Friday, 25 November 2022

Rest Easy Mary

It was very sad to hear the news of Wilko Johnson's passing. Some of the folks on the right hand side of the page have already paid tribute to him and I can't improve on what they have said. Instead I am going to honour the memory of someone whose death I was unaware of until I saw her name on the obituary page in the current edition of Uncut. 

Mary McCaslin was an American folksinger whose recording career was mostly in the 1970s and early 1980s but was still active until relatively recently. If you are a fan of Nanci Griffith or Iris Dement you might appreciate her work, and some of you may dimly recall we featured her bluegrass version of "Blackbird" on a Single Song Sunday once. 

Mary died last month of progressive supranuclear palsy. We lost my dear old Dad to that just over two years ago and it is a truly horrible disease. If her experience was anything like his then the last few years of her life will have been pretty awful, so I'm glad she is now at peace.

"The Bramble And The Rose", the album she made with her then husband Jim Ringer, has long been a favourite of mine so we have one track from that as well as a couple of solo numbers.

"Back To Salinas" - Mary McCaslin

"San Bernardino Waltz" - Mary McCaslin

"Copperfields" - Mary McCaslin & Jim Ringer

Wednesday, 23 November 2022

Three Turks From Trabzon

After Monday's brush with brash modernity we are crawling back into our comfort zone today.

Üç Hürel (The Three Hürels) were three brothers from the Hürel family who decided to form a band. Having spent ages agonising over what to call it they released their first single in 1970 and went on to be one of the leading Anatolian Rock acts of the 70s.

While they were based in Istanbul by the time they started recording the Hürel brothers were born and raised in Trabzon. I spent a bit of time in Trabzon a few years back en route to Georgia. It is not the most attractive of cities but it has a lot of character and I have some fond memories.

Trabzon was also where I acquired a large chunk of my Turkish music collection including "3 Hur-El", the 1972 debut album by the lads. Here are a couple of tracks from that.

"Ve Ölüm" - Üç Hürel

"Pembelikler" - Üç Hürel

The Hürels weren't the only groups with three brothers making waves back in 1972.


Monday, 21 November 2022

Basement Nights

Me and my friend Mister F went to an excellent little gig last week. In the basement of a local pub, three bands for £7.50 including one old favourite and one new discovery who I will definitely go and see again if they are in the area. The sort of night that reminds you of why live music can't be beaten.

The old favourite was Piney Gir, who has featured here on a couple of occasions before. The last time I was due to see her they announced a lockdown on the morning of the show, but there were no hitches this time. Piney and the band were clearly having a blast, as were we.

The new discovery was one of those bands with a vowel disorder, BCOS RSNS. I am sure they have good rsns for dropping the vowels and putting the name in capitals but I didn't ask what it was. I don't know whether the live four-piece line-up is a permanent one - their EP only features two of them - but I hope so because they sounded very good together, with a lot more oomph than on record.

Rounding out - and topping - the bill were Breakup Haircut. They were pretty good as well with a lot of pop-punk energy. All in all, a very good night.

Piney has a new EP out called "Alchemy Hand", and the Haircuts (or possibly the Breakups) recently released their debut album "Punk Dancing For Self Defence". BCOS RSNS only rcrdng to date is an EP released in 2020, but the singer told me they hope to do more soon. 

You can find all these releases, and in Piney's case her extensive back catalogue, at their respective Bandcamp pages. To warm you up, here is one from each of them (streaming only as it is new stuff).

"The Seventh Dial" - Piney Gir

"(First On At) The Buffalo Bar" - BCOS RSNS

"Am I Revolutionary Yet?" - Breakup Haircut

The live music odyssey continues tomorrow when we are off to see Mr Tony Christie sing the songs of old Ireland. No, we really are. I am sure it will be a grand night. Here he is last year with a few of his non-Irish hits.

Saturday, 19 November 2022

Single Song Saturday

Before anyone points out it is meant to be Single Song Sunday, this is something different. Rather than a collection of covers of one song, this is just a single cover version. It does, however, qualify as a Mandatory Reggae Version.

A couple of weeks ago Sir Khayem of Dubhed featured Morgan Fisher in one of his customarily excellent mixes and commented that Morgan had "carved a varied and individual musical path". That is somewhat of an understatement, as this slightly out of date biography illustrates.  

Today's selection is not particularly representative of Mr Fisher's work, but then probably nothing is. It comes from an album of covers that he released in 1979 called "Hybrid Kids - A Collection of Classic Mutants" on which each track was attributed to an imaginary act.

I was never brave or foolish enough to buy the album but I did snap up the accompanying single. One side featured "McArthur Park" in the style of Madness under the nom de plume The Burtons; on the other was this masterpiece/ monstrosity (delete according to taste). 

One can only speculate as to why he thought Adge Cutler meets King Tubby was the way to go.   

"Wuthering Heights" - Jah Wurzel

Thursday, 17 November 2022

Brazilian Bargains

I have returned to bring you news of a fantastic Bandcamp site that I recently discovered. It is called Hominus Canidae, and once a month the lovely folks behind it issue a compilation of independent Brazilian music and invite you to name your price. 

I picked three compilations at random, one from the top, one from the bottom and one from the middle. I enjoyed them all and there really is something for everyone, whether your tastes run to straightforward samba or 14 minutes of tuneless banging and twanging. 

Hominus Canidae have been issuing these compilations for more than ten years now - the next release will be Volume 150 - so I have a lot of catching up to do. In the meantime, here is a track apiece from each of my three random selections.

"A Chave" - Bárbara Eugênia (Vol. 7)

"Volta" - O Terno (Vol. 76)

"O Sentido É o Olho" - Bel Medula, Luczan (Vol. 146)

Friday, 11 November 2022

For Pint And Potter

Birthday greetings I bring from Jah to all raggamuffins.

That's correct, today is the birthday of reggae's own Half Pint. Lindon Andrew Roberts (as his Mum would call him when he was in trouble) is a mere stripling of 61. Here is his signature tune plus another of his many fine moments as a bonus treat.

"Greetings" - Half Pint

"Mr. Landlord" - Half Pint

Today is also my sister Kate's birthday. She has not made any records, to the best of my knowledge, but she has had a song written about her. 

Many happy returns Kate, and Mr Pint too.


I'm off on my travels again this weekend. See you in a week or so.

Wednesday, 9 November 2022

Unlimited Company

The time has come for us all to shake off these earthly shackles and live a life without limits.

Well I say that now. I doubt I'll say it when I go on my annual unwanted work trip to Dubai at the weekend as they probably lock you up for that sort of thing over there. 

But, at least until my plane takes off on Sunday, let us enjoy life to the full with these other Unlimited people.

"Daytime Nighttime" - Joy Unlimited

"Let's Change The Subject" - Satisfaction Unlimited

"Africa We Are Going Home" - Time Unlimited

"Chauya Chirizevha" - Thomas Mapfumo & Blacks Unlimited