Good interview here with Lucinda Williams. She’s moving on death (especially the loss of her Dad), funny about sex, and fucking angry about getting old. All of which is exactly as it should be. I don’t know if America has National Treasures but if it does she is surely one of them
Laura Nyro is a name I have always known, but I knew little about her, and so far as I recall had never heard her music. So I put that right today by listening to her early album ‘Eli and the Thirteenth Confession’. If I had any clue about what she would be like I guess I imagined introspective late 60s/early 70s singer- songwriter stuff, but it’s far from it. I certainly didn’t expect exultant funk, soul and gospel overlays, and songwriting of real complexity and originality. If she reminds me of anyone it would be Carol King, but a very left-field Carol King. There are shades of contemporary (Astral Weeks, Moondance) Van Morrison, and even Joanna Newsom, but in a good way. I’m left perplexed as to why, in the era of Joni Mitchell, Carol King, James Taylor and Neil Young she didn’t become a major star.
If like me you don’t know her music I urge you to check her out. And if there are any Laura Nyro fans out there ( and there must be here) I’d love to know more about her music and what you’d suggest I listen to next.
In the meantime, I’ll just » Continue Reading.
Have only just come across Sir Bob’s most recent foray into taking the shilling for a big commercial company. In this season of goodwill and giving rather than taking, any other rock star ads you’ve enjoyed (or not)?
In which Roger Scruton argues that our minds are being turned to pap by the ubiquity of Muzak and pop music in general. The only exemption appears to be for, er, Metallica….
I agree with him about piped music but otherwise this is the kind of closed mind nonsense about music I thought was long behind us.
Woke up last night and couldn’t get back to sleep. Too tired to read,mind too active to sleep. So it was headphones on and iPod on shuffle to see what would turn up. Kind of like when I was a kid under the covers at night going through the radio stations to see what I could find, but under more control. Some tracks lasted a few seconds, some a minute or two. Bruce, Van, Beatles, the Dan, Emmylou, Jackson, Beatles and Stones and many more came and went. And then this. This was the one that hit the spot, lying in the darkness, just the music in my head.
Anyone else do this?
I noticed this article the other day. Much about it seems wrong to me. Has Newsom really had such a bad press – she’s always struck me as a critics’ darling. And is it really true that Bob Dylan’s voice doesn’t get criticised in the same way that the writer suggests Newsom does? And surely Kate Bush and Biork are much garlanded, not least by male critics?
What do you think? Is there a gender reaction going on here? Or is it just that Newsom really is a hard listen?
I admit I bought Ys on the back of the stupendous reviews it had and just couldn’t get on with it all. But there must be some admirers here – what is it about Newsom that is so special?
We all know the Bob Dylan live shtick. The voice is gone, the band is competent but dull, he doesn’t acknowledge the audience, he mangles his songs and the challenge is to guess what it is before he’s finished it….
Well, yes, except….
I’ve seen Dylan a number of times and this was one of the most enjoyable in ages, and perversely, I think it’s because there were hardly any of the big hits. I counted just four songs from the last century, and a substantial part of the set came from his last two albums including his Sinatra tribute. And whilst I really can’t be doing with that record, live the performances were surprisingly compelling. Sure, the voice is pretty ropey these days, but this was a performance with real conviction and commitment, and all the better for it. Dylan’s recent songs; Pay in Blood, Scarlet Town, Love Sick especially, were gripping and in this performance stood up alongside the few older classics he performed. ‘Wasted Years’ was magnificent, and Dylan, old ham that he is, made the most of the payoff line ‘So much for these long and wasted years’.
The old » Continue Reading.
What does it sound like?:
The template for the songs on ‘Ones and Sixes’ is a deceptively simple one. An economical rhythm track of percussion – perhaps just bass drum or woodblocks and cymbal – given weight by bass or keyboard. Scratchy arpeggioed chords on electric guitar which occasionally breaks out into feedback laden squalls of sound. And above it all the cool but glorious harmonised vocals of Mimi Parker and Alan Sparhawk, intoning downbeat lyrics which repeat phrases like ‘All you innocents make a run for it’ and ‘We couldn’t wait any longer/We couldn’t get through the border’. The pace is generally funereal; ‘What Part of Me’s mid-tempo pace make it seem positively celebratory. It’s a chilly bleak old world, but the richness and beauty of Parker and Sparhawk’s vocals, and the gradual accumulative build of the tracks makes this anything but a miserable listen. This is pop’s version of minimalism, and like a fine Steve Reich or Arvo Part composition it uses repetition and economy to build a sonic mood which is so much more than the sum of its parts.
What does it all *mean*?
it’s a fine example of an album by a band who » Continue Reading.
have fed the contents of the Van Morrison thread into the mainframe computer and the results are in. A few rules of engagement. I only allowed five songs per person (sorry, Owlsley). However where people indicated a clear change of mind I allowed it, because that’s the kind of guy I am. Where people indicated a specific live or alternative recording I noted it as such; otherwise I assumed it was the original studio recording. I took the lists in the order presented, with five points for the first down to one for the last. I realise not everyone was specific about the order so I also totted up the number of votes, and guess what – it hardly made any difference. This may be worth bearing in mind should anyone be foolish enough to do one of these in the future. In all 45 of us voted, with 220 votes for 101 tracks. A fair spread. Well over half were chosen by just one person. However there was a clear winner.
Full details in the comments below
This is a long-ish post which you may not be arsed to read all the way through, so let me draw your attention to the fact that at the end there is a call-out for yet another Afterword a list.
It’s turning out to be a pretty good year for Van Morrison. He turns 70 this weekend and is celebrating with two hometown gigs on Cyprus Avenue. He released his Duets album which whilst hardly his greatest hour was well received and appears to have sold well. Almost his entire back catalogue is finally available again after a ludicrous hiatus. He has been knighted. And knocking all of that into a cocked hat, in recent weeks there have been many posts in praise of him here on the Afterword. So here’s another one. I have been listening to Van for over 40 years. I remember watching and marvelling at an Old Grey Whistle Test broadcast of a live Caledonia Soul Orchestra performance sometime in the mid 70s. My main source for finding music then was the record section of my local library. This led to some fairly quirky introductions to many of the greats. I didn’t hear Astral Weeks or » Continue Reading.
Castlefield Bowl Manchester
Part of Manchester International Festival, this was the first performance by Bjork of what will presumably be the Vulnicura tour.Bjork was joined on stage by a keyboard and electronics musician and a percussionist plus a 14 piece string orchestra. The show drew heavily on the new album of course but also dipped into the back catalogue with favourites like Hyper-Ballad and The Hunter. It took a while to get going – the new material is reflective and downbeat, and I thought she seemed a little unsure at first. Also the static string section had less musical or visual immediacy than the choir and brass band featured in her last two tours. In truth this was a set less suited to an outdoor venue than her previous ones and I would love to have seen it in a concert hall. Nonetheless as Bjork grew more animated and dramatic and the music got more beat heavy the show as a whole built well. She was in great voice – Army of Me, 5 Years and Wanderlust were especially good. She’s still one of a kind.
Very mixed in age – probably 50/50 gender » Continue Reading.
I played this tonight. Its one of my favourite Bruce Springsteen songs, performed by two of my favourite singers. its a mark of Springsteen’s quality as a songwriter that so many very different artists have covered so many of his songs. Your best examples of Bruce cover versions please…
It’s a bank holiday weekend, remarkably its a beautiful sunny evening in Manchester, I’m cooking up a paella, Mrs BB and daughters are sat outside enjoying sunshine, and I’m playing Getz and Byrd’s Jazz Samba, the sound of summer. What are you playing/cooking/eating this balmy Saturday evening?
Sometimes I wonder where I’ve been all my life. I’m 57 years old, I’ve been listening to music for most of those years – dammit my job is involved In the music business. And yet until this evening I’d never heard this. It’s extraordinary and has stopped me dead in my tracks – I can’t stop playing it. I’m sure everyone else here will know it intimately but I guess there is so much music out there and so little time. Isn’t it great to still be hearing classic music for the first time?
Anyone else recently discovered a standard classic that everyone else has known for years?
Just heard Nancy Sinatra talking on Radio 4 Womens Hour (same programme as @badartdog is listening to) – she was great (good programme by the way -Cerys Matthews, Pauline Black, Emily Eavis, Nadine Shah also on).
I was 9 when this came out and just kinda liked the song. Now – Lordy, Lordy….
Been listening to Muddy Waters’ live at Newport album for the first time today. It was recorded at the Jazz and Blues Festival in 1960, the day after the Festival almost got shut down after a riot during Ray Charles’ set. Blimey its brilliant. Muddy’s voice, the economy, drive and warmth of the band, Otis Spann’s piano – if I had heard it when there was that Live albums thread last week I would have posted it there. But I hadn’t so here’s some footage now. Set me up for the weekend very nicely.
Other great Blues or Newport footage welcome….
My heart sinks at the news that Van Morrison has re recorded some of his songs with such luminaries as PJ Proby, Chris Farlowe and Mick Hucknall for a duets album. Everyone seems to do one of these records these days, and they’ll all rubbish aren’t they- basically just money making exercises? Or are there some good examples out there?
It’s been a tough old week. But today I had a great couple of work meetings down in London. This was then followed by meeting up with our daughter who moved to London a couple of months ago to start a new job. She was as wide eyed, excited and full of life as you would want any 23 year old to be as she makes her way in the big city. It was just the lift I needed.On the way back on the train, listening to Lucinda Williams, this came on and summed up my glass more than half full mood perfectly.
Have a great – and blessed – weekend everyone
Am I the first person here to fail the maths test when I tried to log-in? Fortunately I managed the 1×1 question the second time around, so all’s well…
My last post just before the cataclysm was a paean of praise for Frazey Ford’s Indian Ocean. However many weeks on it is (how long is it in fact – seems like forever?) it’s still getting regular plays in the BB household. So too Sharon van Etten, Hooray the Riff Raff, Thompson St Vincent and the Rebekka Karijord record. What else from last year has lasted the pace through to February?