Monday, 18 February 2019

Monday Long Song

Something a little different this week - not so much a long song, as a long clip. Over the last few world tours, Bruce Springsteen and the E-Street Band have welcomed occasional song requests from audience members. These range from stone cold classics, obscure curios from their hefty back catalogue to one-off cover versions that find them reaching back to their bar-band days. This is a terrific example of the latter, pulled from a 2013 show in Leipzig. Springsteen plucks a request for Chuck Berry's 'You Never Can Tell' from the crowd, to the visible consternation of the band who obviously know the song, but have never actually played it. Steve Van Zandt, Bruce and the band spend a couple of minutes working out an arrangement - worth watching for the look on Steve's face as he tries to persuade Bruce to bring it down a key. Then, gloriously, they throw themselves headlong into a joyous, life-affirming performance. If anyone still questions why I've travelled so far, so often to see Bruce and the E-Street Band in concert over the years, here's your answer.

Wednesday, 13 February 2019

Judgement Train

I've been even further off grid than usual since Saturday. All overtime at work has been slashed and I'm reduced to bare minimum hours, so I thought I'd take the opportunity to head down to the smoke for a few days and check in on my two elderly Aunts. Mrs S needed the car at home, so I loaded my device of choice with a bunch of recently purchased albums and let the train take the strain. Track maintenance on the way down necessitated a coach replacement service for part of the journey and the trip home was also heavily delayed after a poor soul was struck by a train near Brentwood, halting all services in and out of London for three hours. Long story short, I had plenty of time in which to acquaint myself with new music. I listened to a lot of good stuff, but I still reckon that there has been no better LP released so far this year than Rustin Man's 'Drift Code'.

Rustin Man - Judgement Train 

Monday, 11 February 2019

Monday Long Song

Across the 9½ minutes of 'The Trapeze Swinger', Sam Beam casts himself as a dying man looking back on a life of love, loss, regret, redemption and salvation. It's an outstanding piece of writing and a breathtakingly beautiful performance. The song originally appeared on the soundtrack of the film 'In Good Company' in 2004, before featuring Iron and Wine's rarities and b-sides collection 'Around the Well' in 2009.

Iron and Wine - The Trapeze Swinger

In 2017 Iron and Wine revisited 'The Trapeze Swinger' for a KCRW session, to equally breathtaking effect.

Monday, 4 February 2019

Monday Long Song

Träden's musical journey began a very long time ago, in 1969, when the group formed in Sweden as Träd, Gräs och Stenar (which translates as Trees, Grass, and Stones) from the remenents of two other outfits, Pärson Sound and International Harvester. Their story is a convoluted one that, quite frankly, I'm still piecing together myself. The band's moniker was shortened to Träden only last year, to coincide with their tremendous self-titled LP released on the Subliminal Sounds label. From that very record, 'Tamburan' is a meandering 11 minute high point.

Träden - Tamburan

Wednesday, 30 January 2019

Romance Isn't Scared

Ivan Howard and Kelly Crisp, traded as The Rosebuds between 2001 and 2014, releasing five albums on Merge Records, one on Western Vinyl, and several more through their own digital imprint. From time to time, if the clouds are hanging particularly low and the heart feels a little heavier than usual, I reach for a favourite old song and let it wrap itself around me like a comfortable old blanket. This is one such song.

The Rosebuds - Blue Bird

Monday, 28 January 2019

Monday Long Song

Michael Rother from Neu! and Hans-Joachim Roedelius & Dieter Moebius of Cluster, together trading as Harmonia, released their debut LP 'Musik Von Harmonia' in January 1974, 45 years ago this month. They only released two LPs during their initial three year existence as a working unit (they reunited briefly between 2007-2009), but the music they made moved Brian Eno to pronounce that Harmonia was '...the world's most important rock band' at the time. 'Sehr Kosmisch' is taken from that debut LP and translates as, 'Very Cosmic'. Isn't it just.

Harmonia - Sehr Kosmisch

Thursday, 24 January 2019

All That Jazz #8 - Elvin Jones

It's impossible to overstate the importance of Elvin Jones. The fact that he was behind the drums for the incendiary series of LPs put out by John Coltrane on Atlantic and Impulse between 1960 and 1966, guarantees his immortality in jazz circles, even though this merely scratches the surface of his phenomenal body of work. In a career stretching from 1948 until his death in 2004, Jones played for virtually every jazz musician of any significance, while also finding time to release close to 50 albums under his own name. The run of ten LPs he put out on the legendary Blue Note label between 1968 and 1973 are particularly noteworthy. The name on the sleeves was his, but the rotating ensembles he led were crammed with quality players. Here he is fronting an unusual keyboardless three horn line-up of Joe Farrell, Dave Liebman and Frank Foster plus Gene Perla on bass with 'Three Card Molly' from 1971's 'Genesis'.

Elvin Jones - Three Card Molly

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