‘Spill Game week 7 – he got dimples in his jaw

Picture of Jimmy removed for reasons explained in later post ‘Be careful’. Sorry!

So these are all songs that, when they come up on the shuffle when I’m driving, cause me to take a deep breath and go “ahhhh…” with satisfaction.


To start with, two songs called Caledonia:

1 Caledonia by the Gourds, from their rather rough-and-ready first album Dem’s Good Beeble. It’s weird. It’s very weird.

2 Caledonia by Emily Smith – she’s a young singer from Dumfries (where I used to work) who’s making a bit of a splash in folky circles these days. I bought the album Too Long Away on the strength of this, and it’s still my favourite one.

3 Graham Parker’s Endless Night from the album The Up Escalator, which again I bought for this track (because it’s got Bruce on it) but came to love the whole thing…as did Matt; but GP himself doesn’t like it any more, as he told Matt snottily when Matt requested a song from it.

4 This is one that has me pulling over if it comes up while I’m driving, because I know I’m going to cry. My Beloved by Diana Jones, from her first album My Remembrance Of You.

5 My theme song: Scare Easy by Mudcrutch. (Because I don’t.) Easy to find, since they’ve only made one album and it’s called Mudcrutch.

6 Are they the most-zedded band, proportionately? This one was zedded by me – Remember (Walkin’ In The Sand) by the Shangri-Las. A hit single, of course, but I have it on the splendidly-named Myrmidons Of Melodrama album.

7 My favourite Janis Joplin song, and another for the songs-that-don’t-have-the-title-in-the-lyrics list. Kozmic Blues, originally from the album I Got Dem Ol’ Kozmic Blues Again Mama!, now much-anthologised. Yes, I know some of you don’t like Janis. Fine with me.

8 This is a very early Buddy Holly recording of a song not written by him – and rather an odd one to choose, I always think. Surely such things don’t go on in Lubbock, Texas? Midnight Shift, and it’s the ‘Ohhh, Annie!’ version, which for some reason I hadn’t got (though I have zillions of Buddy Holly tracks), so I nicked it from YouTube. Great guitar on it.

9 The Beauty Way is by way of being Eliza Gilkyson’s theme song – or so I believe, while not being terribly familiar with her stuff. Matt recommended her to me. And I’m seeing her in concert on October 13, so we shall see whether she sings it, and if so what she says about it. From Hard Times In Babylon.

10 Dimples was probably the first blues I ever heard, way way back among the mists of time; I do remember liking it very much, and I’ve been a big John Lee Hooker fan ever since. You can’t really see Jimmy’s dimples in the photo, but he certainly has them.

11 Lal Waterson, of the Hull Family Waterson, died in 1998 (1998! good lord). She wrote some amazing songs, powerful and often ambiguous. Some Old Salty is one of her most straightforward, and it evokes for me strong memories of happy and sad times long ago – even though I was in Potters Bar, not Hull. Lucky me, huh. It’s from Once In A Blue Moon.

There you go! Choose your least favourite one to throw out – they’re all my favourites but it’s OK, I won’t be sad, because that’s what the game’s all about. And choose your favourite, if you have one. There’s a bit too much country for bethnoir, I expect.

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60 thoughts on “‘Spill Game week 7 – he got dimples in his jaw

  1. ‘Twould have to be an amazing list to have me throwing off a Janis, Diana, Buddy or John Lee so they all stay. Not every song of theirs is inviolate, but these that TFD has picked sure are. And (Walkin’ In The Sand) is classic and I love it, so it stays.

    After a few more listens, I’m keeping Waterson and Gilkyyson and thanking you very much for them

    Mudcrutch can stay, although I wouldn’t listen to it much. It’s competent Petty (He was quite good very early, wasn’t he? My criticism is he also stalled quite early – but I doubt we’ll agree on that!)

    The Graham Parker is up for the chop because it’s so lackadaisical, as are the Gourds and the Emily Smith.

    The Gourds stay because they’d probably be fun to see live, and I’m frankly torn between Parker – because it is too poppy and I’ve always felt that after Brinsley Schwarz he just kind of latched on to sounds he heard across the pond – and Emily Smith – because it is the type of affected folk for purists that I hate with a passion.

    So, erm, how to choose? Lets go with passion. Which means …. Parker. Smith is young and at least what she does, she does well and throws herself into. Endless Night has too much borrowed (tip: When you’re band already sounds too much like a tribute band, don’t borrow people from that band) and not enough new.

  2. First off, love that picture of Jimmy. I know it’s his chair/a steadying arm, but on first glance I thought he had a wee guitar slung across his back – and of course I thought, How appropriate!

    The Gourds: I was expecting something a little more, er, Scottish-sounding. Ridiculous really, seeing as (thanks to tfd) I have various other Gourds tracks on my iPod. Definitely rough and ready (some ropey harmonies there, I thought). Definitely infectious though. Keep.

    Emily Smith: Sounds very Karine Polwart to me. Which is no bad thing. Lovely voice. Good storytelling too. Minor quibble: I find the “doon” a bit affected. Keep.

    Graham Parker: Bit too pub rock for me. Like a less distinctive late 70s Elvis Costello or Nick Lowe or someone. Perfectly fine but I’m not excited by it.

    Diana Jones: I’ve heard the High Atmosphere album (thanks tin!) but this is new to me. Nice sound but I’m not quite being hooked in by the melody. Not sure why. Prefer “I Don’t Know” or “Drug For This”. May need another listen. Nice though. Keep.

    Mudcrutch: I scare extraordinarily ‘easy’. But I like this – perhaps in a wish-fulfillment way. Keep.

    Shangri-Las: As if I’m gonna jettison this! Love love love.

    Janis Joplin: I should know this song, shouldn’t I? I don’t. I like it though. Lots of people try and sing like Janis; not sure anyone else can. Keep.

    Buddy Holly: Not my thing really. I wouldn’t turn it off but it doesn’t really do much for me.

    Eliza Gilkyson: This hooks me in more. Yeah, this is great. Keep.

    John Lee Hooker: I know it’s pretty much sacrosanct but I’m not that big on the blues. I love his voice but the music doesn’t vary enough for me.

    The Watersons (or whomever it’s credited to): Yeah, love this. Very comforting.

    Crikey, it’s decision time. Um, I think it’s between Graham Parker and Buddy Holly. I’ll have to go with tinny and Parker, I think.

    Thanks tfd – some great stuff there. And only one Petty tune. I was fully expecting 11 (which would have been fine)!

    • They really do say ‘doon’ in Dumfries…I’m saving the all-TP one for another time. I actually don’t think the people who criticise him can have heard very much. Still, those people wouldn’t listen to it anyway so perhaps there’s no point.

      • That’s sort of my quandary re putting together my list at the moment. There’s no point posting 11 songs that are likely to appeal to no-one but me. But equally, there’s not much challenge in there if I just pander to what I perceive as ‘Spill tastes (which are, admittedly, pretty catholic). I shall keep tinkering with my choices…

      • Oh, I wouldn’t bother with ‘Spill tastes if I were you! There’s plenty of variety in bishbosh tastes, after all.

      • Bish -

        Really, put in your own tastes. That’s what these lists are kind of for. Convince us, don’t pander. And even some that may not go over still may well need to be heard anyway.

        Tfd -

        The real world calls. Will be back tonight or tomorrow.

  3. Well… John Lee Hooker was my clear favourite. Indescribably wonderful.

    Then Janis. No question about it.

    Lal Waterson (whose noms I’ve always skipped over for no known reason) was my next favourite.

    Then Mudcrutch and Buddy.

    The Shangri-La’s next (but I really have never understood why the seagulls are in it though)

    Eliza Gilykson and Diana Jones both good and I think Emily Smith has bags of potential. Definitely a keeper.

    Graham Parker – good old “old school”. Not his best.

    I’m horrified to admit it but I didn’t care too much for The Gourds song, but I do love some of their stuff, so I can’t get rid of them! What do I do now?

    • The seagulls are because she’s on a beach!

      You can chuck out the Gourds and say that’s because it’s from their first album and you prefer their later stuff. Done!

  4. Great list, though I’m definitely leaning to the folky side of it.

    Diana Jones was probably my favourite – great voice, lovely melody, beautiful fiddle. Lal Waterson up there too – what a wonderfully rich vocal sound. All I know of her (as opposed to the extended family) is this James Yorkston cover: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6p6oCJWZuU0

    I’ve not been particularly taken with other Gourds tracks that I seem to have acquired from you, but I liked that one a lot, and the sequencing into Emily Smith, which was very pretty, and just the right side of trad. Bit disappointed you couldn’t find another 9 tracks called Caledonia.

    Keeping Janis Joplin (because I wouldn’t want to mess with her), the Shangrai-Las and Buddy Holly. Eliza Gilkyson was rather lovely, if just a little straight country for me.

    Graham Parker and Mudcrutch aren’t really my sort of thing, but were both quite catchy – I wouldn’t go “ah”, but I wouldn’t turn them down either.

    John Lee Hooker can go – sorry, my failing no doubt, but I just find 98% of blues kind of boring.

    • Re Lal Waterson, that song Midnight Feast is on the album, which is credited to Lal and her son Oliver Knight. The album Bright Phoebus by Lal and Mike Waterson has all her best-known songs on it – I could put it in the box if you’d like.

  5. Thanks for a great set of noodling tunes, tfd (even if I had to do a lot of string-bending for the slightly sharp JL Hooker recording)! Difficult to kick one out. I think I’m going with the gathering herd and will say goodbye to Graham Parker, coz it’s not as good as the others.

  6. OK, so what do I like and what don’t I like. Let’s have a listen and see.

    Caledonia by The Gourds, not really working for me, a possible one for the drop.
    Caledonia by Emily Smith, this is more like it. Lovely.
    Endless Night. I like Graham Parker and there isn’t much to dislike about this. I think I prefer his earlier albums though.
    My Beloved This is very country, possibly on the edge of where I start wanting it to get a bit more rock ‘n’ roll, but this is still on the right side. She has a lovely voice.
    Scare Easy Aha, Tom Petty and The Heartbreakers before the name change. Great stuff. There’s no way I am kicking TP out of the back of the lorry.
    Remember (Walkin’ In The Sand) The Shangri-Las can do no wrong. This is a solid gold teen opera classic.
    Kozmic Blues Janis Joplin can also do no wrong. One of my favourite Grateful Dead sons, Bird Song is a tribute to Janis.
    Midnight Shift Well, I can’t dislike this, can I?
    The Beauty Way Nice, lovely Telecaster twang there and another lovely voice.
    Dimples John Lee Hooker is another one who can do no wrong.
    Some Old Salty I suppose now is the time for me to confess that I really do not like The Watersons at all, collectively or singly. This one is definitely evicted.

    So, a nice playlist overall, bookended by the two tracks I didn’t like. The Gourds were safe though, because I knew all along that Lal Waterson was going to be voted out.

  7. Thanks for the list, TFD. It is hard to choose but here goes;

    The Gourds – a bit repetitive, not too keen on this. I mark each track out of 3,and this gets a 1.

    Emily Smith – Lovely voice, good tune, reminds me of Canadee-i-o by Nic Jones (the story, not the song).

    Graham Parker – this wouldn’t play so I found a You-Tube version which was, to be honest, truly dreadful. Not sure if this is fair.

    Diana Jones – How could I not like this? I’m not a country fan but her voice transcends the backing, it’s beautiful.

    Mudcrutch – The beat is a bit pondering but it’s OK, no objections to TP from this corner (pondering??)

    Shangri-Las – a bit stridently nasal (nasantly stridel?) but I like the seagulls, they remind me of Bristol. The seagulls win it, for me.

    Janis Joplin – I so want to be able to sing / scream / express myself like that.

    Buddy Holly – Yep, bopping around the ironing board. I need to get a life.

    Eliza Gilkyson – Hmmm. Scores a half, I think, not too keen on the country sound.

    John Lee Hooker – nice spot of blues. Saw him live, once, he stays.

    Lal Waterson – Pleasant, but surprised you didn’t go for Waterson/Carthy and “When first I came to Caledonia” (which is now stuck in my head).

    OK, this may be grossly unfair but Graham Parker has to go!

  8. The only track I actively disliked was the Gourds. Lumpen drumming! The Shangri-Las go to the top of the class. That John Lee Hooker recording is not one of his best although I love the song.

    • Ha! Obviously I should’ve chosen a different Gourds song. (They’ve got a different drummer now.) And yes, I suppose I posted that Dimples because that’s the one I’ve got. Memo to self: get more JLH!

  9. The Gourds were fine. Only problem is that i maybe listened too early in the morning. They can stay.

    Emily Smith, Diana Jones, and especially Eliza can stay, they’re all gorgeous. Nope, Eliza was not too country for me at all. It’s about a hooker, isn’t it? Anyhoo, that’s what i got out of it.

    Buddy and John Lee Hooker stay. Buddy was great. Not touching a hair on Janis’ head. You bet she stays. Graham Parker stays, because it wasn’t doing much for me but got a bit Stonsier as it went on.

    I loved the Tom Petty. Maybe a candidate for the single keeper, along with Eliza and Janis.

    So which to toss? Lal Waterson or the Shangra-Las? Yes, the Shangra-Las, couldn’t stand it. Because i was the only tasteless, classless slob who tossed GF’s final nom on his list, i’ll be the tasteless and classless slob who tosses the Shangra-Las too. Consistancy matters. (Be on notice though Lal, you just barely squeaked it.)

    Thanks Tfd!

  10. oh crap, rebooted my computer and forgot to identify self. Tfd, my post is lost in the ether somewhere under Anonymous. You probably just have to approve it.

  11. I am very late to this, it’s been a bit of a hellish week and computer time has been limited, but I’m here now, so…that is a lovely picture of Jimmy :-)

    Gourds not quite my bag, Emily Smith has a nice voice and it’s a good story, not terribly excited though. Graham Parker is a no, sorry as is Diana Jones, has she got a boiled sweet stuck in her mouth? Apologies to her many fans.

    I’m getting a taste for Mudcrutch, like this one too.
    I do love the Shangri La’s song, I have three different versions, one by Aerosmith (!) and my favourite at the moment, voiced by Julianne Regan with the band The Eden House.

    After I met you in real life, TFD, I dreamed that you were really Janis Joplin and had just pretended to die to get out of the limelight! I love this track.

    Like the Buddy Holly one too. ELiza reminded me of Suzanne Vega, nice and I’ve had a soft spot for John Lee Hooker since I sought out original versions of songs I heard of his from the Doors and Nick Cave.

    Lal Waterson reminds me of folk clubs in Norwich and it’s about the sea so I’m bound to love it, definitely staying. I think I’d drop Graham Parker.

    Now I’ll read what everyone else thought, thanks for a varied list ;-)

    • Sorry to hear about your week – hope things improve now it’s the weekend. Thanks very much for your comments…hmm, Janis: if I were really her I would hope for a happier life. (But being able to sing like that would be fine.)

      • the weekend doesn’t involve work so it is a great improvement, thanks for your good wishes.
        Perhaps Janis wouldn’t have been moved to sing like that if her life had been all roses. I sometimes wonder about the morality of loving artists who make their best work when they’re suffering, but real passion is always going to get my attention more than faked stuff.

  12. By the way, I am considering that in my west country social CD I was very kind and avoided the gothic side of my taste and feel I might like to inflict some of it on you lot, what is the timetable for who is doing this and when? Or do people still want to listen?

    • Ooh, thanks for the reminder. To date we have -

      Oct 2 – Bish

      Oct 9 – Ali

      Oct 16 – Fintan

      Oct 23 – ?

      Oct 30- ?

      So Beth, those slots are still open, and Abahachi said last time to sign him up for an open slot, but i think he should choose one himself because we don’t know his schedule. Same with DsD, if he wants to sign up for another slot. After Oct we’re getting into holiday time too, that might be tough for some people.

      Beth, if you need help with posting or the playlist tech stuff, let me know. Happy to help.

      • You may nab it and thanks. My email is botanicalphoto[at]gmail.com. Severin sent me his mp3′s and list of the order, his blurb that i cut and pasted, and a picture. What you can also do if you want, so it goes under your own name and you get the post emails, is just copy and paste it after i set it up into your own account if you want.

        So we have now -

        Oct 2 – Bish

        Oct 9 – Ali

        Oct 16 – Fintan

        Oct 23 – Beth

        Oct 30- ?

        Nov 6 – ?

        Nov 13 – ?

        Should probably consider suspending this feature over the holiday season at some point, people are really busy. The ‘Spill also has tons of year end stuff to listen to, so some people’s lists may not get the hearing that they should.

      • thank you, oh dear now I have to think of some songs! As my spot is quite near Hallowe’en I hope people will tolerate some spooky nonsense. This morning we bought glow in the dark vampire teeth and a fake stuffed raven whose eyes glow red. I love this season!

      • Unless you’d rather take the 30th? Whatever is easiest for you. For me anything is fine just so you don’t let me know the day before, but i know you’re not like that :)

      • I’ll be too busy on the 30th, so 23rd is still fine, appreciate your offer of assistance, I think I’ll need it.

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