Monday, March 25, 2019

Killed Me

Soul diva Bettye in action. You Don't Know Me At All opens with the biggest blues cliché imaginable, but hang on a sec: things will get better. "You took my breath away, now I want it back..." Now we're talking.
Bettye LaVette - You Don't Know Me At All

Friday, March 22, 2019

Good Question That

Staying in '79 a little longer with Derry's finest. Ever since Alexander Graham Bell invented the dog and bone, kids the world over have been asking the question Feargal Sharkey poses here. Few will have matched the pure urgency in his voice though. "Do it, do it, do it, do it..."
The Undertones - You've Got My Number (Why Don't You Use It?)

Wednesday, March 20, 2019

Catchy Indeed

Currently enjoying Jonathan Coe's very British and wickedly funny recent novel Middle England. In it, one of the book's protagonists talks to a journalist about his love for quirky seventies Canterbury Scene ensemble Hatfield and the North. "For instance, on their first album there's a piece called Aigrette, which was written by the guitarist, and if you listen carefully, not only is the time signature changing every few bars, but it goes through these extraordinary modulations, these key changes, and yet the tune is really catchy, really attractive on the ear..." Listen for yourselves.
Hatfield and the North - Aigrette

Monday, March 18, 2019

Wave Goodbye

Just got the sad news that Dick Dale has left us. The legendary king of the surf guitar, a pioneer of the Fender Stratocaster, was 81. Miss him.
Dick Dale - A Run For Life

Friday, March 15, 2019

Good Question That

Going warp factor 2 today with the Spizz consortium. Never was much of a trekkie, but of course one doesn't have to be a fan of Spock & co to enjoy this whimsical British new wave wonder from '79. John Peel called it 'the only Star Trek tribute worthy of the Enterprise's jukebox' and as usual, the legendary dj was spot on. "The time warp in space made a change in me, for I was the captain and the captain was me..."
Spizz Energy - Where's Captain Kirk?

Wednesday, March 13, 2019

Take Them Home

Released last week on what would have been the late great's 75th birthday, these recordings from a '73 session in Atlanta prove a treasure trove for Townes fans. Not bootlegged before as far as I know, Sky Blue provides a mix of known classics, rare covers and even two fine unknown originals, with the unnecessary productional flourishes so often found on his regular studio albums mercifully absent. Good times indeed, my amigos da musica.
Townes Van Zandt - All I Need

Monday, March 11, 2019

Suomi Calling

Yet another new band begging to be checked out further, and not only because the charming Leaves ends with some genuine bird song. Kiki Pau's got that certain je ne sais quoi, if you follow my drift. The mighty 22 Pistepirkko will always remain my fave Finnish combo, but these new kids from Helsinki are contenders for sure. Fresh pop for now people: hurraa!
Kiki Pau - Leaves

Friday, March 8, 2019

Good Question That

Let's start off a new mini-series with one of the eternal questions. Blind Alfred Reed posed it back in 1929, and it's as relevant now as it ever was of course. One of the first protest songs, too: "We can hardly get our breath, taxed and schooled and preached to death..." Hard times and a deadpan delivery. Ry Cooder would revisit this song 4 decades later, and Bruce Springsteen would add his two cents after 77 years, but this version remains the real deal.
Blind Alfred Reed - How Can A Man Stand Such Times And Live?

Wednesday, March 6, 2019

Lucky Star

Peter Hammill all inspired by an old Dylan classic? Sure seems like it. An intense performance this, proving that Mr. Van Der Graaf hasn't lost that magic touch. "And just like that, she's gone..."
Peter Hammill - Girl To The North Country

Monday, March 4, 2019

Born To Roam

Growing old gracefully. Michael Chapman's warm and wistful True North features youngster Steve Gunn as a second guitarist, which only goes to show the British folk septuagenarian still has his finger on the pulse. And their interplay sounds lovely of course. Nothing more to give? Don't you believe it. Chapeau.
Michael Chapman - Full Bottle, Empty Heart