Archive for the ‘Folk’ Category

The Grubby Mitts – To A Friend’s House (2011)

June 2, 2016 Leave a comment

One of my great pleasures in life is receiving my monthly copy of The Wire Magazine. It’s a bit esoteric and, to be frank, a lot of the “experimental” music they cover is unmitigated tosh.

Nonetheless, three or four times a year, the magazine comes with a free CD and the “Wire Tapper” series now stretches past 40 volumes …. I do try and listen to these all the way through but they can be a bit of an endurance test. Occasionally, however, you hear something that makes you pause and really sit up. This track is one such example.

To A Friend’s House” by The Grubby Mitts appeared on Wire Tapper 37 early in 2015. While this was the first official CD release of the track, it actually dates back on vinyl to 2011. Whatever its provenance, this is an intriguing and beguiling track – for me, a blend of classic English folk with the lo-fi, indie-pop nous of the bands on New Zealand’s peerless Flying Nun Records label. It turns out that The Grubby Mitts are from Bedford in the UK; only 20 miles from where I type this missive … guys, can I have a beer for plugging you?

A bit of accordion, a spot of bass and some multi-layered spoken vocals adds up to considerably more than the sum of its parts.

Give it a go!



Judee Sill – The Kiss (1973)

August 12, 2015 Leave a comment

As well as catching up on the classics of British post-war cinema, I also use my holidays to catch up on my mountain of unread books and my parallel mountain of CDs that deserve to be listened to more often.

In the last three days, I’ve read William Styron’s remarkable account of his battle with depression (“Darkness Visible“), an interesting assessment of whether mild to moderate depression might actually be beneficial from an evolutionary perspective (“How Sadness Survived” by Paul Keedwell) and, ahem, Steve Hanley’s wonderful account of his life as the bass player in The Fall (“The Big Midweek“) – one of the best insider accounts of the world of modern music you will ever read!

I’ve also re-stumbled upon my Judee Sill CDs via seeing a stunning performance from her on an old edition of The Old Grey Whistle Test.

Described by (whispering) Bob Harris as coming across as somewhat like a rather severe librarian, Judee Sill’s live performance of “The Kiss” ends up being one of the most extraordinary recordings ever to grace the hallowed studios of the BBC. Taken from her second, and final, LP Heart Food, “The Kiss” features piano with a nod to Bach and vocals with a nod to heaven.

Born in 1944, she died of a drug overdose in November 1979. Her father died of pneumonia when she was 8 and her mother died when she was 18. Judee Sill was the first artist signed to David Geffen’s Asylum record label in the early 1970s and she released two sublime LPs. This is as good as music gets.

Medicine Head – His Guiding Hand (1969)

December 15, 2014 Leave a comment

This song is simply mesmeric.

Strumming some chords on the guitar the other day, His Guiding Hand suddenly leapt from my memory and became a record I just needed to hear again immediately.

Formed by a couple of grammar school boys, Medicine Head started to play together around 1968.

They were seen at the Lafayette club by John Peel who then played a tape of their songs to John Lennon, Eric Clapton and Pete Townshend  and, at Lennon’s insistence, Peel signed them to his Dandelion record label.

The demo recording of “His Guiding Hand” was released as a single, Peel describing it as “the cheapest single ever made and one of the classic records of all time” and keeping the single in his box of most treasured records. The duo’s first album, New Bottles Old Medicine, was recorded in a single two-hour session, and they toured with Peel at many of his gigs, Peel paying them out of his own fee!

A perfect record.

Bob Dylan – Who Killed Davey Moore? (1963)

November 16, 2014 Leave a comment

Following the death of featherweight champion boxer Davey Moore in March 1963, Bob Dylan produced a useful summary of the arguments for and against the existence of “the noble game” …. oh, and a great record as well!

Moore was knocked out on the 23rd March 1963 (and died a couple of days later) and Dylan premiered this song 18 days later at New York Town Hall.

Originally intended for inclusion on a “Bob Dylan in Concert” LP, the song was forgotten about when that live LP project was aborted. Since made available on the stunning “Bootleg Series Volumes 1-3” triple CD set.

Other boxing related posts on this blog can be found here and here (the latter a stunning tribute to Cassius Clay/Muhammad Ali)

For those interested in more about Davey Moore check here and for footage of the last round of the fight, check here.

The original recording from 12 April 1963 – pretty good but not as raw as the version recorded a few months later and that appears on the Bootleg Series release.

The Roches – Hammond Song (1979)

April 21, 2014 Leave a comment

For reasons that aren’t completely clear, The Roches rather passed me by in 1979.

However, what a fifteen year old boy might usefully have made of them at the time might be the subject of some conjecture … sometimes it is better to arrive late than bang on time.

Happily, I stumbled upon their debut album on Spotify this morning and this, the second track on their debut LP, has been on constant rotation since and is immediately elevated to the Bestmusicofalltime ….!

The harmonies on this are totally sublime and Robert Fripp (producer of the LP) adds some killer guitar (I think). The lyrics beguile.

If you go down to Hammond
You’ll never come back
In my opinion you’re
On the wrong track
We’ll always love you but
That’s not the point

If you go with that fella
Forget about us
As far as I’m concerned
That would be just
Throwing yourself away
Not even trying
Come on you’re lying to me

Well I went down to Hammond
I did as I pleased
I ain’t the only one
Who’s got this disease

Why don’t you face the fact
You old upstart
We fall apart

You’d be okay if you’d
Just stay in school
Don’t be a fool

Do your eyes have an answer
To this song of mine
They say we meet again
On down the line
Where is on down the line
How far away?
Tell me I’m okay

If you go down to Hammond
You’ll never come back

The LP version then live from 1983 (I think)

Lord Invader and His Calypso Rhythm Boys – Teddy Boy Calypso (Bring Back the Cat-o-Nine) (1959)

April 19, 2013 1 comment

First post for several weeks and had no choice but to spring back into blogging action after stumbling upon this remarkable record after dinner this evening.

I’ve been reading a lot of books on 1950s/1960s Britain recently and this song captures the age perfectly. Released on Pye Records in 1959 by Lord Invader, the song is a passionate call for the application of corporal punishment to those pesky Teddy Boys. And all this from a Trinidadian born in 1914 …!

The lyrics:

The only thing to stop these hooligans from causing panic in Great Britain,

The only thing to stop these Teddy Boys from causing panic in England,

Well I hope that the Government see they need another kind of punishment,

I say one thing to cool down this crime is to bring back the old time cat-o-nine.



So the old time cat-o-nine beat them bad and they bound to change their mind,

Send them to Dartmoor with licks like fire and they bound to surrender.


The police is working harder and harder to see this thing go no further,

Every night they on duty to safeguard us from violence and robbery,

But they would not stop at all, Peter is going to pay for Paul,

I say one thing to cool down this crime is to bring back the old time cat-o-nine.


And in the days of Judge Hitchins, as you know, nothing never happen so,

Any man pass under his hand can tell you of the rod of correction,

He used to treat them meek and mild, he never spare the rod to spoil the child,

I say one thing to cool down this crime let’s thrash them with the old time cat-o-nine


And every night they’re walking about in a band attacking woman and man,

You see that though they have no respect for no person beating innocent people,

But the judge and the juries, can settle this thing easily,

I say the cat is the only H-Bomb to drop and this “Robustness” must stop


Asaf Avidan – Reckoning Song (2008) and Wankelmut Remix (2012)

October 30, 2012 Leave a comment

Stumbled on the Wankelmut remix of this while surfing Beatport this evening.

The remix of the track only really begins to hit the heights from about 3 minutes in for me. However, the original is just over 2 and a half minutes of genius and was originally released in 2008.

The plot thickens because Asaf Avidan is an Israeli singer songwriter; a son of diplomats in the Israeli Foreign Office. An Israeli Joe Strummer perhaps?!

Discard any prejudices you may have because this sounds like a cross between Bon Iver and Billie Holiday … a match made in heaven.

Altogether now …

One day baby, we’ll be old

Oh baby, we’ll be old

And think of all the stories that we could have told

The original and then the remix …

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