a taster for their 5th album Grand Prix which was released on 29th May 1995. Grand Prix is a mighty fine album albeit one I've never featured here before.

It was followed up as a single by the brilliant Sparky's Dream with Neil Jung being the third and final single from the album.

Mellow Doubt was written by Norman Blake, hence his appearance on the cover.

There are a further three songs on the single including a Creedence Clearwater Revival cover and it comes in at just a couple of seconds over 10 minutes.


Teenage Fanclub - Mellow Doubt

Teenage Fanclub - Getting Real

Teenage Fanclub - Some People Try (To Fuck With You)

Teenage Fanclub - Have You Ever Seen The Rain

Monday, 21 September 2020

River Deep or Mountain High 4


A fairly convincing win for Joe Walsh with Rocky Mountain Way over Rev Hammer and Down By the River "O" by 7 votes to 3.

I was a bit surprised to see that there are so many closet Eagles fans among my readers. Obviously I knew that George was but was shocked by some of the others.

So it is now River 1 Mountain 1

This week like R.EM. in the Heaven or Hell series we have a band up against themselves. This time round it is Whiskeytown with two songs from Faithless Street one of the 50 Americana Albums You Should Hear Before You Die

Drank Like a River versus Lo- Fi Tennessee Mountain Angel. Which ever way you look at it Whiskeytown will be the winner

 Do I love you, my oh my

River Deep or Mountain High?

Sunday, 20 September 2020

Stylistics Sunday

2020 Charity Shop Purchase 37 - The Stylistics - Best Of

It's the Sound of Philly for you this morning courtesy of the Stylistics
I picked up a Best Of from 1975  on the Avco label in reasonable condition for 2 quid.It reached number 1 on the UK album chart three times for nine weeks in total

I'm featuring the two obvious songs you will associate with the band You Make Me Feel Brand New and I'm Stone in Love With You. Number  2  and 9 in the UK singles chart respectively. Their only number I Can't Give You Anything (But My Love) came in July 1975 with the album having been released in February
Both feature the falsetto voice of Russell Thomkins Jr with Airrion Love also having a starring role on the first one.

I was pretty convinced that I had featured them before but apparantly not. You Make Me Feel Brand New has however featured in a reggae cover by Inner Circle from the Trojan Lovers Box Set

Saturday, 19 September 2020

50 Americana Albums You Should Hear Before You Die - Summerteeth


Today was originally going to feature Heartbreaker the debut album by Ryan Adams. However, having wrestled with my moral dilemma outlined in the Whiskeytown contribution to this series I felt that I could not justify it's inclusion.

So Wilco come off the substitute's bench although quite what they were doing there in the first place I have absolutely no idea.

Forget George's Second in Better that First series. In Wilco's case Third (Summerteeth) is better (marginally) than second (Being There) which is better than first (A.M.)

There are some deluded souls out there who feel that their fourth Yankee Hotel Foxtrot is their best but they are clearly wrong there.

There was something on Twitter  a few days ago asking folk to rate their top three Wilco albums. I went for 1 -Summerteeth 2- Being There and 3 - Yankee Hotel Foxtrot . These three certainly featured a lot more than their others in the replies. After Jay Bennett left they were never the same.

Released in 1999 on the Reprise label Summerteeth is primarily the work of Jeff Tweedy and Jay Bennett with Tweedy relying on Bennett to provide the music for his bold but depressing lyrics

She's a jar wth a heavy lid

The ashtray says you've been up all night 

I dreamed about killing you again last night and it felt alright to me

Around this time my pal Gogs was briefly staying with me for a few weeks and I have memories of this blasting out as I returned from work to find him watching the snooker.

There are worse records to watch snooker to.

Wilco - She's a Jar

Wilco - A Shot in the Arm

Wilco - Via Chicago

Friday, 18 September 2020

Enemy of the Enemy


2020 Charity Shop Purchase 36 - Asian Dub Foundation - Enemy of the Enemy

I remember getting quite excited when Rafi's Revenge the 1998 second album by Asian Dub Foundation came out and I eagerly snapped it up . An album which  combined punk energy with a jungle/reggae core.

For a while,however, it was the only thing by them to grace the shelves until an ICA which was the debut contribution by  Tim Badger appeared at JC's place on June 25th 2015.

And then again nothing until I picked up Enemy of the Enemy their 4th album from 2003 on the Fffr Records label on my recent charity shop foray.

This one became their best selling album with the opening track Fortress Europe being an attack on European immigration policy. Machine guns strut on the cliffs of Dover. Funny how some things never change.

The track 1000 Mirrors features guest vocals from Sinead O'Connor.

Powerful stuff

Asian Dub Foundation - Fortess Europe

Asian Dub Foundation - 1000 Mirrors

Thursday, 17 September 2020



2020 Charity Shop Purchase 35  - R. E.M. -  Green

I've got a good few R.E.M. albums on the shelves  with pretty much everything from 1991's Out of Time through  to 2004's Around the Sun. Anything after 1996's New Adventures in Hi-Fi is pretty easy to pick up in a charity shop given the diminution in quality.

Those from the 80's are much harder to obtain with Reckoning  and vinyl copies of Dead Letter Office and the IRS Best Of being the only one's tracked down so far.

So I was pretty pleased to pick up a couple of the earlier ones in my recent haul. From 1998 Green is the first of their albums on Warner Brothers and pretty much the last before they achieved mainstream success becoming one of the biggest bands on the planet for a few years. These replace old cassettes long lost to landfill.

This post is pretty much just me boasting about a a terrific purchase. For a more in-depth analysis of all things R.E.M can I refer you to JC's Singular Adventures of R.E.M. complete with expert contributions from the Robster

R.E.M. - Pop Song 89

R.E.M. - World Leader Pretend

R.E.M. - Orange Crush

Wednesday, 16 September 2020

Second Is Better Than First. Part 13.


George writes

Have you ever wondered what the North Mississippi All-Stars would sound like if they were good?

Have you ever wondered what a modern-day blues-psychedelic power trio like Cream or The Jimi Hendrix Experience could sound like today?

Well, today’s band answers those questions, in spades. Two absolutely tremendous heavy-soul-funk-rock albums today, from some blokes from the tourist hell that is Bath, and a song that is One Of The Ten Best Songs In The Entirety Of Popular Music.

And man alive are these records (well, cds) loud. 

The debut, Great Vengeance And Furious Fire is, well, it’s unsubtle, musically and lyrically (where I can make them out). A relentless ten tracks of sweaty, loud soul-rock (etc), and it is interesting to hear  of what could pass for elements of some 60s songs (Dignity has elements of Keep On Running, and In The Morning is reminiscent  of Foxy Lady).. There is not a bad track on the album. And that was a great way to spend 33 minutes of my life listening to it again. See, a proper album, no filler, no need to fill a cd up with nonsense, just ten tracks all of them three or so minutes long.

The Heavy - Coleen

The second album, The House That Dirt Built, is more of the same. Ten tracks, loud etc, with the addition of some backing singers (eg Oh No! Not You Again!!) and some funky horns.

And the second track is remarkable, outstanding, it’s yes, OOTTBSITEOPM, Elements of James Brown, it’s tight, loud, it builds to a fantastic crescendo, And the following track I suspect is a tribute to Screaming Jay Hawkins’ I Put A Spell on You. (Back soon, I’ve got to go for a lie down, such is the intensity of excitement at playing the album). I like how you can hear influences of all sorts of genres in the songs, a bit of Enrio Morricone a bit of Black Sabbath, all with The Heavy’s own thumping style. As the second member of our three-bloke  curry might say, TOPTASTIC! And all coming in just under 39 minutes.

Enough of these blethers, Songs:

The Heavy - Sixteen

The Heavy -No time

I’ve not included, obviously, OOTTBSITEOPM.

Look, these are two fantastic records, and if you don’t own both, shame on you! 

Thank you kindly.

CC writes

I've never heard or heard of The Heavy before now. I enjoyed these songs.However, I must take issue with you about the North Mississippi All-Stars.  I saw them once and they were very good. So there.

Tuesday, 15 September 2020

Ocean Rain


2020 Charity Shop Purchase 34 - Echo & the Bunnymen - Ocean Rain

I visited a new to me charity shop on Saturday, Kinder Handl on Glasgow's Battlefield Rd (where I had a flat for a couple of years), and came away with a reasonably impressive haul

Included in the haul were two Echo & the Bunnymen CDs one of which was their 4th studio album Ocean Rain from 1984 on WEA/Korova.

Up until now I've only had avinyl copy of the compiltation Songs to Learn and Sing and the CD single of Nothing Lasts For Ever.  (I know, I know ... )

According to Ian McCulloch it is the greatest album ever made. I'm not sure about that . Ask me again after a few listens. Until then I will content myself with featuring the singles which I am pretty familiar with.

Echo & the Bunnymen - Silver

Echo & the Bunnymen - The Killing Moon

Echo & the Bunnymen -Seven Seas

Monday, 14 September 2020

River Deep or Mountain High 3


It was nip and tuck all the way last week with Father Mountain by Calexico and Iron & Wine gaining 6 votes to Justin Townes Earle and Harlem River Blues with 5 votes.

I haven't voted before in this or the previous compare and contrast series but on this occasion I am going to vote for Justin to commemorate his passing.This of course makes it a draw so the score remains River 1 Mountain 0

This week it is British crusty folk versus American country rock.

In the River corner we have Rev Hammer , an occassional Leveller, with Down by the River "O" the first song on his debut album Industrial Sounds and Magic on the Cooking Vinyl label. Recorded in a cow shed in Essex on a budget of nothing.

I doubt whether Eagles front man Joe Walsh has ever recorded in an Essex cow shed.Although given he has been out his tree on many occassions I suppose anything is possible. He was certainly on something when he named his second solo album from 1973 The Smoker You Drink ,The Player You Get from which Rocky Mountain Way was also the first song

 Do I love you, my oh my

River Deep or Mountain High?

Rev Hammer - Down by the River "O"

Joe Walsh - Rocky Mountain Way

Sunday, 13 September 2020

Toots Hibbert RIP


More sad news I'm afraid. 2020 is turning out to be a bit like 2016.

The legendary Frederick Nathaniel "Toots" Hibbert  OJ has sadly passed on at the age of 77

One of the pioneers who took reggae to an international audience with his songs being covered by the likes of The Specials, The Clash and Amy Winehouse

54-46 That's My Number commemorates (if that's the right word" a prison sentence in the 60's.

I only saw Toots & the Maytals once at the Arches in Glasgow along with my late friend Harry. The place was absolutely jumping.

Rest easy Toots

Toots & the Maytals -54-46 That's My Number

Toots & the Maytals - Pressure Drop

Toots & the Maytals - Monkey Man

Toots & the Maytals - Funky Kingston

Saturday, 12 September 2020

50 Americana Albums You Should Hear Before You Die -Springtime

Yet another gothic sounding act for you this week. Freakwater hail from Louisville. Kentucky. They were pretty prolific during the 90's with subsequent appearances in 2005 and 2016.
I have three of their albums but the one I have had the longest and go to most regularly is Springtime their 7th album from 1998. It is on the Thrill Jockey label as are the majority of the others.They have also appeared on Glitterhouse and Bloodshot names which will be familiar to regular readers of these pages.
Freakwater centre around the twin lead vocals of Janet Bean and Catherine Irwin who Wiki describe as mixing harmony and melody in idiosyncratic dissonant country-folk that is reminiscent of the CarterFamily .
So no pressure then.
The other artists on this album are long serving bassist Wayne Gay and multi- instrumentalist Max Wilson who has also been part of Uncle Tupelo,Wilco and the Gourds. I have just discovered that he is the younger brother of Michelle Shocked.

They write most of their own songs but the brilliant Twisted Wire was written by Sean Garrison. You will not hear a better song today. One which has graced many a  mixtape 
Louisville Lip focuses on one alleged  incident  from the  life of Louisville's most famous citizen Muhammad Ali.  In 1960, Ali returned home to Louisville, Kentucky from winning the light heavyweight gold medal in the Summer Olympics in Rome.  Yet, the 18-year-old faced discrimination in his hometown. Reportedly, after being refused service at a restaurant, Ali threw his gold medal into the Ohio River.
Washed in the Blood is just classic Gothic Americana.

Friday, 11 September 2020

The Feelgood Factor


I feel that one of my missions in life is to provide you with some bouncy music of a Friday to set you up for the weekend

Dr Feelgood are a band who I feel fit the bill perfectly for what I have in mind. An Essex pub rock R&B institution.Featuring the vocals of the late great Lee Brilleux, Sparko on bass, The Big Figure on drums and the incendiary guitar of either Wilko Johnson or Gypo Mayo depending on the era.

Take it away boys . There will be no sleep til Canvey Island

Dr Feelgood - Back in the Night

Dr Feelgood - Down at the Doctors

Dr Feelgood - Sneakin' Suspicion

Thursday, 10 September 2020

London 0 Hull 4


I was stuck for something to feature today when Flag Day popped up on the i-pod over tea.

"You know something" I said to Mrs CC "I'm not sure that I've ever featured The Housemartins on the old blog"

After squaring up (I'm well trained) I checked and sure enough I hadn't. Time then to right that wrong.

So here are the first 3 singles from their debut album the wonderfully named London 0 Hull 4 from 1986 on the equally wonderful Go! Discs label. Cue loud cheers from the provinces.

Modestly Paul Heaton had said that they were the 4th best band in Hull after Red Guitars, Everything  but the Girl and the Gargoyles. He was also interested in Christianity and Marxism leading to the message Take Jesus - Take Marx - Take Hope on the back cover of the album

Take that London.

The Housemartins - Flag Day

The Housemartins - Sheep

The Housemartins - Happy Hour

Wednesday, 9 September 2020

Second Is Better Than First. Part 12.


George writes:

Good grief, from experimental kraut rock to english psychedelic and folk rock. My (former) good friend must be beside himself with joy! I was really put on to this band by a former friend and co-founder of our curry club. It only had three members. He recommended today’  better album to me, and it led me to a few other early Fairport Convention albums.

The debut has been likened to Jefferson Airplane, which is a bit harsh given how terrible the latter band were. But it is certainly not a folk rock album, there’s a Byrds-lite song (If stomp), definite folk songs (such as Decameron, and their murdered version of Chelsea Morning)  The female vocal, from Judy Dyble, is rather  nondescript, and it is obvious the band improved in this area with her replacement by Sandy Denny, although they definitely suffered in the on-stage knitting department with Ms Dyble’s departure. Here’s one of the more Jefferson Airplane-like songs from the album:

Fairport Convention - Jack o' diamonds

The next track, Portfolio, has elements of Syd Barret.era Pink Floyd!  The debut is rather a strange album, it’s lack of consistency in musical style makes it almost a compilation album of different genres. And given the overall weakness of the songs it gets a bit tedious.

There is no doubting that What We Did On Our Holidays is a folk-rock album (oh dear GOD WHAT FRESH HELL IS THIS mutters CC), packed with splendid songs of the genre, and the rather out of place blues-ish track Mr Lacey, which in itself is a perfectly fine song. That track is sandwiched between Fotheringay and the wonderful Book Song:

Fairport Convention - Book song

How good is that??? This is the first Fairport Convention album to feature Sandy Denny (who never really released much of worth when she left the group a couple of years later). The songs where  she has the lead vocal have something special, although Richard Thomson’s guitar-playing helps a little bit.

Fairport Convention - She moves through the fair

And it would rather perverse not to include the best song on the album (Meet On The Ledge) which is exactly what I am doing today..

Billy the farm cat is walking about with a mouse in his mouth

It’s a splendid album, and easily an example Second Is Better Than First

Thank you kindly

CC writes folk- rock easily trumps experimental kraut rock in my book.

Anything involving Sandy Denny is alright by me. Whereas she obviously never topped Who Knows Where The Time Goes she had some very good solo songs

Tuesday, 8 September 2020

Spanish Stroll


Spanish Stroll a 1977 single by Mink DeVille popped up on the i-pod over the weekend.

It is pretty much the only thing that I am familiar with by the band although She's So Tough which popped up on a Mojo compilation    NY Punk! suggests that I really should explore further.

Spanish Stroll first came to my attention via That Summer which is quite possibly my favourite compilation album ever. I've just read that the spoken section, which is naturally in Spanish, was delivered not by the frontman Willy DeVille but by bassist Rueben Siguenza. Every day is a school day.

Here also are another two Spanish fronted songs for you . For something more authentic Ernie Goggins should be visiting Spain shortly as part of his excellent The Long Goodbye series

Mink DeVille - Spanish Stroll

The Clash - Spanish Bombs

Aztec Camera - Spanish Horses

Monday, 7 September 2020

River Deep or Mountain High 2


On a farm somewhere in the middle of Potugal a ginger Scotsman will be howling at the moon BIGLY.

Unfortunately for George although The Mountain by Steve Earle and the Del McCoury Band started off promisingly in ended up being trounced by 6 votes to 2 by Bruce Springsteen and The River. Just think George even if you heeded President Orange and voted both postally and physically you still wouldn't have won.

So an early lead for River.

As many of you know Steve Earle's son Justin Townes Earle sadly passed away last month at the age of 38. Very sad news and sympathy is extended to the Earle family. Justin's most famous , and probably best song, was Harlem River Blues the title track of his third album released in 2010 on Bloodshot.

Father Mountain is in my opinion easily the best song on Years to Burn the 2019 album by Calexico anf Iron &Wine on the Sub Pop label

Two great songs from two great labels.

Do I love you, my oh my

River Deep or Mountain High?

Justin Townes Earle - Harlem River Blues

Calexico and Iron & Wine - Father Mountain

Sunday, 6 September 2020

The Ballad of Peckham Rye


Something nice and mellow for you this Sunday morning. 

The Ballad of Peckham Rye is a 2014 album by Blue Rose Code on Ronachan Songs. I picked up my sealed new copy for £2 from Barnrados in St Andrews. An act I've seen a couple of times during Celtic Connections gigs.

Blue Rose Code is a nom de plum for Edinburgh born but London based (hence the album title) artis Ross Wilson. He has a bit of a troubled background but has thankfully come out the other end.

He is a fan of Hibs and Aresnal but we won't hold that against him I suppose we all have crosses to bear!

Blue Rose Code -A Boscombe Armistice

Blue Rose Code -Edina

Saturday, 5 September 2020

50 Americana Albums You Should Hear Before You Die - Escape From Monster Island


I know what you  are thinking - how come CC likes the gravelly voice of Jon Dee Graham but has little time for the equally gravelly voice of Tom Waits?
The truth is I don't know. In the words of the great philosopher that's just the way it is, some things will never change

Where were we? Oh, yes Jon Dee Graham. An Austin  born and based guitarist and songwriter who has enjoyed a long solo career and been a member of the Skunks and also The True Believers alongside Javier and Alejandro Escovedo; the original Cowpunk band.

Escape From Monster Island from 1997 on Austin's Freedom label is the first of around a dozen or so solo albums. Shamefully and inexplicably  I only have this and the follow up Hooray For The Moon (New West, 2001)on the shelves. 
His last album was in 2016 .In 2019 he launched a fan funded campaign to raise money to release an album to coincide with his 60th birthday. Sadly, as far as I can gather, it has yet to see the light of day.#
However had he never recorded anything else apart from $100 Dollar Bill his place in the CCM Hall of Fame would still be assured.
You will not hear a better song today

Friday, 4 September 2020

Grease is the Word


I've had Grease Blast!!! a 2002 CD by The Grease Monkeys on Bronx Cheers Records  for years and have probably only played it twice if that 

I can remember where I bought it after a few beers. It was at King Tuts where they were the support act for someone , possibly Th' Legendary Shack Shakers. I seem to remember that it cost me a fiver. There are two copies on sale from discogs from £7.99 so it looks as though I got myself a bargain.

They were a Glasgow band and the line up appears to be

Jane (guitar, vocals, harmonica), Jim (bass, vocals), Gordon (drums), Gogo (guitar), Martyn (guitar)

Oher that that I know no more other than it is slightly better than I thought it would be

Grease is the word

The Grease Monkeys -Shoot 'Em in the Back

The Grease Monkeys - I'm a Non- Believer

Thursday, 3 September 2020

Can The Can


Yesterday Can, today Can the Can.

Do you see what I did there? This blog isn't just thrown together you know.

Believe it or believe it not Suzi Quatro popped into my head the other night as being due a feature and it was only later that the connection dawned on me.

Apologies as to the snaps, crackles and pops. My second hand copy of her self titled 1973 debut album on the RAK label is in pretty dreadful condition. For a while given its condition I was content to display the cover on the side of my Kallax units. Well, you would wouln't you?

At one stage I was all set to throw the album out but it has scrubbed up to a just about acceptable level

There you go. Better than Can

Suzi Quatro - Can The Can

Suzi Quatro - 48 Crash

Wednesday, 2 September 2020

Second Is Better Than First. Part 11.


George writes:

My intention today was to feature an americana/alt-country outfit. Not that this was another attempt to pacify Mr Grumpy, oh no! But having played Odessa followed by Milk & Honey I cannot honestly say that Second Is Better Than First. If anything, it’s the other way around. Which is slightly annoying as I’d written half a page before playing the Handsome Family’s second album, and have had to delete it. Both are eminently playable albums, and both are worth having in your collection, but.they do not meet the single criterion necessary for this series.

So instead, it’s more prog. appreciation…..nope, even better, it’s EXPERIMENTAL ROCK and the band who inspired early 1980s Fall, and that would be Can. Thanks to Rol at HisTopTen for putting me in mind of this lot with his Saturday Snapshots of a few weeks ago.  As if heavy metal and prog rock wasn’t bad enough, here’s what is to some ears unintelligible mindless meandering nonsense from some hairy Germans, an American, and a hairy Japanese bloke. The better of the two albums features the very first Can track I heard, an 18-minute rhythmical epic, with shouting!. Well, the first song that actually registered with me, although I doubt Tony Blackburn and Ed “Stewpot” Stewart played Can on their 1970s Radio One shows. Somewhat criminally, to get a version of Halleluwah onto a b-side, it was edited down to 3 mins 30 seconds. 

The first album Monster Movie (putting aside any later releases that may have been recorded earlier) also features an epically long song, but You  Doo Right peters out at 8 and a half minutes. By the way, that repeated bass.line is very similar to something else that I can’t quite recall. Minutes 10 to 18 drove Jo to comment “ridiculous, it’s getting on my tits” and off she went to the top of the farm. I then listened to Halleluwah (on the follow-up Tago Mago, do keep up), whilst she was away, almost luxuriating in the repetitive hypnotic rhythm. The other three tracks on Monster Movie are perfectly listenable, elements of psychedelia in there. Here’s the first track, and it could almost belong on Hex Enduction Hour:

Can - Father cannot yell

With the departure of the american chappie and the arrival of Damo Suzuki the vocals became much more shouty, more unintelligible, and the music more free-form and less psychedelic. Here’s track 3 from the album:

Can - Oh yeah

There’s a remarkable similarity to I Am Damo Suzuki.(Come on, who amongst you has not chanting “what have you got in that paper bag? Is it a dose of vitamin c-ee?” at 2mins or so into that song) These days Mark E Smith might have been sued for releasing that track.

(Above Billy the farm cat taking Shaggy’s bed for his afternoon kip)

Tago Mago is not without its faults. One problem of owning the cd, and if I’m feeling particularly lazy, I have to sit through all of Peking O. if I want to listen to Bring Me Coffee Or Tea. Which is not very often. I can listen to aumgn, a 17 minute sound-effect-experimenting-in-the-studio piece, sometimes, only sometimes, and this last time I wondered if Papal Visit from Room To Live was some form of homage, or just a space-filler waste of time. But despite that, the first 4 tracks (or sides one and two of the original double album release) are great tracks, and make Tago Mago an album for which the maxim Second Is Better Than First applies. Well maybe it’s not a maxim, although maybe my brother would disagree.

And here, for those of you with a spare 20 minutes at work, is the utterly fantastic  4th track (or the entire side 2) of the album:

Can - Halleluwah

Can. Not for the fainthearted. There is a South Korean band of the same name but I cannot source anything by them.

Two members of Radiohead allegedly say that Can (german not south korean) were an early influence. If the members of Can were aware of this they would undoubtedly be most displeased to be associated in any way with the absolute tripe that is Pablo Honey.

Thank you kindly

CC writes