My wife has started using an App (recommended by my sister) which gives her 24 free photo prints per month. All she pays is postage (£2:50 for first order and £3:99 thereafter). She has received her first photobook, thus so far so good. My sister has been using it for some months. However it is a business model that seems to me to be unsustainable. They may make money from extra prints, but I suspect most people will be using the free print option. Something that costs them. I’m very sceptical. Can anyone reassure me that sometime in the future my wife won’t find the credit card account empty?
What does it sound like?:
“Don’t leave me like this, I might explode” Hannah Aldridge sings on opening song Aftermath. But that is what Hannah does across the ten tracks on Gold Rush, this her second album. She explodes into your musical experience, embedding herself in your psyche and richly rewarding you with every repeated play.
This review is a couple of months late, but that is not a good reason for this recording to be ignored.
I loved her debut Razor Wire, but this album takes her music forward. For me there is a strong Tom Petty vibe on this record, but she also reminds me of singers like Etta James and Anne Peebles, with flavours of soul and gospel coming through to produce a fabulous blend that draws upon her Muscle Shoals roots to create a confection of sound that is very much her own and she has produced an album that rewards repeated listening. But in contradiction to what I’ve just written and mixing my metaphors, this album is no compound, but consists of ten nuggets of pure gold.
So to the music: what has struck me with Gold Rush, and I’m not sure why I » Continue Reading.
I know we have mixed feelings about lists here, but this one is quite interesting. National Public Radio in the US have compiled their choice of the best 150 albums made by women since 1964. I reckon I own about 20 of them, have heard maybe another 20 and there are plenty I’ve never heard and a fair few by artists I’ve never heard of. As I type I’m listening to Deep Listening by Pauline Oliveros, someone I’d never heard of until about 15 minutes ago.
Some are obvious. Some are WTF is that doing there? Some are bloody marvellous and as indicated above some are completely unknown.
Have a browse. In the words of the late Mrs Merton “Let’s have a heated debate”. NPR’s 150 greatest albums by women since 1964
I reviewed Plainsong’s album In Search Of Amelia Earhart a few months ago.
Today The Washington Post has run a story claiming she was captured by the Japanese and didn’t die in a crash A newly unearthed photo shows Amelia Earhart survived her final flight
Will Ian Matthews be inspired to write something new about her? (I suspect not).
Here is a fairly recent rendition of the song(s). Scroll forward as the music doesn’t start until at about 4:10.
Carl on The Beatles songbook explored
Times flies and more than a month has passed since Please Please Me was posted as part of this series.
Perhaps this song is a true landmark in that it starts the tradition that continued through the rest of The Beatles career: the B Side of a single that is as good as (or nearly as good as) the A side. A song whose quality far surpasses 99% of the rest of singles’ chart content.
But having said that I think it is fair to say that this is one of the more obscure songs from the very early days and It is difficult to understand why.
This contrasts markedly with the schmaltz of P.S. I Love You. It can be argued that it’s equivalently sentimental, but is much more muscular and musically far more interesting. But then it is a vocal by John, so it is hardly surprising.
I’m not sure when I first heard this. We had neither the Please, Please Me single nor album. It’s not on The Red Album and given how rare it was to hear any “popular” music on the old Light Service, be it by The Beatles » Continue Reading.
What does it sound like?:
Jeff Finlin has been recording for many years and this is his 9th album.
I’m not sure how, but I’ve never come across him before, although he plays a style of music totally in tune with my preferences. It’s a case not just that I’ve not heard anything by him, but I’d never heard of him (or at least taken notice).
I’m a regular listener to Bob Harris and so searched his website archive (which lists his playlists from every programme for many, many years) and see he has played songs from Jeff fairly regularly over the years, though far less frequently than is the case with such mediocre fare as from the likes of Zac Brown.
I haven’t paid attention to them and that has been a grievous omission on my part, a gap in my musical education that needs to be filled. Having said that, it is something that I can understand from hearing this album, because it is one packed with massive charm, a lot of beauty but isn’t a record that has obvious, immediate hooks. It inveigles its way into your consciousness with subtlety, but once it’s there it’s » Continue Reading.
Carl on The Beatles and the Please Please Me single
Come on, come on, Come on, come on, Come on, come on, Come on, come on…
Now we’re getting down to business. John calls, Paul and George respond. The first taste of John and Paul getting really serious with their songwriting.
It’s just so much more muscular than Love Me Do. Featuring another Lennon harmonica riff, the repeated come ons, each one slightly more intense and emphatic than the previous one indicate their growing songwriting prowess. Their sense of creating dynamics within the song. It’s lyrically a world away from Love Me Do with it’s single rhyme pattern. Here there is a middle eight that really works in providing a contract to the verses and choruses. In the space of three months they’ve really started to develop their songwriting artistry.
MacDonald suggested in Revolution in The Head they were spurred on by the threat of having How Do You Do It released as their second single and so they came up with something that gave George Martin no sensible » Continue Reading.
A treat for me, and a few others who hang round about here, to look forward to is an album due out in August that Shelby Lynne and Allison Moorer have collaborated on, according to Rolling Stone.
It is titled, Not Dark Yet, after the Dylan Song they cover. The producer is Teddy Thompson.
It also includes covers of songs by Townes van Zandt, Jason Isbell & Amanda Shires and Nirvana.
Islington Assembly Hall, London N1
Early on is his set, Ron Sexsmith commented that he wasn’t sure that anyone was going to turn up.
Coming the night after the atrocity of the murders at the Ariana Grande concert in Manchester I can see how he felt that way, although he had also a few minutes earlier said, to much applause, something along the lines that we have to stand up to the terrorists by showing we aren’t cowed by them and carry on with out lives. That’s very much how we felt.
Security was understandably far tighter than normal with thorough searches of bags, not just a quick glance inside. Though how this helps when the killer turns up with the intention of blowing people up as they leave the venue isn’t clear.
But if it were political and sociological comment that you wanted, you wouldn’t be here, but elsewhere seeking more perspicacious insight than mine. So how was Ron’s performance, you ask.
Well he was on really good form. Better than I’ve seen him for some time. When the tour was announced some months back I asked my wife if she wanted to go. Much » Continue Reading.
Carl on The Beatles
The b-side of Love Me Do. Here is the first taste of things to come – McCartney’s saccharine side.
I don’t have problems with songwriters showing a softer, emotional side, but there is a line between showing a softer, caring side and oleaginous sentimentality. This is on the wrong side of that divide. And, as we are all aware, there was more to come from that side of Paul (as well as plenty of great songs).
Having said that, no-one, least of all the band, expected things to last more than year or two. Remember Ringo at one time said that when it was all over, he was going to open a chain of hairdressers.
It’s strange that this song doesn’t feel like part of my childhood, because it still seems as familiar to me as so many other Beatles songs.
I’m fairly indifferent to it. It’s a long way from Paul’s worst, but in terms of a song being a B-side it’s definitely inferior to to Love Me Do and deserving of its B status. A saving grace is that it clocks in at under two minutes.
At this stage it is the worst Beatles » Continue Reading.
My source – Please Please Me CD – mono version
The sound of October 1962. Is this when the 60s started? Not for me as a six ear old. The 60s didn’t at this time, nor for a few years to come, mean anything special. The didn’t immediately register with me, but it did make some impression because not long after when Beatlemania took off I knew it well enough to sing it with friends.
According to MacDonald this album version is the one that features Alan White on drums, with a disgruntled Ringo relegated to tambourine. I can’t listen and say that’s definitely not Ringo.
Notable for opening with Lennon’s harmonica employing a riff he learned from Delbert McClinton, who had played something (supposedly) similar on Bruce Channel’s Hey Baby.
It doesn’t sound that alike to me. But legend is that Delbert showed John how. That aside Delbert McClinton is a fine musician. I saw him at The Garage in Islington about 20 years ago and he was fabulous. Piling a massive amount of energy into his performance, he was » Continue Reading.
There have been threads about The Beatles since the original Word v1 site (of which Tigger’s White album post below is just the latest). The recent publicity given to 50 years since Sgt Pepper, the thread on Rolling Stones songs ordered by merit, plus comments elsewhere on Ian McDonald’s Revolution In The Head got me thinking and planted a seed.
I propose to listen to every Beatles song in turn, and post a commentary on each one of them, first to last. The order of songs will be guided by MacDonald’s book; while I may refer to, concur with or disagree with IMac’s opinions or extract notable information the thoughts will be mine and I hope yours.
Just to be clear, the main purpose of referring to Revolution In The Head is to use it as a chronological guide. I’m not proposing a redundant exercise of re-analysing the songs as McDonald did, but want to consider their impact on me and I want to read your thoughts on how they hit you. I recall almost all of them first time around. How have younger members come across them and how do you feel about them?
So we can discuss EVERY » Continue Reading.
The good news for Aimee’s fans is she is touring Europe in October. The bad news is she is only doing two British dates (London on 26th at The Palladium and Glasgow O2 ABC on the 29th with Dublin National Stadium sandwiched between on the 28th).
Is she really more popular in Germany, where she plays three dates, than in the UK? I guess the answer is Follow The Money.
Tickets go on sale on Monday.
I’d not heard anything about Joni Mitchell since her collapse a while back.
However this picture appeared on Rosanne Cash’s Instagram yesterday.
She looks frail, but she’s up an about and going to parties.
I’ve just seen this on The Washington Post website – jeans covered in fake mud for $425:00. Apparently the fake mud can’t be washed out.
It reminds me of the Ray Lowry cartoon. Interior of a clothes shop. Two racks of t-shirts with price signs above. One reads T-shirts – £10 the other Ripped T-shirts – £15
What does it sound like?:
What to expect? When a sideman (and that term is not meant in any derogatory sense, as sidemen generally have to be musicians of the highest calibre) steps to the fore – are the results going to be a source of celebration as long suppressed musical ideas packed with inventiveness and originality are released and exposed to the audience they deserve or something of a snooze as half-baked self-indulgence is given its head?
Happily this falls into the first category, being a collection of musical delights of varied textures, moods and hues, giving the listener ever increasing rewards from repeated listens because with Beekeeper Steve Wickham has produced a collection of instrumentals and songs that variously entrance and energise and never fail to engage. More simply it’s a wonderful collection that deserves wide exposure. It is neither Waterboys-lite nor an echo of his former band, the excellent In Tua Nua. Almost half the tracks here are instrumentals, but they are in no way filler, forming essential elements of the whole enterprise. One of my favourite tracks on the album is an instrumental piece titled The Bohemian. It’s a composition for violin and piano that last » Continue Reading.
Club Oslo, Hackney
When I saw Sam Outlaw for the first time last year he was so impressive.
At King’s Place in London, where we’d gone to see Kelly Willis and Bruce Robison, we found that they weren’t the headliners as we’d expected and that Sam had been given top billing.
The displeasure my wife and I felt had evaporated by the end of the first song. Here is a guy with real star quality, a performer with presence, with charisma. Someone whom you found just held your gaze. And he has a decent set of songs.
I’d got the album, Angeleno, after hearing him do a radio session, but initially felt the disc didn’t do him justice and wasn’t as strong as the live performance that had sold me on him. I soon reappraised my feelings after the gig and came to love the disc.
That was last year. As I journeyed to this gig I wondered had he really been that good; had I misremembered and oversold the experience to all those friends to whom I’d sermonised about the excellence of Sam Outlaw?
Circumstances conspired to cause me to miss the support, so when » Continue Reading.
What does it sound like?:
In some respects this review can be considered as a continuation of the Don Nix album review I posted a couple of days ago.
Nix is the key figure in this recording of the Alabama State Troupers live revue. Recorded in October 1971, this came about a couple of months after Nix had been involved with The Concert for Bangladesh where he might have learned some of the difficulties in putting on a big band show. It was also meant to emulate Mad Dogs and Englishmen which had recently preceded it where of course Nix’s good friend Leon Russell was the ringmaster in that particular circus. It’s a real mix of the profane and sacred.
The profane comes courtesy of Furry Lewis (the same Furry of whom Joni Mitchell wrote about singing the blues; a tribute about which he was not overly impressed, being of the not unreasonable opinion that if his name was being used, he should have been collecting a royalty). Furry, aged 78 at the time of recording, sings of having a different woman every day of the week in Furry’s Blues while in Brownsville he sings of his woman trying » Continue Reading.
What does it sound like?:
Don Nix really surprised me with this album, originally released in 1971, but out now on Man In The Moon as part of their series of Elektra releases.
He’s a name I’ve known because of his work with Jeff Beck, Eric Clapton, Freddie King, Leon Russell and others (also he had been in the Mar-Keys but left them and they then evolved into Booker T and the MGs), so I was expecting a fairly straightforward blues-rock album, maybe given his background a record with with some soul influence.
Looking at the song titles, the first song listed is titled The Shape I’m In, so I was naturally expecting a cover of The Band’s song that opened Stage Fright.
Not so. The song opens with proper church organ and that is a huge clue to what you get to hear on the rest of the album, because this is a hugely gospel influenced rock album. Not a soul influenced rock album, but real gospel. Not exclusively so, but gospel is on many tracks.
Then you find its confirmed its not the same song as The Band recorded. All it shares is the title. Once the organ » Continue Reading.
Due to stupidity on my part in arranging my life I can’t now go to this gig on Sunday April 2nd.
Rather than let it go to waste, anyone who is interested, please PM me and I’ll arrange to get it to you.
If you really enjoy it the gig and want to give me something towards the ticket, that’s up to you.
A wonderful night should be in store.
Tickets are now on sale for The Indigo Girls, who will be here in July.
Not my favourite band, but one I like a lot, but more to the point, ever since I first discovered them, some 20 years or more ago, they’ve never been over here on tour (but I stand to be corrected on that). Certainly this is the first time I’ve been aware of them touring and from what I’ve read they are a tremendous, formidable live band.
Dates confirmed are:
Thursday 20 July, RNCM Theatre, Manchester; Friday 21 July, Albert Hall, Nottingham; Saturday 22 July, The Leadmill, Sheffield; Monday 24 July, Birmingham Town Hall, Birmingham; Tuesday 25 July, Bierkeller, Bristol; Wednesday 26 July, Concorde 2, Brighton; Saturday 29 July, Islington Assembly Hall, London; Sunday 30 July, Islington Assembly Hall, London.
I’ve got tickets for the 29th.
Possibly a couple more dates can be added into that schedule. No dates in Scotland I note.
June will be Jason – Here is a date for the diary – June 16th 2017
Jason Isbell releases his new album The Nashville Sound. It’s being advertised as being with the 400 Unit, though as they play on his ‘solo’ albums I’m not sure how much difference this will make.
Whatever, it’s something to look forward to, in a big way.
The Islington, London N1
Israel Nash is over here, accompanied by pedal steel guitarist Eric Swanson, supporting the Band Of Horses tour. Tonight he’s playing hooky and has sneaked in a gig at The Islington.
There are nights that are exultant and inspire me to keep going to live music. This was one of those nights. For me, a signifier of a great gig is waking up the next morning and the first thing that comes into your head is a song/tune from the previous evening.
I woke up singing I Shall Be Released.
But that’s not an Israel Nash song is possibly your first and correct thought. What is significant was it was sung in a way I’ve never seen it (or any song) done before.
It was the final song of the evening. Israel and Eric asked for volunteers from the audience to accompany them on two spare acoustics they had. A dozen hands lifted and two lucky guys got them. I was too uncertain of my ability to volunteer.
Israel and Eric got off the stage and made a space amongst the crowd. A quick run through the chords and then they were » Continue Reading.
Rejoice. Jason Isbell and the 400 Unit will be touring the UK in October. As a HUGE bonus, support is being provided by Tift Merritt (see my recent review in Nights Out for confirmation of her excellence).
Dates so far confirmed:
Wednesday 25th October Manchester Albert Hall Thursday 26th October Glasgow O2 ABC Sunday 29th October Brighton Dome Monday 30th October London Roundhouse Tuesday 31st October Birmingham Symphony Hall
Given that Friday and Saturday 27th and 28th are still free, I’d expect a couple more to be added
In my role as the advocate for Chuck Prophet and The Mission Express (do people recall choosing a band to advocate for) I’m so pleased to announce they have landed in Europe (playing dates in Germany and Holland) and will be in the UK very soon. This is extra notable because in 2016, for the first time in a long time, they did not tour the UK, so my hunger to hear the mighty Mission Express is huge
His new album Bobby Fuller Died For Your Sins is out today as well.
Their UK dates are as follow. I’m going to be at The Garage in Islington on the 21st
February 14th – Oxford – The Bullingdon February 15th – Glasgow – ABC2 February 16th – Leeds – The Brudnell Social Club February 17th – Manchester – The Deaf Institute February 18th – Winchester – The Railway SOLD OUT February 19th – Nottingham – Rescue Rooms February 20th – Bristol – The Tunnels February 21st – London – The Garage
After that is back to the continent.
So if you haven’t got your tickets get on line. They make for an excellent evening’s entertainment.