fri 18/08/2017

Americana

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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CD: Ray Davies - Americana

From Muswell Hillbilly to Beverly Hillbilly, Ray Davies – Sir Ray – has long been infatuated with America and it must have been a great disappointment when the Kinks were banned from touring there in the mid-1960s. Then in the 1970s and Eighties...

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John Mayall, Ronnie Scott's

It’s a while since John Mayall last played Ronnie Scott’s, and the six shows this week didn’t begin to accommodate his many fans. The line to get in on Tuesday started a long while before show-time, and those who turned up hoping for returns will be...

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CD: Imelda May - Life. Love. Flesh. Blood

As Imelda May releases her fifth CD, it can’t but help that Bob Dylan has come out as a fan – it was, she wrote, "like being kissed by Apollo himself". No doubt his buddy T Bone Burnett passed him a copy of the album, for he produced it in Los...

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Sunday Book: George Saunders - Lincoln in the Bardo

George Saunders has written a historical novel. Of course, this being Saunders, author of four volumes of dystopian short stories about contemporary America (the wonderful Tenth of December is the most recent), it’s unlike any other. This is a tale...

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