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one lonely horn

The Reverend Doctor William Grace Talking To The Crowd

Updated: 2017-07-29T09:16:06.745+00:00


Trip out


After Thursday I'll be one of the many hundreds claiming to have been seen the 'next big thing' down at the Cluny. It only holds a couple of hundred but give it time and that number will have swelled. Is he worth it. Tell you later.

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Who's Ready For a Punch Up?


Who’s Feeling Young Now?

Ever since the demise of the much missed Nickelcreek Chris Thile has been on my radar for everything he does. Last years duet album of traditional bluegrass with Michael Dawes was exemplary. Now he resumes his role of bandleader alongside Gabe Witcher, Noam Pikelny, Paul Kowert, and Chris Eldridge to create a further fusion of rock, folk, jazz, bluegrass and classical music. Despite this array of styles Who’s Feeling Young Now? proves to be more direct than its rather complex predecessor Antifogmatic. That said none of the thrilling intricacy has been lost. Just this time there are more catchy refrains to hang on to whilst the band surround them with dramatic arrangements full of clever twists and turns. Exemplifying this is a cover of Radiohead’s ‘Kid A’. The Brothers are no strangers to deconstructing Thom Yorke’s mire of music, which they do with aplomb by leaving out the whaling angst without losing the intensity. Counteracting this rather obtuse contribution are ‘Hundred Dollars’ and ‘New York City’. Co-written with Josh Ritter, a man who knows his way around a good tune, they provide lighter moments in an otherwise intense and richly rewarding album.

Some decisions...


(image) ... for no good reason other than prejudice can influence how you view a performer. And as we all know prejudices can be hard to shift. So my negative reaction to Teddy Thompson cancelling his forthcoming local show was not solely based upon disappointment but more for the reason behind it. To give up singing to his faithful band of followers he has chosen to accept the opportunity (as he will see it) to be the warm up act on the James Blunt tour.
On the plus side for Teddy I estimate this will increase his nightly audience by an estimated thirty times but on the down side it has lost him my loyalty as a fan who has shelled out on numerous occasions to see him. Hell, I’ve even payed out to watch him as the support act. But not on this occasion. Turning your back on the faithful is bad enough but to support James Bland calls into question his musical integrity.
Now if he were doing the Leonard Cohen tour, and an opportunity to learn at the feet of the master, that would be an altogether different matter.

Beyond this personal gripe it has got me thinking of how many support acts I have seen over the last thirty five years who have sufficiently inspired me to make me watch out for their name in the following months and years. Precious few is the answer with only Lynyrd Skynyrd (Golden Earring), Tymon Dogg (Alan Price) and The Pixies (Throwing Muses) coming readily to mind.

So will hoardes of Mr Bland’s fans make it hard for me to get a ticket the next time Teddy comes to town? I think not. Will I be there? Putting prejudice aside, probably. But I may have to have a drink first, for as the man says ‘an altered state makes me love everything I hate’.

MP3 Teddy Thompson – Altered State

Concentrate On Irate Hats


(image) Slapp Happy were an Anglo/German/American trio who, not to put too fine a point on it, were as mad as a box of frogs. Henry Cow were a product of Cambridge University, had a style described as 'neo-Hiroshima' and, as Wikipedia succinctly and accurately puts it, an 'inherent anti-commercial bias'. I think you get the picture. The name of the person who thought that it would be a jolly good idea for the two bands to combine is lost to history but combine they did and Desperate Straights is one of two albums they made together.

Back in the day, the two Reverend Doctors would gather around the phonograph in the Old Vicarage and try and make sense of what was going on. I am not sure we ever did or whether we were ever meant to but it was fun trying.

The sound is built around the unusual vocal stylings of Dagmar Krause. Her husky alto is not to everyone's taste but is undeniably original. She is unlikely to win X Factor and the world is a poorer place for it. Slapp Happy also featured Peter Blegvad who wrote a song that will shortly feature in the Good Reverend's Hymnal. Watch this space.

Slapp Happy/Henry Cow
Desperate Straights

1."Some Questions about Hats" (Moore, Blegvad) – 1:49
2."The Owl" (Moore) – 2:14
3."A Worm is at Work" (Moore, Blegvad) – 1:52
4."Bad Alchemy" (Greaves, Blegvad) – 3:06
5."Europa" (Moore, Blegvad) – 2:48
6."Desperate Straights" (Moore) – 4:14
7."Riding Tigers" (Blegvad) – 1:43
8."Apes in Capes" (Moore) – 2:14
9. "Strayed" (Blegvad) – 1:53
10."Giants" (Moore, Blegvad) – 1:57
11."Excerpt from The Messiah" (Handel, Blegvad) – 1:48
12."In the Sickbay" (Krause, Blegvad) – 2:08
13."Caucasian Lullaby" (Cutler, Moore) – 8:20

Click here to go to the file

The Good Reverend's Hymnal - #8 When My Baby's Beside Me - Big Star


(image) 'I never travel far, without a little Big Star' as someone once said. I was, however, a little late starting the journey. I remember unsuccessfully trying to buy #1 Record in one of Virgin's early shops in Leeds. Ardent's distribution problems were legendary and I suppose that the chances of any of their records reaching West Yorkshire were slim. The dawn of the CD era saw many labels pushing their back catalogue out in the new format and one of the first CD's I ever bought was the double header of #1 Record and Radio City.

There is little doubt that Big Star worked best during the brief period when Alex Chilton and Chris Bell were in tandem. Radio City (although wonderful) lacks some of its predecessors sense of purpose and, come the recording of Sister Lovers, Alex was away with the fairies. Listening to the three records together is like hearing a band disintegrate in front of your ears.

The song that makes it into the Good Reverend's Hymnal is the glorious 'When My Baby's Beside Me'. This, quite simply, is how bands should sound. Whenever I hear it it makes me feel a whole lot better and that, as they say, will do for me.

MP3: Big Star - When My Baby's Beside Me

We are to whom we listen


(image) This was the phrase that struck whilst reading an editorial by Lenny Kaye. It is often edifying to know what someone else listens to. I certainly make assumptions about people based on their listening habits. But is Lenny right? And if so do we come to define ourselves through music.

I am always perplexed by those stories from people who say ‘that song got me through my teens/divorce/hard time’ etc. How can a song do that? Unless we take a message from it and act upon that message or receive comfort/guidance. And are there really songs that do that? Most of the musicians I’ve met couldn’t think their way out of a paper bag less bring succour to the lonely and forsaken. Yet some writers undoubtedly have the knack of summing up an experience in a simple pithy line and in so doing bring clarity. My current fave being Bright Eyes when he writes ‘What seems so simple by the moonlight by the morning never is’. I can relate to the sentiments yet could never have put things so simply. Bastard.

So here are the last three things I purchased and have listened to endlessly over the last week. Can I divine some sense of self from these disparate songs? Sorry Lenny, I just can’t see it.

MP3 Nancy Elizabeth – I’m Like The Paper

MP3 Swell Maps – Raining In My Room

MP3 The Sea & Cake – Left On

God Knows: Bob Dylan Redefined


(image) No stranger to a Dylan moment Cat Power is captured here on a 1970 recording for the BBC.

At her best Ms Marshall has a way of worming herself insidiously inside a song to draw out it’s dark interior and on paper Oh, Sister possesses all the hallmarks of the kind of song that will bring out this quality. Sadly she fails to ignite sounding laboured and dull rather than careworn.

Things pick up as she segues into Knockin’ on Heaven's Door with its prescient air of doom. Though I would have loved her to have stopped strumming half way through and just let her voice drift into the awaiting void.

The piece has a certain novelty value as it was recorded at Peel Acres, the home of John Peel, and was one of a number of songs that failed to make it onto The Covers Record. Also recorded was the earlier Dylan song Hard Times In New York Town along with a brief rendition of Lynyrd Skynyrd’s Freebird, Oasis’s Wonderwall and the sessions finest moment Mary J Blige’s Deep Inside.

MP3 Cat Power – Oh, Sister/Knockin’ On Heaven’s Door


Review: The Waybacks - Loaded


(image) The Waybacks have been around for a few years now but the release of Loaded on Nashville's Compass Records reveals, for the first time, a pared down, four piece line-up that seeks to offer a tighter focus to their eclectic sounds.

At the band's heart is singer and guitarist James Nash and he, along with newly recruited fiddle virtuoso Warren Hood, has taken on writing responsibility for the new album. Having two independently strong writers within a band can cause problems. On Loaded however, for the most part, it works, not least because of the quality of the playing which is impeccable throughout. Nash's writing tends to be more bluesy and rhythmic whilst Hood's displays a greater melodic strength – perhaps they should get a few beers in, get the guitars out and see what they can come up with together.

The Waybacks have been pigeon-holed in the past as bluegrass revivalists but if Loaded does nothing else it will free them from that erroneous label completely. The band draw upon a wide range of influences from the Hammond tinged Atlantic Soul of the excellent 'Nice To Be Alone' through to the Western Swing of 'Tired Of Being Right' and the sea shantyesque 'Beyond The Northwest Passage'. Perhaps the most extraordinary track on the album is the instrumental 'Black Cat' – a vehicle for Hood's fiddle playing - that takes us on a musical journey that starts on the plains of Texas, transports us through Eastern Europe, allows the Spanish sunshine to settle briefly on our backs, leads us onwards to a Parisian café, places a glass of Ricard on the table, before making a convincing case that Stéphane Grappelli has rosined up his bow once more.

Loaded is not a faultless record – there is a little too much inconsistency in the writing for that – but it is never less than a rewarding and thoroughly enjoyable listen and well worth getting hold of.

MP3: The Waybacks - Savannah

God Knows: Bob Dylan Redefined


(image) From a much lambasted album, The Hollies Sing Dylan, this is perhaps the most reviled track. Which is obviously why I love it so. Always for the underdog us English you know. And very English it is too with Alan Clarke giving a stately performance devoid of any emotion or understanding of the songs themes.

Perhaps we shouldn’t be too harsh as I consider this to be one particular Dylan song that should be left alone. It’s narrative being too wrapped up in his legacy to that point.

Alongside the clueless vocal performance the accompaniment is also wonderfully bizarre with a muscular drum sound being out of step with the playful reed and woodwind interludes. The overall effect sitting somewhere between West Coast psychedelia and the pristine orchestration of 60’s UK pop.

The 1969 album concentrates on Dylan’s more romantic songs and that is where it’s strengths lay. ‘I’ll Be Your Baby Tonight’ being the most effective. The same year saw them have considerable commercial success with ‘Sorry Suzanne’ and ‘He Ain’t Heavy He’s My Brother’ as well as releasing the fine ‘Hollies Sing Hollies’ album. Proving that they really didn’t need the frippery of a whole album devoted to a songwriter whose skin they just couldn’t get under.

MP3 The Hollies – My Back Pages


The Good Reverend's Hymnal - #7 Tear Stained Eye by Son Volt


(image) I saw Uncle Tupelo play live once and was disappointed. Farrar and Tweedy seemed desperate to outdo each other and much of the set was a noisy mess. Not long after they went their separate ways.

For all the melody and rich structure that Tweedy brought to Wilco my heart has always been drawn towards the Son Volt boys. Patchy, inconsistent and, at times far too introspective for their own good they may be. But when they can produce songs like this you can forgive them anything.

Walking down Main Street,
Getting to know the concrete
Looking for a purpose
From a neon sign

Can you deny there's nothing greater...

MP3: Tear Stained Eye - Son Volt


God Knows: Bob Dylan Redefined


It has been a hectic week spent in the captivating city of Glasgow. Hence the lack of posts. But here we are at Friday again so the show must go on.
My favoured Dylan cover that I'd been contemplating only exists in the vaults of a BBC archive. A version of Forever Young performed as an entry in the Choir Of The Year competition some eight years ago. Though it failed to captivate in the way Dylans own version did on the 19th September 2000 when I heard it as if sang for my own children rather than the ageing population surrounding me.

As those archives are out of reach we shall contemplate Neko Case. A singer much favoured in the Reverends household whose melodic but unexeptional version of Buckets Of Rain passes the time quite pleasantly. The song always seemed to me to sit rather oddly at the end of Blood On The Tracks. It's upbeat mood, despite its blues signature, had me perplexed after the vitriol that preceded it. As if to say 'right, I've got that of my chest now lets get on with being friends again'.
The fact that Dylan has seldom performed it only adds to the mystique surrounding what is at heart a simple but heartfelt song. Leaving me wondering if he regretted including it at all on his masterpiece.

I much prefer Bette Midler's odd but far more engaging version yet have chosen to overlook it as the author intrudes and somewhat spoils the theme of these reflections.

MP3 Neko Case – Buckets Of Rain


God Knows: Bob Dylan Redefined


(image) Of all the Dylan covers I am familiar with perhaps this is the most enigmatic. To what purpose did Todd Rundgren record this and the other covers that went to make up half of 1976’s Faithful?
His recording and producing schedule had been punishing with 11 albums in 7 years so perhaps he just wanted to kick back and enjoy. Certainly side 2 would suggest that the muse had not left him as, although they are far simpler than the previous years Initiation, his own material was to a high standard (with the exception of the woeful Boogies).

This reworking has the feel of a tribute rather than interpretation. Hence Todd eschews his own vocal style in favour of mimicking Dylans drawl. Which ultimately begs the question – why bother? Todd has always been capable of so much more than mere reverence. Which is why I view it as enigmatic rather than perfunctory.

MP3 Todd Rundgren – Most Likely You Go Your Way And I’ll Go Mine


Review:Theme Time Radio Hour


(image) Subtitled ‘…with your host Bob Dylan’ this fifty song collection would have been far more engaging if it did what it says on the tin. As it lacks Dylan’s laconic intros and asides that illuminate his unique programme the central point is somewhat missed. Furthermore, being drawn from across the 828 tracks played in the first series there is no unifying theme here. Instead we have a hotchpotch of diverse songs that, when played together, fail to give any sense of the show in which they appeared. Missing also are the old station jingles, recipes, letters, cleaning tips, poetry readings and miscellaneous trivia that give the series it’s wonderfully bizarre quality.
Putting these grumbles aside what is left is a great eclectic mix of blues, rockabilly, soul, be-bop, rock n’roll and pop music drawn from the last 80 years including The Clash, Bobby Darin, Merle Haggard and Memphis Slim. Inevitably the majority are drawn from material no longer subject to copyright and therefore do not represent the breadth of material within the shows where Dylan displays a knowledge and love for many of his contemporaries that would previously have been hard to imagine. This collection fails to capture that enthusiasm and as such fails to honour its title.

Review: Titina - Cruel Destino


(image) Previously Caesaria Evora was the voice most readily associated with Cape Verde despite Titina (real name Albertina Rodrigues Almeida) having a recording career that goes back to her teens.
Now in her more mature years hopefully she will achieve some belated success on a broader stage.
Drawn from some of Cape Verde’s most popular writers her exquisite renditions of these beautiful poems ooze romance in all its guises. Although hurt seems to feature regularly too. “Passion is a hardship” she proclaims, though ‘sadder still is the suffering of a hidden tear surrounded by regret’.
Later, with ‘A Heavy Heart’ we learn her lover is “an incurable wound/a harsh word/that God sent from above” yet despite this she still says “I want you so much/like my mothers love”.
Such are the vagaries of love and whilst learning how the heart can withstand hardship she leaves us a warning. “You betrayed me/oh you dishonourable wretch/this is hell and you must pay/for every single sin”. You have been warned, in the most beautiful way of course.

Antiqcool - Drifting Through My Mind


Placing a prominent sticker on the front of your new release that lists the bands that have influenced the recording does you no favours at all. It practically invites the listener to spend their time spotting the references rather than actually listening to the music. A particular shame in the case of Antiqcool for Songs Of Hope And Despair is anything but a lazy re-tread of already familiar sounds.The driving force behind Antiqcool is singer, song writer and guitarist Pete Smith - further details are hard to come by - but, as the album is inspired by the people and places of the North East it seems entirely possible that he hails from that particular neck of the woods.The opening track - 'Englishman Out In The Midday Sun' sets the tone with ethereal vocals layered upon lyrical guitar lines that put me in mind of the Isley's Summer Breeze, and this relaxed, chilled out feel is maintained throughout. Herein lies one of potential problems that Antiqcool face in their quest to be noticed. Their airy, breathily light music just sort of drifts through your consciousness on a first listen and, in the frantic, instant world in which we live, runs the real risk of being ignored.It is only on second, third and subsequent listenings that the strength of Pete Smith's writing becomes evident. There is a lyrical strength here that is worth exploring. And, if sometimes the imagery is a little naïve ('I was a pearl in the middle of an empty shell, found me a home in the bosom of a girl who casts a spell'), this is more than balanced by a fair share of honesty and tenderness ('Going home, now I'm feeling alone, Got Some pictures in my head to call my own'). Add to this a strong melodic talent and the vision to experiment with chord structure and texture and you have much to admire and like.Songs Of Hope And Despair is not yet the finished article. The production does not always hang together as well as it could - and neither, more worryingly do some the songs. This is best illustrated by 'Just Another Groove On A Forty Five' - perhaps my favourite song and yet the most frustrating. It has an inviting guitar intro, a strong opening verse, a powerfully understated hook and a pleasantly melodic guitar outro, but too frequently meanders away from the road it set out upon and, at over 6 minutes is too long.The more I have played this album, the more delights I have found on it and the more I have enjoyed it. If Antiqcool could find a sympathetic hand to lend a little more focus to their ideas then the future could look very bright indeed.MP3: Antiqcool - I Can See Where You're Coming From[...]

God Knows: Bob Dylan Redefined


(image) I’m sure someone will put me right but this is the only cover version I’m aware of for Dylan’s ode to Jim 'Catfish' Hunter, the US baseball player.

On this side of the pond Baseball is really rounders and is a game mostly played by girls at school. Odd then that a boy from a steel town with two professional football teams should breathe so much life into this eulogy as to make Catfish’s exploits seem interesting to those of us have no interest whatsoever in the game.

It can be found on Joe Cocker's 1976 album Stingray which was yet another in a long line of albums that the other Reverend Doctor could scarce understand my admiration for. Admittedly some (Slapp Happy/Henry Cow ‘Desperate Straights’, BJH ‘Live’) have not stood up well to long tern scrutiny but others (Al Jarreau ‘We Got By’, Bette Midler ‘Divine Miss M’) have, like Stingray, retained their lustre.

Cocker had, by this time, lost much of the rawness of his early work which was glorious in its seemingly effortless grit. In it’s a place a more measured approach brings out the glorious timbre in his unique voice.

MP3 Joe Cocker – Catfish


The Good Reverend's Hymnal - #6 110 In The Shade by Chuck Prophet


(image) Chuck Prophet emerged from the occasional brilliance and frequent mayhem of Green On Red to pursue a solo career that, though admirable in its longevity and quality, has been largely ignored by the wider world. That's a shame for I am yet to hear a Chuck Prophet song that I didn't like. What I admire most about Chuck and his songs is the obvious care, attention and affection that he brings to his music. He gets a beautifully relaxed feel on his records - you just know that here is a guy who loves his music and wants it to be played as well as it can be and wants to make the recording of it as enjoyable as possible.

110 In The Shade comes from Balinese Dancer, his second solo album. Its a great song, the languid playing conjuring up mental images of a midday sun beating down on a parched landscape. The song closes with Chuck's guitar weaving a meandering and magical path into the middle distance that emphasises his understated but considerable talent.

I could listen to this all day, and frequently do.

MP3: 110 In The Shade - Chuck Prophet

Review: Caramel Jack - 1900


(image) Less focused on Americana than 2004’s Low Story the Brighton based duo of Richard Scott and Joe Doveton have concentrated their efforts on making a very British album. Elements from over the pond do creep in, especially when BJ Cole contributes his characteristic pedal steel, and the lush orchestration, brass solos, break beats and occasional retro groove do lend a more universal sound. But it’s the storytelling that roots it so firmly in their own backyard.

Opener ‘Girl With The Marketing Eyes’ is a heavy handed and clumsy piece telling of desire in the workplace. It is unconvincing in its attempt to describe the mundanity of office life with “it’s total shit, absolute shit” being the low point in it’s lyrical expression. Surprisingly, and thankfully, not only do things improve but it’s hard to believe the same author wrote ‘Bed’, a vaudeville sing-a-long, or the punk influenced ‘Hell’s Driver’. Let alone ‘Johnny Jarvis’, a song Barclay James Harvest would have been proud of. Throw in a sea shanty, the wonderfully thematic The City Rises and a bunch of other left field surprises and you have one of this years oddball gems.

Non of these could have been achieved without some serious friends and in Ashley Slater, Des Crawley and Chris Anderson they have some heavyweight accompanists who lift everything onto another level.

MP3 Caramel Jack – The City Rises


Sex Pistols v Duffy


(image) The last time I went to see a band that was No. 1 in the singles chart at the time was way back in the mid seventies at St Georges Hall, Bradford when Slade were riding high with their Xmas hit.
Yet it wasn’t that commonality that I was thinking about as Duffy ploughed through her short performance last night. It was 1976 in the back streets of Leeds watching the Sex Pistols perform Stepping Stone. Ms Duffy has penned a song that not only goes by the same title as the Monkees number but it shares a distinct lyrical similarity also. Well I guess the phrase does lend itself to certain clichés.

So, after all the fuss and hype last night was finally an opportunity to see if Ms Duffy could pull it off in front of her adoring public. Like many of these events the answer was something of a mixed bag. Her voice was superb throughout (with a lot of help from the soundman of course, but you expect that) but the songs were not always up to the job. It was plain to tell which from the forthcoming album were produced by Bernard Butler. That would be the diverse, interesting ones. The rest have been turned into generic pop crap that do no justice to her talent.

I read somewhere that she could just as easily landed up in the clutches of Simon Cowell as Rough Trade. Well for two thirds of this show it was hard to see what the ‘indie’ connection had done for her.

The crowd went suitably wild for the singles of course but there was no real buzz about the place as she trotted off after a mere fifty minutes. At least they stayed to the end, which is more than could be said for most of the crowd back in ’76.

MP3 Sex Pistols – Stepping Stone


God Knows: Bob Dylan Redefined


(image) One of Dylan’s most covered pieces has become a modern template for protest songs. David Rovics has made a whole career out of it for goodness sake. You might therefore think it was something of an old warhorse that has outstayed its welcome. Certainly in the wrong hands it can sound tired and lame. It’s all too easy to switch off when you think you know what’s coming next.
This makes the task of injecting something new into the mix, making us listen anew to something we were previously comfortable with, very challenging.

I am undecided as to whether Youssou N’Dour has achieved this or not. Thankfully he chooses to sing in his first language Wolof, not French or English as he is want to do when he forgets what it is that makes him an amazing vocalist. Anything else would have lost its impact and has the effect of making the listener ponder the songs themes within the context of N’Dour’s Senegalese home.

On a less favourable note I never favour his arrangements that are more reflective of a western audience. Live the drums are more to the fore and he is less inclined to put in the ‘one’. The album that this is taken from The Guide has these failings in abundance. But then I tend to be a purist in these matters and still crank up the old Saprom cassettes.

MP3 Youssou N’Dour – Chimes Of Freedom


The Good Reverend's Hymnal - #5 Knock Knock Who's There by Mary Hopkin


(image) Having a favourite song that has won the Eurovision Song Contest does little for anyone's street cred. I could argue that it is a favourite of mine in a sort of post ironic way. I would be lying. I just like it.

Knock Knock Who's There is simply a wonderfully crafted pop song, both lyrically and musically, and Mary's voice sounds just great.

The song featured in the excellent BBC drama Blackpool of a couple of years back. Here, the guarded optimism of the lyrics, along with the lightness and playfulness of the melody, juxtaposed with the beginnings of an obviously doomed affair between the main protagonists and served to accentuate the plays darker emotional and social themes.

There, who said I couldn't write meaningless twaddle.

MP3: Knock Knock Who's There - Mary Hopkin

Competition Time





Last months winner was Emily from London who successfully identified that the Manfred Mann song covered by Springsteen during his 70's live shows was Pretty Flamingo and that Joy Division were initially called Warsaw.

This months prizes are a couple of 60's re-issues just released on Cherry Red Records by Stone Country and The Sparrow, plus the latest from Los Angles band Radar Bros.

To get your hands on these just let The Reverend Doctor know the answer to this question.

Stone Country featured the voice of Steve Young who's first solo album was called Rock, Salt & Nails. Which Scottish island do the band of the same name come from ?

To enter click here, or use the 'Talk To Me' link on the right. The competition will close on March 16th.

God Knows: Bob Dylan Redefined


(image) This weeks choice came about from an unlikely source.

As the father of a fourteen year old daughter there are many things to worry about. Most will pass and with time teenage traumas will give way to maturity which will allow bonds to build that have been strained by youth. However it is my observation that one thing forged in these early teenage years that will remain immutable is musical taste. Therefore this is THE most critical time of a child’s life (well almost).

It was therefore with shock and amazement that I was asked by said truculent daughter if we had a copy of June Carter singing ‘It Ain’t Me Babe’. At first I leapt to say ‘No, it appeared on a Johnny Cash album Orange Blossom Special with June accompanying the great man’, but I stopped myself just in time to merely say ‘Yes’.

This counted as a long conversation in our recent history and yet I cannot think of another one in all her years that filled me with such hope for the future. To hear Johnny & June blasting out from behind the door through which I am not allowed makes me feel that half my job as a father is done. Relief, or what.

MP3 June Carter & Johnny Cash – It Ain’t Me Babe


I'm In Love With A Girl


(image) They may not all be love songs to you but they are to me.

A Happy Valentines Day mix from the Reverend Doctor

I'm In Love With A Girl – Big Star

I'll Be Your Baby Tonight – Maria Muldaur

Just A Little Weakness – Archie Brown

Please Read The Letter – Robert Plant and Alison Krauss

Keeping You In Mind – Mary Margaret O'Hara

Mister Love – Re Winkler

Everyday – Slade

Should I Stay – Gabrielle

Mardy Bum – The Artic Monkeys

I Met Her At Church – Box Tops

Slo Toms – The Bottle Rockets

Winona – Matthew Sweet

The Scientist Writes A Letter – Tom Verlaine

Without You – Badfinger

When I Stop Dreaming – The Louvin Brothers

MP3: A Valentine Day Mix

Review: Kimmie Rhodes - Walls Fall Down


(image) The clue to this album is in the small print. Namely the songwriting credits. Kimmie's voice has always been a thing of beauty but her knack of writing a killer tune and engaging lyric seems to have deserted her of late. Not since Picture In A Frame has her own material really inspired. Even then much of it was rescued by Willie Nelson’s contribution. Not that her own material on Walls Fall Down is awful, just that what once had an edge has been replaced by saccharine sentiments.

For its finer moments she turns to a couple of trusted writers. Townes Van Zandt’s ‘If I Needed You’ shuffles gently into view before she gives a mellow reading of this plaintive ode to love. An equally downbeat mood follows, even if the message is distinctly different, for Rodney Crowell’s condemnation of American culture ‘Sex & Gasoline’.

Of her own compositions ‘All In All’ comes closest to recalling her finest work as she manages to put that catch in her voice that rolls back the years and believe in her again. Sadly I fear she will never do this consistently enough to make another West Texas Heaven or Man In The Moon again.

MP3 Kimmie Rhodes – All in All