Monday, November 12, 2018

Can't You Never See

Always was a sucker for ye olde Child Ballads, so this Smithsonian Folkways collection hit the spot just perfectly. To lift but a corner of the veil, here's the mighty E.C. Ball taking on Child Ballad 274. "I've traveled this wide world over, ten thousand miles or more, eyes and nose on a cabbage head I never saw before..."
The Blue Ridge Buddies with E.C. And Orna Ball - Three Nights Drunk

Friday, November 9, 2018

Grey With Years

His recent marriage and the resulting domestic bliss are probably the reason our Will isn't as prolific nowadays as he used to be. And even his new Songs Of Love And Horror isn't really new in a way, as it finds him mainly looking back acoustically on his own oeuvre. It's always nice to hear the bonnie lad though, especially on this lovely a capella cover of an old Richard & Linda Thompson tune. For further reading: here's an interesting recent profile in Rolling Stone magazine.
Will Oldham - Strange Affair

Wednesday, November 7, 2018

Rambling Quest

Fiddle, banjo, acoustic guitar and heavenly harmonies: welcome to the world of Anna Krippenstapel and Heather Summers, playing together as The Other Years. Their lovely self-titled first album reminds me of a rootsier version of First Aid Kit, and is one of the debuts of the year for sure. And although their own material is very strong, this inspired cover of a Michael Hurley song, an old favourite of mine, caught my fancy especially. File under folk with a capital F.
The Other Years - Wildegeeses

Monday, November 5, 2018

Recorded Facts

Another Bootleg Series collection, another copious treasure trove. The versions that ended up on Blood On The Tracks may remain the cream of the crop, but it's fascinating to follow how Dylan got there, to be able to track his creative process up close, false starts and all, for what would turn out to be one of his tour de force albums. I haven't even begun to properly digest it all of course, but this delicate, unfinished first stab at Idiot Wind, with just guitar and bass, caught my fancy immediately.
Bob Dylan - Idiot Wind (Take 1)

Friday, November 2, 2018

Silent Shouts

"Reading tea leaves and scanning stars..." Esteemed prophet David Tibet's been busy again, and this choice cut from the new Current 93 album The Light Is Leaving Us All sure sounds nice and spooky all over again. Chirp chirp...
Current 93 - Bright Dead Star

Wednesday, October 31, 2018

Matter Of Fact

And we're off to Canada, visiting Colter Wall to enjoy a wistful ditty from his new Songs Of The Plains album. At only 23, he sounds as old as the hills somehow.
Colter Wall - The Trains Are Gone

Monday, October 29, 2018

Up To My Brain

Waiting for the starman? It's 1972, and Ziggy and his Spiders From Mars play homage to the Velvets on auntie Beeb. Pay special attention to the mad guitar work by Mick Ronson on White Light. Down to his toes indeed.
David Bowie - Waiting For The Man
David Bowie - White Light, White Heat

Friday, October 26, 2018

Hear You Howling

Just got the sad news that Tony Joe White no longer walks among us. The man they called the Swamp Fox, writer of immortal songs like Polk Salad Annie and Rainy Night In Georgia, was 75. Miss him.
Tony Joe White - Black Panther Swamps

Wednesday, October 24, 2018

He's King

Yet more Shabaka Hutchings, the sax player and bandleader currently making waves by travelling the London spaceways. With a firm feet in the now, his Sons Of Kemet dig deep into cosmic territory. Your Queen Is A Reptile was released on the legendary Impulse imprint, trademark of quality since Trane, Mingus, and Pharoah strutted their stuff there. Good company.
Sons Of Kemet - My Queen Is Angela Davis

Monday, October 22, 2018

Reason Why

Another pair of interesting voices from the States. First up is erstwhile Black Swans foreman Jerry David DeCicca, who just released a strong second solo album called Burning Daylight. Honest and uplifting heartland rock from Texas with Lou Reed-like vocals, well worth your time. Next comes Israel Nash, who wants us to file his new record under 'hippie spiritual', and why wouldn't we? It's less Americana and more strings and stuff this time around, which takes some getting used to. Lifted is definitely worth a spin though.
Jerry David DeCicca - Cutting Down The Country
Israel Nash - Lucky Ones

Friday, October 19, 2018

Who Do You Love?

Spotlights on two emerging voices from the ole US of A. On Trouble Anyway, Rosali Middleman from Philly proves herself a soulful singer with a slighty retro touch. Sounds good! Jess Williamson, who hails from Texas but recently upped and left for the city of angels, gives us a remarkably mature collection of poignant love songs with the aptly titled Cosmic Wink. Sounds even better!
Rosali - If I Was Your Heart
Jess Williamson - Thunder Song