Search This Blog

Wednesday 31 May 2023

Arcade Fire


2023 Charity Shop Purchases #56  Arcade Fire EP

Arcade Fire. Now there is a band that I haven't listened to in ages. For a while they were everywhere .I have their first three albums - Funeral (2004), Neon Bible (2007) and The Suburbs (2010) and nothing since. Neon Bible was a charity job and I bought The Suburbs when it came out. Not sure about Funeral.

I was a bit  intrigued to see this self title EP in my local charity shop as I was unaware of its existence. It has seven tracks and a running time of 33 minutes and 5 seconds which is more than a few LPs that I have.
It was initially released in 2003 before any of their albums and subsequently re-released in 2005 on the back of the success of Funeral. I was familiar with the track No Cars Go as it subsequently appeared on Neon Bible but all the others are new to me. The copy I picked up is the 2005 re-issue. on the Merge label

Recently band member Wim Butler, who is married to fellow band member Regine Chassagne, has been accused of four counts of  sexual misconduct although he claims that all encounters were consensual. The jury is currently out.

Tuesday 30 May 2023

Summer of '82


2023 Charity Shop Purchases #55 -Fun Boy Three - Summertime (Vinyl 45)

Summer Time was a single by Fun Boy Three which charted on 31st July 1982 and which was in the UK singles charts for 8 weeks peaking at number 8. The B -Side was Summer of '82. It was a non album single although both tracks appeared on an extended CD version of their 1982 eponymous debut album in 2009.

I am familiar with the song which was written by George Gershwin in 1934 and which has been covered most famously by Billie Holiday and also by the likes of Sam Cooke, Al Martino and Olivia Newton John. Until now I was blissfully aware of this version by the late great Terry Hall, Neville Staples and Lynval Golding.

This may be because it was a non- album track but I suspect that there is a more plausible explanation. I turned 21 during the summer of '82 and spent the summer working as a waiter and partying in Ullapoool. This meant that I was pretty much oblivious to most new music at the time. I even missed most of the World Cup including Dave Narey's glorious toe-poke against Brazil.

Apologies for the quality of the sound on this recording. At first I thought this was down to my MP3 turntable from which it was burnt but it doesn't sound that much better on the Hi-fi. My version did not come with the picture sleeve above but with a plain white sleeve with a Woolworths price tag of 25p.

Oh to be 21 again.

Fun Boy Three -Summer Time

Fun Boy Three - Summer of '82

Monday 29 May 2023

Monday Country Gospel


2023 Charity Shop Purchases #54 - Various Artists - Country Gospel

I like Country Music and I like Gospel Music and I have a series about Jesus on the go. Therefore it seemed a no brainer to pick up the above cheap and cheerful Country Gospel compilation on the Dynamic label from 2004 in a local charity shop.

But - there are a few buts.Have a look at the tracklist  No songs about Jesus and whereas songs such as Satisfied Mind and Both Sides Now are excellent I think it is pushing it a bit to describe them as Gospel. The album is Country certainly but not Gospel.

Perhaps I'm being a bit churlish as there are some reasonable songs on it and it only cost me a pound which will hopefully go to a good cause. Pretty Christian of me then.

In the absence of Jesus I've gone for some God, Heaven and Church numbers.

Hank Williams - When God Comes and Gathers His Jewels

Dolly Parton - Letter to Heaven

Patsy Cline -Dear God, I Go to Church on a Sunday

Sunday 28 May 2023

An A-Z of American Cities - F


It's beginning to get harder. Perhaps surprisingly I found it much harder to come up with four cities beginning with F than I did for E but I just about made it.

Fredericksburg by alt country band Say ZuZu was first on my list.Originally I thought it referred to the Christmas city of Texas with a population of 11K which is also known for it's wineries. Listening to the song, however, it appears to be about the independent city in Virginia with a population of 28K.An independent city as I have just discovered is a city that is not in the territory of any county or counties and is considered a primary administrative division of its state. Given its geographical position it was the scene of two battles during the American Civil War.

Fort Worth is the 5th largest city in Texas with a population of just under a million.Remarkably the population has nearly doubled since 2000. As the name suggests it also has military history being first established as an army outpost. I've gone for a song by Steve Earle from his El Corazon album but there was also one by Johnny Dowd in contention.

This is were I just about ran out of steam until I discovered that Folson of Folson Prison Blues fame is a city in Sacramento County, California with a population of 80K.It also has a zoo.You will all be familiar with Johnny Cash so I'm giving you the Mekons instead.

I was now totally stuck so I took up Ernie's suggestion of Franklin, Tennessee by Marty Robbins who is appearing here for the second week running. Situated just south of Nashville and with a population of 85K it also featured in the American Civil war with the Battle of Franklin being one of the bloodiest battles of the war.

Wars and prisons. What will G bring? This is also proving to be a tough one

Say ZuZu - Fredericksburg

Steve Earle - Ft. Worth Blues

The Mekons -Folsom Prison Blues

Marty Robbins - Franklin, Tennessee

Saturday 27 May 2023

The Saturday Shuffle 6


First up today are the Temptations with their version of the Norman Whitfield and Barrett Strong classic War. That will be the cover of the Edwyn Starr version I thought. It turns out, however, that they were the first to record it on their 1970 album Psychedelic Shack.Motown decided not to release it as a single so as not to alienate their more conservative fans. It was then re-recorded by Edwyn and the rest is history.

Someone else with a bit of history is Jah Wobble erstwhile bassist with Public Image Limited . In 1982 he formed his own band Jah Wobble's Invaders of the Heart. The first song on their debut album Rising Above Bedlam with Visions of You (including vocal input from Sinead O'Connor) as the opening track.

Finally for this week we have a track from the album Satis Factory the 2019 second album by Mattiel. My school boy French is pretty rusty so I have had to rely on Google Translator to inform me that Je Ne Me Connais Pas translates into English as I Don't Know Myself.

CCM where even Saturdays are school days.

The Temptations - War

Jah Wobble's Invaders of the Heart - Visions of You

Mattiel - Je Ne Me Connais Pas

Friday 26 May 2023

Brides of Jesus


Wait a minute -Jesus was married? And even more surprising -Jesus was married - plural.

Sorry to disappoint those of you that have looked out a hat but Brides of Jesus is apparently  a reference to a group of related verses in the Bible comparing the union of a husand and wife to Christ and the church.

Glad we got that sorted. It's just a shame that nobody told the band Brides of Christ who released an album in 2002 called Saints and Sinners. The country rock band Little Feat recorded a song called Brides of Christ which appeared on their eponymous debut album in 1971. It was later covered by The Golden Palominos.

Last week Lydia Loveless alleged that Jesus Was a Wino. This week Chuck Prophet puts our minds at rest by confirming that in actual fact Jesus was a Social Drinker.

Enough of this nonsense.Finally to cleanse your palates I give you the pick of the bunch from The Reverend with Jesus is Waiting. Amen.

Little Feat - Brides of Jesus

Chuck Prophet - Jesus Was a Social Drinker

Al Green - Jesus is Waiting

Thursday 25 May 2023

Tina Turner RIP


Mrs CC interupted the football with the sad news that Tina Turner had died at her home in Switzerland at the age of 83 following a long illness.

I wouldn't pretend to have been a fan of her  mainstream solo career but you cannot deny that she always put on a good show and gave her all in every song.

I was however a big fan of her earlier R&B numbers with her then husband Ike.The  husband and wife duo were once considered as "one of the hottest, most durable, and potentially most explosive of all R&B ensembles" Unfortunately Ike turned out to be a wrong 'un with numerous stories of wife beating, control freakery and drug taking

Tina was well shot of him and it was great to see that she had the strength and talent to pursue a highly successful solo career.

I'm sure that we will be hearing Private Dancer and Simply the Best a lot during the next few days but I will settle for some of the earlier classics.

Rest easy Tina

Ike & Tina Turner - Nutbush City Limits

Ike & Tina Turner - River Deep, Mountain High

Ike & Tina Turner - Sweet Rhode Island Red

Jesus back tomorrow

Wednesday 24 May 2023

The Mexican


2023 Charity Shop Purchases #53 The Fentones  -The Mexican (Vinyl 45)

Yesterday's post of Trampoline by Julian Cope is also responsible for today's post. I should perhaps elaborate . The Trampolene single came in a pretty battered gatefold sleeve. Oh good I thought, another couple of songs by Julian. Oh no, that would be far to straight forward.

Rather it turned out that the second single was The Mexican  an instrumental song by The Fentones from 1962. It did trouble the UK singles chart for 3 weeks peaking at number 41. It is only slightly younger than me which may go some way to explaining why it is quite crackly.

The Fentones also charted as the backing band of Shane Fenton. It turns out that Shane Fenton was actually not a real person but rather the stage name of Johnny Theakstone and when he died Bernard Jury. More details here Let's face it stuff like this is the reason why you come here.

I'm thinking of them as a poor man's Shadows.

In the very early days of CCM a decade ago I did a 12 part series called Mexican Monday If I had had a copy of this song at that time it may well have been extended to a Mexican Baker's Dozen

The Fentones -The Mexican

The Fentones - Lover's Guitars

Tuesday 23 May 2023



2023 Charity Shop Purchases #52 -Julian Cope -Trampolene  (Vinyl 45)

I don't buy vinyl singles very often. Indeed I don't have very many. Probably less than 100 and they don't even live in the Music Room. Rather they are in a basket on a bookcase in the upstairs landing.

I suspect it was frustration at the paucity of decent CDs that had me rummaging through the singles box in Barnardo's on Victoria Road.

One I came away with was Trampolene a 1987 single by Julian Cope on the Island label.It was in the UK Singles charts for 6 weeks reaching the dizzying heights of number 31. I'm not altogether sure why I bought it given I have it on my vinyl copy of the album Saint Julian as well as the CD Compilation Floored Genius. I suppose you could say at least  that I now have it on three different formats and that it will please Khayem

Again on the positive side the b-side song Disaster does not feature anywhere else in my collection as far as I am aware. So not a total diasaster then.

Julian Cope -Trampolene

Julian Cope - Disaster

Monday 22 May 2023

Lido Shuffle


2023 Charity Shop Purchases #51 - Clearlake - Lido

It has been exactly a month since any charity shop purchases featured here and I was beginning to get withdrawal symptoms.
On our recent days away the charity shops of Ballantrae, Port William,Wigtown and Newton Stewart yielded nothing so in desperation a few days ago I hit a few of the local ones. A few purchases but nothing startling.

Clearlake are a band who first crossed my radar earlier this year when I picked up Declaration of Independence an NME compilation of Domino Records acts in Bridge of Allan. In the comments section Rol and Spence both wrote positively about them as they were one of the acts that I featured.
Therefore it seemed a no brainer to pick up a copy of Lido their 2001 debut album on the aforementioned Domino label. 
AllMusic only gave it 1/5 with both Drowned in Sound and NME giving it 9/10. In a nod to the late Len Goodwin I'm going to give it a SEVEN

Spence highlighted a few tracks and I would agree that Jumble Sailing is indeed the pick of the bunch.
It is of coure illegal to post anything with the word Lido in it without a nod to Boz Scaggs.

Sunday 21 May 2023

An A-Z of American Cities - E


I was all set to post The Road to Ensenada the title track of a Lyle Lovett album until I discovered it was actually in Mexico. This had me scrabbling about for a bit but I eventually managed to come up with four.

Let's start with the most obvious one and it is one that you will all be familiar with. Here is Marty Robbins wrongly stating that El Paso is a town. It might have been back in the days of the cowboys but it is now a city with a population of 679K 81% of whom are Hispanic. It is situated on the Texas side of the Rio Grande opposite Cludad Juarez on the Mexican side.

From this week's biggest city to the smallest. Eudora is a city in Chicot County, Arkansas with a population of 2269 of whom 83% are black. It has a lovely water tower and according to Tony Joe White it is the place that they caught the Devil and puy him in jail.

For some strange reason I had it in my head that there was a place called Elk City and fortunately for me there is. It is situated in Beckham County .Oklahoma  with a population of 11693 at the 2010 census Fortunately I was able to to find a song by Samantha Crain with the same title.

Anyone from the West of Scotland will be familiar with the fortified wine Eldorado or LD or Electric Soup as it is often commonly known as.I thought that El Dorado was a mythical place and Google confirms this being associated with the legend of a gold city/kingdom.But wait- there is actually a city called El Dorado in Butler County, Kansas with a population of 12,832 making it the 28th largest city in Kansas.It is 93% white. A band called Oakley Hall have a song called If I Was in El Dorado on an Uncut compilation called The New Frontier - Americana The Next Generation. I'm not sure if it is about the town in Kansas but no matter. It's in the title so therefore it is going on.

I find these ethnicity percentages fascinating with an almost exlusive but different ethnic majority in each area. I wonder if there would be similar findings in the UK?

F is proving harder than I first thought but I'm just about there

Marty Robbins - El Paso

Tony Joe White - They Caught the Devil and Put Him in Jail in Eudora, Arkansas

Samantha Crain -Elk City

Oakley Hall -If I Was in El Dorado

Saturday 20 May 2023

The Saturday Shuffle 5


The Saturday Shuffle from my gym MP3 player plods on for a 5th week.

The first random song thrown up is Sexuality a song by Billy Bragg from his underrated 1991 album Don't Try This At Home. I'm not sure whether it is gym material or not but there is no denying that it is a fantastic song.

It appears that there are currently 477 songs of the player at the moment (this is shaping up to be a long series) There are 48 tracks on the  Jon Savage's 1968 - The Year the World Burned compilation which featured last week. Therefore if my maths  calculator is correct there is a 10% chance of another song from that compilation featuring this week. Step forward then Tommy James & the Shondells with Crimson and Clover,

We end this week with another complation this time from the Bloodshot label. Hard-Headed Woman is a celebration of the Queen of Rockabilly Wanda Jackson.Bloodshot stalwards the Bottle Rockets provide a cover of her song Let's Stop Kickin' Our Hearts Around with assistance from Sheri Hurst.

More random nonsense next Saturday.If I don't add any further songs we should be finished in another 144 weeks!

Billy Bragg -Sexuality

Tommy James & the Shondells - Crimson and Clover

Bottle Rockets (with Sheri Hurst) -Let's Stop Kicking Our Hearts Around

Friday 19 May 2023

Ubangi Stomp


When I was listening to Hard Luck Guy by Eddie Hinton in preparation for Wednesday's post I was reminded that he did a version of the Rockabilly classic Ubangi Stomp which got quite demented in places.

This got me thinking about other versions of this song which I could post today. You will all be familiar with the Blogging rule that if you are going to post Rockabilly it has to be on a Friday.

Ubangi Stomp was written by Charles Underwood and first released on record by Warren Smith on the Sun Records label in 1956. There have been many recordings of this song and I have come up with four. Sadly I do not have the versions by Alice Cooper or John Prine  I'm starting with Mr Smith and then fellow Rockabilly singer Carl Mann who also recorded it on Sun.
Then we have the aforementioned version by Eddie and finally the Stray Cats with a studio version and a live version from the Rumble in Brixton concert.

I look forward to Ubangi featuring in Ernie's African Odyssey

Thursday 18 May 2023

Jesus Was a Wino


According to Lydia Loveless Jesus Was a Wino. Now before you start shouting Blasphemy and pelting me with stones just remember that he was the guy who turned water into wine - allegedly.

A trick that would guarantee an invite to any party. Interestingly (or perhaps worryingly) I have a number of songs about the Son of God and alcohol so no doubt we will come back to this subject in due course.

Even more controversially Bunny Wailer has a song called Bald Head Jesus. As you can see from the picture above with the lovely flowing locks he clearly wasn't. This song appears as  Ernie has,as threatened, kindly provided a MRJS  (Mandatory Reggae Jesus Song). He has also provided me with a good few more Jesus songs so this series could run and run.

It's time we had a bit or order and sanity around here so look no further than The Soul Stirrers requesting Be With Me Jesus

More Jesus songs next week when drink may again be involved.

Lydia Loveless -Jesus Was a Wino

Bunny Wailer -Bald Head Jesus

The Soul Stirrers - Be With Me Jesus

Wednesday 17 May 2023

Hard Luck Guy


The greatest male white soul singer?
Notice the word male because if the question was the greatest white soul singer there is obviously only one winner and that would be Dusty Springfield.

Let's look at some of the male candidates -  early Rod Stewart ? Steve Marriott? Top 10 material. Maybe even top five.
Frankie Miller? Now we 're talking. Certainly the best British one.
World wide however he takes second place to the late great Eddie Hinton.

An artist who first came to my attention via the Andy Kershaw radio shows and one who featured a couple of times in the eaarlier days of this blog. Somewhat criminally he hasn't graced these pages since.
Hard Luck Guy was released by Zane Records in 1999 and was purchased as soon as Kershaw alerted me to it's release (ah, the good old pre- Internet days!)
No Depression gave the album a brief review which highlighted his Muscle Shoals roots and declared it as the discovery of the year.

Jerry Wexler was clearly a fan -He remains unique. A white boy who truly sang and played in the spirit of the great black soul artists he venerated.
Another fan was Otis Redding's widow Zelma who asked Eddie to teach their children to play guitar.

As well as Hard Luck he had a hard lifestyle as he fought a losing battle with the bottle and died of a heart attack at the age of 51

You could do a lot worse than buying this album

Eddie Hinton - Hard Luck Guy

Eddie Hinton -Here I Am

Eddie Hinton - Sad Song

Tuesday 16 May 2023



My second Teenage Fanclub purchase from my recent visit to Love Music. I thought I should give you a few days following my recent post of Here .When I took my haul to the counter Sandy, the proprietor, harrumphed "this one will take a couple of listens"
I've duly done so and I'm pleased to say it passed muster.

Shadows was their 9th studio album from 2010 on their own PeMa label or their 8th "proper" album if you exclude The King. It succeeded 2005's Man-Made and preceded the aforementioned Here.

12 songs - four each by Gerry Love, Norman Blake and Raymond McGinley with Norman's Baby Lee being released as a single.

It was reasonably well received with the Guardian saying that it delivers what one expects:gentle ,bittersweet guitar pop, which harks back to the 60's without descending into pastiche.Well if it ain't broke ... 

AllMusic describes the songs as sun-drenched and relaxed (no bad thing) PopMatters feel it is an album where the sound of the grown-up Teenage Fanclub comes to full fruition. It’s joyful, but also very thoughtful, carefree and yet aware of its surroundings.

A song each then from the three main protagonists  - Sometimes I Don't Need to Believe in Anything from Gerry, the single mentioned above from Norman and Raymond's Tomorrow Never Ends.

Nothing more from The Fannies for a bit - promise  - although I have still to upgrade my burn of Man-Made and I've just noticed that I've yet to feature Howdy!

Teenage Fanclub - Sometimes I Don't Need to Believe in Anything

Teenage Fanclub - Baby Lee

Teenage Fanclub - Today Never Ends

Monday 15 May 2023

The Ornate Lie


Around about 2010 I begen to get into some contemporary Scottish singer/songwriters many of whom came from a folk background.

This was helped in no small measure by discovering the album Side Show by a collective called The Burns Unit. The Burns Unit were Emma Pollock, Future Pilot A.K.A, King Creosote, Kim Edgar, Karine Polwart, Mattie Foulds, Michael Johnston and MC Soom T.

The likes of Emma Pollock,King Creosote and Karine Polwart remained on my radar with me subsequently picking up albums by them and catching them live.
The same, alas, cannot be said about Kim Edgar. I picked up her 2010 album The Ornate Lie from the library. Since then nothing/nada/zilch. 
I have been playing it again recently and enjoying it very much. It has made me realise that I need to hear more of her music. Fortunately it appears that she is still going strong something confirmed by her website

Time I caught myself on.

Kim Edgar - The Ornate Lie

Kim Edgar -Blood, Ice & Ashes

The Burns Unit -Send Them Kids to War

Sunday 14 May 2023

An A-Z of American Cities - D


I was beginning to regret not having included Dallas and Denver in my deliberations as D proved to be more tricky than I originally thought. Worry not, however, I've still managed to come up with four.

Downey is a blue collar city 13 miles south of downtown Los Angeles with a population of 115K. For a Scottish equivalent think Paisley and Glasgow. It is the hometown of Dave Alvin  and indeed his brother and fellow Blaster Phil . Downey to Lubbock (another twofer) is the title track of an album by Dave and Jimmie Dale Gilmore namechecking their respective home towns (nb - file Lubbock away for future reference). More impressively Downey is the home of the world's oldest operating McDonalds.

Hard to follow I know but on the Atlantic as opposed to Pacific coast we have the City of Daytona Beach, also known simply as Daytona. Daytona Beach is famous as the home of the NASCAR stock car track. This was probably what Suzi Quatro had in mind when she sang Daytona Demon.

Down from Dover is a song penned by the great Dolly Parton. This version is from Sally Timms from her EP with Jon Langford  called Songs of False Hope and High Values. The capital and the second most populous city in Delaware (c40K) Dover, named after it's Kent counterpart, is the home of a large Air Force Base where the cad in the song was based.

I thought I had a song about Duluth but it seems that I don't. Therefore we are off to Des Moines  the capital of the state of Iowa (214K).From her jazzy album Mingus (.. nice) it seems that Joni Mitchell was familiar with The Dry Cleaner from Des Moines.

E next week which thankfully wasn't as hard as I first thought.

Dave Alvin & Jimmie Dale Gilmore - Downey to Lubbock

Suzi Quatro -Daytona Demon

Sally Timms & Jon Langford - Down From Dover

Joni Mitchell -The Dry Cleaner From Des Moines

Saturday 13 May 2023

The Saturday Shuffle 4

Another random shuffle from my gym MP3 player.

First up is Don't Move to Denmark by Broken Chanter. Broken Chanter is the latest project by David MacGregor formerly front man of Kid Canaveral. Don't Move to Denmark is taken from the eponymous debut album from 2019 from Last Night From Glasgow/Olive Grove. He followed this one with 2021's Catasrophe Hits. His music can be purchased here. If you get the chance to see him live take it. You will not be disappointed.

I am probably more familiar with the name Quicksilver Messenger than  with their music. Described on Wiki as a San Francisco psychedelic band. Dino's Song is taken from Jon Savage's 1968 - The Year the World Burned yet another fantastic compilation from Ace Records

Do You Know How it Feels by The Flying Burrito Brothers should be up next but it just featured here a few weeks ago .The Rolling Stones with Street Fighting Man are able substitutes.

Another random shuffle next Saturday

Broken Chanter -Don't Move to Denmark

Quicksilver Messenger - Dino's Song

The Rolling Stones -Street Fighting Man

Thursday 11 May 2023

Jesus Wrote a Blank Check


Dali -Christ of St John of the Cross

Jesus Wrote a Blank Check (those Americans and their pesky spelling) was a single from the album  Prolonging the Magic by CAKE. If you were to sequence it alongside last weeks If Jesus Drove a Motor Home you could get yourself into hot water in Scottish political circles. Particularly if you followed it up with the next line One I haven't cashed yet. (Google SNP and motorhome. You couldn't make it up)

In last week's comments  Ernie   mentioned that he had an MRJS  (Mandatory Reggae Jesus Song). Is it Jesus Dread by Yabby You? If not please feel free to pop it in an evelope and forward it.

A quick check to last week tells me that I am sticking with three Jesus songs per week (there are loads to choose from and you can have too much of a good thing)) the last of which requires to be a gospel number. Who better then to conclude with today than the fantastic Swan Silvertones?

There will be more gospel spreading next week

The Dali painting above can be viewed at Glagow's Kelvingrove Art Gallery when not out on loan  here

CAKE -Jesus Wrote a Blank Check

Yabby You - Jesus Dread

The Swan Silvertones -Jesus Remembers

Monday 8 May 2023



On my recent foray into town which necessitated a visit to Love Music I picked up not one but two CDs by Teenage Fanclub.

"I can't help it, I'm a Teenage Fanclub completist" as I said to my friend and former work colleague Eric  over lunch as I showed him my haul. Fortunately he found it more amusing than sad.

Here is the band's 10th studio album and was released in September 2016 on their own PeMa label. It was their first record in 6 years and the last one to feature Gerry Love before his departure from the band. They have hardly been prolific since 1997's masterpiece Songs from Northern Britain going from two years gaps between albums to three, then five and in this case six since the release of  Shadows. I suppose that families and real life gradually catch up with most bands.

It was generally well received with Pitchfork giving it a score of 7.8 and writing that it is full of quiet revalations.The hushed production and contented lyrics make for their warmest and sutlest effort to date.

It does indeed have a warm glow about it and is a bit like a comfortable blanket.One I can see me playing on a regular basis when the mood takes me.

You are getting I'm in Love written by Norman Blake which was the only single from the album and from the pen of Gerry Love the perhaps prophetic I Have Nothing More to Say.

Teenage Fanclub - I'm in Love

Teenage Fanclub - I Have Nothing More to Say

We are away this week and time has caught up with me. Therefore there will be a reduced service for a few days.Apologies

Sunday 7 May 2023

An A-Z of American Cities - C


No Chicago for you this week as that would be far to easy.Apologies then to Wilko, Sujan Stevens, Doris Day, Paper Lace and countless others

When Kevin Montgomery was singing about Cherokee City on his album 2.30 am where the girls are too rich and they're way to pretty it is not clear whether he is referring to Cherokee City, Arkansas (population 73), or Cherokee City, Iowa (population 5099).Whichever one it is it's going in.

In the comments last week Alyson suggested Last Train to Clarksville and Chattanooga Choo Choo.Hmm The Monkees versus Glen Miller? Clearly, there was  always only going to be one winner and it was one that I already had lined up.  Georgia then  as opposed to Tennessee and to the city of Clarkesville and it's population of 1991.

Dwight Yoakam featured last week so rather than featuring him two weeks in a row here are Freakwater  covering his song South of Cincinnati, a song taken from Rough Trade Shops Country 1 compilation. In the state of Ohio it is considerably bigger than the two above with a population in excess of 300,000.

Finally from another compilation Texas Boogie .. a collection of Texas songs (which has plenty of material for this series). We are off to Corpus Christi a coastal city and the largest in Nueces County, Texas which is marginally larger population wise than Cincinatti.Another cover with Johnny Rodriguez doing the honours on the Robert Earl Keen song Corpus Christi Bay.

The letter D next Sunday with Dallas and Denver being excluded.

Kevin Montgomery - Cherokee City

The Monkees -Last Train to Clarkesville

Freakwater -South of Cincinnati

Johnny Rodriguez - Corpus Christi Bay

Saturday 6 May 2023

The Saturday Shuffle 3


Another random shuffle from my gym MP3 player.

Psychedelic Americana music is made for the gym and who better to provide that than Rose City Band?

Morning Light is a track (and the shortest) from their second and best album 2020's Summerlong. I see that they have just released their 4th album Garden Party. I'm tempted but as things stand the price is too steep for me. It's time to begin to draw lines in the sand.

Ironmasters from The Men They Couldn't Hang's masterpiece of a debut album Night of a Thousand Candles is an absolute belter and again is ideal gym material.

We had the album Summerlong above and now we have Summerteeth. What are the odds on that?

The three songs chosen have come from the three acts best albums. In this case it is Wilco with a song from 1999's Summerteeth. Most folk would probably plump for the 2001 follow up Yankee Hotel Foxtrot as their best but this is the one for me. A Shot in the Arm vies with She's a Jar and Via Chicago as the top song on the album.

Three crackers today. Will next Saturday's random shuffle be as fruitful?

Rose City Band - Morning Light

The Men They Couldn't Hang - Iron Masters

Wilco -A Shot in the Arm

Friday 5 May 2023

Dream Attic


I'm on a bit of a roll at the moment with respect to solo albums by Richard Thompson.

Front Parlour Ballads appeared here recently as part of the Debra Haul.

This week I give you Dream Attic a live album from 2010 on the Proper label. 

To quote Wiki instead of recording new songs in a studio, Thompson made demo recordings, rehearsed the songs with his band and then recorded the new material live on a two-week tour of the Western USA in February 2010. Each night's first set presented thirteen new songs, played live, in the sequence they would soon have on the album.

The album was assembled from these live recordings. No studio overdubs were done. Each track on the finished album is an entire, unedited live performance of the song.

I say live but I picked up the Deluxe 2 x CD edition with Disc 1 being the "Electric" album with 13 tracks and with Disc 2 comprising of the original acoustic guitar and vocal demos for the 13 songs.

It seems only fair to feature one electric and one acoustic song.

Richard Thompson - The Money Shuffle (Electric)

Richard Thompson -Haul Me Up (Acoustic)

Thursday 4 May 2023

If Jesus Drove a Motor Home


New series alert - Jesus songs!

The idea is to share a couple of songs with Jesus in the title. I've got quite a few  so we will see how we get along.

Oh, and lest anyone accuses me of being sacrilegious I will end every post with a gospel song.

Jim White has a good few Jesus songs and it was listening to his album Drill a Hole in the Substrate and Tell Me What You See  when selecting That Girl From Brownsville, Texas for the A-Z of American Cities that inspired this series.

On the album he ponders a scenario that we surely have all thought about at some point in time namely what If Jesus Drove a Motor Home. If this series lasts for any length of time Jim will almost certainly feature again.

Another act who have more than one Jesus Song are Bellshill duo The Vaselines .Today's offering by them is Jesus Wants Me for a Sunbeam which, as by brother is wont to say, is a bloody good trade in.

Finally for the gospel number I give you Marie Knight with Jesus Met the Woman at the Well.

More soon if I haven't been struck down.

Jim White -If Jesus Drove a Motor Home

The Vaselines -Jesus Wants Me For a Sunbeam

Marie Knight - Jesus Met the Woman at the Well

Wednesday 3 May 2023

Gordon Lightfoot


The sad news came in yesterday that the Canadian singer songwriter Gordon Lightfoot has died aged 84.

For years I was only vaguely familiar with his music via the song  The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald. However a couple of years ago I was at a gig where the DJ playing prior to the bands played a song which completely blew me away. A quick Google search informed me that it was a song of his called Sundown.

Around the same time there was a TV series called The Serpent based on the true story of a man robbing and murdering tourists along the Far East hippie trail.The theme tune to the series was Gordon's If You Could Read My Mind. A song which I was only familiar with courtesy of the Johnny Cash cover

When I previously mentioned my lack of knowledge of his songs Ernie very kindly stepped up to the plate and provided me with a very large selection of his other tunes.

Sundown you better take care. Rest easy Gordon. 

Gordon Lightfoot - The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald

Gordon Lightfoot - Sundown

Gordon Lightfoot - If You Could Read My Mind

Tuesday 2 May 2023

Paper Trails


Dropkick are a band who come from Edinburgh less than 50 miles away from where I am sitting typing this.
They have been on the go since 2001 but despite their proximity they only came to my attention via Brian's Best of 2020 list. That's right it took someone from Seattle to introduce someone from Glasgow to an Edinburgh band!

He described their 2020 album The Scenic Route thus They're a little bit country (early Jayhawks) and a little bit rock 'n' roll (Teenage Fanclub around 'Songs From Northern Britain') and have somehow improved upon 2018 album 'Longwave...' and that's saying a lot.

Obviously that was enough for me to pull the trigger and The Scenic Route was duly purchased. Shortly after that the released a Best Of double album with 30 tracks (with an additional 20 on the accompanying CDs). That was pretty handy given that their back catalogue extends to some 18 records.This does not include lead singer Andrew Taylor's solo work or his three albums as part of The Boys With The Perpetual Nervousness. More details available here I note that they have just released yet another one The Wireless Revolution

I've made a slight inroad into the back catalogue with the purchase of a the  CD of Paper Trails their 12th album from 2012 on Sound Asleep Records.A good find given that it appears to be sold out on Bandcamp.I'm happy to report it does not deviate too far from Brian's description above.

On the back of this I have purchased a ticket to see them in August.

Monday 1 May 2023

Do It With Love


A couple of years ago Ernie very kindly shared a promo copy of this album by Starry Skies  on the basis that "they are from your neck of the woods".

I was vaguely familiar with them having a copy of Ask the Animals when they were known as Warren McIntyre and Starry Skies. Towards the end of 2001 I saw The Gracious Losers at the CCA when I noticed a poster advertising that they were playing the following week. I went along and thoroughly enjoyed it.

I would describe their music as happy pop. Nothing startling but watching them or listening to them leaves you with a smile on your face.

I was in the City Centre the other day and popped into Love Music in Dundas Street. I bought a few CDs and as part of my haul I took the opportunity to upgrade Do It With Love (Foxstar Records, 2020)  from a digital copy to CD

If you like this (and I can't imagine why you wouldn't) their back catalogue is available on Bandcamp at reasonable prices.

Don't you worry baby

Starry Skies - Do It With Love

Starry Skies - Forgotten Dream