thu 14/12/2017

Americana

CD: Christmas with Elvis and the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra

It’s that time of year again, and we’re forced to endure crap Christmas songs while waiting to pay for milk and loo rolls. The fingers of one hand are sufficient for listing the world’s only good Christmas albums and songs: Phil Spector’s Christmas...

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CD: Neil Young + Promise of the Real - The Visitor

Not since the 1960s has there been so much global shit to protest about! The Sixties, of course, gave us the protest song – and how well the best of them have worn. “Masters of War” and “With God On Our Side” are timeless classics. “Give Peace a...

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CD: Mavis Staples - If All I Was Was Black

The queen of R&B is no stranger to struggle – the Staples Singers, led by Pops, played a key role in the 1960s civil rights movement, emerging from the gospel circuit as so many great black singers did. Mavis’ first paid gig was with her family...

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Richard F Thomas: Why Dylan Matters review - tangled up in clues

A year ago, Bob Dylan was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature, his work commended by the committee "for having created new poetic expressions within the great American song tradition". The media response was like no other and we admirers felt...

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Glengarry Glen Ross, Playhouse Theatre review - Christian Slater is gently charismatic

American classics dominate the straight plays in London’s West End. Whenever a producer wants to revive a straight drama, they will inevitably look first at the back catalogue of Tennessee Williams or Arthur Miller or, in this case, David Mamet....

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CD: Angel Olsen - Phases

An underground American star since 2010’s Strange Cacti EP, Angel Olsen’s distinctive brand of indie folk-rock was propelled to new heights in both Burn Your Fire For No Witness (2014) and then last year with MY WOMAN. After years of touring,...

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Reissue CDs Weekly: The Residents

80 Aching Orphans ought to be hard work. A four-CD, 80-track, 274-minute overview chronicling 45 years of one of pop’s most wilful bands should be a challenging listen. The Residents have never made records which are straightforward or were meant to...

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CD: Tom Russell - Folk Hotel

Close your eyes and be transported. Not just to Greenwich Village, New York and America’s west, but to Copenhagen, Belfast and Swansea, from whence Dylan Thomas – dedicatee of “The Sparrow of Swansea” – set out on his adventures. The album was...

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CD: Joan Osborne - Songs of Bob Dylan

Dylan aficionados will get the cover art reference immediately: one of Elliott Landy’s celebrated Woodstock photos, taken in 1968. Joan Osborne, Grammy nominated “no-nonsense Dylan” (New York Times) interpreter, is wearing neither hat nor guitar on...

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CD: Iron and Wine - Beast Epic

Iron and Wine’s songs sweet melancholy songs are instantly recognisable, as if their principal author Sam Beam inhabited a parallel universe of the American imagination, a slightly whimsical and yet soulful territory, in which the extremes of hope...

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Reissue CDs Weekly: Fairport Convention

According to Pete Frame’s book Rock Family Trees, Fairport Convention had 15 different line-ups between 1968 and 1978, the period covered by the new box set Come All Ye – The First 10 Years. Fairport Convention #7, extant from November 1971 to...

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When Sam Shepard was a Londoner

Sam Shepard came to live in London in 1971, nursing ambitions to be a rock musician. When he went home three years later, he was soon to be found on the drumstool of Bob Dylan's Rolling Thunder tour. But in between, not long after he arrived in...

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