Tuesday, 27 December 2011

Stop Making Sense ... not sure I ever started

Oops! I just created a new blog post called Stop Making Sense, so you can probably guess what it's about, but for some reason I posted it on one of my other blogs instead of this one ... I blame the red wine and the man-flu.

Thursday, 24 November 2011

Theme Thursday - Tomorrow


Well I was completely stuck for something to fit in with this week's Theme Thursday of 'tomorrow'. Neither my vintage postcards nor my vintage magazines offered any inspiration, but then fortunately I remembered this fantastic psychedelic band called Tomorrow from the late 1960's. On researching into them a little more for this blog post I discovered that they were the first band ever to record a John Peel session. I have read John Peel's excellent biography, Margrave of the Marshes, but must confess to not remembering this fact. Perhaps it's time I gave the book a second read.


Tomorrow - Tomorrow

    

Sunday, 4 September 2011

Deeper into folk - Espers, Meg Baird, Devendra Banhart





I found myself in London again last week, with just enough time to spare to go CD shopping again. I'm still on a folk quest and this time picked up some more recent folk offerings. I had read mixed reviews about Devendra Banhart but the 3 albums I tracked down are all excellent. My favourite after the first listen is probably What Will We Be, closely followed by Rejoicing in the Hands. I also found some Espers, both as a band and in their various solo guises. The favourite of this bunch would have to be Meg Baird - Dear Companion, which is a truly beautiful album and if you've never heard it I urge you to track it down.

Another great find of the week was an album which has been on my wants list for a while now, Jackson C.Frank from way back in 1965. However I'm almost afraid to say that Rendezvous by Sandy Denny was quite a disappointment compared to her other albums. So, apologies to any die-hard Sandy Denny fans out there. I'll give it another listen but for now remain to be convinced.

    

All the links in this post are to amazon.co.uk, but all these CDs are also available on amazon.com

Wednesday, 24 August 2011

Folk - acid, free, phreak and psychedelic

Well, I am pleased to say that I finally finished reading Seasons They Change: The Story of Acid and Psychedelic Folk. It was a great read and not quite sure why it took me so long. The only downside of reading the book is that I now have an even longer CD wants list than is probably humanly possible to ever listen to. I knew a reasonable amount about the 60's and 70's folk scene from other readings, but was surprised me was how lively the scene was in recent years. I've managed to hear a few tracks by Espers, Charalambides, Marie Sioux, Meg Baird, and a several others which have all made it on to the wants list. The only recent folk albums I've tracked down so far are Joanna Newsom - Ys which is quite different to how I imagined it having read the book, but a great album nevertheless, and Vashti Bunyan - Lookaftering which is also very good.
  

However my highest praise would have to go to a 1970's lost classic which I was over the moon to find, Linda Perhacs - Parallelograms, closely followed by Steeley Span - Hark! The Village Wait.

    

All the links in this post are to amazon.co.uk but all of these recommended items are also available from amazon.com

Saturday, 9 July 2011

Heron - Upon Reflection, the Dawn Anthology

Those of you who follow me on twitter (@dakota_boo) will be aware that I've just tracked down an album by Heron. Heron have been on my wants list for a while now, having been inspired reading about them in the wonderful Electric Eden book. I had hoped to find an album on my recent record shopping trip in London but was delighted to find a double CD set with both their albums, singles and some unreleased material - a mighty 43 tracks in all, on a compilation called Upon Reflection, the Dawn Anthology. The comprehensive notes are a great point of reference, providing details about the recordings where the band shunned convention and recorded both albums outside rather than in a studio.
 
I listened to the album from track 1 right through to track 43, and was struck by the enormous contrast of material, some brilliant, some less so. I'm enjoying the tracks from their 1970, self-titled debut album. Car Crash is particularly good, closely followed by Yellow Roses, but must admit that some of the tracks on their second album, Twice as Nice and Half the Price, don't particularly resonate with me ... in particular their cover of This Old Heart of Mine seems very out of place.

Overall though, an enjoyable listen, and with 43 tracks for probably less than a tenner it's worth buying for the first disc alone.

   


Tuesday, 5 July 2011

My top 10 musical (re)discoveries - 6 months into 2011

For me, 2011 has already been a great year for discovering/rediscovering music. Thought I'd share a list of my favourite musical (re)discoveries ... and as the more observant of you will notice there are in fact 12, and not 10. To be honest I could probably have listed more but decided to restrict myself to a single album by each artist. The UK and US links after each album take you to amazon.co.uk or amazon.com respectively where these fantastic albums are available, usually at bargain prices and also many with bonus tracks.

Incredible String Band - The 5000 Spirits  UK / US
Pentangle - Basket of Light  UK / US
Bridget St. John - Songs For the Gentle Man  UK / US
Bert Jansch - It Don't Bother Me  UK / US
Donovan - Hurdy Gurdy Man  UK / US
Captain Beefheart - Safe As Milk  UK / US
Trees - The Garden of Jane Delawney  UK / US
John Renbourn - Another Monday  UK / US
Mr Fox - Join Us In Our Game  UK / US
The Holy Modal Rounders - 1 and 2  UK / US
Tom Rapp - Sunforest  UK / US
Fairport Convention - Unhalfbrickling  UK / US

No question about it ... there's a definite folk/acid folk theme going on here and the majority of these great albums were brought to my attention by 2 excellent books, Electric Eden by Rob Young, and Seasons They Change by Jeanette Leech.

    

Thursday, 23 June 2011

Theme Thursday: Soft

I was initially stumped by this week's Theme Thursday, Soft. Believe it or not I was about to post photograph of a strawberry from my garden, which accidentally came out in soft focus when I was trying for a detailed close-up. However, something made me look up from my computer screen and I caught sight of The Doors - Soft Parade. Of course once I'd noticed this, great albums by each of The Soft Boys, Soft Cell and Soft Machine all sprang to mind, now leaving me with a decision of which to post for this week's theme.

The Doors - Soft Parade, c.1969

Bizarrely, well bizarrely to me anyway, I chose The Doors - Soft Parade. I didn't choose this because it's my favourite Doors album or because it has some standout tracks. I chose it because when I looked at the track listing I cannot honestly say I know any of the tracks, so the reason for choosing it is that I'm now listening to it to refamiliarise myself with it.

    

Saturday, 11 June 2011

This week I have mostly been listening to The Holy Modal Rounders

Trying to manage 4 blogs simultaneously, I tend to find that one of them gets left for a few weeks. This has definitely happened to this blog as recently my focus has been going into my vintage postcards blog and my In Search of Space blog. So, it's about time I put this right. Over the past few weeks I've been reading Seasons They Change: The Story of Acid and Psychedelic Folk which has opened my eyes to some great music from the late 1960's and early 1970's so far. I've even managed to track some of it down and am now the proud owner of The Holy Modal Rounders 1+2. I was a bit 'nervous' buying it as I thought that the tracks I'd heard on lastfm may not be representative, but it is a really great compilation ... slightly quirky, as I guess it was meant to be, but great nevertheless.

Other recent purchases include the excellent Captain Beefheart - Trout Mask Replica, Sandy Denny - Sandy, Nico - Chelsea Girl, and Bert Jansch - It Don't Bother Me. All of these are brilliant albums, even the Nico one which again I was a bit 'nervous' about as she tends to polarise opinion (bit like marmite I guess) and I have read some fairly harsh reviews. But, as with marmite, I like Nico.

    

Monday, 30 May 2011

Acid and Psychedelic Folk

After procrastinating for much too long about whether to buy it, I have now bought Seasons They Change: The Story of Acid and Psychedelic Folk by Jeanette Leech. Initially the book didn't cover much that I was not already aware of, but now that I'm about 90 pages in, it has alerted me to some fantastic bands I'd never heard of before, as well as providing some interesting new information on bands and artists with whose work I was already familiar. 

 Probably the most interesting 'new' band to me was an outfit called The Holy Modal Rounders, musical contemporaries and collaborators with The Fugs, who I had heard of. Musically they are almost impossible to categorise, but the little I've heard to date on lastfm would seem to fit into the country-folk-psychedelic bracket, although even that seems inadequate. Other artists whose description in the book has been sufficient to get me searching around the web for more info and albums includes Michael Hurley and Pat Kilroy. Pat Kilroy's Light of Day album is especially good, and again another album that's really hard to classify. Plus I've 'rediscovered' Jackson C Frank, who I 'found' several months ago but seemed to have forgotten all about.

I'll post again as the days go by and I make my way through the book, and 'discover' more great music. For now, here's a small selection of what I've been listening to as a result of the book.

from amazon.co.uk ...

    

and also from amazon.com ...

    

Monday, 23 May 2011

Tom Rapp - Sunforest (Pearls Before Swine)

In my previous blog post I extolled the virtues of Pearls Before Swine so was over the moon last week when I came across a copy of Sunforest by Tom Rapp. I must have played it every day since I bought it and have not grown tired of it yet. Not knowing much about Pearls Before Swine, the sleeve notes filled some important gaps, and verifying what I originally found hard to believe that Tom returned to his studies to become a lawyer, in fact a Civil Rights lawyer, after the release of this album, and then went into a bit of a musical hiatus for 30 years. I can't comment on whether this is the best starting point for Pearls Before Swine, but it's my starting point and seems a pretty good one too. CD is readily available from amazon (see below) ...

amazon.co.uk  /  amazon.com  
  

Sunday, 15 May 2011

A few more musical discoveries: Tudor Lodge, Mellow Candle, Pearls Before Swine

As regular blog readers will know, I tend to get quite excited when I 'discover' something old, particularly from the late 1960's or early 1970's, that I've never hear before. A couple of weeks ago it was Sunforest and Linda Perhacs, which I'm still listening to, but this week it's been augmented with Tudor Lodge, Pearls Before Swine and Mellow Candle. Tudor Lodge and Mellow Candle were both fairly short-lived bands, making just one album each at the time, but reforming a few times since. Tudor Lodge's eponymous debut album came out on Vertigo in 1971, but as far as I can tell there has been no material since. Similarly, Mellow Candle's 1972 album on Deram, Swaddling Songs, would appear to be their own recorded output, although members like Clodagh Simonds have appeared elsewhere, Fovea Hex being the most notable.

Pearls Before Swine however have released a considerable amount of material dating back to their 1967 debut album, One Nation Underground and ending with 1973's Sunforest album, after which their leader, Tom Rapp, would seem to have left music to become a lawyer.

It always amazes me when I come across great music I've never heard before. I am slightly concerned that one day it will just dry up, and there will be nothing else old for me to discover, but thankfully no sign of that at the moment.

Related CDs on amazon.co.uk ...

    

Related CDs on amazon.com ...

    

Since transferring a lot of my music to digital format, my web site has a list of my records and CD's for sale

Saturday, 7 May 2011

My Neil Young top 10

When I was a kid, many, many years ago now, I used to make all sorts of top 10 music lists. I always found it really hard to keep it to just 10 tracks or 10 albums, so invariably I ended up making lists for a specific genre or decade, but even that became tricky at times. I have not done this for years, but following a vinyl revival evening at a friend's house last week, we got talking about favourite artists, favourite albums, favourite tracks, etc., and that has inspired me to create a few 'top 10' lists. Given that the conversation was mainly about Neil Young, I thought it appropriate to list my first top 10 dedicated to the man himself.


1. Harvest Moon
2. Everybody Knows This is Nowhere
3. My My (Hey Hey) Out of The Blue
4. Birds
5. Out On The Weekend
6 . Rockin' in the Free World
7. Like a Hurricane
8. Comes a Time
9. The Old Laughing Lady
10. Ohio
    Listen to mp3 extracts on amazon.com ... or amazon.co.uk


      

    Friday, 29 April 2011

    Neil Young - Rust Never Sleeps

    I don't know what it is with the recent Theme Thursdays but I have not been able to get my brain into gear properly. Initially I struggled to find something appropriate for this week's theme of 'sleep', but eventually, and not for the first time, my music collection came to my rescue. This is Neil Young's brilliant Rust Never Sleeps album from 1978. Prior to this I'd probably heard the odd track from Harvest, but I remember Rust Never Sleeps the most as John Peel played tracks from it and it first opened my mind to the fact that it was ok to like music from different genres - until then I'd pretty much forced myself into having a self-imposed playlist.

    Neil Young and Crazy Horse - Rust Never Sleeps - MP3 link for UK viewers ...




    Neil Young and Crazy Horse - Rust Never Sleeps - MP3 link for US viewers ...



    More details about my music collecting habits can be found elsewhere on this music blog and also on my web site, where I'm selling off a load of records and CD's that I no longer need, or have space to store, in their physical format

    Monday, 25 April 2011

    Jefferson Airplane and Jefferson Starship - a musical rediscovery

    Over the past week I've deviated a little from my recent discoveries of folk music, and re-discovered my love for the late 60's west coast scene of Jefferson Airplane and Jefferson Starship. It all started whilst on the beach on holiday when I wanted to musically 'get back to the land'. The obvious choice would of course have been 'Woodstock' by Crosby, Stills and Nash, which features that line, but instead I opted for Blows Against the Empire by Jefferson Starship. Although this album was actually released in 1970, it feels distinctively late 1960's.


    My favourite track is easily A Child Is Coming, which features and was co-written by David Crosby ...

    "What are we going to do When Uncle Samuel comes around
    Asking for the young one's name, Looking for the print of his hand
    For the files in their numbers game.
    I don't want his chances for freedom Ever to be that slim.
    Let's not tell them about him!"

    Inspired by this album, I decided to give some of the others a listen on the iPod and also during some Easter weekend driving. I recalled Crown of Creation as being one of the Airplane's best CD's so that was the next one to listen to. It was good but still not what I was craving. Eventually I put Volunteers into the car CD player. This was it ... this was what I'd been looking for. Stand out tracks for me are We Can Be Together, Wooden Ships and Volunteers. Despite thinking that the Crosby, Stills and Nash version of Wooden Ships was 'untouchable', the Airplane do a pretty decent version. I should also mention that their cover of David Crosby's Triad on Crown of Creation is also excellent.

    Links to these CDs in amazon.co.uk ...


    Links to these CDs in amazon.com ...

    Friday, 8 April 2011

    Some more recent musical discoveries - Sunforest, Linda Perhacs

    I've had a bit of a break from lastfm recently as I realised that I had a huge backlog of CDs I'd bought but hardly listened to. However, this week I have started listening to lastfm again and have discovered some more wonderful music.



    Some of my favourites of the week include a group called Sunforest, who made just one album in 1969 called Sound of Sunforest and an artist called Linda Perhacs who also made just one album, Parallelograms in 1970 (and then apparently spent the next 25 years in dentistry).

    Find these CDs on amazon.co.uk ...


    Find these CDs on amazon.com ...

    For more of my favourite music and books, have a look at my UK amazon aStore

    Saturday, 2 April 2011

    Bridget St John - Songs For The Gentle Man

    As I continue to track down the albums mentioned in Rob Young's excellent Electric Eden book, I came across this gem a few weeks ago. "We ran away for a day from the city" ... this is the first line of the opening track, A Day A Way, on Bridget St John's 1971 album Songs For The Gentle Man. I only bought this album recently but it's been played constantly since. With vocals reminiscent of Nico, backed with jovial flute and a string section sounding a little like Nick Drake, particularly on the 2nd track, City-Craze and the 5th track, Seagull Sunday, this is an exceptional album. It was originally released in 1971 on John Peel's Dandelion Records label, which further validates it as an outstanding album. The insert of the CD re-release I have contains a heart-felt message of loss and thanks to John Peel. So far I only have this album but am looking forward to getting her other 2 albums, Ask Me No Questions and Thank You For ... shortly. As I was only 4 in 1969, and as I've mentioned before, I can only imagine what it would have been like to have been old enough to have remembered the late 1960's and early 1970's, but if it was all like this (although sadly I know it wasn't) then take me there now.



    Monday, 28 March 2011

    Is my top 10 still accurate?

    Way back in 2009 I posted a list of my top 10 albums (plus a few more). I'm not quite sure what drew me back to this post but I was curious to know whether I still regarded these as my top 10. Of the 10 listed, I think I have played them all at least once in the past few months with the exception of Unknown Pleasures, so I'd have to say that the list is still a fair reflection of my long term musical tastes. Although I'm playing my more recent CD additions to death, they haven't yet qualified for the top 10, but I suspect The Incredible String Band could make the 'worthy contenders' list. If you're wondering how I could leap from my top 10 to the Incredible String Band, then take a look at this excellent book by Rob Young which has inspired me to diversify into the folk genre.

    From my top 10, probably the album I've played the most would be Wire's debut album, Pink Flag. If you've never heard this then I urge you to give it a listen ... plenty of copies here on Amazon, along with their 2nd and 3rd albums, Chairs Missing and 154.


    Sunday, 20 March 2011

    The (fantastic) Mr Fox - Join Us In Our Game


    It's taken me a while but I've now finished Rob Young's excellent Electric Eden: Unearthing Britain's Visionary Music. Throughout my reading of the book I tracked down a lot of the albums by the artists covered, and listed in the discography. It's hard to pick a favourite as it changes almost daily at the moment. This week I've been listening to Mr Fox, a short-lived psych-folk band featuring, amongst others, Bob and Carole Pegg, who made just 2 albums, Mr Fox in 1970, and Gypsy in 1971. The release I managed to track down however was a single CD featuring tracks from both of these albums called Join Us In Our Game. If you've not heard this band before then I urge you to do so ... and also to persevere with them as it took me a couple of listens before their true magic revealed itself. Standout tracks for me are Joinn Us In Our Game, The Hanged Man, and The House Carpenter, the latter which is more drenched in psychedelia than folk. Fantastic Mr Fox indeed.

    Thursday, 10 March 2011

    Theme Thursday - Space

    As regular readers will know, I usually find a vintage postcard or vintage magazine to fit in with Theme Thursday, but occasionally I do depart and dig through my music collection. This week's theme of 'space' has given me another such opportunity. This is a wonderful album from Hawkwind from the early 1970's, and fits this week's theme well I think.

    And of course there's also my In Search of Space blog, about a different kind of space.

    Hawkwind - In Search of Space

    More records and CDs on my web site

    Friday, 28 January 2011

    Theme Thursday - Turn

    Struggling to submit something from my vintage postcard collection to Theme Thursday, this week I dipped into my CD collection instead to find a suitable offering for the theme. This is probably not may favourite Byrds album (that honour would probably go to Younger Than Yesterday or perhaps The Notorious Byrd Brothers) but this is still a great album.

    The Byrds - Turn! Turn! Turn!

    Check out my web site for various CDs and records for sale

    Sunday, 16 January 2011

    Bert Jansch - Birthday Blues / Rosemary Lane

    As I mention in my In Search of Space blog, I have managed to track sown some of the great music covered in the Rob Young's excellent book, Electric Eden. Of the ones I've listened to the most I would have to say that Bert Jansch is probably hitting the spot the most at he moment. I was fortunate enough to pick up a compilation featuring 2 albums on 1 CD. The albums are 'Birthday Blues' from 1968, and 'Rosemary Lane' from 1971. Being recorded 3 years apart I did not at first think they were an obvious pairing, the earlier one being more bluesy and featuring exclusively Jansch written songs, the latter being more folk oriented and featuring several traditional ballads.
    A few listens later however, they do seem to fit together quite well and show perhaps a natural progression towards a more folk style. Standout tracks would have to be 'A Woman Like You' and 'Birthday Blues'.

    In second place in my latest listening treats is my first venture into the music of The Incredible String Band, and their album 'Wee Tam'. For some reason I had always previously considered these lot as some sort of eccentric, novelty band (not sure why) but this album is a masterpiece, blending folk and psychedelic sounds.

    Loads of records and CDs for sale on my web site