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Monday, 24 July 2017

The New Adventures in Hi-Fi Conundrum Resolved


New Adventures in Hi-Fi the 10th studio album from R.E.M. from 1996 is one of the many CDs that I have had in my hand in a charity shop on more than one occasion unsure whether I had it or not.
In this instance the conundrum has been resolved as I finally  bought the bloody thing in Stranraer. Turns out I didn't have it. I do now.
Our resident R.E.M. expert the Robster rates it as the 9th best out of their 15 studio albums. I haven't heard them all but that sounds just about right.
The post Out of Time/Automatic for the People CDs pop up far more regularly in charity shops than the early ones do. I'm sure there is a reason for that.
The average price for the vinyl copy on Discogs is 80 quid. I'm glad I didn't pay that.£1.99 seems more appropriate.
Like the curate's egg it is good in parts although I could live without E-Bow the Letter.
Here are a couple of the better numbers - the first and last tracks.

R.E.M. - How The West Was Won and Where it Got Us

R.E.M. - Electrolite

Sunday, 23 July 2017

Feel Like Going Home


When I posted Charlie Rich last week The Swede and John Medd both weighed in extolling the virtues of his song Feel Like Going Home. They are quite correct. It is a belter and John has shared it as proof.
Not to be outdone George piped up singing the praises of the version by The Walkabouts. He is also quite correct. It is a belter.As an added bonus Mark Lanegan guests on vocals.
From unquestionably the greatest ever covers album 1993's Satisfied Mind on Sub Pop with one of the greatest ever covers (a photo of "Herman in the Wheatfield")
I am frankly embarrassed that I have never posted this before.
I have a good few copies of the classic title track but none remotely in the same league as The Walkabouts.

You will not hear  two better songs today. Fact.

The Walkabouts - Feel Like Going Home

The Walkabouts - Satisfied Mind


Saturday, 22 July 2017

They'll be Dancing on the Shore


Frankie says - well that was close but the Boss just shades it.
By my calculation there were 7 votes for Bruce and 6 for Frankie for their versions of Born to Run. No votes for Suzi strangely.
So the series has now concluded with a final score of The Boss 10 The Rest 8.
If truth be told I'm somewhat relieved that it's over given that we were about to get into barrel scraping territory - Badly Drawn Boy with Thunder Road  thankfully avoided.

Hope you enjoyed it.I know I did. A few Bruce diehards , a few Anyone but Bruces and those who bent both ways over the weeks.

I think I'll take a small break from the Covers series but rest assured it will return at some stage - perhaps with a slight twist!

I don't have many covered by Springsteen songs. But I will leave you with his version of Tom Waits' Jersey Girl and a traditional folk song made famous by Pete Seeger which features on We Shall Overcome - The Seeger Sessions

Bruce Springsteen - Jersey Girl

Bruce Springsteen - Old Dan Tucker

Friday, 21 July 2017

A Trip Down a Somewhat Befuddled Memory Lane


Tandy were one of the  first, if not the first, Americana bands that I ever saw.Probably around 1999 or 2000.
They may or may not have played at the Sikorski Polish club in the shadow of Glasgow's Kelvingrove Park.
I would be a liar if I said I remember much about them. Fortunately pop matters is on hand to fill in the blanks.
They never really crossed my rader again until I saw their 1999 debut album Some Summers Day (on Independent Records, 35A Barrow St, Dublin) in Oxfam a couple of weeks ago.
I paid the somewhat inflated £2.99 on the basis that if I bought it of t'internet it would cost about that with postage.
It has to be said that it is not the greatest album I have ever purchased but it has one or two pleasant tunes on it such as these.

Tandy - Far From Home

Tandy - Shannon Goodson


Thursday, 20 July 2017

Think Tank Required


Blur only released 8 studio albums between 1991 and 2015
I have the first five plus a burn of number six 13 which given it is a burn doesn't count.

I picked up album  number 7 2003's Think Thank in the Faith, Hope and Charity shop in Whithorn last week.
Partly towards becoming a completeist but mostly because it was only 50p.
It is much better than I thought it would be. The second of today's songs is just over a minute in length but is none the worse for that.
Only 13 and The Magic Whip to go.

Blur -Out of Time

Blur - We've Got a File on You

Wednesday, 19 July 2017

Burnt Offerings 26


By my calculations this series has now been running for half a year! There is no escaping.

Let's start Week 26 with Bishop Allen an indie rock band from Brooklyn named after Bishop Allen Drive in Cambridge, Massachusetts where the main protagonists Justin Rice and Christian Rudder stayed while studying at Harvard.
This track is from their 2007 album The Broken Spring

Bishop Allen - Like Castanets




Next up is Joan Wasser an  American singer songwriter and musician better known as Joan As Policewoman  apparently after  the TV programme Policewoman starring  the great Angie Dickinson. She was the girlfriend of Jeff Buckley when he accidentally drowned in 1997
From her album Real Life you will be relieved to know that this is not a Bangles cover





Finally someone who ought to have graced these pages before now the Queen of R&B herself Ms Ruth Brown
Her career ran from 1948 to her death in 2006.This song is taken from 1949 and I suspect was posted in 2006 to mark her passing.


More random nonsense next week

Tuesday, 18 July 2017

Losing Sleep


Another recent Stranraer purchase.
From 2010 on Heavenly, Losing Sleep is Edwyn Collins' 7th solo album.
An impressive list of participants on the record including Paul Cook (on drums on the title track), Johnny Marr, Roddy Frame, Alex Kapranos and Ryan Jarman from The Cribs who features on today's second offering.

Just as impressive as the music are Edwyn's excellent bird drawings which grace the front and back covers of the album.

Edwyn Collins - Losing Sleep

Edwyn Collins - I Still Believe in You

Monday, 17 July 2017

Saturday Night, Sunday Morning, All Day Monday


Back from our travels with some assorted nonsense which I will subject to to over the next couple of weeks.

First up from 1989 are Craigneuk's finest Sam Corey and Dan O'Neill  collectively known as The River Detectives and their debut album Saturday Night, Sunday Morning.
They went on to record another two although this was the only one which charted reaching the dizzying heights of #51
There is an excellent cover of Factory on it which would have featured and probably won the Springsteen Covered challenge had I had it at the time.

The River Detectives - Love's Like a Needle

The River Detectives - Saturday Night, Sunday Morning

Sunday, 16 July 2017

The Old Silver Fox


Charlie Rich . the old silver fox, has graced these pages twice before.
Once as a quiffed rockabilly singer signed to Sun Records and the other time as a country crooner.

My recently purchased copy of his 1973 classic Behind Closed Doors falls firmly into the latter category.
At times it sounds as though the music is slightly at the wrong speed which to me only adds to its charm.

Quality country songs and subject matter.And great sideburns.

Charlie Rich - Behind Closed Doors

Charlie Rich - The Most Beautiful Girl

Saturday, 15 July 2017

Springsteen Covered - Born to Run


A narrow win for Bruce last week although the Pointer Sisters would have had him!
So we now have the score reading  The Boss 9 The Rest 8
Squeaky bottom time.

Time than to feature Born to Run.
It was always going to feature but we nearly had a Purple Ronnie the arch narcissist situation when he held out for the Hollywood penalty only to be let down by his Portuguese colleagues, Glorious!

Originally I was going to feature Suzi Quatro but her version is absolutely dreadful. My brother was playing this in a van once when his pal ejected it and threw it out the window. Now I  am not one for condoning littering the M6 but in this case I am prepared to make an exception.Not one for the Swede's eagery awaited Suzi Quatro ICA.
So instead I give you Frankie Goes to Hollywood.

Much better but you cannot improve on perfection so it is Springsteen again for me this week.

Others perhaps may choose to disagree.

Bruce Springsteen - Born to Run

Frankie Goes to Hollywood - Born to Run

Oh go on then ....

Suzi Quatro -Born to Run

Friday, 14 July 2017

Bloodshot Sampler 16


We are back with Bloodshot again today. Another week older, or in Bloodshot's case another year older, and certainly no wiser.
Released in December 16 this is also available from Bandcamp not free this time but on a name your price basis
Twenty more fine tracks and as per last Friday I'll go for a couple who have never featured before.
Al Scorch who once played in The Grapes pub in Stranraer and Luke Winslow-King.

I am eagerly awaiting December 17.

Al Scorch -Everybody Out

Luke Winslow- King -I'm Glad Troulde Doesn't Last Always

Thursday, 13 July 2017

Oxfam Singles - Steve Mason


The 6th and final Oxfam single comes from Steve Mason
A Lot of Love is a single from the album Monkey Minds in the Devil's Time and was released on 17th June 2013.
Again it is a promotional copy and in this instance there is only the one track

So as not to short change you here is just over 8 minutes of Mr Mason with The Beta Band.

The Beta Bandesque artwork again comes courtesy of Jo and Elsa

Steve Mason - A Lot of Love

The Beta Band -It's Not Too Beautiful

Wednesday, 12 July 2017

Burnt Offerings 25


25 weeks in and it is becoming increasingly harder to come up with acts which haven't featured here before. But.we shall persevere. One well known and two relatively obscure acts for you this week in the order that they feature on the disc
First the well known one the divas that are/were Scissor Sisters - forged in the scuzzy,gay nightlife scene of New York (Wiki's words not mine) This from their second album Ta-Dah from 2006 which you will all have on your shelves

Scissor Sisters - The Other Side


Freddie Stevenson is a singer- songwriter from Edinburgh who went to school at Harrow and whose mother was co-creator of  the TV programme Fraggle Rock
Pleasant if hardly startling folk rock

Freddie Stevenson - Heart Shaped Stone


I'll happily admit that it was probably the name rather than the music which first brought Leeroy Stagger to my attention.
With a name like that you would be expecting a reggae singer as opposed  to a Canadian alternative country singer-songwriter, but  you would be wrong there
This song is from his 2006 album Depression River (definitely alt Country then!)

Leeroy Swagger - Payback

More random nonsense next Wednesday

Tuesday, 11 July 2017

Oxfam Singles - 10,000 Maniacs


I had a quick panic before I got round to listening to These are Days a 1992 single by 10,000 Maniacs.
I was a bit worried that it may have come from their post Natalie Merchant period.
However I was happily reassured as it comes from their 5th studio album Our Time in Eden which was the last they recorded with Natalie at the helm.

Phew.

The final song is a Tom Waits cover.The other two are from the album

10,000 Maniacs - These Are Days

10,000 Maniacs - Circle Dream

10,000 Maniacs - I Hope That I Don't Fall In Love With You

Monday, 10 July 2017

Teenage Fanclub Have Lost It Again


We are away this week so  the pre-prepared  posts will be even shorter and less informative than usual if that is possible.

As promised/threatened/requested Tracks 3 and 4 from Teenage Fanclub's 1995 acoustic EP Teenage Fanclub Have Lost It.
Starsign was originally on Bandwagonesque and 120 Minutes on Thirteen

The rather splendid art work is courtesy of George's partner Jo and her friend Elsa


Teenage Fanclub - Starsign

Teenage Fanclub -120 Minutes

Sunday, 9 July 2017

Portrait of a Legend


Last week for 50p in my local charity shop I picked up Sam Cooke - Portrait of a Legend 1951-1964.
Thirty wonderful tracks, fantastic sound quality and sleeve notes from the great Pete Guralnick.

I'm sure we all agree that when it comes to music the term legend is very over used. However I doubt that anyone will disagree that in this instance it is fully justified.

Just listen to this

Sam Cooke -Touch the Hem of His Garment

Sam Cooke - A Change Is Gonna Come

Saturday, 8 July 2017

Springsteen Covered - Fire


Yet another defeat for the Boss last week with the Jersey contingent of Johnny the Friendly Lawyer and Echorich being the most vociferous supporters of Southside Johnny's take on Talk to Me.

We are witnessing one of the greatest comebacks of all time a bit like when Liverpool were 3-0 down at half-tine in that European final and came back to win.
We have gone from The Boss 7 The Rest 2 to 8 apiece. Remarkable.

We are staying with tracks on The Promise more famously covered by other artists but with a slight twist.
I was going to post The Pointer Sisters version of Fire but I figured that would result in another trouncing for Bruce.
So I've gone for Link Wray instead. It may be closer but I suspect there is a lot of love out there for Link as well.
I'm going for Bruce if only to stop the rot.

Others may choose to disagree

Bruce Springsteen - Fire

Link Wray - Fire

Friday, 7 July 2017

Bloodshot Records Sampler 15


Regular readers will know that I hold Bloodshot Records from Chicago in very high regard.
The more long suffering of you may remember my Bloodshot Tuesday series from the early days of the blog which featured 20 artists from their stable and many more have appeared since then,

My interest was rekindled and my appetite rewhetted when George pointed me in the direction of Bandcamp where the above mentioned Sampler 15 is available free or preferably for a small donation
Many of my old  favourites feature but I thought it better to share a couple of artists I have not featured here before.
So I give you The Yawpers and some tremendous surf music from the Dex Romwember Duo.

The Yawpors -Doing it Right

Dex Romwember Duo -Blue Surf

Thursday, 6 July 2017

Oxfam Singles - Scars


I watched the documentary The Sound of Young Scotland a couple of months ago.
It told the story of FAST records from Edinburgh and Postcard records from Glasgow.
Like most I was more familiar with Postcard than with FAST.
The Edinburgh bands most prominently mentioned included The Fire Engines , Josef K and Scars.
I was familiar with the first two but had no recollection with the latter.
Like many a good bands they didn't last long - from 1979 to 1982 to be precise with one album from 1981 Author!Author!
The disc I came away with is a four track radio session. I've no idea where and when it was recorded but I suspect it may be from their brief comeback in 2010/11 given that They Came and Took Her is titled They Came and Took Her (Again)

Scars - You Turn Me On

Scars - They Came and Took Her (Again)


Wednesday, 5 July 2017

Burnt Offerings 24


Charlotte Gainsbourg joins the likes of Juliette Lewis and Minnie Driver as actors come singers who have graced these pages
The daughter of Jane Birkin and Serge Gainsbourg she released an album with her father aged 15 prior to releasing three critically acclaimed albums between 2006 and 2011. This is from the first of them 5.55 which reached number one in France

Charlotte Gainsbourg - Everything I Cannot See


I am reasonably confident that Jennifer O'Connor has never been number one in France
From Puynam, Connecticut but based in Brooklyn she is an artist who has never crossed my radar before which is a pity as this song is rather good. She has released half a dozen albums so some further exploration is clearly required.

Jennifer O'Connor - Today



Another artist that I know hee-haw about is the wonderfully monikered Carlos Guitarlos. I'll let the ever wonderful and informative  No Depression take up the story
If only I had given up drinking at 53!


Carlos Guitarlos - Straight From the Heart

Tuesday, 4 July 2017

Bright Eyes Burning Like Fire


Come back! Come back! I was only joking ... honest.

I habe long been an admirer of the music of Conor Oberst  either as a solo artist or with his band Bright Eyes.
Up until recently however I did not physically own any of his stuff.That changed the other week when I visited my local charity shop and came away with I'm Wide Awake, It's Morning a 2005 album by Bright Eyes. For good measure the person who had handed it in had also stuck a burn of Digital Ash from a Digital Urn which was released on the same day. Not bad for 50p

I'm Wide Awake is the better of the two. In fact I would go as far as to say it is a belter as these tracks will hopefully demonstrate..
I need to acquire more!

Bright Eyes - First Day of my Life

Bright Eyes - Land Locked Blues

Monday, 3 July 2017

Oxfam Singles - Roddy Hart & the Lonesome Fire


Another EP - Bright Light Fever was a 2013 single for Glasgow band Roddy Hart & the Lonesome Fire.It was released on Odd Art Records but subsequently appeared on their eponymous debut album from that same year which was on Middle of Nowhere Records which ended up on the longlist for the SAY Award 2014.

Roddy Hart is well known as a BBC Radio Scotland presenter and as compere for the Roaming Roots Review at Celtic Connections. He has also formed a firm friendship over the years wit the legend that is Kris Kristofferson. He appeared at Glastonbury this year with KK when they were joined on stage by some boy called Johnny Depp.
Tracks 1 and 2 today with the others scheduled to feature soon

Roddy Hart & the Lonesome Fire - Bright Light Fever

Roddy Hart & the Lonesome Fire - Terrifying Time

Sunday, 2 July 2017

Billy Joe is Born Again


Country star Billy Joe Shaver made his name as a member of the Outlaw movement and as a hell raiser including an acquittal for shooting a man in 2007, He also lost two fingers after his hand got caught in machinery leading him to altering his guitar style somewhat.
Towards the end of the 90's following a number of family tragedies  he rediscovered religion with a series of albums as Shaver with son  Eddy on guitars and dobro.
Sadly the tragedy continued with Eddy dying following a heroin overdose in December 2000.

1998's Victory from New West is named after his mother whose name was indeed Victory.It's a belter
Stark and desolate yet illuminating - Marc Greilsamer

By the time I got round to seeing him at The Arches his demons and the drugs and/or alcohol had sadly returned.

Shaver - If I Give My Soul

Shaver - My Mother's Name is Victory

Saturday, 1 July 2017

Springsteen Covered - Talk to Me


When the Swede and Rol vote for the opposition you know that the Boss' coat is on a shoogly nail.
I can't be bothered checking but I am 99% sure that Patti Smith's version of Because the Night is the first unanimous winner in the Springsteen series and indeed the Dylan series before that.
The score is  now The Boss 8 The Rest 7

The Promise is proving a useful source for accessing Bruce's versions of his songs which have previously been hits for other artists.
Today we feature   fellow New Jersey act Southside Johnny & the Asbury Jukes with their take on Talk to Me.
A band who have had E Street members Steve Van Zandt, Gary Tallent and Patti Sciaifa within their midst over the years.
A lot closer than last weeks choice I suspect.
To me they are much of a muchness so I'll go for Johnny as he needs the exposure plus it may keep the series going for another week (although I'm beginning to struggle for new material)

The Swede, Rol and others of course may choose to disagree.

Bruce Springsteen -Talk to Me

Southside Johnny & the Asbury Jukes -Talk to Me