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I work out days a week alternating strength training and 45 minutes of cardio. But even so, the indisputed highlight of this new collection is the final track Across The Wide Ocean: All my hormones are now within range 3 years later, finally! Opening with the eponymous title track, Will sets about realising the boast of the album's title. She also introduces us to the work of Shetland poet Jack Renwick through the grey, almost half-light tones of Winter Comes In so beautifully conveyed in a telling chiaroscuro conjured by Andy Cutting and Mark Emerson , which is fast becoming one of my favourite tracks. In your create your meals chart it says a high carb meal for women it says the carb can be calories.
One of those lessons is to keep your material varied, for that way is the path to holding the attention of your audience. Thus, possibly with that thought in mind, he's penned some stirring uptempo firecrackers and sprinkled them, like hundreds and thousands, across his latest home-baked offering.
The first of them, to draw the punters in, is track number one, You don't know me anymore. With telling, hurting observations, it concerns a man's realization that the relationship with his lover has lost its spark.
But, though the song brims with sadness, it's sung to a strident beat pushed along by Keith Angel's drums, swollen by the lovely rich tones of Alan Dunn's Hammond organ and lifted by the first of many fine lead guitar breaks from Graeme Taylor. In stark contrast to the superficial happiness of the album's opener, track two is like a damp, overcast afternoon stood among the ruins of a derelict northern mill. Featuring just Tams - singing and playing guitar, bass and keyboards - and Angel, it's dark and doomy, with the percussionist really coming into his own.
His marimba soaks through the melody with all the persistence of a relentless drizzle at the same time as his staccato drums seem to mimic short, sudden downpours.
The song has a bleak beauty that's hard to ignore. In The ballroom , Tams slips into his pumps for the first of two songs marking the lure of the dance. Littered with characters looking for something they'll not find in this palais de danse, the song's filled with a sadness not entirely bereft of hope. Dunn again shines, initially on piano accordion and then with a delicious Hammond organ pattern filling the latter half of the song.
Red gown starts with Tams' acoustic guitar and vocals, and the organ, this time played by Barry Coope, before Taylor lets rip with a perfectly measured lead break. Unlike The ballroom , the lyric is filled with the excitement and expectation of an evening's fun: But it's historical ballads at which Tams excels and Home has a belter right at its heart.
She was an angel all in my eye, which made me from my colours to fly". He is eventually betrayed, court martialled and executed with a timely warning to all young men who fall in love.
Other top-notch tracks on a top-notch album are: Right on time - Tams solo with his acoustic guitar - The traveller and Bound east for Cardiff. It may say John Tams on the front of the package but due credit must go to his fellow players, each of whom more than earns his crust here.
In addition to the already mentioned Taylor, Dunn, Angel and Coope, Andy Seward 's bass is bang on the money throughout. Home is an album that reveals new treasures with each play. It's a natural progression, and a more than worthy follow-up, to Unity and it's stating the obvious to say that any who enjoyed Tams' first album will love this. JT call Home sorry! Music Of The Good Hope T2 The recent National Theatre production of the play The Good Hope , relocating the tale in Whitby, provided the vehicle for a new musical collaboration between Messrs Tams and Taylor reunited in an echo of former Home Service and Albion Band glories , providing a telling 17 minutes' worth of soundtrack that's recorded here.
They've roped in the talents of Chris Coe, Alan Dunn, Charlie Hart and Clare Taylor; Chris Coe's is certainly the dominant presence, contributing some extraordinary vocals, hammer dulcimer and even some clogging!
Personally, I could easily have done with three times as much music, but the absorbing and riveting nature of what there is proves a sufficiently poignant and effective tribute to the fishing communities around the tragedies of which the play is based. Named for a favourite hiking spot in the Adirondacks region of northern New York state, this is the new project by Mike Ferrio, the former frontman of Tandy which came to an end with the death of multi-instrumentalist fellow member Drew Glackin.
Deciding to start over rather than continue without Glackin's integral input, Ferrio assembled a collective of musicians who played with names such as The Silos, Ron Sexsmith and the Guthries plus violinist Eleanor Whitmore to put together what he describes as 'an artistic project for a lost friend. Recorded live on vintage analogue equipment, the songs inevitably deal with the big issues of death, friendship, life and love, the music embracing elements of soul, rock, folk, gospel, and Americana with instrumentation that includes organ, horns, harp, strings and, notably on the wide open prairie skies ambience of More Than A Feeling no, not that one , harmonica.
With tracks clocking in between two and a half and six and a half minutes, it's clearly a work born of great personal emotion, Ferrio's dusty timbre leaking wistful reminiscence and sadness but also, as with the uptempo The Seven Sisters, alight with hope.
Lyrically there's much religious imagery alongside that of mortality and transience with, as on the sparsely arranged The Perfect Circle with its otherwordly background ambience, calls to make the most of the 'diamond days', before 'your deal goes down. One to let wash over you as things like Requiem For Andrew, On Faith and Heaven In The Haze with its gospel choir seep into the soul, it's both a poignant, reflective elegy and the birth of a new future.
You know you're good when such an august figure as Steve Earle is in your corner. Just how good is demonstrated by the fact that yours is the first music he featured on his radio show. Rarely has a set of songs contained such an impact and achieved it so deftly. Both albums - initially a limited release on Yellow Slipper records - refuse to take the easy route of wave after wave of trite, clichéd lyric and catchy melody, the effects are much more subtle.
Tandy draws you into an intimate and personal world until you're not so much a listener as a welcome confidant. Ferrio's voice sits squarely in the middle of some gossamer delicate melodies and, throughout both albums, tracks build thoughtful layer upon thoughtful layer until they become utterly irresistible. Ferrio is joined on his endeavours by kindred spirits Ana Ege and Malcolm Holcombe. While both Ege and Holcombe are talented musicians, it's the combined spirit and determination of the three to cosset and comfort the music that provide the albums true delights.
Tandy may not shout from the rooftops but its music is deafening in what it has to say. Ferrio and co display an unerring accuracy in getting to the root of every note and word, there is not a wasted second on either album.
Musicians like Ferrio, Ege and Holcombe don't deserve labeling, leave that cheap trick for lesser talents. Two for the price of one - with a bonus track on each! There's two ways of looking at this.
Either Tandy's publicist is pursuing the 'less is more' line of thinking or the band prefers to let its music do the talking because biographical details are scarce.
The other members of the band are: Whether they are roots rockers, rock n rollers or something completely different, I'm A Werewolf hits with the force of an express train. A malevolent harmonica stalks it, like some unseen predator in the night, you can almost taste the fear. If you have a gravelly singing voice and write the kind of deep, dark songs that fit that voice perfectly, then there are certain people you must expect to be compared to.
Tom Waits is one, Tom Ovans and Warren Zevon are a couple of others and Ferrio slots right in with them, however this is an album that has as much light as shade. Without cooling the white-hot intensity of the rock 'n' roll, the album moves into Bait. To describe it as 'lighter' would be wrong but it's certainly airier than its predecessor.
Listening to Tandy is akin to being caught in a vice-like grip, even if you wanted to escape there's no chance. All you can do is sit tight and listen intently, the effort is rewarded by the tender Evensong.
After the maelstrom to hear a heart being poured out is a startling moment. It's brought into even starker relief by the almost operatic feel to Misery Boys, a song of distinct parts - neither the lyrics nor the melody are there merely to support each other - which come together to produce a much grander whole.
Singer-songwriter Mike Ferrio is occasionally joined by Ana Egge, their duets creating the sense that he's Gram, and she's you-know-who! Incidentally, in terms of packaging this CD ought to be regarded as the benchmark against which all self-released albums are judged. The package includes a lyric booklet, sticker, personally signed band photograph and the video for Girls Like Us - all mightily impressive for a release limited to a mere five hundred copies.
This would, of course, matter not a jot were the music not so captivating. To A Friend is an album as intimate as it's title suggests, a mature, crafted meditation on the past, which is destined for 'buried treasure' status in the future.
Tandy - The Lowdown Gammon Fronted by gifted songwriter Mike Ferrio who has a voice somewhere between John Prine and Steve Earle, the New York quartet have been making the rounds now for some six years, totting up three self released albums along the way. With a rising awareness of their brand of Americana and now signed to a proper label, they've taken the opportunity of gathering together the best of the old tracks with a couple of new numbers for good measure.
The presence of tabla on Becky California is indication that they're prepared to explore beyond the usual roots rock fence without sacrificing their distinctive rural mood, and if more recent numbers such as The Truth Is Better Than A Lie or the Byrdsian pedal steel driven Sister Golden Hair are stripped down, the more musically fleshed out likes of The District Doctor, Shine and Ted are no less convincing testimony to the band's keening charms.
Their Lichtenstein's Oriole album pricked up ears when they played the UK a few years back, and it's good to revisit their lollopping bluesy collaboration with the late Dave Von Ronk on Lorna and be reminded of the Steve Earley I Signed A Circle and the simple but complex storytelling childhood reminiscences of Pictures of China.
Tandy's latest album ' Lichtenstein's Oriole ' is an ornithologist's delight: Artwork out of the way, the music is pure joy: The album drives along with acoustic and electric guitars from Ferrio and Jay Sherman-Godfrey, aided by Dobro and lap steel from session man David Hamburger, fiddle from Miss Darlene, Sibel Firat's cello, cajun accordion from Charlie Giardano and Ferrio's harmonica. It's a fine, fine album with hidden depths and secrets beneath the instant pop appeal.
At the Bar Club and a pub gig, Rosie O'Grady's in Camden, in May, they produced as perfect a sound as a band can make, even with a slightly changed line-up, without losing any of the vitality or magic of the album. Maybe it's the other way round - the album perfectly captures the ' live ' Tandy. Well, the album was mostly recorded ' live ' in the studio and they have at least three elements working perfectly together in both album and ' live ': Tom McCrum's acoustic sticks drumming on tour he used just brushes and acoustic sticks on snare and never missed a beat.
Virginian Miss Darlene's fiddle was a smoothly mellifluous constant. Mike Ferrio controlled the whole with his songs: Language can be percussive in its own right; here the words roll rhythmically along, as much an instrument as his harmonica. And there were no jokes or wisecracks between songs - just straight into one great song after another. An album to hug to death and buy for special friends. I hope they come back to the UK soon.
Rochdale's Will Tang hasn't exactly taken the conventional route to gaining UK recognition. He made his name in Hong Kong by starting off in the burgeoning blues and jazz scene before going on to be a highly rated session harmonica player playing for, amongst others, Jackie Chan. From there he went on to his first record deal and paling 10, seater stadiums. After a further four albums he decided to come home to the UK, settle in Manchester and release his debut UK album.
Opening with the eponymous title track, Will sets about realising the boast of the album's title. There is certainly a big change from his last album, The Other Side although eight of the thirteen tracks on offer are from that very same album.
The title track is acoustic rock that has him in the same class as Paulo Nutini and David Gray. Troubles Down, one of the new songs, is sedate country rock with well executed slide guitar. On My Way, another of the new tracks, stays in the acoustic vein and sees him straying away from the blues.
This shows a level of sensitivity and vulnerability. He beefs it up a bit for The Other Side, which heralds the return of the electric guitar and, more importantly, the harmonica. This gritty, blues influenced rocker is a welcome addition. Red City Blues returns to an acoustic setting and is not a blues, as such, but rather a slinky rocker.
Something Special is a new one and although it is upbeat, it is unmemorable. Stories is more soft acoustic rock but Love Bites is a bit harder and his voice suits this. He gives the harp another airing on Time Of Day and the fuzzed vocal adds to the overall stormy effect. Drifting is not the blues classic as you may have expected but another acoustic rocker, this time much in the style of the aforementioned Mr Nutini.
The last official track is Sun Down, which is a harmonica blues which is short, sweet and cuts the soul. There are two bonus tracks, remixes of Travellin' Man the normal mix of which is not on the album and Love Bites. The former is a contemporary acoustic blues and the latter adds snappy drums from Geoff Holroyde to give another gritty modern blues.
They say that a change is as good as a rest so Will Tang must be completely rested for his next charge for widespread recognition. A Hong Kong harp player, you've got to be kidding? Well, I'm not and William Tang has as much right as anyone to express his love of the blues.
The opener, Walkin' Round is excellent and a song that any U. It is a very good introduction to the playing of William and he has surrounded himself with good musicians.
This is a 'live' studio album and gives us a feeling of how the band would sound in an intimate club - fantastic. It's Alrite rocks - it's another Tang song and guitarist Murdoch produces some good slide guitar before William goes almost apoplectic at the end. Sweet Little Angel is a B. King song and he has done the right thing by not trying to sound like the great man and there is some more strong guitar work from Murdoch. The Thrill Is Gone is the song made famous by B.
King but William's voice is not really suited to this but the interesting use of harmonica redeems it. It is an instrumental finish to a good album and, like the other tracks, is held together by the tight drumming of Mark Menezes. Canada's Tanglefoot have become one of that country's most popular exports, with a loyal following in the UK largely due to their storming, swashbuckling appearances at festivals.
In the flesh they've an almost overwhelming, distinctly larger-than-life presence which draws you into their stirring and passionate music: One special thing about Tanglefoot is that even though the band's always had a strong "corporate identity" as a performing unit, each of its members is a more than capable front-person when taking the lead role on a song.
There's a wide gamut of emotions on display, from Al's deliciously menacing theatrical portrait of the Bishop on Boot Soup and guitarist Steve Ritchie's charming swing-idiom retelling of When Dad And Uncle Archie Lost The Farm, both of which contrast nicely with Tanglefoot's tremendous, lively take on the traditional Paddle Like Hell done in authentic French-Canadian dialect, naturally!
The band's newest recruit, flamboyant fiddle player Sandra Swannell, contributes loads more than just a pretty face and some spirited musicianship, and not just in the vocal-harmony department but in the shape of a fine song, the story of Maggie, which fits in really well with the rest of the group compositions.
Steve's anthem For The Day another well-harmonised acappella item forms an ideal closer. Maybe you'll feel that the brief sequence of slightly silly extraneous outtakes tacked on at the end should have been left on the cutting-room floor, but at least you can exit before they start.
Any mild sense of underplay at moments during the set is only apparent while memories of the band's massive live presence remain in your mind; what's important is that Tanglefoot still make a suitably big sound even on disc and they're on splendid form both vocally and instrumentally here.
After five studio albums and even more UK tours, the big hairy ones have finally got round to releasing a live CD. Captured Alive brings right into your living-room or bedroom, car or privy! Recorded in Toronto over three nights in May last year, and following hard on the heels of the release of their successful Agnes On The Cowcatcher CD, this minute selection of definitively passionate, full-frontal Tanglefoot performances marks a watershed in the band's development.
It acts as both a swansong for the retirement of original member Joe Grant from performing with the band although he continues to write for them and as an introduction to new recruit, fiddler Terry Snider they appear together on the set's finale La V'la M'Amie.. If you don't already know Tanglefoot from their many riotous UK festival appearances thus far, take heart: I need to come clean myself, for during the early years of their career I was wondering what all the fuss was about.
I couldn't deny their energy, passion, musicianship and artistry, but somehow their larger-than-life presence, at least on CD, seemed overly concerned with maximising the impact with over-the-top delivery and a certain amount of posturing, which, although designed to impress, left me somewhat cold in the end. But more recently I've been a bit of a convert even though it's still the case that not all of their material totally convinces me , and not only because experiencing the band live is a whole different kettle of fish.
Quite simply, Tanglefoot are a top-flight live act, working hard, giving value aplenty with their supercharged, upfront performances of folk-tales that veer credibly from the good-natured and cheekily witty to the tragic and highly poignant, counterpointed by a true instrumental versatility and a hell of a stage presence. Tanglefoot are true showmen, who know how best to present their uniformly strong material and how to please an audience and keep their interest throughout a set.
There are no longueurs, and every song's a winner, whether rollicking or thoughtful. With 14 songs ranging far and wide through the band's healthy back-catalogue, together with five intros, and all encased in a handsome, heavy-duty digipack with photos, lyrics and notes, Captured Alive is as essential for the Fan as for those who still need convincing of Tanglefoot's already legendary status.
A sure-fire chart hit? That's the way it's always been for those of us who have found our music in the margins; the ' word ' passed by a friend, a great review in an American magazine, a link on the internet. We find our music under the radar. Michael Tarbox's unpretentious foursome, with himself on guitars and vocals, Jon Cohan on drums and percussion, Daniel Keller on violin and vocals and Johnny Sciascia on bass fiddle and vocals, strut their raw, rootsy rockers with a genuine feel for the soul of the South.
It's unpasteurised and so real you can taste it. Fresh arrangements guarantee you're not left with that ' jeez, there goes another blues standard again ' feeling. The core of the band started with Joss Clapp acoustic bass and Rob Armstrong cittern. Having worked together intermittently as a duo, they were soon joined by Ben Murray accordion and Jon Redfern drums and ultimately Emma Hancock fiddle.
This is their second album, and although it does not feature Emma, still gives a good impression of the band as they are today.
Not folkrock red in tooth and claw, but a much more subtle variation. There are tinges of Bert Jansch, celtic, cajun, jazz, and other influences even Pink Floyd on a pot puree of memorable tunes and songs. The rather down beat title track kicks off the album - actually it's a bit of a grower - followed by a splendid instrumental, Russian in feel with Celtic overlays. Next up is the sprightly song ' Fires ', featuring some nice accordion and acoustic guitar.
Next up is a real gem - ' Dark Eyed Sailor '. The well known trad song given a drop dead gorgeous acoustic arrangement. The CD is worth buying for this track alone. Finally, is ' Bagels ', another well played and enjoyable tune set.
All in all, a real gem of an album, and one to add to anyone's CD pile. From the name alone, Tattie Jam might be deduced to be either frivolous or fusionist, but although this Scottish duo incorporate elements of those traits they're embraced as entirely positive qualities that don't overstay their welcome. Here we have two very accomplished instrumentalist-singers: Each of them is intensely but wholly naturally capable of switching between lead and supporting roles during the course of a song or instrumental set, as the music demands, and their open-minded versatility enables them to maintain a constant freshness of approach that, though employing a necessary measure of thoughtful pre-arrangement, also retains both a healthy degree of spontaneity and the all-important element of surprise for the listener within the unusual flavourings and often strange twists and turns of text and texture.
In this way, Tattie Jam always manage to tread the fine line, and maintain the all-important balance, between the contrasting elements of their musical personalities, allowing each of these to percolate to the surface at the appropriate moments. Their respectful attitude to tradition is given due weight, while the slightly more facetious side of life is not neglected, being cheekily conveyed in a lively Scottish fashion.
Entertainment value is high throughout the disc in fact, as is the level of invention in the musical arrangements. In the duo's takes on traditional ballads Earl Richard and The Birken Tree , no stone is left unturned in their enthusiastic communication of the narratives, yet their responses are finely tuned and sensitive with it, and you never feel that they're selling their material short. Ruaridh himself has had a direct involvement in the composition of seven of the disc's 13 tracks: Forty and the sprightly Summer Shower jig and three of the vocal items.
But in all honesty I'd have to go as far as to say that every single one of the disc's tracks has distinctive and commendable qualities all its own, right from the attention-grabbing nay, arresting , spectrally bluesy album opening, the prelude to the duo's driving rendition of Robert Tannahill's Are Ye Sleepin', Maggie?
Lest it be thought I'm concentrating unduly on the duo's vocal prowess both are excellent solo singers, with an unerring ability to harmonise with each other as a bonus , I must emphasise that their instrumental skills are also second to none.
Seylan, playing a five-string electric instrument, coaxes with her determinedly syncopated bow-strokes some of the most attractively funky cello playing you're ever likely to encounter, balanced by an equally determined sensuous lyricality, while Ruaridh's sense of rhythm whether on tenor banjo or guitar is utterly infectious and balanced by an understated dexterity and sureness of purpose hear how he negotiates the tricky contours of the Nine Pint Favourite set for instance.
This vibrant duo certainly have a lot going for them, not the least a unmistakable sound, and they've produced what I can only describe as an outstandingly inspired debut CD, one which I'd not hesitate to class as undoubtedly one of the finest Scottish albums on the market at the moment.
If you're looking for a seriously different angle on Scottish tradition with a contemporary slant, then Tattie Jam will fit your bill very well indeed.
It's great to see on CD at long last this treasured LP from the tail-end of the s that first appeared on the Argo label in; it forms part of the tentatively continuing programme of reissues from the admirable Talking Elephant stable In Port is set to follow very shortly. Admittedly, Cyril owns up, in his sleeve note, that even he just does not know what we mean by the term "children's songs", but goes on to explain that the record contains a wide selection of suitable candidates including delightful "nursery songs crooned by Nanny" The Snail , cautionary tales like Tommy And The Apples, fun "cumulative" songs like The Tree In The Valley and I Had A Little Cock, and a handful of adult songs which are "sufficiently simple and humorous to appeal equally to young folk".
Well then, so what if with one possible exception all the "children's songs" on this record were obtained from grown-ups? The release comes with faithful reproduction of all the original liner notes and text, as well as some attractive additional artwork, but I do need to warn you that the published track listing is slightly awry, as items 2 and 3 have been banded together as track 2 so all successive tracks are one cue adrift. But this is still without doubt one of the most charming and yes, treasurable records of children's songs one could hope to come across.
Talking Elephant's latest crop of enterprising reissues finds the label testing the waters by licensing a select few LPs from the long-deleted Argo catalogue for well-overdue first-time-reissue in CD format. In tandem with the iconic initial fruits of Peter Bellamy's exploration of the Kipling legacy, here's the first of what I hope will be many reissues of key albums by the late Cyril Tawney. A Mayflower Garland, which was recorded in mid-December and released in , is a miscellany of traditional and contemporary material connected in some way or other with the counties of Devon and Cornwall which was offered as a tribute on the occasion of the th anniversary of the sailing of the Mayflower.
Some of these are regional variations of folksongs heard throughout Britain, whereas others are uniquely local. Perhaps the most celebrated of the latter is Cyril's matchlessly steadfast rendition of The Bellringing, which in the sound of the human voice imitates the flow of the bells but "forgets that bells don't have lungs"! Among other staples of Cyril's repertoire of the time, included on the LP are three of his own compositions, each having as its subject some aspect of life in Plymouth the wonderfully tender, affectionate and yet plaintive portrait of The Oggie Man, the modern-lullaby-cum-caustic-farewell Beacon Park and the necessarily slightly exaggerated satirical commentary of Second Class Citizen's Song.
Not quite so authentic, but more fun, is the silly Devonshire version of the maritime ballad The Cruise Of The Calabar which relocates the action to a clumsy barge in the comparative safety of a canal!
A Mayflower Garland has long been regarded as one of Cyril's finest albums, which makes it all the more surprising that fully three-quarters of its song contents has never before been available on a Tawney CD. Happily, that omission has now been rectified, and the present handsome reissue package comes complete with original sleeve notes. Yes, it's a cause for rejoicing that this fine, sensibly wrought collection can now take its rightful place on our CD shelves.
This handsome double CD was specially compiled for the Celebrating Cyril day held at Cecil Sharp House on 14 April this year, and in no way is it just an ephemeral memorial issue. Cyril's legacy, like his music, reaches far and wide, and this is evidenced by a realisation of the extent of his impact on the folk scene, an impact which in turn we can gauge not only by the sheer number of performers performing his songs itself a hefty tally , but also by the strength and depth of the tribute anthem from which this compilation takes its title: But before that closing anthem, we're treated to 31 songs performed by Cyril himself, taken from existing available recordings made over a wide timespan.
These either derive from the Cyril Tawney Archives or are expertly re-mastered recordings of gems of his repertoire both traditional and self-penned. The actual selection is both canny and salutary, and is actually contrary to what you might expect weighted heavily towards traditional song, for Cyril's talent for reinterpreting traditional song can easily get overlooked during the course of one's enthusiastic appreciation albeit well-founded of his original songwriting.
Cyril's versions of such staples as Ball Of Yarn and A Jug Of This could easily find a natural place on a future Voice Of The People collection, I feel, while his tender, lyrical rendition of the usually-pub-thumping Wild Rover is masterly, both astute and beautifully apposite.
Cyril's easy, naturally expressive delivery and adept, deceptively simple accompanimental style on nylon-strung guitar may always have betrayed the influence of Burl Ives, the man whom he readily admitted was the catalyst for him taking up the singing of folk songs in the first place, but his was a distinctive voice - and presence - that once heard was never mistaken or forgotten!
His commanding tones ring out on the one non-solo track, the shanty Roll Down in the performance taken from the original recording of the ballad opera The Transports.
It's probably fair to say that this compilation, consistently entertaining though it is, doesn't necessarily paint the most complete picture of Cyril the folk legend; for that you really need also to collect at least one but preferably more of the other Cyril Tawney titles Navy Cuts or Nautical Tawney now available on CD from the same excellent label, as well as the brand-new Live At Holsteins release reviewed separately.
And personally I'd have liked the package to have included those important discographical details such as recording dates and sources. But in every respect - performance, fine re-mastered sound quality, presentation - The Song Goes On is a magnificent celebration of Cyril Tawney's artistry. The latest album from Allan, his 20th, is heralded as showing a return to the more folk-inflected style of troubadour song that characterised his earlier songwriting years.
Whatever, Allan remains the consummate craftsman-in-song, and he hasn't in any way abandoned the key themes and concerns that he's developed and made very much his own over his long and illustrious nigh-onyear career as a premier singer-songwriter.
Leaving At Dawn is absolutely quintessential Allan Taylor, instantly recognisable for its telling combination of a uniquely expressive, warm and inviting vocal delivery and an attractive, precisely captured instrumental backing, centred as ever around Allan's own intricately moulded and mellifluous guitar playing. But it's also the product of an artist of maturity and integrity, always delivering work of the highest self-imposed standards and exhibiting in every single aspect of its presentation supreme confidence without complacency.
This new batch of songs was written with just one exception between and , each one a prime example of Allan's second-nature ability to directly share his emotions in simple yet always profoundly literate language, thereby taking the listener on a journey that feels personal yet contains universal truths aplenty.
Allan's musings are affectionate and eloquent, yet often more complex than they appear, primarily because they're shot through with the perceptiveness and realism that are the hallmarks of a true observer. Leaving At Dawn is full of songs that follow the songwriter's eternal preoccupation, reflection with regret, either musing sensitively on love Lay Soft On Your Pillow, Back Home To You or embodying a strong sense of genius-loci Provence, New York In The Seventies , often memorably bringing together both strands in the same song.
Especially beguiling here are two songs composed in a pastiche-traditional vein Firefly, already celebrated in Tom McConville's fabulous recording, and The Last Of The Privateers , The Almost Man a chokingly pertinent tribute to Allan's father , and Winter a beautiful and masterfully poetic expression of tender reassurance , while Red On Green is Allan's own translation of a poignant song of farewell composed by Massimo Bubola based on a WWI love-letter written by Massimo's uncle.
The disc's exceptional, state-of-the-art recording draws you in right close, with Allan's very special and intimate delivery cocooned by the immaculately judged and empathic contributions of a handful of other musicians variously playing guitar, dobro, accordion, banjo, bowed psaltery and fretless bass. I feel sure that Leaving At Dawn will rapidly come to be judged one of Allan's finest collections.
Little wonder that Tom Paxton praises Allan to the skies, for Allan's songs share a longevity and definite kinship with the very best of Tom's own. Allan's one of the key songwriters of our time, a true professional as much respected by fellow-musicians as by his loyal audiences.
Over close on 40 years now, he's produced a large number of intense and significantly enduring songs, and his own recordings of many of those most frequently requested remain obstinately though unavoidably unavailable, languishing on long-deleted LPs and CDs and yes, there's three of Allan's albums that I've never even owned on disc myself!
With this in mind, Allan has chosen to go into the studio and re-record a dozen of his best songs which fall into that unfortunate category. Yet considering its status as a collection of songs from different periods of Allan's writing career spanning the quarter-century from to and its originally-intended function as a kind of stop-gap pending Allan's next album of brand new material, this set works fantastically well as a strongly unified offering in its own right which highlights both the mighty consistency of Allan's writing craft and the unstintingly high quality of his singing and playing.
It also points up the stature of Allan's own continually evolving interpretations of his earlier material, by presenting the songs in stripped-down settings just voice and guitar or piano which in most cases are radically different from the original recordings.
This method permits an altogether closer focus on the vocal nuances of Allan's increasingly mature renditions, which embody what I can only describe as a more conversational delivery that brings a more intimate expression of the emotional climate and extracts further hitherto unacknowledged subtle insights from the lyric. The unadorned new settings serve to retrieve the essence of the songs, meaning which may over the course of time been lost in indifferent or over-cosy cover versions or buried beneath inappropriate instrumentation.
Priceless observational pieces like Urban Love Song glisten like freshly-polished jewels, while the reflective Chimes At Midnight one of three songs on which Lutz Moeller's grand piano takes the place of Allan's guitar also gains much from being shorn of its lates full-band arrangement. Yes, Allan, at the present moment you very probably "couldn't possibly play and sing any of them better than you have here": It shouldn't be so easy to temporarily lose count of just how many great songs Allan's written, but I suspect that even his biggest fans can be guilty of doing just that - so this immensely rewarding new CD will provide a further salutary reminder.
Several times BBC Young Tradition Award finalist, Manchester-born Becky is one of the few female players of the uillean pipes in England today, and she's already a session and festival veteran of several years' standing. She's built a considerable reputation for her distinctive interpretations of traditional tunes - not only on the uillean pipes, but also on the Northumbrian smallpipes, whistle, fiddle and duet concertina - and for her skill in composing and arranging tunes that continue the tradition.
Her debut CD was released over five years ago, a modest and unpretentious offering which eschewed precocious showing-off and instead concentrated on the music-making in the convivial company of her informal band of friends.
Ireland Bridge, the followup, moves on a step by broadening the instrumental palette to include piano and demonstrating the increasing sharpening of Becky's arranging skills to incorporate countermelodies and layers of harmonies into her individual presentation of the tunes.
Becky clearly feels no further need to prove herself, as there are no purely solo tracks this time round. Whether the tunes are traditional or self-penned and there are plenty of both on offer here, with the latter just in the majority , Becky's approach is genuinely exhilarating, full of verve and dynamism, retaining a solid base in traditional form and setting, but she brings in touches of folk-rock and even baroque at times and the textures she employs are invariably full of interest, ensuring the listener stays awake!
Right from the vibrant opening title track with its multitracked melody line, through the smallpipes showcase Smallcoalpiper and a stately treatment of O'Carolan's Captain O'Kane, and on to the more pictorial River Rose and finally the Can't Help Smiling set that rocks away to close proceedings - and I bet you can't too A most pleasing instrumental album that's just a bit different from the usual sequence of tune-sets - and therein lies its freshness and appeal.
Bram's been a mainstay of the renowned folk label Fellside almost since its inception, and Song Singer, his appositely-titled ninth album for the label, keeps the faith by maintaining his proven, winning formula - that of presenting another fine selection of songs that Bram obviously loves singing. It's inevitably a very personal selection, so not all the songs will be to everyone's taste there's one that I personally just can't get on with for instance , but if anyone can make a case for a song then Bram's your man.
His genuinely accommodating performing style has been labelled "easy listening folk", but while that has an element of truth in the sense that it won't frighten the horses with radical or aurally challenging arrangements, say , it should not be taken in the pejorative sense, for Bram's an entertainer in the old-fashioned sense, a purveyor of good honest artistry: On this latest offering, Bram's unpretentious yet wholly committed renditions are ably and tastefully accompanied by decent and primarily acoustic textures co-ordinated by engineers Paul Adams and Bob Hallard and featuring string virtuoso Stevie Lawrence, fiddler Iain Anderson, cellist Wendy Weatherby and other similarly expert musicians of unassuming excellence.
Several of the songs are ones that Bram's been featuring in his live sets for a long time but not got round to recording despite repeated requests - until now, that is, and so his fans will welcome this disc with open arms for its inclusion of favourites like Rose Of Allendale and Huw Williams' Geordie Will Dance The Jig Tonight.
The songs that work the best for me are those where song and setting truly cohere though it helps if I personally respond to the song anyway, of course. On this occasion I'd single out for special mention Judith Haswell's moving song of farewell Harbour Lights some particularly lovely harmony vocals from Linda and Sue Adams on this one , James Keelaghan's Hillcrest Mine why do songs about mining-disasters often have such jolly, even brilliantly catchy tunes?!!
I also liked Bram's thoroughly appropriate if unusual interpretations of two recent but quite well-known songs dealing with the cotton industry of his native Lancashire songs which in lesser hands tend to get saddled with a glib, overly cheery treatment. I could best sum up by saying that's what I've always liked about Bram - ie. This album does him proud, and it will quite probably come to be regarded as his best to date. Though a constantly reliable and entertaining performer who remains loyal to the folk scene, Bram never gets the level of recognition he deserves it seems.
I thought his previous album of all-new material, Fragile Peace which I reviewed in Stirrings , might well have been the one to bring him a healthier profile. Bram's stature as a performer could only be enhanced, I felt, by his perennially attractive and accessible presentation of a series of well-chosen songs, many from the pens of unjustly neglected writers.
But somehow that didn't quite happen, and I fear it's still unlikely to with this new CD. That comment shouldn't be taken to imply any lack of quality or consistency - far from it; it's just that Bram treads a roughly similar path again, using his customary artisan-like approach, which many listeners in this age of immediate impact and gushing trendsetting will persist in regarding as old-fashioned.
For The Night Is Young , Bram has gathered together a generous selection of top-quality material, but tips the balance just a little further onto the side of the traditional than usual; here five traditional songs get his own special interpretative treatment along with one by Robert Burns and nine by modern songwriters. One of Bram's strengths has always been the seeking out and performing of fine songs by contemporary writers Larry Kaplan, Brendan Graham, Willard Gayheart, Ian Chesterman et al.
In fact, I'd not heard the majority of these songs outside the confines of the better class of club singarounds, and it's good to hear them being given permanent take-home exposure as it were by a true professional. For, to his credit, Bram always manages to choose songs that suit his own vocal characteristics; he's in particularly good voice this time round - pleasing, firm and enviably even in tone, though its very evenness can sometimes give the erroneous impression of blandness, one which is reinforced at times by a slight over-use of reverb on his voice.
Instrumentally, aside from Bram's own guitar and occasional duet concertina, the audio signature of the album mostly revolves around the consort combination of the bouzouki of Steve Lawrence and the fiddle of Stewart Hardy - a glorious sound. The audio signature of just a few other tracks concentrates on the piano keyboard of Ian Kellett; at times this is attractively classical especially when boosted by Stewart's fiddle and viola , too close to "easy listening" for my taste on If I Should Leave You beautifully sung though it is.
I'll close by giving honourable mention to Bram's treatments of traditional material, notably his gentle, wistful, decidedly non-raucous take on The Holy Ground the arrival of which coincided with Tom McConville's similarly considered recent recording and his inspired, welcomingly non-lugubrious revisit of Annan Water.
Bram clearly still enjoys singing and discovering both new songs and fresh aspects of familiar songs, all of which he communicates strongly on The Night Is Young. Blue is the debut album from multi-instrumentalist Cassie, who just happens to be the daughter of award-winning bluesman Otis Taylor on eight of whose albums she's already appeared! Her music is a reasonably forthright, at times quite chirpy blend of contemporary blues, pop and rock with a touch of country. If that implies it lacks a specific or defined identity, then I tend to feel that way, at least for much of the skimpy minute duration of this album.
Cassie displays a passion for music-making, sure, and her songwriting is par for the course for a young lady her age exploring the trials and tribulations of a something woman , but her melodies often owe more to the pop stylings from which she derives much inspiration than to the blues in which her music might be more expected to be rooted.
Perhaps the most memorable tracks are the jangling odyssey of Keys, the driving Make Me Cry and the shimmering Haunted. Yes, Blue is a confident enough first-step, but I suspect it wouldn't make the impact it does without the powerful contributions of guitarist James Rooster Olson and the solid drumkit-grooves of Jeremy Colson, and neatly-staged guest appearances from the likes of harmonica player Steve Marriner.
It's all very well recorded, though: You might like to know that Cassie will be part of an intensive European tour of the all-female group Blues Caravan "Girls With Guitars" later this year.
I'm a bit ambivalent about this one. I like Taylor, he's an excellent live raconteur and he's written some great songs. However, this heavily autobiographical album seeks to capitalise on the former without providing any of the latter. Released as a special edition with a 32 page booklet annotating the songs and 2CDs, one featuring extended versions of the songs containing Taylor's stories and one with just the short non-narrative versions, it's basically conversational reminiscences about his Yonkers childhood when he was Jamie Taylor and family.
The opening banjo strummed Barry Go On, for example, recalls brother Jon's Hollywood ambitions, eldest sibling Barry's nascent geological aspirations he went on to become a renowned vulcanologist , his own musical ambitions and how it took six years to figure out his dad was a golf pro and not the FBI agent he'd persuaded them he was.
As with the title track's nostalgic reflections, there's several songs about 50s Yonkers life. The honky tonking 50s rock Yonkers Girls pretty much speaks for itself while Saw Mill River Road and Hey Jonny respectively tell how Johnny Cash and Bill Haley turned his life around in a town where the only music was 'white fluff stuff. The former references Big River, the song he wrote for Cash, while, incorporating Rock And Around The Clock and namechecking The Blackboard Jungle, the latter is a pithy summation of how rock n roll revolutionised a generation.
None of them are going to rank alongside his classics, but there's a comfortable relaxed warmth in their telling that ensures they slip down easy. Mike Davies January Chip's musical career has been fragmented, in fits and starts. The first phase was as legendary songwriter and then country-rock performer of the early 70s, which culminated in a tour of the Netherlands in The second phase followed his return to music in the 90s, and had as its highpoint the series of duet albums he made with Carrie Rodriguez.
Right at the end of their musical partnership, in , they toured Holland; during this tour, Chip wrote a series of songs capturing the events of that tour, his thoughts about ending the partnership and the people he was meeting along the way. This CD presents solid studio performances of these songs, with Chip backed by a simple guitar, bass and drums lineup Hans Holzen, Kyle Kegerreis and Tony Leone , and it's a quality collection, sure.
The vast majority of the songs are personal and reflective, performed in a confidential tone and clearly deeply felt: For this tour, Chip also revisited the first song he ever wrote, Faded Blue, and there's a loving new rendition of that song midway through the disc. But the complete package is so much more than a minute music CD. The book's role as a raison-d'être and companion to the CD ensures that it contains Chip's essential background notes to the composition of the songs, together with their lyrics reproduced in full, and a blog-style chapter of notes to the individual dates on that final tour.
But the book is so much more, for in its preceding 70 or so pages Chip takes you through a kind of potted autobiography chapter one and an overview of the years with Carrie chapter two ; these pages are liberally laced with period and archive photos, and bring the legend alive most attractively. Inevitably then, it's more of a personal memoir than an official autobiog, and as such it probably doesn't yield any fresh insights for the existing Chip Taylor fan, but it's still a document worth having and I'd say an essential purchase for the music on the CD alone, notwithstanding the fact that the various elements of the project dovetail so well together.
David Kidman April Anyone who thought that the fact there's been no album together for five years indicated some sort of fall-out between the two will be happy to discover that this best of compilation from the four duo releases between and is preceded by four brand new recordings. The final two old numbers are taken from the live album recorded during the German tour, a chance to roll out two Taylor standards with a vocally low key but musically growly Wild Thing and soaring Angel Of The Morning.
The new stuff, then and it's like there's been no time between as they trade verses and harmonise on seductive bluesy slow waltz The Island, the reflective lost love Play It Again Sam, the title track's harking back to the domestic spats in song of George and Tammy and, one of the best things to come out of their time together, the achingly resigned Your Name On My Lips with Carrie's fiddle in heartsplitting form.
They may never make another full duet album, but if separation can inspire work like this let's hope they at least find time to get together now and again. The annual festival at Germany's industrial heartland the Ruhr has been going for five years now, and an integral part of it, the Century Of Song concert series, is dedicated to the art of the great songwriters: So on this concert, the inclusion of numbers like Long Black Veil and Merle Haggard's Today I Started Loving You Again and Chuck Berry's Maybellene, come to that are no surprise to Chip's fans, and they receive warm, accomplished renditions that don't disappoint especially the wonderfully atmospheric LBV , while for the origjnals Chip draws for the most part on songs from his three joint albums with Carrie, turning in performances that, while significantly better than respectable, don't spring any surprises or add much to those on the studio albums - and although the songs themselves are pleasing enough it would I think be fair to say they're not considered to be quite Chip's very finest work.
But it helps that Chip and Carrie are blessed with a crack backing band which includes among its ranks Bill Frisell, Greg Leisz, David Piltch and Kenny Wollesen, all at their best here; Carrie's own fiddling is just fine, while they even draft in Buddy Miller to contribute including playing a fairly spectacular solo on Wild Thing, which inevitably!
Now comes an even better follow-up, one which doesn't mess around with a winning formula thought the social issues have taken a breather this time but which also marks their first co-writing partnership on three tracks, Memphis, Texas a get to know who I am song titled for the town where Rodriguez's grandmother was born , the stomp around fiddle driving they won't tear us apart All The Rain, and the two men in my life sparse ballad Confessions.
The other 10 are down to Taylor, a familiar collection of his aching stories of regret, broken relationships, self-recrimination and holding up. Jude patients needing certain procedures, such as brain surgery, may undergo procedures at LeBonheur Hospital. University of Tennessee physicians training in pediatrics, surgery, radiology, and other specialties undergo service rotations at St. The center is an affiliate of St. Jude Children's Research Hospital averaged over seven years.
All medically eligible patients who are accepted for treatment at St. Jude are treated without regard to the family's ability to pay. Jude is one of a few pediatric research organizations in the United States where families never pay for treatments that are not covered by insurance, and families without insurance are never asked to pay.
In addition to providing medical services to eligible patients, St. Jude also assists families with transportation, lodging, and meals. Three separate specially-designed patient housing facilities— Tri Delta Place for short-term up to one week , Ronald McDonald House for medium-term one week to 3 months , and Target House for long-term 3 months or more —provide housing for patients and up to three family members, with no cost to the patient.
From to , Jude went to the current or future needs of St. Jude goes directly to its research and treatment. Other fund-raising programs include the St. Jude also has a merchandise catalog called the Hope Catalog. The catalog contains everything from shirts to office items, and from patient art to "Give Thanks" wristbands. In November , St. Jude launched its inaugural Thanks and Giving campaign which encourages consumers to help raise funds at participating retailers by adding a donation at checkout or by purchasing specialty items to benefit St.
The campaign is supported by network television spots, advertisements in major publications, interactive marketing on Yahoo! The campaign was created by St. Customers nationwide are asked to help raise funds at participating retailers by adding a donation at check out or by purchasing specialty items to benefit St.
This event is a noncompetitive 5K that is now held in 75 cities across the country. Those participating in the race are encouraged to form teams, invite family and friends, and raise money for St.
One of the hospital's most recent and successful fund-raising efforts has been the Dream Home Giveaway. Jude Dream Home Giveaway". Jude Children's Research Hospital.
Retrieved January 29, The Dream Home Giveaway, one of the largest national fund-raising programs, is conducted in cities across the United States. Many high schools around the country are creating student-led and student-run organizations called Team Up for St. These programs consist of high school students putting on events that raise funds and awareness for St.
Jude while showing their school spirit. One of the main events is a letter writing campaign in which the students are sent pre-written letters that include stories of a patient and ask for donations.
The high school students often have a "letter writing party" to address and send the letters to their family and friends asking them to support St.
At various college campuses, some student organizations, fraternities and sororities raise funds in a program called Up 'til Dawn  Phi Mu Delta National Fraternity is partnered with St. The fraternity's second core belief, "I Believe in Service I believe in service defined in the terms of voluntary sacrifice for the welfare of those with whom I come in contact.
Jude and other equally important causes. Jude in the s and s to help raise money to fight childhood cancer. The fraternity renewed its link to St. Jude as its philanthropy of emphasis in In , the Delta Delta Delta collegiate sorority formed a philanthropic partnership with St.
Jude nationally and supports cancer charities at a local level. Since that time, members across the country have joined in the fight against pediatric cancer, sickle cell disease, and other catastrophic illnesses. Jude has one of the largest pediatric sickle cell research and treatment programs in the world.
Jude is the first known hospital in the world to cure sickle cell disease through bone marrow transplantation.
Today, bone marrow transplantation still offers the only cure for sickle cell disease. During the Sunday of Hope, churches will take up a special offering in honor of the patients and families of St. Lambda Theta Alpha sorority serves thousands of hours each year to a variety of philanthropic causes and needs. In the effort to create a more united and bigger impact nationally, Lambda Theta Alpha selected a national philanthropy.
Jude Children's Research Hospital, becoming the first individual Latino Greek organization to commit fully to the hospital's efforts. With this partnership, LTA provides our resources of community service and activism and more importantly, another direct link to the Hispanic community for St. LTA has pledged to raise awareness about childhood cancer and St. Jude in the Latin community, as well as fundraise for the hospital through a variety of events and programs. Past events have included: Another successful event is the Country Cares for St.
During these events, country radio stations around the country allow those touched by St. Jude to share stories with listeners, highlighting patient stories, and having exciting promotions. Listeners are encouraged to call in and become a Partner In Hope by making either a one-time or monthly donation to the hospital. Country artists have also supported St. Jude through concerts, hospital visits, call-ins, and other forms of support.
Jude Championship out of the desire to provide a season-long fundraising component to the Memphis PGA tournament. McDonald's officials came to the hospital, accompanied by a representative from the accounting firm Arthur Andersen , and verified it as a winner.
Over the years, many celebrities such as musicians, political figures, actors and others have become involved with this foundation. Hollywood actors visit the hospital to meet some of the kids and try to get involved.
Other celebrities have filmed commercials to encourage individuals to donate to St. Some of the most recognized celebrities that have visited St.
Jude to see the effort going on daily in order to combat catastrophic illnesses are: From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.
Hospital in Tennessee, United States. Jude Childrens Research Hospital Inc. Retrieved January 5, Archived from the original on Can you say a novena for me? Retrieved November 23,