Waco Brothers RESIST!

Waco Brothers
Bloodshot Records

This Album Will Anger Fascists!

# It feels like yesterday that I read “Imagine The Clash fronted by Johnny Cash” in my local evening paper, and I turned to son #1 (15 at the time) “Get your coat, we’re going to see a band!” Seeing The Waco Brothers that evening changed my life. Alan aka The Rocking Magpie

There’s always been a lot of talk about “super-groups” over the years.
You know, when musicians from different bands come together to form one band, either as a one-off or an ongoing continuation, and it’s almost always heralded as the best thing since Cream or CSN&Y or …….., but in reality, nearly every band is a super-group (unless the musicians have just started to learn their instruments) because every musician plays in many bands and learns and develops new skills from every band they’ve ever been in, and bring this knowledge and experience to the table. FACT
But; or should I say BUT! (all capitals and exclamation point firmly signifying that I’m making a serious point here) when you get musicians from such diverse acts as the Mekons, Graham Parker and the Rumour, Jesus Jones, and the Hushdrops, playing their version of straight up country-punk music with a revolutionary twist, you’re in for a real treat. 
Resist!, released by Bloodshot Records, is a compilation of the band’s protest and political songs from their previous albums of the past three decades, and what a collection it is.
We get Waco originals such as $ Bill the Cowboy and Lincoln Town Car next to fire-branded covers of the Neil Young hippy-rock classic Revolution Blues and the always fun I Fought the Law; which the Waco Bros tear into like a half-drunk bar band not caring whether they get asked back or not. Hell, this band was forged on the intent of getting together to play rough and tumble country tunes in bars while drinking for free so it’s no surprise that these songs fly past like a hell-bound freight train with one wheel hanging off the tracks.
“No Heart” and “Blink of an Eye” are full of no compromising hillbilly guitar riffs, “Plenty Tough, Union Made” and “Never Real” deal with hard universal truths and ending the album is “Bad Times are Coming ‘Round Again,” a sing-a-long stomper well worthy of kicking off the apocalypse with.
Every town across the world needs a band like the Waco Brothers so the working men and women all over can hit the dance floor, raise a glass, and sing along while the world grinds away.
Hey Jon Langford, you guys ever think of franchising?

Released February 28th 2020

Review courtesy The Legendary Roy Peak


Harry Chapin
Store For Music

Timeless and Magical Observations That Haven’t Aged a Day

I presumed that I was a bit of a Harry Chapin ‘fan’ when this arrived; yet can’t find the ‘Best Of’ CD that I ‘cherished,’ then remembered that it was actually on vinyl; and I had sold it as part of my collection 20+ years ago!
So; this Triple Album has been a marvelous voyage of discovery for me.
As with all in this series; the original concert here was released in 1998; but for this re-release it’s been gussied up and a second 88 minute ‘show’ from the same evening included too!
It was a different time then; when a Star like Harry Chapin still had to play two sets a night in a Club rather than filling an Arena once every couple of years and streaming it to an adoring (and paying) public!
The first Show/CD opens with very little ado as Chapin and band slide straight into Taxi, and while it’s a new song to me …….. the adoring crowd sing-along with gusto on “Harry ….. keep the change” when prompted.
There’s so much to like here; obviously Chapin’s ‘Hits’ W.O.L.D, Mail Order Annie and Cats in the Cradle are here; but they took on a whole new life for me as I listened more closely than ever to the wisdom in the lyrics.
That’s actually what I think I’ve taken for-granted all of these years; Chapin’s songs have aged very well; if not actually matured like a fine wine in the decades since they were first created.
For me there are surprises around every corner; none more so than Harry’s Speaking Voice on his very generous intros and background stories ……… he sounds like one of those 1960’s Noo Yawk Jewish Comedians with a stogie in the corner of his mouth that turned up on Saturday evening TV; and if at some time he had uttered “A funny thing happened on the way to the theatre tonight…..” this album would have been nigh on perfect.
Where to start on the songs?
Old Folkie is about and dedicated to one of only Three Heroes that Chapin has; the 60 year old Pete Seeger …….. was 60 deemed to be old back then?
Remember When The Music is one of those songs that has the power to make you smile and sigh at the same time; the intro to and actual song If My Mary Were Here will send a shiver down your back; and it’s a similar sensation with If Flowers Were Red too.
One of the other joys here is the Production ……. remember this was recorded in a nightclub way back in 1981; the band are crystal clear behind Harry’s grizzled and world weary voice; and even allowing for some minor tweaks over the years, this is a warts n all Live Recording; without very many warts at all.
Oh Lordy; selecting a Favourite Song has been a nightmare as nearly every song here has stood the test of time and touched me in some way; but I’ve finally narrowed it down to three; Halfway To Heaven, again because the back-story is worthy of a comedy club and the story will set the hair on the back of your nick on end; Sniper originally written as poem in 1966 about a Mass Murderer that shocked America but woah ……….. it sadly hasn’t aged a second in half a century and is still just as prescient today in 2020!
But, even better than those is Mr Tanner a sad and beautiful tale of a man with a ‘great singing voice’ who gets invited to sing on a big stage; but a NY Times critic destroyed him the next day (‘in four short lines’) ……….. when I listened for the first time I thought Chapin had a time machine and could foresee the myriad of Talent Shows on TV today and the utter devastation Social Media can cause.
The evening/albums close with two rather beautiful songs, You Are The Only Song and finally the ‘Hit’ Circle; both of which grab every single emotion in your body and squeeze them until you don’t know whether to laugh or cry …. or both.
A big debt of gratitude goes to Chapin’s ‘backing band’; which features his brother Steve on keyboards (and occasional vocals), Big John on (powerhouse) bass, Howard Fields playing drums in a way normally associated with Charlie Watts and Ringo Starr and the backbone of Chapin’s ‘sound’ ……. Yvonne Cable on cello, harmonies and beautifully breathy vocals.
The saddest part of this album is that so many of Chapin’s caustic and pissy observation of America in the 1960’s and 70’s still resonate now 50 bloody years later!
This has been a marvellous discovery; or should that be re-discovery for me and I can’t recommend this highly enough.
Go on; treat yourself!

Released UK February 28th 2020

Sonny Landreth BLACK TOP RUN

Sonny Landreth
Blacktop Run
Provogue Records

More Great Slide Guitar and More, From the Master.

Sonny Landreth has been making great music for as long as I can remember. While never hitting the mainstream; his name always popped up in friends and music journalists ‘best of’ lists and over the years he has played with so many big namesincluding Marshall Crenshaw , Eric Clapton and John Hiatt, plus he has many awards and was even Grammy nominated on two occasions, even though sadly, he didn’t win.
I don’t think this album will surprise any fans or anyone who even knows his music slightly. More zydeco influenced blues and always great playing. The album kicks off with the title track. A country/bluegrass riff opens us up to a tale of the open road.
Then Lover Dance With Me has a rocking beat and, obviously, some great playing too; plus what sounds like some mighty fine Hammond organ kicking in on this track too. 
Track three – Mule – has some great slide playing and sounds like a song about unrequited love, and a lazy mule! (But that may be a metaphor).
Another instrumental comes up next with a great riff and some very cool soloing and yet more lovely Hammond organ too; Groovy Goddess definitely has some plenty of groovy goodness. 
The album’s tempo comes right down on the ballad Somebody Gotta Make A Move. The narrator telling a tale of love gone wrong and his surprise that his love didn’t even realise they were past their ‘sell by date’.
Beyond Borders is another instrumental that hits the groove right from the off, with some lovely electric piano solo in the middle of this one.
Country blues slide is where we go on the next song, and a zydeco riff holds the song together, although Landreth’s beautiful country slide playing gives this a real feel good groove.
Next up is Wilds Of Wonder – a mid tempo rocker which to my ears at least has a seventies feel to it. I think it must be that wonderful Hammond organ again, that gives that sense of timelessness. A great song and nice vocal performance, and possibly a different sound to the rest of the album, at least until the sweet guitar solo.
Another instrumental  – Many Worlds – gives us a relaxed late night feel with some more lovely guitar playing taking us to the last song album on the album. 
The closer is another ballad with what sounds like the story of yet another failed love….. I know; this IS the Blues after all.  
Something Grand is not only the final song, but exactly what this album is all about. You know exactly  what you are going to get with Mr Landreth and this album doesn’t disappoint or really surprise in any way. Always beautifully played and as the old saying goes, ‘if it’s not broken, then don’t fix it’.

Released February 21st 2020

Review by Ace photographer, Mr. Chris Harrison

Chuck Prophet MARATHON (Single)

Chuck Prophet
Yep Roc Records

I heard a whisper last week that young Mr Prophet had a new album in the pipeline; but there didn’t seem to be anything set in stone.
An hour ago I arrived home and checked my e-mails and …….. there it was …….. a shiny download of that very LP and the new single Marathon too !!!
‘The Land That Time Forgot’ LP is due for release May 15th via Yep Roc Records and Prophet describes it as “just as much a 21st-century exorcism as it is Americana.” As new single ‘Marathon’ suggests, ‘The Land That Time Forgot’ has deep musical roots, from the Southern Delta through to the discos of Munich: “It’s all Krautrock bass and Everly Brothers acoustics. I threw all my rockabilly, space-age, Roxy Music tricks in there.”
So, here it is for your aural please is Chuck Prophet and his brand new single; Marathon.


Mickey Jupp

The Sound of Southend Keeps On Rockin’!

You have to strongly admire any artist, who may or may not be retired, but who continues recording the songs that keep coming and coming into their head regardless of any thought of Commercial success.
With no Record Company to lean on, and no savings or capitol to speak of, we have here the definitive DIY project. What’s amazing is that it’s not even a one off, it’s far too common in the 21st Century and something like Number 14 in a series of recent DIY releases.
Step forward one Mickey Jupp Esq, the man who started playing in Southend with The Orioles in 1964, the man who was signed to Stiff Records in the 1970’s and the man whose songs have been covered by a multitude of artists on both sides of the pond (and beyond).
If you want to discover who he was and what he did, then there’s a cracking book out by Mike Wade, entitled “Hole in my Pocket” the true legend of Mickey Jupp: the rock’n’roll genius who declined to be a star, available from Amazon.  https://www.amazon.co.uk/Hole-pocket-legend-rocknroll-declined/dp/1506088031/ref=sr_1_1?keywords=mickey+jupp&qid=1582709786&s=books&sr=1-1
So, onto the here and now; his latest release contains 11 brand new songs written between October 2019 and February 2020 plus 3 previously unrecorded songs from 1997.
Mickey wrote all the songs, played all the instruments on the latest 11, and mixed and produced them all.
Not just that, he then burned the 14 songs onto CD’s on his own home PC and then wrote the sleeve notes and printed them off on his home PC/Printer.
Next, he bought loads of envelopes and put the CD’s in the envelopes and stuck stamps on the envelopes and took them to his village Post Office for all his loyal fans who pre-ordered their copies without any prior information, other than “Mickey’s got another 14 songs for your entertainment and delight”. 
You don’t see Ed Sheeran or Justin Timberlake doing that; do you?
Delight is the word, as far as I’m concerned. No one comes close to writing lyrics as clever or as perceptive as Mr. Jupp, just like Willie Nelson, Sam Cooke or Buddy Holly before him, he keeps it simple but sharp and targeted to continually hit the bulls eye.
The album kicks off with “Nice and She Knew It” recalling the fascination of a school boys dream.
“Bad News Can Travel Fast” initially could be a Leiber & Stoller song from the 1950’s and then “Nothing Here For You” picks up the pace and sets a neat groove.
“Honky Tonic” is another that paints a wonderful picture whilst honkey-tonking along nicely.
Of the 3 older efforts I love “Line Dancing” like an old friend.
There’s no fillers on this album at all, and trying to select my personal favourite certainly wasn’t easy, but “I’m Gonna Have To Lie Down” just about pips it, if only because it reminds me of my own mis-spent youth.
Now here’s the thing, this album is not available in the shops or via any of the internet retailers or streamers.
If you want a copy (and I urge you to do so) then you’ll have to go direct to Mickey Jupp himself.
or via The Facebook https://www.facebook.com/groups/71384449470/

Review courtesy Mr Jack Kidd (Currently living in Witness Protection ….. but we don’t talk about that )

Released Feb 2020

Ameripolitan Awards 2020

Ameripolitan Awards 2020
Hernando’s Hideaway

The 2020 Ameripolitan Music Awards were remarkable this year as they also marked the grand reopening of legendary Memphis roadhouse Hernando’s Hideaway, which hosted a number of events over the weekend. The Shelby County Historical Commission placed a marker at Hernando’s celebrating the milestone, noting performances by Elvis, Jerry Lee Lewis, and other greats at the club and a name-check in a foundational rockabilly song.

The Ameripolitan Music Awards celebrated its 7th iteration on Monday, capping a weekend full of activity that included the grand reopening of legendary Memphis venue Hernando’s Hideaway.
Tanya Tucker made a surprise appearance at Hernando’s; the historical society placed a plaque on the building; and festival co-producer Dale Watson celebrated his twenty-fifth year as a recording artist. Joined by Jason D. Williams, Dale Watson, and His Lonestars, Tucker sang “Help Me Make It Through the night” and dueted with Dale on “I’ll Fly Away.” Meanwhile, the awards reached new heights this year.
The awards themselves were hosted by Big Sandy (of Big Sandy and His Fly-Rite Boys) and pinup Doris Mayday. Legendary drummer JM Van Eaton, who played on Sun Records by Johnny Cash, Conway Twitty, Roy Orbison, Jerry Lee Lewis, Billy Lee Riley, and more counting over 260 songs) received the Founder of the Sound Award from Jerry Phillips (son of Sam). Phillips poignantly said, “If JM Van Eaton hadn’t played on all those records, I’m not sure my father would have had the success he had.”

2020 Ameripolitan Music Award winners
Western Swing Female – Georgia Parker
Western Swing Male – Dave Stuckey
Western Swing Group – The Farmer & Adele
Honky Tonk Female – Sarah Vista
Honky Tonk Male – Charley Crockett
Honky Tonk Group – Country Side of Harmonica Sam
Master Award – Duane Eddy
Founder of the Sound – J.M Van Eaton
Musician – Sean Mencher
Venue – Luckenbach Dance Hall (Luckenbach, TX)
Festival – Bristol Rhythm & Roots (Bristol, TN)
DJ – Eddie White (Cosmic Cowboy Café 2RRR 88.5FM, Sydney, Australia)
Rockabilly Female – Laura Palmer (of Laura Palmer & Screamin’ Rebel Angels)
Rockabilly Male – Bloodshot Bill
Rockabilly Group – The Lustre Kings 

Western Swing Male winner Dave Stuckey emotionally thanked awards producers Watson and Celine Lee (as did most of the winners) for “giving the island of misfit Americana fans a home to live in.”
Honky Tonk Female winner Sarah Vista notably thanked filmmakers John Ford and Sam Peckinpah for helping start her journey.
The end of the show served as an impromptu tribute to Carl Perkins, with the 2020 Rockabilly Male nominees, Shaun Young, Bloodshot Bill, Jittery Jack, and Eddie Clendening, all performing together, singing Perkins’ “Gone Gone Gone”; and a grand finale with Watson, Tammi Savoy, Jim Heath, Jerry Phillips, Jittery Jack, Dave Stuckey, Nick 13, Laura Palmer, and more singing Perkins’ “Boppin’ the Blues.”
Other performance highlights included “a sultry country classicist with a tremble in her voice” (NY Times) Whitney Rose, rising honky tonker Summer Dean, and Texas legend James Hand. The house band included Lonestars bassist Chris Crepps and Lonestars drummer Mike Bernal; pedal steel ace Don Pawlak; Italy-to-Memphis guitarist Mario Monterosso; and Earl Scruggs’ grandson, member of Marty Stuart’s band, and Grand Ole Opry regular Chris Scruggs. 

Courtesy Nick Loss-Eaton

Pete Seeger and Roger McGuinn AT THE BOTTOM LINE (1994)

Pete Seeger and Roger McGuinn
The Bottom Line Archive.

A Masterclass In Songwriting From Teacher and Pupil.

This is a fascinating series of releases from the Bottom Line Archive; often bringing our ‘back pages’ into sparkling life again; and for younger listeners not just a window into the soul of what has become known as Americana Music; but in many cases a Masterclass in the oeuvre too.
If you are in any shape or form, a Folk music fan, if Vin Scelsa’s introduction to Pete Seeger doesn’t move you into settling back for what is to follow, then this website and review ain’t really for you, is it?
Even without me telling you about the songs here; you just know that listening to Pete Seeger and his protege, Roger McGuinn telling stories and singing songs on stage has to be a history lesson in itself, and well worth your time, doesn’t it?
In themselves, not every song here has stood the test of time, but there are more than enough nuggets that are genuine magical moments that will make you smile and sigh at the same time, to make it all worthwhile.
Personally I’m not really a ‘fan’ of Pete Seeger’s style of Folk Music; but listening to his story of building his first house, which leads into If I Had a Hammer is absolutely spellbinding; and made me incredibly jealous of the couple of hundred people crammed into the Bottom Line hearing this story first hand.
But; I am a fan of Roger McGuinn (don’t get me started on the night I met him for a cup of tea!); and you have to put into perspective where he was in his career that night, as he had recently left the Byrds and had just been part of Dylan’s Rolling Thunder Review, and was about to embark on the solo career that still fills halls today, yet still found the time to sit mesmerised at the feet of his mentor, Pete Seeger.
If you were in a Record Store, a cursory look at the track listing would or should make you want to hear Roger’s story behind The Ballad of Easy Rider, Eight Miles High, and Chestnut Mare; and his heartfelt singing of each; but ……… hearing Pete talk about Woody Guthrie and Alan Lomax brought tears to my eyes; and will you too.
On a charming double album it’s kinda difficult to pick out a Favourite Track for you.
Roger talking about writing You Showed Me with Gene Clark then singing it, has to be a highlight; but Pete’s stories are all genuinely enthralling and need to be heard by everyone who has the audacity to think they too are a singer-songwriter; but I will point you to Where Have All The Flowers Gone ….. it’s just as important today in 2020 as it was 60 years ago!
But; I’m going with Roger who writes that singing Bells of Rhymney alongside Pete was and is still one of the highlights of his well documented career; and I can’t disagree with that, now can I?
This remarkable album is as much a historical document, as it is anything else and I urge you to buy two copies; as you will want one for yourself and if you know any aspiring singer-songwriter, give them the other copy to hear two Masters of the genre oozing love and class in abundance!

Released February 28th 2020

Greg Klyma WHY I OUGHTA (Single)

Greg Klyma
Why I Oughta (Single)

We’re normally not averse to singles here at RMHQ, but very little has tickled our taste-buds this year …….. until now.
First of all the video for Bostonian singer-songwriter Greg Klyma’s new release, the Drinking Song Why I Oughta made us smile; then as is our won’t we actually listened to it; and as the Mighty Peter Case once said of Klyma “Greg Klyma comes in under the radar, but that’s good because it makes his music all the more surprising. He’s a canny lyricist and a compelling composer and singer. If you dig Americana and great songs, you owe yourself a listen.”
There are already three albums sitting on the shelves; one Folk orientated, one ‘Jangle-Pop’ and one pure Country and Western; which shows what a rare talent this guy is!
Watch This Space.


Christopher Paul Stelling BEST OF LUCK

Christopher Paul Stelling
Best of Luck
Anti- Records

A Varied and Fulfilling Americana Album

Christopher Paul Stelling – or CPS as I shall abbreviate him to save time typing – is part of the long tradition of American travelling troubadours. Only armed with guitar, voice, enthusiasm and plenty of talent he’s grafted his way across Europe and huge parts of his native America over the years. I once saw him play a thirty minute support slot to Lilly Hiatt in Brussels after he’d driven a couple of hundred miles to the gig – and he had a couple of hundred more to get to the next show.
The result of such dedication is the creation of a craftsman – CPS is a fine finger-picking bluesy guitarist, reminiscent in many ways of Sean Taylor. “Best of Luck” and “Thank My Lucky Stars” frame his mellow vocals and create a nice, warm full sound.
“Trouble Don’t Follow” affirms a positive worldview with a Motown shuffle on distorted guitar – a real crowd-pleaser.
“Until I die” leaves the fuzz plugged in but switches to a nicely discordant blues riff – again there’s the resigned attitude of the road warrior “you’re gonna keep on working until you die”, but tempered with the recognition that he’ll be loved for the same amount of time too.
“Made up Your Mind” and “Blue Bed” return to confident bluesy picking with CPS showing off fine chops especially on the second track.
“Something in Return” is somewhat Richard Thompson in guitar style, but vocally much more soulful; lyrically, CPS’ themes are still the universal ones of the balladeer – “love and the chaos and the coincidence”; but that’s no bad thing.
“Hear me calling” shifts things up a gear with stomping percussion, Rock God vocal and Angus Young licks, whereas “Waiting Game” brings in keyboards for a bit of Sweet Southern Soul – keyboards which hang around for “Goodnight Sweet Dreams” and a tender wish to “see you in the morning”.
Christopher Paul Stelling – to give him back his full title – has delivered a varied, fulfilling album that showcases his ability to hold the attention of the listener, a skill in no part formed out there on the road – he deserves your attention and attendance.

Released 7th February 2020

Ian Roland and the Subtown Set DOUBLE RAINBOW

Ian Roland and the Subtown Set

Charming and Heavenly Contemporary British Folk.

Cast your mind back 5 years to when RMHQ first started and you just might remember that one of our first reviews was Ian Roland’s HOW THAT DUST JUMPS.
I’ve just had another listen and it’s still rather lovely btw.

But, we are ‘all about New Music’ these days and Ian and assorted friends have just recorded an new, bigger sounding and perhaps more ‘mature album’ under the moniker Ian Roland and the Subtown Set (NOT Sect as I first typed!), named after the studio these songs were originally recorded in.
Opening song The Valley is rather divine; as Roland uses his velvety smooth voice plus acoustic guitar, violin and cello to great effect on a pining ‘Contemporary Folk Song’ of the finest order.
This is followed by Butterfly; and as a man of a ‘certain vintage’ I was swept back to my teenage years in the coalfields of NE England where I would dream of a better life somewhere warmer, sunnier and more colourful; and this song made for a perfect soundtrack.
At times here I’ve found it difficult to make my choice of descriptive nouns not sound ‘critical’; but in the best of ways this album is both charming and delightful in equal measures; but never saccharine or twee.
Roland actually tackles some dark and challenging subjects in Human Too and In The Darkness; but the melodious constructions and crystal clear production bring the very best out of his words and make them deceptively ‘easy on the ear’.
This is most definitely in the Folk spectrum; but not the ‘finger in the ear’ ‘how worthy am I’ sphere; Roland writes of the things around him but adds a lovely commercial edge to his songs; with Colour Me In and the show-stopping title track Double Rainbow being well worthy of daytime radio play; and not just on the Interweb. (Where are the brave DJ’s any more?).
There are two songs that you really should take the trouble to hunt out; and because of that they tie for the title RMHQ Favourite Song.
Shooting Star is a delightful Love Song, with Roland’s voice soaring to the stratosphere on the chorus and the gentle combination of guitars and cello creating a warm backdrop
T’other is Songbirds; a more complex melody plus the surprise addition of Brione Jackson  stepping up from creating windswept harmonies to juxtapose Roland’s on a verse or two is an absolute Masterstroke.
I’m out of touch with the Folk Scene these days; so don’t know where this ‘band’ will fit in; but if you can put your preconceptions to one side for an hour or two; then this album (and I presume a gig or two) will please everyone who likes a singer-songwriter with a great voice and songs too; then this is for you.

Released February 28th 2020