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Sunday, 30 June 2013

Sex, Food, Death ... and Kung Fu

There are those, like me who think that Robyn Hitchcock is a National Institution. There are others who think he belongs in a National Institution!

He started off with the Soft Boys in the 70s before going solo with backing bands the Egyptians and the Venus 3.
In between, the Soft Boys have had a number of reunions.
Peter Buck, of REM fame,  a huge fan is a member of the Venus 3.
He has a huge number of albums which unfortunately you can never get cheaply, such is his cult following, and which never appear in charity shops.

The first track is the title track from a 2006 LP and  the subsequent live 2007 EP featured above.
The second is his take on Karl Douglas' Kung Fu Fighting.

A true English eccentric -long may he reign!

Robyn Hitchcock & The Venus 3 - Ole Tarantula

Robyn Hitchcock - Kung Fu Fighting

Friday, 28 June 2013

The Bard of Dundee

Michael Marra - singer,poet,artist, playwright, Dundee United fan and all round good bloke died on 23rd October 2012 at the tragically young age of 60 shortly before CCM took to web and I  thought it time to pay him the homage he deserves.
He was featured in a terrific Artworks programme on BBC Scotland which amongst other things featured a boat he was constructing in his back garden from various waste bits of wood.
He was in the cult Dundee band Skeets Bolivar (of Shithouse Door fame!)
His most famous songs are probably Hamish the Goalie -a tribute to the great Dundee United goalie Hamish McAlpine and Flight of the Heron the story of Gil Scott Heron's father who was one of the first black footballers in Scotland when he played with Celtic.
He is also the author of the mighty Hermless which was once touted on an alternative list for Scotland's National Anthem - it would get my vote anytime!

Hermless, hermless, There's never nae bother fae me 
I ging to the libry, I tak' oot a book 
And then I go hame for ma tea

The Songs featured here are Posted Sober the title track from the album of the same name and a track from Houseroom an EP he recorded with the Dundee band The Hazy Janes which includes his son Matthew and daughter Alice.

A true genius and a sad loss.

Michael Marra - Scribbled Down Drunk (But Posted Sober)

Michael Marra & the Hazey Janes - Ceci N'est Pas Une Pipe

Thursday, 27 June 2013

If I Can't Trust You With A Quarter....

One of my greatest library CD discoveries remains  Starlight Hotel by Zoe Muth and the Lost High Rollers their second CD from 2011
Her website press blurb puts it better than I could highlighting  that it is a great mixture of honky tonk and sad story songs - country  music like it should be and not the sanatized version that is increasingly doing the rounds.
This record is a salutory lesson for any of you about to embark on that first date!

Zoe Muth & the Lost High Rollers - If I Can't Trust You Wish a Quarter (How Can I Trust You With my Heart?)

Wednesday, 26 June 2013


I feel that I may be entering into Swiss Adam's Friday Rockabilly territory here but JD McPherson's recent Signs and Signifiers album is a right rocker.
He even manages to carry off the Double Demin look!
As Wiki puts it a retro sound rooted in the rock'n'roll, rhythm and blues and rockabilly music of the 1950's -which let's face it is no bad  thing.
Will be interesting to see how his career progresses and how much appetite there is for this sort of stuff out there beyond the splendid blogs listed on the right of your screen.
One to watch.

JD McPherson - Firebug

JD McPherson - Dimes for Nickels

Tuesday, 25 June 2013

One of the Voices of 2006 (Apparently)

Mrs CC came home the other week with Fires by Nerina Pallot purchased for 99p and still with the security thingy attached.
One of the by now obligatory stickers which are a bugger to peel off and make a mess of the jewel case proclaimed her as One of the Voices of 2006 according to the Guardian.
I'd never heard of her but a bit of research advises that this was a gold album with the single Everybody's Gone to War reaching number 14 in the UK charts. Then again, I would be hard pushed to name ,or indeed recognise, any single (or more realistically download) which has charted this Millennium.
Anyway I thought I would give it a listen and was pleasantly surprised to find that it is very good indeed.
Well worth checking out.

Nerina Pallot - Everybody's Gone To War

Nerina Pallot - Damascus

The sound on my PC is currently gubbed - can someone please confirm if these links are working

Monday, 24 June 2013

Mexican Monday 11

We have finally reached the penultimate week and I make no apologies for again featuring the inspiration to this series the great Flaco Jiminez who first graced the pages of CCM on April 11th on Accordion Crimes here
He subsequently appeared in Mexican Monday 2 here as part of the Tex Mex supergroup the Texas Tornados
These tracks are taken from his 1992 album Partners, where  as well as flying solo he is joined by such luminaries as Stephen Stills, John Hiatt, Ry Cooder, Emmylou Harris and Los Lobos.
First up is a solo mission -the wonderful Marina
Next he is accompanied by the lovely Linda Rondstadt, yet another artist with Mexican roots.I have a tremendous vinyl album of her's Mas Canciones which would have featured if I had the technology.(As would Flaco's Arriba El Norte).
Lastly he is joined by Dwight Yoakam performing Warren Zeavon's Carmelita. Absolutely nothing to do with Mexico, but the best track on the album.
I've got about half a dozen versions of this song downloaded but this is the DEFINITIVE version -even better than the late great Warren Zeavon's.(reminds me - he needs to feature in the not too distant future)
One week to go!

Flaco Jiminez - Marina

Flaco Jiminez (with Linda Ronstadt) -El Puente Roto

Flaco Jiminez (with Dwight Yoakam) - Carmelita

Sunday, 23 June 2013

Get Carter

For anyone wishing to explore the music of Carter the Unstoppable Sex Machine, or Carter USM to their friends, as a starting point I would recommend 1995's Straw Donkey - The Singles.
It features 15 of their singles and every one is a cracker.
The two featured here are The Only Living Boy in New Cross, Fruitbat and Jim Bob's biggest hit and I would argue their finest hour.Not to be confused with Simon and Garfunkel's Only Living Boy in New York!
Second up is The Young offender's mum - not necessarily because in is the second best song on the album - more because it has the best title!
A fun band who produced some top tunes

Carter USM - The Only Living Boy In New Cross

Carter USM -The Young Offender's Mum

Saturday, 22 June 2013

Many Rivers to Cry

According to T'Interweb the jazz standard Cry Me a River , written by Arthur Hamilton, has been recorded by well over 50 artists.
Here are 3 versions for your listening pleasure and I would be interested in any views as to which is  the best, or if you think there are better versions out there.

First up, is Mrs Costello, jazz diva Diana Krall from her 2001 albumThe Look of Love where with "her quartet and the London Symphony Orchestra she performs a sensual collection of ballads and bossa novas" (© Pseuds Corner).
Next up is Scotland's own Kim Edgar - Burns Unit member who recorded an excellent album recently The Ornate Lie. This is from an earlier album 2006's Love for Sale mainly a collection of excellent live covers
Finally, and the pick off the bunch as far as I am concerned is the great Miss Julie London from back in the 60's. Better even than Justin Timberlake and Susan Boyle -combined!

Diana Krall -Cry me a River

Kim Edgar -Cry me a River

Julie London -Cry me a River

In the unlikely event that anyone is interested, Heidi Talbot was very good last night. CD's purchased which will feature later.

Friday, 21 June 2013

Heidi Hi

Sticking very loosely with the Paisley theme we are off to see Heidi Talbot at Paisley Arts Centre tonight and I'm fair looking forward to it.
A County Kildare lass she  now resides in Scotland with hubby the renowned fiddler John McCusker.
She was also a singer in the Irish-American band Cherish the Ladies  regular stalwards at Celtic Connections.
This track is from her 2008 album In Love and Light and is taken from the previously featured This is Navigator Records sampler.

Heidi Talbot - Cathedrals

Thursday, 20 June 2013

Paisley Pattern

My mini Paisley series has just about come to it's natural conclusion mainly because I've run out of Paisley artists to post.
So thank you Gerry Rafferty, Jill Jackson. Paolo Nutini, Carol Laula and Speedway.
The Jill Jackson post from 1st May has gone viral - well viral in CCM terms - and is now my most visited post.
Most of the visits have been fairly recently so I suspect a fellow fan has discovered this and is sharing with others which let's face it is what it is all about.
Old Squiggle - His Royal Purpleness hails from Minneapolis as opposed to Paisley but he does have a song called Paisley Park on the Prince and the Revolution  2005 album Around the World in a Day.
He has also been known to sport clothes with a Paisley pattern originally woven in Paisley mills such as the Anchor Mill previously featured.

Prince and the Revolution - Paisley Park

Wednesday, 19 June 2013

Jon Dee

For a wee while I've had an urge to post some Jon Dee Graham and in particular $100 Bill the first track from his 2007 debut  solo album Escape from Monster Island.
So here goes.
A true legend on the Austin Music scene he was a member of The True Believers with Alejandro and Javier Escovedo, has had at least 8 solo albums and has played lap pedal steel guitar on a wheen of others.
His voice puts me in mind of a tuneful Tom Waits and he writes some excellent lyrics such as these.
I've got the above album and his 2001 Hooray for the Moon - both well worth checking out.
He may well feature again at a later date.

Jon Dee Graham - $100 Bill

Monday, 17 June 2013

Mexican Monday 10

It is the turn of San Antonian native Patricia Vonne ,nee Patricia Rodriguez ,this week as Mexican Monday begins to shuffle towards the setting son.
Her song Traeme Paz featured in the film Once Upon a Time in Mexico but it is two songs from her 2005 album Guitars and Castanets (or Guitarras y Castanuelas if you prefer the Spanish version) that feature here.
Not only does she sing and look the part often appearing in traditional costume but she plays a mean set of castanets as I can testify having seen her life.
Not to be outdone the previously featured Alejandro Escovedo also pops up with Castanets which I suspect may have been written with her in mind given they are close friends and have often played together.
Apparently on finding out Castanets was on George W Bush's i-pod Alejandro refused to  play it until he was on  his way out of office - top bloke!
Only two more weeks to go, I think

Patricia Vonne - La Gitana de Triana

Patricia Vonne - Guitarras y Castanuelas

Alejandro Escovedo - Castanets

Sunday, 16 June 2013

Modern Life is Rubbish

Modern Life is Rubbish proclaimed Blur 20 years ago and you have to agree  that they may well have a point.
However, I would argue that in my case life is a tiny wee bit less rubbish today than it was yesterday given that I have now acquired, for a very reasonable £1.50, the above album which was the missing piece in the jigsaw of my Blur back catologue.

There second album after Leisure and the one before it all took off with Parklife it only had one minor hit of note in For Tomorrow.
These two songs however are rather good

Blur - Sunday, Sunday

Blur - Miss America

Saturday, 15 June 2013

Not The Same Old Blues Crap

Not the Same Old Blues Crap - Fat Possum Records description not mine
Founded in the north Mississippi  town of Holly Springs in 1992 by Peter Redvers-Lee and Matthew Johnson , Fat Possum were particularly successful in trawling the jails, fields and bars to discover the last of the backwood's blues men.
Artists of note include R.L. Burnside, Charles Caldwell, T-Model Ford and Junior Kimsbrough and they were also the first label of the Black Keys who have gone onto greater things. Solomon Burke's  epic Don't Give Up On Me also appear on Fat Possum
They issued a fantastic DVD - You See Me Laughin' - the last of the Hill Country Bluesmen in 2005 which I thoroughly recommend and features "musicians whose lives of violence, poverty,chance, charm and luck reinforce the precarious relationship between record label and artist."
There are a couple of cheap samplers out there which are worth checking out

Little Freddie King - Crack Head Joe

R.L. Burnside - Goin' Down South

On the subject of discovering musicians with interesting backgrounds in later life the BBC 4 programme on last night about Charles Bradley the Soul singer on Daptone Records was absolutely brilliant and uplifting. I can feel a purchase coming on!

Friday, 14 June 2013

Isn't It Grand Boys

When I was growing up my folks had an extremely meager record collection which my brothers and I have  since more than made up for.
There were a couple of Shirley Basseys, Val Doonican, the odd Beatles single, a Fiddlers Rally, some classical and The Clancy Brothers and Tommy Makin.

Here Tom, Paddy and Liam  Clancy together with Tommy Makem give it laldy with a live version of probably their best known song.
When Liam Clancy met Bob Dylan, his Bobness proclaimed that the Bruvvers were his heroes. High praise indeed!
Looking for Swiss Adam, the resident expert on fishermen's jumpers, to pass comment on the Aran sweaters
I've pictures of me and my brothers in similar attire back in the day.

If Thurlman who was most taken by the Dubliners is still out there, this one is for you

The Clancy Brothers & Tommy Makem - Isn't It Grand Boys

Thursday, 13 June 2013

Siss Boom Bang

Most folk associate k.d. lang, or Kathryn Dawn Lang, to give her Sunday name, with her torch songs from the late 80's and early 90's such as Constant Craving and Miss Chatelaine and her duet of Crying with the Big O.

However, there is more to her that that
I've her 1987 album Angel with a Lariat which she recorded with her band at the time the Reclines which is out and out country complete with an obligatory Patsy Cline cover, 3 Cigarettes in an Ash Tray. I got my copy at a sale of surplus record library CDs

Fast forward 24 years and she is recording with a big band - the Siss Boom Bang - and yes she sing's it loud.

To date, the only CD I have ever purchased in the lovely Fife market town of Cupar

k.d. lang - Sing it Loud

k.d. lang - I Confess

Wednesday, 12 June 2013

A Paisley Buddy in a Previous Life

                                                                Love Street 1990

In a previous post on my occasional series on Paisley artists here I featured Jill Jackson and made reference to the fact that she used to be in a band called Speedway who had an album called Save Yourself out in 2004.
As chance would have it I subsequently stumbled across the album in a charity shop whilst on holiday and it is very good indeed.
She is joined in the band by Jim Duguid and Tom Swann and the two songs featured here are the ones I referred to in my previous post.

Staying on the Paisley in a previous life theme the picture is of Love St the former home of St Mirren.
In common with many other teams they have now abandoned their town centre location handy for train stations, pubs etc and moved to an identikit stadium in the middle of an industrial estate off the beaten track.
Meanwhile Love Street,which was earmarked as a supermarket, is now a pile of rubble blotting the landscape.
And they wonder why football is going to the dogs.

Speedway - Can't Turn Back

Speedway - In and Out

Tuesday, 11 June 2013


When Henry Kissinger ruled the world in the early 70's there was a piece of graffiti which read "Henry Kissinger should be bloody well hung!"
Underneath someone had written " He is dear, he is  - signed Mrs Kissinger"
Anyway I digress
 The Kissinger in question here is not Our 'Enry but the band of young (well young in 2000) Austin upstarts with the same name - Lucky, Steve Garvey, Chopqper and o3 (his brother o2 went on to better things!)
Track 1 from their album Charm is dedicated to the Anderston Arab, the world's most unlikely cyclist.
He is currently working on the bins and has therefore graduated from a bike to a truck!!

Kissinger - Bike Vs Truck

Monday, 10 June 2013

Mexican Monday 9

Nine weeks in and it is time for a bit of Calexico.
Originating from Tuscon, Arizona,  Joey Burns and John Convertino have had a reasonable degree of success since departing from Howe Gelb's Giant Sand.
Calexico's sound was recently accurately described by Walter as desert noir but these is also a distinct Latin and mariachi feel to their music.
I have heard their 2003 album Feast of Wire described (by George) as the greatest album of all time and whereas this may well be a slight exaggeration (he is often prone to them) it is a fine fine album.
Along the same lines as Alejandro Escovedo's Across the River, the two tracks  featured here depict the struggle and the inherent dangers associated in getting across the border ,or indeed Across the Wire

Calexico - Across The Wire

Calexico - Close Behind

Sunday, 9 June 2013


Like most folk I was only ever familiar with Minnie Riperton through Lovin' You.
A couple of years ago, however, I bought Les Fleurs  The Minnie Riperton Anthology in Bernandos Music Shop in Glasgow's Victoria Road which I think is no longer there.
Those, like me, who were expecting more of the same were in for a shock.
It is a mixture of rock 'n'soul and some fairly trippy songs as  these two posts demonstrate.
I was put in mind to listen to and post from this when someone recently posted Inside My Love.
An interesting album and well worth a purchase.
Sadly, Minnie died from cancer in 1979 at the tragically young age of 31.
A unique talent.

Minnie Riperton - Reasons

Minnie Ripperton - Les Fleurs

Saturday, 8 June 2013

Rabbit Rabbit!

I'm sorry to disappoint you good folk but this is not a post about Chas 'n' Dave.
No, CCM could not begin to pay homage to their contribution to British popular culture.

Now that my tongue has been firmly removed from my cheek I can reveal that this post will rather feature some Alt Country singers  with songs giving a name check to the little furry creatures in their titles

First up is Jenny Lewis with the Watson Twins and the cover song from their fantastic 2005 album.
They are followed by Caitlin Rose from the previously featured Own Side Up album from 2010.
Last, but by no means least, is a track from Rabbit Songs an album by Hem one of two splendid Hem albums I picked up for a fiver in Bernardos whilst on holidays and which will feature in more detail in a later post.
The album and song titles feature rabbits but there appears to be no direct reference to them on this song - bizzare

Rabbit rabbit!

Jenny Lewis with the Watson Twins - Rabbit Fur Coat

Caitlin Rose - For the Rabbits

Hem - Idle (The Rabbit Song)

Thursday, 6 June 2013


A few weeks Drew, or Mr Kitchen Table, as he was amusingly referred to by one commenter, was waxing lyrical about the Only Ones -Another Girl, Another Planet here
 I went on record as saying this would be in my all time top 10 and probably nearer the top than the bottom and potentially even the very top
I've got it on vinyl and it is three minutes of unadulterated pop genius.
I've also got a version on the Peel Sessions album from 05/04/78
A slightly rougher version which maybe lacks the immediacy of the studio version but the passion and the electricity is still there.
I'm also posting another track from this session to prove they were no one trick pony but obviously anything else does not come remotely close.
I asked for this for Christmas one year and still have a wry smile thinking of my mum at the counter at Virgin Records asking for it!

The Only Ones - Another Girl,Another Planet (Peel Session)

The only Ones - No Peace For The Wicked (Peel Session)

Wednesday, 5 June 2013

Lost in Space

On a recent visit to Glasgow regular commenter George bequeathed Tin Planet by Space to the Charity Chic  vaults.
It's a completely bonkers record!
By way of retaliation I gave him the spare copy of the Sleepless in Seattle soundtrack destined for recycling to the Charity shop.
I'm unclear as to who got the best from that deal - him I suspect given that he got the previously featured splendid Gene Autry track

Space - A Liddle Biddy Help From Elvis

Tuesday, 4 June 2013

Pathhead Music Collective

The village of Pathhead just south of Edinburgh received a Creative Places Award in 2013 from Creative Scotland.
One reason is the Pathhead Music Collective containing such luminaries as Karine Polwart and Lau.
Their free sampler CD popped through my letter box yesterday and you can get your copy here
It is a pleasant mix of folk, jazz, traditional music and not so traditional music.

First up is The Burns Unit a Scottish Canadian super  group containing Karine Polwart, Emma Pollock, King Creosote, Kim Edgar, Mattie Foulds, Michael Johnston and MC Soom T who does the Bhangra rapping here.
Following on is Inge Thomson, originally from Fair isle in Shetland, who plays a number of strange percussion instruments in Karine Polwart's band and who is married to Martin Green of Lau

The Burns Unit - Send Them Kids to War

Inge Thomson - John

Monday, 3 June 2013

Mexican Monday 8

Like Alejandro Escovedo, Tish Hinajosa is a Texan child of Mexican immigrants and in her case she is the youngest of 13!
She sings in both Spanish and English and these songs are taken from her 1992 Rounder Records album Culture Swing which I have just about played to death over the years.
First up is Something in the Rain - a heartbreaking story  of migrants working in the fields and the problems of inappropriate pesticide use (a laugh a minute)
On a cheerier note I have no idea what Corazon Viajero is about except that it is absolutely gorgeous.
Apologies if you are getting the wrong track info up for these songs - my burning software was playing silly beggars only recognising some tracks and naming others wrongly.
Hopefully the names of the tracks you are not getting will inspire you to buy this and many more of her records

Tina Hinajosa - Something In The Rain

Tish Hinajosa - Corazon Viajero

Sunday, 2 June 2013

Nu Wave

On a beautiful day like today I find my thoughts turning to soul music and in particular the number of new British female stars who have emerged over the last year or so.
Obviously there is Emeli Sande with Our Version of Events. It is now pretty ubiquitous so I won't be posting a track.
Then there is Jesse Ware's Devotion and Delilah's From the Roots Up both of which I got from the library and which are very good.
There is also Rebecca Ferguson, Josephine and Laura Mvula.
Lastly and certainly not least there is Lianne La Havas, pictured above who's 2012 album Is Your Love Big Enough is featured here.
A rich vein of talent and one in the eye for those who feel that no new good music is being produced.

apologies - have had to pull these tracks following DMCA notification - so you will not get an opportunity here to hear how good they are which in turn may have led you to buying or downloading the album

Saturday, 1 June 2013


The things you say
Your purple prose just gives you away
The things you say
You're unbelievable

Unbelievable by EMF has long been one of my favourite songs.
It was on my wishlist for a while until I got in on a couple of compilation CDs including True Brit 40 Essential Indie Hits from where this was taken.
A couple of years later I stumbled across a vinyl copy of Shubert Dip , the original album from 1991 from whence it came, in Oxfam for 99p.
I'm playing it as I type and it is rather pleasant

EMF -Unbelievable