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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.

Band of Joy - You Cant Buy My Love

Hope you were up early to catch Robert Plant and His Band of Joy on the Andrew Marr show:

Justin Townes Earle - New Album Harlam River Blues

Justin Townes Earle's new album is released on 14 September, and what I have heard sounds fantastic.

Here is the lead track: