Helpless Dancer

The Endless Note

Sunday Jazz – Madeleine Peyroux

 

The great Madeleine Peyroux has a new album in the shops now.

“Standing On The Rooftop” is weighted more towards her continually developing songwriting skills yet still has three of her typically inspirational cover versions.

Perhaps the most startling is her take on Robert Johnson’s “Love In Vain”, previously turned into a typical Stones R&B cover, however, Madeleine strips it back down to sound like it should totally tortured!

 

 

To buy the music of Madeleine Peyroux click HERE

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July 3, 2011 Posted by | Blues, Jazz Vocal, New Releases, Video | , , | Leave a comment

New News – John Fahey

Rare material from John Fahey is set to be exhumed on the upcoming box set ‘John Fahey: Your Past Comes Back to Haunt You (The Fonotone Years 1958-1965)’.

Very much a neglected figure, John Fahey is extremely important to the evolution of American music. An important figure in the blues and folk revival, he helped rediscover performers long since thought lost to music.

His own recordings were an extraordinary mixture of technical virtuosity and emotional depth.

Sadly passing away in 2001, some rare elements of the guitarist’s back catalogue have now been
unearthed.

Releasing his debut album ‘Blind Joe Death’ in 1959, the guitarist seemed to arrive fully formed.

However he did make earlier recordings, laying down instrumental tracks for the Fonotone label.

Issuing in tiny quantities, the songs were pressed onto 78RPM discs. Unusual even for the time, the Fonotone label handled a series of John Fahey tracks between 1958 and 1965.

It is this period which forms the spine of the new box set (via Tiny Mixtapes). ‘John Fahey: Your Past Comes Back to Haunt You (The Fonotone Years 1958-1965)’ promises countless rare material, including some cuts which have never been released on any format.

Dust-To-Digital are to handle the release, which will contain a total of five CDs. Joe Bussard controlled the Fonotone label, and his archives have proved to be an invaluable addition to the Fahey discography.

Containing 115 tracks, the upcoming box set is edited by fellow guitarist – and Fahey collaborator – Glenn Jones, with the full approval of the late musician’s estate.

Alongside a host of musical rarities the upcoming box set also includes an 88-page book with essays and analysis, reproductions of those Fonotone labels and rare photographs donated by Jane C. Hayes — Fahey’s mother.

For more on the project click HERE.

June 30, 2011 Posted by | Blues, Folk, New News, New Releases, Video | | 1 Comment

Blues Monday – Julie London

Despite nearly featuring in my “Sunday Jazz” series Julie London wasn’t really a jazz singer, but she possessed a definite jazz feeling and many of her finest albums (such as Julie Is Her Name and Julie…At Home) feature small-group jazz backings.

In a similar vibe her “About The Blues” wasn’t really aimed at the true “blues” market but was aimed at the 1950s pop market, but it may just be her best orchestral session. Since downbeat torch songs were London’s specialty, the album features an excellent selection of nocturnal but classy blues songs that play to her subtle strengths instead of against them. So as she sings below she had the view that “I Gotta A Right To Sing The Blues”

Julie usually included a couple of new songs in with a selection of standards, and her husband, Bobby Troup, wrote two excellent numbers for the album. One of them, the emotionally devastating “Meaning of the Blues,” is the album’s highlight, and was turned into a jazz standard after Miles Davis recorded it the same year for Miles Ahead.

To buy the music of Julie London click HERE

June 27, 2011 Posted by | Blues, Jazz Vocal, Old Music | , , | Leave a comment

Blues Monday – Rory Gallagher

The “lost” Rory Gallagher album “Notes From San Francisco” whilst it is a worthwhile purchase for Rory fans it is not the best entry point for new fans.

If he is new to you his heritage is still readily available, “Live In Europe” and “Irish Tour” are must have records as it was in live performance where Rory was most at home.

Someone once asked Jimi Hendrix what is it like to be the world’s greatest guitar player and his answer was “don’t know ask Rory Gallagher” !!

June 20, 2011 Posted by | Blues, Television, Video | , | Leave a comment

Friday Fun – Elevator Woman

God
Bless These Modern
Inventions

A fifteen year old Amish boy and his
father were in a mall. They were amazed by almost everything they saw, but
especially by two shiny,  silver walls that could move apart and then slide back
together again.

The boy asked, ‘What is this
Father?’

The father (never having seen an
elevator) responded, ‘Son, I have never seen anything like this in my life, I
don’t know what it is.’

While the boy and his father were watching with
amazement, a fat old lady in a wheel chair moved up to the moving walls and
pressed a button.

 

 

The walls
opened, and the lady rolled between them into a small room. The walls closed and
the boy and his father watched the small numbers above the walls light up
sequentially.

 

They continued to watch until it reached
the last number, and then the numbers began to light in the reverse
order.

 


Finally the walls opened up again and
a gorgeous 24-year-old blond stepped out.

 


The father, not taking his eyes off the
young woman, said quietly to his son…..

 

‘Go get your
Mother’




“Elevator Woman” – Tony McPhee & Friends

 

To buy the music of Tony McPhee click HERE

June 17, 2011 Posted by | Blues, Humour, Old Music | , | Leave a comment

Blues Monday – Seasick Steve

Seasick Steve returns with what is for me his best album yet.

Perhaps it makes sense that Seasick Steve would align himself in a partnership with kindred spirit Jack White’s Third Man Records for the release of his new album, “You Can’t Teach an Old Dog New Tricks.”

As everyone probably now knows, following his now numerous appearances on “Later….with Jools” he makes his own instruments, creating a unique tone and sound that employs a strong sense of mood which easily moves from world weary to party hardy and this time he’s taken former Led Zeppelin bassist John Paul Jones along for the ride.

The opening track is a barely audible worn-down sigh at the start of the melancholy “Treasures.” It’s
the kind of sound that might emanate from an older man who’s been burning the
years without much to show for it. Over a strummed guitar and lonely banjo line
he sings of how death will strip away everything you’ve built over time.

My current favourite track is this ode to the amber nector written by Steve’s son Paul Martin Wold

“Whisk(e)y Ballad” – Seasick Steve

More often than not though, Seasick Steve is just as fun, lively and instantly likeable as ever. Who cares if you can’t teach an old dog new tricks, because here’s another dumb truism: the old ones are the best.

To buy the music of Seasick Steve click HERE

June 13, 2011 Posted by | Blues, New Music, New Releases, Video | | Leave a comment

Blues Monday – The Bishops

Too Much Too Soon
Till The End Of The Day
Taking It Easy
Train Train
Someone’s Gonna Get Their Head Kicked In Tonight
Sometimes Good Guys Don’t Wear White
Don’t Start Me Talking
Baby You’re Wrong
I Don’t Like It
(I Want) Candy

Although amounting to little more than a footnote in the early days of English punk rock, the Count Bishops were a fine, energetic, R&B-based band capable of kicking out a fierce racket of noise that sounded like a grimier version of seminal British R&B revivalists Dr. Feelgood.

Originally fronted by journeyman American singer Mike Spencer, the Count Bishops’ 1975 debut EP, Speedball, (see previous post HERE )released on Ted Carroll’s wonderful Chiswick Records, was a straight-ahead slice of R&B that featured the spooky, exhilarating “Train, Train.”

“Train Train” (Live Album Version) – The Bishops

Surprisingly, the band unceremoniously dumped Spencer and recorded their self-titled debut with fellow Englishman Dave Tice, who had a voice so gruff it sounded as though he gargled with ground glass.

The live album above, originally released as alimited edition 10″,  followed (by this time they had dropped “Count” from their name), but it was clear that the band was simply treading water.

By 1979, the thoroughly mediocre Cross Cuts was released to public apathy, guitarist Zenon de Fleur was killed in a car wreck, and lead guitarist Johnny Guitar hooked up with Dr. Feelgood. The Bishops called it a day.

To buy their music click HERE the live album is available as a download from eMusic HERE

June 6, 2011 Posted by | Blast from The Past, Blues, Old Music, R&B, Video | , | Leave a comment

Blues Monday – Eden Brent

Eden Brent’s piano playing and singing style ranges from a melancholic whisper to a full-blown juke joint holler. She’s simultaneously confident and confiding, ably blending an earthy meld of jazz, blues, soul, and pop as she huskily invites listeners into her lazy, lush world.

One critic has described her as Bessie Smith meets Diana Krall meets Janis Joplin all of which is something she can’t aspire to, however, she is in herself a pianist and vocalist with, if you excuse the expression. some balls.

When she traveled from her hometown of Greenville to the Crescent City to record ‘Ain’t Got No Troubles,’ her sophomore album for Yellow Dog Records, she added 100 miles to the journey, eschewing the interstate for the meandering country highways that parallel the Mississippi River’s serpentine route.

That circuitous road trip, which ended at New Orleans’ Piety Street Studios (Elvis Costello & Allen Toussaint, The Blind Boys of Alabama) was a quest to further broaden her sound: Working with bassist George Porter, Jr., she and Linden injected her gritty, rootsy music with spicy elements that earmark the unmistakable Crescent City sound.

Brent penned eight of the twelve tracks for her sparkling new album, the most she’s written for a single record to date. They exhibit a keen sense of clever wordplay — the juke joint jumper “In Love With Your Wallet” invokes the wry observations of fellow Mississippi muse Mose Allison, while the vaudeville throwback “My Man” is peppered with double entendre.

But there’s also considerable nuance: the sly tenderness of the intimate “If I Can’t”, the after-hours anguish of “Blues All Over,” and the soulful, heartbreaking ballad “Leave Me Alone.”

Brent modestly describes the album’s title track as her “tribute to the open, carefree lifestyle of her hometown along the Mississippi river,” but it’s much more than that: It’s a near-iconic blues song that has the singer finding ironic contentment in the things she lacks. No money, no friends, no man — and, therefore, no worries. It’s as pointed a summation of the blues aesthetic as you’re likely to hear. Or as another great songwriter once said, “When you ain’t got nothin’, you got nothin’ to lose.”

 

“Beyond My Broken Dreams” – Eden Brent

 

To buy the music of Eden Brent click HERE

May 30, 2011 Posted by | Blues, New Music, New Releases, Video | | Leave a comment

Gil Scott-Heron – RIP

With critical and commercial appeal still surrounding what now turns out to have been his last album “I’m New Here” it is particularily unfair that he should be taken from us.

On promoting the album he described himself as “eccentric, obnoxious, arrogant and selfish” and held the view that “if you have to pay for all the bad things you’ve donethen I have a big bill coming”.

Born on 1st April 1949 he had an absentee Jamaican father Gilbert who was the first black footballer to play for Glasgow Celtic back in 1958.

Living between his mother and his grandmother, as his mother struggled to bring him up alone, he developed an early skill in essay writing at school, his penchant for education resulted in his attendance at Lincoln University where he made his first forays into music.

It became obvious that he was as much an author as he was musician and even to this day his signature tune/essay remains a track from his first 1970 album “A New Black Poet – Small Talk at 25th and Lenox”

“The Revolution Will Not Be Televised” – Gil Scott-Heron

You will not be able to stay home, brother.
You will not be able to plug in, turn on and cop out.
You will not be able to lose yourself on skag and skip,
Skip out for beer during commercials,
Because the revolution will not be televised.

The revolution will not be televised.
The revolution will not be brought to you by Xerox
In 4 parts without commercial interruptions.
The revolution will not show you pictures of Nixon
blowing a bugle and leading a charge by John
Mitchell, General Abrams and Spiro Agnew to eat
hog maws confiscated from a Harlem sanctuary.
The revolution will not be televised.

The revolution will not be brought to you by the
Schaefer Award Theatre and will not star Natalie
Woods and Steve McQueen or Bullwinkle and Julia.
The revolution will not give your mouth sex appeal.
The revolution will not get rid of the nubs.
The revolution will not make you look five pounds
thinner, because the revolution will not be televised, Brother.

There will be no pictures of you and Willie May
pushing that shopping cart down the block on the dead run,
or trying to slide that color television into a stolen ambulance.
NBC will not be able predict the winner at 8:32
or report from 29 districts.
The revolution will not be televised.

There will be no pictures of pigs shooting down
brothers in the instant replay.
There will be no pictures of pigs shooting down
brothers in the instant replay.
There will be no pictures of Whitney Young being
run out of Harlem on a rail with a brand new process.
There will be no slow motion or still life of Roy
Wilkens strolling through Watts in a Red, Black and
Green liberation jumpsuit that he had been saving
For just the proper occasion.

Green Acres, The Beverly Hillbillies, and Hooterville
Junction will no longer be so damned relevant, and
women will not care if Dick finally gets down with
Jane on Search for Tomorrow because Black people
will be in the street looking for a brighter day.
The revolution will not be televised.

There will be no highlights on the eleven o’clock
news and no pictures of hairy armed women
liberationists and Jackie Onassis blowing her nose.
The theme song will not be written by Jim Webb,
Francis Scott Key, nor sung by Glen Campbell, Tom
Jones, Johnny Cash, Englebert Humperdink, or the Rare Earth.
The revolution will not be televised.

The revolution will not be right back after a message
bbout a white tornado, white lightning, or white people.
You will not have to worry about a dove in your
bedroom, a tiger in your tank, or the giant in your toilet bowl.
The revolution will not go better with Coke.
The revolution will not fight the germs that may cause bad breath.
The revolution will put you in the driver’s seat.

The revolution will not be televised, will not be televised,
will not be televised, will not be televised.
The revolution will be no re-run brothers;
The revolution will be live

 

 

 

The song was without doubt  the wake up call to black America to switch off the television and do something less passive instead.

Perhaps given that he lived to see a  US administration led by a black President who was actively pursuing as a priority the health of all it’s citizens he considered his work here was done.

Source (in part):-  www.independant.co.uk

 

To buy the music of Gil Scott-Heron click HERE 

May 29, 2011 Posted by | Blues, New News, Old Music, R&B, Video | | Leave a comment

Blue Monday – Bob Dylan

Despite being regarded as one of the greatest sonwriters ever Dylan has never been slow to honour his roots and inspiration either on record, in concert or more recently during his brilliant radio shows.

His inspiration for his debut album released in 1963 drew from American and Celtic Traditional Folk, Spitituals and of course the blues.

Blue Monday thus brings you three of those tracks in celebration of his roots.

First up is the traditional song “In My Time Of Dying” an early version of which was recorded by Blind Willie Johnson.

Well, in my time of dying don’t want nobody to mourn
All I want for you to do
is take my body home
Well, well, well, so I can die easy
Well, well, well

Well, well, well, so I can die easy
Jesus gonna make up, Jesus gonna make
up
Jesus gonna make up my dying bed.

Well, meet me Jesus, meet me,
meet me in the middle of the air
If these wings should fail to me,
Lord,
won’t you meet me with another girl ?
Well, well, well, so I can die
easy
Well, well, well
Well, well, well, so I can die easy
Jesus gonna
make up, Jesus gonna make up
Jesus gonna make up my dying bed.

Lord,
in my time of dying don’t want nobody to cry
All I want you to do is take me
when I die
Well, well, well, so I can die easy
Well, well, well
Well,
well, well, so I can die easy
Jesus gonna make up, Jesus gonna make
up
Jesus gonna make up my dying bed.

Next up is a Bukka White classic “Fixin’ To Die”

Feeling funny in my mind, Lord,
I believe I’m fixing to die
Feeling funny
in my mind, Lord
I believe I’m fixing to die
Well, I don’t mind
dying
But I hate to leave my children crying
Well, I look over yonder to
that burying ground
Look over yonder to that burying ground
Sure seems
lonesome, Lord, when the sun goes down

Feeling funny in my eyes,
Lord,
I believe I’m fixing to die, fixing to die
Feeling funny in my
eyes, Lord
I believe I’m fixing to die
Well, I don’t mind dying but
I
hate to leave my children crying
There’s a black smoke rising, Lord
It’s
rising up above my head, up above my head
It’s rising up above my head, up
above my head
And tell Jesus make up my dying bed.

I’m walking kind
of funny, Lord
I believe I’m fixing to die, fixing to die
Yes I’m walking
kind of funny, Lord
I believe I’m fixing to die
Fixing to die, fixing to
die
Well, I don’t mind dying
But I hate to leave my children
crying.

Finally and somewhat appropriate as an end to this theme is Blind Lemon Jefferson’s “See That My Grave Is Kept Clean”

Well there’s one kind of favor I’ll ask for you
Well there’s one kind of favor I’ll ask for you
There’s just one kind of favor I’ll ask for
you
You can see that my grave is kept clean.

And there’s two white
horses following me
And there’s two white horses following me
I got two
white horses following me
Waiting on my burying ground.

Did you ever
hear that coffin sound
Did you ever hear that coffin sound
Did you ever
hear that coffin sound
Means another poor boy is underground.

Did you
ever hear them church bells toll
Did you ever hear them church bells toll

Did you ever hear them church bells toll
Means another poor boy is dead
and gone.

And my heart stopped beating and my hands turned cold
And my heart stopped beating and my hands turned cold
And my heart stopped
beating and my hands turned cold
Now I believe what the Bible
told.

There’s just one last favor I’ll ask for you
And there’s one
last favor I’ll ask for you
There’s just one last favor I’ll ask for you

See that my grave is kept clean.

To buy the music of Bob Dylan click HERE

May 23, 2011 Posted by | Blues, Old Music | , , , | 1 Comment

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