Friday, May 30, 2008

Clockwork Orange Grab Bag

Greetings music lovers... With the European Championships in Switzerland and Austria getting closer and closer, football fever is slowly but surely taking over at For The Sake Of The Song HQ. We´re quite busy joining pools, debating favorite teams, rating players and ironing old team jerseys. It´s gonna be a great event whoever wins, but I for one hope the Dutch team will perform like a clockwork orange for once. But hey, Holland is in a ´group of death´ with Italy, France and Romania, so it´s going to be real tough...

While the pressure builds, let´s hear it for some cool tunes. What have we got in store for you this Grab Bag Friday night? Let´s see. There´s Bonnie Prince Billy going all exotic on us for starters. Then we´ve got a New York noise department with Sonic Youth and James White & The Blacks. We´re presenting a new trio you just have to hear from Amsterdam, Holland, and let´s not forget a thirsty Sleepy John Estes singing the blues. "If the river was whiskey..." And last but not least Robert Palmer will take care of some groovin´ blue-eyed soul. Enjoy.

Good news for all you fans of Sonic Youth and other New York noise bands out there. Together with Byron Coley, noise-connaisseur Thurston Moore has just published a book called No Wave: Post-Punk. Underground. New York. 1976-1980 (Abrams Books) which looks mighty interesting. Illustrated with lots of pictures and with a foreword by no wave legend Lydia Lunch, it chronicles that fruitful period when James White, Richard Hell, Glenn Branca and David Byrne were kings of the scene. Shadow Of A Doubt comes from Sonic Youth´s masterly Evol album (SST ´86).
Sonic Youth - Shadow Of A Doubt MP3

Speaking of James White, let´s get down for a bit with the master of no wave funk. Dig that honking saxophone brothers and sisters! "Once you take out all the garbage that’s in your brain, forget about your future, shatter your frame... Contort yourself!" White recorded this song in a slightly different version with his other group The Contortions, but this here is the original, done under the James White & The Blacks moniker. Find it on the excellent Rough Trade Shops - Post Punk Vol. 1 compilation (Mute ´03).
James White & The Blacks - Contort Yourself MP3

Bluestime! The great Sleepy John Estes recorded this gem way back in 1929. "Now if the river was whiskey, and I was a diving duck, I would dive to the bottom, never would come up." Cheers John. Estes came from a large family in western Tennessee and subsequently didn´t receive much schooling - he once joked that he spent 12 years in school, all in the first grade - and was a farmer first and a musician second, but his talent was nothing short of amazing. Believe me, no blues collection is complete without his I Ain´t Gonna be Worried No More 1929-1941 (Yazoo).
Sleepy John Estes - Diving Duck Blues MP3

Now this one´s way cool. The Italian collective Numero 6 just released an ep called Quando Arriva La Gente Si Sente Meglio, and you can download it here for free. But wait, the best is yet to come... I haven´t got a clue how they managed to lure the Louisville legend to their lair, but that´s really Bonnie Prince Billy singing on one of their songs, and in Italian at that. Sounds great, ragazzi. Haven´t got a clue what he´s on about, as my Italian is kinda rusty, but I think Da Piccolissimi Pezzi translates as ´the smallest slice´. I can´t imagine this song being about pizza though.
Numero 6 (feat. Bonnie Prince Billy) - Da Piccolissimi Pezzi MP3

Here´s some fresh new talent for you. Boompity (the name comes from a Kurt Vonnegut story) is a trio from Amsterdam that definitely deserves your attention. Just two guitars, a drumkit and a swampy sound that would make Tom Waits more than proud. They have just recorded a great demo and will be playing their first gigs soon. Check their website here to book them for all your birthday parties, weddings or funerals.
Boompity - Elevator Pitch MP3

Let´s call it quits for tonight with some white soul and rhythm & blues. The late Robert Palmer is well-known as a slick blue-eyed soulsinger in a sharp suit who had quite a few hits in the eighties. He wasn´t so slick when he started out though. On his debut album Sneakin´ Sally Through The Alley (Island ´74) he was lucky enough to be backed by members of two of the funkiest bands around at the time, Little Feat and the Meters. Palmer´s vocals are pretty damn sharp on Sailing Shoes (a Feat cover) and the title track (an Allan Toussaint composition) but it´s the band that really grooves here.
Robert Palmer - Sailing Shoes MP3
Robert Palmer - Sneakin´Sally Through The Alley MP3

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Happy Birthday Zimmy!

It just happens to be Bob Dylan´s birthday today, so celebrations are obviously in order. Cut the cake - 67 candles - and pop the corks for Robert Allen Zimmerman, born May 24, 1941 in Duluth, Minnesota. Singer, songwriter, musician, poet, author, dj. Commandeur Des Arts Et Des Lettres, winner of an Oscar and a Pulitzer prize. Or as he´s fond of saying about himself: just a song and dance man. For The Sake Of The Song would like to celebrate Zim´s birthday by playing you some live highlights from early 1997, the year he nearly died of histoplasmosis, some kind of heart disease.

First up is a pretty rare live outing of the traditional Pretty Peggy-O, one of the songs from his debut way back in ´62. Some great singing here; check out how he venomously phrases the line "your cities I will burn" for instance. Dylan performed Viola Lee Blues only one time in his career. It´s an old blues song he probably learned from the Grateful Dead. Roving Gambler is another traditional, best known in the version of the Stanley Brothers. And last but not least there´s a beautiful cover of the murder ballad Long Black Veil, also a one-off performance. And now I´m gonna open up another bottle of bubbly. May you stay forever young Bob, and see you live here in Spain soon... Cheers!

Bob Dylan - Pretty Peggy-O (live Albany 18-4-´97) MP3
Bob Dylan - Viola Lee Blues (live Sapporo 24-2-´97) MP3
Bob Dylan - Roving Gambler (live Hartford 19-4-´97) MP3
Bob Dylan - Long Black Veil (live Wheeling 28-4-´97) MP3

Friday, May 23, 2008

Feel good Grab Bag

Some old stuff, some new, some famous names, some relatively unknown... Friday night´s Grab Bag is here again to let you enjoy a taste of what I´ve been listening to at the For The Sake Of The Song headquarters over the past week. Got an advance track from the new Silver Jews album for you, some blues by the legendary Reverend Gary Davis and funky stuff from New Orleans finest the Meters. Bob ´Pulitzer´ Dylan is on the road again, and we celebrate this with a live song from his first show of the tour. There´s a spotlight on the poppy side of the English first generation punk band Wire, and I think it´s high time you discovered folkie Alela Diane. Enjoy. I´m going to Lie Down In The Light now with the new Bonnie Prince Billy album. Expect a review here soon.

After a three year hiatus, the Silver Jews are back. A new album, titled Lookout Mountain, Lookout Sea will be released in the near future, and thanks to these generous people at Drag City records here´s a taster already. Another great song. I guess Joos´ mastermind David Berman has been listening to a lot of Lou Reed lately though... By the way, I once spent a night drinking with the bearded one after doing an interview and he´s one of the coolest guys I´ve ever met. As a bonus I give you what´s probably my fave Silver Jews song ever: The Wild Kindness from American Water (Drag City ´98).
Silver Jews - Strange Victory, Strange Defeat MP3
Silver Jews - The Wild Kindness MP3

If you want to hear promising new indie bands strutting their stuff live in the studio, look no further than the Daytrotter website. They organise sessions in the Futureappletree Studio (great name) in downtown Rock Island, Illinois on a regular basis for musicians who happen to pass by and the results are often breathtaking. A great way to discover new bands - like I did with Blitzen Trapper, David Karsten Daniels and Grizzly Bear for instance. Alela Diane, a folky from Nevada City, is the latest Daytrotter sessionist that caught my fancy.
Alela Diane - The Rifle MP3

It´s blues time now, with the mighty Reverend Gary Davis. Davis made his first recordings back in ´35. An amazing guitar player and powerful singer, he became a minister soon after and swore off the blues as a result. Davis was rediscovered playing the streets of New York City in the fifties and started a whole new recording career, influencing many aspiring folkies in the process. You can find Twelve Gates To The City on The Prestige/Folklore Years Volume Three (Fantasy ´95), which is part of a much recommended series of sixties folk and blues.
Rev. Gary Davis - Twelve Gates To The City MP3

Let´s move to New Orleans now for the irresistable funk of the Meters. If you haven´t heard the Meters, Jack, you haven´t lived. Fire on the bayou! That´s Art Neville on piano and vocals, but it´s the great drumming of Joseph ´Zig´ Modeliste that really steals the show here. Find Hey Pocky A-Way and many more goodies on The Very Best Of The Meters (Rhino ´97). "Feel good music, I´ve been told, is good for the body, and good for the soul..." Yup.
The Meters - Hey Pocky A-Way MP3

Bob Dylan has recently started the umpteenth leg of his Never Ending Tour, which takes him from a couple of dates in the States and Canada all the way down to Europe. There he will play quite exotic places like Iceland, Russia (St. Petersburg), Estonia, Lithuania and Croatia amongst others, ending with a run of 17 shows in Italy, France, Spain and Portugal. For all the dates of the current tour, check Bob Links. Lots of variation in the setlists so far, hurrah! Here´s a taster for you: Tryin´ To Get To Heaven in a somewhat new arrangement, recorded live at the first show of this tour in Worcester, Massachusetts. The wolfman rides again!
Bob Dylan - Tryin´ To Get To Heaven (live Worcester 16 May ´08) MP3

Wire has always been of my favourite first generation punk bands. They were an original, arty combo that could play short and furious songs with the best of them, but lots of their material had a distinctive poppy side to it as well. Ex Lion Tamer (from their ´77 debut Pink Flag) with its great stop-start rhythm has a great refrain to sing along with for instance. "Stay glued to your tv set". And Outdoor Miner (from ´78 follow-up Chairs Missing) really is a bona fide pop song, with great lyrics that make no sense whatshowever. How about "No blind spots in the leopard´s eyes, can only help to jeopardise, the lives of lambs, the shepherd cries..."? Or "An afterlife for a silverfish, eternal dust, less ticklish, than the clean room, a houseguest's wish..."? Wonderful stuff.
Wire - Outdoor Miner MP3
Wire - Ex Lion Tamer MP3

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Black Forest, light rain

Back in the early seventies, a German woman called Sibylle Baier recorded some beautiful songs at home on a reel to reel recorder. Then, nothing. She simply continued living her life, content to let her music be heard by family and friends only. She had kids to raise, and was apparently also active as a dancer, painter and actress. She even appeared in a movie by the great German director Wim Wenders, who´s most probably the Wim in one of her songs. 

A few years ago, Sibylle´s son Robby came into contact with J Mascis and told the Dinosaur Jr guitarist about his mother´s music. Mascis got a tape and liked what he heard so much he decided to shop for a record label to get Sibylle´s work officially released. His efforts led to the impressive Colour Green album (Orange Twin ´06). Fourteen short, deceptively simple songs of melancholy and longing. "Give us your smile for awhile, may it guide us through the dark." Think Nick Drake, Leonard Cohen, Vashti Bunyan or even Nico, albeit without the heavy German accent and the harmonium. Think of the Black Forest in a light rain. An ideal record for late-night listening. Word has it that Sibylle is recording songs for a new album as we speak. That would make a nearly fourty year hiatus; surely a world record?

Sibylle Baier - Tonight MP3
Sibylle Baier - Softly MP3
Sibylle Baier - Wim MP3

Monday, May 19, 2008

On the Townes bio

If you´re a Townes Van Zandt fan, do yourself a favour and pick up a copy of John Kruth´s recent biography To Live´s To Fly (now available in paperback from Da Capo Press). Subtitled The Ballad Of The Late Great Townes Van Zandt, it´s a long overdue look at the troubled singer-songwriter´s life and oeuvre. Kruth interviewed lots and lots of insiders along the way. Among them are Townes´ first and third wife, his kids, colleagues such as Guy Clarke, Jimmie Dale Gilmore, Joe Ely and Steve Earle and his longtime label boss Kevin Eggers, a huckster you really wished Townes had never met. Only makes you wonder if the Texas bard would have had more commercial succes with a bona fide manager or record label... 

It´s no surprise a Townes biography contains tons of anecdotes about his drinking, gambling, drifting and womanizing ways. We find him giving away his money to kids in Mexico and buying bums in back alleys a fifth of wodka. We see him drinking a bottle of codeine cough syrup - aka Delta Momma - ad fundum while still in the pharmacy where he bought the stuff, ceremoniously putting the empty bottle back on the counter. And there he is losing everything but his underpants in a crap game, walking away laughing. We also learn Townes came from a wealthy background and a rich southern heritage, and that his concerned parents had him institutionalized for a while (including electro shock therapy!) when he decided to give up a respectable career for the sake of the song. And we find him torn between his family on one side, his muse on the other and the road and the bottle somewhere inbetween. 

Reason enough to pick up a copy of To Live´s To Fly methinks. Kruth´s writing style can be a bit breathless at times, and as an interviewer he´s sometimes afraid to ask the really tough questions. No wonder if a drunken Guy Clark is playing with a knife when you´re interrogating him, but still... On the whole we have to thank him though for finally setting the record straight on one of the undisputed geniuses of American song.

The following tracks are from Delta Momma Blues (´71, reissued on the Charly label).

Townes Van Zandt - Where I Lead Me MP3
Townes Van Zandt - Brand New Companion MP3
Townes Van Zandt - Tower Song MP3

Friday, May 16, 2008

Novelty Grab Bag

Thanks god it´s Friday... and I guess you all know what that means by now. Yup, it´s Grab Bag time again, where you get to hear the highlights of my personal musical diet of the past week. 

Tonight Grab Bag goes country big time, with no less than three fine novelty songs featuring southern accents, steel guitars and twang. But that´s not all folks. Also got the Soulsavers for you, with a track from last year´s wonderful collaboration with Mark Lanegan. Plus there´s a new group called Community Gun just begging to be introduced, and the reggae pick of the week just happens to be the heavenly vocal trio The Mighty Diamonds. Enjoy. I must be off now to listen to my latest acquisition: Sibylle Baier´s Colour Green album... More on her next week.

Let´s get the ball rolling with some wacky country songs. God Less America (Crypt ´98) is an amazing collection of novelty country songs. It´s subtitled A Heartrendering Set Of Country & Western Tales Of Misery And Confusion: 1955-1966 and that´s spot on for once. Just take Too Many Pills, Arkey Blue´s woeful tale of a pillpoppin´ country singer on a downslide. "The women, the pills, the whiskey, all haunt his memory..." Nice rhyme there. It suddenly strikes me this could well be another song about Ole Hank...
Arkey Blue & The Blue Cowboys - Too Many Pills MP3

From the same album (long out of print, try eBay) comes the hilarious ditty Please Don´t Go Topless, Mother. Young Troy Hess pleads with his mom to please please please stop her go-go dancing ways. How old is this kid anyway? Not yet in his teens I guess. "You´re ruining your reputation, and I can give you two big reasons why." Poor lad.
Troy Hess - Please Don´t Go Topless, Mother MP3

Time for some roots reggae now. The Mighty Diamonds have been one of Jamaica´s finest vocal trios for decades, and as far as I know they´re still around. Their finest hour without a doubt was Right Time (Virgin ´76), their flawless and very rootsy debut album. Donald ´Tabby´ Sharpe, Fitzroy ´Bunny´ Simmons and Lloyd Ferguson sure knew how to let their voices melt together in a way that must have pleased Jah. "Natty Dread Will Never Run Away." Right on.
Mighty Diamonds - Right Time MP3
Mighty Diamonds - Gnashing Of Teeth MP3

I just can´t get enough of the Soulsavers beautiful It´s Not How Far You Fall, It´s The Way You Land (V2 ´07). Their Neil Young cover Through My Sails not only features former Screaming Trees vocalist Mark Lanegan, who´s present on nearly all the tracks on the album, but we get Will Oldham in the choir as well. How atmospheric can you get? The original, the only track on Zuma (´75) without Crazy Horse but with Crosby, Stills and Nash, pales in comparison. And that´s saying something.
Soulsavers - Through My Sails MP
Neil Young - Through My Sails MP3

I´m always a sucker for good songtitles. So when Community Gun sent me their new self-released ep and I discovered a song called Midnight Moses And Eileen on it I just had to check it out... Sounds promising, don´t you agree? And lo and behold, the Highland, New York quartet proved me right with a great song. Tom Waits meets the Mats? Something like that. If I worked for a record label, I´d sign ´em up pronto.
Community Gun - Midnight Moses And Elaine MP3

Well alright then, one more song from God Less America to close up tonight´s chapter of Grab Bag. Eddie Noack (´30-´78) was a honky tonk singer and songwriter with degrees in English and journalism, surely a rarity. He got famous when Hank Snow recorded his song These Hands in ´56. The funny Dolores finds him in psycho territory. "There´s a killer in the neighbourhood, Dolores. A man who sees a girl and goes berserk..." If Dolores had just followed his sound advice to stay inside the house that fateful night, she would not have gotten killed... by her serial killer husband himself.
Eddie Noack - Dolores MP3

Monday, May 12, 2008

Gospel time

It´s Pentecost Monday, also known as Whit Monday. Pentecost commemorates - I had to look it up - the descent of the Holy Spirit upon the Apostles and other followers of Jesus. For me it´s just an extra day off, as I´m not religious at all. But that doesn´t mean I can´t enjoy some serious gospel music every once in a while.

So when I finally realised this morning it was the Monday of Pentecost, I immediately put on the first disc of Sam Cooke´s SAR Records Story box set (SAR ´94) and treated myself to some Soul Stirrers. Sam Cooke was no longer a member of the Soul Stirrers at the time they recorded for SAR, as he had left that famous gospel group in ´57 to try his luck in the pop business. And as the pop hits kept coming, Cooke found himself a wealthy man and started his own label - the first black artist to do so - helping gospel orientated artists such as the Womack Brothers, R.H. Harris & His Gospel Paraders and the group he had just left, the Soul Stirrers. With great results... Just listen to Wade In The Water (featuring Paul Foster as lead singer) to see what I mean. The other tracks have Jimmie Outler as main vocalist. Repent your sins for the soul!

The Soul Stirrers - Wade In The Water MP3
The Soul Stirrers - Praying Ground MP3
The Soul Stirrers - Oh Mary, Don´t You Weep MP3
The Soul Stirrers - Lead Me Jesus MP3

Friday, May 9, 2008

Grab bag fiesta

Friday night again, so here´s the usual grab bag fiesta for you. What´s the big deal tonight? Well, we´ll take a short look at FC Barcelona´s past, present and future, accompanied by some cool tunes. Stax soul from Sam & Dave, or early Dutch punkrock from Ivy Green anyone? Got some country from the late Eddy Arnold too, and there´s Jimmie Dale Gilmore for all you Flatlanders fans out there. Plus two versions of the song I Had A Good Father And Mother... or was that the other way around? We´ll see.

Last Thursday I was minding my own business when I suddenly received a text message telling me that coach Frank Rijkaard will leave my beloved FC Barcelona at the end of this season. You could see it coming, as the results haven´t been too good this year, but I´ll still miss the guy. Rijkaard is a real gentleman, the likes of which you don´t often encounter on a football pitch these days. Frank, thanks a million for two Spanish league titles and of course for that incredible high which was the Champions League victory. And for many, many games of beautiful football I´ve witnessed in the Camp Nou during your reign. This song´s for you.
Sam & Dave - I Thank You MP3

Frank´s successor has already been chosen, and I think it´s a wise move. Josep ´Pep´ Guardiola is a child of the club, which in my opinion suits Barça much better than an outsider such as loudmouth Jose Mourinho, who was also said to be in the running. Lots of luck Pep! This song´s for you. Make us blaugrana proud next season...
Ivy Green - I´m Sure We´re Gonna Make It MP3

Last Friday I posted a song here by Washington Phillips, and here I go again. Yup, I´m really enjoying his album The Key To The Kingdom (Yazoo) at the moment. Gospelblues to die for, check it out. I especially like his song I Had A Good Father And Mother, as I already knew the cover the Palace Brothers did on their fabulous debut There Is No-One What Will Take Care Of You (Drag City´93). Don´t know why brother Will Oldham - currently known as Bonnie Prince Billy of course - switched the mother and the father around though. Strange.
Washington Phillips - I Had A Good Father And Mother MP3
Palace Brothers - I Had A Good Mother And Father MP3

Country crooner Eddie Arnold died yesterday, and that´s a drag, even though the Country Music Hall Of Famer was a respectable 89. Arnold sold more than 85 million recordings over seven decades, and that´s no mean feat. Nice trivia fact: Colonel Tom Parker managed Arnold before he got his hands on Elvis. Some of his stuff is a little too slick for my taste, but you can´t go wrong with a Greatest Hits collection of the Tennessee Plowboy.
Eddy Arnold - You Don´t Know me MP3

As I was reading To Live´s To Fly, the Townes Van Zandt biography (see my post below) I stumbled upon the weird fact that my favourite singer/songwriter once auditioned for the 13th Floor Elevators. Roky Erickson, fellow Texan and all-around weirdo, was Van Zandt´s roommate for a while, sleeping on a makeshift bed made from stacks of albums from Townes´ prized record collection. Now Roky was desperately looking for a bassist for the Elevators and asked Townes, who´d never played the instrument before in his life. At the audition Elevator Tommy Hall was so unimpressed with Townes that the idea was instantly canned... A strange but true story. Here´s some Roky from the slightly underrated All That May Do My Rhyme album (Trance Syndicate ´94).
Roky Erickson - You Don´t Love Me Yet MP3

Let´s call it quits tonight with some tracks by West-Texas guitarist Jimmie Dale Gilmore, as a lot of you wrote in to thank me for plugging the Flatlanders here. Please keep them comments coming folks! There´s two great cd´s of Gilmore that I´d like to bring to your attention. The first one is called Don´t Look For A Heartache (Hightone ´04) and compiles the highlights of his first two albums from the late eighties. Great honky tonkin´stuff. But on After Awhile (Elektra Nonesuch ´91) he really found his voice, mining the singer/songwriters vein. Just listen to the beautiful Midnight Train to see what I mean.
Jimmie Dale Gilmore - See The Way MP3
Jimmie Dale Gilmore - Midnight Train MP3

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Townes live in Ljubljana

I´m currently reading To Live´s To Fly, John Kruth´s recent biography of Townes Van Zandt, the late great Texan singer/songwriter who gave this blog its name. A full review will appear here when I´ve finished the book, but I can tell you I´m not complaining thus far.

In the meantime I´m listening to a lot of Townes as a soundtrack while reading. And although Van Zandt´s got some excellent studio albums to his name, I find again and again that I like him best live, alone with his Gibson guitar. Sparse, naked, totally sad and enormously uplifting at the same time, telling corny jokes between songs every once in a while to lighten up the atmosphere a bit. How about this one: "What´s white and runs up your leg? Uncle Ben´s perverted rice."

Anyway, here are some classic Townes performances from an excellent soundboard recording which was made in the K4 Club in Ljubljana, Slovenia (of all places) on 24 November 1994, a few years before he died. "Days full of rain, sky´s comin' down again, I get so tired of the same old blues... same old song, baby it won't be long, ´till I be tyin' on my flyin' shoes..."

Townes Van Zandt - Two Girls (live ´94) MP3
Townes Van Zandt - Flyin´ Shoes (live ´94) MP3
Townes Van Zandt - A Song For You (live ´94) MP3 

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Top of the world

The Mississippi Sheiks had three unique selling points. The first and most important: they wrote great songs. Secondly, their extremely competent fiddle player Lonnie Chatmon gave them a sound all of their own. And last but not least they managed to mix black country blues with white country music and pop, finding themselves a mixed audience - a rarity in the blues field at the time - in the process.

But although the Sheiks sounded relatively white at times, they still earned a lot of praise from such famous contemporaries as Son House, Howlin´ Wolf and Muddy Waters. The latter once said he "walked ten miles to see them play. They was hightime through there, makin´ them good records, man." The core of the group consisted of Bo Carter, Walter Vinson and the brothers Lonnie and Sam Chatmon, who were related to blues legend Charley Patton. They took their name from either the popsong The Sheik Of Araby or from Rudolph Valentino´s movie The Sheik, and played both covers and original compositions. Their big crossover hit was the impressive Sitting On Top Of The World, recorded for the Okeh label in 1930. The best place to start exploring the rich musical world of the Sheiks is probably the compilation Stop And Listen on the authoritative Yazoo label.

As with many obscure artists stemming from the early part of the last century, I first heard about the Mississippi Sheiks thanks to the Bob Dylan connection. One of his first jobs as a sideman found the Minnesota bard playing a wild and bluesy harp on the Sheiks cover Sittin´ On Top Of The World at a recording session by blues performers Victoria Spivey and Big Joe Williams in March ´62. On his still somewhat underrated acoustic cover albums Good As I Been To You (´92) and World Gone Wrong (´93) he performed no less than three songs by the Sheiks, all with great results. As he says in his rambling but funny liner notes to the latter: "All their songs are raw to the bone & are faultlessly made for these modern times (the New Dark Ages) - nothing effete about the Mississippi Sheiks." Amen to that Bob.

Mississippi Sheiks - The World Is Going Wrong MP3
Mississippi Sheiks - Sitting On Top Of The World MP3
Mississippi Sheiks - I´ve Got Blood In My Eyes For You MP3
Big Joe Williams & Victoria Spivey - Sittin´ On Top Of The World MP3
Bob Dylan - Sittin´ On Top Of The World MP3
Bob Dylan - World Gone Wrong MP3
Bob Dylan - Blood In My Eyes (Live New York City 16-11-´93) MP3

Friday, May 2, 2008

Just another grab bag Friday

But boy have I got some great stuff for you tonight. There´s a demo from the new Bonnie Prince Billy album, a chilling John Cale live song based on one of Sam Peckinpah´s legendary westerns and some Junior Murvin for all you reggae lovers out there. And these legendary Flatlanders are back by popular demand too. For your further reading pleasure I´ve included some links to other blogs that deserve your immediate attention. Check ´em out. And hey, if you´re interested in Bob Dylan´s special meatballs recipe, go here. Bon appetit!

These nice folks over at Drag City gave us a taster for the new Bonnie Prince Billy album Lie Down In The Light, scheduled for mid-May. Can´t wait. The former Palace Brother is an avid reader too apparently: you can find his rather odd choice of books here. An example: "At night I am reading Teach Yourself: Islam. In between, I am trying to read snippets of a sailing instruction manual, a book about local (Northern California) plant life, and a book about food that pushes the eating of animal products, specifically fats and organs." Is that cool or what?
Bonnie Prince Billy - So Everyone (demo) MP3

Read a shocking piece in the paper some days ago about a man in Dallas who spent 27 years in the slammer, but after a DNA test has now been proven innocent. He left court a free man last Tuesday. Apparently this was the 18th time a wrongly convicted man was freed there, the highest rate for any town in the States. "Dallas is a rich man with a death wish in his eye, a steel and concrete soul with a warm hearted love disguise, a rich man who tends to believe in his own lies, Dallas is a rich man with a death wish in his eyes..." James Woodward, this song´s for you.
The Flatlanders - Dallas MP3

Junior Murvin is best known for his song Police And Thieves, succesfully covered by the Clash on their debut. But the whole album of the same name, a classic Lee ´Scratch´ Perry production recorded in his famous Black Ark studio in ´77, is worth every minute of your time. Island records released a remastered version in ´ 03 with a couple of interesting bonus tracks, one of which is Rasta Get Ready, a rastafied take on Curtis Mayfield´s People Get Ready. By the way: for a variety of great reggae songs on the Police And Thieves riddim, head over to the excellent So Well Remembered blog. Many goodies there.
Junior Murvin - Rasta Get Ready MP3

Speaking of other blogs, I just read a nice piece on Sam Peckinpah´s classic movie The Ballad Of Cable Hogue over at Night Time In The Big City. Interesting commentary on that great western featuring Jason Robards and Stella Stevens. Guess I´ll have to see it again some time soon. And my other fave Peckinpah flicks too come to think of it: The Wild Bunch, Ride The High Country, Pat Garrett And Billy The Kid, Bring Me The Head Of Alfredo Garcia... John Cale based an amazing song on The Ballad Of Cable Hogue. This intense solo version was recorded live in Utrecht, The Netherlands on February 8, ´83.
John Cale - Cable Hogue (live ´83) MP3

There´s one more blog I´d like to shamelessly plug here, and that´s Star Maker Machine. I say shamelessly because I´m one of the contributing authors. But the fun thing is: you can contribute too, dear reader. Just follow the instructions and start blogging. There´s a theme to post about every week, but that´s about the only restriction you´ve got. This week´s theme is City Songs, and you could just go for it and write a short piece about a ditty you really dig. Elvis Costello´s nifty waltz New Amsterdam would fit the bill perfectly.
Elvis Costello - New Amsterdam MP3

Let´s sign off tonight with an obscure gospel-blues artist that was brought to my attention recently by a friend of mine. Thanks again bud! Washington Phillips recorded only 18 songs between 1927 and 1929, and then 2 of them were lost in the mists of time. The album The Key To The Kingdom (Yazoo) collects the remaining 16 and it´s a great find. And that´s not a guitar you hear by the way, it´s a zither.
Washington Phillips - What Are They Doing In Heaven Today MP3