Monday, 3 October 2011

Rivington Street - Richard Warren

Track 1 of The Wayfarer
From the Stripped- down Mixes available free as a cover-mount CD with the upcoming issue of Bucketfull Of Brains

A New Magazine, A Free CD: Oh Yeah

If you've been following our doings on the some of the other sites where we're active you'll have picked up that there's a new issue about to surface. And coming on the 11th October is our spanking new double issue.

Now those of you who've been paying attention for a while know that spanking double issues come with gifts, and this time we have one hell of a gift.

Our good friend RICHARD WARREN is about to release his new album THE WAYFARER, and it's an absolute corker. What's more having recorded it he's made a whole separate 'stripped-down' mix of it and given it to us. And we've stuck copies of it on the cover of this new issue. Plus we've really gone to town on stories, filled more pages, and bought in a couple of new young Turks (possibly stretching veracity there a little).

So not only do we have features on Richard but also:


Not to mention a few wacky little pieces on other folk, and the strangest set of reviews you'll have seen for a while.

The mag will be available hither and yon but if you press the button below you can order it now straight from us and be sure of getting it sent to you as soon as it's published.

Prices inclusive of postage and packing:
UK: £4.50, Europe: £6.00, USA & ROW: £8.50
Please select appropriate price from drop-down menu

Tuesday, 23 August 2011

Neal Casal: The 1998 BoB Interview

I was listening to Danny Champ on Bob Meyer's radio show last night and Neal Casal's name came up. By coincidence I'd come across this interview earlier in the day and thought I should post it. This interview dates back to 1998, and the first time Neal showed up in the UK. It originally appeared in BoB #51 which has been long out of print.

There are two ways of dealing with adversity. One is to wallow in self-pity, to whinge and take on the victim persona; the other is to believe in yourself and your inherent talents, to have another go from an alternative direction. If you take the first option you're probably lost for good; if you take the second it's amazing what you can do. Neal Casal won't thank me for praising him as an exemplar of the latter path, but I want to hold his hand up as a guy who took a heavy blow at a crucial moment in his burgeoning career and who's now back on the tracks stronger than ever. 

Neal Casal is a singer-songwriter from New Jersey. He's in his late twenties and he's been playing music for over fifteen years. His parents split when he was young and his childhood was somewhat peripatetic, taking in Georgia, California, Michigan, and upstate New York. As far back as he can remember music captivated him:
"I became obsessed with listening to music as early as I can remember. My first recollections of really loving music was, I must have been three or four, and I had Bill Haley's 'Rock Around The Clock' and Don McLean's 'American Pie', little 45s, made my mother play them and I would dance around on the bed. I remember 'American Pie', goofy song that it is. It's a long story song. I remembered the words even then just affecting me, and those images, I just thought about them a lot. The rhythm of 'Rock Around The Clock' was something I loved."

His Damascus Road moment came when he was thirteen:
"My ma had this little clock radio. One night I heard 'Sympathy For The Devil' coming out of that radio. I just heard that it really sounded dangerous, that guitar solo, Keith Richard's guitar solo that had that very shrill tone, coming out of the little speaker on my mom's radio. The radio was across the room and I almost ran to it, looking at the speaker, like something was happening to it. Then they said it was the Rolling Stones, I just went out and got all their records and that started me. Soon after my dad bought me a guitar, and the minute I got that guitar I knew the direction of my life was solidified right there and then. It was instantaneous. And I still remember the moment."

Back in New Jersey in his mid-teens he started to form bands with school friends:
"I wanted to be a guitar player primarily. I didn't want to sing. I didn't even want to play lead guitar that much. I just wanted to be a rhythm guitar player, because Keith Richard was my main inspiration. I'd read quotes of his: "the best way two guitars work together is when you don't know who's playing what". The identity in the guitar playing gets lost, and I like that idea, instead of the typical lead guitar hero thing which I never really got into".

Singing was initially forced on him:
“Young bands always have trouble finding a singer. There's plenty of drummers, plenty of guitar players, bass players are kind of hard to come by but you can always turn the worst guitar player into a bass player. Never find a good singer though.. Went through all these singers who wouldn't turn up, they'd be off drunk somewhere, and they'd show up three hours late. Finally out of necessity I took control, said I was going to learn how to sing. I started doing that and I burned my voice out there pretty good for a few months, and then I started to get the hang of it. I realised that I just didn't want to play covers anymore. This was the mid-eighties, the town where I grew up if you wanted to play in a band you had to play metal. I wasn't very into that either. So I figured that instead of having to play all these bad eighties covers, any covers, I wanted to start writing my own songs. Sixteen, I wrote my first song, and it never stopped from there. That band turned into an original band, We made a little local record and it all started from there. And the songwriting process became increasingly interesting, and now it's overridden everything else I do. It's the single most important thing I do".

This band, Exire, a pun on Exile as in ...On Main Street, was basically a high school band and on graduating Neal wanted to move on, fearing that he'd find himself stuck in the rut of a local circuit, so he left the band:
" I went to work in a music store, far away from where I lived, in Pennsylvania. There was a guy in there, in his forties, he managed the place, he was a great guitar player, had played with Leslie West, a great electric guitar player in that old Leslie West, Cream-era Clapton school, that thick toned, slow handed kind of style. He was a great acoustic guitar player as well. He heard me play and thought I had something, and I went and worked for him. I studied under him for a year. He was much older and much wiser, and that was what I was looking for. I knew that I had a lot to learn and this guy was a big mentor to me. I was going back to the first music that I loved, sixties stuff, The Stones, Allman Brothers. I saw the Woodstock movie on public television when I was a kid, and I loved all those bands. Sly and the Family Stone, Janis Joplin, Santana, and where that music leads you. It goes back to the blues, goes back to country music. If you're into the Stones you'd inevitably hear about Gram Parsons, that lets you into a whole other world of Hank Williams, Buck Owens, and Merle Haggard and on down the line. From the Woodstock movie I loved Arlo Guthrie and I found out he's Woody Guthrie's son. So I start listening to Woody Guthrie, and that takes you to Leadbelly and the whole folk tradition that eventually leads you to the English guys, and Led Zeppelin of all bands. I start reading between the lines, Jimmy Page into Bert Jansch. This is what I started with and it got derailed and distracted in the '80s. But I couldn't find band members that wanted to do what I wanted to do. So I just performed by myself. I was making a lot of demos, recording a lot, get musicians to help out, or do it by myself,. I was learning a little about engineering, and how to produce myself, and learning how to sing in the studio".

Neal became friends with Gary Waldman who in time was to become his manager. Through Gary he got a publishing deal with Warner Chappell which allowed him the freedom to go on making demos. On the West Coast Bud Scoppa, then at Zoo Records, got to hear them and immediately took an interest, though he didn't think Neal was ready to be putting records out:
"It took me a couple of years to get to the point where I was ready for a record deal. I could have made a record, I had enough songs, in '91 or '92, but it wouldn't have been a fully realised record. I think if I'd made it then, I would regret it now. So Bud just kept up with me for a couple of years. I did a batch of demos in Summer '94, and he went, 'alright, you're ready to go, do you want to come with me?' "

Neal signed up to Zoo, but before any recording took place Bud Scoppa was gone, the victim of down-sizing. It's often the way that if the guy who signs you goes from a label your days are numbered, but Zoo initially stuck by Neal and he got to make his first album in 1995 in the idyllic surroundings of Palacio Del Rio in Santa Ynez, California. He'd initially been booked into Shangri-La in Malibu where the Band used to record, but Porno For Pyros already in residence refused to leave on schedule. So they were found this other massive place:
"It was this big old Spanish mansion up near Santa Barbara, used to be Dean Martin's house, and Jimmy Stewart's before him. When we got up there, up the mile long drive, and realised that was where we were going to make our record we just about fainted. The place was just insanely huge, about ten bedrooms, a tennis court, pool. Decadent. We set up in the living room, lived there for a month, we held colossal parties, made great music, no record company people were around to spoil the fun. It was really one of the greatest times of my life. David Crosby lived up the road and he came by one day".

The album was produced by Jim Scott and some great people worked on it: apart from a band including John Ginty and Don Heffington, there were guest appearances from Greg Leisz, Julie Christenson, and George Drackoulias:
"That cast of musicians was a dream for me. It started out with Heffington because I really wanted him to play on the record. We got Bob Glaub who'd played on some of my favourite records. Leisz, who's probably the most amazing musician I've ever worked with, without a doubt. Drackoulias came by, he's real fun to hang out with. We had a great day listening to Humble Pie records."

The album that came out of these sessions was Fade Away Diamond Time. It's a most stunning debut album, full of curiously valedictory songs, fine singing, fine playing, lyrically simple but so well crafted. Evocative and empathic, and universal. We've all had to let things go, and take other roads. Sadly it's now a great lost album, because soon after it was released by Zoo so was Neal. He found out by phone in a Nashville bar around Christmas '95. The story gets told that it was a devastating blow. Neal denies that now:
"It's been written about me a lot that this was a horrible time but I don't remember it that way now. I remember it as a great time in my life. The whole thing that happened was disappointing and a bad time, but I don't even look at it like that now, I don't let it embitter me or even impede my progress. I think of that as a great time. I got to make my first record exactly the way I wanted to do it. I had a particular sound in mind. I loved to play slow at that time. I had a big slow groove in mind. Listening back to that record I think it was a collection of really good songs. It could have benefited from an uptempo song or two, but that's hindsight."

The dumping came in the middle of a tour. He cancelled a few dates, honoured a few more, ended up stuck in a blizzard in Pennsylvania for three days. Then home in Jersey:
"Home with no record deal, but it didn't take me long to figure out what to do. I wasn't going to sit around and let a negative situation ruin my life, feel sorry for myself, stop dead in my tracks. I wrote a whole bunch of songs, went to a friend of mine with a record label and we agreed to do a record, so I just went right in and did it in five days and that album is Rain, Wind and Speed. It got me over the situation really quickly. The premise was play and sing live. I didn't want to overdub my vocals. It was a goal of mine to just sing a song, all the songs on the album, 100% all the way through, no fixing, no nothing. Just sit down, sing your song, tell the truth. If there's something a little out of tune you just leave it. It was a goal. I wanted to sing my songs and know that I'd made it all the way through, that there was a continuity there. It's the way I was feeling at the time. It's what I needed to do. I just poured it out in a couple of days and it was good. And by the Springtime we had that record out. I already had my mind on something else. A new record and a new place to go, instead of thinking, 'oh I lost my record deal'. Self-pity is not something in my character. It's what I needed to move on. Otherwise the only record I had to hold in my hand was Fade Away Diamond Time, which was never spoiled by what happened. So now I had this other record, and I achieved my goal which was to sing live, whether it's any good or not I don't know but I did it. That was the best way to move on."

Rain, Wind And Speed, an essentially acoustic album, came out on the small New Jersey label, Buy Or Die. An advert in No Depression was spotted by Reinhard Holstein at Glitterhouse, who was a big fan of Fade Away Diamond Time. The end result was the German label distributing Rain, Wind And Speed in Europe, then putting out the compilation of archives Field Recordings. In 1997 Neal did a solo tour of most of Europe. Returning to the States he produced an EP for his backing singer Angie McKenna, did some co-writing with Parlor James' Ryan Hedgecock, and recorded and toured with James Iha. In early July he went back to California and with many of the same musicians from Fade Away Diamond Time he recorded the songs that comprise his new record The Sun Rises Here.

The Sun Rises Here is his finest release to date. There's a blending of styles and musical genres, the willingness to sing about himself which began to surface on Rain, Wind And Speed is much more in evidence. In essence it's a mature work:
"The sound of the record is different, a cross between the two previous records. My goal was to make a folk band album, and I tried to sequence it, to have more variety of songs and tempos on it than my other records. It's a spare kind of record. Lyrically some of my best moments are on this record. There's some very truthful moments for me. Some of the lyrics I really believe in. I'd play them for anybody, 'Last Of My Connections' and 'Real Country Dark'. A few albums down the line my experience is starting to show through."

Neal made his first London appearances a few weeks ago, two nights supporting Kelly Joe Phelps and a brief in-store at Rough Trade in Portobello. Just him, his guitar, and his harmonica. At Rough Trade he held us spellbound through 'Eddy & Diamonds', 'All The Luck In The World', 'Maybe California', and 'Today I'm Gonna Bleed' which he wrote after Shawn from Hazeldine dubbed him "Mr. Poetic". What he is is a singer-songwriter from the old tradition, but he can rock more than a bit too. I saw him at first as a cross between acoustic Neil Young and Jackson Browne, but I fancy there's a lot of young Bob Weir in there too. He's currently in Europe with his band, let's hope they get to England fairly soon.


Fade Away Diamond Time (1995)   Zoo

Rain, Wind And Speed (1996)  Buy Or Die/Glitterhouse GRCD 409

Field Recordings (1997)  Glitterhouse GRCD 429
(1000 limited/mail order only)

The Sun Rises Here (1998)  Glitterhouse GRCD 430

Glitterhouse, Gruner Weg 25, 37688 Beverungen, Germany.

Thursday, 18 August 2011

Sid's Coal Porters and The Water Tower Bucket Boys at The Bush Hall - Thurs 25th Aug

Sid Griffin's Coal Porters and The Water Tower Bucket Boys together at Bush Hall next Thursday.

Third annual Elvis night at The Betsey Trotwood - Sat 20th Aug

Thursday, 11 August 2011

Richard Warren previews The Wayfarer at The Social - Tues 16th Aug

Richard Warren's first solo album Laments was revelatory. It was initially reviewed in Bucketfull last summer and then featured in our top ten of the year. We called it: "A record imbued with a Memphis feeling, with a vibe similar to that aspired to by Primal Scream on Give Out But Don't Give Up but here perhaps bettered."

On October 17th Richard releases his second album The Wayfarer on Tenor Vossa. We've heard two different mixes of it and they're very good indeed. Next Tuesday he's previewing the whole album at The Social, and in support is Trent Miller playing songs from Welcome To Inferno Valley just released last Monday .

You'd be wise not to miss it.

Saturday, 16 July 2011

Bucketfull Of Brains needs you!

This a serious announcement; somewhat more than just one of our periodical suggestions that people might like to contribute. 

The last few months have very much made us aware of how vulnerable we are. A magazine run entirely by two people is very dependent on both of them being on the ball pretty much all the time. So when one gets knocked off as has really been the case since late last year it has a drastic effect. So...

We need to get new blood on board with new ideas and new perspectives. With the proviso that a quarterly print magazine must continue and the editorial bent remain broadly similar to what it is now all is up for grabs. 

In the areas of advertising, distribution, and online we now almost certainly need a year zero approach. There’s a lot of information held by the magazine that needs reorganisation, and there’s also a cache of back issues dating back almost to the beginning, along with quite a lot of 45s and flexi-discs that need better exploitation. We could also do with people prepared to take responsibility for sections of the magazine. (And, of course, if there's any publishers out there...)

At present the tangible rewards are tiny but this title has generated significant income in the past and can do again. Logistically it will certainly help to find people based in London, as that’s where we are, and we like company, but a heck of a lot of stuff can be done just as well online.

If this sounds vague it's because we don't want to shut out anyone's ideas. We just want to hear from people and what they might think. Contact numbers and email addresses are on the website. We look forward to hearing from you.

Wednesday, 13 July 2011

Danny & The Champions Of The World - New Album streaming here

Listen to a stream of the new Danny & The Champions Of The World album Hearts & Arrows here. Just click on the album sleeve and it'll take you to the player. You'll be able to listen until the 18th July when the album's released. Then you'll have to go and buy it.

Read more about the album here.

Made possible by Danny Wilson, SO Recordings, and Loose Management.

Tuesday, 12 July 2011

Hearts & Arrows - Danny & The Champions Of The World

It’s six days away from the release date of Hearts & Arrows from Danny & The Champions Of The World; curiously almost exactly six months since the songs and the new Champs were unveiled at The Betsey’s Winterlude. So songs that have seemed for a while the personal property of a small coterie are launched out into the world. A time of palpable excitement and anticipation.

The CD, now we have it, is quite as fine an artefact as is possible from such a medium. A glossy, mini-gatefold sleeve; a facsimile of what’s to come a little later with the vinyl. Tom Sheehan photos, of Dan in the upstairs room at The Betsey, and the Champs, in ‘last gang in town’ demeanour between narrow, dark brick, alley walls. It seems to carry visual and design echoes of Bowie’s Young Americans; not inappropriate given that one of the elements of the record is the positing of an eternally present mid-70s.

There’s also direct connection with that time in co-producer Tony Poole, back then the guitarist of Starry Eyed And Laughing, and still the finest English exponent of the 12-string Rickenbacker. Poole’s guitar is all over this record; even though Paul Lush, now an integral part of the band, is pictured, the recording pre-dated his involvement – the same is true for ‘Free Jazz’ Geoff Widdowson, now handling keyboards and sax.

For the full BoB take on Hearts & Arrows you’ll have to wait for the printed #78 due at the end of this month. But it’s probably fair to say that we like it. From the rhythmic juggernaut, sweeping all before it,that’s ‘Ghosts In The Wire’, and the sustained, rushing momentum of ‘Heart & Arrow’ on, it’s a wild trip through a warm, if slightly garish, dream rock’n’roll London, where one should never, ever, “let the truth get in the way of the story”.

And at the beating centre sits the extraordinary ‘Every Beat Of My Heart’; a song that defies the belief that we could have got 56 years into the rock’n’roll era without it being written, when it sounds now like its always been there. A song too, that’s about to change drastically. For the last six months it’s been a ‘History Lesson’; now it’s being launched to a world where ‘the fox’ will be no more ‘real’ than ‘the magic rat’ was, and where borderline won’t start with a capital letter. I remember being in Chicago in the summer of 1976 and hearing ‘The Boys Are Back In Town’  coming out of every radio; it doesn’t take that much of a leap of faith to imagine it happening with ‘Every Beat Of My Heart’ in Shanghai and Buenos Aires. 

Hearts & Arrows released on 18th July on SO Recordings
Danny & The Champions Of The World play Bush Hall on 22nd September

Monday, 11 July 2011

The Walkabouts - Travels In The Dustland

The Walkabouts have announced a new album Travels In The Dustland to be released in October. This is their first new release since 2005's Acetylene. There's also a new website just beginning to take shape, and here's a teaser video to be going on with. Plus they have the usual Facebook and Twitter stuff.

And while you're waiting check out Chris Eckmann's L/O/N/G project with Rupert Huber of Tosca.

Saturday, 9 July 2011

Wooden Shjips - new album West due in August

Wooden Shjips have a new album West coming out in August. Here's a track called 'Lazy Bones' to be going on with. 

They're going to be playing End Of The Road on 3rd September and The Scala in KIngs Cross the night after, with the Wolf People. Now signed to Thrill Jockey here's what the label have to say about them: 

"Wooden Shjips, as it is today, started in 2006.  The band self released a 10" and 7" that year and started playing shows shortly thereafter.  Prior to 2006, Wooden Shjips was an experiment in primitive and minimalist rock.  After it imploded, Ripley Johnson, guitar and vocals, assembled the current lineup of Dusty Jermier on bass, Nash Whalen on organ, and Omar Ahsanuddin on drums.  West marks the first time the band recorded in a proper studio, as well as the first time with an engineer (Phil Manley).  All previous recordings, either self-released, for Holy Mountain, or Mexican Summer were done more piecemeal in the band’s rehearsal studio.  West was recorded and mixed in six days at Lucky Cat Studios in San Francisco.  It was mastered by Sonic Boom at Blanker Unisinn, Brooklyn, with additional mastering by Heba Kadry at the Lodge in New York.

The over riding theme for the album (as indicated by the title) is the American West, and all of the mythology, romanticism, and idealism that it embodies.  The band members grew up on the East Coast, so for a long time the history and literature of the West was an abstraction and a fascination for them.  Part of the allure of the West, which is part of the myth, is the concept of Manifest Destiny, the vastness, and the possibilities for reinvention, which is not to say that is what each song is specifically about, but it was very much an undercurrent during the songwriting of the album.  The artwork also touches on the same theme by using an iconic structure that is both a gateway in a literal and metaphorical sense.  

It is easy to see why these would appeal to Wooden Shjips, as their music lends itself to exploration.  It is both transformative and transporting, the sum being far greater than it’s parts.  The steady driving rhythms are the elliptical motion machine driven by the often thick and distorted guitar lines, melodic and boundless.  Where they may lead cannot be anticipated but following them is exhilarating.  It is all about getting there, the destination, while the experience of getting there is an adventure.  It is the guitar lines that guide both the listener and the band on the literal and metaphorical journey into the vastness.  The ghostly vocals, obscured by dense layers of instruments surrounding them, are alluring with their airy mystery.  This elusive quality further draws the listener in, while they attempt to grasp at their meaning.  While indebted to both the psych music of the ‘60s and mid-‘70s, electric Neil Young, and even the induced travels of Spacemen 3, the Wooden Shjips’ music is modern and in every way their own.  West is an epic journey to the edge and beyond."

Monday, 4 July 2011

The Wicked Whispers at The Alley Cat Club - Tues 5th July

The Wicked Whispers are a impressive pop-sike band from Liverpool. They're launching their four song 10" single at The Alley Cat in Denmark Street tomorrow and I'd seriously suggest going down to catch them. 

There's a real melodic 60s folky, pastoral thing going on, along with farfisa organ. Check out lead track 'Amanda Lavender' below and listen out for 'Flying Round In Circles' which is like Peter Sarstedt with added harpsichord.

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