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Friday, 17 December 2010

Forgotten Album Friday #19 - Maria McKee

Universitry days and  Lone Justice / Maria McKee provide the happiest of memories, of a new friendhip which would prove to be the longest lasting, a great gig in the QMU whetre Maria and the boys provide a blsitering set with a great cover of Sweet Jane.

A couple of years on and Maria chucks the band and release a superb solo album which is really an extension of the sound and sensibility of Lone Justic, horridly overproduced by Mitchell Froom.....who was everwhere at the time. Great songs though and very much overlooked....great amazon review here:

This album did not change the world. This album did not change my life; it is unlikely to change yours... but you may feel empathy, you may feel heartsick, you may feel like you've been put through an emotional grider, you may feel giddy at the anthemic swoops of 'Panic Beach', you may sense the fragility portrayed by the singer. This is not an album that is best judged by 30 second clips or one straight listen. Take time to get to know it, let it into your soul. 'I've Forgotten...' is a nice reversal of the more common cry from a lover who feels their partner has lost passion - here it is the singer that has lost the feeling... "Oh honey please don't cry, I'm sorry and ashamed" is a pitiful admission that more of us can relate to than would admit. 'To Miss Someone' is lyrically along the lines of 10cc's 'I'm Not In Love' but admits more vulnerability, and has been covered by Feargal Sharkey (Maria wrote his UK number one, too). The next track was covered by The Dixie Chicks, but try not to let that put you off, a cry from the lonely and rejected - "I'm smothered by this emptiness". 'Nobody's Child', co-written by Robbie Robertson puts in an appearance before the glorious epic of struggling performers that is 'Panic Beach'. The album then falls away to merely very good until the exquisite love song, 'Breathe'..."I was scared when you came into my room, the walls became the sea, your voice was the moon"... pause to visualise it. The album originally ended with a Richard Thompson number to which Maria's voice is well-suited, but in the days of adding tracks to make you buy the CD format 'Drinkin' In My Sunday Dress' was added; very good as such added tracks go, but programme your CD player to move it to the middle of the album! This a great album from a singer-songwriter who seemed to be at the peak of her powers, although if you like your music loud try a later album.

Later Show Me Heaven  and  A Good Heart was written about The Heartbreakers Benmomt Tench who quickly replies with You Little Thief, both classic singles performed by Mr F Sharkey....and soon Ricky Ross was intoning that Maria was a Real Gone Kid!

Key Tracks

I've Forgotten What It Was In You (That Put The Need In Me)
Am I The Only One (Who's Ever Felt This Way?)
Panic Beach
Has He Got A Friend For Me?

Wednesday, 15 December 2010

Springsteen Webcast

I understand that the live film of songs fronm the Promise recorded on the Asbury Park Boardwalk a week or so ago will be broadcast this week.....keep your eyes peeled for information!

Now available here. onl;y 5 trackls, I assume more will be made available at some point:


Thursday, 2 December 2010

Even if you are Brandon Flowers - what else you gonna play in the Stone Pony

Gaslight Anthem - American Slang

I have got a serious backlog of cd's to catch up on, including American Slang.

I think the Gasligh Anthem are a great band full of energy and quoting Stuart Baillie "The street corner boys are a bit handy, the girls comb their hair in rear view mirrors and the imperial doo wop gang is singing just fine". I think you get the picture.

But is it just me that is thinking....The Alarm?

Sunday, 21 November 2010

The Decemberists - The Kings Is Dead Preview

The Band are playing Glasgow and across the UK in March.

Here is a teaser for the forthcoming lp

Saturday, 20 November 2010

Heroes murdered


Springsteen Tour 2011 / 2012

Update! 18/03/2011

the word is now a springsteen Solo album this summer, toured, then a E Street tour and possible album.

In the meantime April 16th record store day is next up!

I hear a strong rumour of a stripped down band (Darkness Era) and Arenas only commencing in March 2011 Australia, moving to Europe and then the States.

Watch many spaces......

First updated information:

Bruce Springsteen and The E Street Band will perform tracks from the Promise live in Asbusry Park on 7th December. Not a gig as (for a future webcast) such but it is of note they are rehearsing material and that this will also be in front of a small live audience....

Second Update:

A very small audience was invited inside to watch the loive performnace of songs from the Promise.  They were mostly contest winners who entered a drawing through the Springsteen fanzine "Backstreets." David Lindley and Charlie Giordano joined the E Street Band 78 line up (no Suzie, Nils or Patti)

Songs played in front of the audience for the taping:

1. Racing In the Street (1978 version)

2. Gotta Get That Feeling

3. Outside Looking In

4. One Way Street

5. Come On (Let's Go Tonight).

6. Save My Love

7. The Brokenhearted

8. Ain't Good Enough for You

9. The Promise

10. Talk To Me

11. Blue Christmas

also rehearsed Candys Boy.

Update 2: January 14, 2011

The legendary icon of American rock music Bruce Springsteen could be coming to Zagreb’s Maksimir stadium this year. The Croatian news website Dalje lists the singer’s still unconfirmed arrival as one of the main events to look forward to this year.

Thursday, 18 November 2010

Forgotten Album Friday #18 - The Go-Betweens, 16 Lovers Lane

By way of background The Go-Betweens were an indie rock band formed in Brisbane, Australia in 1977 by singer-songwriters and guitarists, Robert Forster and Grant McLennan. I think they were in Gl;asgow for a while and maybe recorded there, hopefully someone will let me know. They were later joined by Lindy Morrison on drums, Robert Vickers on bass guitar and Amanda Brown on violin, oboe, guitar, and backing vocals, before disbanding in late 1989.

Forster and McLennan reformed the band in 2000 with a new line-up, but sadly McLennan died on 6 May 2006 of a heart attack and The Go-Betweens disbanded again.

Robert Foster has several excellent solo albums but I think his work with the Go-Betweens was where he was at his peak.

16 Lovers Lane is one of the finest alternative pop albums of the mid 80's and as good a set of ten songs put on disc by any group in the late 80's/early 90's. The two songwriters, McLennan and Forster, are in absolute top form, balancing guardedly optimistic upbeat numbers with poetic, soul-searching ballads and duets. The central theme throughout the record deals with the unspoken complexities of growing older with love and friendship, and the sometimes poignant contradictions between melancholic regret and hopefulness for the future.

What also makes this album different from its predecessors is the ease with which it all seems to come together. On the surface, the songs all seem simple and effortless, but there is a more complex sound once you get into the album. Like Cosmic Rough Riders,  Lloyd Cole, Aztec Camera they  take simple elements of acoustic guitars and major chords and weave them into something so rich.

An under-appreciated band.

A great pop album.

Key tracks

Love Goes On
Love Is A Sign
Streets Of Your Town
Dive for your memory
Was There Anything I Could Do

Tuesday, 16 November 2010

The Promise

I prefer the solo Bruce piano version from 18 tracks.....there. I've said it!


Friday, 12 November 2010

Forgotten Album Friday #17 - Roddy Frame The North Star

Ropddy Frame was of course more or less Aztec Camera however in 1998 for some reason he decided to drop the Aztec Camera band name probably because of the poor showing of the Frestonia lp, and this was his first solo album.  You will probably have heard the lead track / single Reason for Living which is one of my favouritre Roddy / Aztec camera tracks.

The production on the album is fairly familiar if you like the sound of Aztec Camera with a clean sound typical of his work. The album kicks off with a great track "Back To The One" which sets the tone for an album full of great songs . The North Star, Hymn To Grace, River of Brightness and Bigger, Brighter, Better are all just great Roddy Frame songs.

 "Bigger, Brighter, Better" shines with its irresistible hook vand positive lyrics. "Autumn Flower" begins with a piano then carries on with a hypnotic bass line. "Reason For Living" lifts off with the opening bars of Springsteen's "Born To Run" before driving towards a climatic chorus and, finally, "Hymn To Grace" closes the album with the now familiar acoustic farewell. Roddy Frame is in superb form through this album and if you were an aztec Camera fan and this sneaked bye you I would thoroughly recommend this lp.

Key tracks

Reason For Living
North Star
Bigger, Brighter, Better
Back To The One
Hymn To Grace

Wednesday, 10 November 2010

The Promise Box Set - Has arrived! First thoughts

What a stunning set! I cannot believe the quality of this and certainly well worth the £80 or so you can expect to pay.

I have only done a quick skim through the 21 unreleased tracks and don't really plan to do a big break down track by track as they are pretty much what you would expect - some sound like they would be ideal on a Roy Orbison lp and others would have made great additions to Southside or Gary US Bonds lp's that some of this (and the tracks material) surfaced on. There are some absolute gems over the two cd's and as you can imagine there is the odd track or two that makes you double take being almost familiar but not quite (as an example the opening line in Spanish Eyes being later reworked in I'm On Fire, and the initial write of Factory which is C'mon Let's Go Tonight, the line The Man on The Radio Says Elvis Presley dies which turned up much later in a b side).

Certainly well worthy of release but there is no doubt that the original Darkness lp got the track listing spot on.

Like most people the bits I am looking most forward to are the DVD sections and in particular the live 1978 set. I will write a note on these when I get the chance.

Essential listening:

Racing In the Street ('78)
The Brokenhearted
Save my Love
Wrong side Of The Street
Spanish Eyes
Cmon (Lets Go Tonight)
The Promise
City Of Night

and the hidden track

The Way

Tuesday, 9 November 2010

New Decemberists lp - The king is Dead

As a follow up to the excellent Hazards of Love, The Decemberists release a new album in January and here is the tracklisting.

1. Don't Carry It All
2. Calamity Song
3. Rise to Me
4. Rox in the Box
5. January Hymn
6. Down by the Water
7. All Arise!
8. June Hymn
9. This is Why We Fight
10. Dear Avery

A free download of Down By The water is now available, follow this link:

Monday, 8 November 2010

Springsteen Stunning Version of Candys room

If this does not whet you appetite for the forthcoming DVD portions of the Promise box set, I dont know what will. Bruce and the band are in absolutely searing form here and it is a timely reminder that no matter how good the out-takes prove to be, the original darkness On the Edge Of Town album is his best work.

Great New Manics Video

Monday, 1 November 2010

Springsteen The Promise First Listen

NPR are streaming 15 of the new tracks from the Promise Box Set.

You can enjoy them here:


Friday, 29 October 2010

Forgotten album Friday #16 - Iris deMent The Way I should

I am note sure how familiar you will be with Iris DeMent and I think her albums might be a wee bit of an acquired taste, no matter she is an excellent songwriter and performer who got great acclaim for her first two albums Infamous Angel and the Grammy nominated My Life, both of which are pretty firmly in the Country end of Americana.

Both of those albums I would highly recommend.

For her third album Iris went for a bigger sound and moved slightly away from her focus on personal relationships and living in a small town and its values to look outwards dealing with big issues like corporate greed, Vietnam, child abuse and poverty. The album is much bigger in its sound as well with an almost rock feel and pace to the album at times.

The key track on this album is without doubt the superb Wasteland of The Free which is a protest  song up there with the very best of them where Iris sears through her damming indictment of businessmen, politicians and the negative influences on youth. John Jennings who you may know through his work with mary Chapin Carpenter is on outstanding form omn this track. Another cracker is the title track which features nice guitar work from Mark Knopfler.

Elsewhere Iris does not lose her touch of connecting with simple emotional songs and her quiet personal faith on songs like When My Morning Comes Around and I'll Take My Sorrow Straight.

A highly recommended lp.

Key tracks:

When My Morning Comes Around
Theres a Wall In Washington
Wasteland of the Free
The Way I Should
Walkin Home

Wednesday, 27 October 2010

Happy Xmas From The Indigo Girls!!


New Springsteen 7" Single - Save My Love / Because The Night

Well the good news is that a limited edition 7" single is to be released to support local record stores. Looks like a US only release though so that is the bad news!

If you are in the States and have access to a good local record store the date of release is 26 November, nice artwork...

Tuesday, 19 October 2010

Celtic Connections 2011

An outstanding programme of live muisc again for January 2011. Including Justin Currie, Love and Money, A Dylan 70th tribute night, Marty Stuart, Teddy Thompson.....

Check the link here:


Monday, 18 October 2010

New Kim Richey Video - Wreck YOur Wheels

From her excellent album of the same name:

Saturday, 16 October 2010

Bowie Song to be murdered

 I am still reeling from the news that the karaoke TV contenders are set to murder the classic Bowie song Heroes. That's my Christmas ruined.

Thanks a lot Simon Cowell.

Friday, 15 October 2010

Forgotten Album Friday #15 - Whiskeytown Pneumonia

Ryan Adams can be a musical genius and his work with his first band Whiskeytown is well worth seeking out. Pneumonia was recorded in 1998 but was not released until 2001 due to some legal hoo ha with the record label and possibly some of the band members. The album is more of a solo Ryan Adams album although he has said in a number of interviews that the album would never be released if he had anything to do with it. Fortunately it was released and seems to have softened his views on the album in recent times.

While Pneumonia may not achieve the classic status of the band's best album Strangers Almanac (1996), it comes close.  The songs bounce from the horn-laden "The Ballad of Carol Lynn" to the orchestral sound of "Under Your Breath," a song that would be equally at home on Adams' solo album, Heartbreaker.

The album is produced by Ethan Johns, who produced the early Ryan Solo albums amongst many other things and as you would expect he gives this album a much more polished sound that the earlier Whiskeytown albums.

Essential tracks:
Under Your Breath
The Balld of Carol Lynn
Jacksonville Skyline
Reason To Lie

Thursday, 14 October 2010

History Post #1 The River Bruce Springsteen

The River was released 30 years ago this week (the date varied across the globe). The album was of course pre internet and pre MTV so it was preceding by a huge marketing campaign in the music press (NME, Melody Maker etc.).  Accordingly I think this is one of the first lp's I was actively anxious about the release coming.

It is funny thinking back now when I got the lp I literally did not know what to expect. I was amazed and transfixed at the packaging with its mix of straightforward and slightly surreal packaging. I soon realised that this was deliberate, a mix of the exuberant, the dark, the object you yearned for. Just like the album. An exuberant track followed by something much more dark, hope and yearning followed just as quickly by despair.

Spot the difference on my Vinyl copy:

Wednesday, 13 October 2010

Tom Petty Damn The Torpedoes - Deluxe Re-issue

On November 9 in North America and November 15 in the rest of the world an expanded and remastered Deluxe Edition of Damn The Torpedoes will be released! The deluxe edition features previously unreleased tracks from the Damn The Torpedoes sessions and will be available with a choice of four formats (1) on two-CDs, (2) on one audiophile quality Blu-ray disc, (3) on 2 180-gram vinyl LPs and (4) as an iTunes LP.

All formats of the Deluxe Edition will come with nine additional bonus tracks not included on the original album. Seven of these tracks are previously unreleased including two studio tracks from the original Damn The Torpedoes sessions: “Nowhere” and “Surrender.”

The never-before-heard “Nowhere” was thought to have been lost in 1979 when the tape boxes were being moved daily to avoid the possibility that court bailiffs would claim them as part of Petty’s assets in the lawsuit at the time. The original 1979 recording of “Surrender” is also included on the bonus disc. “Surrender” was a mainstay of Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers’ concert setlists for many years although this original studio version recorded for Damn The Torpedoes, which includes Stan Lynch on drums, never saw the light of day until now.

Also included on the bonus disc is the original demo for the B-side “Casa Dega” and an alternate take of “Refugee” as well as a trio of live performances at London’s Hammersmith Odeon (March 6, 1980), including “Don’t Do Me Like That.”
Digitally remastered from the original analog master tapes, all formats of Damn The Torpedoes – Deluxe Edition also feature liner notes by noted rock journalist/author David Fricke, rare photos, and lyrics to each track.
The vinyl and Blu-ray versions of the Deluxe Edition also include a free download of the entire album in one of three high quality digital formats.

Here is the Damn The Torpedoes Deluxe Edition bonus disc tracklist:

1. Nowhere (previously unreleased)

2. Surrender (previously unreleased)

3. Casa Dega/B-side

4. It’s Rainin’ Again/B-side

5. Shadow Of A Doubt (A Complex Kid)/Live - Hammersmith Odeon 1980 (previously unreleased)

6. Don’t Do Me Like That/Live - Hammersmith Odeon 1980 (previously unreleased)

7. Somethin’ Else/Live - Hammersmith Odeon 1980 (previously unreleased)

8. Casa Dega (Demo, previously unreleased)

9. Refugee (Alternate Take, previously unreleased)

wee film clip here:

Frazey Ford Cover his Bobness on Radio Scotland Anothyer Country Show

I think this is a great version of the Bob / Emmylou classic One More Cup of Coffee:

Friday, 8 October 2010

New Dar Williams cd Features Gary Louris, Mary Chapin Carpenter

I dont have much details but here is the amazon blurb:

This October, acclaimed singer-songwriter Dar Williams returns with reinterpretations of her most cherished songs on a definitive double CD release spanning her entire career from 1993 s The Honesty Room through 2008 s Promised Land. This unique two-disc set is comprised of all new acoustic recordings of her most loved songs featuring such luminaries of the folk scene as Mary Chapin Carpenter, Patty Larkin, Gary Louris (of the Jayhawks; Gary also produced the album) and Sara and Sean Watkins (of Nickel Creek), and a greatest hits compilation featuring all the best songs from her nine-album career. This exciting release offers a unique new take on Dar s music, with the two full length discs providing great value for fans new and old.

Disc: 1

1. Calling The Moon

2. If I Wrote You (feat. Gary Louris)

3. Spring Street (feat. Gary Louris)

4. I'll Miss You (feat. Gary Louris)

5. The Christians And The Pagans (feat. Sara and Sean Watkins)

6. What Do You Hear In These Sounds (feat. Gary Louris)

7. The One Who Knows (feat. Mary Chapin Carpenter)

8. The Babysitter's Here

9. As Cool As I Am (feat. Gary Louris)

10. You Rise And Meet The Day (feat. Gary Louris)

11. Iowa (feat. Gary Louris, Sara and Sean Watkins, Motherlode & Mary Chapin Carpenter)

12. When I Was A Boy (feat. Patty Larkin)

Disc: 2

1. It's Alright

2. Are You Out There

3. As Cool As I Am

4. If I Wrote You

5. February

6. The Mercy Of The Fallen

7. The Easy Way

8. The One Who Knows

9. Teen For God

10. After All

11. Book Of Love

12. The Beauty Of The Rain

13. The Babysitter's Here

14. Better Things

15. Spring Street

16. The Ocean

17. Closer To Me

18. Empire

19. End Of Summer

20. When I Was A Boy

Forgotten album Friday #14 Steve Forbert - The Streets of This Town

This album was released in 1988 by which time Steve's career seemed in a bit of a hiatus and he had not had a release for about 6years. As a result this fine album was pretty much overlooked on its release which is a great shame as it contains some of his finest work.

I don't know much about the band that play on the album but the production is by Gary W Tallent and he had obviously picked up a few tips while working on the Springsteen sessions as the album sounds fantastic and the sometimes fairly sparse sound of Forbert is fleshed out with a fuller band sound. Tallent does not opt for dropping in fellow E Street Band members on the record and I think that is a good thing. Only two cameos - Nils Lofgren plays guitar on Wait A Little Longer and former E Streeter Ernest "Boom" Carter adds a bit of percussion to Don't Tell Me.

From the wonderfully  optimistic opener "Running On Love", to the rockin' urgency of "Don't Tell Me (I Know)", the nostalgia of "I Blinked Once", to the bleak border tale of "Mexico", to the pop sounds of "On The Streets Of This Town" and "Perfect Stranger", to the perfectly-placed penultimate cut "Wait A Little Longer", to the nice closer "Search Your Heart" -- this is Forbert's finest hour, from start to finish. 

Key tracks

Running On Love
On The Streets of This Town
Wait A Little Longer

BBC4 Songwriters Circle - Boo Hewerdine and Justin Currie Tonight 10:15

This looks like being a great programme:


Justin Currie, Chris Difford and Boo Hewerdine are the featured artists as BBC Four combines great singer-songwriters for unique concerts celebrating the craft of the song.

Filmed at Bush Hall on Uxbridge Road in west London, these concerts see three singer-songwriters perform their classic songs in turn, while helping each other out musically with harmonies and the odd guitar part. The artists only meet an hour or two before going on stage and, in between performance, take viewers inside their work, chattng about their songs, their history and background.

The three songwriters - Justin Currie, formerly of Del Amitri, who wrote hits including Nothing Ever Happens; Chris Difford, who mixes his solo work with Squeeze hits such as Up the Junction; and Boo Hewerdine, formerly of The Bible and perhaps best known for writing Patience of Angels for Eddie Reader - compare notes on songwriting, life after Top of the Pops and the male menopause.

Tuesday, 5 October 2010

Springsteen World Exclusive!! (possibly)

Listen in to the tremendous Ricky Ross Another Country Radio Show on BBC Radio Scotland this Friday Oct 8th at 8.00pm for what may well be a WORLD EXCLUSIVE first listen of the full track Save My Love from the forthcoming boxset.

You really did hear it first here....


As always though pleasemake sure you visit the brilliant backstreets.com pages for up to date news. And buy from there too if you can (and as I have done often)

Saturday, 2 October 2010

Better Things First Listen


BBC Radio2 has given Bruce and Ray Davies' "Better Things" a spin, and you can hear it online now.


— just click "Listen now," and advance to the 1:24:35 mark.

Wednesday, 29 September 2010

Ray Davies and Springsteen Duet - Forthcoming Ray Davies Album See My Friends

Released on 1 November this looks a really interesting release, not least becasue The Boss duets on the best ever Kinks single...

"Ray releases "See My Friends", an album of classic Kinks songs turned into unique collaborations on Universal UK on November 1st. (Europe to be same week, US to follow early next year) There is a new microsite for the album athttp://www.seemyfriends.co.uk/ which will be updated weekly with new information.

On this one of a kind album, Ray collaborates with a formidable selection of artists on tracks from his incredible songwriting career, revisiting his back catalogue and crafting new versions of his classic songs. Everyone from Bruce Springsteen to Metallica features on this diverse collection of material. 

Highlights include 'Days'/'This Time Tomorrow' with Mumford & Sons, 'Better Things' with Bruce Springsteen, 'You Really Got Me' with Metallica and 'A Long Way from Home' with Lucinda Williams and Ray's first choice with the late great Big Star/Boxtops singer Alex Chilton

"This project came about almost by accident," says Davies of the project, which was kick-started when he recorded a version of 'Till The End Of The Day' in the summer of 2009, with Alex Chilton.

"With some tracks I had to appreciate the style of the other artists, otherwise it would have sounded unbalanced. And I wanted the album to work as an entire listening experience but each track had a life of its own," explains Ray.

Ray was happy to go where the music took him, in every sense: Oslo via Denmark, Germany and Belgium to record with Metallica, New York to record with Jon Bon Jovi, New Jersey for Bruce Springsteen, Chicago for Billy Corgan from Smashing Pumpkins and his own north London base, the legendary KONK studios, for much of the rest. "This record is well-travelled already," explains Ray.

Paloma Faith, Jackson Browne, Black Francis of the Pixies, Lucinda Williams, Amy MacDonald and Spoon also feature on the record, which follows Ray's acclaimed tour of North America and the UK plus a stand out set on Glastonbury's Pyramid stage this summer.

The tracklisting for 'See My Friends' is:

1. Better Things - Ray Davies & Bruce Springsteen
2. Celluloid Heroes - Ray Davies, Jon Bon Jovi & Richie Sambora
3. Days/This Time Tomorrow - Ray Davies & Mumford & Sons
4. Long Way From Home - Ray Davies, Lucinda Williams & The 88
5. You Really Got Me - Ray Davies & Metallica
6. Lola Ray - Davies & Paloma Faith
7. Waterloo Sunset - Ray Davies & Jackson Browne
8. 'Til The End of The Day - Ray Davies, Alex Chilton & The 88
9. Dead End Street - Ray Davies & Amy Macdonald
10. See My Friends Ray Davies & Spoon
11. This Is Where I Belong - Ray Davies & Black Francis
12. David Watts - Ray Davies & The 88
13. Tired Of Waiting - Ray Davies & Gary Lightbody (Snow Patrol)
14. All Day And All Of The Night/Destroyer - Ray Davies & Billy Corgan "

Saturday, 25 September 2010

Station to Station - Deluxe Re-Issue

My copy arrived this morning and I have to say I am stunned at the quality of this set.

It is light on unreleased music, bar the live set, but the attention to detail, packaging and sheer quality are a joy.

I'll post some photos later.

Friday, 24 September 2010

Roddy Hart - Road Of Bones

Very limited edition of a new lp by Roddy Hart has jsut been released. Get yourself sorted...

The album was recorded in Scotland in Spring 2010, and features 10 new Roddy Hart original tracks:

1. Restless Soul

2. If We Should Meet Again

3. Waiting For The Sun

4. Close To The Flame

5. Boxes

6. Girl Called Jo

7. Edge Of Love

8. Day By Day

9. Playing Solitaire

10. Road Of Bones

Forgotten Album Friday #13 - Counting Crows - August And Everything After

I think that Counting Crows were a bit of a victim of their own success....how do you follow Mr. Jones....well with a cover of Big Yellow Tax I suppose, albeit several years down the line. There is much more to this band than the Hits compilation - and much more so than a cover of a Joni Mitchell song.

Counting Crow's "August and Everything After" is a brilliant debut album. The opening song "Round Here" sets the tone for the entire album, fantastic lyrical story-telling songs accompanied by great hooks and melodies.

While there is no there is no denying that "Mr. Jones" is a catchy pop song, there is way more to this album than that. This is an album of love and loss, of regret and of reaching for a better place. Duritz lyrics are superb and the band create a great sound-track for him. Its a bit like Van Morrison's vision of what he could achieve withe Caledonia Soul Orchestra. Duritz sounds weary a lot of the time on this record....but you have the feeling throughout than things are going to work out fine.

Essential tracks:

Round Here: 
Mr. Jones:
Anna Begins:
Rain King: 
A Murder of One:

Side note: my friend Michael and I saw the band on this Tour. Barrowlands I think, 6 November 1994. Michael will know for sure! Great gig though.

Sunday, 19 September 2010

Springsteen - Darkness Cover Picture

Never seen before, full length, no typeface. Iconic.

Josh Ritter - Oran Mor

A great gig last night at Oran Mor in Glasgow with Dawn landes supporting Josh Ritter. I think they are Husband and Wife actually.

I was too busy enjoying myself to take proper mental notes but the new material sounded fantastic live and the set list was excellent mixing in some great songs from his now pretty lengthy back catalouge, I think 6 albums now?

Highlights were:

Change of Time
Good Man

Wednesday, 15 September 2010

Darkness re-issue update

A "sneak peek" of some of the material was given last night in Toronto. Here is an early report:


"Racing in the Street" (rock version) This cut has mostly the same lyrics (although the car was a '32 Ford instead of a '69 Chevy), but the music is radically different. The piano is much more up-tempo, it's flooded with harmonica, and sonically it has a similar feel to "The Promised Land." Danny's great organ melody remains intact, but here it's smothered with a guitar solo.

"Gotta Get that Feeling" Perhaps the most girl group-esque of any song in Bruce's catalogue, this features some great backing vocals (I think it must have been Stevie), and the whole vibe of the song evokes the Ronnettes. Considering how often Ronnie Spector and Bruce crossed paths in '76 and '77, I wondered if this song might have been inspired by Bruce's introduction to her.

"Outside Looking In" Seems obviously inspired by Buddy Holly, with a tempo that evokes "Peggy Sue." A fun song that provides a lot of insight into the range of what the Darkness sessions had to offer.

"Someday (We’ll Be Together)" At one point in the documentary, Bruce noted that Landau was a big gospel fan, and this song might have been written with him in mind. Churchy backing vocals by what sounds like a trio of ladies, and a drum sound that reminds me of the one Jimmy Iovine created with Tom Petty on songs like "Refugee." Also, there's a great guitar solo that sounds like it walked right out of a Sergio Leone spaghetti western.

"Because the Night" In the intro, Landau mentioned that Bruce threw a lot of these songs out when they were still works in progress, so a handful of them needed touching up, and even some finished lyrics (similar to what theStones just did with the Exile on Main Street bonus cuts they issued earlier this year). I wonder if this is one of those songs, because while listening, I really felt like the chorus sounded distinctly like current Bruce instead of '78 Bruce. Is it possible this song was handed off to Patti Smith when it didn't even have a chorus?

"Ain't Good Enough For You" My favorite of the songs previewed. For anyone that's always believed the E Street Band is the greatest bar band ever, this song is for you. Featuring a handclap chorus and plenty of whoa-oohhs in the backing vocals, this is Bruce at his most fun. A good R&B feel, and similar to the work Southside Johnny was doing at the time, this also features one of the most unusual lyric pieces I've ever heard from Bruce, name-dropping his then-engineer: "cool like Jimmy Iovine." Considering how famous Bruce is for creating characters within his songs, he's rarely referenced a real person, let alone a friend.

"Talk to Me" Extremely similar to the well-known version by Southside Johnny, this is, nonetheless, a delight to hear in its original E Street version (though I liked the impromptu Bruce & Stevie version in the documentary even better).

"The Promise" Every bit as good as its legend. While listening to this song, you really gain understanding that it's the missing link. It's the transitory song where the characters from Born to Run became the characters on Darkness. In many ways, this is the moment where young, romantic Bruce became Bruce Springsteen: the man. For those of you who have only heard the re-recorded version from '98, you’re in for a revelation.

"Badlands" & "Streets of Fire" These performances were both taken from a complete performance of the Darkness album the band did in December of '09 in Asbury Park especially for director Thom Zimny to use for this box set. No Patti, Soozie, or Nils on these songs, just the guys that originally recorded the album (and, of course, Charlie filling in for Danny). The band nailed them both, particularly "Streets of Fire," a song I'd never seen in concert. Bruce told a funny story when he addressed the crowd after the sneak peak. Following almost two full years of touring, he and the band went to go record this live version of the Darkness album — but Patti told him he had to be home for dinner by 7. So when he got to Asbury Park for the filming, he told Zimny that he only had time to do two run-throughs; luckily, one of them was more than good enough.

"Candy's Room" Live in the studio from the original sessions, with Bruce shirtless and sporting an amazing afro (looking very much like Brad Delp, lead singer of Boston — it's clear Bruce has been hiding photos of this era from public display). It's unclear what band members are on the session, but Stevie's on percussion ("Miami, lookin’ good!" Bruce shouted right before they began). The song is much slower than what we’re used to, and I enjoyed thinking of an alternate reality Darkness on the Edge of Town where "Candy's Room" was the slowest song on the album and "Racing in the Street" was one of its best rockers. The song is good, but it's so radically different that I found it disorienting. It'll take a few more listens to really decide what I think.

"The Promised Land" & "Prove it All Night" – Two live performances from ’78 (different shows, though), that make clear how good the tour was. "Promised Land" was great, but the real treat here is "Prove It." For anyone that has never heard this song live from '78, it might be the best part of the whole box set for you. The version of "Prove It" I've had on a '78 bootleg from Jersey has, over the years, become my go-to song to play for anyone wondering about the E Street Band in concert. With the long piano/guitar intro that builds the momentum, the song was stretched out to a ten-minute-plus epic that rivaled "Rosalita" in show-stopping intensity. It also showcases, to great effect, the guitar hero side of Bruce that always seems to take the back seat to Bruce the singer and Bruce the songwriter.

Friday, 10 September 2010

Van Morrison - Soul

A new lp from Van is long overdue! Hope you enjoy this clip of one of the standouts from his last studio album Keep It Simple, with some outstanding guitar from the late Mick Green.

And while I'm here:

Springsteen - Save My Love

Folk are now putting together wee clips to accompany the first track from "The Promise". After a few plays I am really quite enjoying this track...


Gary Louris Solo Show mp3

Follow this link for mp3 files of Gary Louris performing solo at Truck America Festival (with artist permission)



[Total Time 56:43]

01 [introduction]

02 Angelyne

03 D.C. Blues

04 Tailspin

05 Everybody Knows

06 Listen Joe

07 Settled Down Like Rain

08 I Need You Tonight [new song]

09 Poor Little Fish

10 Save It For A Rainy Day

11 She Only Calls Me On Sundays

12 Waiting For The Sun

13 All the Right Reasons

14 I’m Gonna Make You Love Me

15 I’d Run Away

16 Blue

Bryan Ferry - You Can Dance

I'm quite looking forward to the new Bryan Ferry album Olympia, which promises a return to form. The lead single is You Can Dance which sounds to me like a Bete Noire era track and that is no bad thing. Flea on bass and Nile Rodgers on guitar certainly create a good sound.

Though what on earth he was thinking of with this video I'm not sure:

For more new check out this excellent Roxy Music / Bryan Ferry Site:


Forgotten Album Friday #12 - Hothouse Flowers Songs From The Rain

This is an album that I am amazed is not regarded as a classic. I think that the Hothouse Flowers suffered from never quite being one thing or the other, not a folk rock band, not a stadium rock band and not quite a band with an underground following like, say, World Party.

This is the third album from the band and was released in 1993 by which time the band were struggling to make any sort of impact and the slightly curious choice of Stewart Levine as Producer (Commodores, Simply Red) made you wonder where on earth they were headed....fear not though as the band produced a set of brilliantly produced, well crafted songs with a beautiful sound which mixed celtic themes with an atmospheric background.

Comparison with U2 and Waterboys cannot of course be avoided but I think this album in particular sees the band creating a sound of their own.

The key tracks are:

This is It (your soul) - one of my all time favourites
An Emotional Time
Thing Of beauty
Isn't It Amazing
Stand Beside Me

There is not a bad track on this album.....seek it out you will not be dissapointed.

Thursday, 9 September 2010

Wednesday, 8 September 2010

Kings of Leon Single - Radioactive

I am not a fan and I heard this today on the radio and it sounded a bit like a David Byrne cover! See what you think:

Download frenzy....

Well a couple of downloads:

Josh Ritter and Dawn Landes - 500 Miles


Jesse Malin - Burning The Bowery


Vic Galloway Interviews The Manic Street Preachers


Nor sure how long the link will work for.

Tuesday, 7 September 2010

Teddy Thompson - Bella

A fair bit off yet but word is a early 2011 Release from teddy Thompson will be entitled "Bella".

A wee reminder of the last lp! Updates to follow....

Sunday, 5 September 2010

Classic Bowie Commercial

Not sure how this passed me bye - pretty amusing though

Richard Ashcroft - Born again

Great video for one of the albums standout tracks. Though it sends me checking for the car alarm - listen and you will see what I mean:

New Manics Single - Its Not War Just The End of Love

Another cracking single from Manic Street Preachers. Journal for Plauge Lovers was an outstanding lp and I am hoping the forthcoming lp "Postcards From A Young Man" will be a big hit.

Manic Street Preachers - (Its Not War) Just The End Of Love

Ryan Bingham & The Dead Horses - Junky Star

You may not realise that you know Ryan Bingham but you have probably have heard his song The Weary Kind in the film Crazy Heart and he and the band provide Jeff Bridges backing band in the film.

Anyway...his new album Junk Star is due out on 14 September and it promises to be another essential release. I think this is a particularly good live version:

The lead single is Depression - and I hope you enjoy this live performance.