•December 19, 2016 • Leave a Comment
I put on my TV earlier and seen James Bond getting out of a car and walking through a second line funeral that it seems no one showed up for. “Relax, Jim. Mister Big Wants to see you”. It’s Professor Longhair’s birthday. He’d be 98, probably. Here’s a couple things I learned, or noticed, today for y’all about Tipitina’s the famous club on Tchoupitoulas named after one of his most famous songs. Not that they was secret or anything, just I didn’t know. First, I was always under the impression it opened in his honour, or was maybe renamed, after his death. But the club opened in ’77 and right there over the stage is his portrait and dates 1918 – 1980, so there’s that. Second is about that bust of his bald head in the doorway, everyone used to rub the head of for luck. That’s the work of Coco Robicheaux who I knew was a musician, never knew he was an artist too. So, not only is his name fun to say, he made that. I’ll be. Anyway, now you know these things too and here’s a pretty cool clip of fess talkin’ and playin ‘Tipitina’.
•December 17, 2016 • Leave a Comment
Here friends, a sweet little song for the lonely this christmas from the always thoughtful Howe Gelb. It’s in the laid back piano trio mode of his recent ‘Future Standards’ record. Now, because it’s that time of year and the human mind is a strange thing there’s the just vaguest glitter of the season across that record, an occasional echo of Vince Guaraldi’s music for ‘Peanuts’ which has become tied with tinsel and memory to Christmas even in it’s not specifically festive moments. Check the opening bars of ‘Relevant’ for a little ‘Linus and Lucy’ on the roof. The mind and memory are strange and wonderful things and it’s no stretch to say he’s dived right in and messed about in that puddle on this record, how the results play out is still unclear. The title makes a bold claim and damn if he don’t look pretty darn smug on the cover, twistin’ a fistful of those damn Arizona turquoise rings. Still, with Howe things ain’t always what they seem of course, for what I guess is his first post Giant Sand record he’s gone back to the structures and lyrical approaches of great American Songbook type material and paired it up with an intimate, almost rehearsal room type vibe. It’s typically loose and has the feel of songs being sketched out for bigger, brighter voices to sing in front of tighter, more dynamic big band arrangements. Much as he can’t help being Howe and you half expect a bunch of static-y TV dialogue or bird song to wash through the background at any point it ain’t to say he can’t pull this future standard thing off. The duets with Lonna Kelly recall moments from ‘Tucson’ when he seemed to do just that, you may have your own selections from his songbook you think match up. ‘May You Never Fall In Love’ is maybe the most succesful on the records own terms… “This is an attempt at writing a batch of tunes that could last through the ages with the relative structure of what has become known as “standards”. The likes of Cole Porter and Hoagy Carmichael done up by Frank Sinatra or Billie Holiday,” suggests Howe. “Julie London had a lot to do with it.”
Still, just the one tune for you to check out there on the bandcamp but you can listen to the whole of his glorious gospel choir collaboration ‘Sno Angel Like You reissued this year with a whole live record too. It’s a beautiful thing and offers a clear pointer, if such a thing were needed, to how old Giant Sand songs might be reinterpreted in different musical setting and for very different voices, so maybe one day we’ll be getting some fuller, less casual versions of them future standards. Who knows? rounding out here we got a picture of Howe on the right there getting some santa goin’ on the beard front, and a near 30 year old christmas tune from Giant Sand. It ain’t nearly a standard to be fair friends but at least it has an insane and random ending.
•December 16, 2016 • Leave a Comment
Well friends, gettin’ into the home stretch here, last minute panic buying and so on. Here’s another old christmas mix in case the ‘Christmas Cracker‘ one wore out its welcome already. There’s a couple of upbeat and/or more modern moments on it but for the most part we’re on the gentle, relaxin, crackly old records side of things here. Sippin’ on a little something and watching the fire burn y’know? Slidin’ on off into a soporific reverie on the couch in front of ‘It’s A Wonderful Life’ or The Wizard Of Oz. As for the name there well, I said it before, an I say it again – it ain’t what you think. We didn’t really steal Christmas, and we didn’t never have to spend no Christmas day in jail neither. This is just about this thing that happened one year. We’d been drinkin’, as is the, erm, seasonal thing to do right? Christmas cheer, in the spirit of the holidays and so on. Anyways, we thought it’d be a real festive type of idea if the christmas tree from a certain local business premises accompanied the pair of us on to the next bar and shared in our celebrations with us. Snuck out from work for a quick one kinda, Now, being as we’d been drinkin’ for the best part of the afternoon already and ain’t usually the brightest bulbs on the tree there to begin with we didn’t reckon on the lights on the tree being plugged in. I guess we thought they just glowed with christmas magic, goodwill to mankind or some such thing, and so in short order all three of us collapsed in a tangled pile, baubles shootin’ this way an that without getting more than a few feet into our high speed getaway. I think it’s fair to say that some of those present failed to quite see the funny side of the situation.
stream up the top, or click here to slip her in yer pocket while Randy distracts the clerk, you dig?
intro, feat Julian Koster and his singing saw – Silver Bells
Rev. J.M. Gates – Did You Spend Christmas Day In Jail?
Amos Milburn – Let’s Make Christmas Merry, Baby
Bumble Bee Slim – Christmas and No Santa Claus
Lowell Fulson – Christmas Party Shuffle
Rev. Edward W. Clayborn – The Wrong Way To Celebrate Christmas
Capt. Elmo McKenzie & The Roosters – Home On Christmas Day
The Harlem Children’s Chorus – Black Christmas
Thurl Ravenscroft, MGM Studio Orch & Chorus – You’re A Mean One, Mr. Grinch
Kid Congo & The Pink Monkey Birds – Black Santa
Johnny Dowd – Jingle Bells
J.D. McPherson – Twinkle Little Christmas Lights
Lyle Lovett – The Girl With The Holiday Smile
Aretha Franklin – Over The Rainbow
The Andrews Sisters – I’d Like To Hitch A Ride With Santa Claus
The Dalhart Imperials – Old Man Spivey’s Egg Nog
Jack White Christmas – Christmas Time Will Soon Be Over
C.W. Stoneking – On A Christmas Day
Lightnin’ Hopkins – Santa
Carla Thomas – All I Want For Christmas Is You
Jimmy Smith – Santa Claus Is Coming To Town
Booker T. & The M.G.s – Winter Snow
Imagene Peise – Silent Night
Spiritualized – Silent Night
Julian Koster – Silent Night
•December 11, 2016 • Leave a Comment
Friends, when Sharon passed not so long ago, we invited you to spend some time with her music but maybe hold back on the holiday record. Time has come to give that sucker a spin. If we’re honest, it ain’t nearly her best record, but then so it goes with the way of the Christmas album. It’s got a variety of approaches here, ain’t just the Dap-Kings givin’ a bunch of ol’ favourites a full force horn blastin’, no sir. Kicks off with a hannukah song for one thing. Still, for all their greatness, it’s hard to say the band have brought any kind of jaw dropping new twist or solid gold best renditions to the material which, again given their abilities, is a shame. There’s some obvious choices and some less so but the real star shining atop the tree is their own ‘Ain’t No Chimneys In The Projects’. Nice little video clip here for that one.
Those of you who care to dwell on these types thing can find a shaky but decent video clip of Prince walking out to play guitar with Sharon in Paris five years ago right under this big word HERE
•December 9, 2016 • Leave a Comment
Ask brethren, and ye shall receive. Chicago’s wonderful Bloodshot Records have indeed come good with a new sampler thingy on their bandcamp to update that one I posted up yesterday. Tunes from some of the year’s best records there, some older treats too. It’s a pretty stuffed stocking. Git on it. As if’n that weren’t enough, as a more festive extra lil’ bonus here’s the very great Mr. Jon Langford from a few years back reading a rewritten Bloodshot version of ‘The Night Before Christmas’. mmmmmmm seasonal.
•December 8, 2016 • Leave a Comment
In today’s advent calendar window – a free gift boys ‘n’ girls! See, as we reach the end of a long and lightless tunnel of a year folks is looking to write lists and think on their favourite things from it all the same – find some comfort and evidence it wasn’t all so depressing and such. Reckoned on doin’ a round-up mix here maybe and I was struck by the strong showing of Bloodshot records in that little pile of sticks. Seemed to me my best of 2016 might as well be a best of Bloodshot, just about. Ain’t quite that way but, turns out last year, pretty much to the day, they gave away a 20 song sampler that y’all can still download for free and for nothin’. I’ve no idea if a similar thing is about to pop up for 2016 but I say get this ‘un and keep an eye. Like any record label collection it’s not 100% solid gold (Bloodshot are a little fonder of the sturdy bar room business than I am) but it really has a strikingly high hit rate, oughts to get you pulling on yer shit kickers and kickin’ some shit
Barrence Whitfield & The Savages, Freakwater, Robbie Fulks, The Mekons, Wayne Hancock, Dex Romweber, Lydia Loveless, Luke Winslow-King and so on