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Tuesday 31 January 2023

The Umbrellas


Subscribing to the Monorail Music newsletter can be an expensive but rewarding business. It is excellent for bringing new releases and re-releases that you didn't think you needed to buy to your attention.

One such album which caught my imagination towards the end of 2021 was the debut album from the Umbrellas on the Slumberland label. The blurb on their Bandcamp page reads 

The Umbrellas are a 4-piece jangle-pop group who made their debut into the San Francisco  diy pop scene in 2019 with their self-recorded and released tape, the "Maritime E.P."

The blurb for the album references , with a degree of accuracy, the likes of  The Byrds, Orange Juice,the Pastels and Belle & Sebastian. One, then, that I imagine would be right up Brian's street and probably quite a few others as well.

For those of you who missed it first time round I bring you good news from Monorail .Copies of the white vinyl repress are still available

If you like some jingle with your jangle you know what to do

The Umbrellas - It's True

The Umbrellas - Never Available

Monday 30 January 2023

The Delgados at the Barrowlands


I had intended to do a review of the Delgados concert at The Barrowlands last Wednesday but I decided that I couldn't improve on the reviews by Murray on Everything Flows and the Blogmaster himself JC. It was pretty special.

By way of compensation I am throwing in a picture of JC at the gig. That's him in the bottom left hand corner singing his little heart out. I had the pleasure of catching up with him , Aldo and Colin which made the night even more special.

By my reckoning as part of a total career retrospective they performed 8 of the 10 songs on JC's recent ICA and 8 from my earler one and still had room for another 7.Where the band, and in particular Emma Pollock, got the energy from I'll never know. They must have been running on pure adrenaline.

They even went as far back as their 1995 CHEM1 debut  release Monica Webster. Given that it was also Burns Night the ever topical Such a Parcel of Rogues in a Nation got at airing.

I'm sure that everyone who had the honour of being there would agree it was an unforgettable night.

The Delgados - Monica Webster

The Delgados -Such a Parcel of Rogues in a Nation

Sunday 29 January 2023

Kent Compilations - The Soul of Money


A guest contribution from George

That sticker on the cd case: “Reveal £11.99”, a reminder that a good few years ago I used to get a train to Derby every month, walk to Reveal Records in the town (city?) centre and spend up to £200 there. Those days are gone, Reveal shut up shop maybe 15 years ago, and it would be beyond the height of extravagance for me to now travel to Derby to a non-existent record shop. Beyond the height of extravagance and beyond the height of idiocy.

Anyway, the Money record label was based in Los Angeles. The tracks are mostly upbeat, none of that grief-laden, despair-filled, heartfelt-pleading you get in southern soul. I was going to say that most of the artistes are not very well known. But I think one or two of you might have heard of Bettye  Swann, and more will know of Ted Hawkins. So you’re not getting those tracks.

Gwen Stewart - You Took Me For a Fool

Moon and Mars & the Soul Producers - I'll Go Back

OK, here’s the Ted Hawkins track:

Ted Hawkins - Baby

If you look at that photo I took you can see in the reflection part of the cd case my partner made.

After playing The Soul Of Money I then put The Primevals’ Eternal Hot Fire album on the turntable and blasted it out at an anti-social volume.


CC writes

Thanks for that George.

I didn't have that one on the shelves.

I visited Reveal Records a couple of times but never splashed out £200.

If anyone else out there has a Kent Compilation that they want to get off their chest you know what to do.

Saturday 28 January 2023



Lucinda Williams celebrated her 70th birthday on Thursday. On  Monday we went to see her at Celtic Connections. I was a bit ambivalent about getting tickets at first as I've seen her three or four times before but Mrs CC persuaded me. Boy, I'm glad she did. She was absolutely fantastic and this was far and away the best concert of hers I've seen.

I think that I had read somewhere about her having a stroke in November 2020 but it had slipped my mind and I was therefore surprised to see her slowly shuffling onto the stage with assistance. The stroke has meant that she currently can't play guitar but thankfully it has not affected her voice or her spirit. She seems to have become more mellow and more chatty in her old age and seemed genuinely thrilled and in her words blessed to be on stage and performing.

She was accompanied by her regular backing band Buick 6 bolstered by Doug Pettibone on guitar and pedal steel and sang a range of songs stretching as far back as 1998's Car Wheels on a Gravel Road. Setlist attached

Given her mobility issues I wasn't expecting an encore but she was determined to come back out. During her version of Neil Young's Rockin' in the Free World she even went walkabout causing her minder some consternation.

In the introductions to her songs she highlighted that she often writes songs about the deaths of friends something which she finds cathartic and helps her to cope with their loss.Here are the back stories to the three songs featured below - Pineola , Lake Charles and West Memphis

A terrific concert. It will take something very special to knock this off the spot of my best concert of 2023. The bar has been set pretty high.

Lucinda Williams - Pineola

Lucinda Williams - Lake Charles

Lucinda Williams -West Memphis

Friday 27 January 2023

The Revolution Starts at Closing Time


My new Revolutionary Friday series appears to have caught the public's imagination. I have already received a guest post which will feature next week.

Last week I said that there wouldn't always be a Mandatory Reggae contribution. Ernie obviously thought otherwise and he has provided me with enough material to keep things ticking on for a while.

I've also decided to change the title to reflect the songs with the proviso that the word Revolution also appears. Blimey, this is getting as complex as one of SWC's series

I think it is fair to say that Britain is far less likely to have a revolution than anywhere else such as France or Russia for example. Were we to have one it would almost certainly have to wait until the pubs shut as Serious Drinking suggested with this song from 1983,

I suspect that the Waco Brothers would be up for a revolution albeit Jon Langford is getting on a bit. He could always be the Revolution Artist sending pictures from the front line.

The Mandatory Reggae version this week is one of mine as opposed to one of  Ernie's. Here the late great Toots Hibbert and his Maytals opt for a more laid back approach.

Did I say there was a guest post scheduled for next week?

Thursday 26 January 2023

Tamla Motown Thursday


Not content with my current Kent Soul Sunday series this week I am throwing in a bit of Tamla Motown Thursday. You can't have too much of a good thing.

It seems that their Big Hits & Hard to Find Classics series, which does what it says on the tin has four volumes. One and four were already on the shelves so after picking this one up in Missing only number three requires to be hunted down. The series was from 2000 or thereabouts with the CDs appearing on the Spectrum label 

Here is a entry from Discogs which gives details of the tracklist. There are a couple of leftfield ones towards the end. I had absolutely no idea that Charlene and R Dean Taylor were on Motown. I shall spare you them for now

Amazingly The Velvelettes failed to chart with any of their original releases or subsequent reissues of their three featured songs.

Shorty Long is perhaps better known for Here Comes the Judge but Function at the Junction is pretty funky. Sadly he died in a drowning accident in 1969.

Finally let's have something by Brenda Holloway. It seems that she may be  still recording and touring having become one of the most popular acts on the Northern Soul scene. 

Eyes now firmly peeled for number three

The Velvelettes - He Was Really Saying Something

Shorty Long -Function at the Junction

Brenda Holloway - Every Little Bit Hurts

Wednesday 25 January 2023

While You Weren't Looking


Missing Records is clearly the place to go in Glasgow if you are looking for Caitlin Cary records. Last time I visited I came away with her 2000 EP Waltzie. This time round it was While You Weren't Looking her 2002 debut album also on the Yep Roc label

Her Bandcamp page says 

Caitlin Cary’s debut solo album While You Weren’t Looking showcases her depth as a songwriter and her talent as a vocalist that goes beyond the material that many have come to know her for. Produced by Chris Stamey and co-written by Cary and Mike Daly, the record showcases Cary’s powerful, soothing vocals and features her performance on violin, creating a wistful and intimate acoustic feel.

There is nothing much to add really.It is a pleasant slice of Americana 

In addition to ex Whiskeytown member Mike Daly the band consists of Skillet Gilmore another ex Whiskeytowner and Caitlin's husband on drums, Mike Santoro on bass and ex Jayhawk Jen Gundrman on assorted keyboards. Ryan Adams doesn't make an appearance but is a co-writer on a couple of the songs

Caitlin Cary - Shallow Heart, Shallow Water

Caitlin Carey - Please Don't Hurry Your Heart

Tuesday 24 January 2023

Fallen Angels


Last week I popped into town to pick up a pair of headphones from Richer Sounds. I thought that it would be foolhardy in the extreme  not to also visit Missing Records given that it is just round the corner.

I came away with three CDs from their 3 for £5 section. I am always on the look out for cheap Bob Dylan studio albums to fill in the gaps in my collection of which there are still a reasonable number. Therefore it was a bit of a no brainer to pick up Fallen Angels his 37th such album released in 2016 and as always on the Columbia label.

What I didn't twig at the time was that it was the middle one in his trilogy of easy listening pop standards alongside Shadows in the Night and Triplicate.

It is a wee bit different to what I was expecting. Indeed in parts it doesn't sound like his Bobness at all. It was, however, a pleasant background accompaniment to Sunday breakfast.

Must better that Rod Stewart's similar efforts and indeed much better than Radiohead

Bob Dylan - On a Little Street in Singapore

Bob Dylan - It Had to Be You

Monday 23 January 2023



2023 Charity Shop Purchases #5 - Radiohead - Amnesiac (Promo Copy)

On Saturday I teased you that you were in for a surprise today. Let me explain further. The McAlmont CD single Saturday! came in a small polythene pouch. When I got home and opened it I found that it also contained a promotional copy of Amnesiac the 5th album by Radiohead from 2001 on the Parlaphone label.

I suppose it should read 2023 Charity Shop Purchases #4.5 but that would bugger up my spreadsheet

Confession time. I just don't get Radiohead. I am probably on record somewhere on these pages with that statement. I have nothing by them and they have never appeared here before other than a guest posting by George  As I said in the comments on that post I downloaded the ICA  from  Martin over at JC's place to see if that would chance my mind. No was the answer, they still did absolutely nothing for me. Sorry Martin!

I've played Amnesiac and it is totally inoffensive and to me totally bland. I'm sure that it is technically competent with excellent musicianship  and I see that critically it was pretty well received so I am happy to acknowledge that I may well be in the minority.It makes sense therefore that I feature I  Might be Wrong and You and Whose Army?

I look forward to the comments with interest!

Radiohead - I Might Be Wrong

Radiohead - You and Whose Army?

Sunday 22 January 2023

Kent Compilations - Birth of Soul 1


Up until a conversation with George a few days ago I was blissfully unaware that Birth of Soul was not a stand alone album but rather the first in a series of four. I suppose that the clue is in the top left hand corner

Released on Kent in 1996 it is described quite rightly on the Ace Records web page as essential. It has 24 brilliant tracks from 1960 to 1965 - well 23 as there is an Otis Redding out-take from 1992.Otis is just one of the names that you will recognise on the cover of the CD and on the track list on the link above which also gives an interesting historical perspective. There may well be a few new to you as was the case when I picked this up.

I wouldn't say that I necessarily picked the three below at random but in reality any of the songs would not have been out of place.
The Ernestine Anderson track is from 1965 and was released on the Sue label.  Bobby Bland is from 1964  on the Duke label with Garnet Mimms from as far back as 1963 on UA.

For some reason my burning software did not recognise the name of the CD or the tracks despite it being your actual CD as opposed to a burn so apologies if some text different to that below pops up.

Now that I know there are four in the series I wont rest until I track the other three down.

Saturday 21 January 2023



2023 Charity Shop Purchases #4 - McAlmont - Saturday! (CD Single)

Following the conclusion of my Townes Covered series there was a bit of a Saturday vacuum.

Thankfully this charity shop CD single fell into my lap and neatly filled it.

Confession time. I did not buy it merely to plug that gap. No I am not as clever as that. Rather I got it on the back of the fantastic album Happy Ending by HiFi Sean & David McAlmont which was recently made available to Last Night From Glasgow patrons prior to its general release on 3rd February. Details here One which is already a firm favourite with one or two bloggers.

Saturday! by McAlmont was a non album stand alone single released on the Hut label on June 15th 1995 with all proceeds being donated to The Pride Trust.  This was when McAlmont and Butler were flying high so hopefully it made a tidy sum.

It was in a small polythene pouch which produced a surprise when I got home. All will be revealed on Monday!

McAlmont - Big Man

McAlmont - Saturday!

McAlmont - Fort James

McAlmont - My Grey Boy

Friday 20 January 2023

Revolution Rock


I have two or three notebooks strewn across my desk.There is no rhyme or logic but they all in no order contain thoughts for the blog, lists of albums to be explored and potential series'

The other day I was looking for the page where I take a note of the locations where I make charity shop purchases when I stumbled on a list of songs which I had titled Revolution Rock. It was obviously as a thought to a potential series.

Alternately I was maybe thinking about the state of the country and that a revolution would not be a bad idea.It's not the British way though is it?

As I have been a bit stuck for inspirations and my Townes series has come to an end this is ideal for a new Friday series.I will post them in the order that I have jotted them down and that should fill a gap for several weeks.

It won't come as a surprise that the first on the list is the one which inspired the title to this series by The Clash.

The Only Band That Matters are followed by Castlemilk's finest Cosmic Rough Riders with a song from their epic Enjoy the Melodic Sunshine album.

There won't always be a Mandatory Reggae song included although they might pop up here and there. The nearest we have come to a revolution is probably the riots  of the early 80s one of which took place in Handsworth, Birmingham. In 1978 Steel Pulse wrote Handsworth Revolution which highlights some of the precursors of what was to follow.

The revolution will continue next Friday

The Clash - Revolution Rock

Cosmic Rough Riders - Revolution (In the Summertime)

Steel Pulse - Handsworth Revolution

Thursday 19 January 2023

Sometimes I Wish I Never Heard The Rolling Stones


I was struggling for something to post today until I read Tuesday's post from our dear friend Walter featuring  the album Dead By Dinner by Michael Hall and the Woodpeckers.

Now I don't have this album but I do have a number of their songs courtesy of various compilations from the great German Americana label Blue Rose. This in turn led me down a rabbit hole for a very pleasant couple of hours.

Blue Rose are from Abstatt which is close to Stuttgart which may well explain how they crossed Walter's rader. They have released records by the likes of Steve Wynn,Chuck Prophet, Jason Ringenberg and Edinburgh's very own Wynntown Marshals.

Another great German Americana label is of course Glitterhouse who hail from Beverungen in North Rhine - Westphalia  which is a good distance from Stutgart.

Don't be confused by Munich Records who describe their CD Awesome as a compilation of Americana bands on a Dutch label named after a German town.

There you go a geography lesson as well as some great music

Thanks for the inspiration Walter.I may get around to featuring some stuff from Glitterhouse and Munich shortly 

Meanwhile here are a few more from MH&W courtesy of Blue Rose compilations and downloads from their website

Michael Hall & the Woodpeckers - Sometimes I Wish I Never Heard the Rolling Stones

Michael Hall & the Woodpeckers - A Heart Needs a Home

Michael Hall & the Woodpeckers - Revolution in Cuba

Michael Hall & the Woodpeckers - In the Crypt of Eleanora

Wednesday 18 January 2023

Wild Mountain Nation


2023 Charity Shop Purchases #3 - Blitzen Trapper - Wild Mountain Nation

The car started misbehaving earlier in the week necessitating a visit to the local garage.It seemed foolish not to take the opportunity to pop into the charity shop just round the corner.

It has an impressive array of CDs for a pound a pop. Most unfortunately are the usual tosh you will all be familiar with if you visit such establishments .There is however the occasional one which stands out from the crowd. I got a bit excited when I saw Flyer by Nanci Griffith only for my spreadsheet to advise that we already had it.

I then saw the name Blitzen Trapper which rang a vague bell .I had a dim recollection that they may be Americana and having downloaded a couple to their songs in my pre-Blogging days

They are a band from Portland, Oregon who Wiki describe as Alternative Country and Indie Folk.Wild Mountain Nation from 1997 and on the Sub Pop label is their third studio album

There are indeed some straightforward Americana songs but Pitchfork who give it 8.5/10  sum it up more accurately as unleashing a cock-eyed stylistic blitzkrieg that comes closer to catching the carefree fuck-off sprawl of Pavement's Wowee Zowee than any record in recent memory. Spanning midwestern country-rock, mild-mannered indie pop, jagged art-rock, and West Coast swoon, Wild Mountain Nation swears allegiance to multiple touchstones of indie rock without limiting itself to just one.

In  addition to Pavement I am also hearing shades of the White Stripes and in particular Beck.It will benefit from some further listens but my first impressions are pretty favourable.

Blitzen Trapper - Devil's A-Go-Go 

Blitzen Trapper - Wild Mountain Nation

Blitzen Trapper - Summer Town

Tuesday 17 January 2023

Club Anthems 2001


Don't worry I haven't gone all dancey on you today.

Rather Club Anthems 2001 was a compilation album by Edinburgh band and John Peel favourites Ballboy. It is a collection of songs from the EPs Silver Suits for Astronauts (1999), I Hate Scotland (2000) and Girls are Better than Boys (2001)

A 21st Anniversary edition including songs from the 2002 EP All The Records on the Radio are Shite has just been released on the Lost Map label. Main man Gordon McIntyre says  it seemed like a good time to give it a revisit,on some nice vinyl,and gently float it out into the world again

If you like what you hear, and you would be foolish not to, 27 digital releases from the band  are available from Bandcamp for an extremely reasonable £28.80

If that wasn't enough Gordon McIntyre also released his debut solo album Even With the Support of Others  which is also on Lost Map and also available on Bandcamp

Ballboy - Donald in the Bushes with a Bag of Glue

Ballboy - They'll Hang Flags Upon Cranes upon my Wedding Day

Monday 16 January 2023

Us And Only Us


2023 Charity Shop Purchases #2 - The Charlatans - Us and Only Us

As I've mentioned before The Charlatans are yet another band which pretty much passed me by over the years when I was pretty much totally immersed in Americana.

For the record I'm talking about the British band as opposed to the American one - see here

Over the last few years I have picked up a couple of their albums in charity shops so it was a bit of a no brainer when I saw Us and Only Us in the Cancer Research shop in Crieff.

From 1999 and on the Universal label it was their sixth studio album.It has variously been described as country rock,folk and roots rock all of which are no bad thing in my book. And others it seems as it was critically well received. Walter12 on writes that it is  a record that succeeds in applying the melodic lessons of Britpop within a slower-burning, Neo-Psychedelic setting in a way that plays far better to the band's strengths. 

I like it.

The Charlatans - Forever

The Charlatans - My Beautiful Friend

Sunday 15 January 2023

Kent Compilations - King's Serious Soul: Too Much Pain


Week 2 and yet another cracker!   Spoiler alert - most of the CDs in this series will be crackers

Released in 2001. The Ace website states  In the R&B world, the King label has a hugely well deserved reputation, but it's only been with the recent releases of King Funk" (CDBGPD 135) and "King Northern Soul" (CDKEND 185) that widespread appreciation of its contribution to soul music has occurred. Now "Too Much Pain" reveals the southern and deep side of King - and its affiliated concerns such as Federal and Hollywood. Arguably this was the strongest aspect of the company's musical output in the 60s."

Southern Soul is my favourite  soul sub genre so this is right up my street.   King Records were formed in Cincinnati in 1945 and released original material until 1975. Their Wiki page gives details as to their very impressive discography.

The album contains 24 tracks which can be found here or here . I think it is fair to say that there are probably not many, if any, household names but it is none the worse for that. After a long overdue listen I narrowed it down to 8 possible songs to post before settling on a final three 

First up is the opening track on the album by Thomas Bailey with a song from 1971 on the subsidiary Federal label. Not to be confused with the guy from The Thompson Twins he is much more talented.

Track 14 is by Jeb Stuart but not the Jeb Stuart who was a screenwriter on Diehard.. The song is from 1967 and on your actual King label.

The final offering and the only lady is the unfortunately named Nancy Butts.I've actually managed to find some info about her. She was from Sparta, Georgia and was the lead singers of her family gospel group prior to turning her hand to secular music.This one is from 1973 and again on King.

Some more gems next Sunday

Thomas Bailey - Wish I Was Back (In Your Arms Again)

Jeb Stuart - I Don't Want to Leave You Darling

Nancy Butts - Only One Love

Saturday 14 January 2023

Townes Covered - Townes Covers


Well that became a bit of a slog towards the end. Thanks to the few of you who participated and the even fewer of you who lasted the course. By way of thanks here is a picture of Townes with a puppy.

The final instalment saw Townes beating Billy Joe Shaver with their respective versions of White Freightliner Blues by 4 votes to 1. By my reckoning that makes the final score Townes 10 the Rest 1. There were one or two draws along the way (I can't be bothered checking) which means that the great man retires undefeated.

I'm in two minds as to whether I will bother with another compare and contrast cover series. If I do it is likely that it will be a good few months down the line and it will probably feature the songs of Hank Williams and it will be the first to five.

The other day Rol posted a song from Townes' Road Songs album which effectively is an album of him covering songs by other artists.It is one of the seven TVZ albums that I have and as I commented at Rol's place it was somewhat frustrating that I couldn't plunder any songs from it for this series

So to finish with Townes for a while here are some of the songs covered by Townes on that album.I know that Rol posted his version of the Rolling Stones song Dead Flowers but it is so good that you are getting it again.

Finally, I assume that most of you are familiar with the concept of Imaginary Compilation Albums which pop up frequently over at JC's place. It struck me that the Townes originals  which featured in this series would make a pretty good ICA. I am not going to write a blurb as I've written far to much about them already but here is the music

Townes ICA

And here are the covers

Townes Van Zandt - Ira Hayes

Townes Van Zandt - Dead Flowers

Townes Van Zandt -Racing in the Streets

Friday 13 January 2023

The Box Tops

 My first 2023 music purchase was not yesterday's James Brown charity shop offering but an actual album from an actual record shop. Old school and controversial I know but that's the way I rock.

The shop in question was Europa Records in Stirling which is allegedly the largest record shop in Scotland. It is an interesting place. You enter into a relatively small shop selling new and collectable vinyl and a smattering of CDs. You then go out to a small covered  outdoor yard area prior to entering a second large space selling an impressive amount of second hand albums and singles.

I had only ever been there once before and on that occasion I don't think I got as far as the back.

I came away with the album above Best of the Box Tops a cheap and cheerful  compilation on Sounds Superb/Music for Pleasure. There is no date on it nor one offered on Discogs but I would guess it is from the mid 70s.

They were, as I'm sure many of you are aware, a band from Memphis who were active from 1967- 1970. Their front man was Alex Chilton who went on to become part of Big Star and who laterly collaborated with Teenage Fanclub and the BMX Bandits prior to his death in 2010 aged just 59.

The blurb on the album cover states  that The Box Tops may not have received world wide recognition on the scale accorded to the Beatles and the Beach Boys yet they were in many ways the definitive pop group of the Sixties. Maybees aye or maybees naw but there is no doubt that The Letter is on of the great under two minute pop songs and that they did excellent covers of the songs of their producers Dan Penn and Spooner Oldham

The Box Tops - The Letter

The Box Tops - I Met Her in Church

Thursday 12 January 2023

The Godfather


2023 Charity Shop Purchases #1  - James Brown - The Godfather - The Very Best Of

The first charity shop purchases of 2023 have been made. Over the last few days I have visited charity shops in Stirling, Dunblane, Aucherarder and Crieff and the pickings have been of the very slim variety.

The three shops in Stirling I visited and the two in Dunblane either had no CDs on offer or a meagre and extremely poor selection of the usual suspects.

By the time I got to the Red Cross shop in Aucherarder I was definitely beginning to get a bit twithcy and perhaps even a little  bit desperate.It was time to take the bull by the horns and finally make a purchase.

I came away with the one pictured above -The Godfather - The Very Best of James Brown. From 2002 on Universal is is actually not a bad compilation fearuring as it does 20 of his most famous tracks. I got it for the lowest of the three prices on Discogs.

It is definitely an upgrade on the only other album I have by the self proclaimed hardest working man in show business namely a 16 track live album on Prism called Funky Goodtime. Looking back his name has appeared here far more frequently than his music.

Time to rectify that. Here are three of his most famous songs that you should all be familiar with.
Get up offa that thing.

Wednesday 11 January 2023



It has been a wee while since I have featured The Clash. It has been a long, long while since I featured Sandinista!

Their fourth album released in December 1980 it was that rare thing a triple album with 36 tracks over the 6 sides (or 2 CDs with 18 tracks apiece).144 minutes and 9 seconds.
I will confess that it is one that I rarely play in its entirity but am happy to dip in and out.

Given that it was the follow up to London Calling I think that it is fair to say that it was released to mixed reviews. 
It is a bit of a mish mash of genres featuring funk,reggae,jazz,gospel,rockabilly,folk,dub,rhythm and blues, calypso, disco and rap. Something for everyone then and also something for everyone to disike.I could do without Mickey Gallagher's kids singing Career Opportunities

The last time I featured this album back in June 2018 I gave you Washington Bullets and Hitsville U.K. The Magnificent Seven has also featured here before.
Worry not there are still plenty of great songs to pick from The Only Band That Matters

Tuesday 10 January 2023


We are going to see Lucinda Williams at the Concert Hall in a couple of weeks as part of Celtic Connections.

As a taster we decided to have Lucinda accompany our Saturday brunch. Car Wheels on a Gravel Road is usually my album of choice but I couldn't find it as it had been misfiled (don't panic that has since been rectified).

The 2001 follow up Essence seemed the next best thing.  Described by Salon as an emotional mess of a masterpiece and by Entertainment Weekly as Lucinda Williams doesn’t merely wallow in suffering. She savors it like a glass of your finest Bordeaux

From those descriptions it doesn't necessarily sound like an easy listen but as Allmusic says  if you want to take a deep and compelling look into the heart and soul of a major artist, then you owe it to yourself to hear Essence

Needing some more convincing?

Lucinda Williams -Lonely Girls

Lucinda Williams -Bus to Baton Rouge

Monday 9 January 2023

My Record of 2018


The other day I dug out The Last of the Gracious Losers for a long overdue listen. I knew that it would have probably been my record of the year when it was released and a quick search of the blog confirmed that indeed it was.

What I was suprised about that it was as far back as 2018. How time flies. For anyone interested here is a list of my top 10 albums for that year. There are a couple there that would also merit from a dust down and a listen

A nine piece band led by guitarist and singer Jonathan Lilly the Gracious Losers also contains members of the former band Thrum (namely Johnny Smillie, Monica Queen and Gary Johnston). The four members of Sister John - Jonathan, his partner Amanda McKeown (the band leader), Heather Phillips and Sophie Pragnell also feature.

Released on Last Night from Glasgow they followed it up with the Covid delayed Six Road Ends in 2021.

Whereas the mix of country, soul, psychedelia and gospel sounds suberb on record the band come into their own in a live setting. If you ever get the chance go and see them. You will be blown away.

Gracious Losers -Where The River Meets the Sea

Gracious Losers - Hey, I'm Riding Low

Sunday 8 January 2023

Kent Compilations - Dave Godin's Deep Soul Treasures - Taken From the Vaults - Volume 1


New series alert!
I have a good number of compilations from Kent the Soul subsidiary of  the mighty Ace Records. Most of them are long overdue a listen and being a considerate man I thought that I would share that pleasure with you.

And where better to start with than Volume 1 of  Deep Soul Treasures - Taken From the Vaults  a no-compromise compilation of outstanding, classic and rare Deep Soul sides...the ultimate in American Soul music.

The series is compiled by the late great Dave Godin. His is a name that many of you will recognise particularly if you watched the recent TV programme on the first Motown tour of the UK in 1965.
He was the guy who came up with the term Tamla Motown.Until a comment from Marc on my recent Four Tops  post I did not realize that this term was not used in the US who settle for the snappier Motown.

None of the superstars from that tour feature here. Rather it is a 25 track CD featuring 24 relatively obscure artists and it is none the worse for that.
I have picked out three for your listening pleasure. 

First up is Jean Wells . Not the writer in the field of role-playing games or the quilt artist but the one who  has played the Apollo Theatre in Harlem (the mecca of soul music) a total of six times. See here for a more detailed biography

Jean is followed by Henry Lee Sapp who perhaps unsurprisingly goes by the stage name of Timmy Willis. From Columbus,Ohio  he seems to have done most of his recording in Detroit

Finally it is the Knight Brothers the only act to appear twice on the album and probably the best known (after Irma Thomas).Why they even have a Wiki page.

If you do not have the albums in the Deep Soul Treasures series there is something seriously missing in your life and you should take steps to rectify that immediately.

Another Kent compilation next Sunday.

Saturday 7 January 2023

Townes Covered - White Freight Liner Blues


It looks as though we are back to Townes Covered. I know that it is still hard to remember what day it is although the poor sods who have had to return to work will not be happy.

If you were one of the few who visited here on 23rd December you will be aware that Townes beat Tyler Key by 3 votes to one.I'm putting the low score down to the Christmas period rather than apathy

That makes the overall score Townes 9  The Rest 1. You will be glad to know (I know I am!) that we are approaching the end. This week could be the final week. It started out well but has become a bit of a slog over the last few weeks. Perhaps first to 10 was a bit ambitious and maybe I should have stuck with first to 5. Something to think about for any further compare and contrast series

Today White Freight Liner Blues is the song of choice. Townes' version from Live at the Old Quarter, Houston, Texas versus Billy Joe Shaver.

Despite the annoying clapping and the occasional holler I am going for Townes's stripped back version as opposed to Billy Joe's bouncier version. Others may choose to differ

Such is the reverence for Townes in Glasgow that there used to be an annual tribute night at the Riverside Club where a number of artists did covers. I remember one year Dean Owens altering the words on this song slightly and singing - bad news from Glasgow, all of my friends are deid.

Townes Van Zandt - White Freight Liner Blues

Billy Joe Shaver -White Freight Liner Blues

Friday 6 January 2023

Fast Product Friday


I got the book Hungry Beat - The Scottish Independent Pop Underground Movement (1977-1984) by Douglas McIntyre, Grant McPhee and Neil Cooper for Christmas.

It is essentially a collection of oral histories from this period committed to print many of which had originally featured in the documentary films Big Gold Dream and Teenage Superstars.

It focuses on two independent music labels - Edinburgh's Fast Product and Glasgow's Postcard Records.Coming from Glasgow I am more au fait with Postcard. I didn't know much about Fast Product other than a little bit about bands such as Scars and Fire Engines who appear on the Big Gold Dreams Boxset

Fast Product was a label and art concept set up by Bob Last and Hilary Morrison in 1978 out of their flat in Keir Street which quickly became the epicentre where all the young bands and like minded individuals hung out

Up until now I was blissfully unaware that they had released the first singles by The Mekons, The Human League, Gang of Four and the first UK release by the Dead Kennedys - see  the discography here

Their place at the top table of British independent musical history is thus insured.

The Mekons -Never Been in a Riot

The Human League -Being Boiled

Gang of Four -Damaged Goods

Dead Kennedys -California Uber Alles

Thursday 5 January 2023

Alan Rankine RIP


2023 has barely begun and already we have the sad news of the death of Alan Rankine at the ridicuously young age of 64. 

The news began to filter through late on Tuesday and there were some lovely tributes from AdamKhayem and Post Punk Monk posted yesterday.

He was one of those artists  we all grew up with. Those in the know would have been familiar with the Associates first album The Affectionate Punch in 1980 and the compilation album Fourth Drawer Down in 1991.However it was the release of the unique and quite extraordinary single Party Fears Two in February 1982 that brought the band to the world's attention. We had never heard anything remotely like it before(or since). Whereas everyone was blown away by Billy MacKenzie's singing Alan's instrumental opening is also instantly recognizable to this day.

Equally at home on the guitar or keyboards he was to leave the band  later in 1982 on the eve of the Sulk tour. He subsequently became a sought after producer working with the likes of Paul Haig, Cocteau Twins and the Pale Fountains prior to pursuing a solo career.

Latterly he was a lecturer at Glasgow's Stow College passing on his musical know how to younger generations.

My thoughts go out to his family and friends.

Rest easy Alan.

Associates -Party Fears Two (single version)

Associates -Country Club (Extended Version)

Associates - The Affectionate Punch

Wednesday 4 January 2023

Loney Hutchins


Those of you of a certain vintage may recall the Outlaw Country movement of the 70s and early 80s.
The main protagonists were of course Willie Nelson and Waylon Jennings. Others included Billy Joe Shaver, Jessi Colter and Tompall Glaser.

One of the lesser known names on the periphery was Loney Hutchins who also had a  long time association with Johnny Cash and June Carter Cash. So quite a pedigree.

Yesterday Craig got the credit for introducing me to Khruangbin and Leon Bridges and today thanks go to Jez for brining Loney to my attention

He gained some wider recognition in 2021 when Appalachia Records  (run by his son!) released the snappily titled  retrospective Buried Loot: Demos from the House of Cash and Outlaw Era '73 -'78 . Further detals here

For lovers from when Country was good it is an absolute joy.
On the back of this his "only proper" album 1979's Appalachia has subsequently been re-released.