Helpless Dancer

The Endless Note

Saturday Soul – Smoove & Turrell

Soul as a genre is always marked by its so-called “authenticity”….so when these Geordie guys turn up mixing contemporary electronic sounds with (northern) soul, it works at every level.

The track below is a massive slab of old-school soul taken from their album “Eccentric Audio” which is released on the 27th June.

“Hard Work” – Smoove & Turrell

 

 

To buy the music of Smoove & Turrell click HERE

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June 18, 2011 Posted by | New Music, New Releases, R&B, Soul, Video | | Leave a comment

New Music – Emmylou Harris

Emmylou Harris has paid tribute to folk legend Gram Parsons on her latest album ‘Hard Bargain’.

Parsons discovered Harris in a Washington D.C folk club in 1971 and invited her to sing on his
1973 album ‘GP’, but he tragically died in the same year of a drug overdose.

She has now recorded the track ‘The Road’ for ‘Hard Bargain’, which addresses her relationship with the singer.

Speaking to Rolling Stone, Harris said of the track: “It’s terrible that Gram died so young, but I’m grateful that our paths crossed. It’s a thank you to him and kind of a tip of the hat to the universe to say ‘I’m still here and I was given all these wonderful things because of that meeting with this person.’ It’s just a reflection.”

“The Road” – Emmylou Harris

I can still remember
Every song you played
Long ago, when we were younger
And we rocked the night away

How could I see a future then
Where you would not grow old
With such a fire in our bellies
Such a hunger in our soul

I guess I probably loved you
When those words rolled off your tongue
It seemed that we were travelin’
Under some ol’ lucky sun

I know I couldn’t save you
And no one was to blame
But the road we shared together once
Will never be the same

Hey hey gonna fly away
Won’t be comin’ round today
Hey hey with a song I pray
And on the wings of a song I’ll fly away

I wandered in the wilderness
For a while I was so lost
To everything there is a season
And every blessing has its cost

So I took what you left me
Put it to some use
Went looking for an answer
With those 3 chords and the truth

I come down from the mountain
I come walkin’ in your shoes
I was taken for a gambler
When I had no more to lose

Cause you put me on that pathway
How could I refuse
And I have spent my whole life out here
Workin’ on the blues

So I carried on
You can’t be haunted by the past
People come and people go
And nothin’ ever lasts

But I still think about you
Wonder where you are
Can you see me from some place
Up there among the stars

But down here under heaven
There never was a chart
To guide our way across
This crooked highway of the heart

And if it’s only all about
The journey in the end
On that road I’m glad I came to know you
My old friend

Harris has addressed her relationship with Parsons once before, on her 1975 track ‘Boulder To
Birmingham’
, but said that ‘The Road’ is a very different track. She said: “‘Boulder to Birmingham’ was written in the throes of deep grief and shock, after losing someone that quickly
and unexpectedly. So that was just a way of dealing with it, whereas now, you’re looking back from a great distance with a great deal of affection.”

Original source: www.uncut.co.uk
To buy the music of Emmylou Harris click HERE

June 15, 2011 Posted by | New Music, New Releases, Video | , | 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

Roddy Hart & Gemma Hayes – The Dylan EP

Arriving a tad late for Dylan’s 70th birthday celebrations Scotland’s own Roddy Hart has teamed up with Ireland’s Gemma Hayes for a four track EP of Dylan covers, all of which happen to be favourite Dylan tracks of mine.

Some may ask why? Some may say why not, either way the four tracks (Most Of The Time, Oh, Sister, Not Dark Yet and It’s All Over Now, Baby Blue) are all recorded within a safe distance of the original arrangements with the dual vocals of the artists being the immediate difference bar Oh, Sister which tries hard but falls short of replicating the magic created between Dylan and Emmylou Harris on the original.

“Oh, Sister” – Roddy Hart & Gemma Hayes

From Amazon.comes this brief review:-

After successfully curating ‘Forever Young: A 70th Birthday Tribute To Bob Dylan’ at this year’s Celtic Connections festival – featuring a host of international artists including Rosanne Cash, Josh Rouse, Thea Gilmore, Kris Drever, Eddi Reader and more, and broadcast by Radio 2 and Sky Arts – Scottish
singer/songwriter Roddy Hart and his band The Lonesome Fire join forces with another of the night’s performers, Irish singer/songwriter Gemma Hayes, to release “The Dylan EP” on Vertical Records. Featuring four lesser known Bob Dylan tracks – Most Of The Time, Oh Sister, Not Dark Yet and It’s All Over Now Baby, Blue – the critically acclaimed artists combine with stunning effect to breath new life into the works of the world’s most iconic songwriter.

Following in the footsteps of Dylan’s prolific out put, Hart (who attracted the talents of US legend Kris Kristofferson for his first album, Bookmarks), and Hayes (who received a Mercury Prize nomination for her debut album Night On My Side) are both due to deliver their fourth albums later in the year.

To buy the EP click HERE

June 9, 2011 Posted by | Cover Stories, New Music, New Releases | , , , | Leave a comment

New Music – Jon Allen

Went to HMV at Braehead today to buy the new Jon Allen album “Sweet Defeat” as usual like so many times what I was looking for wasn’t available, thus given the choice of amazon or downloading it was iTunes for me.

Jon Allen (born Jonathon Allen, 12 May 1977) is a folk rock singer-songwriter born in Winchester, currently living in London.

His debut album Dead Man’s Suit was released on 1 June 2009 on Monologue Records.

He is best known for the hit songs In Your Light and Going Home the later of which featured in a worldwide advert for the Land Rover Freelander 2. His music is evocative of the folk-rock scene of the late 60s/ early 70s.

The new album is perhaps more varied and polished, however, it features as its last track “Last Orders” which could well be come the end of the year my “Song Of The Year”

“Last Orders” – Jon Allen

To buy the music of Jon Allen click HERE

June 8, 2011 Posted by | New Music, New Releases, Video | | Leave a comment

Peck Of The Week – Dengue Fever

First “Peck Of The Week” for a while but it seemed the ideal forum in which to introduce you all to the charms of Dengue Fever.

Named after a virus-based disease spread by mosquitoes, this LA based garage-punk band have an ace card in their line up in the form of Cambodian singer Chhom Nimol.

The band was formed in 2001 by Ethan Holtzman and his brother Zac after Ethan was inspired by a trip to Cambodia. As Ethan and Zac were searching for a vocalist to sing in Khmer, lead singer Chhom Nimol was discovered in a nightclub in the Little Phnom Penh area of Long Beach.

She was already a well-known karaoke singer in Cambodia, but decided to move to the United States after visiting her sister, and thought it was a good chance to make more money to send to her family back home.

Zac is a vocalist and guitarist, while Ethan plays the Farfisa organ. Rounding out the band are bassist Senon Williams (who played also in Radar Bros until January 2009), drummer Paul Smith, and David Ralicke on brass.

The band have just released “Cannibal Courtship” which amounts to their fifth full album.

“Family Business” – Dengue Fever

To buy the music of Dengue Fever click HERE

 

June 4, 2011 Posted by | New Music, New Releases, Video | | Leave a comment

New Music – Balkan Folk Punk

There seems to be a growing scene based around Balkan, Gypsy sounds.

First up are Edinburgh based Orkestra Del Sol who play what they term “honkstep” music with its roots in the Balkan Beats club scene.

Lung Capacity is the third album by Edinburgh 9-piece Orkestra del Sol, whose explosive reinvention of global brass band music has been capturing imaginations internationally for over six years.

Orkestra del Sol is very much a live experience, as anyone who has seen their inventive performances will testify. With a line up of trumpet, trombone, saxes,clarinet, sousaphone, accordion and two drummers, and vast experience performing at prestigious street arts festivals internationally, Orkestra del Solʼs shows are legendary, full of virtuosic musicianship, wit and energy. It is always a challenge to reproduce something of this onto CD, but Lung Capacity rises to this challenge andconquers it head on.

With its romping eleven original tracks, Lung Capacity delivers on every level – even down to energy and joy that make Orkestra del Sol’s live shows so memorable. With a shared passion for brass band music from all corners of the globe, comparisons have been made to the virtuosic wedding bands of Eastern Europe, the suave street bands of the US and the rebellious brass bands of Latin America.

Theirs however, is a truly exceptional sound and Lung Capacity is a refreshingly original album that will find fans in many places and very possibly the hit from nowhere for the Summer of 2011!

“The Dopper Effect” – Orkestra Del Sol”

To buy the music of Orkestra Del Sol click HERE

Amongst the competition are The Urban Voodoo Machine who are a London based and Norwegian led group of between 9-12 musicians playing guitars, drums, fiddle, trumpet, banjo, washboard, upright bass, gong, mandolin, accordion, harmonicas, saxophone, tuba, sousaphone and even empty bottles & tie racks to build their unique brand of Bourbon Soaked Gypsy Blues Bop’n’Stroll
 

“With their lurching sea shanties, debauched murder ballads, messed-up tangos and whiskey-soaked gypsy stomps, some reckon they’re from the same stable of stallions as Tom Waits and Nick Cave; others point out the last gang in town swagger of The Clash and the hellbound blues that John Lee Hooker first dragged out of the swamp”

The band have a new album “In Black ‘n’ Red” out now.

“Go East” – The Urban Voodoo Machine

 

To buy the music of The Urban Voodoo Machine click HERE

June 1, 2011 Posted by | New Music, New Releases, Video | , | Leave a comment

John Martyn – Heaven and Earth

The late great John Martyn has just had his final recording released in the form of the album “Heaven and Earth”.

The nine songs on the album, which includes a version of the Phil Collins song “Can’t Turn Back The Years” featuring Collins himself, were never planned as being the next Martyn release as his hope had been to work and record with jazz musician Pharoah Saunders, sadly this was never to be.

Instead it has been left to long time friend and producer Jim Tullio, and Gary Pollitt as a co-producer to put Martyn’s “last musical testament in order”, assembling the posthumous album from an assortment of the singer-songwriter’s vocal and guitar takes. “John was a genius,” Tullio said. “He made music more naturally than anyone I’ve ever met, as effortlessly as the way you and I speak.”

Martyn’s connection to Collins came out of their experiences with divorce. Thirty years ago, both were reeling from the ends of their first marriages; Martyn even “crashed” at Collins’s home, and the former Genesis drummer produced Martyn’s 1981 album Glorious Fool. “John wanted to do one of Phil’s songs to repay him,” Tullio said. Before his death, Martyn had begun work on “Can’t Turn Back the Years”, taken from Collins’s 1993 solo album, Both Sides. “After John passed, I spoke with Phil and he really wanted to sing on the track,” Tullio said. “[Phil] said he had always wanted John to record one of his songs. You can hear the emotion in their voices.”

Despite the kudos of the above the heart of the album—felt on tracks like “Gambler” and “Bad Company”—beats in Martyn’s intuitive, idiosyncratic sense of the blues, filtered through his earthy feel for roots- and jazz-inspired songwriting and his raw voice.

“Bad Company” (not the song of the same name by the band of the same name) is in fact my favourite track on the album and would be suited to the treatment like that of Maggie Bell brings to R&B.

 

Fans of the great man won’t be disappointed with the album but will as always miss what still might have been as ‘Heaven and Earth’ may not have the memorable strength of earlier work but it does allow Martyn’s voice to slide and slur and giggle along the simple melody with especially on the title track’s declaration of love that does recall so many of his powerful romantic declarations: ‘I’ll move heaven and earth just to be with you’ and the sax slurs its groove too.

To buy the album click HERE

 

May 31, 2011 Posted by | Cover Stories, New Music, New Releases, 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

Cover Story – Bob Dylan

Artists covering Dylan songs can be considered almost the norm, however, it is less common for an artist to cover a Dylan album in its entirity.

Thea Gilmore has just done that and her end product “John Wesley Harding” has just been released.

Any perceived success will in part be due to Robbie McIntosh’s inspired  guitar  work throughout  peaking on while Gilmore’s take on “All Along the Watchtower”   which is pitched midway between Dylan’s and Hendrix’s.

“All Along The Watchtower” – Thea Gilmore

To buy the music of Thea Gilmore click HERE

May 25, 2011 Posted by | Cover Stories, New Music, New Releases, Video | , | Leave a comment

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