Saturday, 29 May 2010

John Wesley Harding Sings to a Small Guitar Vol 1

14 unheard originals in pristine studio quality spanning 15 years of JWH's career; all sung by JWH, solo on acoustic guitar, with occasional harmonica blast

You can buy the album for $14.98 here

This includes an immediate MP3 digital download and the subsequent mailing of the CD itself, housed in a beautiful mini-LP gatefold sleeve, including large poster of complete song-by-song list of every demo session of JWH's career.

There are no other ways to buy the record, and no other formats in which to buy it, though a digital only version of the album will later be available through iTunes.

Track Listing:

1. History In The Remaking (from JWH's New Deal demo)
2. Funny Old New World (from Confessions of St. Ace demo)
3. The Dark Waltz (from JWH's New Deal demo)
4. Be With Him (from Adam's Apple demo)
5. Circles (from Why We Fight demo)
6. The True Story of Buddy The Kid (from Awake demo)
7. Good For the Ratings (from The Name Above The Title demo)
8. The Splendid Life (from Who Was Changed & Who Was Dead demo)
9. I See You (from Why We Fight demo)
10 Its Never Too Late (from JWH's New Deal demo)
11. The Undercard (from Awake demo)
12. Dear Lawyer (from Who Was Changed & Who Was Dead demo)
13. Rock'n'Roll Code (from Adam's Apple demo)
14. Write What You Know (from Confessions of St. Ace demo)

Please go here to hear The Dark Waltz

The song Funny Old New World can currently be heard on his MySpace

Here is JWH's explanatory cover note that does not in fact appear on the cover (because the art was too beautiful to ruin with verbiage):

Throughout my career, I've chosen, for whatever reason, to make my demos in epic sessions often lasting three or four hours, thirty or so songs at a time. Each one of these demos, though it is only me and an acoustic guitar, gets a name that ends up as the first working title of the forthcoming album: from Love Songs In The Face of Social Adversity (1988) to Dilettante's Inferno (2006.) It's the unedited, alternative history of my albums, and, since I've never owned any equipment that could remotely be described as a "home studio", it always takes place in someone else's studio.

"JWH Sings To A Small Guitar" Vols I and II contain the best of these otherwise unreleased songs from the many sessions - none have been released, most have never even been played live. Often these songs were forgotten because I had written too many by the time I next made a record; sometimes because they didn't suit the style of the album I wanted to make. Some get passed from one demo tape to the next, changing titles on the way. Some, including many you know, never got recorded as demos at all because they popped up at the wrong time.

You'll find a complete sessionography of these tapes on a poster. You'll notice that some of the tapes are in alphabetical or reverse alphabetical order: I recorded them this way to stop me putting all my favourites at the top. Equal opportunities for all songs! Also, it's interesting to realise things I couldn't have told you (and to wonder why those things were): like the fact that 50/50 Split could easily have been on "Here Comes The Groom", or that When You Smile could have been on "JWH's New Deal", let alone "Awake" and "Confessions", before it was finally rewritten to become the closing track on "Adam's Apple", or that Byron Road was finally renamed Narrow Road after five years and three recordings. Why?

I am making my next demo of new songs next month, recording my next record of band new songs in November, and releasing Vol II of "JWH Sings To A Small Guitar" before the year is out.

In the meanwhile...
best wishes from

Friday, 28 May 2010

BoB #55 - Second Compilation

Bucketfull #55 was the first issue of the new century, and the first Terry and I put together without Joss and Joe. It came with the second cover-mount compilation that we’d solicited and put together. It was a contrast to the 50th issue comp in that this time we didn’t have the famous names; no Penns, Dickinsons, or Twilleys. But while many of the names weren’t instantly recognisable outside a small circle of friends there was a consistent strength to the material, and this CD was a success because it worked when people listened to it. They were drawn in by the strength of the songs, the performances, and the sequence. It is with this CD that Terry and I discovered that we shared an instinctual ability to sequence speedily and well, and thus far it hasn’t deserted us.

Of course there were legendary names: Epic, who’d died in late ‘97, The Wondermints (soon to become more famous through association with Brian Wilson), and Flying Color. The Epic track - ‘Farmers Daughter’ (erroneously credited to Wilson/Love) – came from a cassette Nikki had found with ‘Bucketfull Of Brains’ written on it and passed on. There were also three once-and-future Rockingbirds – in Chris Clarke, Dave Morgan, and Sean Read – all members of a rather good but lost Camden band Corolla; a band so obscure even to themselves that when I showed the tracklist to singer Robin Brookes he pointed to the name and said, “is that us?”.

The Wondermints were also interviewed at length by Jud Cost and appeared on the cover. There was also a commemoration of Epic written by Nikki, and illustrated by photos from Bleddyn Butcher. These latter were considered the Godfreys to be some of the most sympathetic shots of Epic – who didn’t tend to pose well (unlike his brother) – and Bled was later to send them prints.

Full contents:

Paul Collins, Epic Soundtracks, Mark Mulcahy, Michael Mazzerella (The Rooks), Robin Wills’ report on the LA International Pop Overthrow of 1999, Johnny Dowd, Andre Williams, The Paradise Motel.

CD Track List:

Words Weren’t Said – The Lears
Take It For A Ride – Flying Color
Mr Cynic – Jack & The Beanstalk
The One – Cloud Eleven
Meghan – Bikeride
Farmers Daughter – Epic Soundtracks
Is It Showing? – The Grip Weeds
Hold Of Your Arms – Mark Johnson
Ruby (8-track demo) – Venus Ray
Big Boy – Brad Jones
Geraldine – Mannix
Keepaway – The Idea
If I Was A Seed – Charlotte Greig
You Won’t Find Me (acoustic) - Peter Bruntnell
Not This Time – Corolla
Take It And Run – Weird Summer
Psycho-Della – Katmandude
Galactic Patrol (demo) – The Wondermints
Calling All Cars – The Scoundrelles
On My Way Back Home – The Sires

We still have copies of this issue available (£4.50 UK, £6 Europe, £7.00 US & ROW). In total we have four different issues with covermounts and as a special offer you can buy the lot at a reduced price (£16 UK, £20 Europe, £24 USA & ROW)

BoB #55

BoB CD Offer

Wednesday, 26 May 2010

Bucketfull Of Brains: News of #75

Right, following on from the State Of The Nation proclamation last month, here's a bit of hard news about BoB#75, and a little bit of promotion of our back issues.

We intend publishing the new issue at the back end of June. The entire contents are not quite settled as interviews and discussions are still in progress; anything flagged up therefore is a little provisional but if it doesn't make it into this one it will be in #76.

We're going to be looking at The Stones and The Stones in light of the reissues of Exile and Raw Power and The Stooges/Suicide shows at Hammersmith at the beginning of May. There are interviews with two venerable New Jersey bands Smash Palace and The Grip Weeds. A talk with two exciting young UK bands The Lucky Strikes and Henry's Funeral Shoe, and maybe a chat with the Aussie legend Kim Salmon.

I was over at Minus Zero yesterday seeing Bill Forsyth and Mick Dillingham (almost invisible behind the Westwood One banner below) and taking away some back issues; sad to see the shell of what's been a little oasis for a good part of my life. How it must feel for the Bills? But it has made me take a hard look at the stock of back issues we actually hold. It's an intriguing mixture and quite surprising what's actually rare as hens' teeth and what we're overflowing with. Couldn't help but be reminded of Jon Storey's shed (a tale for another time).

So over the next few weeks and months I'm going to be revisiting those back issues and promoting them here. In the meantime if you've got gaps in your collection do contact us direct and we'll see if we can help you - and alternatively if you have copies you want to dispose of do let us know, some we won't need but quite a few are likely to be of interest.

In the meantime you should be aware that issue #74 is selling out fast (even though we did a second printing) so don't delay or it'll be gone. We're still running a special offer on #74, #73, and #72, and why not take out a subscription on the next three issues which should see you through to the end of 2010.

BoB #74

BoB 3 Issue Subscription

Tuesday, 25 May 2010

Eric and Amy off to the US of A

The wonders of the interweb allow us to see a couple of songs Wreckless Eric and Amy Rigby filmed last night in the wilds of rural France. They're off very soon to play shows in the States (some with Joe McGinty and Ward White) and promote their new covers album which you can buy here.

The new album's called Two-Way Family Favourites; bet Eric came up with that one.

Thursday, 6 May 2010

BENJAMIN FOLKE THOMAS – Bucketfull Of Brains Records – BoB101 – Release and launch

Over the years Bucketfull Of Brains has released a whole series of records featuring people we like. This began with flexi-discs of The Rain Parade, Robyn Hitchcock, The Barracudas, and more, progressed to 7’ singles – notably Dream Syndicate’s ‘Blind Willie McTell b/w The Bevis Frond’s ‘High In A Flat’, and REM’s ‘Academy Fight Song’. There was a Loose Gravel CD and a series of cover-mounted compilation CDs in the late 90s.

With its renaissance as a print magazine BoB is now launching as a boutique record label and we are pleased to announce our first release. A six-track CD mini-album by BENJAMIN FOLKE THOMAS. Ben Thomas is a London- based, Swedish-born singer-songwriter. At 22 he’s one of the most exciting prospects coming out of the London acoustic scene, and a stalwart of The Easycome Club, The Betsey Trotwood, and Honky Tonkin’ Sunday.

Starting his musical career as drummer in a grunge band his life was transformed when he heard Kurt Cobain singing ‘In The Pines’ on the Unplugged record. Steeping himself in Leadbelly, Bob Dylan, and Leonard Cohen, by the age of 20 he was an excellent finger-picker, confident performer, and mature songwriter. Jaded Londoners didn’t know what had hit them when they first heard songs like ‘Paradise Lost (Heaven Found)’, and saw this robust performer with a stage presence recalling the Bob Dylan of two decades ago.

The record is released in a limited run on the very appropriate 24th May. It comes in a splendid gate-fold sleeve designed by an accomplished book designer with a portrait photo by Annabel Vere. It features musical contributions from Graham Knight, Steve Brookes, Paul Cuddeford, and Ange Boxall.

The record will be launched at The Betsey Trotwood on Tuesday 18th May. Copies will be available there, and Ben and his band will perform at 8.15. Later in the evening there will be a solo acoustic set in the bar. Entrance is £3.

"Stands out like Oliver Reed at an AA meeting". Will Hodgkinson The Guardian

Advance orders can be placed now and will be dispatched prior to the release date.

Monday, 3 May 2010

Anny Celsi and Nelson Bragg

Blimey what a week, and more yet. Thrown headlong into my new world. Wiped the dust of Camden Libraries off my boots for the last time on Thursday and it's just been the mad world of music ever since.

In fact it kicked off on Wednesday when I was playing tunes over at What's Cookin' for Anny Celsi and Viper Central. Anny has a fab album called Tangle-Free World which Kevin Mathews reviewed in BoB#74. It's a very 60s sound with lots of Wondermintsy types helping out and it's produced by Nelson Bragg. The opening title track is lovely with gorgeous sitar, and there's a cool cover of 'Some Velvet Morning'. The performance tonight was stripped down; just Anny on guitar and harmonica, and Nelson on drums; but nice versions throughout and Nelson did 'Forever Days' off his Day Into Night record.

Viper Central are a Canadian bluegrass band and they delivered the goods too. Anny and Nelson got up and sang with them on the last encore, an un-miked gospel song.

I was my usual contrary self. This is what I played:

The Morning I Get To Hell – The Duke And The King
Dear Head On The Wall – Charlie Sexton
Tell It To The Raven – Joey Kline
Bring Back The Past – Roky Erickson
Treasure Of The Orient – Shakin’ Apostles
A Public Execution – Mouse
Positively 4th Street – Bob Dylan
Downtown – Petula Clark
(I Know) A Girl Called Jonny – Rowland S. Howard

That’s How I Got To Memphis – Kelly Willis
Back In The Night – Dr Feelgood
Ghost On The Highway – The Gun Club
All The Action – Chris Wilson and His Shameless Pickups

Rhythm & Blues – Ben Folke Thomas
Follow The River – Danny & The Champions Of The World
Murder In My Heart For The Judge – Moby Grape
Love’s Melody – Elizabeth McQueen and The Firebrands
Still Learning – Darrell Bath
John Lawman – Roky Erickson
Sister Lost Soul – Alejandro Escovedo