thu 19/10/2017

Americana

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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CD: Steve Earle & The Dukes - So You Wanna Be An Outlaw

“So you wanna be an outlaw, better take it from me/ Living on the highway, ain't everything it's supposed to be” sings Steve Earle on the opening track of his latest album, with a little help from Willie Nelson. Recorded in Texas, where Earle did...

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CD: Steve Earle & The Dukes - So You Wanna Be An Outlaw

“So you wanna be an outlaw, better take it from me/ Living on the highway, ain't everything it's supposed to be” sings Steve Earle, a man with no shortage of outlawish credentials, on the opening track of his latest album, with a little help from...

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Billy Bragg: Roots, Radicals and Rockers review - riffing on skiffle, and more besides

Wow! An unconventional opening for a book review maybe, but ‘“wow!” nonetheless. Subtitled "How Skiffle Changed the World", this is an impressive work of popular scholarship by the singer, songwriter and social activist whose 40-year (and counting)...

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Bob Dylan, Wembley Arena review - mannered vocals, poor sound, upsetting

I’ll never forget the first time: Saturday 17 June, 1978, Earls Court. The concert lives on in my mind’s ear still – those not fortunate enough to be there should listen to Live at Budokan (on which, that autumn, in Liverpool’s Probe Records, I...

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CD: John Mellencamp - Sad Clowns & Hillbillies

The 23rd studio album from the artist formerly known as John Cougar was originally destined to be a religious album, but the songs he and Carlene Carter wrote turned out to be not quite so God-fearing as all that, though there’s certainly a...

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Reissue CDs Weekly: Brinsley Schwarz

In the second week of September 1979, Nick Lowe’s “Cruel to be Kind” entered the Top 40. A month later, it peaked at number 12. The commercial success was belated validation for a song with a history. In May 1978, an earlier version was the B-side...

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