Thursday, 30 June 2011

Dogfishtrombone night at the 12 Bar - Sun 3rd July

Our good friend and BoB contributor Martin Dowsing aka Hungry Dog is putting on an evening at the 12 Bar Club this Sunday. Go along and support it, and get a free CD.

Dogfishtrombone presents

A night of country and Americana with…

Turnstile Junkpile + Scott Dennis (USA) + Simon Stanley Ward

12 Bar Club
Denmark Street
London WC2H 8NL
Doors 7pm

Turnstile Junkpile  10pm

Taking their name from a Townes Van Zandt song, Turnstile Junkpile are a British Americana band. Their guitar-led, retro and country-influenced sound recalls artists such as The Jayhawks and Neil Young and features appealing harmonies, pedal steel, banjo, and some serious grooves.

Scott Dennis  9pm

UK debut from front-man with Brooklyn-based band The Dirt Floor Revue, who combine the twang of Buck Owens, the grit of Johnny Cash and the edge of the Flying Burrito Brothers to create their own modern urban country sound. Other influences include Webb Pierce, Lefty Frizzel, Merle Haggard, Hank Williams, Old 97's, Gillian Welch, Uncle Tupelo, John Prine, Chuck Berry and Link Wray.


Simon Stanley Ward  8pm

Former singer with the now sadly defunct band Black Bart, Simon Stanley Ward is a young country and Americana singer from London. Unashamedly adorned in cowboy hat and shirt, he even has a song called 'American Voice' which wittily pre-empts any criticisms about Englishmen singing in American accents (although the truth is, he doesn’t lay it on too thick and is voice is wonderfully distinctive).

Mekons release new album - Ancient & Modern, 1911 - 2011 - due September

Mekons are proud to announce their return with their latest record, Ancient & Modern. The band’s 26th record will be released on September 27th on the band’s own, newly reformed Sin Record Label. To coincide with the release, Mekons will hit the road this fall. Stay tuned for upcoming tour dates.

On Ancient & Modern, Mekons bring you an 'album' just like albums used to be; cardboard things filled with cheeky, chunky 78rpm shellac. Just take a look at the cover of Ancient & Modern and you’ll know what we’re talking about! Let the band take you for a walk down memory lane, to the world as it was just before the First World War … to the Edwardian Era, to the Naughty Naughties a hundred years ago, a cozy nostalgic world: cricket on the village green, punting down the river in a striped blazer and boater, off with the hounds, picnic hampers, community singing, mistresses and wives, mysticism, secret societies, dangerous poetry, radical modern art, Freud, national strikes, revolution, anarchists, bombers, British concentration camps … oops, is that really a hundred years ago?!? Mekons travel back/forward to a world unaware that it’s waiting for the pistol to CRACK CRACK CRACK in Sarajevo, plotting their singular course through the digital tsunami of contemporary sounds that blare tinnily from your mobile phone or spin at 78rpm in His Master’s Voice from the horn of your exquisite Gramophone.

Mekons formed in Leeds, England 34 years ago in 1977 and Ancient & Modern is their 26th album. This current classic line-up has remained intact since the mid-1980′s. Throughout their history, they have worked collaboratively and collectively with everything credited to the band, never to individuals. Their mind-boggling output consistently blurs the lines between high art and low and has included exhibitions in the UK and US, a deranged musical recorded and staged with Kathy Acker, an art performance with Vito Acconci and several books including the unique art catalog/unfinished novel Mekons United.

Featuring for your delectation and delight…
On his wheezing chest piano, it’s Bertie Bell!
Behind his traps…St John Goulding!
All the way from Bethnal Green, Seraphima Jocasta Honeyman and her amazing fiddle!
On the electrified bass, Sophia Corina!
Master of saz, cumbush and all things Oriental, it’s Edward ‘Lucky’ Edmunds!
Chorister and Axe Meister extraordinaire, Algernon Langford!
Tiverton’s Own Bearded Bard, Frederick Arthur Greenhalgh!
The little Nightingale, Gertrude Florence Timms!
And bringer of mayhem, ‘Mad’ Mortimer Mitchell!

Mekons – Ancient & Modern
(Sept. 27th – Sin Record Label)


1. Warm Summer Sun
2. Space In Your Face
3. Geeshie
4. I Fall Asleep
5. Calling All Demons
6. Ugly Bethesda
7. Ancient & Modern
8. Afar & Forlorn
9. Honey Bear
10. The Devil at Rest
11. Arthur’s Angel

Jon Langford plays at The Buffalo Bar on Sunday 17th July.

Leon Russell, Nick Lowe, Paul Brady, at The Porchester Hall - Tues 28th June

It’s the week for catching up on long-time heroes. Both Leon Russell and Greg Allman first came to my attention in 1971. Leon through his recording work with Dylan; ‘Watching The River Flow’, and his central role at The Concert For Bangla Desh where the verse he takes in ‘Beware Of Darkness’ can still raise the hairs on my neck; and Greg through The Allman Brothers’ Fillmore East live album.

Tuesday found us at a charming BBC 4 show at the Porchester Hal; Leon taking part in a songwriters circle with Nick Lowe and Paul Brady. Porchester Hall is one of those large wood-panelled municipal halls that local government accountants would love to sell off, or the bureaucrats wish to modernise; a beautiful setting, very easy and very comfortable. A familiar audience; Jake Riviera and Peter Blegvad sat on adjacent tables across the row.

Almost on time the artists take the stage. Leon, no longer as mobile as he once was sits at the piano and he starts things off with ‘A Song For You’. It remains one of the loveliest of love songs; “I love you in a place where there’s no space and time” still arrests. He’ll go on to do as fine versions of ‘Tight Rope’, ‘This Masquerade’, and ‘Delta Lady’. Nick Lowe meanwhile essays ‘I Live On A Battlefield’, ‘Cruel To Be Kind’, and ‘Peace, Love And Understanding’ and Brady ‘Luck Of The Drawer’, ‘Crazy Dreams’ and ‘Steel Claw’. 

As is the nature of these shows, and as Lowe explains while leaving the template and playing the new ‘I Read A Lot’, the songs are ‘catalogue’. This is partly because they’re all supposed to be telling a lot of stories. This doesn’t happen to begin with though and Brady’s the first to warm up, both in loquacity and in a willingness to accompany, but by the end they’re getting there. 

Following a finale of ‘Mystery Train’ they return, and Leon tells a good tale about Dylan as a songwriting master, and recalls the Blue Rock Studio sessions of March 1971 that yielded ‘River Flow’ and ‘When I Paint My Masterpiece’. He then plays a splendid reading of ‘It Takes A Lot To Laugh, It Takes A Train To Cry’ where the piano seems literally climbing to the ‘top of the hill’, and then a final ‘You Win Again’.

And that should have been it, except they’d had recording problems at the start of the evening so “can we do a couple of rounds again?” As that brings a second go for ‘A Song For You’ who’s to complain?

Tuesday, 28 June 2011

John Wesley Harding - new album, The Sound Of His Own Voice, in October

Our good friend Mr Wesley Stace has announced a new John Wesley Harding album. The Sound Of His Own Voice comes out on Yep Roc on October 11th. 

Recorded in Portland Oregon it's produced by Scott McCaughey and Wes, and mixed by Tucker Martine, featuring Chris Funk, Jenny Conlee, Nate Query and John Moen (members of The Decemberists), along with Peter Buck and Scott, on every song. Also featured are Rosanne Cash, Laura Veirs, John Roderick, Steve Berlin and many others.

Below you can listen to and even download one of the tracks:  'Sing Your Own Song'. 

Friday, 24 June 2011

The Jasmine Minks return - Borderline show 23rd July

Creation's Jasmine Minks return with a show at London's Borderline on July 23rd.
The Jasmine Minks, one of the first bands signed to the legendary Creation Records, will play their first show in over a decade at London’s Borderline on July 23rd.

Formed in Aberdeen in 1983, The Jasmine Minks' debut single ('Think') was the fourth ever record on the iconic Creation label. They recorded four albums for the label, the most successful of which, Another Age, is to be re-issued on Poppydisc, run by Creation co-founder Joe Foster.

The Jasmine Minks’ return – featuring most of their classic line-up of Jim Shepherd, Dave Arnold, Tom Reid and Martin Keena (with Dave Musker on keyboards) – continues a surprisingly busy 12 months for the Creation label, even though it officially stopped trading in 1999 when its most high-profile founder, Alan McGee, left to pursue other projects. Following the release of the label biopic Upside Down, other early Creation signings The Loft and The Jazz Butcher also re-formed for shows this year.

But The Jasmine Minks pre-dated both of these on the ground-breaking label’s roster, and it was on their early records – such as 'What’s Happening' and 'Cold Heart' – that Creation’s reputation was initially founded.

Singer Jim Shepherd said: “I’m confident that we can still excite. It will be a great get together for us and our London friends, old and new. A celebratory night is anticipated…”

Expect songs from throughout their back catalogue, plus tracks from the recently released Poppy White EP, released on Jim Shepherd’s own label, Oatcake Records.

Support will come from Edinburgh School For The Deaf and The Electric Sugar Children.

Edinburgh School For The Deaf, featuring ex-members of Saint Judes Infirmary, combine elements of The Jesus & Mary Chain and The Fall. Alan McGee himself confessed a liking for the band when he saw them perform live in Scotland at the start of the year. Their album, New Youth Bible, will be released on Bubblegum Records in June.

The Electric Sugar Children, named after a song by McGee’s own band, Biff Bang Pow!, will open the show. Always having been influenced by the Creation sound, they re-formed last year and released two EPs. Their song 'Lead Singer Syndrome' was used on the London Pub Radio PlayStation spin off. They’re currently recording an album with Glasgow producer Tony Doogan.

Wednesday, 22 June 2011

Trent Miller show this Saturday and new Inferno Valley review

Trent Miller headlines My Autumn Almanac at Filthy MacNastys on Saturday. All the info follows. Meanwhile here's a fine new review of Welcome To Inferno Valley from Bob Meyer of Bob's Folk Show. Bob's Folk Show broadcasts every Tuesday evening from 9.00pm to 11.00pm. Check him out he always has lots of cool people on.

Gene Clark is alive and well and comes from Italy!!! Trent will be playing a collection of songs that reflect upon the dark soul of country music, All taken from his forthcoming LP for Bucketfull Of Brains Welcome To Inferno Valley.

"Miller’s work is dark, arresting country folk that quickly infiltrates and attaches to the listener’s soul; cathartic but not depressing. "

backing Trent up are The Skeleton Jive comprising of Anders Dal on drums and Jim Taylor on bass Shou Jie Eng on violin, Duncan Drury on trumpet and Jason Collins on mandolin

brings along his quintessentially English stories of a country boy in the city illustrated by a lyrical  a-z of place names post codes and  familiar themes.

"little gems from a treasure trove of songs finely crafted with ever so slightly complicated chords and melodies ."

Listen hard all ye!!
And as ever.....

The resident Garden City Projects Band, the hosts of the evening bringing their low-fi but careful mixed bag of foot tappers folk rockers and deep soul ballads.

"soul folk Bossa beat from beneath the hedgerows of South Hackney Village"

Playing songs from their forthcoming Birmingham Small Arms EP.
So to recap
Trent Miller and the Skeleton Jive
The Garden City projects Band
Bob Biggs

Live at  My Autumn Almanac Music Society
Saturday 25th June
its free skinflints !!!

Friday, 10 June 2011

Frank Bango launches Touchy/Feely on Kickstarter

Frank Bango is one of the few artists who turned up on two of our CD compilations from around the turn of the century with ‘Olivia 101’ on the 50th Issue compilation and ‘Roses Are Not Red’ - recorded live at the Mercury Lounge with the much-missed Drew Glackin on lap steel – on 21st Century BoB (BoB#60). Frank has had a somewhat mixed 21st Century so far but he’s still out there fighting.

Frank Bango’s currently working on his new record Touchy/Feely  which he intends to manufacture and distribute himself. It’ll be the follow up to 2008’s critically acclaimed The Sweet Songs Of Decay.

Along with his songwriting partner Richy Vesecky, Frank Bango has always strived to keep the album art form alive by providing a complete listening experience from first to last song. Frank Bango offers a boutique brand of songwriting in the tradition of the Brill Building; where quality and craftsmanship come first, the purest form of melodic pop, with a dark edge and poetry. Touchy/Feely will create a sonic landscape where The Shangri Las meet Tom Waits. Adding to the rich history of successful long playing albums, in a package collectors will LOVE!!

Like many artists who appreciate keeping control of their work in these uncertain days Frank is looking for individual investors to help him make Touchy/Feely happen. So he’s going the Kickstarter route and you can find out more here

Monday, 6 June 2011

The Finding of Nic Jones

It’s quite possible that my first experience of the Queen Elizabeth Hall was in the summer of 1983 helping (in a small way) my friend Mike Bettison who was directing a production of Peter Bellamy’s folk opera The Transports. Over the previous year I’d been falling among Salami Brothers and spending a lot of time at the Islington Folk Club then at The Empress Of Russia. Presided over by Bob Davenport it introduced me to people like The Watersons and Robin & Barry Dransfield, and took me to festivals big and small; Bampton, Whitchurch, Cleethorpes, and Sidmouth. And while it introduced me to many records the two that remain the soundtrack of that year were Dick Gaughan’s Handful Of Earth and Nic Jones’ Penguin Eggs.

Nic Jones already seemed the lost man of English folk. In early 1982 he was involved in a horrendous car accident and was almost literally smashed into pieces. It was understood that the damage was such that he’d never perform again. So in the ‘83 production of The Transports his original role of The Father was taken by Taffy Thomas. Jones’ song on the original recording was to remain one of the few of his performances readily available. Even today it remains legally very hard to obtain his first four albums, originally released on Trailer.

What does remain readily available, on Topic, is Penguin Eggs. It’s an album that remains as fresh and as vivid as it was in 1980, and as essential. But it did seem to stand as his legacy as Jones appeared a shadowy figure living a twilight existence in Yorkshire and then latterly in Devon. That standing was changed irrevocably on Saturday last back at the Queen Elizabeth Hall.

When I bought the ticket earlier in the year for In Search Of Nic Jones I was expecting a tribute show from a classy line-up. I thought that perhaps we’d see Jones, as an audience member or possibly briefly as an ensemble singer with the other members of the short-lived folk ‘supergroup’ Bandoggs. It was very moving when at the show’s commencement as the participants took their seats around the stage he joined them, walking with a stick, tentative but with an aura of self-possession, seating himself next to Martin Carthy and adjacent to Pete Coe.

The show did progress as a series of splendid performances. To remark that I was especially struck by Jackie Oates and Belinda O'Hooley’s ‘Isle Of France’ and ‘Annachie Gordon’, Anais Mitchell’s ‘The Drowned Lovers’ and ‘Humpback Whale’, Blair Dunlop’s ‘Canadee-I-O’, and the singing of Damien Barber isn’t to suggest that any of the other artistes, and remember we’re including Carthy here, weren’t also super.

Towards the end of the first half the surviving members of Bandoggs, with Barber taking Tony Rose’s place, stepped forward for a set comprising ‘Adam Was A Poacher’, 'Tailor in the Tea Chest’, and Loudon Wainwright’s ‘Swimming Song’; Lindsay Hutton would have enjoyed Pete Coe’s recollection of a John Peel moment, “ that was Bandoggs in session and now The Cramps”. If it was inspirational to see Nic Jones standing amongst that ensemble, what happened at the finish of the second half had to be one of the most emotionally-charged moments I’ve ever witnessed on a stage .

As Martin Carthy concluded ‘Sir Patrick Spens’ Nic and Belinda O'Hooley moved across to the piano, and proceeded to give us a devastating reading of Rick Lee’s ‘Thanksgiving’. It was a quite extraordinary experience; against all expectations this great singer returned and as he sang, just a few yards away from me, one could still see clearly the face from the Penguin Eggs cover, and could tell that despite all Nic Jones remains vital.

He then joined his son, Joe Jones, centre-stage. Joe, with his purple mohican and otherwise shaved head, is not only a typically dry Yorkshire punk but also a fine guitarist. He began by paying tribute to his mother; “without her he wouldn’t be here...and nor would I”. Then they played one of her favourite songs, allegedly, ‘Oh Dear Rue The Day’ followed by Radiohead’s ‘Fake Plastic Trees’: “Everyone’s paying tribute to my dad he wants to pay tribute to Radiohead”, and then, seemingly at Jim Moray’s suggestion ‘Ten Thousand Miles’.

Ten Thousand Miles’ was the cue, no doubt all around the hall, for the tears. The song, in its own standing, is moving enough but hearing it sung in 2011 by the man who sung it best in 1977 on The Noah’s Ark Trap was close to overload. So much of past time, memory, loss, and redemption were all bound up in that one performance and it was carried off so perfectly.

Over the following couple of days I watched the videos and pondered on the show, realising that for me with all my baggage ‘Ten Thousand Miles’ was the killer, but the important song, the deal-breaker, of the night was really ‘Fake Plastic Trees’. What it showed was that Nic Jones didn’t stop in 1982. Last Saturday he wasn’t a museum-piece, an archaeological find, but still a living musician and a performer even if the events of his life may have narrowed the parameters inside which he can practice his art. I would think it’s unlikely he’ll perform live regularly but on this evidence there seems no reason why he and Joe shouldn’t record a few songs and put out an album, and I’m sure I’m not the only one who’d be intrigued by their choices.

Thursday, 2 June 2011

Trent Miller - Welcome To Inferno Valley - Album Launch - Tues 7th June

Following on from his self-released, widely acclaimed debut album Cerberus, Trent Miller now returns with his second collection of arresting country-folk, Welcome To Inferno Valley.

Unlike his debut, …Inferno Valley is very much a band album, comprising songs road-tested and honed at literally dozens of gigs around the London area and throughout Miller’s Italian homeland with The Skeleton Jive. Featuring the combined talents of Anders Dal (drums/guitars/backing vocals), Jim Taylor (bass), Shou Jie Eng (violin) and Jason Collins (ex-The Seers, mandolin/backing vocals), the album draws upon special guest contributions from labelmate Ben Folke Thomas (12-string), Duncan Drury (trumpet), Ruth Jacob (banjo) and Emily C Smith (backing vocals). The album was recorded at co-producer Richard Johnson’s Randomcolours Studio.

Born and raised near Turin, but based in London for some years now, Miller is strongly influenced by legendary 80s performers like Jeffrey Lee Pierce of The Gun Club and Guy Kyser of Thin White Rope (he contributed a version of ‘Timing’ to the TWR tribute album Hidden Desert), while ‘Fear Of Flyin’’, one of the album’s highlights, pays tribute to another hero Gene Clark.

This is the first full-length album release on the re-invigorated Bucketfull Of Brains label, following on from the acclaimed Benjamin Folke Thomas mini-album of last summer. Directly affiliated to the legendary magazine - 32 years publishing and still thriving – the first UK champions of the Paisley Underground and REM – as adept as ever at unearthing and supporting maverick talents.

Miller’s 2009 debut Cerberus received substantial press coverage and airplay, including Cerys Matthews on BBC 6 Music.

Trent Miller & The Skeleton Jive will be launching Welcome To Inferno Valley on Tuesday 7 June at The Betsey Trotwood, 56 Farringdon Road, London EC1R 3BL.

Press for Cerberus:

These stripped back songs, with just him, his guitar, harmonica and the odd bit of percussion, are mean, moody and magnificent… Folk noir is definitely the new black and Trent Miller wears it well. Bearded

Miller's voice conjures a life lived at the bottom of a whiskey bottle and an unhealthy acquaintance with a draughty boxcar… a perfect complement to the subject matter. R2

It is incredible how a music so dark can warm one’s heart. 8/10 Blow Up

If you wish you could relive the troubadour folk scene days of 60s Greenwich Village, then you'll want to take this three-headed dog walkies. Net Rhythms

Wednesday, 1 June 2011

Chuck Prophet and The Spanish Bombs perform London Calling in London

Earlier this year Chuck Prophet and backing band styling themselves the Spanish Bombs toured Spain playing The Clash’s London Calling album in its entirety. This was the second such enterprise enterprising Spanish promoters had initiated as a little while before Howe Gelb had toured a performance of Johnny Cash’s At San Quentin. The difference is that while Howe didn’t then go to San Quentin, Chuck is now bringing the enterprise to London and beyond: “It’s our contribution to Guy Fawkes Night. The Gunpowder Plot lives on in our gentle hands.”

Chuck’s performing the whole double album, from start to finish, at four UK shows including the Garage, less than a mile from where London Calling was recorded at Wessex Studios - or a mere 5 minutes "on the route of the 19 bus" in Highbury. Clash tour manager, Johnny Green, who oversaw the demoing and recording of London Calling, will also be reading from his book A Riot of Our Own (a memoir of his time with the Clash) before each show.

Johnny said of London Calling: "London Calling was conceived & written by The Clash touring the highways, byways 'n' freeways of the USA. The tunes were hatched back in a dingy garage, down by the river Thames. The wholeness was polished, with Guy Stevens, in a Highbury, London, studio, plus furious Stateside gigging. It suits here, there and maybe the whole world. Chuck Prophet has perfectly caught the essence in his re-interpretation, like some rockin' jazz singer while sometimes he rides along true to the originals. I recently toured Spain with Chuck and watched every show from start to finish so I was there too."

That January Spanish tour sold out nine of the twelve shows, as well as selling out two shows in San Francisco. The suitably impressed SF Gate gushed:“Once again, Chuck proves he's got singing chops, goo-gobs of guitar-playing skills, charm to spare, fashion sense, and the instincts of a svelte cheetah.” As on previous dates in London he’ll be joined by West Coast power pop legend Chris von Sneidern who’ll be Mick Jones to his Joe Strummer.

Chuck’s releasing a DVD of the Bilbao, Spain show which will be sold on this tour. His final comment before take-off: “Guy Fawkes, Guernica, The Clash. We’ll light the fuse. Plenty of matches, plenty.”

The shows:

Thursday 21 July - Nottingham - Glee Club

Friday 22 July - Bristol - The Polish Club

Saturday 23 July London The Relentless Garage with The Strummerville Band

Sunday 24 July GatesheadSummertyne Americana Festival – Hall Two, The Sage