Their first album together was very good. They just released their new one No Mercy in this Land and it is rather lovely. A lot of driving blues and some stupendous Harmonica playing from Musselwhite but I am rather taken by this ballad which is the closing track on the album:-
My folks often used to say ‘it wasn’t like that in our day’ or such like. I can look back on my childhood with fond memories but the reality is that in my lifetime we have taken massive strides to achieve a better standard of living. Putting aside our propensity for war which unfortunately has never diminished I can think of these things that I certainly do not mourn the passing of:
Linoleum – dreadful stuff. Outside toilets Mangles – I remember putting my fingers in one, it was fucking painful. Electric bar fires instead of central heating Black and white TV’s with 3 channels that closed down every night around 10pm. ‘Snow’ on the tv just when you got to the critical part of a programme resulting in having to stand next to the tv tapping the side or moving the aerial around. Blancmange – what were we thinking? Evaporated milk – again what were we thinking? Black and White Minstrel show Cod Liver oil The stick at school Short trousers at school Bastard teachers who took pleasure in giving you the slipper and had apparent homo erotic inclinations. Belisha Beacons – did anyone take any notice of them? » Continue Reading.
The Beatles are possibly the most copied band ever. I usually cite Joe Cocker’s With a little help from my friends as my favourite Beatles cover but I forgot about this. From the recently released Stone the Crows/Maggie Bell compilation:
Buxton Opera House
A big of Natalie, this night couldn’t come around soon enough. On a sweltering night in Buxton she cam on stage at 8pm prompt accompanied by her long time sidekick on acoustic guitar Erik Della Penna. For just over 2 hours they entertained us with a marvellous set covering the whole of her solo output and a smattering of 10,000 Maniacs songs. I have been a fan off his since In My Tribe which on its release got played regularly for a number of years – possibly my most played album for a few years I enjoyed it that much. Last night for the first 5 or 6 numbers she played without any conversation with the audience – the highlight of this section being a delightful Motherland. Then she started chatting profusely and she was warm. funny and very slightly coquettish. The shot continued with a few missed lines for Life is Sweet which prompted a fit of giggles and repeat attempts to get it right. She playfully admonished herself and then later on Build a Levee Erik made a bomb note and she jokingly suggested ‘he should go now’. Aside from that » Continue Reading.
Jimmy LaFave sadly passed away early last year leaving behind a legacy of great recordings. He had a fabulous voice and was perhaps the best ever interpreter of Dylan songs. Along with Baron Harkonnen I was privileged to see him play live in Austin about a year before he died. It was a magical evening that will live long in the memory. His last recordings will be released as a double album Peace Town tomorrow. It would be great if this album sold a few copies in his memory as it would certainly help keep alive the memory of a great artist:
What does it sound like?:
I didn’t see this coming. No pre-order fanfare, no reviews that I have seen in the British music press. On the face of it strange bedfellows. When you dig deeper not so strange. Charles Loyd the Jazz saxophonist has over the years acted as sideman for Howling Wolf and BB King. Marvels band members Bill Frisell and Greg Leisz have both played with Lucinda. Her touring band Buick 6 often veer into jazzy territory in extended workouts and Lucinda herself often extemporises her vocals. So what do we get for our money? 5 songs with Lucinda vocals alternating with 5 Charles Lloyd instrumentals. Clocking in at around 72 minutes this is a long album but ends too quickly. I want more. The tenor saxophone is my favourite of all saxes and here it sounds absolutely beautiful. Mixed with the Frissell guitar and Leisz pedal steel they weave a wonderful intricate palette. On the Lucinda songs the sax or occasional flute are entirely in tune with her voice offering some delicate sparring at times and rousing almost spiritual call to action on new song We’ve come too far to turn around which puts me in » Continue Reading.
Birmingham Symphony Hall
Anyone who has tickets for any of his UK shows is in for an absolute treat – easily the show of the year and possibly in my top 5 gigs of all time. But first lets talk about opener local girl Laura Mvula. Accompanied only by her long time collaborator on drums, loops, keyboards and occasional guitar she commanded the stage from start to finish. She has a remarkable voice – the closing living singer to Nina Simone.The opening numbers were very electronic jazzy spacey affairs and then she was left alone on stage for Father Father with just her piano. Emotional doesn’t begin to describe it but the final number saw her drummer return to the stage and they played a long drum and voice song with her incredible dancing – it was sexy, rhythmic and heart stopping. Earlier in the set she emotionally told her home town audience that she was last on this stage when she graduated from the conservatoire.She thanked her parents who were in the audience for all the running around to rehearsals for piano and violin and was grateful that they put up with her scraping out » Continue Reading.
It is early June and I have just heard my favourite album of the year so far. Lump is a collaborative work between Laura Marling and Mike Lindsay of Tunng – a band I know by name but who I have not knowingly heard anything by. Apparently they met at a Neil Young gig and being admirers of each others work decided on this joint effort. Lindsay provides guitars, bass, loops, programming and all sorts of electronica. Laura wrote the songs and sings. The sound is absolutely delightful – Laura’s vocal range is breathtaking and quite different to her own work. How do I describe the songs on here? Firstly there only 6 and a short instrumental outtro but no song is superfluous to the overall album. There are some great loops that remind me of a slowed down Georgio Moroder for the 21st century particularly on standout track Hand Hold Hero which has a great layered vocal and some great electronica. At times Laura’s voice recalls Melanie de Biasio and make no mistake this is a soundscape » Continue Reading.
What does it sound like?:
These are in some ways strange reissues. Although remastered they do not have any bonus tracks so aside from the mastering they are straight reissues but I guess at a little over a fiver a disc at the Tax Dodgers they are value for money or attractive for those wishing to add missing items to their Janis Ian collection. Between the lines will be the one most familiar to Janis Fans and non fans alike as it container her biggest selling song At Seventeen the success of which has probably hampered her career but not her bank balance. However my favourite album is Stars the title track being in my mind the best song she has written. It also includes Jesse another great song.The other release are Aftertones with the excellent Belle of the Blues and Night Rains which was her first album to go platinum outside of the USA. Although at seventeen is his most famous song the most controversial was Society’s Child. Written amazingly when she was 14 it details a mixed race relationship and one Atlanta radio station that played it defying local outrage suffering the ignominy of being burned to » Continue Reading.
Deciding which records/cd’s to cull when you have run out of space is a tremendously difficult thing to do. It takes careful consideration as in my experience once you have decided to take something off your shelf and consign it to storage in the attic/garage or ,heaven forbid, the skip chances are you will want to listen to it. At the weekend I was looking for something I couldn’t find and started looking through a couple of boxes of stuff I was about to file in the garage – stuff that had been in boxes for maybe the last year. Whilst searching I came across ‘The indestructible beat of Soweto’. I have no idea why I consigned this cd to a future life of purgatory. It is brilliant. It has been redeemed and now sits proudly back on my shelf. So fellow AW’ers – have you regretted throwing something out in haste?
I lost my Dad 18 months ago. The pain has eased and although I think about him most days it is usually with a smile at remembering something he said or did. When we had his wake I singled out two songs I remember he loved and sang to us when I was a kid. One of them was King of the Road and the other one was Three wheels on my Wagon. This week I remembered this one from the recesses of my mind. Love you Dad, have fun with this one at your gig in the sky:
There is a splendid new 3 cd compilation Masekela 66 – 76 on Amazon for a shade under £14.00. It has most of his vital work on it. Listening as we speak – perfect for this weather.
Just as there are songs that make me dance there are also songs I cannot hear without singing along to. Here are some examples:-
Steve Miller Band – The Joker James Taylor – You’ve got a friend Simon and Garfunkel – America Paul Simon – American Tune Dawes – A little bit of everything Bruce Springsteen – Girls in their summer clothes Nils Lofgren – Goin back (The best version) Free- My brother Jake Rod Stewart – You wear it well Simple Minds – Alive and kicking
What are your singing songs?
Have been thinking about this for a few days as a potential post and how best to frame it. The idea came too me when I thought of artists that have endured in my record collection, those I no longer listen to and those who showed promise and then burnt out. So, if artists were relationships:-
Deep Purple – A fantastic one night stand when I saw them in 1971 – strobe lights, smashed guitars, thunderous jamming between Jon Lord’s keyboards and Blackmore’s fluid guitar solos. I tried many times to re-live that night of passion. There were some moments that were memorable but nothing compared to that one night.
Nancy Griffith – My first wife. Loved for a long time, this faded gradually over time.Still occasionally think back with fondness but largely forgotten.
Elvis Costello – My most enduring relationship. A long marriage, mostly happy but sometimes gets on my nerves and I find myself needing some solitude away from the nagging.
Father John Misty – there was an attraction or so I thought. Didn’t really get past first base -in hindsight what was I thinking?
Paul Simon – my bit on the side when Elvis Costello gets on » Continue Reading.
What does it sound like?:
It’s a while since John Prine released an album of new self-penned songs although technically many of these are co-writes. I was lucky enough to see him at the London Palladium last year where he played a stunning set with a stellar band. At the time I can remember thinking I was unlikely to see him again. Defying those thoughts here he is with a new album and new dates later in the year in the UK. Of all those offered up as potential ‘New Dylans’ Prine is the one with the best songs throughout an excellent if not prolific career. So what of this new album? I am delighted that it is here but a little sad that his voice sounds a little weaker on some of the songs. I hope it doesn’t portend another period of ill health that the has been previously dogged with. Summers End and When I get to heaven both have a melancholy feel to them even though the latter has an upbeat tune. Throw in a couple of love songs and the semi political Lonesome Friends of Science and you have a similar album to his last » Continue Reading.
Hare and Hounds,Kings Heath
@Tiggerlion introduced me to Zara McFarlane with his championing of her most recent album Arise. It is fair to say that said album got way more than the statutory 6 plays in my house and so I was excited to hear she was playing in Birmingham. Tuesday night was bitterly cold and it would have been easy to stay in the house. Thankfully I made the effort and was rewarded with an incendiary show. As good as her recorded voice is there were moments in this show where I was frankly blown away. For instance during Feed the Spirit a song from her first album there was a sparring match between her scat vocals and the drums/double bass – her voice miming a sax and adding ululations of the African tribal singers. You had to be there to experience it but I don’t think I have ever heard the human voice used in this way – it was breathtaking. We also got an extended Police and Thieves, Fisherman which is a Congos cover and Fussin and Fighting also extended. Throughout there was a myriad of influences obviously the Reggae » Continue Reading.
So the Canadian senate has finally passed a bill to alter the words of their National Anthem O Canada. Removing the words ‘In all thy sons command’ and replacing with the gender neutral ‘ In all of us command’. Someone wrote that song, who has the right to change the words?
Shall we change the words of every gender specific song while we are at it? How about My Sibling Jake for starters?
The World gets more bonkers by the day. No doubt someone will be on here to defend this piece of crap.
Went expecting this but I have to say I love it:
What does it sound like?:
The female singer songwriter category must be the most over crowded in current music trends. That Beth Nielsen Chapman has been successful at it for for so many years is testament to both her voice and the quality of her songs. With imminent high profile releases by the likes of Mary Gauthier and Gretchen Peters it must be a daunting prospect to release an album that will reach its intended audience. Hearts of Glass will manage to do that if there is any justice in the World. My first introduction Beth was with the release of her album Sand and Water. I heard it before Terry Wogan started championing it with the same vigour that he used for Eva Cassidy. It was a great album but for some reason his involvement put me off to some extent – it was like he was jumping on my bandwagon with an artist I had introduced to friends and family. I didn’t need his help so I skulked off to find other artists and only fleetingly came back to Beth until now. One thing that stands out very strongly is that page has been very kind to » Continue Reading.
There is an enigmatic message on Eels website and a little snippet of music that seems to indicate a release in April. I am officially fucking excited.
I will be even more excited if it is followed by a tour.
Earlier this week i had the misfortune of seeing The Dream Girls sing song on TV. Then this am I heard them sing another song. Their idea of singing appears to be shouting/screaming at the top of your voice, lengthening the words you sing by twisting the vowels and generally putting on what they think is a barnstorming performance. They cannot sing.
At the other end of the spectrum I was in Jessops yesterday am – they had Radio 1 playing. On came an Ant and Dec song. I had no idea they had recorded a song. It was a fucking godawful attempt at rap without any emotion and frankly was beyond embarrassing.
Both of these incidents have made me think there should be a punishment for this kind of behaviour. Maybe hanging is too severe but I am not entirely sure.
Currently reading Bob Harris’s autobiography which is very interesting as an historical document. In it he mentions a band called Fairfield Parlour. I remember the band name and looking on the Tax Dodgers website their album Home from Home is definitely ringing some bells – do I dip my toe into the water or completely leave it? Any other bands that have come back into your conscious after an extended period of time?
Also the vocalist is Peter Daltrey. Related?
Many arguments prevailed both on here and the predecessor site allied to the magazine that nothing good was written post 1971. This view was very strongly put forward by Mr Hepworth which I thought was strange given he was trying to make a success out of a current music magazine. I believe there is plenty of great music out there that is the equal of the stuff that came before and it amazes me that there still persists this argument that the Beatles are the start and finish of all things great and that everything else trails in their wake. Clearly wrong I am glad to say. So whilst I still enjoy the Beatles and the Stones and the Kinks I am glad that stuff like this has entertained me in this century:-
There may be some sneering on here that she is no longer relevant but I believe her new album Be Myself is excellent and she has a great way with a tune. Its a shame that singles don’t make money these days because there are 3 or 4 songs on this album that are so catchy they would have set her up for life in another age. Great stuff.