Re: What song are you listening to right now?
Been meaning to post this song for some time. The message really touches me deeply, a lot like those old hippie songs from the 60's that spoke to people of my generation. Lazer Lloyd "Backstreets".
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Been meaning to post this song for some time. The message really touches me deeply, a lot like those old hippie songs from the 60's that spoke to people of my generation. Lazer Lloyd "Backstreets".
Newcastle Cluny: 6th October 2023
Bywater Call + Mitch Laddie Band (supporting)
Third of five gigs in a week, and a Friday night at The Cluny, what could go wrong.....
Well, getting the evening underway was the Mitch Laddie Trio, and a great pleasure in seeing Mitch, Rhian & Matt back on a local stage; they're harder to catch than a NHS dentist. It must be all of 5 years since the last time I managed to catch them (Ryan McGarvey gig at [the then] Gateshead Sage). Have to say, they've hardly changed, well, Matt's getting a distinguished grey, but otherwise, they still deliver searingly hot Rock/Funk. If SRV had been taught by Buddy Guy; that's how Mitch sounds, and when he takes centre-stage, the eyes roll back, and he's gone.... But not so far that Rhian & Matt loose touch; they're a dream of a backline. They took the stage this evening and didn't so much throw down the gauntlet as ride in on a huge black charger, and slam it down....
And then it was time for Canada's Bywater Call to take up the challenge, ay. Very much the "in-band" over here at the moment, judging by the number of sold out shows on the tour so far: somehow this Toronto based septet managed to squeeze themselves onto the Cluny stage, and burst forth with their powerhouse blend of Southern Soul, Blues & Roots Rock.
Now singer Meghan Parnell is one of those leather-lunged, teflon-throated belters of a singer, much like our own Rebecca Downes, just with a different accent; but what kept happening in the songs? The second number seemed to keep changing key more times than an old 20 minute genesis epic. And usually I'm a sucker for a "Muscle Shoals" style horn section, but either just after this song, or maybe part of it, I don't know, there was a sort of dual between the sax and trumpet as to who could play the most odd key (off-key?). When the band did roll, My God, they did; and it was all the poor sound guy could do to stop everyone one red-lining: in among this, there was some sublime slide work from Dave Barnes that would have turned the gig around, had I heard more. However, they were doing a cracking rendition of Love The One You're With, which broke down into a piano & sax section that was in the key of toothache. That, at only 4 songs was more than flesh & blood....
I think, had I caught Megan & Dave when they toured earlier in a stripped down form, this might have gone down better; however verdict for the night; if Bywater Call again, tell them I'm out and look like you're taking a message, ay. As for Mitch Laddie & the guys, even a support set was worth the price of admission, so not a wasted night, but still, my mood matches the weather (and it's teaming with rain, as I write).
Delta Fuse - A Matter of Love & War (2021)
Natural Born World Shaker (2022)
"Have yous got long arms?" the lad on stage asked during Monday's set. It wasn't the depth of pockets at question, rather the length of arms. Fortunately mine were long enough to afford both of the discs on offer from Delta Fuse.
Both of the albums are self-funded by the look of them, but have a very quality sound and you can clearly hear progression from the raw Matter of War and the fuller and more confident World Shaker. This is no fuss, rocking Blues that you can enjoy at face value, or you can sit and pick out the influences; "hey that sounds like...." and isn't that the riff from....?" But that's being picky; the rhythms are tight, the self-penned numbers are well realised; Jack's playing is crisp though it's his vocals that really shine, especially on the second album where he shows a really Soulful side.
This sort of progress will show Delta Fuse the way to their own headline tour in the near future.
Dom Martin - Buried In The Hail (2023)
Right then; here it is, probably the best album of 2023 and one that's most likely to wipe the boards at the UK Blues awards for the years, especially containing what should surely be at least 2 contenders for Best Song, if not 4.
Yet to cap it all, could it really be called a Blues album as such? Certainly there's a framework of Blues, but as Dom describes it as being much more the music HE wants to do, rather than being directed, it reminds me very much of the track Ian Siegal walks; the music herein is much more personal and intuitive than following any one genre. best example would be the Willie Nelson (not Dixon) cover, Crazy. probably the most divisive track as covering such an iconic song, you're either damned if you follow too closely to the original, or damned if you stray too far away. I say, if a song has good bones, then go for it, which Dom has, much in a Tom waits style, to fit with the spirit of the rest of the album; taking it from a lost-love song to a comment on the state-of-being.
The album is bookended by 2 short instrumental passages, Hello In There, very ethereal & folkish with low-key children's voices in the mix, a Pink Floyd touch, evoking maybe childhood memories? This builds to Daylight I Will Find, that has a more upbeat Celtic feel to the more political Government (past or present?) and the full blooded Blues charge of Belfast Blues and the rocking Unhinged. Then a gasp of breathe for the sublime The Fall, reminiscent of John Martyn then a change of gear to a paean to Howlin' Wolf, Howlin. And Lefty 2-Guns, another rocker, with Dom's dark humour at the core. And finally closing with Laid To Rest
An album then that's very personal to the artist, yet has something for everyone who listens; that's some balancing act. Recorded in Ireland at Golden Egg Studios and produced in Dublin by Grammy-Nominated producers Chris O’Brien and Graham Murphy and co-produced by Dom. Overall, ‘Buried in the Hail’ this is a very strong album, full of evocative lyrics and some exquisite playing, not only from Dom but also from Jonny McIlory on drums and Ben Graham on electric and upright Bass (just listen to the Bass slide at the end of ‘Daylight I will Find’ truely a thing of beauty on its own). This is definitely an album that rewards with regular and repeated listening as the nuances and hidden secrets reveal themselves.
Hawkwind - Space Ritual (50th Anniversary) 2Cd Edition (1973 / 2023)
Okay, so I'm cheap, not going for the mega, whole tour recording set, but this is more than enough.
I've seen reviews of this saying the sound's not up to snuff, or this is out of tune and that's out of time, etc. But that was the beauty of Hawkwind back in those days, they were pushing the boundaries of sound, as well as the occasional pharmaceuticals. There's the pounding tribal rhythms, the driving, flexing bass lines, heavy riffs and the then experimental electronic soaring a weaving through. And don't forget they were very much a mixed-media event, a "happening", with the hypnotic light-shows from Liquid Len & the Lensmen, Sci-fi poetry readings from Michael Moorcock (think George Martin and Isaac Azimov having a bar-fight) and Robert Calvert; and then of course, there was the exotic/erotic dancing of Stacia & friends. You need more than Cds or DVDs to capture that. Sound-wise, I find the mix fairly spot on; good balance of the on stage chaos.
This is just a snapshot of Spaceship Hawkwind kicking in the SRBs after the success of Doremi Fasol Latido, and gave us the session that spawned the Silver Machine single (though Clavert was overdubbed by Lemmy for that one).
After seeing Mitch's blazing support set recently, thought I best get caught up on the most recent releases.
Mitch Laddie Band - Another World (2018)
Mitch Laddie's fourth studio album "Another World" released on Independent record label "MLBP" with Mitch Laddie Band. Again recorded at the band's personal studios: Steel Town Music, County Durham UK. Eclectic, that’s the best word for this strong compendium of material. Another World sees band heading back towards their Blues roots yet providing a kaleidoscopic palette for the genre throughout the record. Mitch is at ease with soulful and funky, but can give it a bit oomph, too and he clearly knows his Hendrix, but isn’t in thrall to him. This album also sees the addition of guest member in saxophonist Johnny 'Bluehat' Davis, known more recently for his work with Sam Fender.
Mitch Laddie - Wave of Illusion (2020)
In late 2019, Mitch took some time away from Mitch Laddie Band, forming new Independent record label "Test Dream Productions" and began work on a solo project that would see him recording all instruments and undertaking all production responsibilities. The new solo album would be released on his 30th birthday, 24 September 2020; "Wave of Illusion" saw a break away from the Blues genre, with heavy influences from Prince, Michael Jackson & Kate Bush.
Talking about the record Laddie said, "This album started with an idea – to make a record on my own with a completely different direction. All the instruments (minus some great guests), all of the production, mixing and mastering. I wanted to make something that was inspired and influenced by the classic records and artists I grew up loving. The 70s and 80s, when records were about going out, dancing and having a blast. The Quincy Jones era of gold, Prince, Stevie Wonder, The Jacksons, but fuse it with all of the contemporary artists I love now: Frank Ocean, Dabeull, Nao, D’Angelo, with a sprinkle of the 80s soundtracks I adore. I wanted to hit on a vibe I haven’t recorded before, moving away from the Blues/Rock scene I was born into and show people what I’m really about. What came out was something bigger than I ever could have hoped for, this is a project I can say I’m truly proud of. It’s me"
Pretty Cool video.
Stefan Hauk - Heavy Handed (2023)
Bit of a gem this, coming from one of the Forum's alumni. Longer than an EP but not quite a full album, this 2md release from Stefan is a smorgasbord of styles stretching just over the 30 minutes or so.
All 7 tracks are originals from Stefan, though Truth is a 2023 remix of an older number and features big named hitter Ian Paice gusting on drums. otherwise, the album is largely self-played throughout as well as self produced and mixed: think the only thing he didn't do was the cover pictures in what could be a very "garage" project.
But that's a disservice as the overall quality runs very high. As hinted, the spectrum of styles runs broad, from the rocker of Gold, down to a Skynyrd-esque How We Get Through which eases down to a more upbeat Country Comes To Pass and finally a slow ballad, Soul's On Fire. Throughout, the guitar work really shines and the vocals are more than capable, though have to say, the heavier track is the least accomplished. As for drums (where played), bass and Hammond are well covered. The Doctor picks up the pace a little and Truth & All I Have are more AOR, but again, comfortably handled.
I'm taking a guess that Stefan has a fairly varied audience base, so has to cover a lot of musical ground; well, he's doing that but watchout when he finds his focus, he's matured a hell of a lot and Australia might just not be big enough.
The Rolling Stones - Hackney Diamonds 2023
Let's get one thing out the way before we start; I don't consider myself in any way, shape or form a huge Stones fan; Hackney Diamonds is actually only the 2nd I've bought during the year of release - the previous being Blues & Lonesome back in 2016. What has put me off previously is how much they've become almost parodies of themselves; however, this has been causing such a stir that I couldn't resist.
Something, probably producer Andrew Watt, or maybe staring at their creeping demise, but Mick, Keef & Ron may not have quite pulled off the album of their career(s), that's for afficionados to consider, but its certainly their album of the 21st century, or anybody's 21 century come to that. They have set down what is as typically a Stones album as they know how, echoing past glories, but not tarnishing them. true, Mick's voice may still retain some of the ol' Lahndan but has lost some of that swagger & bravado of days gone, but Keef has more than enough in the guitar tanks to cover, as does Ron. there's punching riffs, reflective country blues, all rounded off with a stripped-back, raw rendition of the Muddy Water's classic that gave the band their name.
There are a few tracks that still benefit from [the late] Charlie's drum tracks to keep things authentic, but Steve Jordan's work shines reliably. Among the guests, and who's going to turn down a call from Sir Mick in favour of washing the cars (or watching the chauffer at least with the chamois) there's sprightly "youngster" Paul McCartney; who'd have thought that years ago? Even Bill Wyman looks in on one track. Then there's piano from the tour-ended Elton John, keys from Stevie Wonder and a great duet with Lady Gaga (Sweet Sound of Heaven). All contributions add to the mix, but none outshine The Stones...
Black Pumas - Chronicles of a Diamond (2023)
The eagerly-awaited Grammy-nominated, Austin-based duo’s sophomore studio album ‘Chronicles Of A Diamond’ further reinforces why Black Pumas are such a vital and electrifying force and have such distinctive artistry in the music industry. The album’s explosive yet artfully crafted sound evokes a true transformative sense of joy and discovery.
In the most refreshing way, Burton, along with guitarist and producer Adrian Quesada, elegantly sidestepped the pressures and prioritised their creative vision over duplicating their debut, leading to a release brimming with vibrant experimentation and exceptional musicianship. The whole thing felt more like a metamorphosis, particularly for frontman Eric Burton, who reached every corner of his artistic capabilities to deliver something truly magic.
Picking through; “More Than a Love Song” is built on a jangly groove and fleshed out with some orchestral strings, bold electric guitar riffs, and a gospel choir. It offers some sage advice about widening one’s perspective on life: “This life is more than a dream, more than a fantasy, more than a little bit,” Burton sings. Next, on “Ice Cream (Pay Phone),” Black Pumas present a fuzzed-out and falsetto-laced love song Burton wrote years ago, then further developed with bassist/keyboardist Josh Blue during an impromptu session at two in the morning. As Chronicles of a Diamond unfolds, Black Pumas endlessly follow their outsize imagination into unexpected directions. To that end, the album’s sprawling title track emerged after Quesada unearthed a full-band recording they’d cut live at a San Francisco studio years earlier, then sampled and looped the most dynamic elements of that performance. Meanwhile, Burton dreamed up the lyrics to “Chronicles of a Diamond” by tapping into his deep affinity for Curtis Mayfield and penning a song from the perspective of a diamond in the back of a Cadillac. On “Rock and Roll,” Chronicles of a Diamond closes out with a gloriously strange epic that Black Pumas first began developing during sound checks and mainly recorded at a spur-of-the-moment session at an Amsterdam studio. One of several tracks featuring additional production from John Congleton (a Grammy Award winner known for his work with St. Vincent and Angel Olsen), “Rock and Roll” fully channels the raw urgency of that session while encompassing so many eccentric details, including a deluge of delightfully warped vocal effects.
A cross-cultural heavenly palette of starry-eyed soul, psychedelic rock, jazz funk and symphonic pop, ‘Chronicles’ is the most expansive expression yet of Black Pumas’ frenetic creativity and limitless vision to date. And yet, it feels like it's treading ground that McAlmont & Butler blazed, but without the dramatic punch.
PS - 2 UK dates in march 2024, London & Manchester
Jethro Tull - Nothing Is Easy: Live In Germany 1972 (2023 remaster)
While I still have the time-machine, and I've reversed the polarity of the flux-capacitor's neutron flow.... a hop over to January 1972 and the Deutchlandhalle, Berlin for vintage Jethro Tull: Ian Anderson (Vocals, Flute, Acoustic Guitar) / Martin Barre (Electric Guitar) / Jeffrey Hammond-Hammond (Bass) / John Evan (Keyboards) / Barriemore Barlow (Drums) in full flight...
Track list: - Track Listing: CD 1: 1. My God (Flute Solo / Soiree / By Kind Permission Of… / Bouree) (19.24) / 2. Thick As A Brick (16.26) / 3. Aqualung (8.27) / 4. To Cry You A Song (7.42) / 5. A New Day Yesterday (8.38) / 6. Cross-Eyed Mary / Drum Solo
CD 2: 1. Tomorrow Was Today (2.03) / 2. Hymn 43 (2.31) / 3. Nothing Is Easy (11.45) / 4. Wind Up / Guitar Solo (16.05) / 5. Locomotive Breath (Hard-Headed English General) (9.45) / 6. Wind Up (Reprise) (2.27) / Bonus Tracks: 7. With You There To Help Me (14.32) / 8. Sossity You're A Woman / Reasons For Waiting / Sossity You're A Woman (5.21)
Sound quality; well, there's a few squeaks and squeals, but not too much that it detracts. Thumpin'ly powerful drum solo from Barriemore though..
Robin Trower + Sari Schorr - Joyful Sky (2023)
Have to admit, I was a bit sceptical on first hearing about this collaboration: Robin Trower has such an entrenched signature sound, and Sari has a voice that could fell a forest; I thought it would be too much a battle for supremacy. How glad to be proved wrong - this pairing work like hand-in-glove.
Without varying too much from his 1970s style, Trower's emotive touch blends well with Sari's powerful voice by leaning more to the RnB. While there is little in the way of change of pace through the album, the pairing do pull off some powerful songs. The title track Joyful Sky is another of those that would grace the opening credits of a Bond movie (far more suitably than some of the more recent & forgettable ones) and Burn is a modern Blues classic-in-the-wings.
Aside from the 2 tracks mentioned, it is hard to pick out a stand-out because the quality is so high throughout. Trower really shines when he has a vocalist of this quality to bounce off, and Sari is at her best with a quality guitar. Good as the album is, I don't know if there's another one between them; if so, maybe revisit some of Trower's older material??
Erja Lyytinen - Diamonds On The Road (2023)
Had to pick this new release from Erja up off the merch stand after last night's show (how else to get it signed...?) and what a different beast this is. The solo shows was very much the accessible side of Erja, this live album from the tail end of the Waiting For The Daylight tour, has Erja and band in very much "Rock Goddess" mode.
It's not that long since Erja released a Live album, Live In Lockdown: guess the title says it all there, during that time, bands were either releasing Covers albums, acoustic albums or [where they could] Live albums, to keep the cash flowing and interest going. However, since then she released the highly rated Waiting For The Daylight album but, she had to cancel the UK leg of that tour due to the soaring costs [fuel etc], which makes this release the more essential. As her studio albums have matured, so has her live performances in terms of scope and power.
Even though she's still rooted in Blues, there are several times she transcends in to almost Rush-like prog-rock. Most daring of which is the track Väinämöinen Tuonelassa, not only recorded in her native Finnish, but is of a Finnish lagend of a shaman, Väinämöine, descending into the Underworld: I mean, how much more prog can you get??? It goes down well with the home crowd 9the album was recorded in Seinajoki, Finland, but even if you can't understand the lyric, the drama in the music tells you all you need to know. Elsewhere, Erja and the band are just smokin' hot, Crosstown Traffic is delivered in her own unique style, but the soloing that extends Wedding Day (and where else would La Vie En Rose segue into Smoke On The Water?) , The End of Music and Black Ocean are jaw-dropping, where elsewhere they just pulverises all before them.
Deborah Bonham - Duchess (2008)
Had a good gander on the merch table t'other night, and found that, somehow, I'd missed this release. Soon remedied that, with the help of some "single-use plastic" aka a tenner.... (£10)
To be strictly accurate, this is Deborah's third album, but disenchantment with the music scene in the 1980s meant she put her career on hold for a good 20 years. And then she comes back with this absolute cracker; there's shades of Stone The Crows & Vinegar Joe here as well as comparisons to Bonnie Raitt & grace Potter. Not only, but the band on the album is all-star cast of musicians includes Bad Company singer Paul Rodgers, nephew Jason Bonham, and former Humble Pie drummer Jerry Shirley. But rather than being "lost in the crowd", Deborah Bonham's larger-than-life voice is the undeniable focal point of every track here, from the stomping opener, “Grace,” to the emotive ballad “Waiting So Long.”
There's power, passion and soul aplenty. And the best thing is, the subsequent albums are just as good, if not better. Her voice has Power, emotion and songs pour from her, her voice can go from honey to raw powerhouse rock with an ease that is unbelievable.
Beth Hart | Rockpalast | 11/4/2023
Fantastic talent, amazing voice - Beth is unforgettable! Unique soul.
Bernie Tormé - Lightning Strikes - Vol 1: 1982 - 1983 (2023)
Box set promo - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2jlSdbaoCx8&t=4s
Oh Wow!!! Great box set release from Cherry Red & HNE, charting the early, pot-Gillan years of probably one of the least known yet instantly recognisable Irish guitarists, Bernie TTormé.
This set consists of yer man's first 2 albums, Turn Out The Lights and Electric Gypsies, each padded with outtakes and demos and then there's 2 Live albums, much the same in terms of content, but vastly different in delivery.
Described as variously as a "hippy in a punk band", then "a punk in a rock band", Torme was always going to be a bit of the proverbial "square peg" when in 1979, on recommendation for old (and future) band mate he was finally given chance of a wider audience by joining former Deep Purple voice, Ian Gillan in a revised line-up of his band; a partnership that lasted over the next couple of years.
After eventually jumping ship in 1981, Bernie released his debut solo album, 'Turn Out The Lights' (CD1) to chart success the following year. Bernie was joined by Phil Spalding on bass and vocals, Saxon's Nigel Glockler and Mark Harrison on drums and Gillan's Colin Towns on keyboards and flute. Following extensive touring of the UK with the Electric Gypsies, Bernie released his second solo album with the power trio featuring Everton Williams on bass and vocals and Frank Noon on drums. 'Electric Gypsies' (CD2) was produced by Bernie Tormé and Stephen Stewart. Ever the showman, it made sense for Bernie to record a live album, and in 1984 he released the self-explanatory [LIVE] (CD3), recorded in London the previous year. Putting together a new three-piece band, Bernie was backed by Colin "James" Bond on bass and Ron Rebel on drums. The fourth and final CD in this set is 'Live In Sheffield 1983' (CD4). Recorded live at the Octagon, Sheffield on the same tour and with the same line-up as the [LIVE] album, the show on CD4 mines a similar vein as the first live album on this collection, drawing heavily on his first two solo albums, and including a cover of Gillan's 'No Easy Way'.
The 2 studio albums, I have to admit, I haven't heard for 30 years or more, and sitting listening this evening, they have more punch now than when they were released. Sure, there's influences from the usual [guitar] suspects of the early 1970s but mainly the flash of Hendrix and the improv of Gallagher is what stands out; yet imitating neither. The two live albums, Live 1983 and Live In Sheffield (1983) are jampacked with Torme’s controlled guitar freewheeling, as he wrings out maximum mileage from every melody, every riff, and every axe solo. Naturally, the bulk of the setlists are taken from the studio albums. The comparison in treatments, track on track, are a joy to behold. In the studio or on stage with classy musicians, like Phil Spalding and Everton Williams, Torme knew when to damp down the guitar histrionics and when to catch fire. This isnt the sound of someone setting out to be like, or to sound like; this is someone just being themselves, and screw the rest of yer... How many can say that, honestly?
Sadly, we lost Bernie to double pneumonia in 2019, but if subsequent releases are to be anything like this; hold on to your guitar-straps... As well as further solo work, there's also dalliances with Ozzy, Atomic Rooster and Dee Snyder to come.
And as Ozzy once said of yer man "A gentle soul with a heart of gold."
Lightning Strikes (Live 2014) - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nyEqvFqDdOY
Star - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CnLi9E5Z4p8
Turn Out The Lights (live 1984) -https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LxE57wSB9_4
Jade MacRae "Rose Coloured Glasses' - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SaHy7pi … mp;index=2 new song
Alice Armstrong - Love, Sex & Death (EP) 2023
After a strong showing supporting The Cinelli Brothers the other week, thought it would be rude not to pick up some of Alice's work.
Much of this CD has been recorded with Matt Long and Kev Hickman from Catfish (there's also a Live CD with Matt Long on download) as well as a guest appearance from Marco Cinelli on the opening track Upbeat Baby. There's also strong keyboard presence from the much respected Stevie Watts, with whos trio Alice has also cut an album Mission To The Moon.
This EP. is all originals, Alice playing off long-time collaborator & former Crossfire Blues Band member Marcus Praestgaard-Stevens, and showcases her powerhouse of a voice as well as strong melodic sense. Alice does have a big voice, that's true, but she has that knack of putting heart & soul into a song without tipping over into hystrionics. With work of this calibre as well as the musicians she's working with, she's going to rise rapidly on the Blues scene over here; possibly my 2023 Find-of-the-year.