Thursday, 31 December 2015

Some Awe's Best of 2015 - Top Twenty

Some Awe dressed for the occasion

Top Twenty

Steve Tilston – Truth to Tell
Sam Lee - The Fade in Time
Shelby Lynne – I Can’t Imagine
Dave Rawlings Machine - Nashville Obsolete
Chris Stapleton – Traveller
Trembling Bells - The Sovereign Self
Alabama Shakes - Sound & Color
Arabs In Aspic - Victim Of Your Father's Agony
Trixie Whitley – Porta Bohemica
The Delines - Scenic Sessions
Kurt Elling - Passion World
Sufjan Stevens - Carrie & Lowell
Ryley Walker - Primrose Green
Jason Isbell - Something More Than Free
Rickie Lee Jones - The Other Side of Desire
David Ramirez – Fables
James Taylor - Before This World
Eliza Neals - Breaking And Entering
Fernando - Leave The Radio On
Keith Richards - Crosseyed Heart

This is it - what you have all been waiting for! Oh, it was tonight's party? Sorry, I got that wrong. But here it is all the same.

Probably no surprises to those who follow this blog, and not to me [you'd think obviously] but I am a little by how singer-songwriter/solo artist oriented it is, and how predominantly un-heavy, especially with so much retro-rock listened to, liked and reviewed this year on the blog - but the prefix retro gives that factor away, I think.

I thought Sam Lee would likely lead this year's list, and his album is sublime, but it goes to Tilston because, as with many of the choices, there is often a history within the many elements of deciding. His 1976 album Songs from the Dress Rehearsal is one of the finest ever recorded, and this year's Truth to Tell is on such a par with this and I am so impressed with the sustained quality of that writing and performing: I saw both Tilston and Lee live this year, and both of these gigs also inform the deciding.

The 'heavy' element - missing in more obvious ways - is provided by Trembling Bells whose heavy folk is brilliant, reminding of those early 70s moves to this, and I am still sorry I missed them playing locally. Two of the tracks on Alabama Shakes' album are some of the best this year [and Sexwitch is another fine loud band] and Arabs in Aspic get a pick because of the brilliance of their retro leanings.

Trixie Whitley deserves more recognition for her stunning vocal, and both Shelby Lynne and Rickie Lee Jones produced further quality work this year, though they too have my long-liking history informing their selection. 

Eliza Neals is the new kid on the block, and how she rocks. Fernando too - though he is a seasoned performer - is selected for his re-emergence on the scene with such a fine solo album I am yet to review. I also met him very briefly when seeing The Delines in Bristol, and he is such a warm and friendly person/musician and his love of playing deserves its recognition. 

Elling will always appeal to me; Taylor too, and though his album is in many ways predictable, that is what one wants/expects, and Stretch of the Highway is such a funky song!

I won't write about all, but I should mention that Chris Stapleton also almost made it to the 'top', his album such a gritty as well as beautiful set of songs.

Into the Distance Music 26

The Hollies Through Any Window, Sky Arts

Christmas Hollies

I've been watching this excellent documentary on The Hollies, always a fan of the 'pop' music they produced in their early years and which ultimately became a reason behind Graham Nash leaving, though the pull of Laural Canyon and everything associated with that life was a significant additional factor.

All the main players are articulate and engaging in their reminiscences: Allan Clarke, Graham Nash, Tony Hicks and Bobby Elliot. Clarke and Nash explain the origins of those early songs, and some of the live black and white footage of playing these is both excellent in its visual quality but also the artistry of The Hollies as a band. I was particularly impressed with the musicianship of Hicks and Elliot, and their take on production and production decisions - especially as the technology of this changed over those early recording years, for all bands - was fascinating.

Watching this also urged me to get the vinyl out, and although I don't have original copies of their earliest albums, I do have their 1968 EMI Hollies' Greatest, and listening to those hits with the stories behind each still fresh in the mind [e.g. the New York nightclub belly dancer prompting the band to write Stop Stop Stop in their taxi ride afterwards] was a lot of fun.

Wednesday, 30 December 2015

Some Awe's Best of 2015 - Additionals

And there must be others [and I know the list was long enough already, but if there is good music.....]

Larry Campbell & Teresa Williams - Larry Campbell & Teresa Williams
Jimmy Lafave – The Night Tribe
Van Morrison - Duets Re-Working the Catalogue
Public Image Ltd. - What the World Needs Now..

Tuesday, 29 December 2015

The Art of Motörhead

Motorhead - (We Are) The Road Crew lyrics [list poem]

One of their best musically, and perhaps the 'best' lyrically - it is a list poem after all:

(We Are) The Road Crew

Another town another place,
Another girl, another face,
Another truce, another race,
I'm eating junk, feeling bad,
Another night, I'm going mad,
My woman's leaving, I feel sad,
But I just love the life I lead,
Another beer is what I need,
Another gig my ears bleed,
We Are The Road Crew

Another town I've left behind,
Another drink completely blind,
Another hotel I can't find,
Another backstage pass for you,
Another tube of super glue,
Another border to get through,
I'm driving like a maniac,
Driving my way to hell and back,
Another room a case to pack,
We Are The Road Crew

Another hotel we can burn,
Another screw, another turn,
Another Europe map to learn,
Another truckstop on the way,
Another game I learn to play,
Another word I learn to say,
Another bloody customs post,
Another fucking foreign coast,
Another set of scars to boast,
We Are The Road Crew

Hawkwind - Silver Machine, Lemmy on lead vocal

1972 - not the very beginning, but the big beginning

Motörhead - Thunder and Lightning: Lemmy 24.12.45 - 28.12.15

Lemmy heading the band as ever in 2015. Gone now but never faded away.

Sunday, 27 December 2015

Mississippi Bones - Mississippi Bones, album review

Christmas Rouse

I needed a post-Christmas aural assault to shake up the senses after all those fulsome, wholesome festive tunes and meals – no complaining – and have turned to the ever-reliable Mississippi Bones to pound in some welcome late-night rousing. This is their 2010 debut, and it presents the brash template from which this and the subsequent metal mastery continues to be forged. I’ll refer you to previous reviews here, not to make it easy but to encourage a wider reading and emphasise my sustained liking for their bone-shaking musical diatribe. Check out their web site here too. I don’t want to write any more – I just want to rumble.