Wednesday, 30 June 2010

Tapestry Festival - Sunday 4th July - One-dayer

There are tickets still available to the splendid Tapestry Festival held this year at Shenley. A one-dayeron this coming Sunday at the lovely Shenley Park, a walled garden in the Hertfordshire countryside.Formerly the Shenley Mental Institution the garden was where the staff and patients grew the food for the kitchens. In the 90s it was landscaped and terraced with great care by the current  occupiers the Shenley Trust.
The Magic Numbers
in ferociously rockin’ live form at the moment will be coming straight from the previous night's gig supporting Dylan at Hop Farm

The Jim Jones Revue
an absolute knuckle sandwich of a band, described in this April's Mojo as ‘the best rock’n’roll band on
the planet‘ sound like Little Richard jamming with the MC5, guaranteed to blow your ears off 

Kitty, Daisy and Lewis
Tapestry regulars virtually since birth still far too young to be this good 

The Trembling Bells
comparisons to the Fairports and Pentangle don’t tell the whole story, beautiful stuff from Scotland. The legendary Joe Boyd's favourite new band 

Zun Zun Egui
unbelievably difficult to describe, there are elements of Latin and Afro-beat in the mix they’re brilliant live, best show Tapestry saw in 2008,  been trying to book 'em ever since

Pretenders guitarist James Walbourne's new trio with brother Rob and mate
Carwyn. very soulful rock‘n’blues 

The Blacklist
great young St Albans band recent winners of Horn Of Plenty battle of the bands

Booze, food and other things:

Scotty and Raz from the Betsey Trotwood promise a good selection of ales at pub prices in their proper canvas beer tent. Also Hemel Hempstead brass band,  south Turkish cuisine and alternative press comic fair.
Tickets£35 (+ booking fee)
Buy here 

Tuesday, 29 June 2010

John Murry's The Graceless Age in the offing

Read a tweet from Chuck Prophet carrying the good news about John Murry having his new record completed.

Murry, who hails from Memphis, but now lives in San Francisco, used to play with Lucero and a few years back recorded a mighty album World Without End with another relocated Memphian Bob Frank. He was also centrally involved in the Waylon Jennings tribute Dreaming Waylon's Dreams.

There are now three tracks on John's website - 'California', 'Little Colored Balloons' and 'Ballad Of The Pajama Kid'. Keep an eye open for more and also check out his blog Pounding On The Black Notes

In BoB #71 I ran a short interview with John and Bob under the title of "We’re here to sing about killing people”. Here's a couple of reviews to give you a taste


Bob Frank was a coffee house singer in 60s Memphis and a friend of Jim Dickinson. His take on ‘Wild Bill Jones’ appeared on Dickinson’s Dixie Fried album and it led to a Vanguard contract. An eponymous release of 1972 is now as rare as hen’s teeth, as were sightings of Frank for many years.

It transpired he’d been in Oakland and resurfacing with the new century he turned out three new albums, revisiting old songs and older companions. Dickinson produced 2002’s Keep On Burning.

Now for World Without End he’s teamed up with John Murry, sometime member of Lucero, and they’ve made a very singular recording. It’s a collection of murder ballads, freshly written and telling real stories in new ways. Macabre and eerie, their settings and arrangements sometimes support and sometimes contrast the tales being told; a couple of tracks have an almost carnival feel to them. They run the gamut from simple folk styles to post-rock dissonance.

It’s a parade of unreliable narrators, legendary outlaws, and mythical figures. From the killing of Mormon founder Joseph Smith, to the life and bloody end of Mexican outlaw Joaquin Murietta whose severed head passes around a saloon in a jar, to the matter of fact tale of Bubba Rose’s inexplicable slaying of his boss. Most shocking of all is ‘Jesse Washington 1916’. Be wary of hearing this tale of a lynching in Waco from the victim’s perspective; it’ll haunt your dreams.



The murder ballad collection, World Without End, recorded with John Murry, has drawn attention to Bob Frank’s eponymous 1972 Vanguard release. Fortunately it hasn’t taken long for Décor to arrange its reissue, along with a batch of contemporary demos.

It shows him a spare and precise songwriter imbued with that same spirit found on Mickey Newbury’s Frisco Mabel Joy; the sense of defeat and aimlessness after the demise of the 60s dream. These are songs about winos, bums, and draft dodgers. ‘She Pawned Her Diamond For Some Gold’ is about persuading your girlfriend to sell her ring to buy dope, ‘Waitsburg’ tells what happens when you buy drink and go driving around. ‘Return To Skid Row Joe’, a marvellously constructed, poetic epiphany, shows the moment when you can’t avoid seeing what you’ve become.

Vietnam is an unspoken presence. ‘Cold Canadian Pines’, an affecting lament for the refuseniks in Canada, is contrasted with ‘When Johnny Was Called By The Draft Board’, just proving you’re damned both ways.

There’s also ‘Judas Iscariot’, a fine take on the Jesus story owing a debt to ‘Frankie Lee And Judas Priest’, and thus pointing to John Wesley Harding, a record this stands comparison to.

Both of those reviews appeared in Rock'N' Reel in 2007 and 2008. Sadly the Frank album never actually materialised in finished form so you'll still have to pay £100 for the original vinyl - always assuming you can find it.

Friday, 25 June 2010

Predate by Kim Salmon & The Surrealists

Free promotional download/radio track taken from the Grand Unifying Theory LP. More info here.

<a href="">Predate by Kim Salmon &amp; The Surrealists by BATTLE</a>

Thursday, 24 June 2010

No Country For Young Men - Alejandro Escovedo at The Borderline

Alejandro Escovedo is introducing one of his new songs, ‘Down In The Bowery’, explaining it’s written for his teenage son Paris - “an angry young man, graffiti artist and punk rocker” and recounting the occasion he asked he him what he thought of his music. Paris said “it’s old man’s music”. Alejandro persisted “you mean old-timey music?”. “No” replied Paris “old music for old people!”. Alejandro loves Paris for it, and the London audience do too, knowing that in his dad Paris has the exemplar of how getting older doesn’t mean ceasing to be young.

A few years back there was a real fear that Alejandro might be off to see Elvis, and so there’s a real joy pervading the Borderline, a club once a second home to many of this crowd, that he’s back and looking so well. Dressed in a dark paisley jacket, a red western shirt, very skinny black jeans, and winkle pickers he’s every inch the dude. He’s accompanied by guitar-master David Pulkingham, the bass of Bobby Daniel – one of those fine southern bassists who’s undemonstrative, totally unflashy and totally rock-solid - and long, long-time drummer Hector Munoz; Hector’s so straight there that you have this transient delusion that they just switched the drum machine on, and then he takes off and you know no machine has that intelligence.

This ‘record release party’, as Alejandro dubs it, is a wild electric show. The acoustic guitar comes out for only three or four numbers, and there’s no strings in sight. I wrote down the word ‘furious’ about five times; all in relation to the frenzied guitar interplay between Alejandro and David first manifested in ‘This Bed Is Getting Crowded’ and perhaps reaching its monstrous climax during the encore of ‘I Wanna Be Your Dog’. The former is one of a number from the new record Street Songs Of Love, and these and a selection from 2008’s Real Animal form the bulk of the set.

Thus there’s quite a few Chuck Prophet co-writes; most notably the beautiful ‘Sister Lost Soul’, initially written with Jeffrey Lee Pierce in mind but tonight sung for Stephen Bruton, and ‘Chelsea Hotel ‘78’ played with an abandon that certainly correlated to the wildness of that time. Also, of course, ‘Always A Friend’; the tune that’s had him sharing stages with Bruce Springsteen in recent years.

‘Street Songs’ itself is a little gem marking the creation of the new album, road-tested and literally built on the stage of Austin’s Continental Club over a series of weekly gigs. The street he sings about is South Congress where the Continental sits opposite the Austin Motel along from Mexican diners, antique clothes stores, and parking lots full of whirls of colour and Texas nightlife. It would be hubristic to compare the atmosphere off Charing Cross Road with that of the Continental (none of those divine waitresses for starters) but it was a gloriously evocative night and one of those shows that was sheer joy from start to finish.

Set List (as played)

‘Always A Friend’
‘This Bed Is Getting Crowded’
‘Tender Heart’
‘Everybody Loves Me’
‘Sister Lost Soul’
‘Down In The Bowery’
‘Chelsea Hotel ‘78’
‘Street Songs’
‘Real Animal’

‘After The Meteor Showers’
‘All The Young Dudes’
‘I Wanna Be Your Dog’
‘Fort Worth Blue’
‘Sensitive Boys’

Thanks to Amy Djarf for the photo, and Emma Tricca for the plate.

Tuesday, 22 June 2010

Minus Zero - The new shop opens

Here's some brilliant news that we really didn't expect. Bill Forsyth of Minus Zero has a new shop. It transpires that almost literally as he was leaving 2 Blenheim Crescent for the last time he was approached by someone from one of the arcades at the Westbourne Grove end of Portobello Road and pointed in the direction of a vacant unit.

He's now in and began trading last weekend. Not quite the same as the old shop - more paper, posters, more collectibles, a lot less CDs - but still a Minus Zero presence remaining in the same area.

In the same location you'll find Firebird Records and a Reggae stall too along with lots of antiques.

Red Lion Arcade
165-169 Portobello Road

Sat: 11.00 to 5.30
Sun: 11.30 to 5.00

Friday, 18 June 2010

The See See, The Keys and Instant Flight at The Stags Head on Sunday

Tnere's a cracking triple-bill at the The Stags Head on Sunday all kicking off at 7.30.

London-based THE SEE SEE are Richard Olson, Pete Greenwood, Kevin Peyok, Paulie Cobra and Ben Swank who originally hail from as far apart as Malmo (SE), Detroit (US), Leeds (UK) and Auckland (NZ). With histories in bands like The Soledad Brothers, The Waxwings and The Eighteenth Day Of May, together they set out for new adventures in rock and roll and psychedelia under the Ma Rainey-inspired moniker The See See.

After a debut single that sold out in under a week, a support tour with The Raconteurs and a reputation for lively, exuberant and occasionally chaotic live shows, The See See released their second (sold out) 7” single "Keep Your Head" in early 2009. The band are currently putting the finishing touches to their debut album which is due out in 2010.

In their former guise as Murry The Hump, THE KEYS recorded 3 sessions for John Peel, signed to Too Pure, were lauded by the NME for their ‘glorious jangle-pop’, counted Joe Strummer, Keith Allen and Damien Hirst among their biggest fans and were the “ best band in Britain” according to Alex James and Damon Albarn. Now firmly re-established under their new name the band’s fine pedigree on the local scene and well beyond, has seen them supporting Love legend Arthur Lee, and newer acts like Sleepy Sun and the Noisettes; and enjoying radio play on BBC Radio 1, BBC Radio Wales, Jonathon Ross’ Radio 2 show, and numerous 6music shows.

The Keys’ new album ‘Fire Inside’ was self produced and recorded with the help of producer Charlie Francis (R.E.M, The High Llamas) and shows that the Keys are right up there with the Super Furry Animals and Gorkys Zygotic Mynci as purveyors of high quality Welsh guitar pop.

, London based 4-piece band, has been described on several reviews as one of the greatest pop/rock/psychedelic bands in the U.K. of the past few years. It’s no surprise they‘ve been picked by Legendary Arthur Brown as his backing band from time to time - he features on 2 tracks on their 1st album"Colours & Lights"produced by Gary Ramon(Sundial). Their sound is influenced by The Doors, Beatles, Velvet Underground, Pink Floyd, Surf Music, Ennio Morricone, Rock'n'roll & yet the feel of the songs is timeless, catchy & powerful. Their new album "Endless Journey" released by Headspin Records/Clearspot, is having a very good response in U.K. and abroad & they are positively mentioned on biography”God of Hellfire". INSTANT FLIGHT are: Marco Magnani(guitar & vocals), Charles Bennett (keyboards), John O'Sullivan(bass), James Ovens(drums)Lucie Rejchrtova(Keyboards on their last album).They have played regularly in London, the rest of U.K.and Europe. They played on the same bill as Graham Coxon, Sun Dial, Pentangle, Arthur Brown himself, Country Joe & the Fish, Circulus & many more.

Thursday, 17 June 2010

Jason McNiff, Alan Tyler and Ange Boxall at the 12 Bar Club tonight

Jason McNiff (interviewed back in BoB#70) is at the 12 Bar Club tonight. There seems at last to be a new album on the horizon and recently he's debuted two impressive new songs 'April Cruel' and 'Students Of Love' both of which I imagine he'll play tonight. The gig also features Alan Tyler and Ange Boxall and apparently won't kick off till the football's over around 9.30.

Jason McNiff has made four albums, three for little London indie label, Snowstorm and one for Grand Drive's home label, Wonky Atlas. He is part of the country/folk music scene here in London, and name-checks John Hiatt, Bob Dylan, Lyle Lovett, Mark Knopfler, & italian songwriter, Fabrizio De Andre as favourite artists. Sometimes Jason plays in Italy with the Modena City Ramblers, and plays in a spin off group called The Narrow Men, with Dudu, Fry, & Daniele.

Tasmanian born and raised songstress, Ange Boxall resides in London, UK, and regularly visits Nashville, TN, USA. On recent visits, she has worked with legendary singer songwriter JD Souther - who famously played a key role in the formation of the Eagles and co-wrote their hits "Heartache Tonight," "Victim of Love," "New Kid In Town," and "Best of My Love". Meeting in an art gallery (as you do in Nashville!), the pair found an immediate synergy and began to collaborate. The result is the beautiful 'Lucky Day' duet and will be featured on Ange's forthcoming album. The album also includes co-writes with other immensely talented artists, Jim Lauderdale, The Wrights and The Arlenes, all of whom add a new and rich dynamic. The album, produced and engineered by Marc Lacuesta, began it's recording with Ange's 'Wagon Band' (Alan Gregg, Paul Lush and Steve Brooks), at Konk Studios (of Ray Davies fame) and was then taken to Nashville for the final overdubs, mixing and mastering. Other musicians on the album include the legendary BJ Cole on pedal steel, Eric Silver on guitars, Richard Causon and Tim Lauer on keys. Influenced by American folk and country sounds, Ange has always drawn inspiration from the singers she grew up listening to such as Carole King, Karen Carpenter, Dolly Parton, Patsy Cline and Dusty Springfield, as well as Joni Mitchell, Suzanne Vega and Sheryl Crow. Ange's own sound is often likened to her contemporaries Tift Merritt, Mindy Smith, Kathleen Edwards and a favourite, Patty Griffin. She sings songs about love, whether it's the longing for, mysteries of, forbidden or foolish. She writes about relationships between family members, lovers and running away. Her ideas come from experiences, observations and fantasies, as a means of self understanding and explanation. Whilst remaining eternally positive and optimistic, each song is crafted with careful consideration and enduring passion. Savouring the detailed web of song writing, the real craft of making music and the collaborative nature of the process itself, her direction is clear. Physical journeys have similarly taken her far and wide, from her remote homeland (home also to the famous Tasmanian Devil), from Morocco to Cambodia, New York to Istanbul. Her journey has been long. Her smile remains wide and her capacity to capture the poetry of music seemingly boundless.. The forthcoming album, Writing Letters, is due for an Autumn 2010 release.

Alan Tyler
began his pioneering English country rock adventure back in the early nineties with his band The Rockingbirds. A couple of commercially successful albums and an impressive CV of festival and TV appearances were not enough to keep that particular outfit together, but having been responsible for introducing English based Americana to many in the UK for the first time, Tyler has continued doggedly and has formed Alan Tyler & The Lost Sons of Littlefield (birthplace of Waylon Jennings) to realise more songs from the man Tim Perry of the Independent called 'one of the best writers of his generation'.

Tyler's ability to use the country medium to tell tales indigenous to England, particularly London, is no small feat; almost every other attempt at this has failed miserably. Tyler has found the perfect blend of tribute and originality.

Saturday, 12 June 2010

Alex Chilton meets Joe Meek

Thanks to Lindsay Hutton for directing me to this (also check his June 11th post for a report of the Chilton tribute show in Glasgow). In the late 90s Alex spent some time in Glasgow hanging out and cutting tunes with Francis MacDonald of Shoeshine Records, Teenage Fanclub, and numerous other projects. This recording comes from that period.

There are two Joe Meek covers here; 'Telstar' and 'Have I The Right', UK Number Ones for The Tornados and The Honeycombs respectively. For me this completes a interesting little circle. In 2008 with Big Star at Shepherds Bush Empire Alex talked about his respect for 20th Century British composers; he'd just played 'Till The End Of The Day' so we were expecting to hear about Ray Davies and Pete Townshend. But no, he meant Gerard Finzi, Frank Bridge and Percy Grainger, and then he got the band to play a bit of Elgar which he'd rehearsed up with them that day. From Enigma Variations, in a style very reminiscent of Joe Meek; got me thinking Chris And The Students -'Sweet Lass Of Richmond Hill'.

Thursday, 10 June 2010

Sean O'Brien - 'Leaves'

I’ve just received the new single from Sean O’Brien And His Dirty Hands. ‘Leaves’ is a long, beautiful, country-tinged ballad about parting and upheaval; there’s keening pedal steel from Max Butler, and O-Lan Jones and Chris von Sneidern providing vocal support. It’s going to be followed by a new album entitled Future Harvest.

O’Brien is a veteran of the Paisley Underground. He was in Davis in the late 70s, which also spawned the Dream Syndicate, and he played in the origin line-up of True West. Recently he’s put out a couple of cracking solo albums, as well as a career retrospective The Drug Of Memory which does go back all the way to Davis days and The Meantime with Russ Tolman.

The song can be heard on his MySpace. Meanwhile here’s a review of 2008’s Goodbye Game:

"Sean O’Brien was in an early incarnation of True West back in Paisley Underground days. For the last few years he’s been playing around San Francisco and last year released the splendid solo record, Seed of Mayhem. Now with a regular band, he’s wasted little time in getting together another release.

Goodbye Game is a dandy little package with something of an Eastern theme, and contents that roar along very nicely. What’s endearing about O’Brien’s work is his ability to take elements of recognizable influences, such as Nick Lowe, Television and Sgt. Pepper’s-era Beatles but never let them overwhelm. That’s partly down to his rich voice – little like John Cale but not so Welsh – but also to the strength of his songs.

The fine, arresting guitar intro to 'Take Your Pills' makes for a corking start, followed by the raucous ride of 'Warm & Sane' in tribute to Sleater-Kinney. 'Aftermath Fears', in more sedate time, with Julie Wolf’s strident organ, shows his political colors. The keening country song 'All That I Don’t Know' and the wacky skank and dubby vibe of 'Get Over Tunis' show yet more facets. And any record that employs the glorious voice of Chris Von Sneidern should always find favour."

Monday, 7 June 2010

Dustbowl with Phil Shoenfelt 30/05/2010

Here's Phil Shoenfelt playing with Dustbowl at Rodeo in Athens recently. They play 'Morning Blue' off Dustbowl's latest album Goin' Down on which both Phil and Jeremy Gluck guest and 'Cloak Of Virtue'. The latter comes from the long-lost Golden Vanity; the 1998 collaboration between Phil and Nikki Sudden eventually released by Easy Action last year.

An interview with Dustbowl will appear in BoB#75.