In which Reginald D Hunter gets another road trip across the USA at BBC license payer expense. It’s actually very good, a lot more fun than the 3 parter Songs of the South, which suffered too much from his own opinions and all the decent clips/performers having been used up on equivalent programmes. This, a single hour, explored the whole US/Mexico border from Tex-Mex thru’ Calexico, invoking many delights along the way. On i-player or whatever it is called for a while, as it was first aired last week, me only catching it tonight.
And I mean proper consumption, as in look out teeth, look out gums, look out stomach, here it comes! Coming to the end of a fortnight in Cornwall and have, o yes, eaten some good grub of a piscatorial nature, washed down with ales a plenty. So what/where have you eaten this holidays so far? Top 3 for the Paths, not necessarily the best in the Duchy, but the best where we were. 1. Schooner’s, Trevaunance Cove, St Agnes: omigod, cornish ‘tapas” in a glorious setting. 2. The Shack, Falmouth: one shackstack and one lobby please! 3. The Mariner’s, Rock: best fishcakes ever. Best pint: Mena Dhu cornish stout, consumed sitting outside the front of the Seven Stars in Flushing, watching the sun go down and the swans come in (33!!!) over the Fal.
O, I just don’t know where to begin…… The positives? Well it didn’t rain and the support acts were great. Pete Thomas gets better and better and I quite took to Davey Faragher, who winced beautifully at every duff note. To the beginning. With it threatening to rain all day, and the forecasters expecting it, there were only occasional spatters on the windscreen as I drove down, a surprisingly simple park and wander into the grounds. Not too packed and the arena made good use of the available architecture, with the outside lawn, if you will, as it spread down to the lake, pleasantly thronging with geese and humans in seemingly equal numbers. Food, beer and toilets a semi-circle of convenience, all looked promising. Nick Lowe, on prompt at 6, clearly knew the demographic, opening with ‘People Change’, the first of several acerbic tales of middle aged disappointment. Dapper in pressed white shirt and slacks, his quiff a thing of wonder to behold, white as his shirt. A fabulous version of the Dionne/BeeGees ‘Heartbreaker’ then led into a selection of old Rockpilers, you know, ‘Cruel to be Kind’, ‘Heart’, all just sung with precision » Continue Reading.
Victoria Park, London
With security more akin to the Hyderabad/Heathrow flightpath, I joined the steady throng marching past the bemused shopkeepers of Bethnal Green, an area just beginning to display a beard or 3 of hipster gentrification. It looked like the whole of this delightful park was devoted to the 10 day extravaganza, that had begun the w/e before with a 3 day event, then 4 days of free and then a final separate trio of days. I had signed up for saturday and sunday, topped by the National and by Nick Cave respectively. A little muzzy from a night on there lash with my son, where we had hit all 3 of the venues commended by Grace Dent in her Guardian resto review of the day later, I needed a little calm to start the day. So up first for me came This is the Kit, the excellent Kate Stables project for her quirky modern folk, offset by shimmering guitar in sharded chordwork, clattering yet taut drumming and the unusual pairing of tenor sax and bass clarinet, frankly the delight of the arrangements. Kate shifts twixt banjo and guitar, but, oddly, what works so well » Continue Reading.
No, nothing to do with the peak of Raymond Douglas D’s lyrical canon, I’m talking the Victoria Park shindig, the National tomorrow, Nick Cave on sunday. I believe @SteveT is attending on sunday, but any other denizens of this deep who might fancy a ludicrously priced beverage of dubious provenance? Below may help a timing. Let me know. https://clashfinder.com/s/ape2018/
Catton Hall, S. Derbyshire
Well, this was supposed to be a review of the whole of Bearded Theory, but let’s just say the rest of the fare was largely slim pickings, but hey, when a festival is a 10 min drive from home, that surely counts for something, especially when you can put up your tent on Thursday night and go home to bed. Plant was their big star this year, I feel, and the build up demonstrated quite how many were there on that account alone, topping saturday night at 9.30 odd. Sleaford Mods had the warm-up slot and were entertaining, if limited, allowing most to have empty bladders and full glasses for Mr. P. I saw the last iteration of the Shapeshifters, with Juldeh Camara on world music shift, and they went down a storm on Plant’s Wolverhampton homeground, as described during the great drupal crisis of 2014 (https://www.blogger.com/blogger.g?blogID=2501405800039355454#editor/target=post;postID=2085129172658976132;onPublishedMenu=allposts;onClosedMenu=allposts;postNum=11;src=postname) This time, with Camara back on griot patrol, west country folk-fiddler Seth Lakeman was the ethnic focus, and I was agog to see how this played out in a live context. The answer, as the band came on, was that tonight was arguably more about » Continue Reading.
I want to do a piece, elsewhere, on L.A. Woman and it’s cover versions. Quite a challenge as, outside the obvious 4 or 5 songs, the rest of the album has not attracted much in this field. In particular I am trying to track down the Alexis Korner version of The WASP (Texas Radio and the Big Beat), which he released on his 1975 album, Get Off My Cloud, an all-star old buddies shindig from the look. The nub is that the track ain’t on youtube and I can’t find it “anywhere else”. I would be prepared to buy a copy, long since out of print, but the amazon market place of £732 i find a little off putting. Anyone have long forgotten copies lurking that I could, um, borrow or hire? It’s the sort of thing that erstwhile poster @johnny-concheroo, aka the man who fell to Perth might have, or even, given the Korner interface into jazz and skiffle of ye olden days, @colin-H. (Yes, I know this reads as if I am trying to kill music, but, with the record so long unavailable, it is hardly Mr Korner’s estate I am ripping » Continue Reading.
Someone is modland is ‘avin a larf with the footnotes at the bottom of the page. Byline or whatever. Surely they know there is a capital F in Fanny. (And that was an exhausting clip to find via google, I can tell you.)
I have just learnt that Deborah Coleman died a week or so ago, on the 12th. Complications of bronchitis, perhaps suggesting COPD or asthma. Uncertain how many will know the name, but she was up there with the boomette of women guitarslingersin the blues, a decade or two back. Unlike Bonnie, Susan T and Sue Foley, she was black, whatever difference that might make except possibly to sales. I rather rated her.
What does it sound like?:
Well, hold the fecking front page, fellas, those jaded with the school of Bargey sponsored progsnorathons, wake well up, cos this is a dangringing snorter and offers a late and worthy contender to the recent ‘Greatest Female Vocalist’ thread. Hyperbole? Hell, yeah, but if you don’t listen you don’t get. Now Mr B sent me this a couple of weeks back, citing my potential interest as an acknowledged folkie-americana aficionado. At first the name meant nowt, until I recalled an album I had e-musiced a year or 2 back, by the then just Hannah Sanders, Charm Against Sorrow, 2015, an exquisite revisioning of trad. arr. faithfuls such as A Sailors’s Life and Bonnie Bunch Of Roses, owing deep homage to the schools of Denny and, if there is, similar. No, come back, this is not more of, this is true progression, as she has now hooked up with a Ben Savage, another east anglian, yet steeped in appalachian styled stringed instruments and ambience. This is apparently their 2nd joint venture, the earlier having passed me by, but is a corker. Yes, this girl, OK, woman, can sing like the proverbial lark, the tracks that » Continue Reading.
https://arthurmag.com/2009/05/20/uncle-skullfuckers-band-daniel-chamberlin-explains-the-discreet-charm-of-the-grateful-dead/ Lured in my the e-mucic thread boy Blockchunk (or whatever it’s called), by way of Rocknerds brilliant rant, I looked back through his previous and found a link to this delightful piece. And I get it.
Hare & Hounds, Kings Heath, Birmingham
There are 2 versions of Roddy Woomble, the furrow-browed frontman of REM-alikes, Idlewild, spiky and agitated confusion, and the furrow-browed folkie, reeking of peat, hebridean laments to the fore. I have seen each and possibly err more towards the latter. Tonight we had the lesser of both worlds, with the tilt more toward Idlewild, albeit in an acoustic setting. With erstwhile Hazey Jane Andrew Mitchell, also present for Idlewild’s last outing, on keyboard and occasional hollow-body guitar, Woomble stuck with an acoustic guitar, at least to begin, and his voice. And a fine voice it is, resonating richly like a wood-aged Ledaig, a malt from his island home of Mull. Nominally a belated tour in support of The Deluder, his 4th solo record, which came out out last year, he had been specifically invited to appear here to help launch the publicity campaign for this years Moseley Folk Festival (http://www.moseleyfolk.co.uk ), which looks a corker, as ever stretching the meaning of folk to it’s limit. Tonights performance saw him yearning for the stadia more than the bothies, littered with Idlewild songs, and the Idlewild like songs of that recent album. » Continue Reading.
The Castle & Falcon, Birmingham
I know this band has a friend or 2 here,with at least 3 of us putting their 2017 release, the Wild, in their best of 2017. I’ve been a fan for a while, so when the opportunity came to catch them in this newly re-furbed venue, previously the Ceol Castle, I couldn’t resist. First on were Yukon Blonde, a five piece of noisy hipsters trying to be psycho-motorik, instead being proto-moronic. Less said. Short gap and on strode RAA. All 3 of them. 3? OK, I had done my homework ahead and discovered that somehow only 3 folk produce the dense strum’n’drum of their records, but couldn’t believe that was reproducible live and unaugmented. Soundwise they always remind me of a mash-up of US blue-collar rock with cow-punk folk, think Bruce fronting the Men They Couldn’t Hang, a trick that appeared in the shoutier songs here, And somehow, with solely an acoustic guitar, drums and keyboard, they produced a hell of a joyful din. The songs tend all to be stories relating to the singer-guitarist, Nils Edenloff’s, um, rural canadian upbringing, so lots of bridges falling and homesteads burning, propelled by » Continue Reading.
OK, I’m going to make this short, but if you think you don’t like folk music, think again. If you think you don’t like acoustic instrumental music, think again. Fiddles, melodeons, think again.This pairing of bands could smash your prejudices into hyperspace. I knew what to expect (and like all the above), but was still totally unprepared for the live experience. First on were Leveret, 3 chairs, 3 blokes, melodeon(s), concertina and fiddle. Tunes, all tunes, no singing, derived from the folk tradition, the music weaving and winding between the players, intricate and, apparently, unrehearsed, 3 musicians at the top of their game, knowing all the music perfectly enough as to never quite know how they might play it tonight. Feeling baroque in the harmonisations and progressions, I was lifted and immersed. 45 minutes went by in a moment. Andy Cutting and Sam Sweeney, of Blowzabella and Bellowhead respectively, demonstrated they need not the camouflage of a huge band, this smaller setting demonstrating their worth all the better. After the raffle, always the raffle, an altogether different variation around the same concept. This time it was folk through the ears of electronica and minimalism, » Continue Reading.
I note this marmite band are touring UK in early November, tix on sale tomorrow. No word on their site as to who could be support. I sneaked a peek on Olivia Chaney’s site but no clues there either. But that would be good, eh, even if no Brum date this time around.
So now the most of the summer festivals have announced their line-ups, where are you pitching? Me? I’m back at Bearded Theory for a 3rd year, along with a post 15 year return to Towersey. Victoria Park and Blenheim get a good look also in for what is turning out to be a good year to taunt the rain gods. http://www.beardedtheory.co.uk/line-up http://www.towerseyfestival.com/wp-content/uploads/TF18-LineupPoster.pdf https://www.allpointseastfestival.com/presents/the-national https://www.allpointseastfestival.com/presents/nick-cave https://www.nocturnelive.com/news/elvis-costello-announcement Burglars? I’m flying solo, the missus and the dogs will be guarding my record collection.
I hadn’t realised Jim Moray was a local boy, well Stafford’s not far, being a scion of both Stafford and Lichfield Green Man (R.I.P.) Morris, which figures. And he seems to be running his career in reverse to the direction of folk music and it’s myriad “revivals”. My first exposure to him, probably a couple of decades ago, was all loops and laptops, now he is staunchly folk-rock, as in meat and potatoes rock band play the Childe ballads. False Lights, his band alongside another Folk Awards of yesteryear star of the future, Sam Carter, are a deliberate and focussed echo of the 70s, some good, some less so. This mini-tour is about the launch of their 2nd disc, released and purchased barely a fortnight ago. Acting as his own support, and spiralling further down the time tunnel of trad.arr., he and band fiddle player, Tom Moore, gave half an hour of very Carthy and Swarb acoustica, only his straining and plaintive alto differentiating from that template. In a cold hall, it took or song or threee before he and the audience relaxed into it, even if they rejected a singalong offer for a » Continue Reading.
There is a rich tradition of, mainly, female artists, celebrated often in their own right, coming together to work as a trio, often mining a seam rich in country roots. I guess Dolly, Emmy and Linda are the template, but honourable mention also to Case/Lang/Veirs and even to Liv On, the unexpected combination of Beth Neilson Chapman and Amy Sky with Olivia Newton-John. (Livvy is on a bit of a roll of late, with a tribute album awaited from Evan Dando acolyte, Juliana Hatfield, with this perhaps not unrelated, I gather, to the return of the Neutron-Bomb’s breast cancer, now spread to her spine. Sad news even if Grease makes you curl.) Well, added to these now hear “I’m With Her”, kicking fresh blood into the format. This is Aiofe O’Donovan, Sarah Jarosz and Sara Watkins, all of whom have seen some solo acclaim and/or with their earlier bands: Sara with Nickel Creek, Aiofe with Crooked Still. Fine singers and instrumentalists all, capable of knocking wistful hell out of anything and everything stringed, from guitars through banjos, fiddles and mandolins. This is actually a belated debut, released tomorrow, as they have toured a couple of times, including over here, where » Continue Reading.
OK, Mike, if we are being accurate, but quite a bill, with EC at last touring avec band (even if play us some new seems unlikely) Seats for the old folks, too. (I note Mr C is also playing a gig inManchester with Paul Heaton/Jacqui Abbott on the 6th July, so maybe more to come. Now a gig I would like to see would be a pairing of Mr C and a certain Mr Thompson, given he is too here this summer, with his electric trio…….
Apologies to @smudger, shamelessly picking up on his comment about Rialto over on the forgotten bands thread, but have any band successfully and convincingly demonstrated the added benefit of dual drum kits? From the Dead and the Allman Brothers onward this conceit has given entertainment to the eyes, less so, I would say, to the ears. Anyone care to present a case for the contrary?
What does it sound like?:
Curved Air were always a better idea than a reality, perhaps explaining their inability to retain any one line-up for any great length of time. Air Conditioning was their debut and, shall we say, very much of it’s time, 1970, the time being ripe for a classical violin and rock rhythm section fusion, fresh with, ever mindful of the potential TOTP audience, a dad-friendly hippy chick on vocals. And, to be fair, who outside of these portals remembers them for anything else? (And no, Back Street Luv was on their 2nd album.) So what do we get here? 2 discs, the first being a remaster of the original recording, with both sides of the debut single, reprising the different version that opens the album, and it’s flip. Disc 2 is loads of motley alternate versions, the compulsory John Peel sessions and, significantly, a studio recording of the apparently otherwise unreleased Daryl Way live showstopper, Thinking on the Floor. A fancy booklet would be included, were this not a stream, effectively also nuancing the sonic virtues of the remastering, but, hey, beggars can’t be choosers. It is probably clearer than the copy I have on » Continue Reading.
Following on from @stevet ‘s thead, some are probably familiar with the concept, whereby UK and US musicians come together and play/sing largely trad arr material from their homelands. The format is a large band of acoustic maestros: guitars, fiddles, banjos, squeezeboxes,Danny Thompson etc and 4 or so singers who drift on and off stage, individually and collectively. Sadly it seems to have fallen into a bit of a rut and has lost the excitement of earlier years. So who would be your singer/players to stretch the format? Mine, (and AW warning, it includes RT) RT, Van, Emmylou and Donal Lunny. (Van and Emmylou have been on the telly version, Teddy has played on the live and Donal does the same sort of stuff on Irish telly, so hardly a huge leap of faith for the organisers, if maybe outwith their wallets.)
Well, I both got in and stayed at this one, a first of 3 recent events, these troupers really showing how it can be done. Tribute band, Retro? Well, sort of, except this time they are all pros in their own right, old pros at that, being Steve Gibbons, the Steve Gibbons, the THM* of yore, still world famous in Brum, Dave Pegg and Gerry Conway from Fairport, PJ Wright, erstwhile Gibbons sidesman, latterly lead of Little Johnny England and Trad Arr, and Phil Bond, still a Gibbons band regular. Bloody hell, these guys can play, with Gibbons the consummate Dylan copyist, being a full month younger than Bob, 76, having been chucking in Dylan songs since forever, or 1980, when I first caught him, the difference being he references Dylan before his voice went to shit. And, no mere memorex of performances past, with updates, restyles and reinterprets aplenty, but in a way where you can actually recognise the song, if not the arrangement. No easy retread of the greatest hits, either, these were often, at least in the first half, deeper cuts from less well-celebrated moments. Hell, barely a song from Blonde » Continue Reading.
Most of you will be stuck into those annoying last minute must listen to x 6 before the end of time, prompted by someone else’s list of obscure and arcane best 20. Give yersels a break, relax, pour a frothy sunday teatime one and shove on some random…. Here’s mine, with a cheeky bottle of Thornbridges’s Jaipur, 1. Las Cuevas/Radio Tarifa, from Temporal (1996). Hadn’t heard this in yonks, hispano-arabic fusion. Rather good. 2. The Lady of Shalott/Loreena McKerritt, from The Visit (1992). A bit of shrill Enyaesque faux folk maudlintronica. Nearly 12 bloody minutes. Beaten into submission by the end, and loving it. I bet @Beany has this. 3. Mustang Sally/Buddy Guy feat. Jeff Beck, from Damn Right I Got the Blues (1991). Hot damn, that’s a cracker. Before Beck became obsessed with juvenile ersatz blues shouters, can’t remember her name. And Buddy really is THE blues Guy in my book. 4. Algo Bueno/Dizzy Gillespie & his Orchestra, from, I am afraid, a compilation, Classic Jazz. Still a good barnstorm tho’ 5. You are Everything/Michael McDonald, from Motown (2003). Cracking song, corking vocalist. Call me cheesy and i’ll call you crackers. Well that was an odd » Continue Reading.
Town Hall, Birmingham
I know I may be writing here an invitation to hatemail, there being many who revere this wellonthewaytobeinganationaltreasure of a band. Indeed I like much of their material, if sometimes finding the saccharine taste in their salty-sour songs a little too cloying. So I was looking forward to the show, my first for them. Having seen clips of their shows when augmented with brass bands to be a delight, the idea of an orchestra seemed not too alarming. Wrongity wrong……… Arriving a tad late, an illness on the train ahead, a euphemism for on the tracks I feel, had meant a 30 minute wait at Erdington, I and others were kept outside in the foyer until a break in performance. You know, like in a real posh concert, not for folk-club hardened veterans used to bar banter as loud as they. OK, I’m harsh, but it annoyed me. That and the tutting of the grey-rinsed pillars of the community I had to squeeze past to get to my seat even more. Still I had but missed the, what do they call it, the overture. I was in time for the delightfully shambolic introductions » Continue Reading.