The Rocking Magpie

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Welcome to the Rocking Magpie – a box-room on the Internet for my thoughts and musings on a variety of music, be it CD’s, Gigs, books and the occasional DVD – usually; but not exclusively based around all things Americana and Roots; but I love Ska, Soul and all things Mod too.

After years of writing reviews for numerous magazines and websites, in late 2014 I thought that the time was right to put everything under one roof on my own blog/website and decided to break up the band and go solo.

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Me? I live in the North East of England; but receive music from the UK, USA, Canada, Australia and all corners of Europe (very little from the vibrant scene in my home region ; which is sad); and our readership reflects this, with followers in 74 countries across 4 continents who receive e-mail updates whenever reviews are posted; plus my data tell me we have ‘occasional visitors’ from 111 countries have actually visited the site over the years!

My priority, will of course be bringing you reviews of soon to be released CD’s as soon as I get them. Plus there will be the occasional preview of albums, videos and gigs that interest me; but primarily you will read EXCLUSIVE reviews of Country, Americana, Folk, Blues, Ska, Punk and indeed all things Rock & Roll where the music has actually been listened to…not just the regurgitation of a Press Release like most other websites.

I’ve accidentally evolved a ‘house style’ which means that, just like in the olden days when we visited a record shop I check out the artwork on the sleeve first and if it appeals I (‘ask to’) play the first track which is always the key to the palace of delights that will follow, which is why I still place such emphasis on that song; regardless of the artist being a household name or someone self-releasing something they have recorded in their bedroom.

Dig deep into the site; as the bonus is my old reviews (400+), some dating back to 2010 which really are a snapshot in time – some I got bang on, others I raved about yet the album and artist still drifted into musical obscurity.

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Keep in touch; let me know what you think and what you want to read more of – and feel free to keep in touch rockingmagpie@outlook.com or on Twitter @RockingMagpie

We do like feedback, so leave comments, re-post on Facebook or RT at will.

Press the like/follow button for irregular postings of reviews that you can read or not as the case may be 🙂

FAO Bands, singers and PR’s…….like all other writers and bloggers I put an inordinate amount of time into these reviews; so please, please, please promote them on your websites, social media and the telephone ……they do actually lead to SALES….I have proof!!!!

Alan aka The Rocking Magpie

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THE JAM – ‘1977’ 40TH ANNIVERSARY BOX SET

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THE JAM
‘1977’
40TH ANNIVERSARY BOX SET

RELEASED October 20th 2017

#This is a Press Release……my review will follow early October. RMHQ

In May 1977, a young 3-piece rock group from Woking in Surrey appeared on Top Of The Pops with an explosive single called In The City. The song fizzed with the energy and sense of purpose and is one of the most incendiary debut singles ever. At the same time, The Jam released their exhilarating debut album, also called “In The City”, and in the very same year it’s follow up “This Is The Modern World. To celebrate this 40th anniversary USM-Polydor release a five-disc box set featuring both albums re-mastered as well as unreleased demos and live recordings.

The Jam became one of the most popular bands to emerge from the English punk rock scene of ’77 and had a phenomenal impact on pop music and wider youth culture. In their short career, they achieved 18 consecutive Top 40 singles in the UK (including 4 number 1s) and released 6 ground-breaking albums and went on to influence a generation with their music, style, politics and inspiration

Disc 1 – ‘In The City’ – Debut LP from May 1977 – A raw and powerful album that announced the arrival of The Jam, with their 18 year old lead singer Paul Weller sowing the seeds for what the was in store for the future. The Jam’s music at this time owed a lot to the harmonies of Motown, the energy of Dr Feelgood and early Who but with the anger of the current Punk scene. Although Weller’s band was obviously headed in a different direction, this debut sits alongside the first albums by The Clash and the Sex Pistols as one of the definitive records from the era. The album includes hit single In The City (which gave the band their first Top Of The Pops appearance, included on the DVD), live favourite (and suggested single) Art School and Paul Weller’s most ambitious early song – Away From The Numbers.

Disc 2 – ‘Demos’ includes 11 demos made for the first album – 6 of which are previously unreleased.

Disc 3 – ‘This Is The Modern World’ the follow-up album, released a few months after debut in late 1977, with iconic Gered Mankowitz cover shot. This hastily released follow-up to In The City has long been the topic of debate among Jam fans. It might not be up there with later classics such as All Mod Cons & Sound Affects but time has been very kind to this album. It clearly paved the way for the refined brilliance of the later albums which possibly wouldn’t have happened without it. Includes the rousing hit single The Modern World and some of Weller’s early introspective gems – Life From A Window and I Need You (For Someone), as well as The Combine, a track that pointed markedly towards the next album All Mod Cons.

Disc 4 – ‘Live’ includes the previously-unreleased concert from the ‘Nashville’ – September 10th 1977, featuring material from the first two albums. Also features the two legendary John Peel sessions from 1977.

Disc 5 – a DVD featuring TV appearances from the likes of Top Of The Pops and So It Goes plus promo videos from 1977. Includes performances of the hit single All Around The World (which did not appear on either LP)

Includes stunning 144-page book, featuring new liner notes, period photos and a wealth of cuttings, reviews and memorabilia from 1977.

Five LP-style CD wallets with printed inner bags – ‘In The City’ will feature the US version of the LP inner sleeve, also using a Martyn Goddard out-take photo. ‘This Is The Modern World’ will feature an alternative Gered Mankowitz cover image. Also includes five postcards. All housed in a ‘rigid, lift-off lid’ box.

————————————————–

Full tracklisting here:

Disc 1 – ‘In The City’ (original album remastered)
006025 5771551 4
1. Art School
2. I’ve Changed My Address
3. Slow Down
4. I Got By In Time
5. Away From The Numbers
6. Batman Theme
7. In The City
8. Sounds From The Street
9. Non-Stop Dancing
10. Time For Truth
11. Takin’ My Love
12. Bricks & Mortar
+ single & B-side extras
13. All Around The World
14. Carnaby Street

Disc 2 – ‘The Polydor Demos: February 1977’
006025 5771552 1
1. Art School (demo) #
2. In The City (demo)
3. I Got By In Time (demo) #
4. I’ve Changed My Address (demo) #
5. Time For Truth (demo)
6. Sounds From The Street (demo)
7. Non Stop Dancing (demo) #
8. Bricks And Mortar (demo) #
9. Takin’ My Love (demo)
10. So Sad About Us (demo)
11. Slowdown (demo) #
# = previously unreleased

Disc 3 – ‘This Is The Modern World’ (original album remastered)
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1. The Modern World
2. London Traffic
3. Standards
4. Life From A Window
5. The Combine
6. Don’t Tell Them You’re Sane
7. In The Street Today
8. London Girl
9. I Need You (For Someone)
10. Here Comes The Weekend
11. Tonight At Noon
12. In The Midnight Hour

Disc 4 – ‘Live 1977’
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John Peel sessions:
1. In The City
2. Art School
3. I’ve Changed My Address
4. The Modern World
Recorded 26.4.1977 – Transmitted 2.5.1977
5. All Around The World
6. London Girl
7. Bricks & Mortar
8. Carnaby Street
Recorded 19.7.1977 – Transmitted 25.7.1977
Live at the ‘Nashville’ – September 10th 1977 (previously unreleased):
9. Carnaby Street
10. The Modern World
11. Time For Truth
12. So Sad About Us
13. London Girl
14. In the Street Today
15. All Around The World
16. London Traffic
17. Sweet Soul Music
18. Bricks & Mortar
19. In The City
20. Art School
21. In The Midnight Hour
22. Sounds From The Street
23. Slowdown
Disc 5 – DVD
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1. In The City (Polydor promo – May 1977)
2. Art School (Polydor promo – May 1977)
3. In The City (Top Of The Pops – Date: 19/05/1977)
4. All Around The World (Top Of The Pops – Date: 18/08/1977)
5. All Around The World (‘Marc’ – Granada TV)
6. The Modern World (Top Of The Pops Top Of The Pops – Date: 03/11/1977)
7. Bricks and Mortar (‘So It Goes’ – Granada TV Nov. 20th 1977)
8. Carnaby Street (‘So It Goes’ – Granada TV Nov. 20th 1977)
9. In The City (‘So It Goes’ – Granada TV Nov. 20th 1977)
10. Slowdown (‘So It Goes’ – Granada TV Nov. 20th 1977)
11. All Around The World (‘So It Goes’ – Granada TV Nov. 20th 1977)

King King – EXILE & GRACE

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King King
EXILE & GRACE
Manhaton Records

British Blues Rock is Never Better Than Ever in These Hands.

I guess we’ve all got a favourite band or singer that we’ve ‘been with’ from the very beginning. Eventually we have to tread a very fine path between wanting to keep them all to ourselves and also craving them the success they deserve and allowing them out into the big bad world for everyone else to enjoy.
I feel that way about King King……and with EXILE & GRACE I fear the time has finally come for me to release them into the wild and rule the Rock n Roll jungle like the giants they were always destined to be.
Surprisingly for a Rock band normally dependent on a fiery electric guitar at its heart; opening track (She Don’t) Gimme No Lovin’ starts Alan Nimmo sounding uncharacteristically like a synth on his Les Paul before launching into his  trademark crashing guitar on a cracking tip of the hat to Classic 1970’s British Blues Rock.
What I like most about King King is the way they keep the emphasis on the song and the singer; rather than long plodding instrumental solos; Tear It Up and Broken are prime examples, with tightly packaged riffs that will be expanded on in concert, but here you get to hear what an exceptionally good songwriter, storyteller and indeed singer Alan Nimmo is developing into.
Just when I didn’t think King King could still spring any surprises on me, Find Your Way Home is the type of Power Ballad that was all the rage in the 80’s but disappeared….until now. The song simmers along nicely with Bob Fridzema’s swirling organ taking the lead as a dynamic rhythm section of Wayne Procter on drums and Lindsay Coulson on bass compliment Nimmo’s amazing vocals like peaches and cream.
As I’m a nice bloke I let a workmate who absolutely loves King King listen to this on his lunch hour and he was still smiling two days later, begging me for a copy. (I shall make the tight bugger buy his own CD btw!). One of his comments was how much he thought the band had moved into Stones territory on a couple of songs; rather than the likes of Deep Purple and Bad Company that they would normally be compared with; and by Jove I think he’s right with Long Time Running and perhaps Nobody Knows Your Name; but I guess that’s their judicious use of Bob Fridzema’s keyboards; which gives them so much more depth and variety than the majority of Blues Rock albums that I receive.
After all of these years treading the boards Alan Nimmo has no right to still be singing this well; and don’t for an instant think that there’s any studio trickery involved; go see them live to hear a proper Blues singer…..sing!
Which brings me to the winner of the RMHQ Favourite Track Award which goes to……drum roll…….Heed The Warning, which is everything you would expect from King King and then some, with Nimmo giving it his best Paul Rogers/Ronnie Van Zandt but always sounding like Alan Nimmo! Great song too…..riffs-a-go-go.
While I’ve harped on about the charismatic frontman Alan Nimmo; be under no illusions….this is very much a band effort and each of the four cornerstones go a long way to  helping King King get the accolades they fully deserved with their last release and I’m pretty damn sure this album will catapult them into the Big Leagues (whatever that means!)

Released October 6th 2017
https://www.kingking.co.uk/

Amilia K Spicer – WOW & FLUTTER

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Amilia K Spicer
WOW & FLUTTER
Free Range Records

Windswept, Brooding and Heartbreaking Lo-Fi Americana.

This album very nearly got missed as it was already a couple of months old when I received it; but my trusty I-Phone picked a lovely song out by random just after midnight on a rainy Saturday night/Sunday morning and I was immediately smitten.
That song is the breathy and emotional This Town, about someone who wants to leave ‘This Town’ but knows they won’t so needs to find a reason to stay.
WOW & FLUTTER actually opens with the type of easy on the ear Country song that catches you out; as you peel the layers away and it becomes a real tearjerker. On Fill Me Up Amilia sounds like she could be Linda Ronstadt or Emmylou in another life; and for an opening track it’s a keeper.
This is definitely Country Music…..I think, but with the emphasis on the Lo-Fi spectrum of Alt. Country…..if that makes sense.
Shotgun is dark and cinematic with a pedal-steel sounding like a wistful train as it accompanies the whispering singer; and later on Down To The Bone a gentle piano tinkles away as Amilia’s voice sounds ghostly and ethereal on a brittle love song.
It’s a similar feeling with the fragile Windchill; which makes Margo Timmins sound like Janis Joplin.
When a song starts with “my love is a train wreck/a train wreck” you just know it’s a Country song…..right? Well this one certainly is; but so slow and intimate you will find yourself leaning into the speakers to catch all of the words.
A big part of me wants to call that first song This Town my ‘favourite’ but truth be told; now I’ve played the album 6 or 7 times in full that accolade must go to What I’m Saying. A dark, reflective pot-boiler that brings everything that is brilliant about WOW & FLUTTER together in 5 emotional minutes.
As I said earlier, I first heard Amilia K Spicer just after midnight as the rain poured down on the windscreen; and that is the very best accompaniment I can imagine for the songs on this album for broken-hearted lovers everywhere.

Released April 28th 2017
http://www.amiliakspicer.com/

Bruce Cockburn – BONE ON BONE

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Bruce Cockburn
BONE ON BONE
True North Records

Legendary Canadian Songwriter Ups the Ante Again.

Bruce Cockburn? This is his 33rd album since 1970, yet his first in 7 years and a multi-Multi-Award winner but could probably walk unnoticed down most streets in his home country of Canada. That said his fans around the world do pore over his every release like Dylanaholics.
Even though I own three previous releases, strangely this is the first album of his that I’ve ever reviewed.
The passionately poetic States I’m In opens the album and sets the tone for what is to follow quite perfectly. Cockburn’s voice sounds slightly weary but with fire around the edges as the band create a claustrophobic atmosphere that will make your chest tighten.
While it shouldn’t be a surprise Cockburn follows this with a real punchy Folk song, Stab at Matter which features, and not for the time here, some sublime guitar and slide playing.
As a Master Craftsman Cockburn appreciates and studies other wordsmiths in his spare time, which has spawned 3 Al Purdys a re-imagining of ‘a homeless man ranting and reciting the acclaimed Canadian Poet’s works on the streets.’
‘Stunning’ and ‘brilliant’ spring to mind when I heard it the first time, and I still feel the same way about the song now.
Another couple of songs that instantly caught my attention were Jesus Train; a non-preachy song about the singer’s love of Jesus alongside Twelve Gates To The City which has a Southern Baptist feel to it; both coming from Cockburn’s Spiritual Beliefs.
I’d forgotten what an expressive voice Bruce Cockburn has; and his skilled storytelling combine perfectly on the two songs that vie for the title of ‘Favourite Track’. Cafe Society has a sort of smoky Parisian swing to it, and appeals as Cockburn very subtly hits the nail on the head of the minutiae in a world I inhabit myself; gossiping, bitching, politicking and generally putting the world to rights over a Cappuccino or Americano or two for hours on end.
The other, a traditional slice of beautiful Canadiacana; Forty Years in the Wilderness is probably a self-portrait of the artist himself; but felt like a punch on the nose as he could have been talking about me too; and I feel plenty of other listeners will feel exactly the same way about this clever and literate song.
After all of these years Bruce Cockburn doesn’t deserve the likes of me making comparisons; but his other albums are filed alongside David Olney, John Martyn and Bap Kennedy in my collection.

Released September 15th 2017

http://brucecockburn.com/

 

Mo Kenney – THE DETAILS

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Mo Kenney
THE DETAILS
Self-Release

Angry, Nihilistic and Candidly Beautiful Canadiacana.

I remember loving Mo Kenney’s 2015 album IN MY DREAMS but had to play it again to understand why; and time has certainly been kind to her powerful songs.
I then put THE DETAILS into the stereo and was taken aback by the gentle but dark Folk singer intro to Cats Not a Cake; and even more so when the band kicked in like Pearl Jam on steroids for the final four minutes of a very dark story.
The Details is billed as a Concept Album; with Mo baring her very Soul while ‘confronting her annihilation and eventual redemption’…..whatever that means.
This is the type of album that would have been a perfect accompaniment for Nirvana’s Nevermind, as it touches on some very raw subjects like booze-fuelled breakdowns, depression, fraught relationships and the scars they all leave behind.
As you would expect with stories like these the moods change like the wind, going from the loose and brittle Counting or Lights Out which could be a lost Neko Case song; through to the jagged post-Punk of title track Details and If You’re Not Dead; but On The Roof when played extra loud with Kenney on a Fender Mustang is scintillating and will scare your neighbours! But there is also the dreamy pop swirls of Unglued too; showing that there can be ups as well as downs when you feel like ‘this.’
Just like IN MY DREAMS this sounds a lot more like a band effort; and a very tightly wrapped band at that, than a singer-songwriter with a bunch of hired in musos.
I shouldn’t; but I absolutely love the dirty guitar sound on Video Game Music and when Mo growls out the lyrics she made my heart beat a little bit faster than usual.
Nothing here makes for Easy Listening; and isn’t destined for daytime radio; or any radio probably but the songs and the way it is all concocted makes for terrific journey; and a journey that will touch a whole lot of people on that same axis; which brings me to my ‘favourite song’ which in itself is a challenge; but I’m going for Feelin’ Good which is a mini-opera in it’s own rite and closes the cycle; and shows there is (probably) something at the end of the rainbow for all of us.
THE DETAILS is different from just about everything else I’ve listened to this year but touched me in a way I love about music…….making me feel like I’m not the only one who gets ‘down’ and feels ‘that way’ about something; and that’s quite an achievement in itself.

Released September 29th 2017

http://mokenney.com/home

 

 

Steve Miller Band – ULTIMATE HITS (Deluxe Edition)

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Steve Miller Band
ULTIMATE HITS (Deluxe Edition)
UMC/Virgin Records.

An All-embracing Over View of A Legendary 50 year Classic Rock Legend.

I can’t think of another album that opens with a rare family tape from when you were 5 years old; with something as cool as your Godfather, none other than Les Paul telling you to “keep on singing, you have a great voice,” but Steve Miller can and does; then follows this by talking about his first ever band in 1956 which included Boz Scaggs…..which leads into one of the greatest Rock songs of all time; Gangster of Love! Wow……I’d not heard this for years and…wow…..how cool is Steve Miller’s voice?
This, alongside the Hit singles and album tracks is the first of several previously unreleased songs; some Live and others from the vaults.
On this Deluxe Version of the ULTIMATE HITS there are 40 songs to choose from, with 22 on the normal CD release and I’m not sure how many on the 2 different LP releases or downloads either….. but that’s modern marketing, kids.
Everything you would expect to hear is here made up from a mixture of previously unreleased demos, live versions and original album cuts too; and most songs have stood the test of time very well.
Of the ‘Hits’ I remember Living in the USA, Space Cowboy, Abracadabra, The Joker and the previously mentioned Gangster of Love all show a Master-craftsman at work, with some amazing guitar work it has to be said; and all sounded just as amazing this week cranked up to 11 on the car stereo as they did 30 odd years ago (but the car stereo is a damn sight better today).
I suppose that I only remember Miller’s golden period between 72 and 83; when the Hits kept on rolling; so it’s been a bit of a pleasant surprise to hear a wide variety of styles from throughout Miller’s 50 year career.
For life long fans there are some wonderful previously unreleased tracks like the intricately acoustic Seasons and the funky adaptation of In The Midnight Hour.
For the likes of me (and you?) it’s a blast discovering the delights of Wild Mountain Honey, Serenade For The Stars and Journey From Eden which show a more mature and introspective, almost Folk-Rock side to the Rockstar’s writing.
Dance, Dance, Dance is almost on the Bluegrass spectrum and Behind The Barn is Jug Band- Rock hybrid, but works pretty well and it’s safe to say I wasn’t expecting either from the Steve Miller Band.
But its Rock Music of the Rock and Roll variety that we came for and Steve doesn’t let us down with Stranger Blues and Jungle Love both sounding very ZZ Toppish; and I don’t know which came first but I love em both.
Picking Rock n Me, Fly Like an Eagle or the Joker as my ‘Favourite Track’ would be all too easy; and not a little bit lazy; so I’ve gone for a song I’d never heard before……..My Dark Hour and it’s Johnny Winter overtones from the 1969 album Brave New World as it sent a shiver up my spine and has already made me download the original album.
ULTIMATE HITS is a bit of a misnomer for what is really a retrospective of Steve Miller’s career (warts n all) and after not hearing even the massive hits in donkeys; and now discovering several other sides to his talents I can heartily recommend buying one of the versions of this album.

Released September 15th 2017.

http://www.stevemillerband.com/

 

Jarrod Dickenson – READY THE HORSES

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Jarrod Dickenson
READY THE HORSES
Decca Records

Hard-working Troubadour Shows His Class On A Big Label Expedition.

I first saw and met Jarrod Dickenson in 2012 when he supported Bap Kennedy in a North London Pub. Without getting over-excited about ‘discovering the next big thing’ there really was something different and even special about Jarrod’s songs and their delivery that meant I actually introduced myself to him. He didn’t have any with him that evening; but when he returned home he sent me a copy of his debut album THE LONESOME TRAVELLOR which I favourably reviewed in Maverick magazine later that year.
A couple of years later he got back in touch to ask if I’d like a copy of his next EP, Songs From Willow Street; which can be found in the RMHQ Back Pages; and I still have the lovely handwritten note that accompanied it.
Jump forward to Christmas 2016 and Jarrod again got in touch to say he had a new Album coming out in the Spring and would send a copy ASAP.
Nothing arrived. Not the biggest surprise in the world as he is constantly touring or supporting all kinds of acts somewhere in the world; but I was still a touch disappointed.
Then a month or so ago a decent sized PR Company got in touch hailing Decca Records new signing…..Jarrod Dickenson who would be releasing an exciting new album in September!
So; I’m thrilled to say that after many years of hard graft; Jarrod Dickenson has hit the Big Time…..but has the music changed?
Hell Yes! It’s got bigger, brighter and better.
Opening track Faint of Heart finds the warmly toned Dickenson fronting a classy Country ensemble on a tearjerker of the finest proportions, and any worries that I had dissolved after less than a minute.
First and foremost a storyteller, Dickenson is a mighty fine songwriter too; honing in on the tiny things in our lives but painting extraordinarily cinematic pictures with his words too.
In The Meantime and Take It From Me are quintessential sad Jarrod Dickenson songs; but with the addition of ‘this band’ are taken into a whole new stratosphere; taking the listener on a beautiful journey along the way.
I’m a ‘fan’ and have seen the singer perform several times; but nothing prepared me for the beauteous intimacy of Your Heart, with it’s majestic guitar picking that accompanies his rich singing voice; but while originally from Willow Street; it’s now delightfully gussied up as a duet with his wife Claire; which gives it a lovely haunting quality too.
California treads a similar path; with the addition of some ghostly pedal-steel on the saddest of sad love songs……certainly one for late at night, as you can with the darkly bittersweet, fightin’, fussin’ and makin’ up Take It From Me too.
As you will know from the hundreds of reviews on RM I do like a good story; and that’s probably Dickenson’s finest strength; storytelling……which doesn’t get better than on the darkly Gothic tale Gold Rush; which has a David Olney quality and then some.
For the uninitiated and fans like me alike; there are pleasant surprises around every corner especially my favourite song here……the gentle Country song A Cowboy. One of the simpler arrangements on the album; but sometimes simplicity is the best way to get a story across and this story is absolutely bloody gorgeous.
For once the money that a record label has thrown at an artist appears to have been well; spent as band (guitar, gentle bass, tsch-tsch drums, pedal-steel and a swirling organ) actually flesh out Jarrod’s songs and stories in the most delightful manner.

Released September 29th 2017

https://www.jarroddickenson.com/

 

Ringo Starr – GIVE MORE LOVE

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Ringo Starr
GIVE MORE LOVE
Universal Records

Surprises Around Every Corner From Rock Royalty.

Ringo Starr holds a special place in the hearts of Mrs. Magpie and myself as his version of You’re 16 is ‘our song’ and a framed 7″ Single hangs in pride of place in our living room.
For the rest of you……he’s a BEATLE FOR GOD’S SAKE!!!!
Even today, nearly 60 years after the event Ringo’s drumming with the Beatles is still the benchmark for great timekeeping, rhythm and tempo; and for several years after the band’s break-up he was actually their most successful solo act #fact.
So; what has he got to offer in 2017?
A lot, actually.
Opening track We’re Back on the Road Again is as much fun as I’d hoped but also a whole lot rockier too; with Steve Lukather making his guitar sizzle as a certain Sir Paul McCartney gives the proceedings an extra portion of class on the bass guitar.
I really don’t want to ge bogged down in naming all the guest stars on each track; as they genuinely are a Who’s Who of the Rock Hierarchy…..as you would expect; and the production is diamond polished too.
The ballad Show Me The Way; finds Ringo in a melancholy mood on a tearjerker that will appeal to lovers of a certain vintage; and later the title track Give More Love follows a similar path; somehow the singer manages to save this intimate love song for ‘the world’ from becoming mushy and mawkish; which is quite some achievement.
King of the Kingdom dips it’s toe into the 80’s Reggae pond and has the potential to be a highlight of any Ringo Starr’s All-star Band concert; but personally I much prefer the rockier Electricity when Ringo looks back to his youth and the ‘Electricity’ he felt when he first heard Rock and Roll.
While I’d have preferred this to be 100% new songs; the inclusion of a couple of re-recorded and updated Hits.
Don’t Pass Me By and the Country-Fried You Can’t Fight Lightning are both fascinating in as much as they show even at his ripe old age, Ringo isn’t afraid to experiment and take risks.
Photograph; on the other hand isn’t a million miles different, if a tad slower and sultrier than the original and was actually a contender for ‘favourite song’.
The other re-do; Back Off Boogaloo is the song that will get most media attention as it is pieced together from an old 1/4″ reel to reel demo he recorded in 72 with George Harrison producing; and subsequently adding ‘magic’ from Jeff Lynne and Joe Walsh.
Then of course there is the absolute Stand-Out song, and very easily RMHQ Favourite……the cool Country Swing of So Wrong, For So Long; a co-write with local lad Dave Stewart and featuring enough pedal-steel and delicious harmonies to bring a tear to a glass eye.
History hasn’t been that kind to Ringo Starr, but GIVE MORE LOVE is a rollicking good way to spend an hour, smiling, dancing and on more than one occasion, having the opportunity to look at your ‘significant other’ and think, “that’s us he’s singing about.”
What’s not to like?

Released 15th September 2017
http://www.ringostarr.com/

Various Artists – SWAMPLAND JEWELS

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Various Artists
SWAMPLAND JEWELS
Yep Roc/Southern Folklife

Open Your Hearts and Minds For Some Quality Cajun and Zydeco Music.

Every year the SummerTyne Festival introduces another Cajun band on the Jumping Hot Club Stage, and every year, regardless of the weather it gets people dancing and smiling.
So; it was with great interest I received two copies of this Re-Mastered/Re-Imagined/Re-Released/Re-Mixed/Re-Polished 1979 ‘Classic’ album, with a few new songs that are in keeping added for extra value.
First of all; who among us (ladies included) wouldn’t pick up a record with a picture of a bikini clad young lady riding a lobster on the cover? UH…..just me then?
So; with an open mind let’s get the party started.
The wonderfully monikered Boozoo Chavis strolls through the charming Paper In My Shoe; singing alternate verses in English and Cajun and I quickly forgot that I didn’t understand the latter patois and just let the music fill me with joy.
I wasn’t aware that this type of music was so varied; with songs that verge on Polka Music Shorty LeBlanc’s Boss Cajun, a weird Mexican Tango hybrid with La Cucha Rochman by Joe Bonsall; but both and Al Ferrier’s Yard Dog is pure and simple New Orleans Blues to my ears!
I surprised myself by actually recognising a couple of songs……The Creole Song (Joe Bonsall again), Bon Ton Roula (Herman Guiee) and probably our favourite song here Lemonade Song by Leroy Broussard, An instant toe-tapper and a version is already in our collection by Rob Heron & Le Tea Pad Orchestra, although they call it Le Danse de la Limonade….whatever, both are crackers.
Every song here oozes passion and charm; and Stephen Weiss and Brent Lambert are to be applauded for the loving way they have put this album together, making it perfect for modern CD Players but without compromising on the original magic.
OK in my ignorance I know next to nothing about from the Cajun or Zydeco Music world; but just like those Dancing Grannies at SummerTyne; I know quality when I hear it.

Released September 22nd 2017

http://www.yeproc.com/
http://library.unc.edu/wilson/sfc/