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Friday 31 December 2021

The Ghosts of 2021


Last year on Hogmanay I posted an entry called Things Can Only Get Better. Well that worked out well, didn't it?

I suppose things did pick up for a few months in the summer and early Autumn but we now seem to be back to where we started from struggling with a pandemic and an inept Westminster Government.

At this time of year  it is easy to get melancholy with thoughts turning to times past and to those who are no longer with us. This got me thinking about ghost songs and how they may apply today.

Lau's song Ghosts is about migration a generation or so ago but is still as relevant today. Indeed has the line there's ghosts on the sandflats as the water gets higher and higher ever been more relevant with the situation in the Channel and idiots being openly hostile to the RNLI?

The Ghosts of Cable Street by the Men they Couldn't Hang is a reminder about the rise of fascism in London in the 1930s.Sounds familiar?

Ghost Town can be looked at in two ways - the deserted streets caused by locktown or its original  cry of despair around youth unemployment. Again sounds familiar, eh?

Finally Ghosts by Japan reflecting David Sylvian's personal feelings:

Just when I think I'm winning

When I've broken every door

The ghosts of my life blow wilder than before

Hey , hopefully thinks might indeed get better. Stranger things have happened. So I will raise a glass around the bells and wish you and yours a happy and healthy 2022.

Lau -Ghosts

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

The Specials - Ghost Town

Japan - Ghosts

Thursday 30 December 2021

Choctaw Ridge


I've not got round to doing an end of year list of my favourite record despite having bought more records this year than for a long time.

That may part of the problem. There are some old ones from when I took advantage of the HMV 2 for £30 on line sale to fill in some of the gaps in my collection primarily David Bowie and the Talking Heads.

Then I bought a few for my 60th and retirement including the new and first Rose City Band albums plus Dylan's Rough and Rowdy Ways

Some new albums from old favourites such as Teenage Fanclub and Admiral Fallow

There have been a good few on pre- order and it can be hard to remember if they pitched up this year or last year -the lies of Dropkick,  the Bluebells  and the Strum and Thrum compilation fall into this category.

Six Road Ends by the Gracious Losers is my LNFG record of the year with shout outs to Hadda Be, Mark Georgsson, Wojtek the Bear and the Muldoons (from last year but purchased this year).

New to me names include Curse of Lono. Thanks to John Medd for the heads up for that one

Strum and Thrum was from last year but again not acquired until this year. Therefore the prize for compilation of the year goes to Choctaw Ridge - New Fables of the American South 1968 -1973 Curated by Bob Stanley and Martin Green it is on the the mighty Ace label which is always a sign of quality

You will be familiar with many of the artists and some of the 24 tracks but it is still worth it for the obscure tracks everyone of which is a gem. Hell, it's worth it just to have Harlan County on vinyl!

Get it!

Hoyt Axton - Way Before the Time of Towns

Sammi Smith - Saunders' Ferry Lane

Jim Ford - Harlan County

Wednesday 29 December 2021



2021 Charity Shop Purchases 103 - Idlewild - Warnings/Promises

In the space of around three or four weeks I have managed to treble the number of Idlewild CDs on the shelves.

There must have been around 300 CDs in the Hospice shop at Clarkston Toll.I went through every one of them and the only one I came away with was Warnings/Promises the fourth studio album from Idlewild from 2005 and on the Parlephone label.

While receiving generally favourable reviews from the critics the NME  described it as Indie minnows crossing over into the big league and as an  another awesome growth spurt of our most uncompromising, credible and soul-stirring arena-bound rock band. 

I've mentioned before that I've come to Idlewild in a back to front way via Roddy Woomble's acoustic and folky solo work. This album seems to bridge the gap from the more  guitar driven and shouty predecessors to Roddy's solo stuff. I must admit that I find it a bit more accessable although I am not averse to the occassional thrash.

In the unlikely event that there are anymore Charity purchases this year they will be held over to 2021.

Idlewild - Love Steals Us From Loneliness

Idlewild -Disconnected

Tuesday 28 December 2021

Never Get Sick of the Sea


2021 Charity Shop Purchases 102 - Attic Lights - Never Get Sick of the Sea (CD Single)

Attic Lights singles just like Corporation buses - none for ages then two come along at once.

Never Get Sick of the Sea is another single off the 2008 album Friday Night Lights and along with yesterday's post God  they were the sole purchases during a pre-Christmas vist to Oxfam at Clarkston Toll.99p each which is a bit more realistic than the £24 they were looking for for Billy Bragg's Life's a Riot with Spy Vs Spy (which in any case I already have).

They slipped of my radar after Friday Night Lights but have since released two further albums on the Spanish Elefant label namely 2013's Super De Lux and 2019's Love in the Time of Shark Attacks. Some further exploration clearly required.

I have the title track from the album but the song Sorry I Was Drunk is new to me.

Something other than Attic Lights tomorrow

Attic Lights -Never Get Sick of the Sea

Attic Lights -Sorry I Was Drunk

Monday 27 December 2021



2021 Charity Shop Purchases 101 - Attic Lights - God (CD Single)

I had high hopes for Glasgow band Attic Lights on and around their 2008 debut album Friday Night Lights which was released on Island.

There were shades of Teenage Fanclub about them perhaps unsurprising given that Francis McDonald was involved in the albums production. Although touted as an indie band there is also a feel of Americana about them.

I had their debut  self-released EP from 2005 prior to picking up the album. God was originally released as a 7 inch single in 2007 prior to a CD release in 2008 .As was the way of things back then it comes with a video.

The title track God appears on the album and I have Ton of Love from the debut EP which has appeared here before.The third track 5 Weeks Behind is new to me.

If you like this sort of thing stay tuned tomorrow.

Attic Lights - God

Attic Lights - Ton of Love

Attic Lights -5 Weeks Behind

Sunday 26 December 2021

Boxing Day Bluebells

It may not be entirely seasonal but I've decided to go with some Boxing Day Bluebells. Well we are now past the  shortest day so Spring and brighter days surely can't be that far away.

Today is also Mrs CC's birthday. The day after the baby Jesus as she used to say to the nephews when they were a lot smaller than they are now.

I'd like to thank her for putting up with me for another year particularly as she now gets to spend  more time with me.

I'd like to think that both The Bluebells songs apply to the two of us. And you can't go wrong with some Jimmy Shand.

Happy birthday!

The Bluebells - Everybody's Somebody's Fool

The Bluebells -Young at Heart

Jimmy Shand - Bluebell Polka

Friday 24 December 2021

Seasons Greetings


I thought that when I retired that Christmas wouldn't sneak up on me as quickly as it had done before. I'm sorry to report that that has not been the case. One minute it is the 12th or 14th of December, the next it is the 24th.

Like most of you, I suspect, we will be having a quiet one. Visiting family on Christmas Day but apart from that keeping a low profile. An improvement from last year when it was just the two of us at home.I doubt I'll be able to repeat my two hour afternoon snooze.

My usual traditional Christmas cultural mish mash with an image from It's a Wonderful Life and songs from Darlene Love (who shares a birthday with me) from A Christmas Gift to You from Phil Spector.

All that remains is for me, on behalf of CCM, to wish you and yours as Merry a Christmas as you can.

Darlene Love -White Christmas

Darlene Love - (Christmas) Baby Please Come Home

Thursday 23 December 2021

A Soulful Christmas


It's time to get a wee bit soulful for Christmas.

I've spent three Christmasses away from home - two working as a waiter in North Berwick and Aviemore and one on a kibbutz in Israel. Fortunately I have never had to spend one in a trench in Vietnam. Here are Johnny & Jon with a song from one of the greatest Kent compilations A Soldier's Sad Story - Vietnam Through the Eyes of Black America 1966-73. If you don't have this already then invest some of your Christmas money on it.

Next up is the late great Sharon Jones with the Dap - Kings reminiscing about Christmas in the projects.

In the 1960's and 70's the Salem Travelers  from Chicago were known for soulful harmonies that provided commentary on the troubles of the world. Finally another  Chicago band The Emotions ask us to spare a thought for the lonely at Christmas. I bit like Mud but more tuneful.

Have a Soulful Christmas

Johnny & Jon - Christmas in Vietnam

Sharon Jones & the Dap-Kings -There Ain't No Chimneys in the Projects

The Salem Travelers - Merry Christmas to You

The Emotions - What Do the Lonely Do at Christmas

Wednesday 22 December 2021

A Scottish Christmas


In the comments on yesterday's post George asked if I was going to do a Country Christmas post. The answer was yes but I didn't specify which country!

Being a dour presbyterian country Scotland, the land of my birth and where I reside, didn't recognise Christmas Day as a  Public Holiday until 1958.This bah humbug stance is reflected in some of the Christmas music.

As you would expect from a band who released a song called I Hate Scotland the Edinburgh band Ballboy come up with the cheery Merry Christmas to the Drunks. I read somewhere that they were recording again which is good news.

A few months ago I compiled a list of songs with Scottish towns and cities in the title with a view to a potential series.The Fife town of Kirkaldy was not on that list.Another Edinburgh band Meursault have rectified that.

In Drew's absence I give you Selkirk's finest Frightened Rabbit with It's Christmas So We'll Stop.   Drew has indicated that he may be blogging again soon which is also very good news.

Finally we step back in time and feature the late great Alex Harvey with a song with an impressively long title.

Ballboy - Merry Christmas to the Drunks

Meursault - Christmas in Kirkaldy

Frightened Rabbit -Its Christmas So We'll Stop

The Sensational Alex Harvey Band - There's No Lights on the Christmas Tree Mother, They're Burning Big Louie Tonight

Tuesday 21 December 2021

An Americana Christmas


Here was me thinking that when I was retired that I would have plenty of time to come up with new and original ideas for the blog.

Sadly that is not the case, especially at this time of year, and I am beginning to wonder how I ever found the time to go to work.

Therefore today instead of something original we have a re-hash of a theme from 2015 which is hopefully so long ago that even those of you with long memories have forgotten about it. From the comments some of you will have heard these before

So some Americana numbers for you today which while all not necessarily all about Christmas have Christmas, or in the case of Terry Allen Xmas , in the title

Steve Earle -Christmas in Washington

Terry Allen - X-mas on the Isthmus

Mary Gauthier - Christmas in Paradise

Monday 20 December 2021

The Holly and the Ivy

 It's that time of year when we beging to get slightly seasonal.

No Christmas songs yet but rather songs and acts with either Holly or Ivy in the title. So a seasonal post .... of sorts.

In the holly camp we have two act with a holly in their title and another act with holly in the title of the song the subject of which could have featured in the holly title camp.Hope you are keeping up at the back.

Ivy proved a wee bit harder. Two songs with Ivy in the title. I couldn't come up with any acts with the word Ivy in their title but as we have already touched on Poison Ivy who better than to end things than the Cramps?

Holly and the Italians - I Wanna to Go Home

Holly Macve -Sycamore Tree

Weezer -Buddy Holly

Gun Club - For the Love of Ivy

The Coasters - Poison Ivy

The Cramps -Bikini Girls with Machine Guns

Sunday 19 December 2021

No Depression # 45 - Little Miss Cornshucks


No Depression - The Bi-monthly Journal of Alt- Country
#45  May to June 2003

You could be forgiven reading this to think that you had stumbled across a Blues Collection post as opposed to an article about Americana. And you would probably be correct.

The cover article is by Barry Mazor and stretches over 10 pages. I will confess that I have scanned it rather that read it in depth.He states that her legacy looms large in the history of American popular music, though hardly anyone knows her story.
He then proceeds to tell her story in great detail
Usually the main article centres around an Americana artist who is touring or has released a new album. It is not the case this time as her work has been out of print since 1962.Grant Alden, the editor, acknowledges that it is not their usual editorial fare but rather tells her story

I will further confess that I had never heard the name until now. What I have learned. Her name was Mildred Jorman, she was the first artist to record Try a Little Tenderness and Ahmet Ertegun of Atlantic Records stated that she was the best blues singer he ever heard.. Ruth Brown stated that she was the most important voice that she had heard.
Her personal life was similar to may other Blueswomen. Born into poverty, a dodgy manager/husband, issues with alcohol and associated health issues although she made it to 76.
Here is an abridged versionof her story  from  Wiki which references the No Depression article.

I've managed to track down some of her songs including Try a Little Tenederness.

It is quite hard to read the One from the Top artists but I have gone for the most Alt Country of Alt Country artists the great Ray Wylie Hubbard 

Saturday 18 December 2021

Seen at King Tuts - Noisettes


The Noisettes

Thursday 8th February  2007           £7.00                       Ticket No  GA1 28

From the date on the ticket it looks like I saw the Noisettes play three days after the launch of their debut album What's the Time Mr Wolf? which was released on Mercury although my copy is on Universal their US label. Perhaps I bought it at the gig. I must have heard some of their stuff on the radio to make me pop along.I think from memory that it was a solo mission.

I can remember that they put on a terrific bouncy show and that lead singer Singai Shoniwa had a terrific stage presence. Their music is described as indie rock or pop but to me there is also a bit of soul in there.

The album only reached number 75 in the UK Album charts. The New Yorker called the album a smart, relentlessly exuberant thirty-eight-minute demonstration of chutzpah and musicianship, despite the band's affinity with the fizzy amateur energy of punk with Entertainment Weekly saying that when the Noisettes connect, they're a euphoric mix of Bow Wow Wow  and the Yeah Yeah Yeahs. High praise indeed but from what I saw at the show totally justified
The 2009 follow up album Wild Young Hearts was much more successful entering the charts at number 7  which was its highest position selling over 100,000 copies. It is the one you will see in charity shops most often.

There was a third and final album Contact released in 2012 by which time me and many others had moved on. Singai has gone on to pursue a solo career.

The first two below are from Mr Wolf with the third one from Wild Young Hearts

Friday 17 December 2021

The Clash - The Clash


2021 Charity Shop Purchases 100 - The Clash - The Clash (UK Edition)

How about this for the 100th charity shop purchase of 2021? A vinyl copy of the 1977 self-titled debut album by The Clash!

The Shaw Trust in Shawlands Arcade primarily sells used furniture. I had a quick look through a poly bag full of records and there it was among the usual rubbish.I took it up to the counter and the assistant said "How much are records. £1.50?". "That sounds about right" I replied.

As you can imagine for a record of 44 years of age it is not exactly in pristine condition. The sleeve is a bit scuffed and the spine is in pretty bad condition. There are a few hairline scratches but nothing serious with no jumping. There is a bit of surface noise between tracks mainly

on side 2 but you don't notice it when the music starts.

I didn't actually have a copy of this version until now. I only had a CD copy of the 1979 US version with the changed track listing. The US version does not include Deny, Cheat, Protex Blue, 48 Hours or the original version of White Riot. Instead it includes Clash City Rockers,Complete Control, a re-recorded White Riot, (White Man in Hammersmith Palais, I Fought the Law and Jail Guitar Doors. You can see why I opted for that version first time round.

It seems only fair that I feature a couple of the original tracks which were omited.

My find of the year.

This one is for Isaac.

The Clash -Deny

The Clash - Cheat

Thursday 16 December 2021

1966 - The Year The Decade Exploded


Earlier in the year I featured two of the epic 60's  compilations by Jon Savage on the Ace label namely 1965 -The Year the Sixties Ignited and 1968 - The Year The World Burned.

I have now also managed to get my hands on 1966 - The Year the Decade Exploded accurately described by Ace as the year that shaped the rest of the century. Or as Google Books would have it 
The pop world accelerated and broke through the sound barrier in 1966. In America, in London, in Amsterdam, in Paris, revolutionary ideas slow-cooking since the late '50s reached boiling point. 

I was only 5 in 1966 and had just started primary school but it is amazing how many of these songs that I recognise. This of course is not because I remember them from that time but because they are of such a quality that they have merited countless plays on the radio over the years.

As with the others in this series Savage comes up with a combination of the classics that we all recognise and some more obscure numbers.You will all be familiar with the classics so I've gone for some of the lesser know ones today with two from each disc.

Wednesday 15 December 2021

Recent Gigs 2


I've been making up for lost time by getting in four gigs in the last few weeks including two in three days which takes me back to the time I did such things regularly.

This time last year I had never heard of  Edinburgh band Dropkick. They featured in Brian's list of his favourite albums of 2020. His description was enough for me to pull the trigger and I fairly rapidly required The Scenic Route  and the Best of double album. Given their large back catalogue it seemed a good place to  start.. Brian is currently on a sabbatical. My bank manager is hoping that he pops up with his best of 2021.

The attendance was pretty disappointing. There can't have been more that 30 folk in the audience which included the members of the support acts. In some ways though it may have been a good thing given the current Covid situation as the cellar of the Hug and Pint is very small and very claustrophobic.

The first act U.S Highball didn't do much for me but I enjoyed Neil Sturgeon and the Infomaniacs who played a rocky guitar based set. I would go and see them again.

Then Andrew Taylor of Dropkick came on and played an acoustic number. He then explained that the drummer had called in sick so Ian Grier the band's keyboard player was on bass with a guitarist whose name escaped me.Andrew was on drums and vocals in a Levon Helm stylee. Despite the enforced changes they put on a great show and I came away with the Andrew Taylor and the Harmonizers album

Next up it was Sister John and The Bluebells at the CCA  on Saturday 11th.It was the first of two concerts by them. This week Sister John were supporting the Bluebells. On Saturday it will be the other way round as Sister John launch their I Am By Day album.

I've seen Sister John four or five times and they always put on a good show.It was good to hear some of the new songs. They acknowledged that they were a bit ring rusty playing live.

The Bluebells were fantastic. It is the first time I've seen them live. They rattled through all their hits and were clearly enjoying themselves with excellent patter and high jinks. At one stage Ken McCluskey gave his tambourine a kick and managed to hit Bobby Bluebell's guitar! They played a lovely version of Rio as a tribute to Mike Nesmith with the McCluskey Brothers on vocals.Mrs CC accompanied me for this one and enjoyed it enormously.

Dropkick -Feeling Never Goes Away

Sister John - Waiting For the Sun

The Bluebells -Cath (extended version)

Tuesday 14 December 2021

Recent Gigs


Now that things have opened up a little (hopefully not a temporary phenomenon) I have managed to get to a couple of gigs with another couple scheduled.

The first was the much postponed album launch of Six Road Ends by the Gracious Losers as featured above at Glasgow's CCA.

The first act were In the Forest an indie folk band from Bedfordshire consisting of two sisters and their husbands. Their single On the Run was released as a double A side with Nicol & Elliot's The Storm. They are currently working on their debut album which will hopefully be available next year and which will be well worth getting.

Nicol & Elliot are right up my street. I would describe their music as gothic Americana. They have released 3 EPs to date of which I have a couple. Their Three EPs are available to order as an album and my order is in. It was the first time I've seen them live and they were terrific.

The Gracious Losers  always put on a terrific show and I think that this was the third time I've seen them live.Every time was fantastic. Their debut The Last of the Gracious Losers was my album of the year for 2018. Six Road Ends continues in the same vein of country, rock and a gospel choir.Go and see them if you ever get the chance

At this gig I saw the following poster

and when I got home and still on a high I decided to order a ticket for this show. Again it seems it have been much postponed due to to Covid.

Starry Skies are another Glasgow band who are fronted by Warren McIntryre. I have their 2007 debut Ask the Animals when they were billed as Warren McIntyre and Starry Skies and our dear pal Ernie Goggins furnished me with a copy of their most recent album Do it With Love. Their entire catalogue is available at a very reasonable price on Bandcamp . The band have recently crownfunded a sufficient amount to enable then to record a new album Small Wonders which should be available next year

Support was provided by ethereal ukelelist Zoe Bestel and eccentric punk poet Sid Ozalid. 

Warren is a very convivial frontman and seemed to know about three quarters of the audience. It was a fun night with the band clearly enjoying themselves and getting the occassional guest up to sing. I would certainly go and see them again. They were very bouncy.

Details of another couple of gigs tomorrow

Gracious Losers -Till I Go Home

Nicol and Elliot -Snake Eyes

Starry Skies - Do It With Love

Monday 13 December 2021

A Belated Nine Not Out


Charity Chic Music turned nine on 25th November.

For some reason I completely missed this momentous occassion. I'm putting it down to the fact that I am now retired and therefore no longer know what day of the week it is, the date or sometimes even the month.

By way of penance here are nine songs with nine in the title. I found about half a dozen fairly easily and then had to refer to Rol's Hot 100 for the rest. I pinched the Michael Nesmith song which I offer as a tribute to his recent demise.(Michael's not Rol's!)

I shall take steps to ensure that I don't forget the decade on 27th November 2022 should I make it that far.

Here you go - better late than never!

Dave Alvin - Nine Volt Heart

The Temptations -Cloud Nine

Sonny Boy Williamson II - Nine Below Zero

The Clovers -Love Potion Number Nine

Dolly Parton - 9 to 5

Jim White -10 Miles to Go on a 9 Mile Road

Wanda Jackson - Riot in Cell Block # 9

Michael Nesmith - Nine Times Blue

Jimmie Rodgers -Blue Yodel # 9

Sunday 12 December 2021

No Depression# 44 - Rosanne Cash


No Depression - The Bi-monthly Journal of Alt- Country
#44 March -April 2003

A couple of issues after her father it is the turn of Rosanne Cash to grace the cover and to be the subject of the main feature.

The article by Lloyd Sachs gives a retrospect of her TH359801234GB  career and highlights two distinct parts which mirror her choices of  producer and husband.
From 1981 -1989 Rosanne enjouyed a degree of mainstream Nashville country success with production by her first husband Rodney Crowell .I have an album Retrospective 1979 -1989 from this period and it is the definition of blandness.
As her marriage and mainstream success deteriorated  she relocated to New York where she formed a musical and personal relationship with producer John Leventhal. 

Following a significant break partly due to problems following a polyp on her vocal cord. The article concentrates on the comeback album 2003's Rules of Travel which includes contributions from her dad, Steve Earle,Sheryl Crow and Teddy Thompson.It is an album that I don't have but  I have a copy of her and Johnny's version of September When it Comes on  a Best of that I never knew I had.

I have her next two albums 2006's Black Cadillac and 2009's The List which are well worth having .A track from each is included below. We also saw her one year at Celtic Connections.
So a career of two halves.I'm happy to give the first half a miss but recommend the second one.

I've gone for the Jayhawks for my One from the Top. The arcticle is essentially a Q&A with Gary Louris.Understably there is a focus on their 2003 release the excellent acoustic Rainy Day Music. Up until now I was unaware that Gary co-wrote the opening track Stumbling Through the Dark with Matthew Sweet. Everyday's a schoolday.

Saturday 11 December 2021

Seen at King Tuts - Mark Mulcahy


Mark Mulcahy

Tuesday 14th May 2002           £5.00                       Ticket No  16  8

I'm not altogether sure why I ended up going to see Mark Mulcahy as he is an artist who has never really crossed my radar.
All that I can think of is that I might have gone with my pal Harry. Mulcahy was previously the main man in the band Miracle Legion. I've checked and I have nothing by them so maybe Harry was a fan

I've got very little by Mark Mulchay - just the two songs which have both turned up twice on compilations.
The Way That it Really Is, is a song from his 2001 album Smilesunset and  and is one I have on an Uncut compilation. It also appears on the Rough Trade Singer Songwriter 1 double CD which is worth having.
Hey Self Defeater also appears on an Uncut CD and is one of the 31 Songs featured in Nick Hornby's book of the same name.It is also one of the 18 selections that appears on a CD of some of the songs from the book.

31 Songs was released in 2003 so it was not that that prompted me to go and see him.Hornby in the book writes that he bought the debut solo album 1997's Fathering on the recommendation from the proprietor of his local record shop and says he often relies on others to tip him off about good music. A bit like our little Blogging community then.

I'm afraid that I can't remember anything about the concert. However, I can't have been that impressed given that there are still no Marc Mulcahy records on the shelves.

Friday 10 December 2021

Robbie Shakespeare R.I.P.


It was sad to hear about the death of Robbie Shakespeare at the age of 68 following kidney surgery.

One of the world's greatest bassists he was part of the most famous rhythm section in Reggae music alongside drummer Sly Dunbar.

You name them, they've played with them -  too many reggae stars to mention , Grace Jones, Madonna, Bob Dylan, the Rolling Stones and many, many more. They also produced countless albums. (see this list for their reggae productions)

I have the 12 inch single of Boops (Here to Go) and their album Language Barrier on the shelves. Make 'Em Move was a single from the album which I think features Africa Bambaataa on vocals

David Rodigan, the famous Reggae DJ wrote on Twitter

The bass is everything in Reggae music and Robbie Shakespeare played his bass guitar like nobody else; he made the beat drop, speaker boxes shook and we rocked.His passing is a tragic loss; his contribution to the genre is immeasurable.

Rest easy Robbie

Sly and Robbie - Boops (Here to Go)

Sly and Robbie -Make 'Em Move

Thursday 9 December 2021

' hours ... '


2021 Charity Shop Purchases 99   - David Bowie - ' hours ...'

I'll be honest I couldn't have told you that David Bowie had released an album called Hours or as it states on the sleeve ' hours ... '. I certainly didn't recognise the cover when I picked it up alongside Elmore James.

It seems that it was his 22nd studio album and that it was released on Virgin in 1999. This was a time when Bowie was increasingly irrelevant to most people including me and as I was immersed in Americana at the time it never crossed my radar.

However, I will pick up anything by him and give it a go particularlyy if it is only a pound. And do you know what, it is actually a pretty good album. Obviously not as good as the classics that we know and love but definitely a keeper and one that is already growing on me after a couple of listens.

As will be clear from the above I am no expert of his work from this period so who better than the Robster to  give a critique from his terrific Bowie Albums rated series which is a must read.

Echorich also pitches in in support of the album in the comments section

David Bowie - Thursday's Child

David Bowie - Seven

Wednesday 8 December 2021



I was at a gig on Satuday night (more of which later) when the DJ who was playing prior to the bands coming on played a song which included the lyrics:

Sundown, you better take care
If I find you been creeping 'round my back stairs

A quick google told me that it was a song called Sundown by Gordon Lightfoot and what a terrific song it is.This then got me searching to see if I had any other songs with Sundown in the title and I managed to come up with four more crackers.

The first is taken from Bruce Springsteen's opus and return to form Western Skies. The Boss is followed by Scott Hirsch, a founder member of Hiss Golden Messenger, and a solo artist in his own wright. Sundown Highway is taken from his 2016 album Blue Rider Songs which is available at bandcamp

Then we have the fabulously named Halo Benders who are a side project of Calvin Johnson of Beat Happening and Doug Marsch of Built to Spill. Lonesome Sundown is available on their 1998 album The Rebels Not In.

And finally George would never forgive me if I didn't include Carl and Pearl Butler.

Each evening at sundown in Nashville
They sweep broken dreams off the street

I should do this sort of thing more often

Gordon Lightfoot -Sundown

Bruce Springsteen - Sundown

Scott Hirsch - Sundown Highway

The Halo Benders - Lonesome Sundown

Carl & Pearl Butler - Sundown in Nashville

Tuesday 7 December 2021

The Blues Collection - Elmore James


2021 Charity Shop Purchases 98 - Elmore James - Dust My Broom
The Blues Collection (no 17)

Regular readers will know that I have taken to carrying a list of the numbers of the Blues Collection CDs which I don't have to avoid picking up doublers as this was not an uncommon occurrence.

On a recent visit to the Kinder Hanel charity shop in Battefield Rd there were a few on the shelves and I checked my list to see which of them I had. It seemed that I had them all except number 17 Dust My Broom by Elmore James the king of the electric slide guitar.
I knew that I had a non - Blues Collection compilation but was also convinced that I had the BC one. Of course I hadn't and a further visit quickly rectified that.
I subsequently wasn't convinced that I had Magic Sam number 21 in the series despite what my list said. This time I held firm and was vindicated when I got home to find it on the shelves. So no deviating from the list from now on in.

The track listing on the BC version is very similarl to my other compilation albeit the songs were recorded in different American cities on different dates.
Dust My Broom, his signature tune  was recorded in Chicago  in November 1959 with JT Brown on tenor sax, Homesick James on bass, Jonnie Jones on piano and Odie Payne on drums. The Sky is Crying, a song which has also been coved by Jimi Hendrix,Gary Moore, Stevie Ray Vaughan and Eric Cl**ton is from the same session.
Shake Your Moneymaker is from New Orleans in 1962 with Johnny "Big Moose"Walker on piano, Lee Robinson on bass and King Mose on drums.

Terrific songs, terrific names and terrific stuff . The 62nd one from the series on the shelves.

Monday 6 December 2021

Congratulations I'm Sorry


2021 Charity Shop Purchases 97 -Gin Blossoms - Congratulations I'm Sorry

I was a big fan of New Miserable Experience the album by Gin Blossoms from 1992 picking up the CD of the album and two versions of the CD single of Found Out About You although one copy appears to have been misplaced. Hopefully it will turn up eventually.

I hadn't given them much thought for a number of years until the 1996 follow up Congratulations I'm Sorry on A&M popped up in the Sue Ryder charity shop in Newton Stewart.According to the lead singer Robin Wilson the name comes from people congratulating them on the success of New Miserable Experience while expressing condolences for the death by suicide of former band member Doug Hopkins.

The album has the same blend of Americana and power pop to its predecessor but for me it is not quite as powerful. Having said that I have only listened to it a couple of times and it could well become a grower.Others must have enjoyed it as it reached platinum status.

The songs below are the first and third singles taken from the album. 

I'm off to try and track down Found Out About You!

..... Found it hiding among the Ss!

Sunday 5 December 2021

No Depression# 43 - Alison Krauss and Union Station


No Depression - The Bi-monthly Journal of Alt- Country
#43    January to February  2003

Now I like Bluegrass as much as the next man but I must confess that I am not particularly a fan of Alison Krauss although she is a terrific fiddle player. There are however a few of her albums on the shelves as Mrs CC is more of a fan than me.
I'm with Adam Sweeting from the Guardian who feels that Krauss and Union Station are suberb when they stick to howdowns and hillbilly music, but much less convincing when they lurch towards the middle of the road.Blender magazine goes even further saying that the flavorless repertoire that Krauss sings steers her towards Lite FM.

Although well established by then they, like many other country acts, gained a new audience with their appearance on the 2000 soundtrack to the Coen Brothers film O Brother ,Where Art Thou? Krauss does a stunning version of Down to the River to Pray with Union Station band member Dan Tyminski being the voice on I'm a Man of Constant Sorrow. 
Jerry Douglas from the band has built up an international reputation as a leading Dobro player and is a regular at the Celtic Connections Tranatlanic Sessions concerts.
The band have also been cited as an influence for Newgrass artists such as Nickel Creek. She has also done a couple of albums with Robert Plant
I've chosen a couple of the more bluegrassy numbers from their 2001 album New Favorite on the Rounder label this being the most recent to the article.

I thought that the One from the Top selection could provide a bit of a challenge this week until I discovered that I have a couple of Kieran Kane numbers on various compilations. This one is taken from HMV's Alternative Country Collection featuring artists from the Round Tower, Glitterhouse and Dead Reckoning labels.

Saturday 4 December 2021

Seen at King Tuts - Th' Legendary Shack Shakers


Th' Legendary Shack Shakers

Thursday 7th April  2005           £13.25                       Ticket No  GA1 18

This was a concert that I went to with my brother who is a fan of the band. They started out as a rockabilly band which is probably why he liked them and the song Ichabod featured below is taken from a compilation of songs from two rockabilly labels Raucous and Nervous.

The only other thing of theirs that I have is a copy of their 2004 album Believe on the YepRoc label variously described as cowpunk and psychobilly. I suspect that the original album probably belongs to my brother.
On the subject of cowpunk I can vividly remember a reasonably elderly member of the audience dressed in hillbilly dungarees and sucking on  a corn pipe. That's pretty much all I can remember from the gig. I would imagine that it was pretty loud and bouncy with a mosh pit of sorts up the front.

Given the date of the album Believe and the date of the concert the other two songs below almost certainly featured. I must have been impressed enough to ask to borrow and copy the CD.

The News of the World (a much missed music mag) described them as the maddest baddest most outrageous band in America - a rockabilly version of the Sex Pistols whereas Robert Plant named Believe as his favourite album of 2015. But don't let that put you off.