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Sunday, 24 October 2021

No Depression #37 - Kasey Chambers

 


No Depression - The Bi-monthly Journal of Alt- Country
#37 - January -February 2002

So far in this series the articles featuring the cover star have been primarily around the release of a new album. This time around it seems to be about introducing Austrailian singer Kasey Chambers to a wider American album.

By this time she was obviously well known in her homeland particulary as from a young age  she had been appearing as part of the Country group Dead Ringer Band alongside father Bill, mother Diane and brother Nash.

She had also released two solo albums 1999's The Captain and 2001's Barricades & Brickwalls (both produced by Nash). She was already making waves in Europe and I had seen her a couple of times  in Glasgow by this stage.
The article claims that she was on the brink of becoming alt-country's brightest star. Sadly, I don't think that really happened given that following the release of 2004's Wayward Angel she slipped into relative obscurity with the possible exception of her home country.She states in the article that she doesn't want to be a star or to be famous but that in 20 years time she wants to be like Lucinda Williams or Shania Twain.Lucinda can walk down the street but she can sell out 2,000 seaters.
The article also stated that she has the rarest of vocal gifts:the ability to convey two contradictory emotions at once.

As an aside I wonder who does have the accolade of alt- country's brightest star. Ryan Adams or Lucinda perhaps? Or Neko Case, Gillian Welsh or Jeff Tweedy? Your suggestions are welcomed.

One from each of the first two albums for you today. The only other artist namechecked on the front cover that has crossed my radar is Austin's Jon Dee Graham who I've seen a couple of times and have a couple of albums by.




Saturday, 23 October 2021

Seen at King Tuts:Urban Species

 


Urban Species

Wednesday 23rd February 1994                   £5.00                  Ticket No  00040      

A slight change from the usual stuff that I go to see this week.

Urban Species are/were a British hip-hop band from Tottenham who drew on a wide range of diverse influences (regga,blues,funk, dub,etc) and who were sometimes described as a British eqivalent of Arrested Development.

I heard a song on the radio (probably one of the ones featured below)  with a reference that they were playing at Tuts later in the week. So off I went. It was a solo mission with a few beers being consumed. I have no memory of support act  Honky but the main act were very good indeed and the place was totally jumping.

Urban Species were rapper Mintos (Peter Akinrinlola), beats man DJ Renegade (Winston Small) and another rapper Dr Slim (Rodney Green).

On the back of the show I purchased their debut album Listen on the Talkin' Loud label. I thought I may have featured it here before but apparently not. It is not a bad album but it is not one that I play all that often, if at all. They have released only one further album namely Blanket in 1998.

It was just one of those terrific shows you get every now and again with anything the band recorded not coming remotely close to matching it. I can think of another example which I will include in this series if I still have the ticket.

Urban Species -Just a Matter of Time

Urban Species - Listen

Urban Species -The Consequence



Friday, 22 October 2021

Black Sheets of Rain

 


 2021 Charity Shop Purchases 70 -Bob Mould - Black Sheets of Rain

Following our trip to Dornoch on the East Coast our next jaunt was to to West Coast and the Ross and Cromarty port of Ullapool where you get the ferry to Stornaway. I've a lot of time for Ullapool having spent three summers working as a waiter in the Royal Hotel as a student. We have since had a couple of holidays nearby and several day trips from holidays further afield.

I'm pleased to say that the Community Shop did not disappoint yielding an eclectic mix of CDs.I have a couple of albums by Hüsker Dü and the three albums by Sugar  but up until now I didn't have any of Bob Mould's solo albums. I must admit I had always assumed that his solo career had followed the demise of Sugar but in fact his first two solo albums including the second one 1990's Black Sheets of Rain on the Virgin label were from between Hüsker Dü  splitting and Bob forming Sugar.

Black Sheets of Rain continues in the vein of   Hüsker Dü  with some fairly relentness sonic guitar and vocals and with Bob being joined by the former rhythm section of Pere Ubu namely Tony Maimone on bass and Anton Fier on drums.

I'm happy to report that Bob is still going strong having having recently released a boxset called Distortion  and with a UK tour planned early next year. I'm not sure if I could handle seeing him live as my ears have never quite recovered from hearing Sugar at the Barrowlands.

This should set you up for the weekend.





Thursday, 21 October 2021

Glitter in the Gutter

 


 2021 Charity Shop Purchases 69 -Jesse Malin - Glitter in the Gutter

Glitter in the Gutter is a blast of classis adrenaline fuelled, tennis racket for a guitar,stadium potential rock;brave and bold as if rock'n'roll saved Jesse's live and now he is going to save yours  Maverick 5/5

Dornoch is quite posh with a hint of affluence and tweed so is probably the last place you would expect to stumble across an album by Jesse Malin. Such is the joy of charity shop trawling.

From 2007 on the  One Little Indian label Glitter in the Gutter is the 3rd album by the New York troubador and joins the debut album The Fine Art of Self Destuction on the shelves.

I've seen Jesse twice live. Once at King Tuts around the time of the debut album and more recently at Cottiers when he was supporting and totally blowing away Chuck Prophet. He is a great story teller and song writer and given his character has probably lived half of his songs.

Sprinsgteen, Ryan Adams, Jacob Dylan, Chris Shiflet and Josh Homme all guest on the album which shows the esteem his contempories hold him in.
Two of his own compostions followed by a terrific cover of a Replacements song.

Jesse Malin - Black Haired Girl

Jesse Malin - Bastard of Young

Wednesday, 20 October 2021

One More Dream


  2021 Charity Shop Purchases 68  - Gerry Rafferty - One More Dream -The Very Best Of

We squeezed in a visit to the Highland Hospice shop in the small and pleasant  Sutherland town of Dornoch between a pub lunch and a walk on the beach and I came away with a couple of purchases and Mrs CC got some plates.

I was initially a wee bit wary of picking up a Best Of  by Gerry Rafferty as I already had City to City, Night Owl and the Days Gone Down Anthology. However the Anthology only goes up to 1982 and I am not familiar with any of his other solo albums.Fortunately  there were seven or eight new to me tracks which was enough for me to take the plunge.

One each from three of his albums I don't have I think. From 1980's Snakes and Ladders and not included on the Anthology we start with The Garden of England. We then fast forward to 1988 and the album North and South. There were two or three to choose from but I have gone for the wonderful Shipyard Town.

We finish with the title track of his second last album from 1994 Over My Head . I say second last but it is probably actually his third last as Rest in Blue has recently been released posthumously

Gerry Rafferty - The Garden of England

Gerry Rafferty - Shipyard Town

Gerry Rafferty - The Girl's Got No Confidence

Tuesday, 19 October 2021

Daybreak

 


 2021 Charity Shop Purchases 67 - Sierra Hull - Daybreak

Still on the Americana bus I'm afraid. I considered mixing them up a bit but decided to post the holiday purchases chronologically.
Daybreak by Sierra Hull, the second Beauly purchase, was a bit of a semi- educated punt given that the name was vaguely familiar and because it was on Rounder Records which is usually a sign of quality.

A quick Google in the pub advised that she is a Bluegrass singer-songwriter, mandolin player and guitarist and that Daybreak was her second Rounder release from 2011. She was signed by Rounder when she was only 13 and just 20 when she recorded this.

The Bluegrass is less Be Good Tanyas and more Alison Krauss and perhaps it is no coincidence given that the album was produced by Union Station bassist Barrie Bales. It's getting filed in the mainstream country section and would almost certainly  have featured on my Bluegrass Monday series if I'd had it at that time.

While it is a bit mainstream in place Allmusic describe the track Don't Pick Me Up as acid - grass which is a new sub-genre  to me and also ensures that it features below.

Sierra Hull - Don't Pick Me Up

Sierra Hull -Chasin' Skies

Monday, 18 October 2021

The Way I Should

 



 2021 Charity Shop Purchases 66 - Iris DeMent - The Way I Should

We got to Beauly before we could check into out cottage which allowed for a visit to the Highland Hospice and a pint in the Lovat Arms.

More Country I'm afraid albeit more traditional as opposed to Americana. I was pretty sure that I didn't have The Way I Should the third album by Iris Dement from 1996 and on Warner Brothers.Turns out I had a burn and it's always good to replace that with the real thing. It joins My Life on the shelves

She has got a pretty unique voice which can be an acquired taste. I quite like it.She is an excellent song writer as well and is not afraid to get a wee bit political at times. I saw her at the last non virtual Celtic Connections and I must admit I was a wee bit disappointed maybe because she did not feature much of her earlier stuff such as this.

Iris DeMent - There's a Wall in Washington

Iris DeMent - Wasteland of the Free

The carpet of the bar in The Lovat Arms - Clan Fraser motto



Sunday, 17 October 2021

No Depression #36 - Jay Farrar

 


No Depression - The Bi-monthly Journal of Alt- Country
#36 -  November - December  2001

Americana royalty this time round in the shape of Jay Farrar who alongside Jeff Tweedy were the leading lights in the legendary band Uncle Tupelo  one of the founding fathers of the Alt- Country movement and who recorded the song which gave the magazine its name.

Following an acrimonious spilt with Tweedy he went on to found another legendary Alt- Country band Son Volt.Tweedy. of course, went on to form Wilco.
The main article in this edition focuses on the release of his first solo album Sebastopol on the Atremis label.
The album got its name in a roundabout way.Vestapol is a form of guitar  tuning the name being taken froman early blues song Sevastopol named after a city in Russia (now in Ukraine). Sebastapol is a small semi- urban community located on the western edge of the Santa Rosa plain in Northern California and was chosen as the title by Farrar as it just sounded better .Keep up at the back.

An album I picked up in Stranraer in late November 2015 as part of my largest ever Charity Shop Americana haul. 8 albums in total for 75p each. Coincidentally No Depression by Uncle Tupelo was one of the others.
My ticket tin informs me thaat I saw him play at the 13th Note Club in Glasgow's Clyde Street on 31st March 2001 when he was presumably promoting this album.
It seems only fair to feature a  couple of tracks by the two bands of which he was a member together with a song from Sebastopol.

For the other arist from those name checked on the magazine's cover it was a toss up between Wayne Hancock and the Derailers. As  Wayne has featured more frequently here I have gone for The Derailers with a track from their album Full Western Dress which was also a charity acquisition.





Saturday, 16 October 2021

Seen at King Tuts - Josh Ritter

 


Josh Ritter

Saturday 12th June 2004        £7.50           Ticket Number GA5 43


When you get American acts touring Britain it is usually with a view to promoting a new album. However on this occassion this does not appear to be the case.

Hello Starling was released in September 2003 so it is safe to say that a good few songs from it featured.The follow up album The Animal Years was not released until March 2006 albeit it was recorded between March and May 2005. I suppose that there was a small chance that early versions of a couple of the songs featured.

I can't remember. I do remember though that a number of songs from his debut and my favourite 2002's Golden Age of Radio featured.I'm    guessing that one of The Felsons , The Radio Sweethearts or Sunshine Delay were the support act. They usually were whenever an Americana artist played at Tuts.

I've no idea what the reference to ROAR is on the ticket. Audiences at Tuts seldom need encouragement to make themselves heard.

Here are three songs which almost certainly featured.One from GAOR and two from Hello Starling.








Friday, 15 October 2021

Shine Eyed Mister Zen

 


 2021 Charity Shop Purchases 65 - Kelly Joe Phelps -Shine Eyed Mister Zen


In May when we spent a couple of nights in Grantown on Spey we visited the Kingussie Community Shop for the first time. I came away with a few CDs including two by Blues guitarist Kelly Joe Phelps. A couple of weeks ago we visited  it for the second time I came away with another Kelly Joe Phelps album!
I strongly suspect that I missed it first time round and that it was sitting on the shelves waiting for me to return.

This time round it his third album Shine Eyed Mister Zen from 1999 and as with the others I have on the Rkyodisc label. The title relates to KJP's description of his playing and all the tracks were recorded at his house in single takes.

Bill Frater of Freight Train Boogie wrote this is peerless music that one hears with one's soul as much as with one's ears.
It looks as though there are at least 8 more albums out there so I will keep my eyes peeled on my next visit to Kingussie.




Thursday, 14 October 2021

The Distance

 


 Charity Shop Purchases 64 - Cake - The Distance - (CD Single)

The only other successful Charity Shop foray during our first week away was  in the pleasant Cairngorms village of Kingussie.
There is a community bookshop on one side of the street where the CDs are with the records being in the community shop on the other side of the road - go figure. The community shop also gives away free vegetables and other food which is a nice touch.

There is only one CD by Cake on the shelves namely Prolonging the Magic their 3rd album from 1998.It has now been joined, albeit in a different section on the other side of the room, by The Distance the second single from their second album 1996's Fashion Nugget on the Capricorn label

From Sacramento, California they have always struck me as being a wee bit quirky and not unlike They Might Be Giants. Alright in small doses. I was quite surprised when I listened to it that I was familiar with the title track. I've also got a download of Jolene, although not a live version. Not to be confused with the Dolly Parton classic

Cake -The Distance

Cake -Multiply the Heartaches

Cake - Jolene (live)

Cake - It's Coming Down


Wednesday, 13 October 2021

The Fool

 


2021 Charity Shop Purchases 63  - Warpaint - The Fool

Warpaint are a band that I am only very vaguely familiar with and even then that is only because they have made a number of appearances at Swiss Adam's place.

I was intrigued enough to take a punt on their 2010 debut The Fool on the Rough Trade label in a Fort William charity shop and I'm really glad that I did.

From Los Angels and often described as dream pop the line up on the album is Emily Kokal on vocals and guitar, Jenny Lee Lindberg on bass,Stella Mozgawa on drums and Theresa Wayman on vocals and keyboards. The album is produced by Tom Biller with two of the songs mixed by Andrew Wetherall  with a subsequent Record Shop Day re-release with mixes of all the songs by Wetherall

The album was critically acclaimed with an average rating of 7.5 out of 10 which sounds just about right to me. Laura Snapes in the NME gets somewhat carried away writing that the dark purple rumble and hypnotic coo of their vocals swim along, dragging the listener beneath its beguiling surface into a swathe of subtle time changes and guitar prone to sudden swan dives into heart-stabbing gold arcs from oil painting-thick landscapes. In layman's terms - worth a listen.

Warpaint - Set Your Arms Down

Warpaint - Undertow


Tuesday, 12 October 2021

Fevers and Mirrors

 


2021 Charity Shop Purchases 62 -Bright Eyes - Fevers and Mirrors

We are back from our travels and I'm pleased to report that I have amassed a large and eclectic haul to subject you to over the next few weeks.

Our first port of call was Fort William en route to our first week cottage just outside Spean Bridge. I struck lucky in the third charity shop.

Fevers and Mirrors is a 2000 album on Wichita Records (a subsiduary of Saddle Creek) by Bright Eyes. It is one that I had in my hand in Waterloo Records in Austin when it first came out but I never got round to pulling the trigger. Better late that never I suppose

Bright Eyes as many of you will be aware is one of the many projects and nom de plums of American indie folk artis Conor Oberst.
Like most of his albums Fevers and Mirrors is a curate's egg - good in parts  and pretty pretentious in others. He usually comes up with  just enough good stuff to keep me happy. 
Pitchfork seem to like it as they rate it as number 170 in the top 200 albums of the 2000s

It's now the fourth of his albums on the shelves and the 5th if you count the brilliant Better Oblivion Community Center my 2019 album of the year.

Bright Eyes - A Scale, A Mirror and These Indifferent Clocks

Bright Eyes - The Calendar Hung Itself


Monday, 11 October 2021

What's It All About?

 




On the second week of our holidays we found ourselves staying near the lovely village of Beauly. Given it's close proximity to Inverness it seemed silly not to take the opportunity to meet up with Alyson of What's it All About? fame.

As you can see  from the link Alyson has already posted about our meeting and many of you have commented positively about it. It was great to catch up with another blogger and we had a lovely lunch with Mrs CC and Mr WIAA.

Even if you have never met with a fellow blogger chances are that if you have been reading their blog for a while you will know a great deal about them. This was certainly the case here and meant that there was none of the social awkwardness that you sometimes get when meeting someone for the first time.The four of us chatted away for ages and some of your ears may well have been burning when we got round to discussing your blogs!

I took along Absolutely by Madness which I bought in a charity shop  in Kingussie for means of identification (and Alyson had her sign!) but we worked it out fairly quickly.

Alyson posted Return of the Los Palmas 7 which is the highlight of the album so here is Baggy Trousers instead.I was somewhat jealous that she has seen them not once,but twice. I would imagine that it would be a great night out.
The picture is our attempt at a Swedey McSwedeface but as Alyson pointed out it is a bit more problematic when two folk are involved!

It was great to put a face to a name and hopefully as things slowly pick up there can be more, and hopefully bigger, get togethers with members of our wonderful little community.





















Friday, 24 September 2021

Hokey Pokey

 


2021 Charity Shop Purchases 61 -Richard & Linda Thompson - Hokey Pokey

From April 1985 on the Island label Hokey Pokey is the second album by Richard & Linda Thompson and rather neatly fills the gap in the shelves between 1974's classic I Want to See the Bright Lights Tonight and 1975's Pour Down Like Silver from a time when they were as prolific as Mr Thompson's previous band Fairport Convention were in 1969.

Maybe not though as the albums were written and recorded prior to the Thompson's living in a Sufti commune in London. A period which was covered in his autobiography Beeswing which I recently featured 

All the above makes finding this for a pound in a St Andrews charity shop even more pleasurable.
Not quite in the same league as Bright Lights but lets face it very few records are. A mixture of folk and rock  with some light hearted songs and some more mournful ballads. Here are one of each.



Nothing to see here for the next couple of weeks as we are off on our travels - again! Hopefully I'll return with some more goodies.

Thursday, 23 September 2021

Chinatown

 



2021 Charity Shop Purchases 60 -The Be Good Tanyas - Chinatown

For the second time in as many months Bluegrass band The Be Good Tanyas grace these pages having previously featured as one of the Bands of Canada. I would imaging that their further inclusion will please at least one reader

The band consisting of Frazey Ford, Samantha Parton and Trish Klein only ever released three albums. I've had their 2001 debut Blue Horse since it came out having seen them at Glasgow's sadly lamented St Andrews in the Square around then. I'm not altogether sure why I never got  round to acquiring the other two.

From 2003 on the Netwerk label Chintown is their second album.The album consists of a number of original compositions from Ford and Parton, their take on some traditional songs and a couple of covers.Whereas their original material is good I've opted for the covers. It is the first time that I've heard their version of Townes Van Zandt's Waiting Around to Die and I'm quite taken by it. The other cover Midnight Moonlight from American Bluegrass singer Peter Rowan.

Only 2006's Hello Love to go

The Be Good Tanyas - Waiting Around to Die

The Be Good Tanyas -Midnight Moonlight






Wednesday, 22 September 2021

The Secret Sun

 


2021 Charity Shop Purchases 59 -Jesse Harris & the Ferdinandos - The Secret Sun

Such was the paucity of decent music in the St Andrews charity shops that I for a couple of random punts one of which was The Secret Sun a 2003 album on the Verve label by Jesse Harris and the Ferdinandos.

A band I knew absolutely nothing about but a sticker on the  front advised that he was the no 1 songwriter in the country according to The New Yorker and was described as impeccable by Mojo plus the cover looked vaguely Americana.

Turns out I was wrong. Some research when I got home advises that he is an American singer-songwriter, producer and guitarist who has worked with the likes of Melanie Gardot, Norah Jones and Madelaine Peyroux with Wiki describing his music as a blend of folk,rock,jazz and world rhythms. That's a good few bases covered then

The songs are not bad but maybe a wee bit generic and bland. Allmusic makes comparisons to Josh Rouse (which I don't get) and more accurately describes the album as having a a contemplative Sunday afternoon feel.

The jury is out as to whether it is a keeper although these songs do sound  a little better second time round.

Jesse Harris & the Ferdinandos -All My Life

Jesse Harris & the Ferdinandos -You Were on my Mind



Tuesday, 21 September 2021

The Budos Band III

 




2021 Charity Shop Purchases 58  -The Budos Band - The Budos Band III

I've long been an admirer of Daptone Records from Brooklyn, New York the label who gave us Sharon Jones & the Dap-Kings.

In addition to a few of the late great Sharon's records I picked up a sampler called Daptone Gold which features a number of the artists from their stable. One of the acts which weighed in with a few tracks were Staten Island Afro  beat funkers The Budos Band.

I was pleasantly surprised to see a copy of their 3rd album the imiginatively titled Budos Band III  from 2010 in a St Andrews charity shop and naturally I swooped.

There are 10 instrumentalists on this record led by  Jared Tankel on baritone saxophone. They were also involved in providing back up to other artists on the label including the late Charles Bradley whose 2013 album Victim of Love is an absolute must have.

The review by AllMusic feels  that while they fit the Daptone label's groove-centric aesthetic, III reveals a new direction, offering the view that they are also something other. This 11-song set, recorded in 48 hours, offers a darker, more spacious tinge. Elements of psychedelic, Middle Eastern, and even Latin sounds have entered their mix, without sacrificing their dance party cachet. 

If you are in the mood it can be consumed in a single sitting. It is also one that you can dip in and out of.

The Budos Band - Black Venom

The Budos Band - Nature's Wrath

Monday, 20 September 2021

All That Is Now

 


2021 Charity Shop Purchases 57 -All That Is Now - Uncut Compilation

He's back! Albeit briefly

The Music Room now has additional insulation and a new carpet and everything is now back in place. I'm pretty chuffed and can now begin to relax again.

In the middle of moving everything out and the work being completed we visited Crail in the East Neuk of Fife for a few days. I hit the charity shops of St Andrews. I've said it before but for a University town there are always lean pickings maybe because students nowadays are all streaming.

One I did pick up was All That is Now an Uncut compilation from November 2013 as the track list looked pretty tasty. Of course when I got back home I discovered that I already had it. It has featured here before as part of my Saturday Lucky Dip series but there are enough good songs to merit another post.

Jonathan Wilson - Moses Pain

Deer Tick - The Dream's in the Ditch

Songdog - St Lucy's Day




Thursday, 16 September 2021

I'm Going to a Gig!

 


If things go according to plan tonight I will be attending my first gig since I saw King Creosote in the Concert Hall back on 12th March 2020.

The Teenage Fanclub concert at the Barrowlands was initially scheduled for 5th November 2020. It was then put back to 5th April 2021 so hopefully it is third time lucky. It's been a wee while since I last saw them.

Presumably the original tour was scheduled to promote their most recent album Endless Arcade which was belatedly released on 30th April 2021. It is the first album without Gerry Love  and the first to include Euros Child.

It's fair to say that reviews have been mixed. It's no Songs From Northern Britain but it has gradually grown on me with each listen. Unfortunately I have not had the opportunity to listen to it in the run up to the concert as the music room is still out of action. The flooring has been upgraded with the carpet scheduled to be fitted tomorrow.

I recently finally picked up a copy of Howdy! but again haven't yet been able to give it a proper listen.

Here's a track from Endless Arcade and one from Howdy! to keep both you and me going.

Teenage Fanclub - Warm Embrace

Teenage Fanclub - I Need Direction

Sunday, 12 September 2021

No Depression #35 - Gillian Welch

 


No Depression - The Bi-monthly Journal of Alt- Country
#35 -  September - October  2001

Whereas I was struggling to find something to say about the last cover star Patty Lawless I'm not anticipating any such problem when it comes to Gillian Welch.

The main article centres on the her 3rd album Time (The Relevator) released on 31st July 2001 on the Alcony label. The album is on the shelves but they are currently still horizontal as opposed to vertical and in considerable disarray. I have, however, managed to retrieve a copy of Elvis Presley Blues on the hard drive from an Uncut compilation.

The article by Grant Alden starts with the line Gillian Welch leaves much unspoken,trusting her music.An accurate comment as she is very much from the less is more school. Her voice and Dave Rawling's acoustic guitar are enough. When I saw them play at a sold out Barrowlands you could have heard a pin drop.

As mentioned above this was her third album For a while she was not the most prolific of artists releasing only 5 albums between 1996 and  2011 whilst achieving wider prominence via her contribution to the O Brother, Where Art Thou? compilation.

She was much more prolific during lockdown with Boots No 1 The Official Revival Bootleg , Boots No 2 The Lost Songs Vols 1-3 and All the Good Times.

I have songs by all the artists listed at the top of the cover. The least well known is probably Amy Allison despite being the writer of The Whiskey Makes You Sweeter which was recorded by Laura Cantrell. When things are up and running I can feel a series of artists called Amy  coming your way.

Hopefully I'll be back properly soon




Thursday, 2 September 2021

Renovations

 


There will be a vastly reduced service here over the next few weeks due to holidays and the fact that the music room is being refloored and carpeted.

This has required moving around 1300 hundred CDs, over 500 albums and my hi-fi all of which has been quite an ordeal and which has made me pretty twitchy. It then all has to go back once the floor has been sorted. Hopefully this will make the room much warmer and more comfortable that it currently is.

Prior to any further upheaval I'm off to a Real Ale weekend with my pals to steady my nerves. I may appear intermittently during September but hopefully will be back up and running properly in early October.
Wish me luck.






Wednesday, 1 September 2021

Fables of the Reconstruction

 



Another visit to Missing Records, another R.E.M. CD on  the IRS label for a pound.
This time round it was Fables of the Reconstruction their 3rd album from 1985. By my Reckoning (did you see what I did there?) that leaves only one of the five, namely their debut Murmur, to acquire. 
There are also still a couple of their albums from the 2000's to get but these don't really count as they are not essential.

Produced by Joe Boyd, whose previous productions include Fairport Convention and Nick Drake among others, apparently it is a  concept album with Southern Gothic themes and characters.

Given 8.4/10 and their 5th best  by The Robster who mentions that it is the band's least favourite record.As an aside it is interesting, but probably not surprising, to note that The Robster has the 5 IRS albums as his top 5 R.E.M. albums

I haven't had a chance to give it a proper listen yet for reasons that will become clearer shortly so I have opted for the three singles from the album, the first two of which I am more familiar with as they also appear on the Eponymous compilation album

I think that this was one which I had on cassette which long ago ended up as landfill.




Tuesday, 31 August 2021

Atlantic R&B Volume 5

 


I picked up Atlantic R&B Volume 1 1947 -1952 a few years ago and the plan was to get round to picking up the other seven volumes.
For years nothing happened but the pace has been stepped up significantly over  the last few months with me acquiring Volumes 3 and 4 in a Charity shop in late April/early May.

Now on my recent visit to Missing Records I came away with Volumes 5 to 8 for a tenner. So now I'm keeping my eyes peeled for Volume 2 to complete the set.

Volume 5 covers the period 1961- 1965 and features the likes of Solomon Burke, Otis Redding, Joe Tex and Don Covay. All legends who have graced these pages before.
I've decided to feature some of the ladies today.Barbara Lewis and Doris Troy make their debuts whereas Esther Phillips has appeared here before as Little Esther Phillips as part of my Little & Large series.






Monday, 30 August 2021

The Hanging Stars

 


The Hanging Stars  described on their Bandcamp page  as providing Cosmic Country from London Town recently came to my attention when someone on Twitter compared them to The Rockingbirds and Cosmic Rough Riders.
Their website goes further Blending folk pastoralism with swampy 60s Americana, The Hanging Stars sound like the missing link between the California desert sun and the grey skies of London Town.

Given those descriptions further exploration was clearly required. It turns out that they have released three albums to date Over The Silvery Lake (2016), Songs For Somewhere Else (2018) and A New Kind of Sky (2020)

All are excellent and well worth having. Loose Records are releasing their 4th album in 2022 although I haven't managed to find out its name yet. They seem to have started touring again but sadly not yet north of the border. Should they ever come to Glasgow I can guarantee that you will find me in the audience.

Here are a couple from the debut album to whet your appetite



Sunday, 29 August 2021

No Depression #34 = Patty Loveless

 




No Depression - The Bi-monthly Journal of Alt- Country
#34 -  July -August 2001

The third issue of No Depression on the shelves is the first to cause me some hard work as I know very little about Patty Loveless. I had always assumed that she was more mainstream country. This belief was reinforced as I could find nothing on the Americana shelves but a couple of tracks on the mainstream Country shelves on compilations called Women in Country and O Sister Where Art Thou.

On reading the main article Down From the Mountain her inclusion becomes clearer and the sub -title Patty Loveless ventures deep into the valley of her homegrown soul
Mountain Soul  was released in June 21 In an effort to control her own destiny, rather than be controlled by country radio, Loveless made an abrupt move away from commercial, country/pop and made a stone-cold Bluegrass album in 2001. Mountain Soul was released to numerous critical accolades and sold decently despite a lack of radio support. 
It's not one that I am familiar with but the track The Boys Are Back in Town features on one of the compilations. Not to be confused with Thin Lizzy

Similarly I know very little about the other artists namechecked on the front cover namely Robert Earl Keen, Rhonda Vincent and Scott Miller. Of these the only one who rang a vague bell was Scott Miller who I have a couple of tracks by by him and his band the Commonwealth. and also stuff from the band the V-Roys of which he was a member.As a public service I acquired a copy of his 2017 album Ladies Auxiliary so named as all the musicians who accompany him are women. The things I do for you.

We are back on safer ground next time round.