I have no idea what sort of music he's making now, but listening to what he made then he deserves to be far more than a folk obscurist's footnote.
Again leaning to shanty form with its accordion and rhythmic sway, Witch of Pittenweem presents a first person account of Janet Cornfoot, the victim of an 18th century Scottish witch hunt who was tied to a rope between shore and sea before being thrown into.
"Decade" is neatly wrapped with nigh-on seven minutes of the "Skiffle set" - a skilful stringing together of eight songs which were so popular among the skiffle bands of the '60s.You might remain tight-lipped through "Irene goodnight" but your resolve will begin to slip during.The eternal musical voyager, Bob's possibly best known for his musical collaborations with all manner of stringed-instrument maestros, from René Lacaille and Debashish Bhattacharya to Djeli Moussa Diawara, but here he collaborates with himself (occasionally augmented by his co-producer Daniel Thomas on a small number.Stephen Clark's Comin' Hame (Coming Home) is a standout, and Arthur Wakefield's Between The Nab And Nancy runs it close.Yet, lurking in the vaults there remained another set of recordings that had still not seen light of day.Certainly it contains some fine work, on which she's backed by a reliable crew that includes guitarist Jim Hornsby, keyboardist Tony Davis, bassist Rob Tickell and drummer Doug Morgan.Hayseed Dixie bluegrassed metal, Nouvelle Vague turned punk and new wave into bossa novas and most recently Hellsongs turned metal classics into lounge.
Always consummate purveyors of pop, Superbi is by far the band's most interesting and multi-faceted album to date, The Cat Loves The Mouse has a bittersweet edge that makes it all the more intriguing.
These are concerns that have occupied the Californian singer-songwriter since his first album and are evident again here with Casino Nation, a brooding portrait of a world that fosters 'the intentional cultivation of a criminal class' and 'entertainment shapes the land the way the hammer.
Although it's undeniably sepia hued ballads such as Days Of Our Lives story of a London housewife whose life has faded away that are the band's backbone, they're no slouches at the uptempo moment; She Saw The World propelled by an urgent, living on nerves.
Artisan's Hilary Spencer sends herself up nicely with an exquisite, sweetly operatic rendition of the barkerole O Sole Mio (true afishianados will love the cod-mandolin backing!Or even earlier if you've never entirely connected with some of Chuck's trademark baseball tall-stories.Then, the final pair of tracks prove are of an altogether raunchier and bluesier honky-tonk cast - they're live recordings made with The Katy Freeway.The chronology then jumps forward to the early 80s for some Arizona Smoke Revue tracks, followed by a brace of instrumental adventures on which Phil was beginning to use the studio environment in earnest.He finds it pretty much impossible to stray too far away from the commercial melodies that have kept the Mac afloat for 32 years, but he prickles them enough to ensure that they sound just a little discomforting as numbers such as the handclappy fever.It's just one of a clutch of highlights among the 11 cuts, particular mentions going to the Gram-flavoured Suffer A Fool, the duo's own Missoula Tonight inspired by the fires in Glacier National Park, Big Steve, Cooper's tribute to a renowned Nashville doorman, Jon Byrd's.In keeping with the wonderfully double-edged pun of its one-word title, Broadside ranges in terms of source material from a pair of shanties given the full-on rocked-up Bellowhead-disco treatment (Roll The Woodpile Down, Go My Way) to Copper-bottomed core-chorus-classic Thousands Or More, here knocked into.The undistinguished jerky rock Head On A Spike is probably not the best choice to return them to singles chart favour, but such minor concerns shouldn't blight a rather fine listen.He can turn his voice from a whisper to a shout at will.That's a perfect example of the way that through his carefully considered interpretations Ian makes the songs that he didn't write himself into so very much his own personal statements - a quality that he shares with only a select few performers of our time.Perhaps in keeping with the shows, the rock n roll stuff's pretty basic and Bryden's voice doesn't really distinguish itself, but she fares a lot better when she takes the pace down for Lynyrd Skynyrd's slow blues burner Tuesday's Gone (and showcases her Joplin touches).


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