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Friday 3 February 2023

Hellbound, Homesick & Demented

I got my second gig of the year under my belt on Wednesday, at the always excellent What's Cookin' club night in swinging Leytonstone. 

Steve and Ali are stalwarts of the live music scene in my part of London and have been setting up gigs for the best part of 20 years now. Steve wasn't there on Wednesday as he is recovering from a bout of nastiness that put him in hospital for a while, but hopefully he'll be back to his best soon. 

Top of the bill were Morton Valence. They are a duo (Rob Jessett and Anne Gilpin) who have been making records for even longer than Steve and Ali have been giving them a stage to play on. On this occasion they were promoting their most recent, self-titled, album which came out last year. The album was produced by the legendary B.J. Cole who also joined them on stage. 

Rob is living in Spain these days which might explain why there are a number of songs on the album, and in their set, in which he gets all misty-eyed about old London town - including the one below.

Support came from Hellbound Glory, all the way from Reno, Nevada where they presumably shoot men just to watch them die. I didn't know their stuff previously and I suspect I would have enjoyed them more with a full band line-up to give things a bit more oomph. They were still worth a listen though, and did a particularly nice version of the song I have selected.

As an extra treat for you all, today's video is one I took myself at the gig. It features Anne, B.J. and the looming heads of the two twerps in front of us. It's a cover of Iris Dement's "Our Town" which is elevated by B.J. Cole sprinkling his magic over it.

As well as being a good listen in its own right, it gives me the excuse (not that one is needed) to tell you that Iris has a brand new single that came out yesterday. It is called "The Sacred Now", it is on her upcoming album "Workin' On A World" which hits the shops later this month, and you can hear it here.

"Summertime In London" - Morton Valence

"Streets Of Aberdeen" - Hellbound Glory

Oh alright, you can have a proper video as well then.


  1. My first introduction to Our Town was seeing a Whistle Test clip of Andy Kershaw at (I think) a Cambridge Folk Festival from the early 2000s(?) when he introduced Laura Cantrell and Kate Rusby duetting on Our Town amidst lots of annoying background chatter. This clip used to be on You Tube ( I have an audio version of it somewhere) but try as I might I just cannot find it on YT any more. I'd pay a King's ransom* to see it again.

    * could be funded by some of Zahawi's £5m tax penalty!

    1. I like the sound of that. I will join you in the hunt.

      Don't think anyone can ever top Iris' original though. For me it is pretty much the perfect combination of voice and song.

  2. I hadn't heard of either artists, so a real treat to listen to them both. Thanks also for the live clip: I had the pleasure of seeing BJ Cole performing with Luke Vibert over 20 years ago and he was a joy to behold as a performer. A brilliantly florid shirt too, as I recall. Always good to hear Iris Dement, a great song.