Search This Blog

Saturday, 31 December 2022

That Was The Year That Was


Well we have finally made it to the end of 2022 and good riddance to it.

Despite the Covid situation improving by and large it has been a pretty grim year.

Where to start with the politics? Three words - Johnson, Truss and Sunak who have systematically set out to fill the pockets of their chums and to bleed the country dry.
The energy crisis is a classic example - compare the prices being charged here to the other countries in Europe and check out the profits of the energy companies.
Another example of how Brexit is working out for the ordinary folk perhaps?

Then there is the NHS which is a bit of a worry. It seems to me that the Government are deliberately not engaging in dialogue with the nurses in an attempt to turn the public against them..This of course will in turn help to facilitate the privitisation of the NHS and fill the pockets of their chums still further.

Lets hope that the public stand strong and that the Tories get annihilated in the upcoming General Election. Not that Labour are much better.

That's the rant over. On the positive side it has been a good year for music despite the sad deaths of many legends particularly in the last month or so.
I've also bought more records  this year than I have for about a decade and have also had some good charity finds and CD hauls. There is a lot of good music out there if you look carefully.

A particular highlight for me was the Edinburgh Bloggers Convention when I got to spend some time with AlysonCJohnMartin and The Swede. It was great to meet and be in the company of such like minded individuals. Despite having only met Alyson before they instantly all seemed like old friends.
There is talk of something similar in 2023.Lets hope it happens.

I shall now stop wittering and take this opportunity to wish you all a Happy New Year and all the best for 2023. And heres wishing Jez a speedy recovery.

See you on the other side.

Friday, 30 December 2022

A Couple of Lists - Part 2


Records yesterday, gigs today.

This year I only attended a measly nine gigs.

Three were folky/family events - Sharon Shannon - Celtic Connections - Royal Concert Hall, New Auditorium (7/10), The Fureys - Pavilion Theatre (5/10) and Phil Cunningham's Christmas Concert  - Royal Concert Hall (8/10)

I also attended the LNFG Annual Birthday show at Stereo where I  saw Vulture Party and Domiciles who aren't really my sort of thing at all (6/10)

That leaves 5 which I will put in some sort of order

5  - Constant Follower - Glad Cafe  - October  8/10

This was the second time I had seen them this year. Whereas they were very good and had added a female singer (whose name I did not capture) to accompany Stephen McCall I wasn't as blown away as the first time I saw them.

4 - Hanging Stars/ Gerry Love - Stereo - October 8/10

This gig would probably have scored higher had I been in time to see Gerry Love's full set. I enjoyed the Hanging Stars who not surprisingly concentrated on their latest album Hollow Heart but thought that there set could have been that wee bit longer. Also no encore which was a surprise.Ava, as you would expect was the highlight

3 - Constant Follower/ Mt Doubt  - Stereo - March 9/10

This was the first time I saw them at a quarter full Stereo and they were mesmerizing . Four guys sitting in a row plucking acoustic guitars and bass with the almost whispered vocals of McCa. Stunning.

Support from Mt Doubt or more accurately Leo Bagary in one of his last shows as/with the band. He gave it his all despite the poor attendance. I shall keep an eye out for his new adventures.

2 - Broken Chanter/Raveloe - Glad Cafe - April 9/10

A terrific show which I reviewed here 

I was at the CCA a couple of years ago for the launch of his debut album Broken Chanter. It was a sit down show and a pretty sedate affair.

This one a belated launch show for Catastrophe Hits was a different beast altogether. The band and the crowd were totally jumping and David's patter was flowing. Raveloe was much quieter and reflective but I would certainly go and see her again.

1 - Rose City Band - Broadcast - September 10/10.

This was the first time I had been to Broadcast and was there to see Rose City Band for the first time.It was on a Sunday ,the day after the Manchester Psych Fest with a few stragglers having made it up north - review here

I am a big fan of the band who play some brilliant Psychedelic Americana as a side project by  Wooden Shjips and Moon Duo's Ripley Johnson. They have released three albums to date all of which are must haves. Songs from all three featured with a tight band and some terrific guitar and piano playing.

At the time I called it as my gig of the year and that still stands

Mt. Doubt - Caravans

Broken Chanter -Extinction Event Souvenir T-Shirt

Rose City Band - Only Lonely

Thursday, 29 December 2022

A Couple of Lists - Part 1


Usually at this time of the year us Bloggers like to provide best of the year lists of records, gigs etc

This year I have bought more records than I have for a long time - probably about 50 in total. A mixture of those I get via my Last Night from Glasgow subscription, some new ones, some re-issues, some charity shop purchases and some gap fillers in my collection.

All of which got me in a bit of a tizz when trying to come up with a top five from 2022. Here goes:

5 - James Edwyn and the Broken Band - Highlights of the Lowlights (LNFG)

Some Glasgow based Americana from a sextet who have been on the go since 2013 with two previous album releases  LNFG

4 - Robyn Hitchcock - Shufflemania (Tiny Ghost)

The first every Robyn Hitchcock album that I have bought upon release

Recorded in locations around the world over the pandemic era, SHUFFLEMANIA! offers up 10 gloriously ingenious new Robyn Hitchcock songs in just under 40 minutes - a “proper pop album” as nature intended. Songs like “Midnight Tram To Nowhere” and the optimistic, album-closing “One Day (It’s Being Scheduled)” are state-of-the-art Hitchcock, manifesting his signature wit, miraculous gift for melodic craftsmanship, and striking humanity in a world gone mad.Bandcamp

I have a ticket to see him in March for a concert rescheduled from last year.

3 -The Poems - Young America (PNFG)

The first vinyl release from an album which has attained mythical status since its original release in 2006 and featuring some well kent faces from the Scottish music scene  LNFG

2  - The Hanging Stars  -Hollow Heart (Loose) 

This one came very close to topping the charts .The fourth album by the London based country band and the first to go down the Psychedelic Americana route which is fast becoming my favourite sub-genre. A band championed by John Medd      Loose

1 - Constant Follower - Neither Is, Nor Ever Was (Shimmy Disk)

A Stirling based group led by Stephen McCall this first came my way via a promotional plug. The album quickly sold out on its original release in 2021 and I got in early to ensure that I got a copy of the re-issue earlier this year. Since then I have managed to see them live on a couple of occasions and will be keeping an eye out for subsequent releases Bandcamp

The Poems - Lost and Found

The Hanging Stars - Red Autumn Leaf

Constant Follower - Set Aside Some Time

Wednesday, 28 December 2022

In Between Days


As Swiss Adam said yesterday we currently find ourselves in those strange days between Christmas and New Year. There appears to be no concept of time far less dates or an awareness of whether it is Tuesday or Thursday. God help you if you have a bin day scheduled. Having said that there is probably little to no change of the binmen actually turning up on the allotted day.

There is  also no concept of meal times or of eating proper food. You find yourself raiding the fridge at strange hours to come up with a  strange concoction of leftovers which need eaten before they go off.

Yesterday over a lazy and late brunch we were listening to two anthologies which seemed to capture the mood nicely.

Tomorrow's Wednesday, right?

Fairport Convention - Sloth

Nick Drake - Time Has Told Me

Tuesday, 27 December 2022

In Search of Harperfield


2022 Charity Shop Purchases #83 - Emma Pollock - In Search of Harperfield

This one just sneaks in and in all likelihood will be the last recorded charity purchase for 2022 albeit I've had it for months.
The reason for the delay? It is a vinyl purchase and was added to the pile for Christmas Day. That is one reason why I have not done a best of for 2022 as there are about half a dozen or so which still require a proper listen.

In Search of Harperfield is from 2016 on the  Chemikal Underground label and as things stand it is the most recent of the thee solo albums by the Delgados singer and guitarist Emma Pollock.

I picked it up in Oxfam on Glasgow's  Byres Road. As it was from Oxfam and in the West End it was not cheap at £9.99. However it is in excellent condition and has been signed by Emma so well worth a purchase.
It joins 2017's Stop the Fireworks on the shelves. The missing one being 2010's The Law of Large Numbers.

It is Emma so as you would expect it is excellent. Here is a great review of the album from  JC
Despite no solo albums since 2016 she has popped up live on  a number of occasions and has co-written tracks with the band The Warm Digits. She was also part of the Album Club collective of writers and musicians who met up at Glasgow's iconic bar  The Laurieston  to talk about albums (a bit like a book club) and ended up writing and recording one on LNFG

In other news The Delgados have reformed for a handful of concerts in January.I have my ticked for The Barrowlands and can hardly wait!

Monday, 26 December 2022

Boxing Day Birthday Greetings


Today is Mrs CC's birthday - the day after the Baby Jesus as she used to tell our nephews when they were much younger and more gullible.

We will probably do very little today other than eat and drink, watch rubbish telly  and listen to music  which sounds like a pretty good  plan to me.

I'd like to thank her for putting up with me for yet another year particularly as she sees a lot more of me now that I am retired.

Here are a few of her favourite tunes.

Happy birthday xx

Kris Drever - Shining Star

George Harrison - My Sweet Lord

Detroit Spinners -Working My Way Back to You

Saturday, 24 December 2022

A Christmas Eve Gift to You


It's Christmas Eve and anyone who has been following this Blog for any period of time should know the drill by now.

It has now become traditional that I feature the greatest Christmas record ever made namely Phil Spector's A Christmas Gift to You on this day. Indeed, even the late great Townes Van Zandt has had to stand aside.

Can I take this opportunity to wish all of you and yours a very Merry Christmas.
Eat, drink and be merry and I hope that Santa is good to you and brings you lots of records.

See you on the other side.

Darlene Love - Winter Wonderland

The Ronnettes - Sleigh Ride

Darlene Love - (Christmas) Baby Please Come Home

Friday, 23 December 2022

Townes Covered -Silver Ships of Andilar


A day early this week to confuse you and which obviously goes some way to explaining the paucity of votes cast. No doubt a late flurry would have flooded in over the next 24 hours.

A convincing win by Townes by 5-1 over Ray Benson with their respective versions of If I Needed You..It would have been 4-0 but Alyson, maybe feeling sorry for Ray, gave them a vote each.In the spirit of Christmas and to combat the general apathy for this series I'm willing to let that go.
There were a couple of comments that the version by Emmylou Harris and Don Williams would have run Townes closer. That's certainly true but Emmylou has featured before.

The overall score is now Townes 8 the Rest 1 so he is nearly home and hosed.
As I mentioned last week I am beginning to struggle a bit but am still reasonably confident that we can get to 10. Picking up on my less than subtle hint Ernie very kindly stepped up to the plate an offered up a cover of one of Townes' lesser known songs Silver Ships of Andilar.

I was vaguely familiar with the Dylanesque original from his 1978 album The Late Great Townes Van Zandt but not the cover by Tyler Key a singer/songwriter from Athens, Georgia. Ernie advised that this is from an EP of Townes covers available on a name your price basis from Bandcamp which is well worth a couple of coppers

Tyler's cover is pretty faithful to the original and not bad at all but it is Townes for me again.Others of course may choose to differ.

You will have an extra week to submit your votes as the next (and possibly final) cover will be posted on Saturday 7th January 2023. Townes will appear here  again before then but not as part of this series


Thursday, 22 December 2022

A Low Christmas


The recent deaths of Terry Hall and Martin Duffy have served to remind us that 2022 has been a terrible year in respect of the deaths of musical greats, probably second only to 2016.

Another recent sad death of course was that of Mimi Parker from ovarian cancer in her mid 50s.It seems therefore more appropriate than usual  this year to feature Christmas the EP by Low from 1999.

One year I took this to play at the work's informal Christmas lunch where it  (very) temporarily vied for airplay with Wham, Wizard, Maria Carey et al.
It was not well received.
Bunch of Philistines unlike the readers of CCM who of course all have exquisite taste.

Wednesday, 21 December 2022

Terry Hall R.I.P.


Like JC who posted a beautiful heartfelt tribute yesterday I first heard of the death of Terry Hall by text late on Monday night - in my case via almost similtaneous messages from a pal and my brother. 

About a month ago following the death of Wilco Johnston JC commented here that The sad thing is, the ages of so many of the musicians who the likes of you and I looked up to, admired or indeed worshipped, means that reading obituaries is going to be an ever-increasing habit in the months and years ahead.

Now this is probably true but it didn't stop the death of Terry hitting many of us like a ton of bricks. 63 for goodness sake, that's no age at all.

It does mean however that he was an artist that we were privileged to grow up with and to  see evolve over the years. If they had done nothing else the multi racial approach of the Specials and Two Tone has assured their place in history.

Terry Hall of course did so much more. From the Specials to Fun Boy Three to The Colour Field and many, many more interesting and innovative collaborations.

The legacy he has left can by gauged by the many tributes on the right hand sidebar and much more importantly by the music he has left us with.

Rest easy Terry.

The Specials - Too Much Too Young

The Specials - Ghost Town

Fun Boy Three -The Lunatics Have Taken Over the Asylum

Tuesday, 20 December 2022

Another Two Bite The Dust


Following my very first tentative steps towards housekeeping in early November anothe two CDs have finally bitten the dust . At this rate this exercise should be just about completed by the year 2525. There is a songtitle in there somewhere.

As before they have been copied to the harddrive in the unlikly event that I have an epiphany and decide that they are worth saving after all.At least I may have a potentially neverending theme series on my hands.

The first to go is Lovers a 2003 album by Australian band  The Sleepy Jackson which I picked up in a local charity shop in 2014. It seems from my post shortly after purchasing this that I was reasonably impressed with this one. Not that impressed though as I have never knowingly listened to it since.

Moloko was a name I was familiar with but not necessarily the music. Things to Make and Do was purchased for 50p in St Andrews as far back as 2013. My post at the time had Jury's Out as a heading. Well after an inordinate period of time the jury has finally returned with a Not Proven verdict.

Back to charity they go!

The Sleepy Jackson - Good Dancers

Moloko - The Time is Now

Monday, 19 December 2022

The Dream Syndicate


I'm going to see The Dream Syndicate live in March with support from fellow Paisley Underground band The Rain Parade!

About a month ago I got a couple of e-mails advising that tickets were going on sale for a show at the Hug and Pint, Glasgow on 11th March 2023. I duly logged in at the allocated time but was not successful. I then phoned Ticket Scotland to find it was sold out. Hardly surprising really given that the Hug and Pint has a capacity of  only 120 which is ridiculously low for a band of their calibre.

Step forward a couple of weeks and I was in town. Walking under the Hielanman's Umbrella I stopped for a look in Ticket Scotland's window. They had a board up with a list of forthcoming concerts which included those which were sold out. Dream Syndicate were on the board but not listed as sold out.

It was a bit of a long shot but I popped in to see if they had any tickeds. They had two (probably returns) and one was duly purchased!

I've seen Steve Wynn on a number of occasions but not The Dream Syndicate so I'm really looking forward to it given that they now play that Psychedelic Americana that I'm becoming increasingly fond of.

The Dream Syndicate -Recovery Mode

The Dream Syndicate - Beyond Control

The Rain Parade - What She's Done to Your Mind

Sunday, 18 December 2022

Albums on both CD and Vinyl (Sort Of) - The Four Tops Greatest Hits



The final instalment in this series is somewhat of an anomaly.

Yes I have a vinyl Four Top -Greatest Hits and a CD Four Top -Greatest Hits and they are the same but different.

The vinyl copy is the original from 1967 on the Tamla Motown label and has 16 tracks . The CD version pictured below is from 1987 on Motown and includes 12 of the above tracks but in a different order. It is a strange state of affairs when the vinyl copy has more than the CD one


Both picked up in charity shops over the last few years. The vinyl was picked up in  Stranraer in 2017 with the CD being picked up later in Granton-on- Spey in the autumn of 2019. As the dates suggest I was somewhat late to the party something for which Rol has quite rightly previously taken me to task about.

It is a wee while since I have heard from Lynchie. Hopefully this post will lead to him regaling us with the tale of him dancing in the aisles when seeing them live (not that I'm jeaous!)

Saturday, 17 December 2022

Townes Covered - If I Needed You


A bit more straithforward last week with a resounding win  of 6-1 by Townes over Guy Clark with their respective versions of To Live is to Fly. Only Alyson was rowing against the tide.

The overall score is now Townes 7 The Rest 1. Interestingly, it was nearly 6 -2 the week before as regular Friday night commenter Spence voted for Loretta by  John Prine at 01.28 am on Saturday morning. As the post was scheduled for 08.00 and I was safely tucked up in bed it wasn't counted. So get in early.

It is beginning to get tricky now. I've still got plenty of songs by Townes that I don't have covers of and a few covers but not the Townes originals. I'll see how I get on but may put out a call for help shortly.

Courtesy of the compilation Poet - a tribute to Townes Van Zandt I've managed to come up with a cover of If I Needed You by Ray Benson of Asleep at the Wheel fame.

It's a no-brainer for me this week - it's Townes all day long.

Others,of course, may choose to differ

Next week's cover will be on Friday as opposed to Saturday

Ray Benson - If I Needed You

Townes Van Zandt - If I Needed You

Friday, 16 December 2022

Cruel Country


There was a time in the mid to late 90s when I thought that Wilco were probably the best band on the planet. This was in no small part due to the 1996 release Being There and 1999's Summerteeth.

After the sacking of Jay Bennett they became to move on from their alt country roots - gradually at  first and then more rapidly. It took me a long time to come to terms with anything after Yankee Hotel Foxtrot although more recently I have picked up one or two of their later albums and explored them with a more open mind  to see what I have been missing. 

I can usually find one or two songs that I like but struggle with the whole album. All that has changed, however, with the release of their latest album Cruel Country earlier this year on their own dBpm label.

It is a monster double album with 21 tracks over 77 minutes,. Described on their Bandcamp page as the band's exploration of  the genre they have often been defined by but, until now, have not fully embraced.

Pitchfork give it a score of 7.2 saying that Wilco embrace a simple, buoyant approach that hearkens back to Jeff Tweedy’s earliest work. They go on to describe Cruel Country as an album title that cuts two ways, the “country” referring either to a nation or a musical genre. The duality is deliberate, as Wilco are grappling not only with America's tumultuous present but also the band’s fraught legacy with country music.

It's not clear whether this album is a one off or whether they will revert back to releasing more stuff like this. Hopefully the latter please as this one is a belter.

More of this please

Wilco - Cruel Country

Wilco - Tired of Taking it Out on You

Thursday, 15 December 2022

How Low Can You Go


As part of an occasional and long term project I have gradually been acquiring vinyl copies of  what I consider to be the essential David Bowie albums.

I have made reasonable progress this year with the acquisition of Diamond Dogs, Space Oddity and Low taking my total of vinyl studio albums to 12. By my reckoning the only missing ones that I still require are The Man Who Sold the World, The Next Day and Black Star. I may also pick up Pin Ups in the unlikely event of  finding it cheap.

From 1977 Low is Bowie's 11th studio album and is the first of his Berlin Trilogy with  Brian Eno and  Tony Visconti (the others being "Heroes" and Lodger).

It is not a singles friendly album with only Sound and Vision really coming into the radio friendly category. It is a short album with two radically different approximately 19 minute sides. Side 1 has seven reasonably accessible avant pop songs including the two below. Side two is more ambient and electronic with just the four tracks.

Critics were mixed at the time but it has since come to be recognised as one of his best with a number considering it as his greatest artistic achievement.

I'm more of a Hunky Dory or Young Americans man myself.

David Bowie -What in the World

David Bowie -Always Crashing the Same Car

Wednesday, 14 December 2022



About a month or so ago I popped into Big Blue the HQ of Last Night from Glasgow in Finnieston's Hidden lane to purchase a copy of I Walked With You a Ways by Plains

While chatting to head honcho Ian Smith I mentioned that I was familiar with the solo music of Katie Crutchfield in her Waxahatchee guise but knew nothing about Jess Williamson. Ian immediately became even more enthusiastic than usual and started waxing lyrical about her solo stuff. He told me that I really must give her  fourth and latest album 2020's Sorceress on the Mexican Summer label a listen.

Naturally I took up his recommendation and boy I'm glad that I did. Doing some reading there are lazy comparisons out there to the likes of Angel Olsen, Kacey Musgraves and Lana Del Ray. Exhalted company but she deserves to be listened to in her own right

Clashmusic sum the album up nicely as mixing withcraft with country-western twang and dreamy pop -folk ballads Sorceress is an expansive,magical listening experience.

Jess Williamson - Smoke

Jess Williamson - Gulf of Mexico

A physical copy is high on my wish list

Tuesday, 13 December 2022

Mojo Hand


George kindly alerted me to Mojo Hand - The Complete Fire Sessions by the legendary Texan Bluesman Lighnin' Hopkins which has recently been released. Lightnin' is no stranger to these pages.

Here is some blurb from the Rough Trade website - 
Lightnin’ Hopkins is widely considered one of the great popular architects of the blues style that came be known as “country blues” and which proved to be huge influence on the future development of Rock ‘n’ Roll. “Mojo Hand” was one of Hopkins‘ signature tunes. Mixing his own style with Louisiana Creole and voodoo culture, the song ripples with an occult energy.This album, recorded for Fire Records, is especially interesting because it casts Hopkins in a more R&B-flavored environment. This obvious effort to get a hit takes for some excellent blues; moody and powerful performances play throughout. The Penguin Guide to Blues Recordings wrote that "Lightnin' is focussed and businesslike and delivers a strong and varied sequence of songs; the bassist and drummer unobtrusive but very much there”.

Much more important than that he was a mentor to the likes of Steve Earle and Townes Van Zandt who were busy learning their trade in the less salubrious areas of Houston.I wonder if he has a Townes cover out there somewhere. Townes has certainly covered Lightnin'

The album is excellent as you would expect. Heck- given the time of year I am even throwing in a Christmas song. Don't say I'm not good to you

Lightnin' Hopkins - Glory Be

Lightnin' Hopkins - How Long Has That Train Been Gone

Lightnin' Hopkins - Santa

Monday, 12 December 2022

Electric Cables


I was running slightly late due to a family meal when I went to see The Hanging Stars at Stereo in October. I  got there in time to catch the last couple of numbers by the support act only to find that it was Gerry Love.  I'm still kicking myself.

To make up for that I have acquired a copy of Electric Cables by his  (other) band Lightships which was first released in 2012 on Stephen Pastel's Geographic label. It has just been re-released to celebrate its 10th anniversary and is available here. You can also get a digital copy at Bandcamp

The Guardian in a 4/5 review wrote fans of Gerard Love's work with Teenage Fanclub will sigh contendedly at how Fanclubesque this album is. Every element is in place: Love's diffident, uninsistent voice; quirky arrangements where the expected guitar is replaced by something else – a flute, a keyboard; those little repeated instrumental hooks that pick their way through a whole song; the autumnal mood, part regret, part contentment; that glorious way with a melody. Love's songwriting is wholly distinctive.

This is the man who wrote Sparky's Dream and Ain't That Enough for heaven's sake.If you like the Fannies (and who doesn't?) this album is as essential as the rest of them.  Buy it!

Craig at Plain or Pan has just written a great article about a  show that Gerry put on in Irvine recently. I wish I'd been there.

Lightships -The Warmth of the Sun

Teenage Fanclub - Sparky's Dream

Teenage Fanclub -Ain't That Enough

Sunday, 11 December 2022

Albums on both CD and Vinyl - Faith


This is George Michael's debut on these pages. I thought that he may have appeared here before as part of Wham but apparently not.

Ladies & Gentlemen - the Best of and Faith are on the CD shelves with Faith being the sole vinyl abum in the Music Room.From 1987 and on the Columbia label it is his debut solo album 'He wrote and produced every track with the exception of Look at Your Hands which he co-wrote with David Austin.

According to Wiki it is a   "black"  inspired pop-R&B album and Faith's songs include introspective lyrics, which generated controversies about Michael's personal relationships at that time.

The two CDs and one album all belong to Mrs CC and  therefore it is only fair that she gets to choose the tracks.

It is coming up to six years since George's passing.He was a truly gifted artist who will go down as one of the greats with many of his songs standing the test of time.

Excuse the brevity of this post - there is a World Cup on!

Saturday, 10 December 2022

Townes Covered - To Live's to Fly


Last week's low scoring contest  nearly saw the first defeat to Townes losing 3-2 to John Prine with their respective versions of Loretta  prior to a very late vote from Ernie for Townes.

Therefore the  overall score still remains  Townes 5  The Rest 0 or maybe more realistically if we count the two draws with The Postman and Nanci Griffith  the score readsTownes 6 The Rest 1. (I'm going with this one from now on in).Will he still remain unbeaten by the time we get to 10? Stay tuned and keep voting to find out.

This week Townes is up against fellow Texan singer songwriter Guy Clark . Indeed Townes was very close to Guy and his wife Susannah or in fact extremely close as this Guardian article alludes to. 

Susannah Clark wrote the sleevenotes to the  compilation album Poet -a tribute to Townes Van Zandt .She writes that Townes phoned her at 8.30 every morning and that this morning 8.30 came and the phone didn't ring.

I'm going for Townes and not just because Guy Clark was the rudest artist that my friend Tom ever promoted.

Others, of course, may choose to differ.

Guy Clark - To Live is to Fly

Townes Van Zandt - To Live's to Fly

I've just noticed that all five artists mentioned above are sadly no longer with us

Friday, 9 December 2022

Squeezing Out Sparks

About a month or so ago I  attended a small record fair in a pub called Phillies in the Shawlands district in Glasgow's South Side. It takes place on a Saturday every month or so with two or three vendors.

One is a chap called Gordon better known as Uncle Wald to music lovers on Twitter. He is ages with me and a lover of much of the same  types of music as me.

One act that we both like is Graham Parker and the Rumour and on recent visits Gordon has helped plug the gaps in my vinyl collection. It is widely accepted that it is pretty much essential to have the first five albums from the band which were released between 1976 and 1980.

On a previous visit earlier this year I came away with Heat Treatment leaving 1979's Squeezing Out Sparks as the only one to get. I'm pleased to say that that gap was subsequently plugged a  few weeks back.

It was voted album of the year in the Village Voice's Pazz & Jopps critic poll with Rolling Stone later ranking it at number 334 in  its list of the top 500 albums of all time. It's very good but maybe not quite that good.

Graham Parker & the Rumour - Local Girls

Graham Parker & the Rumour - You Can't Be Too Strong

Thursday, 8 December 2022

Big Thief


The other day I finally got around to acquiring a vinyl copy of Two Hands the 2019 album by Brooklyn band Big Thief on the 4AD label.

And what a terrific album it is too. Hearing the song Not on vinyl highlights what a great writer and singer Adrienne Lenker is. It is a truly astonishing song  and one of the best that I have heard in recent years.

Two Hands was their fourth album and in February this year they released their 5th Dragon New Warm Mountain I Believe In You again on 4AD. It is a double album and as you would expect it is brilliant. However it is maybe a bit ambitious and over long at just over 80 minutes. Unfortunately it is also pretty expensive.

For the second album in a row Adrienne Lenker comes up with a bona fide classic in the shape of the album's opener  Change .Perhaps not quite in the same league as Not, but brilliant nevertheless. What a special talent she is

Big Thief - Not

Big Thief - Change

Wednesday, 7 December 2022

Neon Coast


That's the backlog of  charity shop purchases finally cleared. It looks unlikely that I will hit the ton for 2022 but you just never know.

What is does however is that it gives me a chance to concentrate on some other stuff. On the latest Bandcamp Friday I purchased a download  of Portents the latest album by Californian but now Glasgow based singer songwriter A Wesley Chung  which was released on Storm Chasers Ltd.

He first came to my attention in 2018 with the release of his album Neon Coast. A brief bio courtesy of tells us that he is  an American songwriter/musician based in Glasgow, Scotland.He is previously known for his indie/folk bands The Great Albatross and Boris Smile, while his upcoming solo material ventures deeper intp and the sounds of his native California. In other words right up my street.

I'm not familiar with his previous bands and some further exploration is clearly required.

As Portents is brand new here are a couple from Neon Coast for your listening pleasure.If you like what you hear, and let's face it you would be foolish not to, pop across to Bandcamp and chuck a couple of quid in his direction.

A. Wesley Chung - Restless

A. Wesley Chung -Neon Coast

Tuesday, 6 December 2022

Give Out But Don't Give Up


2022 Charity Shop Purchases #82 - Primal Scream - Give Out But Don't Give Up

As part of what is loosely called research I did a search for previous Primal Scream posts and it seems that I have picked up some stuff  by them in 2019 and 2020. Nothing in 2021 with Give Out But Don't Give Up just sneaking in under the wire for 2022.

From 1994 and on the Creation label it is one that is not uncommon in charity shops but I have never had the urge to pick it up before. I suspect the reason that I went for it this time round was down to having just read Tenament Kid, the autobiography of Bobby Gillespie.

Another reason that I have not bothered with it before is that the brilliant The Original Memphis Recordings from 2018 which I have featured here before is on the vinyl shelves.

You can't improve on perfection but I quite enjoyed it. Most of you will be familiar with it and the fact that it is a fairly radical shift from it's predecessor Screamadelica with its country rock and blues feel. It is also good to see the late great Denise Johnson get a mention as part of The Scream Gang as opposed to being airbrushed out which seems to have been the case in 2018 when she does not get a mention in the documentary or the booklet accompanying the album.

Primal Scream - Big Jet Plane

Primal Scream - Free

Primal Scream - Call On Me

Monday, 5 December 2022

Tree Bursts in Snow


2022 Charity Shop Purchases #81 - Admiral Fallow - Tree Bursts in Snow

Admiral Fallow formed on 2007 but could hardly be described as the most prolific band out there, To date they have only released four albums - Boots Met My Face (2010), Tree Bursts in Snow 2012), Tiny Rewards (2015) and The Idea of You (2021). They are all worth waiting for.

I've now acquired three out of the four the latest being the CD version of Tree Bursts on the Neettwerk label from my now nearest charity shop on Battlefield Rd. My previous nearest one on Cathcart Rd is now a  greengrocers.Tiny Rewards is the one I've still to hunt down

The band are led by Louis Abbot and Sarah Hayes who I saw doing an acoustic set in the Some Great Reward record shop when I purchased their latest offering.

Back to Tree Bursts and here is Louis explaining the title The title refers to the sound and the image of an artillery shell exploding into a cluster of snow-drenched trees... I'm also astounded by the sheer volume of gun related violent crimes throughout the world but in particular in the U.S. The lyric from 'Tree Bursts' was inspired by the idea of the effect that losing friends through violence, in particular during times of war or conflict has on young men and women. They are "the leaves that fall louder than backfire, all orange and halloween red .I'm glad he cleared that up for us.

One which I feel will benefit from a few more listens but  in the meantime here are a couple of tunes to be going on with.

Admiral Fallow - Tree Bursts

Admiral Fallow - Guest of the Government

Sunday, 4 December 2022

Albums on both CD and Vinyl - The Unraveling


Apologies  - this one has appeared here recently. Well just over a year ago in fact. I had something else in mind for today  but was behind with my posts so needed something quick and dirty. The Drive-By Truckers certainly fit that bill.

From 2020 The Unraveling is Paterson Hood's blistering assessment on Trump's America. For a native of Alabama it was a pretty brave thing to do. In years to come people will look back with incredulity and ask did that really happen. In the UK they will say that's America for you and then remember Johnson and Truss (and probably Sunak too,it is early days).

I'd lost interest in the DBTs by around 2010 which coincided with the departure of Jason Isbel. They were also pursuing a more rockier path which was really not my thing.

This album however struck a chord and was very much a return to form.Unfortunately I was pretty disappointed with the follow up The New OK.

I bought the album on vinyl after hearing a few songs. The CD came along later unbelivably  as part of  a four for a pound offer in a Dingwall charity shop.

Babies in Cages and 21st Century USA have appeared here before and are both extremely powerful songs.I was tempted to feature them again but there are plenty more to choose from.

I think Paterson has got the history right.

Drive-By Truckers -Armageddon's Back in Town

Drive-By Truckers -Thoughts and Prayers

Drive-By Truckers -Heroin Again

Saturday, 3 December 2022

Townes Covered - Loretta


A low scoring round last week saw Townes defeating Steve Earle by 4 votes to 1 with their respective versions of Delta Momma Blues.

Townes is still absolutely romping the overall scores  by 5 to the Rest's 0 (or 5.5 to 0.5 if you count Nanci Griffith)

Last week Ernie was extolling the virtues of Steve Earle's cover of Loretta. However I had other plans. I'm now going to post a chunk of a post from September 2013

I had the privilege of seeing Townes live twice before his death on New Year's day 1997.
The first time was at Glasgow's King Tuts Wah Wah Hut and the second was at the County Hotel in Perth.
My pal and I decided to make a night of it and booked into the hotel. Imagine our excitement when we learned that Townes was staying in a room down the corridor.
One beer led to another leading to my pal "accosting "Townes with the demand that he "play Loretta Townes, play Loretta."
To his credit he duly obliged but being somewhat traumatised he forgot the words!
Still a total genius though

The question is would another hero of mine John Prine forget the words if he was in a similar situation? I suspect not. As you would expect Mr Prine applies his usual brilliance to the cover. However, for me, it was always going to be Townes and not just for the sentimental reasons above.

Others, of course, may choose to differ.

John Prine - Loretta

Townes Van Zandt - Loretta

Friday, 2 December 2022

Young at Heart


2022 Charity Shop Purchases #80- The Bluebells -Young at Heart (CD Single)

Glasgow 80's Indie Pop band The Bluebells have experienced something of a renaissance over the last couple of years.

They were originally active between 1981and 1986  when they had three hit singles in the UK.They enjoyed a revival in 1996 when Young at Heart was used in a Volkswagen TV advert . It reached number one in the UK singles charts with the band temporarily reforming to appear on Top of the Pops.The CD version is what I am featuring today and it also includes their other two previous hit singles plus Brendan Behan's The Patriot Game

There were a number of other brief reunions to play at festivals, etc prior to Young at Heart achieving a greater accolade than being number one. Yes, the band are featured playing in the Winter Gardens at Glasgow's People's Palace in the last ever episode of Still Game.

Last Night From Glasgow launched their Past Night From Glasgow offshoot  in 2020 with a re-release of their album Sisters from 1984. They are scheduled to release a new album The Bluebells in the 21st Century early next year.

Mrs CC and I saw them put on a tremendous show at the CCA around this time last year and have tickets to see them at Oran Mor in February.

Without further ado here is some jingly jangly pop music to ease you into the weekend.

The Bluebells - Young at Heart

The Bluebells -Cath (remix)

The Bluebells - I'm Falling

The Bluebells - The Patriot Game

Thursday, 1 December 2022

Fold Your Hands Child, You Walk Like a Peasant


2022 Charity Shop Purchases #79 - Belle & Sebastian - Fold Your Hands Child, You Walk Like a Peasant

Like R.E.M. if I see anything from the back catalogue of Belle & Sebastian in a charity shop that  I don't have I  will pick it up. If you come from Glasgow like I do this is  much easier than in most places.

I think that the only album of theirs that I have actually bought in a record shop and paid full price for is If Your Feeling Sinister and it probably is still my favourite . Since then I have managed to pick up another seven of their albums with three EPs thrown in for good measure.

My latest acquisition is Fold YOur Hands Child ,You Walk Like a Peasant named after some graffiti Stuart Murdoch saw written on a toilet wall. It was their fourth album and was released in 2000 and was their last on the Jeepster label.

It is slightly more democratic than some of their earlier albums in that Murdoch is happy to share lead vocals with Isobel Campbell and Stevie Jackson. Having said that for the two songs I have chosen he sings lead on one and duets with Jackson on the other.

Eight down, three to go

Belle & Sebastian - I Fought in a War

Belle & Sebastian - Don't Leave the Light on Baby