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Sunday, 31 January 2016

Some Sunday Southern Soul

Disc 3 from Back to the River is entitled Going Back Home and features Southern artists but with songs recorded above the Mason-Dixon Line.
Artists whose musical heritage had followed them wherever they were based at the time of their sessions.

There is absolutely no doubt that the Macon born Georgia Peach Little Richard's version of the Don Covay song I  Don't Know What You've Got But It's Got Me recorded in Los Angeles in 1965 would have featured today had I not posted it relatively recently. Absolutely majestic.

Only slightly less majestic is Freddie Scott's version of Cry to Me written and produced by Bert Berns and recorded in New York in 1967 and released on the Shout label.
Freddie is followed by Lee Moses doing his best Otis Redding impression on If Loving You is a Crime (I Will Always Be Guilty).
Written by Swamp Dogg using his wife Yvonne Williams name  this was recorded in New York on the
Dynamo label in 1968.

That's all from Back to the River for now but I suspect it will re-emerge at some stage. Sooner rather than later I suspect.
More Soul next Sunday hopefully.

Freddie Scott - Cry To Me

Lee Moses - If loving You is a Crime (I'll Always be Guilty)

Saturday, 30 January 2016

Stanraer Americana -Jay Farrar

The eight Stranraer Americana albums have not been posted in any particular order. However I thought it appropriate to conclude with Sebastopol by Jay Farrar given that the series started with Uncle Tupelo of whom he was part.
From 2001 Sebastopol is described on the sleeve as a project as opposed to an album.With 17 tracks (including 3 interludes) and at around 50 minutes (as befits a project!) it is perhaps over long.
There are however a couple of crackers on it including Barstow which includes Gillian Welsh and Dave Rawlings

Jay Farrar's voice is a bit like Marmite you either love it or you hate it . I quite like it but probably in small doses.

So there you have it. Eight pretty good Americana albums for six quid. Not a bad haul I feel. I shall be down in that part of the world again next month so you never know ....

Jay Farrar - Barstow

Jay Farrar - Outside The Door

Friday, 29 January 2016

Celtic Connections 2008

We finish Celtic Connections week by returning to the annual CD from the Sunday Herald and today we feature 2008.
2007 was greeted with a fair degree of indifference but rest assured I intend to continue right up to 2016.

Orcadian Kris Drever is a member of Lau and has also appeared as part of the Folk super trio Drever, McCusker and Woomble. However today we are featuring a solo number Steel and Stone taken from his 2006 debut album Blackwater.

Bluegrass music clearly has Celtic roots so it is apt that we feature Cherryholmes a Los Angeles based bluegrass band consisting of 6 members of the Cherryholmes family - mum, dad, 2 daughters and 2 sons.

Julie Fowlis has perhaps the most notable international profile of any Gaelic artist in no small part due to her providing and performing a couple of songs for the 2012 Pixar film Brave.
Hùg Air A' Bhonaid Mhòir however pre-dates this and comes from her 2007 album Cuilidh. It translates as Celebrate the Great Bonnett.

2009 to follow in due course.

Kris Drever - Steel and Stone

Cherryholmes - You Don't Know What Love Is

Julie Fowlis - Hùg Air A' Bhonaid Mhòir

Thursday, 28 January 2016

Celtic Connections: An Evening with James Yorkston, The Pictish Trail and Withered Hand

It's the final Celtic Connections outing tonight and we are off to The Mitchell Theatre for an evening with James Yorkston, The Pictish Trail and Withered Hand three Scottish based singer songwriters.

I am looking forward to this one as I have limited knowledge of these three and probably know them more by reputation than by their music.
I have New Gods by Withered Hand (aka Dan Wilson) which is a terrific album bought on the strength of a radio broadcast of a previous Celtic Connection performance.
I have the occasional track by Anstruther based former Fence Collective member James Yorkston here and there including on the Ballads of the Book and The Fruit Tree Foundation compilations.
He features in Vic Galloway's splendid book Songs in the Key of Fife and also has written his own book It's Lovely to Be Here: The Touring Diaries of a Scottish Gent which is a wonderful read and highlights the difficulties of a vegetarian musician getting a decent meal whilst touring.
I am aware of The Pictish Trial (Johnny Lynch)'s association with The Fence Collective and that he is the founder of  Lost Map Records  and that he lives on Eigg but am not familiar with his music.

Something to look forward to I suspect

Withered Hand - Horseshoe

James Yorkston and Bill Duncan - A Calvinist Narrowly Avoids Pleasure

Wednesday, 27 January 2016

Roaming Roots Review Review

The Roaming Roots Review was a great night.
The idea was that various artists would come out and join the house band Roddy Hart and the Lonesome Fire and do one of their songs plus a cover of someone considered to be a troubadour .

Roddie and his band kicked off with Tenth Avenue Freeze Out  posted if only to annoy George and Swiss Adam.Topical given the weather that the East coast of the USA was facing.
Matthew E White was first up and was ok. Reasonable covers of John Prine's Angel From Montgomery and a Lee Hazlewood number,
He was followed by This is the Kit who were excellent and yes Swede they did Silver John.They were excellent and covered Satellite of Love plus  the Robert Burns song Now Westlin Winds which Kate had stumbled across via Dick Gaughan
Scottish singer Iain Anderson was pretty good covering a Nick Cave number plus an excellent Into the Mystic with Blue Rose Code whose solo number was Amy Winehouse's Rehab
Frazey Ford was a bit of a disappointment particularly as I like The Be Good Tanyas. In fairness she had sound problems with one of her songs. I'm not sure that Ann Peebles was a troubadour though.
Justin Currie was actually very good although if he was made of chocolate he would eat himself.
Honeyblood were not on for very long but Stina did a great version of Rebel Rebel

The revelation of the night for me was Anderson East. He came on wearing a poncho and then this wonderful soul voice emerged  on songs including an excellent version of Tupelo Honey which led Justin Currie to thank Roddie Hart for asking him to follow that.
I had never heard of him and thought given the name that it was actually a group.

Then Kris Kristofferson sauntered on and effortlessly pulled off half a dozen songs the highlight undoubtedly being Sunday Morning Coming Down.
The night was finished off by everyone singing Knocking on Heaven's Door  followed by Keep on Rocking in the Free World.
Terrific stuff.

One minor and one major gripe. Minor - how can you have a night paying tribute to troubadours without featuring Townes Van Zandt?. Major - the group of drunken  Weegie women who slightly marred KK's performance by acting as if they were at the karaoke in their  dodgy local.

Bruce Springsteen - Tenth Avenue Freeze Out

Dick Gaughan - Now Westlin Winds

Tuesday, 26 January 2016

Lucinda Williams Review

Last Wednesday saw Lucinda Williams pitching up at the Concert part of Celtic Connections.

The support were the Jenny Ritter Band from Canada who I'm afraid did nothing for me.
Lucinda was joined on stage by her excellent backing band Buick 6 who feature David Sutton on bass, Butch Norton on drums and Stuart Mathis on guitar. They make a splendid bluesy rocky racket.

The show was a combination of the band's rocky numbers and a number of acoustic numbers by Lucinda both taking advantage of the hall's superb acoustics.
It occurs to me that Lucinda does not really have one big hit for which she is most famous (if you discount Passionate Kisses which she is more known for writing rather than singing).
She did however play some of the ones us fans know and love such as Pineola, Drunken Angel (her tribute to Blaze Foley), Lake Charles and Joy.
She also played a couple from Essence where the band came into their own.
There  were a few new to me songs as I am not really up to speed with her latest stuff.
I was particularly taken taken with West Memphis from her Down Where The Spirit Meets The Bone album and the title track from her latest The Ghost of Highway 20.

At 63 , she's still got it.

Lucinda Williams - Pineola

Monday, 25 January 2016

The Chieftains Review

The good thing about waiting a wee while to do a review is that someone usually beats you too it. So here is a review and some excellent photos courtesy of Pauline Keightley

My observations.
Exhilarating is a spot on description. Rarely, if ever, have I been to a concert with such a buzz about it.
The musicianship was absolutely first class with the mischievous leprechaun Paddy Maloney pulling all the strings.
I don't think I've ever seen so many people on a stage at the same time. In addition to the Chieftains and guests at one stage there was an orchestra, a choir, pipers and Irish dancers.
Their final song will live long in the memory a 20 minute epic with everyone being granted a solo.
And then there was Kris Kristofferson. Looking somewhat frail but what pressence .He ambled on like Cool Hand Luke and gave us For the Good Times and Help Me Make it Through the Night,
He returned for the finale with Me and Bobby McGee - a total goosebumps job.

A damn good night out

The Chieftains - The Chieftains Reunion

Kris Kristofferson - Me and Bobby McGee

Warning - this week will feature all things Celtic Connections. If this is not your bag I'll see you on Saturday

Sunday, 24 January 2016

Some Sunday Southern Soul

Disc two today from Back to the River - More Southern Soul Stories 1961 -1978,
Headed Southern Routes it features artists who primarily operated outside traditional Southern soul parameters but were sent down south by label bosses with a view to getting hits.
After all it worked for Aretha Franklin at Fame Studios in Muscle Shoals

Forget your Randy Crawford, your Gladys Knight, your Ray Charles and even your Conway Twitty the best version of the classic Tony Joe White song A Rainy Night in Georgia was surely recorded by Brook Benton at Criteria Studios in Miami in 1970.
After falling out with Stax, Fame and American Jerry Wexler pitched up in Miami with a view to recording there and living on a yacht. He managed to entice the Cold Grits from Birmingham, Alabama to Miami where they provided the musical accompaniment to Brook's singing.

Sam Dees was another citizen of Birmingham, Alabama and it was there at Sounds of Birmingham Studio and also Sounds of Memphis studio that Easier to Say Than Do was recorded in 1969

Disc three next Sunday

Brook Benton - A Rainy Night in Georgia

Sam Dees -Easier To Say Than Do

Saturday, 23 January 2016

Celtic Connections - Roaming Roots Review

Third and final visit to the Concert Hall tonight for Roaming Roots Review : Troubadours.
A veritable smorgasbord of artists doing their stuff with Roddy Hart and the Lonesome Fire as the house band.
Including Matthew E White, Frazey Ford (formerly of the Be Good Tanyas),Iain Morrison, Justin Currie AND Kris Kristofferson!
Also Anderson East, Blue Rose Code who I  saw last year and who was very good and oh did I mention Kris Kristofferson?
I am particularly looking forward to seeing This is the Kit and Scottish duo Honeyblood

Review to follow

This is the Kit - Bashed Out

Honeyblood - Super Rat

Friday, 22 January 2016

Stranraer Americana - Hazeldine

The penultimate Stranraer Americana album is How Bees Fly  the 1997 debut album by Alberquerque band Hazeldine again on the Glitterhouse label.Easily one of the best of the bunch.
Another one I thought I had but hadn't and one which now joins Digging You Up and Double Back on the shelves.
So sorry Swede no Wagon, Granfaloon Bus or Locust Fudge three bands who I am not familiar with and who require further exploration.

Hazeldine were Shawn Barton (vocals, guitar),Tonya Lamn (guitar,vocals), Jeffrey Richards (guitar,banjo,drums) and Anne Tkach(bass).
Sadly I have just read that Anne Tkach died in a house fire in April 2015 at the age of 48. Very sad. I saw her playing with Nadine in Helensburgh.

Not to be confused with Hi-NRG pop star Hazell Dean.

One more to go

Thursday, 21 January 2016

An Ace Album

Another one from the murky corners
Given that the classic format of an LP is 5 tracks per side (as per the Imaginary Albums of Vinyl Villian fame) it was probably only a matter of time before a band came up with an album of that name.
Step forward Ace with their debut album on Anchor Records from 1974.
They were formed in Sheffield in 1972 as Ace Flash and the Dynamos but this was quickly abbreviated.

They are pretty much famous for their single How Long and nothing else. The follow up single is also featured here. It bombed.
Lead singer Paul Carrack subsequently went on to perform a number of musical atrocities as part of Mike and the Mechanics.

Ace - How Long

Ace - Rock 'n' Roll Runaway

Wednesday, 20 January 2016

Celtic Connections - Lucinda Williams

Second visit to the Concert Hall tonight - this time to see Lucinda Williams.
I'm not really sure what the Celtic connection is but any excuse to see Ms Williams perform is to be welcomed.
I think that I have seen her three times before and she was excellent every time.Hopefully tonight will be no exception.
Support is from the Canadian Jenny Ritter Band - a new name on me.

I've long been a  fan of Lucinda and have all her albums up until 2008's Little Honey. Thereafter I have lost touch with her stuff a little bit so it will be good to hear some of her newer stuff.
A track from West for you plus one by Elvis Costello and the Imposters on which she features.
I am currently reading Unfaithful Music and Disappearing Ink but that's for another day.

Review to follow.

Lucinda Williams - Unsuffer Me

Elvis Costello & the Imposters - There's a Story in Your Voice

Tuesday, 19 January 2016

New Light Through Old Windows

Maybe it is because it is January and it is cold and miserable but I am struggling a wee bit at the moment for inspiration and a sufficient variety of material.
Time then to reach into the darkest corners of the shelves which very rarely see the light of day.
Chris Rea hit the big time in the late 80's /early 90's with albums such as The Road to Hell and Auberge.

New Light Through Old Windows is a Best of his early material up to but not including Road to Hell
There is some pretty dodgy MOR stuff on it along with some pretty good stuff including these two which celebrate his home town of Middlesbrough.

After a break to recover from surgery for pancreatic cancer which effectively  put an end to his run of commercial success he chose to  return to his Blues roots setting up his own Jazee Blue label.

Chris Rea - Stainsby Girls

Chris Rea - Steel RiverBibb

Monday, 18 January 2016

I Stand Corrected

The other day I played The Boomtown Rats primarily because of their close alphabetical proximity to Bowie on the vinyl shelves. As you can imagine that area of the shelves has seen fairly heavy traffic in recent days.
At the time I stated that it could have been worse as it could have been The Blow Monkeys. I was gently taken to task by Drew and more forcefully by Echorich. Mrs CC also got in on the act given that the three Blow Monkeys records on the shelves belong to her.

Having given them a listen I have to admit that I was wrong there. These two songs are far better than the two featured Boomtown Rats numbers previously offered

The Blow Monkeys - Digging Your Scene

The Blow Monkeys - It Doesn't Have To Be This Way

Sunday, 17 January 2016

Some Sunday Southern Soul

My Christmas present to myself was the Kent 3 CD Box set Back to the River - More Southern Soul Stories 1961-78.
A worthy companion to the previous box sets  Take Me to the River - A Southern Soul Story 1961-1977 and The Fame Studios Story 1961-1973 Home of the Muscle Shoals Sound both of which have been heavily featured on CCM.
Like an Islay malt or a fine Rioja I am  leisurely savouring this in small sips. You shouldn't rush the best things in life.

The plan is to play you a the initial tracks which have jumped out to me from the three discs following an initial listen over the next three weeks.
Some what logically we start with Disc 1 -Muscle Shoals - Memphis Redux. a second selection of music from Memphis and Muscle Shoals as featured on the two collections above
I have gone for two ladies starting with This Love Won't Run Out by Dee Dee Sharp. An Isaac Hayes and David Porter song on the Atco label recorded in American Studios in Memphis in 1967.
Dee Dee is followed by  Jeanie Greene with Sure as Sin a song written by her husband  Marlin and the great Eddie Hinton. Again on the Atco label but this time from 1969 and recorded at Quinvy Studios, Sheffield

Terrific stuff. Disc 2 next Sunday

Dee Dee Sharp - This Love Won't Run Out

Jeanie Greene - Sure as Sin

Saturday, 16 January 2016

Celtic Connections 2007

Celtic Connections again today I'm afraid with the start of a new series.
Every year the Sunday Herald newspaper gives away a free Celtic Connections souvenir CD featuring some of the artists on that particular year's bill.
They are top quality and you probably wouldn't hesitate to pay a few quid for them.

On the CC shelves we have every year going back to 2007 hence the birth of a series and one which will keep us going until this year's Festival is a distant memory.

Let's start with Irvine's very own Eddi Reader with a beautiful Boo Hewerdine song from her album Peacetime
Ballads of the Book was a collaboration between Scottish musicians and Scottish writers curated by Roddy Woomble. Therefore it is only fitting that we feature Idlewild with  words by the late great Edwin Morgan the first Scottish Makar or national poet

I shall try to make it a rule to feature something more Celtic and traditional in every post in the series. So let's start with Kathleen MacInnes and  Òganaich An Òr-fhuilt Bhuidhe  which translates as Youth whose hair is golden yellow

Eddi Reader - Ontario

Idlewild & Edwin Morgan - The Weight of You

Kathleen MacInnes - Òganaich An Òr-fhuilt Bhuidhe

Friday, 15 January 2016

Celtic Connections - Ireland 2016

The first of four visits to this year's Celtic Connections tonight when Mrs CC, her mother and I head to the  Glasgow Royal Concert Hall to see Ireland 2016 - part of a year long international programme of centenary events commemorating the 1916 Easter Uprising.

The concert features The Chieftains and guests including apparently Kris Kristofferson.How good will that be?
Even I as the only non- Irish member of the party am beside myself with excitement and anticipation.

The Chieftains are of course renowned for their collaborations. There are four of their records on the shelves  with the likes of Van Morrison, Sinead O'Connor, Ry Cooder, Rolling Stones and a host of Americana luminaries sharing the stage.
From the album of the same name we have Mick Jagger's version of The Long Black Veil - obviously not a patch on the Lefty Frizzell version the one that all other artists must bow down before.
Followed by a track from their Americana album Voice of Ages

I will follow up with a review post in due course

The Chieftains with Mick Jagger - The Long Black Veil

The Chieftains with The Low Anthem - School Days Over

Thursday, 14 January 2016

Hold Up Phyllis. Watch the Birdie

Fancy some Boomtown Rats which predates Live Aid and  which doesn't feature I  Don't Like Monday's?
Ok then, here goes.
A couple of tracks from a less than pristine condition The Fine Art of Surfacing their third album from 1979 which got to number 7 in the album charts probably on the back of the popularity of the above song.

Selected primarily because of it's close proximity to Bowie in the vinyl shelves.Could have been worse it could have been The Blow Monkeys

The Boomtown Rats - Having My Picture Taken

The Boomtown Rats - Nothing Happened Today

Wednesday, 13 January 2016

Stranraer Americana - The Walkabouts

Not the most photogenic of album covers but it is the one which graces this week's slice of Stranraer Americana namely Trail of Stars by The Walkabouts their ninth album from 1999 on the great German Glitterhouse label.
The mainstays of the band are Carla Torgeson and Chris Eckman and I would describe them as a cross between Calexico and The Cowboy Junkies.
They are responsible for the greatest album of covers of all time Satisfied Minds from 1993 on  Sub Pop.

Nothing else of theirs which I have heard  or have comes remotely close to matching that album but Trail of Stars is not bad at all particularly on the ones on which Carla sings.

Two more to go

The Walkabouts - Straight To The Stars

The Walkabouts - Gold

Tuesday, 12 January 2016

Chuck E's In Love

Chuck E

Rickie Lee Jones has been in the papers in this part of the country recently as she is appearing at this year's Celtic Connections.
I didn't feel the urge to acquire a ticket to go and see her as I am not really familiar with her work.
I only have her eponymous debut album from 1979 and have never knowingly heard anything from her subsequent 16 releases.
I have no doubt that some of you will take me to task and tell me that I have missed a classic or two along the way.
She is of course most famous for her hit Chuck E.'s in Love a song about fellow musician Chuck E Weiss who at the time was staying in the Tropicana Hotel in Los Angeles alongside Rickie and her then beau Tom Waits.
The song would also appear to be Mr Weiss' biggest claim to fame.

Rickie Lee Jones - Chuck E.'s In Love

Rickie Lee Jones - The Last Chance Texaco

Monday, 11 January 2016


Starman - Top of The Pops 1972

Music and Society were never the same again

Glad you came and joined us Starman.
Rest easy


I've never really been a Suedehead.
Until recently the only Suede album I had was Coming Up.
However I picked up their second album Dog Man Star from 1994 recently in my local charity shop.
Their least commercially successful but arguably their most critically acclaimed record
Like the fashions I am not convinced that the music has stood the test of time.
The last Suede album to feature Bernard Butler.
I was never totally convinced as to the vocals of Brett Anderson. To me he wore his two main influences Bowie and Morrissey too heavily on his sleeve.

Suede - We Are The Pigs

Suede - This Hollywood Life

Sunday, 10 January 2016

Some Sunday Soul

Some early Stevie Wonder for you today. Indeed some very early Stevie Wonder courtesy of a  Tamla Motown Early Classics compilation.
Signed by Tamla at the age of 10 after having been spotted by Ronnie White of the Miracles as Little Stevie Wonder he had his first major hit Fingertips  from an album recorded at the Regal Theater, Chicago -Recorded Live:The 12 Year Old Genius.
By the time Uptight (Everything's Alright) was recorded he had reached the dizzy heights of 16 and his voice had broken.

You just wonder how many talented kids there are out there who never get spotted. One thing is for sure, however, few if any of them will be as talented as Stevland Hardaway Morris

More Soul next Sunday

Stevie Wonder - Fingertips (Parts 1 & 2)

Stevie Wonder - Uptight (Everything's Alright)

Saturday, 9 January 2016

Square Roots

The second of my recent Oxfam purchases is Square Roots - an unlikely selection from the pages of Folk Roots magazine - a compilation from 1987.
The sleevenotes are by Andy Kershaw and the album is not dissimilar to one of his sadly missed radio shows with some hardcore folk and a smattering of world music.
I'll maybe pluck up the courage to post some of that at a later date.
In the meantime I have gone for the two most accessable tracks on the album featuring a couple of CCM favourites.
The Bard of Barking gives us Hold The Fort a 19th Century Agricultural Union song which he sings with Robert Handley.
Then the late Ted Hawkins gives us his rendition of Dock of the Bay from the legendary Venice Beach Tapes.

Folk Roots was the baby of musician Ian Anderson. Not to be confused with the cod piece wearing, one legged flutist and fish farmer who fronted Jethro Tull nor Iain Anderson the broadcaster who presents the excellent Mr Anderson's Fine Tunes on Radio Scotland.

Billy Bragg - Hold The Fort

Ted Hawkins - Dock of the Bay

Friday, 8 January 2016

Somewhere Down The Crazy River

Somewhere Down the Crazy River is this year's first earworm.
It has been floating around my head for the last few days so it seemed only fair to dig out Robbie Robertson's debut solo album from whence it came and share it with you.
From 1987 the album was produced by Daniel Lanois and won Juno awards for both men in their native Canada
Somewhere Down the Crazy  River was his only UK solo hit peaking at number 15 and features Lanois on ommichord and  Peter Gabriel on keyboards.
The other song I have chosen Broken Arrow has been covered by The Grateful Dead and by someone else I'm pretty sure but I don't know who

Warning - the album features U2. The Irish tax dodgers appear on two tracks. Rest assured they are not on the two featured below.

Robbie Robertson - Somewhere Down The Crazy River

Robbie Robertson - Broken Arrow

Thursday, 7 January 2016

Stranraer Americana - Kevin Welch

The fifth installment is another artist that I was not familiar with Kevin Welch with his 1995 album Life Down Here On Earth on the Dead Reckoning label which he formed with some fellow musicians.
It is a bit more mainstream than the others I have featured and on the first listen has not left a lasting impression. At the moment I'm not sure if it is a keeper.

The first song suggests that Bob Dylan is a big influence and I'm sure I have someone else singing the second one somewhere.The rest are pretty forgettable.

Three to go

Kevin Welch - Pushing Up Daisies

Kevin Welch - Troublesome Times

Wednesday, 6 January 2016

The Lion of Zimbabwe

A quick trip to Oxfam on Victoria Road, Glasgow led to me coming away with Corruption a 1989 album on the Mango label by the mighty Thomas Mapfumo and the Blacks Unlimited.
He terms his music as Chimurenga which means struggle in his native Shona tongue and which was the name of a previous revolutionary movement in the 19th century.
Originally he was a strong supporter and contributor to Zimbabwean independence. By 1989 like many others he was pretty disillusioned with the Mugabe regime and not surprisingly Corruption did not go down well leading to government harassment and his subsequent relocation to Eugene, Oregon

For those of you not familiar with the Shona language here is a brief description of the two songs courtesy of the album sleeve

Moyo Wangu - My Heart - This song is about the exploitation of the poor by the rich. There comes a time of confrontation when the poor say enough is enough. We will not be controlled by those who practice what they preach.

Handina Munyama - I Am Not Unlucky - I was born right. The Spirits of my ancestors look after me.I know that I have the right parents and the right friends because of their deeds.

Thomas Mapfumo & the Blacks Unlimited - Moyo Wangu

Thomas Mapfumo & the Blacks Unlimited - Handina Munyama

Tuesday, 5 January 2016

Not the Blues Collection - Charles Caldwell

I still have a few of the Blues Collection CDs to share with  you and have made it one of my New Year's Resolutions so to do.
Not today however. We have some blues but not from The Blues Collection but rather from Fat Possum records.
Charles Caldwell was yet another one of those elderly Bluesmen that Matthew Johnson of Fat Possum succeeded in discovering and sharing with a wider audience.
Charles Caldwell was from near Coffeeville in the Mississippi Hill Country and had been playing Blues from a teenager whilst working in an industrial plant in Grenada, Mississippi.

A quote from Johnson upon "discovering" Caldwell in 2002
 Just ten or twelve years ago, you could go into a town of 800 and find at least three old guys who could play some guitar. Now it’s hard to find anyone who plays at all, much less anyone really good. And the good players still living lose half their ability as a result of strokes and other illnesses or having been scared into joining the church. Everything in this business is in short supply: our budget, the number of good artists, the time they have left.
But seeing Charles Caldwell play changed everything for me. He still enjoyed playing; he was charismatic; he had a presence. In my view, Charles would be the next bomb, a last, undiscovered bastion of a dying breed. Did he want to make a record? Hell yes.

Sadly Charles Caldwell died in September 2003 at the age of 60.His only album Remember Me was released posthumously on 24th February 2004.

Monday, 4 January 2016


Last week I featured Cerys Matthews one of the great Welsh  female voices.
Here's another Gwenno Saunders.
She first came to my attention via The Robster's excellent Welsh Wednesday series.
Her Y Dydd Olaf is a must have album. The attached review from Pitchfork gives it's history and context.

Somewhat bizzarely Gwenno's first claim to fame came as part of the semi novelty all girl group The Pipettes.
There is no doubt that her music has evolved for the better.

Gwenno - Chwyldro

The Pipettes -Pull Shapes

Sunday, 3 January 2016

Some Sunday Soul

This artist got a name check last week and I suspect that this may be one which divides opinion.
Emeli Sandé   was born in Sunderland but moved to Alford in Aberdeenshire aged 4 making her pretty much Scottish.
In 2012 with the release of Our Version of Events she was the biggest musical star in the UK.
She had the best selling album of the year out selling Adele. You would however be technically correct in saying that Adele had the best seller as she was in fact  born Adele Emily Sandé 
She performed at both the opening and closing ceremonies of the 2012 London Olympics and won two Brit Awards in 2013.She also had the ultimate accolade in having her songs murdered by a myriad of X-Factor wanabees.
Since then nothing.
I bought the album for a quid in a charity shop in St Andrews when she was at the height of her fame to see what all the fuss was about.Pleasant enough but I can't say I play it all that often if at all.

More Soul next Sunday

Emeli Sande - Next To Me

Emeli Sande - River

Saturday, 2 January 2016

Let's Play Darts

The poor man's World Professional Darts Championship starts today at the Lakeside Leisure Complex in Frimley Green and will feature on the BBC.
As is the way of the world all the really top players have graduated to the Professional Darts Corporation World Darts Championship which is currently reaching it's conclusion on Sky
A bit like the boxing really leading to more than one world champ.

All of which is a spurious excuse to feature some recently acquired vinyl.
To quote the great MC Martin Fitzmaurice Let's Play Darts

Darts - Daddy Cool/ The Girl Can't Help It

Darts - Come Back My Love

Friday, 1 January 2016

New Year's Day Homage

A Happy New Year to you and yours and all the best for 2016.

We start the year in sombre mood and in the now traditional way for CCM by paying homage to two absolute giants of 20th century popular music who both died on New Years Day.

The Hillbilly Shakespeare Hank Williams died on this day in 1953 at the age of only 29 and the Late Great Townes Van Zandt passed away in 1997 at the age of 52.
Fortunately both left an astonishing canon of music for future generations to enjoy.
Their legacy and influence can also be seen in any number of current singer songwriters.
True inspirations.
I suspect that it will be downhill from here on in!

Hank Williams - I'm So Lonesome I Could Cry

Townes Van Zandt - If I Needed You