White Music – January 1978 – XTC in the shires..

White Stripes?

 

January 28th 1978 I am 19 years old and on my one year foundation course at Oxford Polytechnic just as PUNK was filtering into the shires….wee were a year behind London 🙂 I remember watching in awe the previous autumn as a guy on the course purchased Buzzcocks first album complete with designed plastic bag and showed it off. I had a birthday in january and as money tight was first opportunity to buy a punk album. I only had two options in Didcvot. The Lays Electrical shop where I had bought my glam rock 7 inches off the pegboard walls or W H Smith which was vinyl central then or Woolworths. It turned out Woolies was more PUNK….I remember to this day looking through the rack and seeing three or four options..The Damned, XTC, Iggy Pop’s The Idiot and the red compilation of ‘New Wave’. I plumped for the Iggy Pop album for some reason and took it home over-excited. This ended as I put it on the tiny dansette hidden in my parent’s old sideboard….it was warped so badly it didn’t play.

So I took it back and had only two choices…the red compilatiuon or this weird album by XTC called White Music…it looked punky and I had no idea they were down the road in Swindon.

White Music it was…

 

I now listening to a digital version for first time in years..was way ahead of me then and still sounds exciting now. Not a bad choice and somehow over the years I lost my original copy…..will keep a look out for a replacement on vinyl for old times sake.

Meanwhile here what i listening to in a sideboard on a mono dansette in January 1978 🙂 A dub version of All along the watchtower….FFS 🙂

Swindon Boys and recorded at the Manor Oxford…..local post modernism 🙂

Did it influence my art not much…but it was the soundtrack:-)

More INFO: http://chalkhills.org/reelbyreal/a_WhiteMusic.html 

Chuck Berry re-takes on Mercury 1966

 

If you see this mid-price compilation from Spain from 1967 grab it as it is a re-badging of the Mercury Studios 1966 re-takes session Berry did when he swapped labels moving from Chess to Mercury (Fontana over here).

Original Mercury album cover from states

The session involved :

  • Chuck Berry – guitar, vocals
  • Ebby Hardy – drums
  • Johnnie Johnson – piano, electric piano
  • Quincy Macon – rhythm guitar
  • Eugene Washington – drums

They hit the hits at quite a lick and all in all it a feisty reinterpretation of the Chess standards with one new track Club Nitty Gritty that came out as the first mercury single and hence very rare.

 

More info on the Mercury Releases here : http://www.crlf.de/ChuckBerry/mercury.html

My particular favourite is the take on Roll Over Beethoven which almost punk like in its speed and intensity. The whole session sounds one-take live throughout. Leadbitter and Slaven’s Blues Records 1943-1970 states it recorded Clayton Mo, Oct/Nov 1966.

 

Full track listing:

Side one

  1. “Sweet Little Sixteen” (2:32)
  2. “Memphis” (2:07)
  3. “School Days (Ring Ring Goes the Bell)” (2:35)
  4. “Maybellene” (2:35)
  5. “Back in the U.S.A.” (2:27)

Side two

  1. “Johnny B. Goode” (2:45)
  2. “Rock and Roll Music” (2:33)
  3. “Roll Over Beethoven” (2:02)
  4. “Thirty Days” (2:10)
  5. “Carol” (2:24)
  6. “Club Nitty Gritty” (2:18)

Ramblin Jack Elliott and Trailer Star

I always had a soft spot for Ramblin Jack Elliott (born Elliot Adnopoz in Brooklyn yes the original Jewish Beat Cowboy before Zimmerman 🙂 ) not only because of the obvious Dylan connection but because the early Topic LPs are beautifully designed especially the drawn ones which I copied for Trailer Star’s fake album Suit of Nettles. Spot the influence…

The artist on these Topic albums (I also have a beautiful Sarah Ogun Gunning album of the  same period) was probably the same artist but I cannot trace who it is at all.

The Elliotts have what appears to be a signature but Bosard C my best guess comes up with nothing ..

This my collection so far as Ramblin Jack has 50 releases a way to go…

In situ Lincoln 2008..note the influences..

 

 

 

 

 

Eve of Destruction – Barry Maguire

maguire

Do not know where or when I picked this up. Probably bought for the cover and a little familiarity with the title track. Produced by Lou Adler on his own Dunhill Records which had bigger hits with the Mama and Papas and Carole King. We are firmly in ‘New Dylan’ territory and it not surprising that fellow folkie P.F.Sloan provides a couple of tracks alongside Dylan himself. The Dylan covers are polite and pleasant. The production pure Terry Melcher or CBS studio A Johnston . The stand out is this the title track. A cold war track of unending relevance even now sadly. Maguire found religion and became a major artist on The God and Jesus circuit long before Dylan found himself ironically. Overall a novelty record but worth it for a couple of nice tracks. I once had the P.F.Sloan greatest hits which overall a better album. I believe P.F.Sloan made a comeback recently just before he passed away in November 2015. Here’s the track..enjoy.

For more on Maguire see http://www.barrymcguire.com/ he a little less hair now…

sloan

P.F.Sloan OBIT: http://www.rollingstone.com/music/news/p-f-sloan-eve-of-destruction-songwriter-dead-at-70-20151116

Get In Get Out – Randall Bramblett

Most years the excellent Southern States magazine ‘Oxford American’ puts together a music related issue and an accompanying sampler. I was fortunate to acquire the one for 2000 but missed the rest.
cover

The compilations are wonderful and off this one the stand-out track for me was Randall Bramblett’s Get In Get Out.
A steamy bit of wordy southern funk.

The rest was just as good..almost

1. Train That Carried My Girl from Town – Doc & Merle Watson
2. Sometimes We Make You Move Your Feet – Keith Frank & the Soileau Zydeco Band
3. Back to the Crossroads – Todd Snider
4. Break My Heart – Judybats
5. I Love You – Asie Payton
6. Best in Town – Hodges Brothers & the Hi Rhythm Section
7. Louisiana 1927 – Randy Newman
8. The Seventh Son – Mose Allison
9. Get In Get Out – Randall Bramblett
10. Billy the Kid – Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers
11. Whatever Way the Wind Blows – Kelly Willis
12. When the Roses Bloom Again – Wilco with Billy Bragg
13. Silver Dagger – Dolly Parton
14. Leaning – Robert Mitchum & Lillian Gish
15. He’s Got You – Dean Martin
16. I Know – Kim Richey
17. Dirty Angels – Kevin Kinney
18. Southern Casey Jones – Jesse James
19. Not for the Love of You Woman – Ronnie Milsap
20. Castanets – Alejandro Escovedo
21. Can’t Stop a Train – The Derailers
22. Grievin’ My Heart Out for You – Jimmie Davis
23. Down in the River to Pray – Alison Krauss

I then found Bramblett’s 2001 CD album ‘No more Mr. Lucky’ which was not all as good as this track but a good album. It seems he has had a long career as sideman which explains why his new album from 2016 ‘Devil Music’ includes luminaries like Mark Knopler on it. I missed out on albums in between so looking forward to hearing. The new album from online previews sounds like more Get In Get Out which no bad thing.

Check out: http://randallbramblett.com/

luckyRandall-Bramblett-300x300

Welcome to the Nutty Squirrel’s Home…

Random vinyl nuggets and obscure musical delights from the treasure trove..infrequently updated..

 

nutty

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Nutty_Squirrels

1959 Children’s Jazz record featuring scat and be-bop ..I kid you not…how cool is this 🙂

I was born January 1959 this explains a lot…imagine Kid’s getting Beat Movement, Jazz and Smoking as a start in life now :-)…

They do the standards too…quickly 😉

Souled American – The American Gothic

souledamericanpromo

Some time back in the early 1990s I picked up a cassette tape of Souled American’s ‘Fe’ album because I liked the cover. The hint of American Gothic in photo and the typeface said it was my kind of music. Published by Rough Trade (RT131) for the trainspotters. It was a fantastic early exposure to the alternative americana universe that started seeping across these shores in mid 1990s. It coinicided with my purchasing of Uncle Tupelo and early Whiskeytown records. Yet Souled American were investigating timbres from that ‘weird old america’ of Harry Smith and Doc Boggs before any of them. They went on to release a smattering of increasingly experimental albums through the 1990s. I have 1992’s ‘Sonny’ and as of tomorrow when I return to Anarchy Records will have ‘Flubber’. It is one of the strangest musical timelines ever and only McSeeeney’s obscure emporium and a handful of online critics even acknowledge their existence. The music continues to eerily fascinate. Like a backwoods proto-punk gothic back porch melodrama hoovering up old Merle Travis and Louvin Brothers tunes then slowing them down to a crawl pace Codeine and Cowboy Junkies. Listening to ‘Sonny’s’ funereal drum-less soundscapes the whole gamut of americana-noire lights up….from Will Oldham through Drunk and 16 Horsepower to Smog, health Lambchop and on…it all starts here…essential water from the well…

More Info:
http://www.sfweekly.com/sanfrancisco/the-lonesome-death-and-life-of-souled-american/

http://www.gothiccountry.se/articles/midwest/souled-american.html

http://hissgoldenmessenger.blogspot.co.uk/2008/10/notes-campfire.html

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Camden_Joy

Wreckless Eric – Someone must’ve nailed us together

 

Not sure where I picked this little gem up. My life has touched on that of Eric Goulden at various points but we never actually met. Last night he played a blisteringly good set at The Poppy and Pint in West Bridgford, ampoule Nottingham and this songwriter’s song was a highlight on what was an almost faultless night of Wreckless Eric at his best. He previewed at least three songs from the new album amERICa which were as good as anything in his impressive back catalogue. The single was self-released on Eric’s Empire Records through which he released two(recently reissued albums on Fire Records) the Len Bright Combo Presents and Combo Time. A little later he recorded and released a friend of mine Kevin Evan’s debut (and only) 12″ on Ambassador Records ( a record that somebody borrowed and never returned sadly) and his band Ritzun Ratzun Rotzer from Leeds.

Then in late 1990s I would happily frequent the second-hand bookshops on Charing Cross Road and I found out that Eric was serving behind counter in a shop a friend Jan Buchanan worked in. I am sure he served me at least a couple of times but I never mentioned the music. It now called Any Amount of Books but I think was called something else then….my memory not great. I remember the period because my friend found out a drawing by a Japanese artist she owned worth a fortune when I told her I’d seen similar on the Antiques Roadshow. Apparently she bought a house in France with proceeds…..we had both worked at Zwemmers in early 1980s. It was a gift from original owners allegedly.

Finally fast-forward the time tape machine to 2003. I am on second ever date with a lady who became my wife. We are at Alan Tyler’s weekly Americana event ‘Come Down and Meet the Folks’ at the ‘Fiddler'(???) in College Street Camden Town watching ..yes…Eric Goulden aka Wreckless. We were both drunk so memory hazy but I think Amy Rigby was either on bill or with Eric…so we both been in relationship ever since…

I recently picked up the Len Bright Combo reissues and Le Beat Group Electrique album from Fire Records and look forward to the new album on scratchy black vinyl 🙂

I hope Mr Goulden gets the attention he deserves…recent features in MOJO and Record Collector show his amp is rising 🙂 He is a national treasure , a Hull Art School domestic Daniel Johnston with words and pictures (actually he a much better songwriter than said cult artist) and has at least a dozen first class songs to his name..maybe more. That he was eclipsed in early days was more because of temperament. He a natural artist/garage band soul without the naked ambition of a certain other Stiff Tour bespectacled songwriter.

Last night Eric talked affectionately of listening to the first ever rendition of ‘Sweet gene Vincent’ by Ian Dury at his flat……
The autobiography by EG below is probably far more entertaining that EC’s recent tome and a hell of a lot funnier ( I looking out for a copy).

Keep laughing Eric and hats off to Amy….for inspiring this late flowering of an artist….or ‘miserable old c***t’ as he called himself on stage last night……

ericbook

http://www.thedonotpress.com/titles/dysfunctional-success/

Also available on Amazon : http://www.amazon.co.uk/Dysfunctional-Success-Wreckless-Manual-written/dp/1904316182 

Last song ended with namechecks for his inspiration ..Velvet Underground and Bobby Gentry featured…at heart he’s a fan of great music…and makes some too along the way 🙂

Thanks for a great evening.

Further info. on The Medway Scene: http://www.goldminemag.com/features/book-review-neck-muddy-medway-waters

combo1combo2 groupbook

Pere Ubu – Love Love Love (1989) 7″

I am warming to this blog…it a rare opportunity to delve into the darkest corners of my vinyl collection and retrieve strange fish like this…

After listening to Pere Ubu’s Modern Dance album from 1978 which I bought on release and which one of the soundtracks of my Art School days in London…

ubu3

I considered whether I actually had any Pere Ubu vinyl and presto this came to mind.

No idea where I trawled it up from and by the PR notice below which not the actual release looks like a Phonogram review promo copy from 1989.

I missed out on the Sleeve art also (see below) and the completely bonkers David Thomas video with children dressed as bugs but happy to share now…

Produced by Daniel Miller of Mute I can only assume as some kind of Pere Ubu land joke..as is most of the above..hopefully..

The aural equivalent of a David Lynch movie……

love1
love2

ubu1

My copy

ubu2

Also look out for this recent FIRE Records archive release…

ubu

Unfaithful Music – Costello’s Back Pages

Oliver’s Army is here to stay….

Yesterday by chance I picked up another three of Elvis Costello’s 7 inch singles from late 70s to early 80s…..which seems to coincide with his most prolific and possibly best period as a songwriter. Yes he has delved into everything from classical to funk since like a slightly less annoying Morrisey but seems not to have suffered from the latter’s fading talents and self-obsessed verbal wankery…mostly. I cannot imagine Declan Patrick MacManus producing something as shit as Steven Patrick Morrisey’s latest ‘fiction’ if that what it is..most commentators have described it as unadalterated rubbish. No Declan is too smart, ed too wordy for that and whilst the new tome isn’t Shakespeare or even a mad poet’s take on Shakespeare (Hughes) it does look interesting. Maybe not as interesting as warts and all former band-mate Bruce Thomas’s brilliant ‘The Big Wheel’ which probably tells you all you need to know about sharing a bus with a pain in the arse lead singer..but it comes with literary affections – pace Dylan’s Chronicles use of Conrad like flashbacks- and a decent cover which usually enough to allow me to purchase in two years time when the hardback inevitably remaindered.

Not having purchased yet I can only share the cover and a reviewer at NY Times sentiment that it smart-arse but not brilliant which sadly covers about half of the singing dictionary man in a one-liner worthy of the bard himself. Declan had a voice from his father and a way with words that few equaled in the period illustrated above…sometimes he produced too much and a fair sifting needed but anything up until he shagged an Irish bird (we all do that sometimes) and dumped his family is OK. After that it spirals like a drunken Dublin drinker around pretension and brilliance and the diamonds are harder to find in the mine. Now secure and contented as only a high earning ex-pat can be and happily married to Diana Krall which has enlarged the Jazz vocalisms somewhat we have a ‘national treasure’ to adore and be depressed by in equal measure. A Singing Corbyn…always loyal to the cause (‘Tramp the Dirt Down’ for instance) but hardly a working-class hero then or now and his racist taunts in late 70s were unforgiveable from an arrogant shit which he admits to in yesterday’s Guardian feature ( promo -tie-in whatever etc….buy from Guardian at £6 off etc). He is an astute game player and proves it by still being able to tour his Wheel of Death Songs and hold on to some reins of musical power. Whether the dark horse of fate will remember him as a game-changer or not he a part of my musical landscape and for ‘Oliver’s Army’ I will always applaud him. As for the Brodsky Quartet I have it ..never played ..I mean a quartet for fucks sake…yer Dad would just laugh…..

Records 1977-1986  *****

costello

My collection of Elvis C 7 inches……1978-1984

‘King of America’ is a brilliant album he could have stopped there and his reputation would be intact..after that ..some good songs but no album that as coherent nor as well written.

Records 1986- present ***

Spike was hit and miss….after that some pure crap mixed with moments of brilliance..North/Brodsky Pseudo Classical/Bacharach..he milked every market but nothing as good as King of America….not total shit but kind of albums you file rather than play….

Books : Autobiography/Bios/Music Books

Autobiography – nice cover shame about the title ..Unfaithful Music alone would do but Declan cant stop himself over-egging it can he…???

Also here some of the previous biographies on the man to compare Declan’s version of events with 🙂 There even the first Academic Tome….appropriate for the wordy..

Per chance Declan has also seen fit to release a greatest hits CD..a couple of sweeteners on there for the fans with same title and sleeve art…
a tad opportunistic I would say but then I not a Man out of Time…