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Friday, 31 October 2014

Some Bonnie Music

Last Friday night I was in the music room listening to Rickie Ross presenting the excellent Another Country on BBC Radio Scotland. Mrs CC was watching TV in the other room.
When a particular song finished I heard a shout from next door "Who was that singing? It's very good"
"That was Bonnie Prince Billy" I replied. "I've got a couple of his albums"
"Well you never play them" came the retort.
And do you know what she was right (indeed Mrs CC, like most women, is right even when she's wrong)

So time to rectify that anomaly.Here is the bearded wonder with a couple of tracks from his excellent 2001 album on Domino records Ease Down The Road proving that less is often more.

Bonnie Prince Billy - Careless Love

Bonnie Prince Billy - At Break of Day

Thursday, 30 October 2014

Face The West

You were very nearly getting Oletta Adams today.
I was standing at the counter of a sale of work in the Caledonian Hotel, Ullapool with a meagre amount of change in one hand and an Oletta Adams CD in the other when I was persuaded by the  silver tongued gent behind the counter that I would be far better off purchasing Edge of Reason a 2000 album by Face the West

Face the West is/are seven young men from the Isle of Lewis who in 2000 had an average age of 18 and who play traditional Scottish music.

The Isle of Lewis is famous for the Lewis Chessmen and for being the last place in Britain where the Sabbath is  rigorously observed by the vast majority of the population.
Everything is closed on a Sunday and they even used to go as far as chaining up the swings as Heaven forfend it wouldn't do to have the weans enjoying themselves.

The bunch of weans on this record however appear to be particularly enjoying themselves.

Face The West - No Sheep Here

Face The West - Eilean Beag Donn a Chuain

Wednesday, 29 October 2014

Albums I Haven't Listened To In Over 30 Years - Moonflower

I'm sure that we all have albums in our collections which we have not listened to in  a number of years.
I have gone for a short series of those I have not listened to for over 30 years and in some cases for considerably longer.
It is a relatively short series as many of the albums I bought at the time were on pre-recorded cassette and  are currently rotting in a landfill somewhere.
The first culprit is Moonflower a 1977 album by Santana.
Carlos and the boys churn out some Latin percussion and jazz fusion over four sides in an album that features a drum solo -FFS!
I obviously haven't listened to the whole thing but gave their cover of the Zombies She's Not There and the instrumental Zulu which I remember quite liking at the time a quick blast.
Actually these two tracks weren't as bad as I thought that they may be.
I am still eternally grateful, however, that punk came along and saved us from all this!

Santana - She's Not There

Santana - Zulu

Tuesday, 28 October 2014

A Right Couple of Jesses

This week I have had the urge to post some Jesse Sykes and the Sweet Hereafter.
Now as every blogger knows it is foolish to ignore such urges.
So with this in mind I looked out Treats a  sampler from Barsuk Records which includes the brilliant Lonely Still and Reckless Burning.
They played ok on the hi-fi but for some strange reason my burning software would not recognise the disc.

Time for Plan B - the only other Jesse Sykes I appear to have is the track The Dreaming Dead from Americana 2004 one of the many splendid Uncut Americana compilations.
And as an added bonus as luck would have it Jesse Malin is also on this CD with Mona Lisa so you are getting two Jesses for the price of one

Jesse Sykes & the Sweet Hereafter - The Dreaming Dead

Jesse Malin - Mona lisa

Monday, 27 October 2014

Hospital Tales

Dirk on the ever excellent Sexy Loser has a new toy - some mixtape software.
If you ask him nicely he will happily make you a mix with a theme of your choice.
The Robster requested a hospital themed mix and Dirk duly obliged with his usual terrific taste.
 Dirk is a generous guy who invites feedback from his readers
When one or two, myself included, politely suggested a couple of other songs which could be included he went to trouble of producing an updated mix.
It was suggested that Take Me Down to the Hospital by The Replacements  from their Hootenanny album be included and he included this in the mix.
They also had Tommy Gets His Tonsils Out from their great 1984 album Let it Be.

It looks as though my requested mix is next on his list and I can hardly wait!

The Replacements - Take Me Down To The Hospital

The Replacements - Tommy Gets His Tonsils Out

Sunday, 26 October 2014

Some Sunday Soul

It's two birds with the one stone time with one of my recent holiday purchases featuring on the Sunday Soul slot.
So Natural from 1993 was the third studio album by Rochdale's finest  Lisa Stansfield.
She wasn't an artist that I got into at the time but I have recently picked up a couple of her albums on my charity shop trawls.
The album reached number 6 in the UK charts but wasn't released in the States.
It has more ballads on it than her previous dance-pop orientated records.
The title track So Natural is the first track on the album and in my opinion is head and shoulders above the rest.
Never Set Me Free is probably the pick of the rest of the songs.
After a few years in the wilderness Lisa has just released Seven her 7th album (surprisingly) and her first release for a decade.

Lisa Stansfield - So Natural

Lisa Stansfield - Never Set Me Free

Saturday, 25 October 2014

Saturday Lucky Dip

Was there ever a more laddish band than Rod Stewart and the Faces?
Pool Hall Richard which reached no 8 in an 11 week run in the UK singles charts in 1973 features on this week lucky dip album Uncut's Unconditionally Guaranteed  October 1999 as part of a Greatest Hits compilation Good Boys ... When They're Asleep The Best of the Faces released in that year.
All Music critic Stephen Thomas Erlewine described the song as "unremarkable". He's wrong there

How do you follow The Faces?
With a beautiful song by Shelby Lynne  from her I am Shelby Lynne album and Nick Lowe performing an audition for Swiss Adam's eternal Friday Night Rockabilly series. That's how.

The Faces -Pool Hall Richard

Shelby Lynne - Black Lite Blue

Nick Lowe -I'm Coming Home

Friday, 24 October 2014

Buffy Goes Country

No, not the vampire slayer but rather Buffy Sainte-Marie - the Canadian American Cree singer-songwriter, musician, composer,visual artist,educator,pacifist and social activist
From 1968 two tracks from her album on Vanguard I'm Gonna Be a Country Girl Again where she accompanies herself on guitar and mouth bow and is assisted by a stellar group of Nashville musicians with the album being dedicated to Chet Atkins.
The Piney Wood Hills is a re-recorded Nashvillised  version of a song from her second album Many a Mile from 1965
Now That the Buffalo's Gone originally appeared on her 1964 album It's My Way and refers to the near extinction of the American bison and serves as a metaphor for the cultural genocide inflicted by Europeans.
She is famed for her protest songs which often focus on the issues of the indigenous peoples of the Americas and it is good to see one of these songs coming out of Nashville which is often associated as a redneck heartland.

Buffy Sainte-Marie - The Piney Wood Hills

Buffy Sainte-Marie - Now That The Buffalo's Gone

Thursday, 23 October 2014

The Blues Collection - Clifton Chenier

Clifton and Cleveland

After far too long a delay The Blues Collection finally returns with Clifton Chenier (1925 -1987) the self-styled Black French Cajun.
Born in Opelousas in the French speaking part of Louisiana he played the accordion  and was known as the king of Zydeco.
On Frenchin' The Blues Clifton and his Red Hot Louisiana Band are recorded performing in Montreaux, Switzerland on 12th July 1975
Clifton also invented the Zydeco Frottoir  (Zydeco Rubboard), a distillation of the washboard into essential elements (percussive surface with shoulder straps) designed by Clifton  and built by Willie Landry in 1946 and played in the band by his brother Cleveland.
Here are two of Clifton's compositions Marcher Plancher and a red hot Louisiana Two Steps. Anyone foolish enough to attempt to dance to this would require oxygen and strong alcohol once they had finished

Clifton Chenier - Marcher Plancher

Clifton Chenier - Louisiana Two Steps

Wednesday, 22 October 2014

I've Seen You at the Altar Gulpin' Down Communion Wine

For may years I have been the proud owner of a vinyl cope of Maria McKee's eponymous debut solo album from 1989 and very good it is too.
On the last day of our holiday we were wandering down the blot on the landscape that is Fort William's main street* when I stumbled across a CD version in one of the many charity shops.
It contains an extra track which I do not have on my vinyl copy - the completely bonkers but utterly fabulous Drinkin' in My Sunday Dress
It was a no brainer - it just had to be acquired.
Just listen to this - complete and utter brilliance.
Panic Beach is not too shabby either.

Maria McKee - Drinkin' in my Sunday Dress

Maria McKee - Panic Beach

* the architects behind Fort William town centre should be forced to live there.
The most stunning outlook over Loch Linnhe yet the backs of the shops and the bins etc face onto it -shocking

Tuesday, 21 October 2014

Songs in the Key of Fife

If you are looking for a Christmas present for a music lover or looking for something to spend your Christmas money on you could do a lot worse than purchasing Songs in the Key of Fife an excellent book by BBC presenter Vic Galloway.
It is the intertwining stories of The Beta Band, King Creosote, KT Tunstall, James Yorkston and The Fence Collective.
All artists and bands who hail from the East Neuk of Fife as indeed does Vic.
My take on all those featured.
KT Tunstall - shot to worldwide fame with 2004's The Eye of the Telescope.Since then she has had a further four albums none of which have had the same success. Probably the most mainstream of the artists featured.
King Creosote - Kenny Anderson, heid honcho of the Fence Collective has recently finally received some well deserved recognition (in his mid 40s) following the success of Diamond Mine (with Jon Hopkins) and From Scotland with Love two terrific albums. He has a back catologue of about 50 records so plenty of exploring to do.
James Yorkston -  an artist who produces some fine acoustic folk. The only album of his I am familiar with is 2008's When the Haar Rolls In on Domino
The Beta Band - to my shame I have never really heard much of The Beta Band.. I recently downloaded a couple of their tracks and a couple of solo tracks from Steve Mason all of which are excellent. Some further exploring to do
The Fence Collective - a record label and collective based in Anstruther and Cellardyke founded by Kenny Anderson. Lots of artists with interesting pseudonyms which  again require to be explored further. In particular Kenny's brothers Gordon (Lone Pigeon) and Een (Pip Dylan) and his right hand man Johnny Lynch (The Pictish Trail)
Any more and you won't require to buy the book!

James Yorkston & the Athletes - Moving Up Country, Roaring the Gospel

The Beta Band - To You Alone

Monday, 20 October 2014

The Greenhouse and The Guthries

In the small Wester Ross town of Dingwall (home of Ross County FC the most northerly professional football club in Britain) there is a place called The Greenhouse a non for profit project which seeks to invest all profits in social,community and environmental projects in Dingwall.
To all intents and purposes it looks and operates as a charity shop. However there are cafe facilities, a community radio and I suspect the occasional gig.
Which is why as well as the usual suspects on the CD racks there is an impressive indie/Americana section.
On my only previous visit I came away with The Redlands Palomino Company.
This time around it was Canadian band The Guthries from Halifax, Nova Scotia and one or two others which will feature later.
You would think that an album called The Guthries would be their debut album. But no it is from 2002 and is preceded by 2000's Off Windmill previously featured by George once he has finished ranting about Brits and their dogs.They only recorded these two albums.
It is perhaps not quite as good as Off Windmill primarily I suspect because singer Matt Mays left before it was recorded. Still well worth a pound of anyone's money though.
Vocals are shared by Ruth and Gabe Minniken and Dale Murray who also play assorted guitars,accordion, piano, organ and mandolin. Serge Samson on bass and Brian Murray on drums provide the rhythm section.
Well worth exploring.
I saw them live at the old Stereo in Kelvinhaugh Street, Glasgow and they were fantastic

The Guthries - Terrible Thing

The Guthries -Lay It All Out

Sunday, 19 October 2014

Some Sunday Soul

Ted Hawkins' music is described in various places as Soul Blues which is a pretty accurate description and one which entitles him to a Sunday slot.
He certainly had the checkered life of the itinerant Bluesman - reform school, prison, heroin addiction and busking along the shores and piers of Venice Beach.
He was probably most comfortable as a street performer
He had recorded a couple of albums on Rounder in the 80's, returned to busking and was then re-discovered by Andy Kershaw leading to the great album The Next Hundred Years on Geffen in 1994
He gained a popularity in Europe which he had not previously enjoyed in the States but sadly died on the 1st of January 1995 aged 58 following a stroke.
Sam Cooke and Otis Redding were huge influences on his singing style as demonstrated on his take on the country standard There Stands the Glass and a spell-binding version of John Fogerty's Long as I Can See The Light.

Ted Hawkins -There Stands The Glass

Ted Hawkins - Long As I Can See The Light

Saturday, 18 October 2014

Saturday Lucky Dip

A few weeks ago I featured a post on the theme of Tupelo
At the time I bemoaned the fact that I couldn't find a copy of Tupelo Honey by Van Morrison.
I have still been unable to locate it.
However on this week's featured Saturday Lucky Dip album - Uncut - March 2002 there is a version by Dusty Springfield from her 1973 album Cameo which is head and shoulders above anything that the Grumpy Irishman could come up with.
I wonder whether the Glimmer Twins had Dusty in mind when they wrote She Smiled Sweetly. Unlikely but you never know.
Here it is performed by the Bard of Barking in his own inimitable style

Dusty Springfield - Tupelo Honey

Billy Bragg -She Smiled Sweetly

Friday, 17 October 2014

The Gospel According to the Soledad Brothers

The  eponymous 2000 album on Estrus Records  by the Soledad Brothers purchased in a Nairn charity shop for the grand total of 50p - The bargain of the holiday.
On this album the Brothers are Johnny Walker on guitar,harmonica, organ and vocals and Ben Swank on drums and percussion.
Meg White also appears on percussion with production by  the legend that is Jack White.
From Maumee,Ohio they are named after the trio of convicted Black Panther members incarcerated in Soledad Prison.
The story of the original Soledad Brothers is pretty interesting and you can follow this link to read it at your leisure.
Re yesterday's post - this is how to produce some Gospel Blues Rory!

Soledad Brothers - Gospel According to John

Soledad Brothers -Shinning Path

Thursday, 16 October 2014

What's The Story Rory

Angel of  Mercy a 1994 album on Rounder by Rory Block is another recent Ullapool purchase.
For some reason I had it in my head that she was from New Zealand and that she was a Cooking Vinyl artist.
However my subsequent extensive research tells me that she was born Aurora Rock on 6th November 1949 in Princeton, New Jersey (as opposed to New Zealand!)
She has had an impressive career releasing over 30 Country Blues albums from 1964 onwards.She has won five WC Handy awards - two for tradition Blues female artist and three for Acoustic Blues album of the year.
Despite such an impressive CV I have to admit that I was pretty underwhelmed following the first listen to the album although maybe it is a grower.
It starts out promisingly and there are a couple of good tracks which put me in mind of Michelle Shocked.
However the album peters out ending in a 9 minute song A Father and Two Sons commissioned by the American Bible Society based on the tale of the Prodigal Son which in my humble opinion is utter twaddle.

I may well be wrong given that the album was awarded the NAIRD Adult Contemporary Album of the Year for 1994 but I remain to be convinced.

Rory Block - Angel of Mercy

Rory Block - Big Bad Agent Man

Wednesday, 15 October 2014

Roast Lamb, Boiled Potatoes and 2 Veg £4.00

Just one of the cheap and cheerful delicacies on offer on the blackboards on the back cover of Ray Davies' 2007 Working Man's Cafe.
I was looking for something to post when this literally jumped down from the shelves at me and I find it foolish to ignore such happenings.
My copy of this excellent album comes  courtesy of  The Sunday Times and via my mother-in-law as I have never taken the Murdoch shilling.I'm not too proud to accept a free CD though, particularly one as good as this!
It seems that by acquiring it in his way I have missed the two bonus tracks which I suppose is fair enough

Ray Davies - Vietnam Cowboys

Ray Davies - Working Man's Cafe

Tuesday, 14 October 2014

A Couple of Jems

I picked up a copy of Finally Woken the 2004 album by Jem in Dingwall for a pound.
However it was scratched to buggery and kept jumping or sticking whilst playing.
So when I spied another copy in a charity shop in Nairn a few days later and for only 50p it seemed too good an opportunity to pass up.
Jemma Griffiths is Welsh (born in Penarth) so look out for her appearing in The Robster's excellent Welsh Wednesday feature.
Her music is kind of trippy electronica in a Goldfrappy ethereal sort of a way and is very pleasant.
Finally Woken enjoyed a modicum of success reaching number 6 in the album charts with the single They reaching the same number in the singles charts.
The 2008 follow up album Down to Earth did indeed come down to earth with a bump peaking at number 64 and she has released nothing since although a third album is intermittently threatened.

Jem -They

Jem - Finally Woken

Monday, 13 October 2014

Back to Life, Back to Reality

Back to work today after two weeks of too much eating and drinking and generally having a good time.
We had a grand time in Ullapool and Newtonmore and I have returned with a veritable plethora of eclectic CDs obtained from the charity shops of Wester Ross, Perthshire and Moray which I shall subject you to over the forthcoming weeks - you have been warned!
The first offering was purchased from Blythswood Care the only charity shop in Ullapool. They are a Christian charity and their shops pop up all across the North of Scotland.
As you will have guessed from the picture the featured artist is Mull Historical Society with the title tracks from 2 CD singles taken from the 2001 album Loss - named by Q as one of the top 50 albums of that year.

Mull Historical Society is actually singer, songwriter and multi -instrumentalist  Colin MacIntyre born as the name would suggest on the island of Mull and the son of the late Kenny MacIntyre the former BBC Scotland political commentator.

Mull Historical Society - Watching Xanadu

Mull Historical Society -Animal Cannabus

Sunday, 12 October 2014

Some Sunday Soul

Whilst dusting down Uncut and Mojo compilations for the Saturday Lucky Dip series I have occasionally stumbled across  a Soul gem or two.
I have been reluctant to post them the day before Soul Sunday as you can have too much of a good thing.
However no Saturday Lucky Dip this week so it is time to give a couple of them an airing

First up is Donny Hathaway who Scott and George have been waxing lyrically about recently
Here is his version of the great To Be Young Gifted & Black
Donny is followed by Chairman of the Board who were active in the 70s . I had it in my head that they were a band in the mould of Lieutenant Pigeon of Mouldy Old Dough fame. Maybe I'm getting confused with Middle of the Road!
However I can confirm that Chairman of the Board were indeed funky as Finder's Keepers clearly demonstrates.

Donny Hathaway - To Be Young, Gifted & Black

Chairman of the Board - Finder's Keepers

Since drafting this I've obtained a Best of Donny Hathaway - fantastic stuff

Thursday, 9 October 2014

Keep on Burning

Keep on Burning is an Edwyn Collins single from 1996
The live version of A Girl Like You was recorded with Bernard Butler at The White Room, 31st March 1995

I'm no expert on Edwyn. To find out more you are better consulting The Vinyl Villain or even better still get a hold of  his missus'  (Edwyn's not JCs) book  Grace Maxwell's - Falling and Laughing - The Restoration of Edwyn Collins one of the most moving books about music and the human spirit you are ever likely to read.

The only snippet I'll contribute is that he used to babysit for my pal Mike in Ayr back in the day.

Edwyn Collins -Keep on Burning

Edwyn Collins - A Girl Like You (Live)

Tuesday, 7 October 2014

Some More Montrose

Don't panic it is more from The Montrose Avenue rather than this man for you
None of that heavy metal nonsense here on CCM

The Montrose Avenue - Summer Song

The Montrose Avene - Wander

Sunday, 5 October 2014

Some Sunday Soul

Elmer "Lee" Fields could well have graced Southern Soul Sunday.
Born in North Carolina in 1951 he recorded his first single in 1969 and is still active today.
He was nicknamed Little JB for his physical and vocal resemblance to James Brown

He released a number of albums with his band The Expressions on the Truth and Soul record label.
However it is from Daptone Gold a sampler from the mighty Daptone label from Brooklyn that today's two tracks are taken.

Could Have Been, previously only available as a single, also has shades of Otis and Sam Cooke in there as well as his own original style.A three and a half minute classic deep Southern Soul ballad.
As a bonus you are also getting Stranded in Your Love a half-heartfelt,half-tongue-in-cheek duet in the vintage Stax tradition with the legend that is  Sharon Jones.
You lucky, lucky people

Lee Fields -Could Have Been

Sharon Jones & Lee Fields - Stranded in Your Love

Thursday, 2 October 2014

Some More EBTG

Some more EBTG covers to keep you you going whilst I enjoy my hols.
There is even a Springsteen cover for all you Boss fans out there - you know who you are!

Everything But The Girl - Love is Strange

Everything But The Girl - Tougher Than the Rest