Guy Clark 1941-2016 May 21, 2016Posted by yourcousin in Culture, This Weekend I'll Mostly Be Listening to....
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When George Jones died I shrugged and gave his memory a metaphorical “tip of the hat”. I felt something more for Merle, but Guy Clark’s passing genuinely upset me. Next to Johnny Cash he is my favorite country musician/singer/songwriter. And as I told my friends from Texas aside from Ray Wiley Hubbard, and Willie Nelson, Guy Clark was one of the last three things Texas had going for it (That list originally included the author John Graves). Perhaps it is telling that my list of decent Texans only includes old white men, but que sera. For some reason I as I reflected on his passing I couldn’t help but keep coming back to Graves and his book Goodbye to a River. In the fifties a last canoe trip was taken down the Brazos river that was to be dammed. The book, part travelogue, part local history, part memoir is a moving picture of the price of progress. It is also a reminder that the old ways were not always better. The idea of husbandry and stewardship were/are never universal. The line that I keep coming back to (one that eventually became its own book, The Last Running).
Damn you for not ever getting to know anything worth knowing. Damn me, too. We had a world, once.
Perhaps it’s that as part of my job now I regularly drive all over northern Colorado and hardly recognize the land I grew up in. Between the fracking sites with their hay bale walls and mcmansions springing up all over what was once prairie and farm land is now being squeezed out of existence. Guy Clark was the soundtrack to that existence. A literate red neck of sorts whose music was essentially poetry set to music. He sang of an America that was passing even in his youth and one whose gravestones are being bulldozed for a new strip mall.It is telling that he is often referred to as a folk singer or grouped in the “Americana” genre. I can think of no greater indictment of modern country music. He has graced TWIMBT before, but he certainly deserves his own remembrance.
These songs are essentially the “best of” cuts. There are so many great songs that he has. I never even saw him in concert so I guess his passing is an abstraction but my world has become a little greyer, less colorful for his passing. Enjoy.
Desperados Waiting for a Train
That Old Time Feeling
The Randall Knife
My Favorite Picture of You
This Weekend I’ll Mostly Be Listening to… BabyMetal May 21, 2016Posted by irishelectionliterature in This Weekend I'll Mostly Be Listening to....
Read about these recently, apparently they are very popular. A Japanese band comprising of Three teenage girls fronting a Metal band. They are mixing pop and various styles of Metal with results that are gaining popularity outside of Japan. It’s quite odd at first but as an ‘Idol band’ it’s surprising that someone hadn’t made a success of the concept before. They are actually quite good too.
Having been formed in 2010 , they have released two albums with their most recent ‘Metal Resistance’ selling very well. The backing band are the Kami band and the main singer is Suzuka Nakamoto (“Su-metal”) with Yui Mizuno (“Yuimetal”) and Moa Kikuchi (“Moametal”) doing backing vocals and dancing.
It really is a strange mix and the below song ‘Death’ shows it’s not all dancy but darker too. Their live shows are supposedly excellent.
A glowing review in The Guardian of their recent concert at The Wembley Arena
What do our resident Metal fans make of them?
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It was the catchy tune “George Hamilton’s Dead” that first caught my eye although it was a different George Hamilton to the RTE commentator we know and love. A Scottish band they had some nice jangly pop and liked their feedback. They were on Sarah records for a period in the late 80’s. There was also a band in the late sixties of the same name that released a number of albums……. oh and there’s the Greek Far Right Party Golden Dawn too.
And while we’re on music this might be of interest …..The Old Grey Whistle Test Dublin 1985 features on Come Here to Me
This Weekend I’ll Mostly Be Listening to… Earl Scruggs April 23, 2016Posted by irishelectionliterature in This Weekend I'll Mostly Be Listening to....
I like a bit of Banjo, I even bought a Fureys and Davey Arthur record on the strength of the banjo in ‘Sweet Sixteen’ ! However I’m going for a far faster style of banjo picking here with one of my favourite bluegrass banjo players, the late Earl Scruggs. You’re probably familiar with some of the tunes (especially The Beverly Hillbillies theme song).
It’s funny too how Scruggs went out of fashion for a period and then in the mid 90’s his career picked up again as he was ‘rediscovered’. It really is feelgood music.
The James Connolly Festival 2016 Present Anderson with special guest Bad Sea. Monday 9th May April 15, 2016Posted by irishelectionliterature in Culture.
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“Battery Point” was a Sarah Records compilation I bought in 1995 that I dug up recently. It wasn’t their best but had some good tunes on it. The bands featured were Blueboy, Boy Racer, Aberdeen, The Hit Parade,Northern Picture Library, Ivy, Shelly, Action Painting!, The Sugargliders and Secret Shine. Some had two tracks on it. None of them really ‘made it’.
A few favourites would be “Fran” by Aberdeen and “Wish You Would” by Ivy. Naturally with any compilation there are a few duds.
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I happened upon the Dubstar version of “St Swithins Day” again recently and I’d forgotten how much I liked it. It has been my favourite Billy Bragg cover since I heard it first almost 20 years ago. (There’s a wonderful live version somewhere with Billy Bragg joining them, alas I couldn’t find it for this.)
Although now far more famous than the original I’m not a great fan of Kirty McColls version of “A New England” just doesn’t have the edge that the original had. In a strange way too being sung by a woman rather than a man changes the way the listener thinks of the song. It’s also nice to air a well known Left Wing band like The Redskins here too. I like their cover of “Levi Stubbs Tears”. The Small Hours are band I know little about but I though their version of “The Milkman of Human Kindness” was decent enough. June Tabors version of “Rumours of War” is quite nice.
Speaking of June Tabor…..I came across some awful covers, The Oysterband being particular culprits with a horrific version of “Between The Wars” and a dreadful version of “Valentine’s Day Is Over”. There were also some metal covers of various Bragg songs which didn’t appeal to me much at all.
This Weekend I’ll Mostly Be Listening to… Soak March 12, 2016Posted by irishelectionliterature in This Weekend I'll Mostly Be Listening to....
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One thing about being older or just my lifestyle is that I rarely discover new music and I hadn’t heard of Soak a month ago, but I’ve spent the last month flitting between her and the new Gloaming album. Especially live the recordings are just incredibly bare and to think she’s still only 19. I’m aurally glued to every note and in a really strange way it reminds me of an early Billy Bragg.
Soak (Kaos spelt backwards) is Bridie Monds-Watson from Derry who has been playing for a number of years and has a number of eps , singles and an album on Rough Trade already as well as nominations for all sorts of awards indeed winning the Choice Music award recently. She’s one of those people I hadn’t realised that I’d missed….. Thank God for teenage children and their musical taste . Start off by putting “B a Nobody” on a loop !!!
Theres a bit about her here
Her Tumblr site has a bit of a diary thats worthwhile reading
This Weekend I’ll Mostly Be Listening to… “I Want Too Much” by A House February 27, 2016Posted by irishelectionliterature in This Weekend I'll Mostly Be Listening to....
The ‘difficult second album’ recorded on Innisboffin, some of the reviews at the time were mixed and it failed commercially anding up with them being dropped by Blanco y Negro. Yet for all that ,it’s probably my favourite A House album.
Having seen them umpteen times, bought “Kick Me Again Jesus”/ “Snowball Down” (and played it quietly so my mother wouldn’t hear the lyrics) , I was really looking forward to “On Our Big Fat Merry go Round” yet for the greatness of “My Little Lighthouse”, “I’ll Always Be Grateful” and “Call Me Blue”, there were a few tunes that I wasn’t overly impressed with. Then the problem with Vinyl was that you had to listen to a whole side or else risk scratching the record unless of course you had one of those really fancy turntables with a switch and lever for lifting the needle up and down.
“I Want Too Much” came with it’s brilliant cover , although I wonder did the brown influence it’s sales?
This Weekend I’ll Mostly Be Listening to… Bell X1 February 13, 2016Posted by irishelectionliterature in This Weekend I'll Mostly Be Listening to....
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An Irish band that I’m quite fond of, yet despite threatening to ‘make it big’ they seemed to stuttered at the edge of it for a while. They are still excellent and have some great songs.
Have seen them numerous times and they are very good live too.