Miles Davis RUBBERBAND SESSIONS 12″ Single

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Miles Davis
RUBBERBAND SESSIONS 12″ Single
Rhino/Warner Music

A Masterclass in Phat, Funky and Sensual Grooves.

This is a bit of a dichotomy for me as in principal I’m totally against these ‘limited edition/special releases’ for Record Store Day, as these discs usually cost an arm and a leg and end up, unplayed in the collections of vinyl fetishists rather than being listened to by actual fans of the artiste involved; but hey; this amazing 4 track 12″ Single from Miles Davis is as Cool as a penguins bum and deserves a huge audience !
Over the last 40 years or so I’ve tried time and time again to ‘get into’ Jazz; but generally failed at the task but somehow only managing to fall in love with Acid-Jazz, Chet Baker and the main man himself Mr Miles Davis.
These four tracks though sound nothing like anything I’ve ever heard from the Miles before; one tune and a great big melody but four very different and very sensual and timeless re-mixes that are perfect for both ‘chilling’ and ‘smooching’ too.

In 1985, Miles Davis shocked the music world by moving from Columbia Records to Warner Bros. Records and started recording Rubberband at the Ameraycan Studios in Los Angeles from October 1985 to January 1986. A radical departure for him as it was made up with fat funk and dirty soul grooves and would to include vocals by Al Jarreau and Chaka Khan..

Sadly the album was subsequently shelved and Davis went on to record Tutu.

32 years after Rubberband was originally recorded, the original producers, Hall and Giles have teamed up with Davis’ nephew, Vince Wilburn, Jr., to finish and update the title track.
In September 2017, they invited the 12-time Grammy-nominee soulful singer Ledisi, to guest on vocals at the Village Studios in Los Angeles.”

The cover artwork is a painting by Miles Davis.

Side A:
1 Rubberband Of Life featuring Ledisi (Radio Edit) 4:20
2 Rubberband Of Life featuring Ledisi 5:43

Side B:
1 Rubberband Of Life (Instrumental) 5:39
2 Rubberband (Original Version) 6:30

Released 21st April 2018

 

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My Top 10 #1 The Beatles SHE LOVES YOU

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As it’s a major milestone for me today, Friday April 20th 2018 I thought I’d do a sort of Top 10 of songs that have influenced me over that 60 years; or 55 years in musical terms!
As regular readers will know I have very eclectic taste which probably started in my childhood as the youngest of four brothers in the 1960’s.
Me? Born in 58 I was a child of the 70’s starting with T Rex and Slade singles which begat ‘Big Boys Music’with the Faces, Rory Gallagher and the Rolling Stones (who were actually a thread for all three younger siblings).
When you get to #1 on later you will realise that there are well over 100 other songs that have influenced me at one time or another but these 10 really are cornerstones to what you read on the Rocking Magpie on a daily basis.
So; here goes with #1
The Beatles – She Loves You.

What more can I say, my parents bought me this 45rpm single as a Christmas present in 1963 alongside a blue nylon ‘Beatle Jacket’ and a tin Beatles guitar……all subsequently lost in the mists of time but not eroded from my memory (yet).
So a timeless record that started it all surely must be #1 on my 60th Birthday, mustn’t it?

My Top 10 #2 Rod Stewart

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As it’s a major milestone for me today, Friday April 20th I thought I’d do a sort of Top 10 of songs that have influenced me over that 60 years; or 55 years in musical terms!
As regular readers will know I have very eclectic taste which probably started in my childhood as the youngest of four brothers in the 1960’s.
Me? Born in 58 I was a child of the 70’s starting with T Rex and Slade singles which begat ‘Big Boys Music’with the Faces, Rory Gallagher and the Rolling Stones (who were actually a thread for all three younger siblings).
When you get to #1 on later you will realise that there are well over 100 other songs that have influenced me at one time or another but these 10 really are cornerstones to what you read on the Rocking Magpie on a daily basis.
So; here goes with #2

Rod Stewart – Maggie May.

A song that proved to be my musical transition from a boy to a man, as it made me buy Every Picture Tells a Story with my Christmas Record tokens; and it is still my favourite album of all time and was the soundtrack to our journey to the hospital the day it was confirmed I had Prostate Cancer …… Reason to Believe coming on as we entered the car park. #Regular readers will know I had an operation 4 days later that removed the offending article and all’s well that ends well.

Rod’s choice of songs proved a gateway to so many other exciting musical worlds too…..and at that tender age; this song about a lad losing his virginity was as mucky as could be.

My Top 10 #3 The Specials

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As it’s a major milestone for me on Friday April 20th I thought I’d do a sort of Top 10 of songs that have influenced me over that 60 years; or 55 years in musical terms!
As regular readers will know I have very eclectic taste which probably started in my childhood as the youngest of four brothers in the 1960’s.
My Mam loved Glenn Miller and the like and my Dad who had a good baritone voice, liked a good singer on the TV; but was very sceptical of modern ‘long haired’ music (cue Stereotype jokes).
Norman, my oldest brother was a Teddy Boy and played Elvis, Cliff and Marty Wilde 78’s whenever he was home from the Navy.
Brian was a bit of a Folkie who eventually introduced me to Blues Music via his massive record collection.
Melvyn was a Mod who loved the Who, Yardbirds and Small Faces then evolved into a Dylan fan and the Singer-songwriters of the 1970’s…..which was an open door for what was to come in my later life.
Me? Born in 58 I was a child of the 70’s starting with T Rex and Slade singles which begat ‘Big Boys Music’with the Faces, Rory Gallagher and the Rolling Stones (which was actually a thread for all three younger siblings).
When you get to #1 on Friday you will realise that there are well over 100 other songs that have influenced me at one time or another but these 10 really are cornerstones to what you read on the Rocking Magpie on a daily basis.
So; here goes with # 3

The Specials – Too Much Too Young.

WOW! As a teenager the cheap This is Reggae and Trojan VA albums were regulars at parties and Youth Club discos but nothing prepared me for the rawness and dancebility of the Specials……OI wore one copy of this EP out and had to buy a second.

OK Madness can sell out football stadiums and many of their peers were pretty much one or two hit wonders; but this song and each Specials LP has the staying power of a nitro powered Ford Escort. Loved it then and still love it in 2018 #Keep The Faith Brothers and Sisters.

 

bugger it……here’s Skinhead Symphony too!

My Top 10 #4 Joe Jackson

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As it’s a major milestone for me on Friday April 20th I thought I’d do a sort of Top 10 of songs that have influenced me over that 60 years; or 55 years in musical terms!
As regular readers will know I have very eclectic taste which probably started in my childhood as the youngest of four brothers in the 1960’s.
My Mam loved Glenn Miller and the like and my Dad who had a good baritone voice, liked a good singer on the TV; but was very sceptical of modern ‘long haired’ music (cue Stereotype jokes).
Norman, my oldest brother was a Teddy Boy and played Elvis, Cliff and Marty Wilde 78’s whenever he was home from the Navy.
Brian was a bit of a Folkie who eventually introduced me to Blues Music via his massive record collection.
Melvyn was a Mod who loved the Who and Small Faces then evolved into a Dylan fan and the Singer-songwriters of the 1970’s…..which was an open door for what was to come in my later life.
Me? Born in 58 I was a child of the 70’s starting with T Rex and Slade singles which begat ‘Big Boys Music’with the Faces, Rory Gallagher and the Rolling Stones (which was actually a thread for all three younger siblings).
When you get to #1 on Friday you will realise that there are well over 100 other songs that have influenced me at one time or another but these 10 really are cornerstones to what you read on the Rocking Magpie on a daily basis.
So; here goes with #4 Joe Jackson – Look Sharp

Post Punk was probably my favourite era……Prefab Sprout, dancing at Tiffany’s on Friday night then off to the match on Saturday, Ska, the fledGling Jumping Hot Club offering Blues and R&B and this song by Joe Jackson encapsulated a whole lifestyle for me and still sounds exciting in 2018; imagine what we felt back in 1979!

#I even bought a pair of those shoes…..in purple!

Annie Keating – Ghost of the Untraveled Road

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Annie Keating
Ghost of the Untraveled Road
8th Street Studios

Difficult to Express Emotions Somewhere Between Regret and Resolve.

I like it when artists use the EP format to do something different, perhaps release a few songs that really don’t fit on any oth album they have, but still fit together, the misfit songs, maybe even one that’s out of character for the artist. After The Graceless Age, John Murry released Califorlornia, an EP with a few sensitive songs mixed in with “The Murder of Dylan Hartsfeld” which is scary/devastating in a way similar to Suicide’s “Frankie Teardrop.” Murry’s song wouldn’t have worked on the album that came before or after but on an EP it somehow made sense.
At times it’s also refreshing to just hear an EP from an artist rather than an entire album. Nowadays albums are, sadly, becoming passé, as no one hardly buys CDs anymore and vinyl is such a niche market, and many albums are becoming just filler. When an artist chooses to just release a single, is one song enough for a listener to make a decision on whether there is something musical worth pursuing? Practically anyone can record at least one good song, but what about three or four? Remember acts like Jesus Jones, Simple Minds, or Joan Osborne? One worthwhile song was pretty much all they had.
Now, after seven full albums, we have Brooklyn-based singer-songwriter Annie Keating releasing Ghost of the Untraveled Road, a five-song EP of love songs, longing, memories, and dreamy what-ifs. At times Keating’s voice reminds me of a time-worn and breathier Tanya Donnelly, at others a huskier and softer-voiced Nanci Griffith. Whichever, Keating makes the most of her voice with wry melodies over top understated acoustic guitar.
Keating isn’t blazing new trails into uncharted territory here, but that’s okay, as this is country-folk, not Sgt. Peppers. Mandolin, fiddle, and pedal steel all add support to these tunes, weaving in and out from one another to form a fine netting around Keating’s guitar and voice. Personally I feel that perhaps a little more variation on the instrumentation from one song to the next might have made things a bit more interesting, but I get the impression this EP is meant to be representative of Keating’s live shows. We’re getting the living room treatment here, which is fine.The title song, Ghost of the Untraveled Road, sets the pace here with a song about wondering what the past may have been like if only she’d done things a bit different:

“Should I think of you fondly, or not much at all?/Shall I cherish confessions of bury them all?”

But Keating still sees a glimmer of fond hope here, a wish that perhaps this dream can still be realized. “Sting of Hindsight” utilizes a fun, bouncy melody and carries the theme of longing for the past even further. “Forever Loved” is a well meant toe-tapper, and “Kindness of Strangers” is purposely languid, but it’s the closing song, “Forget My Name” which hits me as the best song here, mainly because of its bite. There’s real pain here, you can hear it in the crack in Keating’s voice from the very first line, the longing referenced in the earlier songs now replaced by a difficult to express emotion somewhere between regret and resolve. A darker tone to the pedal steel and some knife thrusts from the guitar help drive this tune home—if home is a dark and possibly dead end street. I’m hoping Keating goes for more of this next time, as this one stands out from the other songs on this EP, fine as they are.

Review courtesy the legendary Mr Roy Peak.

Released 25th May 2018

http://www.anniekeating.com/

Jenny Van West HAPPINESS TO BURN

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Jenny Van West
HAPPINESS TO BURN
Self-Release

Country Flavoured Folk Songs That Shine Like Stars on The Darkest of Nights.

Perhaps because my i-phone decided to quite randomly to file this album under ‘Indie’ it’s stayed undiscovered at RMHQ until yesterday when the title track, which doubles as track #1 Happiness To Burn found it’s way onto the car stereo and I instinctively reacted by turning it up; not that it needs to be played ‘loud’ by any stretch of the imagination, but I wanted to hear it in all its glory.
What a lovely warm voice Jenny Van West has on this delightful Western Swing/Honky Tonk hybrid featuring some old time Jazz guitar; the likes of which have not been heard around here since Laura Cantrell recorded those Kitty Wells songs.
The next song Live in a New Way is a lot more contemporary in words and deeds, with Ms Van West channelling her inner Dusty Springfield on a sultry Southern Country tune.
While there’s a definite Country thread here; especially on Twenty-Seven Dollars and 45 which both get the toes a tappin and the heart a beatin;’ I’m more inclined to file this album under singer-songwriter as Jenny can shift gears with ease and throw in gorgeous ballads like Never Alone with its wailing organ and pedal-steel as well as stories from the dark end of Lonely Street ……Where I Stand and Embers which have to be really concentrated on to get the best out of them.
While the names of the supporting cast may not be exactly household names; their collective pedigree working with RMHQ favourites Lukas Nelson, Adam Cohen and Shooter Jennings as well as Jackson Browne’s piano player shine throughout and none more so than their subtle flourishes on the heartbreaker Can’t Have You Now and the song I’ve selected as my personal Favourite……..Thresholds which didn’t just touch my heart, but my soul as well.
First and foremost the lady from Maryland is not just a super singer with a lovely and distinctive voice; but a marvelous and thoughtful storyteller too, which connected to Shane Alexander’s ace production and the mixing and engineering from Brian Yaskulka makes this, her second album shine like a star on a the darkest of nights.

Released April 20th 2018
http://www.jennyvanwestmusic.com

The Gladiators SYMBOL OF REALITY (1982) & SERIOUS THING (1984)

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The Gladiators
SYMBOL OF REALITY (1982) & SERIOUS THING (1984)
Omnivore Records

Timeless Reggae For Connoisseurs and Dance Fans Alike.

Late last year Omnivore Records re-released the wonderful FULL TIME album that the Gladiators had recorded for the American Nighthawk label and now they’ve found another two from 1982 and 84 in the vault which show how they and Reggae had matured in the intervening years and….are even better……in my humble opinion.

SYMBOL OF REALITY (1982)

The years have been kind to opening track Symbol of Reality and all that follows, simply because they all sound a bit like Bob Marley and the Wailers who had changed Reggae music for good when Albert Griffiths and the Gladiators entered the Nighthawk Studios, and his trademark sound is all over this song and the record itself.
There’s even a reverential reworking of two Marley songs Small Axe has a gorgeous brass section giving a nod to the bands Rocksteady roots but Stand Alone is bang on the money for what we were listening to in the early 80’s.
Another couple of songs are updated adaptations of earlier Gladiators tracks with Streets of Gold (aka Dreadlocks The Time Is Now) here in two ‘versions’ with the second having a dark almost Dub like remix which I kinda like; and Cheater (aka Big Boo Boo Deh) which for a Reggae track in 1982 has a cool dance beat to it.
It’s easy for me to like this album because it’s all new and fresh; even the two Dub instrumentals tagged on at the end, but if the pseudo-political Not Afraid to Fight had been around in Newcastle at this time Tommy Caulker and Phil Mitchell would certainly have pumped up the volume to fill the dancefloor every Friday and Saturday night. Hence it being my Favourite Track on this album.

SERIOUS THING (1984)

The Gladiators sound and songwriting style had toughened up for this release, with songs like the title track Serious Thing which opens the record owing a debt to the Rudeboy stories from the 60’s but given a harder edge in keeping with the times.
Mid-Range has a danceable tune, but the lyrics are hard edged and something of a call to arms in the chorus “Wake up everyone now/open your eyes and look within” which again; was very appropriate for not just Jamaican youth in the mid 80’s but the American teens who had adopted Reggae as their own personal soundtrack.
The political thread here is often masked by a some very melodic tunes, especially Good Foundation ( “A hungry man is an angry man/but a righteous man/is a righteous man”) and Freedom Train (“Old men get dreams/young men see visions”) which is another song that I wish I could have heard when it was fresh off the press.
Just like the previous album the Gladiators re-work a couple of their earlier Jamaican hits here too, with Fling It Gimme being a red hot slice of Rocksteady Bump and Grind with a new Reggaeliscious backbeat and Rearrange sounding uncannily like the type of British Reggae that Aswad were taking up the Pop Charts.
The nice people at Omnivore have added some fabulous Dub and ‘Versions’ to the original 10 tracks; but I’m going for something quite outrageous for my ‘Favourite Track’; After You is Reggae-Ska hybrid, the likes of which I’ve never heard before. The lyrics are an ode to Jah, which isn’t/wasn’t unusual at all but the mix is amazing with a brass section that could easily be from the Alpha Boys School which makes this swing like a Swiss timepiece.

Reggae comes in all shapes and sizes, and appeals to many different music fans so thanks to Omnivore Records The Gladiators and in particular singer-guitarist Albert Griffiths are having a welcome renaissance in 2018.

Released April 20th 2018
https://www.facebook.com/pg/Thegladiatorsband/about/?ref=page_internal
http://omnivorerecordings.com/

My Top 10 #5 Slaid Cleaves

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As it’s a major milestone for me on Friday April 20th I thought I’d do a sort of Top 10 of songs that have influenced me over that 60 years; or 55 years in musical terms!
As regular readers will know I have very eclectic taste which probably started in my childhood as the youngest of four brothers in the 1960’s.
My Mam loved Glenn Miller and the like and my Dad who had a good baritone voice, liked a good singer on the TV; but was very sceptical of modern ‘long haired’ music (cue Stereotype jokes).
Norman, my oldest brother was a Teddy Boy and played Elvis, Cliff and Marty Wilde 78’s whenever he was home from the Navy.
Brian was a bit of a Folkie who eventually introduced me to Blues Music via his massive record collection.
Melvyn was a Mod who loved the Who and Small Faces then evolved into a Dylan fan and the Singer-songwriters of the 1970’s…..which was an open door for what was to come in my later life.
Me? Born in 58 I was a child of the 70’s starting with T Rex and Slade singles which begat ‘Big Boys Music’ with the Faces, Rory Gallagher and the Rolling Stones (which was actually a thread for all three younger siblings).
When you get to #1 on Friday you will realise that there are well over 100 other songs that have influenced me at one time or another but these 10 really are cornerstones to what you read on the Rocking Magpie on a daily basis.
So; here goes with #5

Slaid Cleaves – Horseshoe Lounge

Bizarrely this came to me via a giveaway VA album courtesy Uncut Magazine. They had already produced The Sounds of the New West the previous year; but More Sounds changed my life…….with this song still being a favourite that I roll out every few months.

There are plenty of other of Slaid’s subsequent songs that could fight for the title of ‘favourite’ but this was the first.

 

My Top 10 #6 Rory Gallagher.

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As it’s a major milestone for me on Friday April 20th I thought I’d do a sort of Top 10 of songs that have influenced me over that 60 years; or 55 years in musical terms!
As regular readers will know I have very eclectic taste which probably started in my childhood as the youngest of four brothers in the 1960’s.
Me? Born in 58 I was a child of the 70’s starting with T Rex and Slade singles which begat ‘Big Boys Music’ with the Faces, Rory Gallagher and the Rolling Stones (which was actually a thread for all three younger siblings).
When you get to #1 on Friday you will realise that there are well over 100 other songs that have influenced me at one time or another but these 10 really are cornerstones to what you read on the Rocking Magpie on a daily basis.
So; here goes with #6

Rory Gallagher – Bullfrog Blues
My brother Melvyn had previously introduced me to Rory vi his Taste LP’s and I can distinctly remember the day he brought the first solo album into the house and forbade me from playing it before he did. HA! No chance.
Rory’s later output was a bit on the average side; but absolutely nothing in the history of recorded music matches the excitement of the Live In Europe album.
Rory at Newcastle City Hall was my first ever gig…….15/- and the best money I ever spent.