Monday, 22 January 2018

The Night Grows Darker and the Day Grows Dim

January 14th marked the 70th birthday of T-Bone Burnett - singer, songwriter, member of Bob Dylan's Rolling Thunder Revue, Grammy Award winner for the 'O Brother Where Art Thou' soundtrack and noted producer of records by such artists as Elvis Costello, Los Lobos, Roy Orbison, Elton John, Robert Plant, Gillian Welch and Joe Henry. With all the success of his extra curricular work, it's easy to overlook the fact that T-Bone has also maintained an impressive recording career since the early 1970's. Here's the beautiful 'River of Love' from his self titled 1986 LP, my favourite of all his albums.

T-Bone Burnett - River of Love

Wednesday, 17 January 2018

All That Jazz #5 - Ian Carr

In 1972, following three albums fronting the original incarnation of Nucleus, Ian Carr put out the 'Belladonna' LP under his own name. This excellent album bridges the gaps between jazz, jazz rock and prog, featuring members of Matching Mole, The Soft Machine and Gilgamesh among the supporting cast of players. Also in the studio for the sessions was Allan Holdsworth, a soon to be legendary guitarist, later described by a certain Mr Frank Zappa as 'one of the most interesting guys on guitar on the planet'. 'Hector's House' showcases Holdsworth in full flow. Incidentally, if anyone happens to stumble across a reasonably priced original copy of 'Belladonna' on their travels, please pick it up for your old pal The Swede - it's currently going for between £180 and £300 online.

Ian Carr - Hector's House 

Previously on All That Jazz: 

Monday, 15 January 2018

All I Want

Snatch was a never a band as such, more a UK based collaboration between fellow exiled Americans Patti Palladin and Judy Nylon, which spawned just three singles between 1977 and 1980. In 1983 these tunes were gathered together, along with an appearance on a Brian Eno b-side, 'R.A.F.', and a handful of unreleased demos, to form a posthumous, self-titled compilation LP on the Pandemonium label.

After Snatch, Patti Palladin continued recording, alone and with Johnny Thunders, while Judy Nylon went on to release the terrific, Adrian Sherwood produced, 'Pal Judy' LP on On-U Sound in 1982, a highly recommended album, long overdue a reissue.

Snatch - All I Want (1978)

Friday, 12 January 2018

Johnny O'The Brine

Always moving, always busy, Alasdair Roberts returns on March 23rd, with a new LP 'What News'. The follow up to 2016's 'Pangs' was recorded with Amble Skuse & David McGuinness and is once again on the Drag City label. Among the record's eight songs are a couple I've seen Alasdair play more than once, in fact he's been performing his interpretation of 'The Fair Flower of Northumberland' on stage for over seven years.

Here's 'Johnny O'The Brine', the first taste of 'What News' and an audience recording of Alasdair and old mucker Will Oldham duetting on 'The Fair Flower of Northumberland' back in 2011.

Monday, 8 January 2018

Out of the Unknown

On my regular journeys up and along the A12, A14, A140 and M11 in the 1980's, travelling to concerts in London and the East of England, my one constant companion in the car would be a little portable cassette player. My faithful Vauxhall Viva had a radio, so I could at least listen to Peel when he was on, but otherwise radio programming in those pre-XFM/6Music dark ages could be a grim affair, particularly on the journey home in the wee small hours of the morning. So, with new batteries installed for the trip, I would head out on the highway with a miniature ghetto-blaster (affectionately dubbed the gateau-blaster) and a multi-volume series of carefully crafted, home-made, compilation tapes I dubbed 'Out of the Unknown'. The title, 'Out of the Unknown', derives from the 1984 debut single by Australian band, Died Pretty. The song was never far from my ears, heart or compilations at the time and it remains a stirring psychedelic masterpiece, dominated by Brett Myers' wailing guitar. Terrific stuff.

I caught Died Pretty in concert just once, in a support slot at Brixton Academy in the mid-1990's. I think I was the only non-Australian down at the front for their set. The band were tremendous that night, but, to my disappointment, they didn't play this song. Later still, in 1999, they released a career spanning compilation album entitled 'Out of the Unknown – The Best of Died Pretty', which, though packed with great tunes, bafflingly failed to include the title track! Perhaps by then Died Pretty had grown tired of that great debut single. I never have.

Died Pretty - Out of the Unknown

Thursday, 4 January 2018

…i listen to the wind that obliterates my traces

It's been a busy festive period for your old pal The Swede. I've accepted every shift offered to me, worked bloody hard and, it has to be said, enjoyed practically every minute of it. After seven years sat on my backside behind a keyboard, it's been a tonic for body and soul to get out into the real world again. The available hours are tailing off now though and soon I'll be back to just picking up the odd shift here and there, which is much as I suspected it would be, so over the next few days I'll be starting to dip into the many blog posts I've missed while I've been otherwise engaged. Meanwhile, as a reward for all my efforts, I thought I'd treat myself to a very special release that's been high on my wish-list for over five years.

Long term readers will know of my fondness for vintage photos (a daily blog of photos from my own collection, Before the Streets Were Aired, is now into its third year of business) and old-time American music. In 2011, the wonderful Dust to Digital label (think a 21st Century, ever expanding version of Harry Smith's 'Anthology of American Folk Music') issued '… i listen to the wind that obliterates my traces: music in vernacular photographs 1880-1955', a 184 page hardback book which features 150 old photos plus two compact discs containing 51 vintage tracks, all transcribed from 78rpm records (dust to digital, geddit?) recorded between 1925-55. This terrific set was put together by Steve Roden, a man who has trawled the flea markets of America for over 20 years, searching for interesting antique photos and fascinating shellac oddities. It's a true labour of love and the whole package is even better than I dared to imagine it would be. Here are a few peeks inside the book (click any photo to enlarge) and a couple of samples of the music on offer.

Lew Childre - It Don't Do Nothing But Rain (1936) 

Sylvester Weaver - Damfino Stump (1927)

Saturday, 30 December 2017

A Brief Look Back - Albums of the Year

A couple of weeks ago, I dragged my tired old bones off to catch the great Richard Dawson in concert. Long suffering readers of this blog will know just how many years I've waited to witness Dawson treading the boards and I'm delighted to report that he not only lived up to, but exceeded all expectations. 'Peasant' is far and away my favourite new LP of 2017 and this was easily the best gig I've seen all year. Claustrophobic medieval avant-garde folk-noir never sounded so good.

As I've mentioned previously, heavy work commitments have left me with no time to knock out any kind of in depth year-end review - indeed, I'm actually typing this on Xmas Day, my first full day off for two weeks and my last until January 7th 2018! So here, off the top of my head and in no particular order, are a few of the other albums that have rocked my world in 2017.

Flotation Toy Warning - The Machine That Made Us
Sleaford Mods - English Tapas
Davy Kehoe - Short Passing Game
Alasdair Roberts - Pangs
Peter Perrett - How the West Was Won
Low Chimes - Illumine
Michael Head - Adiós Señor Pussycat
Mark Lanegan - Gargoyle
Bonnie Prince Billy - Best Troubadour
Cz101 - 100 Bar Blues
Causa Sui - Vibraciones Doradas
Joshua Abrams - Simultonality
The Prophet Hens - The Wonderful Shapes of Back Door Keys (a 2016 LP, released in Europe this year)
The Myrrors - Hasta La Victoria
Hollow Everdaze - Cartoons
Brix & the Extricated - Part 2
The Granite Shore - Suspended Second
Sparks - Hippopotamus
Kamasi Washington - Harmony of Difference
Robert Plant - Carry Fire
Colter Wall - s/t
Girl Ray - Earl Grey
Pugwash - Silverlake
Four Tet - New Energy
Idles - Brutalism
Jane Weaver - Modern Kosmology
Jake Xerxes Fussell - What In The Natural World
Heron Oblivion - The Chapel
Moon Duo - Occult Architecture 1 & 2
Holly Macve - Golden Eagle
Sacred Paws - Strike a Match
Terry - Remember Terry
Big Blood - The Daughters Union (this would've been my favourite were it not for Richard Dawson)
Nadine Shah - Holiday Destination
Micah P Hinson - Presents the Holy Strangers
Omni - Multi-Task
This is the Kit - Moonshine Freeze

Several of these records (and no doubt some of the others I've forgotten to include) were introduced to me by one or more of my esteemed blogging chums, for which I can never thank you enough. Over the past couple of years I've noticed that I'm falling ever further behind when it comes to contemporary releases, as reissues and new-old discoveries take up more and more of my attention. In 2017, for instance, three of my most played albums have been 'Bright Phoebus' by Lal & Mike Waterson, the Bob Dylan 'Trouble No More' box set and the marvellous Tony Williams Lifetime 'Live in New York', recorded in 1969, but issued for the first time this year on Hi Hat Records. There just aren't enough hours in the day. 'Time....' to quote the great John Cooper Clarke, '....the old enemy on the wrist'.

I'm off to enjoy another festive glass of wine, so I'll stop waffling and take this opportunity to wish one and all a happy, safe and peaceful 2018.

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