Wednesday, January 31, 2018

Crossed My Mind

The holy triumvirate of Ely, Gilmore and Hancock proves that the oft-ridiculed singing saw can easily replace country's much more obvious pedal steel, which can indeed be heard on Willie's just-as-melancholic original. Steve Wesson's the player of the thing, and he's a master.
Flatlanders - One Day At A Time
Willie Nelson - One Day At A Time

Monday, January 29, 2018

Back To This Place

Calexico just might be the most consistent band around. The lads from Tucson have yet to release a subpar record, and their new The Thread That Keeps Us is indeed another keeper. Their trademark desert rock is there, often Mexican-spiced of course, but there's plenty of pop sensibility to be found as well. And as the uplifting Another Space shows, Burns and Convertino can play da Remain In Light-like funk with ease, too. Class, pure class.
Calexico - Another Space

Friday, January 26, 2018

Songs Of Its Own

The Dead with a horn section? Yup, they tried that experiment too, albeit for a short run only. During nine September '73 gigs Garcia & co shared the stage with Joe Ellis (on trumpet and flugelhorn) and Martin Fierro (on flute and sax). The results were a mixed bag to say the least, but sometimes it did actually take flight, as you can hear below. Thanks to the always interesting Save Your Face blog for the tunage btw. Hey now...
Grateful Dead - Eyes Of The World > (Live Buffalo Sept. '73)
Grateful Dead - Eyes Jam (Live Buffalo Sept. '73)

Thursday, January 25, 2018

Come Back Here

Just got the sad news that Mark E Smith has passed away yesterday. The cranky leader of the mighty Fall, a true original and eternal hip priest, was only 60. Miss him-ah.
The Fall - Dead Beat Descendant
The Fall - Fantastic Life

Wednesday, January 24, 2018

I Like Gold

First reggae re-release of the new year alert. One would be excused for thinking the venerable Pressure Sounds label would be scraping the bottom of the roots barrel by now, but the soulful Meet The People surely deserves a second chance. Released back in '78 on Jamaican soil only, so quite rare, it was recorded at the famous studios of Joe Gibbs, whose trusted engineer Errol Thompson manned the mixing desk. "Listen to me now..."
Lloyd Parks & We The People - Reality

Monday, January 22, 2018

Met My Sweety

It's 1957, and the lovely Bobbettes are merrily hiccupping away, like ska singers avant la lettre. One, two, three... It's true: records like these have no sell-by date.
The Bobbettes - Mr. Lee

Friday, January 19, 2018

Secret Of This Place

If the quality of the cassette-only (ha!) debut of this Kansas City-born (ha! again) youngster is anything to go by, I guess we'll be hearing much more from Anna St. Louis in due time. Bluesy opener Wind-Up reminds me of the late great Libby Cotten somehow, and that's no mean feat indeed.
Anna St. Louis - Wind-Up

Wednesday, January 17, 2018

Burn Up

"I felt a rumblin' beneath my feet, and the whole world was shaken free..." Or: presenting a fiery six pack for your listening pleasure. And how's that for a centerpiece, my amigos da musica? Brimstone all the way. Blazing artwork by Tinca. Woosh...
Boyd Rivers - That Fire Shed In My Bones
LaVern Baker - Soul On Fire
Clifton Gibbs & The Selected Few - Brimstone And Fire
Link Wray - Fire And Brimstone
The Saints - Just Like Fire Would
Bullet Lavolta - X Fire

Monday, January 15, 2018

Bring The Goose

When the Swede over at the always interesting Unthought Of, Though, Somehow blog hailed Richard Dawson's latest as his musical highlight of last year, I just had to check it out. And his description - 'claustrophobic medieval avant-garde folk-noir' - sure proved spot-on, as Peasant is a record you don't hear every day to say the least. If Robert Wyatt fronting a lo-fi Incredible String Band in some godforsaken British bog sounds even remotely like your thing, don't hesitate. Uneasy listening guaranteed.

Friday, January 12, 2018

Heavy Nuggets

Caution: wild trip ahead, with a triple dose of goodies from the first three volumes of the Brown Acid series. Yet another younger brother of Lenny Kaye's famed Nuggets compilation, although the bands are much more obscure here and the songs way heavier. Recorded after Altamont ended the hippie dream once and for all, these slabs of proto stoner rock provide the ideal soundtrack to the post-Aquarian comedown. Find your copies on the mindblowing Riding Easy label: editions four and five have dropped as well in the meantime.
Raw Meat - Stand By Girl
Crossfield - Take It!
First State Bank - Before You Leave

Wednesday, January 10, 2018

Home Again

Yet another straggler from last year's bounty. Jason Isbell's The Nashville Sound came first in the always twang-heavy reader's poll of No Depression magazine recently, and for a good reason. The former Drive-By Trucker's sixth album is yet another solid batch of articulate white man's blues, and we can't have enough of that now can we?
Jason Isbell and the 400 Unit - Hope The High Road

Monday, January 8, 2018

Radio Mali

A fine straggler from last year by Oumou SangarĂ©, whose nickname 'the songbird of Wassoulou' makes a lot of sense. My current fave of Mogoya is the very funky Fadjamou, probably because it features afrobeat legend Tony Allen (of Fela Kuti's band fame of course) on drums.
Oumou Sangaré - Fadjamou

Friday, January 5, 2018

Slack It For Awhile

I recall Tia Blake appearing on my radar through a thorough feature on the always inspiring Aquarium Drunkard some years back, which told the remarkable story of an unknown singer from Pinehurst, North Carolina who recorded a breathtaking folk album in early seventies Paris. Since then, Tia's Folksongs & Ballads has never been far from the stereo at FTSOTS headquarters. Here's a fine example of her style.
Tia Blake - Hangman

Did Hangman ring a bell somehow? Could very well be. Maybe not because of the first recorded version from 1920 by one Bentley Ball, but if you've got some Leadbelly, Charlie Poole and/or Zep in your collection, as you should, chances are you've heard Child Ballad 95 before.
Bentley Ball - Gallows Tree
Leadbelly - The Gallis Pole
Charlie Poole & The North Carlina Ramblers - Hangman, Hangman, Slack The Rope
Led Zeppelin - Gallows Pole

Stop press: with reader Marie coming to the rescue, we now have a fine version by Odetta, too. And I found I had yet another wonderful take on it, courtesy of John Jacob Niles, the 'Dean of American Balladeers'. Enjoy!
Odetta - Gallows Tree (Gallows Pole)
John Jacob Niles - The Maid Freed From The Gallows

Wednesday, January 3, 2018

Tips His Hat

Reinhard Kleist, who drew an amazing graphic novel about Johnny Cash a few years back, now points his surrealist pencil at Nick Cave, and the results are nothing short of breathtaking. Kleist dives deep into Cave's murky universe, starting down under with the Boys Next Door, and moving from rainy London to icy Berlin with the Birthday Party and the Bad Seeds. The ending sees St. Nick in his trusted Jag, hightailing it from the fabled crossroads all the way to Geneva with none other than Robert Johnson riding shotgun. You need this, it's a hallucinatory Rinky Dink Special, with a little umbrella too.
Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds - Jangling Jack

Monday, January 1, 2018

Amarillo Highway

A good way to start the new year. I mean, guitar instrumentals ringing like fresh prairie winds, interspersed with krautrocky synth interludes from weirdsville? Cue Greetings From Amarillo, a lovely tribute to the Texas Panhandle by young Hayden Pedigo, a gifted picker who names Robbie Basho as his fave guitarist. Comes with the compliments of the great Terry Allen, too. Hypnotizing little record this.
Hayden Pedigo - Greetings From Amarillo