Barely a week after our esteemed colleague tells us of his advancing singing career and it’s progress, lo and behold, there I was, minding my own business, at a Leftfield concert, and there, apparently, he was. (In truth, I thought Cheshire Cat was the dreadlocked rasta who did a couple of numbers, but it seems, shockingly, that he was the Lee Nelson-alike who did an earlier number, and who appears in the odd clip above. So, from a thought of coincidence of name to maybe I’m right in 2 short clicks? Dave, were you in Brum on friday?)
Anyone coming, bar Cheshire and me? Dawes, RT and many a more fine article to be seen. Beer and whisky meet?
50 years ago Barry McGuire was heading up the charts with his doomladen ditty, Eve of Destruction. betcha don’t know what he did first! (Written by Burt Bacharach, no less!)
What does it sound like?:
It’s The Magical World of, by the way, rather than The Olde World, which hasn’t arrived yet. Originally from 1997, and pre-Shack, this Head bros work seems to have built up a reputation by it’s very unavailability, and, as trumpeted in the press, the now clean elder sibling, Michael, has been doing the rounds promoting this new release of it. And it is fucking great. Think of all those quintessentially druggy 60s bands, and yes, I mean early Floyd, at least vocally, amongst others, with a tang of a more softly singing John Martyn, with a dash of early Joe Boyd produced REM and a Teenage Fanclub whimsicality. That about captures it, beautiful melodic ditties, largely acoustic, with occasional strings and recorder. Yes, recorder, that 60s.
What does it all *mean*?
Probably no more than one of our finest songwriters has been long in our midst, unrecognised and ungarnished, arguably destroyed by the same muse that indulged his talent. But he’s back. And I hope he is, as there have been many a false start along the way. I saw Shack back in sometimealongtimeago, supporting Beth Orton, and a sorry sad mess they were. » Continue Reading.
What does it sound like?:
‘Straordinary what you can find on the web. I remembered this group as an LP cover, and a name, forgetting I had actually, apparently, seen them, at Reading 75, tho’ I still can’t remember a thing about them. So I found the record and gave it a spin. Very odd in a not unpleasant way, like a chocolate coated oyster perhaps. It has proggy bits, all harpsichords and mellotrons, falling downstairs drums, extravagant bass motifs, along with country-rock harmonies and songs about cowboys. Yes, there is a fiddler too, but not a generic jiggery folk one, nor a country hoedown one, more symphonic sweeps and flourishes. And it was produced by Rick Wakeman. And one song is the full 12 minutes, all time signature changes and evidence of having quite enjoyed Echoes by the Floyd. My take is that if you imagine Jerry Garcia jamming with East of Eden, more for the vocals and the pretension. Or maybe, had polarities altered, and David Crosby joined the Hollies and encouraged Graham Nash in his shove to make them more prog?
What does it all *mean*?
Nowt, apart from the joy of an occasional uncovered and » Continue Reading.
Kitchen Garden Cafe, Kings Heath, Birmingham
Back again at this fabulous tiny venue, to hear alumnus of them both, MWK sing the songs of Jackie Leven and of Townes Van Zandt, accompanied by Jackie Leven sidesman, Mike Cosgrave, on keyboards, accordion and 2nd (acoustic) guitar. The 2nd of only 2 dates, this was tribute banding at its best. The first half was dedicated to Jackie, with many an anecdote affectionately outlining his ability to exasperate and baffle, littered with a selection of songs from across his canon. Now, I consider myself a bit of a fan, yet the first couple of songs were new to my ears, albeit unmistakenly Leven, with the audience, sunday polite, a little non-plussed. However, kicking into History of Rain, replete with added doo-woppery, and all relaxed a little. The Wanderer and Ireland for Losers also appeared, reminding the lyrical depth of his recurring themes. MWK sings in a style similar to big Jackie, but less resonance, his anecdotes, to be fair, not a patch on the man himself, as if anyone could be. Cosgrave added elegaic electric piano, glorious swathes of synth chordery and rousing squeezebox. I found a tear swelling » Continue Reading.
Having recently come across a stash of Hedningarna recordings, I am wondering how much credibility they have in their homeland? Any recommendations? Some is straightforward instrumental folk, some, um, challenges a bit more. This track is midway between. I am reminded of France’s Malicorne.
Kitchen Garden cafe, Kings Heath, Birmingham
On 2/6/15 @dogfacedboy insisted we all buy the LP and see the show, so here I was, fulfilling the 2nd part of the instruction, delighted so to have done. After a ghastly indulgent support, think retired schoolteacher with a Kevin Ayers delusion, it was KW and band, double bass, keys, herself on guitars and vocals, featuring also Michelle Stodddart, ex-high Numbers, on electric guitar, backing vocals and gurning. Actually, both the girls were on gurning and giggling bigtime, their joy a counterpoint to the sometime sombreness of the material. 3 songs to open, including Underground, her tale of a panic attack on the Circle line, introduced with such jolly self-deprecation, and potty mouth, to endear herself effortlessly to the packed room. She then announced she would like to run through all 9 songs from Hypoxia, her barely released newie, a songcycle based upon Sylvia Plath’s Bell Jar. Which she did, again lifting tales of bleak and extraordinary madness by her beaming smile and pleasure to be performing. I had bought but not listened, but can report it a cracker, progressing her template beyond mere exquisitely sung arrangements, » Continue Reading.
OK, I’m not the first, as the youtube comments notes, but, fuck me, what the Pinks thinking? Idly reading the paper, pod on random, and wondered what arcane cover of “a well known PF song” I was listening to, until Van kicked in with different words. Q: Any royalties swapping hands, hmm?
Prompted by Rob-si joyous evocations of school days, which of your beaks stick most in your craw? Try to be truthful and invoke your opinion, cos that’s free, eh, and no-one knows who we really are……. Let me start with Poofy Sam, initially an interim physics teacher, but characterised by a bouffant shock of grey/blond hair, longer than we were allowed. Somehow he became a full member of staff and taught me in the 6th form, and was a cool dude, if far too clever to be a teacher, hence losing us middle-brows on the way. He left in somewhat sudden circumstances, much as one of the lower 6th girls failed to make it back after the summer holidays. One I enjoyed looking at, too, being totally unable to actually speak to her, of course. He must have been forgiven, as I gather they were later allowed to be married in the school chapel. Bastard.
Umberslade Farm, Tanworth in Arden
What a delight! 15 years on from when I were a local, here I was driving round the lanes that were the backdrop to an earlier life, taking my kids to the Children’s Farm based here, which is what it is the rest of the year. Arriving 3.30 on the friday, it took little time to build my tent and acclimatise. I had read it described as bijou, and it is: 1 main stage, at the bottom of the field, with a smaller stage in the delightful solar powered Bimble Inn, a marquee at the top. The usual falafel and vegan curry concessions, a massive bar run by local brewers Purity, and a craft events area, you know, make your own charcoal and rustle up a fuzzy felt pagan, that sort of stuff. Very much a “wyrd folk” vibe to it, with one wondering where all these people are the rest of the year. Very friendly, all ages from babes in arms to grey locked oldies. Friday’s music for me was kicked off by the Allah-Las, who seemed a little bemused by the scene in front of them, as if they » Continue Reading.
Off to see these guys tomorrow. If thrashing balalaikas, accordion, fiddle and stentorian vocals are your thing, with bottom heavy bass and drum underpinning, join me at the Rainbow in Brum. Should be a storm
Royal Albert Hall
Thought I’d better catch the old sock before he retires, 35 years on from the last time, as well as taking the opportunity to see Albert’s Hall for the first time. Quite a grand old pile, ain’t it? Up in the gods, standing room looking down, I can fair see the appeal, if not quite the performers. Andy Fairweather-Low on first, probably no great surprise, trying hard to get the appreciative audience to remember him. No more than pub-rock really, with the highlight being “Legless”, showing he can still sing, the lowlight “If Paradise etc”, showing he can’t. A short gap and, echoes of ELP, down goes the turkish carpet. A sprightly double-denimed dude strides on and we’re off, banging straight in with some J.J.Cale, then Key to the Highway. It was clear he was not going to see what we thought of his new direction. This was play some old. And some. His solos all effortlessly, um, claptonesque, I have to say it was the the keyboards of forever-the-bridesmaid, Chris Stainton, still stick thin and becurtained by long straight hair, and, a surprise, Paul Carrack, that impressed the most. I had always » Continue Reading.
OK, so on the back of my gimme gimme depressing musics post, did some scouring around the nooks and crannies of youtube island, coming across this diamond, new to me. Imagine the bastard child of Neil Young and Richard Thompson, the songs author, of course, coming over all Crazy Horse on this doomy opus. If this is a representation of his calibre, I’m off to the dodgers right now
Hello there. I am looking for some help here. I have not listened to any maudlin music for a long long time, well at least several minutes. Could any of you please post me some songs that make you weep for my saturday listening? I would be very grateful if you could do this for me. Thanks you. Here’s the sorta stuff
I know many of us have e-music contracts, whether the old and generous ones of yore, or the more recent and less so (but still good value). I had the old ssort before divorce ate my scashflow, but now have a new on, about £23 a month for about£28 of song vouchers. With most albums costing between 4 and 6 quid, that’s around 5 a month. OK, so no packaging: it’s a download, but I smack ’em onto a blank and scribble in the details. Suits me. But sometimes I get stuck for choosing the 4th or 5th, it not being a great sight for browsing (beyond their “charts”, hindered by their genre identities being loose to say the least. I have lost count how much folkie fare comes under “reggae, incl Waterson/Carthy!! So my idea is that us e-emers can put our recent finds and choices out to help or hinder those still browsing. No big label stuff but lots and lots of AW-friendly fodder. This month I found:
Tincian by 9Bach: pastoral welsh folk with beats Our kind of bossa by Bossacucanova: Massive Attack meet Getz/Gilberto Wire by Wire: (Sorry) wiry veterans still spikily inventive With the Dawn » Continue Reading.
Town Hall Birmingham
So which Joan do you want? Delicate singer-songwriter? Tick? Confident popstar? Tick Agressive blues shredder? Again, um, tick. So a show of parts, all mixed and melded, with Joan alone on stage, 3 guitars, and a keyboard. Occasional backing tracks were to used, a screen told us, which later, as is the vogue, projected appropriate images to the songs, a bit like the OGWT videos of yore. Self-deprecating from the start, making cracks about (her) age and (deteriorating) memory, she was keen to remind how long she has been in the limelight, kicking off with a song from her first LP, from all of 1973, strumming gently on her beloved blue guitar. And it was delightful. Another song and she moved to the keys for an exemplary “Different Kind of Love”, a subject the mature and largely female audience seemed to appreciate. And so it went, with oldies like “Rosie” interspersed with medium oldies, “All the way From America”, and all was dandy. But then she mentioned the B word, “Into the Blues”, her recent foray into hardcore blues, reminding the audience how well it had done in the US Blues charts, staright » Continue Reading.
They just got me a new comp at work. For months it has been subject to a virus, let in by a locum, that has made life both difficult and annoying, until last week when it broke the inter web entirely, and even IT couldn’t put it back together again. Let me know if there were any good posts last week; I gather our own Ravi Chancre is back with a vengeance, so welcome, Rob-si. Anyway enough of that shite, having decided that Cambridge this year is crap, I have been doing the festival brochures, and bless me britches, ain’t Shrewsbury a treat? http://shrewsburyfolkfestival.co.uk Anyone planning this? And, I’ve discovered where Jim Moray has been since his last record: www.youtube.com/watch?v=oelfhIaiBcc
39 years since I last saw him, at Hammy Odeon, then a Lost Planet Airman, here I was in a tiny dive bar watching one of my living legends, the King of Dieselbilly. With a fine pick-up band featuring ex-Bees Make Honey (and fellow Texan) Austin de Lone, on keys, ex-Chilli Willi and Roogalator Paul “Bassman” Riley on, um, bass, and Malcolm Mills on drums. Riley and Mills are also his record label bosses, as heads of never more AW Proper Records. Kicking straight off into some steaming twang, the set, split into 2 halves, alternated between his rock’n’roll and his country influences, with many a song from the Commander Cody days. The solid 4 to the floor rhythm section underpinned Kirchens astonishing forays into the lesser played areas of his beloved telecaster, playing the lower notes rather than the squeals and squiggles of usual rockest fare. Finishing the first half with his showstopping Hot Rod Lincoln, within which he evokes every player of said instrument, from Haggard to Hendrix, by way of Kings, Albert, Ben E and Billie Jean(!) De Lone also threw in some keyboard greats from Count Basie to Professor Longhair. » Continue Reading.
So what are they all about? In my naive, I thought it was the revival of of non-yellow beer in the yellow beer countries of Oz and US, and a jolly good idea too, even if often, as the vogue in such, carbonated. Flavour and taste again a priority. But suddenly we are awash here also, the supermarkets boldly pushing small (33cl) bottles at the price of “normal” 50cl ales, with the pubs suddenly adding rows of non-cask taps. So is it, here, in the home of ale, a canny trick to push the easier stored at a premium price? Sure, many are good, if not too fizzy, but, heck, why??? And don’t say Brewdog to me, basically Watneys with a mohican.
Older readers will recall I have occasionally touted for new blood for www.sixsongs.blogspot.co.uk (aka Star maker Machine), a blog I contribute the odd bit and bob to, and who are still looking. Likewise, www.covermesongs.com (aka, unsurprisingly, Cover Me Songs) is also looking, and were kind enough to let me in their ranks during the “gap”. i know there are loads of scribblers way better than I on here, so if you want to have a go, I am sure you would be made welcome. Say Seuras sent you, that being my Cover Me (and Twitter) nom de guerre.
……there hasn’t been (dum dum dum) THE RANDOMISER! Yes it’s time to show your cool duds and lie yer tit’s off. 5 of your best o random. I’ll start:
1. Omri Coulu Leek : Transglobal Underground/Habibi: Classics and Collaborations, 2013 Nice bit o’ Natacha Atlas. When will Tigger give her the kudos she deserves?
2. Jaded : Toyboy & Robin/Sound of Deep House, 2013 Shit, think the daughters been buying on my card again…….
3. Universe and u : K.T.Tunstall/Eye to the Telescope, 2004 Hasn’t really aged well, has it?
4. When I Get My Rewards : Nitty Gritty Dirt Band/Will the Circle be Unbroken Vol 1, 1973 A lesser track from this milestone, but not at all bad.
5. Life is Hard : Timbuk 3/Greetings Fro Timbuk 3,1986 I’d forgotten getting that, actually OK!
OK, so in this rush of comparisons, this was the one back in the 70s, and, given they both limp and lurch on, the question remains valid, if possibly also irrelevant. I was always a Fairporter, but Steeleye were the first I saw live, but my love affair with all thing Convention-al has become sad and staid, by and large, after witnessing at close hand the steady decline, but there is recent sign of restored life in the old codgers. Like an old and smelly dog, I haven’t the heart to put them finally and permanently to sleep, and may even tread Cropredy-wards this summer. I think, after many years of denouncing them, I would probably also cross the road to see how Steeleye fare these days: with Peter Knight now finally gone, is there any point?
The Institute, Digbeth, Birmingham
Well, how often do you see US chart toppers at a 800 person stand-up venue? I like the last couple of their LPs, after finding the earlier ones a bit precious, so I thought this worth a go, not least as, for the 1st time in ages, I’m seeing a band younger than me. Not that they look it, fer chrissake, most of their publicity shots drawing a Band like vibe, except the Band on their ’69 debut look like One Direction by comparison. And it was good. They hit the ground running with the wonderfully self-reverential and hopefully ironic opener from their new album, banging straight into a stack of songs that amply filled a jangle shaped REM hole in my conscious. But it was if they had played all their good cards first, as, enjoyable OK, it all got a bit safe, dull even. Sure, the musicianship was sound, a special mention for, on keys, accordion and tympani(!), Jenny Conlee, playing like a demented elf, but it all sounds better on record, confirmed by my buying the CD and playing repeatedly today. Colin Meloy’s voice has matured from marmite to » Continue Reading.