Tuesday, 30 June 2015

Burger/Sandwich Music

OK, one's not music, but it's too tasty to ignore....

Dhafer Youssef - Divine Shadows, album review

Twopence and Way Beyond

As with Bird Requiem, reviewed here, this earlier 2006 album is beautiful, Youssef playing the oud more and his vocal less to the fore overall, but when he does voice his trance singing it is as hypnotically pleasing as ever. There is a healthy mix of contemporary and traditional, exemplified well by tracks 2 and 3: the modern in former 27th Century Ethos where electronic soundscapes pulse and beat under Youssef's singing; the traditional in latter Miel El Cendres where his oud [lute] playing is accompanied classically by the Oslo Session String Quartet. Heavier permutations get developed in the 10 minutes of Odd Poetry where Norwegian jazz musicians add their twopence of infinitely more worth.

Monday, 29 June 2015

Legs Music 3

The Ghost Of A Saber Tooth Tiger - GOASTT Stories, EP review

Delightful Package

More psyche-delight from the delightful Sean Lennon and Charlotte Kemp Muhl who as The Ghost of a Saber Tooth Tiger revamp and re-present early Pink Floyd/The Beatles and all similar, which is usually just far-out, and at times exquisitely beautiful like the third of the four tracks on this ep Pierotte with its complex harmonies, acoustic guitar, harmonium and other psychedelic sounds of backwards-played fuzz. Closer Richard Brown is a piece of playfulness reminiscent of a time when such was a requisite on an album.

I reviewed GOASTT's album Midnight Sun here.

Sunday, 28 June 2015

Psychedelic Music

Not difficult, and not a badger in sight....

Jim Lane - In Memory

I was saddened to hear of Jim Lane's passing a week ago, on Father's Day.

I met him very briefly [see review of Jim and his band The Renegades here] so can't claim to know him, though as I said in that review he was a warm, friendly man, and I have the greatest respect for his journeyman dedication to his music and through this the entertainment and enjoyment he brought to others.

I couldn't find any information on his life online - which in itself isn't surprising - though with so much information available that is meaningless, it is nonetheless a shame. For example, I do not know if he was himself a father.

Therefore, by way of a tribute to and in memory of a gentleman musician, I am presenting this post and referencing my previous review.

Tree Music 6

Tim Shelton - Jackson Browne Revisited, album review

Does Diligence Deliver?

I was wondering if it would be possible to go wrong with covering songs of this quality, and of course one could: crap renditions; hitting the impenetrable wall of the super-fan's adherence to originals. This cover album avoids both possibilities, and the Country 'take' provides just enough sense of interpretation on songs that already have some 'country' blood in their veins, with Sheldon's generic vocal adding sufficient anchorage to that transformation. What will always carry such an album is, however, and without any serious question, the brilliance of the songcraft itself. These are straightforward performances and productions, with vocal harmonies that sustain the listenable pleasure. Where it can fall a little short is with a song like The Pretender when the emotive peaks of the original are flattened out by the polish of a diligent rather than empathetic version.

Ryan Adams - Burn In The Night, 7-inch review


Another Pax-Am release, you can hear it here, and there isn't a ballad within sniffing distance, these rock numbers rock with opener Burn in the Night recalling 'an old NYC love lost', second Cop City recalling The Who, and the 58 seconds of third Look in the Mirror recalling punk. That last one should have been a little longer as it is perhaps the most interesting of this set's leaning.

Saturday, 27 June 2015

Person With Dog Music

Steve Tilston - Swans at Coole, album review


If you were at all unsure about my comment in the previous music posting about Steve Tilston being one of the great guitarists, listen to the 23 minutes of the gorgeous Rhapsody on his 1990 instrumental album Swans at Coole, where he also plays mandolin. It is an exquisite folk symphony with guitar at its beautiful root and then broadened by the fine accompaniments of  Flute, Whistle & Percussion: Maggie Boyle; Cello: Tony Hinnigan; 1st Violin: Stuart Gordon; 2nd Violin: Paul Boyle; Uilleann Pipes & Whistle: Tommy Keane, and Bodhran: Mike Taylor.

And the prowess doesn’t stop there. Second, traditional The Wind That Shakes the Barley/The Ladies' Pantellets, is a rousing folk ditty, with third Planxty Concoran a virtuoso classical piece. On both, and others, violinist Stuart Gordon plays wonderfully, and he is the friend for whom Tilston’s song The Way it Was from his latest album Truth was written. The rest of the album is a further showcase of Tilston’s remarkable talent, and the whole is simply impressive and perfect.

Baseball Music

Friday, 26 June 2015

Steve Tilston - Otterton Mill, 25th June, 2015

Fishcakes, Mousse, Shirts and Tilston

Otterton Mill is a cafĂ©/restaurant venue that has an oak-beam ceiling charm, and the audience at last night’s Steve Tilston intimate gig added a particular genteel, OAP feel: most [if not all, me being the odd one out] had attended first to have a meal, and the aroma of hake fiscake was still rife when I turned up, though by that stage many were eating their delicate mousse desserts or drinking coffee. The men were - as with the majority of gigs I attend these days of bands and/or singers I liked back in the day - either greying or balding [or had already arrived] and wore an array of colourful shirts stereotypically Hawaiian, Lee Perry Polo or check/plaid [ah, that’s me then…..]. Tilston played two 45 minutes sets, and to complete my portrait of the audience I will just point at that during the interval most had more coffee and twee desserts whilst I had a strong cider [rock’n’roll!], and the guy sitting next to me did the crossword he had torn from a newspaper and brought along in his trousers pocket. And I will also mention his kind wife had earlier before the start offered me some dark chocolate she had brought along in a Tupperware sandwich box.

Steve Tilston is one of the genuinely great English singer/songwriters, and he was/is friends with, amongst others famously of the early 70s, Ralph McTell, Bert Jansch and Wizz Jones, the latter whom influenced him in his early days and when he played at Les Cousins in London [and when Steve asked last night’s audience if anyone there knew the club there was a knowing assent from a few so perhaps my shirts and desserts caricature isn’t entirely fair]. Tilston doesn’t appear to carry the wider acclaim/knowing of his contemporaries just mentioned, and indeed my crossworder and darkchocolater didn’t seem to know much about him either, though had seen him at the Mill before. However, this might change as more people see the Al Pacino film Danny Collins based loosely on an incident in Steve Tilston’s life: you can see a video of Steve meeting Al here – Pacino looking like an airbomb has just exploded in his face – and more on the pertinent background story with a review of one of Tilston’s great early albums by me here.

Tilston’s guitar playing is as delicate to virtuoso as ever, and his singing voice is wonderful: folksy when needed, with the attendant resonance that makes it generic, and also quite beautiful with an occasional warble that I so like on his two earliest albums. He opened with his Fairport Convention song [written for them] Rocky Road, with its quick guitar, and then an upbeat Weeping Willow Replanted with its bluesy undertones, a reworking of Weeping Willow by Blind Boy Fuller. He also played the beautiful Fisher Lad of Whitby and the reflective The Road When I Was Young which I am sure had many in the audience in addition to me feeling likewise and rueful. It is a familiar set, so I won’t name others from this expectation, and Tilston tells a set narrative too, for example recounting when at his daughter’s wedding he didn’t play the requested Jacaranda, but instead – as we discover when he starts to play – Let’s Face the Music and Dance, at which point the audience last night [perhaps now fulfilling the caricature] all joined in.

Tilston also played a significant selection from his imminent new album Truth, including another sweetly nostalgic song Grass Days recalling his early musical career and outlook, the plaintive The Way it Was recalling the loss of a dear friend and musician, a wonderful tribute to Nick Drake The Riverman Has Gone written like and played in Drake's inimitable sound/style, and Yo Me Voy which as a recent song reminded me of Tilston's earliest work in the beautiful melody and the distinctive, light warble in his fine vocal, this song as well as others played on his 10 string acoustic guitar. I will review this album later.