23 Songs For Today

November 16th, 2018
  1. Under -Carla Werner
  2. Sweet Ride -Courtney Jaye
  3. Strawberry Wine -Deana Carter
  4. This Land Is Mine -Dido
  5. Hold Me Like a Gun -Elise Davis
  6. Dreaming Trees -Emma Stevens
  7. Oh Do Not Fly Away -The Innocence Mission
  8. In Perfect Time -Jill Barber
  9. Bo Ba Bo -Joanna Wallfisch
  10. Love Is a Wild Thing- Kacey Musgraves
  11. You’re Not Mine -The Last Detail
  12. Everywhere I Go -Lissie
  13. Going Home -Mary Fahl
  14. Lying To The Moon -Matraca Berg
  15. Wrong Impression -Natalie Imbruglia
  16. The Way It Is -Nicole Atkins
  17. Manhattan -Sara Bareilles
  18. I Could Not Ask for More -Sara Evans
  19. Starry Eyes -Sarah Darling
  20. Sounds of Water/ Change Your Mind -Sarah Slean
  21. I Know Myself Too Well -Swan Dive
  22. You On My Mind- Swing Out Sister
  23. Snow Canyons -The Watson Twins

First Blood

November 10th, 2018

Yesterday saw the 50th anniversary re-release of the White Album, and there will be more on that on this blog in due course.  But another classic album has just given the “official bootleg” treatment, and it is my favorite Dylan album Blood On The Tracks.

More Blood, More Tracks may sound like a death metal record, but the heart of the collection is a disc of early takes of the entire album plus Up To Me, which reflects a stripped down alternative version of the classic album. Blood On The Tracks was always a fairly acoustic album, but this alternative version is more like Blood On The Tracks..naked, with just Dylan, his guitar and harmonica.

The anger of Idiot Wind is replaced by a more world-weary resignation, but the album shows that the song were fully-formed and brilliant from the start, with an interesting twist to the track order, including a strong finish with Idiot Wind, You’re Gonna Make Me Lonesome When You Go and Up To Me, with the final track providing a more a downbeat finish than the slightly more optimistic Buckets Of Rain. The original album is in my views Dylan’s most “perfect” album, but this is a very interesting alternative take on one of the all-time classic records.

Eddy, Back At Last (Detail)

November 4th, 2018

In the first half of the naughties, A Girl Called Eddy (Erin Moran) delighted with us with her eponymous debut album,  plus a few EPs and singles. Then, for 10 years, nothing. In 2014, there were a few guest vocals on a Gramercy Arms album, and the first rumblings of a follow-up album. But nothing concrete until this year- and specifically the release of The Last Detail album.

The Last Detail is Erin Moran and Mehdi Zannad from Fugu. It is a collaborative album, but on Fun Fair, You’re Not Mine, Fairweather Friend, Talk To Me and Lazy, it feels like a reunion with an old, dear friend that you haven’t seen for almost 15 years. The romantic, world-weary vocals accompanied with breathtaking melodies are all there, and that alone is worth the price of admission. But the contributions from the other half of the band are also noteworthy, especially the gorgeous pop tunes Places and Trust Your Buddy. The final track, Photographs, is a fitting seasonal closer, and the only real duet on a great album.

But…that isn’t all. Eddy is now promising her second solo album early in 2019, a few months after this wonderful release. It’s not so much London buses, but it feels like a long-lost, beloved railway branch line now has a full service of regular trains. Thank-you A Girl Called Eddy (and Mehdi Zannad), for making a weary world suddenly a better place.

Mash On The Road

November 1st, 2018

With Brian back on the road, and Halloween having just passed, here is a very appropriate clip (from 2009, so featuring the Taylor Mills, Jeff Foskett and Scott Bennett)

On The Road Again And Again

October 27th, 2018

Tonight marks the start of Brian’s year-end touring; an extravaganza of 11 Pet Sounds shows, 7 Greatest Hits shows and 17 Christmas dates. To look it another way, Brian will spend more nights for the rest of 2018 doing tour dates, rather than having the evening to himself. So as the rest of us start to think about the end of the year, good luck to Brian Wilson and his band for the busy touring schedule.

Brian’s Hidden Beauties CLXVII: No-Go Showboat

October 21st, 2018

For our next “hidden booty”, we’ll go back to the early days of the Beach Boys and a track from the Little Deuce Coupe album.  No Go Showboat  is a dazzling example of the bands brilliant harmonies, and creating an atmospheric track about a pretty car that won’t really go very fast. The Timers released a single with this song, but it never made it anywhere in the charts -however it remains another great example of Brian’s musical development even in the early 60s.

Everything But The Brian VI: You Are So Beautiful

October 15th, 2018

As a concert staple for Beach Boys shows from 1975 to 1983, You Are So Beautiful would qualify for inclusion in our series of non-Brian Beach Boys songs. But this wedding standard has an even more important Beach Boys connection – the persistent if unproven view that  Dennis Wilson is a co-writer of the song.  It is certainly no stretch to believe that the writer of Forever and Thoughts Of You could at least be partially involved in the familiar melody, and also not much stretch to believe that Dennis would not pursue a co-writing credit. We will probably never know the truth, but most Beach Boys fans will claim this song as one of their own, and a song with a direct Wilson touch.

Everything But The Brian V: Big Sur

October 12th, 2018

It may sometimes be easy or convenient that Mike Love is a cousin of the Wilson brothers, but at his best, he is perfectly capable of crafting a great pop song by himself. Big Sur  is the first part of the California trilogy released as an integral part of the Holland album, although a first version of the song was recorded in the Landlocked/Surf’s Up era of 1970. One of the few songs with music and lyrics by Mike Love alone, it is a stately reminder of the beauty of the Beach Boys home state.

Brian’s Hidden Beauties CLXVI: Girl Don’t Tell Me

October 7th, 2018

With a recent blog focus on the Beatles, it’s time to look at a song which is one of the most Beatles-esque in the Beach Boys canon, Girl Don’t Tell Me. It is a significant track for another reason -while Carl’s first lead vocal was on Pom Pom Play Girl, from this track on-wards, Carl became a regular lead vocalist for the band.

Featuring Brian playing on celeste, this 1965 track features Brian at the top of his composing game at the height of the bands commercial popularity -even if it is stylistically closer to the bands’ greatest rivals than just about every other original Beach Boys song.

The Engineer Of The Beatles

October 3rd, 2018

Sad news today is the passing of Geoff Emerick, the sound engineer for the many of the Beatles best known recordings. You can read about his important contribution to the Beatles legend here.