Tuesday, February 10, 2009

You Gotta Move

For The Sake Of The Song will be out of the loop for a short while, as we´re busy moving house. Our new headquarters are only 5 minutes away as the crow flies, but it still means that everything - including my music collection and my trusted iMac - will have to be boxed up for a short while. So bear with me, dear reader. I´ll do my best to be back online asap.

In the meantime, here are some songs with a Spanish flavour for you, as I´m glad I can continue to call this amazing country home. I´ve been living in Barcelona for nearly four years now, and I can´t think of any place I´d rather be.

Bob Dylan tells us that Spanish is the loving tongue, in a passionate live version recorded on 11 May ´76 in San Antonio, Texas, during the second leg of the Rolling Thunder Revue. Adios, mi corazon... El Vez, the Mexican Elvis, admits he´s never been to Spain (his loss), while the way underrated Kevin Coyne paints a hilarious picture of tourists in search of some southern sunshine. ´That waiter looks suspicious...´ Great stuff.

Finally, for some genuine Spanish sentiment, there´s El Camarón De La Isla, the greatest flamenco singer ever in my book. Soy Grande Por Ser Gitano features the great Paco De Lucia on guitar, while Arte Y Majestad is dedicated to Curro Romero, the legendary bullfighter from Seville. Olé! Agua!

Got to go now, as some guy named Pepe is ready to start disconnecting cables. Back soon, I promise!

Bob Dylan - Spanish Is The Loving Tongue (live ´76) MP3
El Vez - Never Been To Spain MP3
Kevin Coyne - This Is Spain MP3
El Camarón De La Isla - Soy Grande Por Ser Gitano MP3
El Camarón De La Isla - Arte Y Majestad MP3

Saturday, February 7, 2009

Cannon Ball

Or: the triumphant return of an obscure outlaw. Larry Jon Williams (born 1940 in Swainsboro, Georgia) was one of those musicians who couldn´t stomach the slick and conservative country establishment that ruled Nashville in the late sixties and early seventies. So he fought back and tried to do it his own way, together with pals like Townes Van Zandt, Mickey Newbury, Tony Joe White and Kris Kristofferson. The latter is on record stating about Larry Jon that ´he can break your heart with a voice like a cannon ball.´ Spot on.

Larry Jon Wilson recorded four albums in the seventies, of which I cherish his soulful ´75 debut New Beginnings most of all. Remarkably funky country rock coupled with exquisite songwriting: this is an album that should have been huge... but wasn´t. Do yourself a favour and check out the exemplary Ohoopee River Bottomland and New Beginnings (Russian River Rainbow) from that album, and Sheldon Churchyard from ´76 follow-up Let Me Sing My Song For You.

Larry Jon Wilson - Ohoopee River Bottomland MP3
Larry Jon Wilson - New Beginnings (Russian River Rainbow) MP3
Larry Jon Wilson - Sheldon Churchyard MP3

Since ´79 it was awfully quiet on the Larry Jon front. His albums hadn´t sold very well, as record company executives didn´t quite know how to put his rather eclectic music on the market. Wilson was too country to be called a singer/songwriter, and to soulful to appeal to a straight country audience. And since Larry Jon wasn´t the type to compromise, he simply dropped out and kept a low profile, doing only the occasional gig, playing when he felt like it. But now, 28 (!) years since he last recorded an album, Larry Jon Wilson´s back. The tiny British label 1965 Records managed to locate the legend last year and persuaded him to have another go at it.

Larry Jon Wilson was recorded more or less live in a 15th floor condo in Florida over a ten day period. Gone are the drums, the funky basses and the electric guitars, and Wilson of course sounds older, sadder and wiser. That mighty baritone still has it though. With just a sparse acoustic guitar and sometimes a melancholy violin for company, Wilson tells his stories in a stark setting, which brings Johnny Cash on his first American Recordings outing to mind a bit. A mix of covers - Willie Nelson´s Heartland amongst others - and originals, of which Throw My Hands Up just might be the story of his life: ´Music city´s trying to break me, they never knew how to take me, never thought it would make me wanna come home...´

Larry Jon Wilson - Losers Trilogy MP3
Larry Jon Wilson - Throw My Hands Up MP3

Thursday, February 5, 2009

For Lux

Just received the sad tiding that Cramps vocalist Lux Interior died yesterday of a previously-existing heart condition. He was sixty years old. Lux was a great singer and an outrageous performer who almost single-handedly revitalized the rockabilly genre in the early eighties. He walked the walk and he talked the talk. 

Albums like Songs The Lord Taught Us (´80), Psychedelic Jungle (´81) and the singles compilation Off The Bone (´83) should be in every record collection. Here are some Cramps favorites in his memory.

The Cramps - The Way I Walk MP3
The Cramps - Lonesome Town MP3
The Cramps - Drug Train MP3

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

On The Bus

"If you knew how I felt now,
You wouldn't act so adult now,
Hurry, hurry, here comes my stop..."

The Replacements - Kiss Me On The Bus MP3