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Sunday, 31 October 2021

No Depression #38 - Isaac Freeman


No Depression - The Bi-monthly Journal of Alt- Country
#38  March to April 2002

This one took a little bit of detective work as I had never heard of Isaac Freeman.
It turns out that he was a gospel singer of high repute singing in bands including The Skylarks and more famously The Fairfield Four.
I've a number of gospel compilations but neither of these bands feature. But fear not I've found some stuff for you.
He is featuring in No Depression as he was shortly about to release an album called Beautiful Stars performing as Isaac Freeman and the Bluebloods on Americana's favourite label at that time Lost Highway. I've managed to *ahem* acquire a track from the album for your listening pleasure.

This informative article from Nashville Scene following his death in 2012 highlights some of the many stars he has played with. He appeared with Elvis Costello at London's Queen Elizabeth Hall
He also appeared in the film O Brother,Where Art Thou?  as one of the deeper-than-the-bottom-of-the-well voiced gravediggers near the end of the film (Allmusic)
This was not his first foray into film as the Fairfield Four had backed Steve Earle on the mighty Ellis Unit One from  the soundtrack of the 1995 film Dead Man Walking.

Caitlin Cary whose name appears  in the top line of other artists featured  has enjoyed a career as a member of Whiskeytown as as a solo artist as and part of a duet with Thad Cockrell

Saturday, 30 October 2021

Seen at King Tuts - The Men They Couldn't Hang


The Men They Couldn't Hang

Sunday 17th December 1995              £8.00       Ticket Number 00260

This was the only time that I got to see the legendary folk punk band The Men They Couldn't Hang live.

It was one of the few times at Tuts that I have ever seen a barrier to stop enthusiastic fans invading the stage.Once the music started it was easy to see why as everyone was jumping and singing along to their anthemic favourites.

TMTCH were on the go from 1984-1991 and then from 1996 onwards (according to Wiki although I saw them in December 1995) They probably featured a number of tracks from their forthcoming album Never Born to Follow but most folk were there for the classics from their earlier albums.

Their first three albums Night of a Thousand Candles (1985. Demon) which I've just put on, How Green is the Valley (1986, MCA) and Waiting For Bonaparte ( 1988, Magnet) are absolute must haves.

Their version of Eric Bogle's  epic The Green Fields of France (No Man's Land) is one of my favourite all time songs. I'm not posting it today as it has appeared here many times before. Worry not, however, as these three (one from each of the first three albums) although not quite the same standard are also very good indeed.

The Men They Couldn't Hang - Ironmasters

The Men They Couldn't Hang - The Ghosts of Cable Street

The Men They Couldn't Hang - The Colours

Friday, 29 October 2021



2021 Charity Shop Purchases 75 - Bob Mould - Workbook

If it's Friday it must be Bob Mould. 
Not content with his second solo alum Black Sheets of Rain which featured last Friday I also picked up his 1989 debut solo album Workbook on Virgin in the Ullapool Community Shop. So his first two solo albums from between the demise of Hüsker Dü and the formation of Sugar for a pound. Not a bad piece of work as I'm sure you will agree.

This one is not as heavy as Black Sheets and has a strong folk
 influence. Cellos also make an appearance. Bob writes in his autobiography See a Little Light that it was important to move beyond the sound of the past eight years
Jason Heller in Pitchfork writes after years of straining to be heard over Hüsker’s din, he sounds almost startled by the potency and range of his own voice; the same goes for the themes of his lyrics, which don’t shy away from an encroaching spirituality that would eventuality lead to Mould’s religious awakening years later.
Wiki argues that the album has been influential in the alternative rock community: its acoustic elements would be echoed in R.E.M's Automatic For the People with Nirvana's In Utero using cellos in a similar way.
It is not hard to imagine Michael Stipe or Kurt Cobain  being influenced by Bob and  Hüsker Dü.

A 25th Anniversary Workshop 25 was re-issued by Omnivore Recordings in 2014

Thursday, 28 October 2021

Bad Pennies


2021 Charity Shop Purchases 74 - The HaveNots - Bad Pennies

I saw The HaveNots supporting Laura Cantrell in The Subway in the Cowgate, Edinburgh. I know this not because I remember them, but because I came across the ticket in my tin.

I've had a CD single of the song Learning How to Whistle by them for ages. It has a blurb attached suggesting it may have been a promotional single , maybe even picked up at the aforementioned gig.

The blub reads Taken from the brand new album Bad Pennies. This debuting 19 and 22year old girl-boy act from the Midlands (Leicester based duo are 22 year old Liam Dullaghan, and 19 year old Sophia Marshall )offer hope for theUK's Americana scenr. The album is a strong body of varied tunes, combining the ambient influences of Mazzy Star and Cowboy Junkies with an edge that recalls emo-pop or Son Volt at their most angsty - Tim Perry (The Independent).

Now that all sounds very promising but I must admit to being pretty disappointed following my first listen to the album (from 2003 on the Circus 65 label) which I picked up in Ullapool having recognised the name.

I've selected the three songs that appear on both the single and the album. I'm not entirely convinced that the album is a keeper

The HaveNots - Learning How to Whistle

The HaveNots - Sin

The HaveNots - All the Wrong Wounds

Wednesday, 27 October 2021

Made in Medina


2021 Charity Shop Purchases 73 - Made in Medina

Until now I was only familiar with French - Algerian rai artist Rachid Taha from his take on the Clash song Rock the Casbah one that,I think, the band would have approved of.

Therefore it was a bit of a no brained to pick up Made in Medina particularly as it was going for only 50p. Released in 2000 on Barclay Records it was arranged and produced by Steve Hillage. I'll say that again - Steve Hillage! Who ever thought that name would appear on these pages?

But don't let that put you off, it is terrific stuff.
Allmusic writes Medina has an extremely coherent sound, built on prominent, danceable rhythms, strong melodies, and powerful vocals, all shot through with a Middle Eastern flavour while the Washington Post no less calls it an ecstatic union of Algerian rai and Western rock, techno and funk. That's good enough for me.

As well as being a singer Rachid was an activist.He suffered from Chiari malformation and sadly died from a heart attack in his sleep in September 2018 six days short of his 60th birthday.

Although not on the album I couldn't not share Rock el Casbah with you

Tuesday, 26 October 2021


  2021 Charity Shop Purchases 72 - A Flock of Seagulls - Listen

Something a little bit different for you today. As I was busy amassing CDs in the Community Shop in Ullapool Mrs CC handed me Listen the second album by Liverpool's A Flock of Seagulls from 1983 and on Zomba Records.

A band that I was only familiar with via their singles and it will probably stay that way.This album contains one of their two biggies namely Wishing (If I Had a Photograph of You) with the rest being new to me. They had big hair if I remember correctly and were fond of using brackets.Very 80s.

Their other biggie was I Ran (So Far Away), (brackets again) from their self titled 1982 debut album and as I'm not likely to feature them again any time soon I'm throwing it in as a bonus.It is one I quite like.

You won't be surprised to know that they are still on the go and performing on the retro circuit although I suspect that the big hair has long gone by now.

A Flock of Seagulls - Wishing (If I Had a Photograph of You)

A Flock of Seagulls - Transfer Affection

A Flock of Seagulls - I Ran (So Far Away)

Monday, 25 October 2021

Wait Til I Get You Home


 2021 Charity Shop Purchases 71 - Amy Rigby - Wait Til I Get You Home (CD Single)

Something rather pleasant today to help ease you into the week.

From 1999 on KOCH Records this is a  promotional single of the track Wait Til I Get You Home taken from Amy Rigby's 2000 album  The Sugar Tree.
Amy started out playing with a number of New York bands including Last Round Up and The Shams before embarking on a solo career which has  yielded nine critically acclaimed but commercially unsuccessful albums.

Somewhere along the line she became Mrs Wreckless Eric performing with and marrying the great man and releasing a further three albums in the process.She has also written a couple of  books and  has an on line Diary of Amy Rigby which is highly entertaining.

A few weeks ago I mooted the possibily of a series of songs by artists called Amy. I haven't forgotten about it and will probably get round to it once the holiday purchases are exhausted.

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



 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.