Wednesday, March 14, 2018

In My Dreams

Lovely day out, spring has finally sprung, and have I got the ideal soundtrack for you: a lazy duet from '67 between future tropicália greats Gal Costa and Caetano Veloso. "There will always be hope in my heart..."
Gal Costa e Caetano Veloso - Coração Vagabundo

Monday, March 12, 2018

A Concept

"Things went on; Lennon got shot, Dylan got religion. He could never decide which depressed him most..." Just a quote from The Bridge by Iain Banks, my fave Scottish writer of all time.
John Lennon - God
Bob Dylan - Blessed Is The Name (Live '79)

Friday, March 9, 2018

Take Four

Just some fine fine jazz I've been digging recently. Sit back, relax, and enjoy, my amigos da musica.
Andrew Hill - Flight 19
Marion Brown - Spooks
Roy Haynes - Moon Ray
Don Cherry - Brown Rice

Wednesday, March 7, 2018

In My Face

Mount Moriah frontwoman H.C. McEntire goes at it alone, and her soulful, gospel-tinged, and above all very southern brand of Americana sure proves a treat. She's from Durham in North Carolina, which has come to be known in some well-informed circles as Hiss Golden Messenger country, so it's no surprise their Phil Cook is involved here. Others from the Hiss orbit - Tift Merritt, Angel Olsen, William Tyler - and beyond - Bikini Kill's Kathleen Hanna - lend a helping hand, too. Out now on the still cool Merge label.
H.C. McEntire - Baby's Got The Blues

Monday, March 5, 2018

Dream Ran

"It was a head-trip, it was a friendship..." Robert Forster finishes a half-written, left-behind song by his longtime Go-Betweens partner Grant McLennan, deftly turning it into a homage to the pal who passed away so suddenly. "We will not see his kind again..."
Robert Forster - It Ain't Easy

Friday, March 2, 2018

Wednesday, February 28, 2018

Yellow & Blue

If this one doesn't remind you of vintage Lou Reed I don't know what will. From Time The Teacher, the stately new album by former Black Swans frontman Jerry David DeCicca. Wrinkled and true indeed.
Jerry David DeCicca - Grandma's Tattoo

And speaking of the Black Swans, here’s a couple of fine tunes from way back when to remember them by. Cock-a-doodle-doo!
The Black Swans - Rooster
The Black Swans - Joe Tex

Monday, February 26, 2018

I'm A Party

In search of the perfect party soundtrack? Look no further, my amigos da musica. Ernesto Chahoud, Lebanese digger and dj supreme, has just compiled it for you, and inna Ethiopian stylee at that. It's Taitu time!
Tèshomè Meteku - Hasabe

Wednesday, February 21, 2018

True West

Some days, an acoustic twelve string paired with a regular electric is all you need really. And had I gotten this instrumental debut by the duo of Jesse Sheppard and Drew Gardner just a teeny bit earlier, it would have made my end of year list for sure. A hypnotic American Primitive soundtrack to an imaginary Western, The Black River is available on the Debacle label.
Elkhorn - Due West

Monday, February 19, 2018

Still Worth Doing

Down here at FTSOTS headquarters we completely agree with Kris Kristofferson's maybe not very subtle but most definitely heartfelt motto: if you don't like Hank Williams, buddy, you can kiss my ass. Which is precisely why we present these honest homages to the Hillbilly Shakespeare this fine Monday. "We never met I know and yet I know you well my friend, and if ever I get to heaven on high I hope you'll shake my hand..." Amen to that.
Kris Kristofferson - If You Don't Like Hank Williams
Moe Bandy - Hank Williams, You Wrote My Life
Jimmy Murphy - I Long To Hear Hank Sing The Blues
Stoney Edwards - Hank And Lefty Raised My Country Soul
Freddie Hart - Hank Williams' Guitar
Tim Hardin - Tribute To Hank Williams
Mark Chesnutt & George Jones - Talking To Hank
Waylon Jennings - Are You Sure Hank Done It This Way
Johnny Cash - The Night Hank Williams Came To Town
Ry Cooder - Hank Williams

Friday, February 16, 2018

Anything But

Worshipping at the altar of electric Miles, Albert Ayler, and the Sun City Girls, the Sunwatchers take no prisoners on their dense second outing, cleverly called II. Easy listening is obviously not very high up their list, but don't let this drive you away. Give 'em some time and you might be rewarded for stamina. Oh, and one wouldn't want to miss these New Yorkers covering Dylan and the Meat Puppets on an inspired Lagniappe Session over at Aquarium Drunkard either. Stand in solidarity, folks!
Sunwatchers - Silent Boogie

Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Angel Dust

Huelva province's finest flamenco singer just might be Francisco José Arcángel Ramos, the none-gypsy better known as just Arcángel. Here he digs deep por soleá. "Erase my name from your lips and don't call me..."
Arcángel - Llego La Hora

Monday, February 12, 2018

Play For Life

Hey now, new Dave's Picks alert! Hot on the heels of late last year's wonderful Volume 24, which presented a truly cooking Berkeley show from '72, here's Binghamton '77. It was the last show of the year the two sevens clashed for Jerry and co, but there's lots of energy here, not to mention a setlist to die for. Maybe not up there with the famous Cornell gig from the spring, but definitely worth your precious time.
Grateful Dead - Jack Straw (Live Binghamton '77)

Friday, February 9, 2018

Place To Go

All hopped up to see Colter Wall on stage in Barcelona's Sala Rocksound tonight. Here's hoping the young Canadian with the mighty voice plays this beauty.
Colter Wall - Thirteen Silver Dollars

Wednesday, February 7, 2018

Always Woman

Virgil, that famous Roman poet of old, is on record to have proclaimed that 'woman is ever a fickle and changeable thing'. Be that as it may, here's a pair of lovely recent tunes by two strong and talented women. Semper femina indeed. Let Laura Marling bowl you over first with the price track of her last album, and listen to Joan Shelley's mouthwatering take on an old chestnut next. I'm sure Nick Drake, and maybe even ole Virgil himself, would have been proud.
Laura Marling - The Valley
Joan Shelley - Time Has Told Me

Monday, February 5, 2018

Sahara Blues

Worth it for the cover alone: Eghass Malan, the first studio outing by Les Filles De Illighadad. The music, an electric take on that stark and hypnotic desert blues called tende, ain't half bad either. From the heart of Niger, and straight from the heart. Find a copy on the hot Sahel Sounds label, and go see them on tour in France and Spain. I know I will.
Les Filles De Illighadad - Eghass Malan

Saturday, February 3, 2018

Where It's At

Just got the sad news that Dennis Edwards has passed away. The lead singer of the Temptations during their amazing psychedelic soul phase was 74. Miss him.
The Temptations - Psychedelic Shack

Friday, February 2, 2018

Wednesday, January 31, 2018

Crossed My Mind

The holy triumvirate of Ely, Gilmore and Hancock proves that the oft-ridiculed singing saw can easily replace country's much more obvious pedal steel, which can indeed be heard on Willie's just-as-melancholic original. Steve Wesson's the player of the thing, and he's a master.
Flatlanders - One Day At A Time
Willie Nelson - One Day At A Time

Monday, January 29, 2018

Back To This Place

Calexico just might be the most consistent band around. The lads from Tucson have yet to release a subpar record, and their new The Thread That Keeps Us is indeed another keeper. Their trademark desert rock is there, often Mexican-spiced of course, but there's plenty of pop sensibility to be found as well. And as the uplifting Another Space shows, Burns and Convertino can play da Remain In Light-like funk with ease, too. Class, pure class.
Calexico - Another Space

Friday, January 26, 2018

Songs Of Its Own

The Dead with a horn section? Yup, they tried that experiment too, albeit for a short run only. During nine September '73 gigs Garcia & co shared the stage with Joe Ellis (on trumpet and flugelhorn) and Martin Fierro (on flute and sax). The results were a mixed bag to say the least, but sometimes it did actually take flight, as you can hear below. Thanks to the always interesting Save Your Face blog for the tunage btw. Hey now...
Grateful Dead - Eyes Of The World > (Live Buffalo Sept. '73)
Grateful Dead - Eyes Jam (Live Buffalo Sept. '73)

Thursday, January 25, 2018

Come Back Here

Just got the sad news that Mark E Smith has passed away yesterday. The cranky leader of the mighty Fall, a true original and eternal hip priest, was only 60. Miss him-ah.
The Fall - Dead Beat Descendant
The Fall - Fantastic Life

Wednesday, January 24, 2018

I Like Gold

First reggae re-release of the new year alert. One would be excused for thinking the venerable Pressure Sounds label would be scraping the bottom of the roots barrel by now, but the soulful Meet The People surely deserves a second chance. Released back in '78 on Jamaican soil only, so quite rare, it was recorded at the famous studios of Joe Gibbs, whose trusted engineer Errol Thompson manned the mixing desk. "Listen to me now..."
Lloyd Parks & We The People - Reality

Monday, January 22, 2018

Met My Sweety

It's 1957, and the lovely Bobbettes are merrily hiccupping away, like ska singers avant la lettre. One, two, three... It's true: records like these have no sell-by date.
The Bobbettes - Mr. Lee

Friday, January 19, 2018

Secret Of This Place

If the quality of the cassette-only (ha!) debut of this Kansas City-born (ha! again) youngster is anything to go by, I guess we'll be hearing much more from Anna St. Louis in due time. Bluesy opener Wind-Up reminds me of the late great Libby Cotten somehow, and that's no mean feat indeed.
Anna St. Louis - Wind-Up

Wednesday, January 17, 2018

Burn Up

"I felt a rumblin' beneath my feet, and the whole world was shaken free..." Or: presenting a fiery six pack for your listening pleasure. And how's that for a centerpiece, my amigos da musica? Brimstone all the way. Blazing artwork by Tinca. Woosh...
Boyd Rivers - That Fire Shed In My Bones
LaVern Baker - Soul On Fire
Clifton Gibbs & The Selected Few - Brimstone And Fire
Link Wray - Fire And Brimstone
The Saints - Just Like Fire Would
Bullet Lavolta - X Fire

Monday, January 15, 2018

Bring The Goose

When the Swede over at the always interesting Unthought Of, Though, Somehow blog hailed Richard Dawson's latest as his musical highlight of last year, I just had to check it out. And his description - 'claustrophobic medieval avant-garde folk-noir' - sure proved spot-on, as Peasant is a record you don't hear every day to say the least. If Robert Wyatt fronting a lo-fi Incredible String Band in some godforsaken British bog sounds even remotely like your thing, don't hesitate. Uneasy listening guaranteed.

Friday, January 12, 2018

Heavy Nuggets

Caution: wild trip ahead, with a triple dose of goodies from the first three volumes of the Brown Acid series. Yet another younger brother of Lenny Kaye's famed Nuggets compilation, although the bands are much more obscure here and the songs way heavier. Recorded after Altamont ended the hippie dream once and for all, these slabs of proto stoner rock provide the ideal soundtrack to the post-Aquarian comedown. Find your copies on the mindblowing Riding Easy label: editions four and five have dropped as well in the meantime.
Raw Meat - Stand By Girl
Crossfield - Take It!
First State Bank - Before You Leave

Wednesday, January 10, 2018

Home Again

Yet another straggler from last year's bounty. Jason Isbell's The Nashville Sound came first in the always twang-heavy reader's poll of No Depression magazine recently, and for a good reason. The former Drive-By Trucker's sixth album is yet another solid batch of articulate white man's blues, and we can't have enough of that now can we?
Jason Isbell and the 400 Unit - Hope The High Road

Monday, January 8, 2018

Radio Mali

A fine straggler from last year by Oumou Sangaré, whose nickname 'the songbird of Wassoulou' makes a lot of sense. My current fave of Mogoya is the very funky Fadjamou, probably because it features afrobeat legend Tony Allen (of Fela Kuti's band fame of course) on drums.
Oumou Sangaré - Fadjamou

Friday, January 5, 2018

Slack It For Awhile

I recall Tia Blake appearing on my radar through a thorough feature on the always inspiring Aquarium Drunkard some years back, which told the remarkable story of an unknown singer from Pinehurst, North Carolina who recorded a breathtaking folk album in early seventies Paris. Since then, Tia's Folksongs & Ballads has never been far from the stereo at FTSOTS headquarters. Here's a fine example of her style.
Tia Blake - Hangman

Did Hangman ring a bell somehow? Could very well be. Maybe not because of the first recorded version from 1920 by one Bentley Ball, but if you've got some Leadbelly, Charlie Poole and/or Zep in your collection, as you should, chances are you've heard Child Ballad 95 before.
Bentley Ball - Gallows Tree
Leadbelly - The Gallis Pole
Charlie Poole & The North Carlina Ramblers - Hangman, Hangman, Slack The Rope
Led Zeppelin - Gallows Pole

Stop press: with reader Marie coming to the rescue, we now have a fine version by Odetta, too. And I found I had yet another wonderful take on it, courtesy of John Jacob Niles, the 'Dean of American Balladeers'. Enjoy!
Odetta - Gallows Tree (Gallows Pole)
John Jacob Niles - The Maid Freed From The Gallows

Wednesday, January 3, 2018

Tips His Hat

Reinhard Kleist, who drew an amazing graphic novel about Johnny Cash a few years back, now points his surrealist pencil at Nick Cave, and the results are nothing short of breathtaking. Kleist dives deep into Cave's murky universe, starting down under with the Boys Next Door, and moving from rainy London to icy Berlin with the Birthday Party and the Bad Seeds. The ending sees St. Nick in his trusted Jag, hightailing it from the fabled crossroads all the way to Geneva with none other than Robert Johnson riding shotgun. You need this, it's a hallucinatory Rinky Dink Special, with a little umbrella too.
Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds - Jangling Jack

Monday, January 1, 2018

Amarillo Highway

A good way to start the new year. I mean, guitar instrumentals ringing like fresh prairie winds, interspersed with krautrocky synth interludes from weirdsville? Cue Greetings From Amarillo, a lovely tribute to the Texas Panhandle by young Hayden Pedigo, a gifted picker who names Robbie Basho as his fave guitarist. Comes with the compliments of the great Terry Allen, too. Hypnotizing little record this.
Hayden Pedigo - Greetings From Amarillo