Thursday, May 31, 2007
“Like many in the civil rights movement, The Staples Singers drew on the spirituality and strength of the church to help gain social justice and to try to achieve equal rights. With this record, I hope to get across the same feeling, the same spirit and the same message as we did then - and to hopefully continue to make positive changes. Things are better but we’re not where we need to be and we’ll never turn back.”- Mavis Staples
Record label ANTI has more info on their site here including Rolling Stone article, promo video and an mp3 of "On My Way".
DOWN IN MISSISSIPPI
"We'll Never Turn Back" [buy]
Monday, May 21, 2007
What a great evening. Saw Daniel Johnston a few years ago at Matt & Phred's in Manchester but still wasn't sure what to expect of the evening - especially given the 'comic' setting. First up were the Former Bullies, then Jeffrey Lewis and Adem.
The latter two played together plus a few songs each on their own. Very relaxed, unrehearsed but totally natural vibe. Adem claimed he would ruin the mood by playing some miserable songs but didn't. Even if he had everyone was won back by Jeffrey finishing their slot with a great version of "Williamsburg William Oldham Horror" (video here).
After another short break Daniel came on to play three songs on the guitar and three at the keyboard including "Walking the Cow". He then said he'd be back with 'the band'. This turned out to be Jeffrey Lewis and Adem - and things just took off. Not all the songs worked ("Mountain Top" played solely on handbells for instance) but most were perfect settings to Daniel's songs and his singing.
Daniel did appear to have aged a lot since I saw him last - and had some very bad shakes in both hands - but appeared to be relaxed and enjoying performing. Finally Former Bullies (three quarters of them) returned for an 'electric' set including "Fish" and "Rock This Town". Whole evening was topped of with an acapella rendition of "Devil Town".
Yip/Jump Music [buy]
Fear Yourself [buy]
Tuesday, May 15, 2007
Toots and the Maytals
Saturday, May 05, 2007
Hugely recommended if you haven't seen it. True fly-on-the-wall documentary filmed over several years by a close friend(!) of both bands, it charts not only the Dandy's rise and the narcissism of band leader Courtney Taylor but the parallel struggles of BJM and their self-destructive leader Anton Newcombe. Veering from moments of sheer 'Spinal Tap' lunacy ("he broke my sitar!" or the BJM playing for ten hours to an audience of ten people in Cleveland) to heartbreaking pathos - as BJM try to tread a line between credibility and success on a diet of booze and drugs, with fist fights between band members never far away.
As the film suggests it will be interesting to see in ten years time which band is remembered - the 'cartoon' Dandys or the "Velvet Underground of the 90s" 'keeping-it-real' BJM.
This was my first introduction to the Brian Jonestown Massacre. Quickly acquired these two tracks from their 2CD retrospective and keen to hear and buy more.
THE BALLAD OF JIM JONES
NOT IF YOU WERE THE LAST DANDY ON EARTH
The Brian Jonestown Massacre
Tepid Peppermint Wonderland - A Retrospective [buy]
2005 DVD release