He’s got all the best tunes, you know.

It has often been said that the Devil has all the best tunes. There is also supposed to be something diabolic about certain types of music and there is the interval known as diabolus in musica (the Devil in Music) a.k.a the tritone, an interval known for dissonance.

Diabolic and Satanic imagery has long been associated with heavy metal and Goth has always been as much about decaying ruins, vampires and death as it has about music.

Jimmy Page was, at one time, deeply interested in Aleister Crowley, the so-called Wickedest Man Alive and founder of the occult religion of Thelema (motto – Do What Thou Wilt Shall Be The Whole Of The Law) and the late Graham Bond was so obsesed with Crowley that he formed a band called Holy Magick and believed himself to be Crowley’s son.

Earlier still, it was said that Robert Johnson bacame a blues guitar phenomenon because of a pact with the Devil, signed at midnight, down at the crossroads. This idea later spawned a film about the same subject, culminating in a guitar battle between the Devil’s guitar hero, played by Steve Vai and the hero of the film, Eugene (guitar work by Ry Cooder).

So, music has a long tradition of dealing in the Black Arts and this playlist covers all the bases from posession and exorcism, through witchcraft, occult ceremonies and the Undead athrough to Hell and Damnation.

As you can see, we have 11 tracks. The task here is to decide which one will be saved from the Pit and which one will be cast into the Outer Dark forever.


The track listing is:

Charlie Daniels Band – The Devil Went Down To Georgia
Siousxie and the Banshees – Spellbound
David Byrne and Brian Eno – The Jezebel Spirit
Dr John – Gris-Gris Gumbo Ya Ya
Black Widow – Come To The Sabbat
Bauhaus – Bela Lugosi’s Dead
Cassandra Wilson – Hellhound On My Trail
John Martyn – I’d Rather Be The Devil
King Crimson – The Devil’s Triangle
The Clash – Straight To Hell
AC/DC – Highway To Hell

Fancy an outing to the Half Moon in Putney?

Half Moon ad

I’ve already got my ticket for this – it was only £13! – and I was thinking it would be really great if some of you others could come too! It’s a Thursday, so not very good for a social, but we could have a drink beforehand at least.

Darrell Scott is an American singer-songwriter in the Americana mould – you may know him from tfd afasarae You’ll Never Leave Harlan Alive. Danny Thompson is a bass player best known (to me) for his work with Richard Thompson (no relation) and the Pentangle; but he’s played with loads of other people as well, and he plays in many styles. Darrell and Danny made a live album a while ago, and here are a couple of tracks to show you the sort of thing.

02 It’s The Whiskey that Eases the P

06 You’ll Never Leave Harlan Alive

So, on the assumption that the noise they’ll make will be similar to that…here’s where you can book!

http://www.halfmoon.co.uk/

Bay Area Boys

Oakland’s Tumbleweed Wanderers

I  want to share a little new Bay Area music with all of you.   Tumbleweed Wanderers first album ,  So Long , comes tagged as Country & Folk.  I’d say that’s boxing them in.  Their video release of Roll With The Times starts with them shamelessly invoking a Sly & The Family Stone lick to great effect .   Well, that’s neighborhood music for these Oakland boys & I say more power to them.  Know your roots.

They’re fresh off a tour supporting  Australian Angus Stone & already talking new music.  Love the idea of moving it forward.  Here’s a couple of tunes that tickled my fancy.  Hard Times for it’s use of the banjo to set the mood and So Long Blues for it’s fine vocal harmonies & understated instrumentation.  Kinda reminds me of the Dillards.  Full disclosure, the keyboard player is a close friend’s nephew & I got to meet a couple of them when they did the music for her daughter’s wedding a while back.  Nice lads all & I’m wishing them well.  Click on the player for a listen.


Epic Blowout Stones ‘Spillover

3 ‘Spillers (Amy, Fuel, and Shane) – 3 Stones Playlists. Enjoy.

Amy:

I was born in 1960. I knew the early Stones tunes from the radio mostly. Caught the Beatles on Ed Sullivan, even at 3 years old, i somehow knew this was an important thing to see. Amazing, actually. But never knew a peep about the Stones on there. First Stones album i bought was Hot Rocks, followed by More Hot Rocks which i figured had all the oldies i ever needed. Never saw any reason to get the older albums – they all had pretty much the same songs on them anyway! So there are still plenty of oldies i’ve never heard. Wanted to get a sampler of some of them on the list, but Shanes’ covers list made my job a lot easier – there would have been a lot of duplicates – and most of those songs probably aren’t new to folks on here anyway. Shane’s Empty Heart was newtome and great, i hear echoes of that one, and Heart of Stone and Time is on My Side in the snotnose garage bands i’m liking now. Under My Thumb and Play With Fire would have probably made my list – i think they foreshadow some of the darker tunes yet to come. Some other standouts for me – Ruby Tuesday, As Tears Go By, Lady Jane, Sitting on a Fence, Spider and the Fly, Not Fade Away, The Last Time, I’m Free – although biggies like Get Off of My Cloud (sorry, Fintan), Satisfaction, Have You Seen Your Mother, Baby, and Mothers’ Little Helper still don’t do much for me.
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Waiting for Monday

I’m in this photo – those are my blue sleeves on the barrier

Talking of waiting…I’ve just realised that it’s now a week since I saw Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers in Cork…and I won’t see them again till Monday! Gee whiz, the waiting is the hardest part. So to cheer myself up I’ve made a playlist of the songs they did in Ireland. The setlists weren’t very different (and believe me, I have complained). So I’m sitting here listening to this, and it occurred to me that perhaps some of you might like to listen too. These aren’t the actual performances, mind, but they’re all live recordings (except one) of the songs I heard last week.


So just imagine, if you will, that it’s a week ago in the Marquee in Cork, TP&TH have just come on stage, I am standing beneath TP’s mic stand and my favourite band are playing just for me.

1 Listen To Her Heart
2 You Wreck Me
3 I Won’t Back Down
4 Here Comes My Girl
5 Handle With Care
6 Good Enough
7 Oh Well
8 I’m A Man
9 Something Big
10 King’s Highway
11 Free Fallin’
12 It’s Good To Be King
13 Something Good Coming
14 Learning To Fly
15 Yer So Bad
16 I Should Have Known It
17 Refugee
18 Runnin’ Down A Dream
19 Mary Jane’s Last Dance
20 American Girl

And while I’m at it I thought I’d post this week’s Buried Treasure Show, which is specially good (apart from the Dave Clark Five, of whom TP is strangely fond). It’s no. 154. I won’t bother with the playlist, because you can find it on TP’s website – as he will tell you.


So, tfd, were you disappointed?

TP shows off the fancy embroidery on his weskit

Well, folks, I was…with Regina Spektor. I thought the first song she did, with no accompaniment except her own tapping on the mic, was really excellent. And I also liked the second song with her band. But after that I just felt everything was far too samey. Perhaps I should’ve taken more time beforehand to become familiar with her stuff…but she’s not on the European leg of the tour so I’m going to forget about her for now and investigate Jonathan Wilson (who?) the new opening act.

So anyway. We were in the Frank Erwin Center in Austin, TX, which is a basketball arena. I’d been thinking that the venue would be quite small, because a basketball court is small, but this proved not to be the case. It was vast (and sold out). They must like their basketball a whole lot in Austin. Matt and I had whiled away the time before the show started having very expensive drinks in the VIP lounge and we had enjoyed ourselves so much talking to fellow TP&TH fans that we had neglected to go and look at the merchandise…but never mind, I’ll have 6 more opportunities to buy stuff and I now know which T shirt Matt would like for his birthday.

Where was I? Oh yes. Imagine that we’re no longer in the VIP lounge but in our third-row seats watching the techies set up for the band. There was an enclosure with gear in it on the floor on our side of the stage and we saw some celebrity kiddiwinks having a tea party there, and after that Benmont Tench came and wandered round a bit, and so did Ron Blair, and so did someone who might have been Mrs TP, only I wasn’t quite sure. And then the lights went down, and everybody stood up and started to make a noise, and then it looked like this:

TP&TH get going

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tfd fears allayed

TP x 5

A video about the lighting design for Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers’ current tour was posted on their website the other day and I got a bit worried, because there didn’t seem to be any video screens and I’m going to be quite far back for at least one of the concerts I’m going to.

But it seems I needn’t have worried!

Bluegrass Covers

I’ve probably mentioned once or 10 times that i’m not a huge country music fan. But bluegrass is exempt, don’t know if that’s due to the musicianship involved, or to the celtic / folk roots. Anyhoo, another tangent from sidebar surfing – bluegrass covers of tunes form other genres. They don’t always work, but the ones that do work work a lot better than you might expect. The ones that don’t are basically a wedding band rendition, and the ones that do are an entire re-imagining of the song. Here’s a few of my faves, feel free to add any of your own you may find.

The first one here is the one that set me off on the surf – (first posted by gunnison on our yankee politics spill blog)

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Two Sparrows

I haven’t even finished listening to the album yet but I just can’t wait to share this song with you…

Many come from the west to many here from the east
like birds alone with their songs
on the wires, the trees and the eaves
I will give you the gold I stashed away
I will give you the fat of my land
My sister has two lovely sparrows
one in each of her hands

Two Sparrows by the Gourds from their 2011 album Old Mad Joy which I’ve only just got round to buying. I’ll be doing a proper ‘Spill post shortly about my favourite albums of 2011 – I’m a bit behindhand on account of the retiring and the moving house and all.

New Vintage Stones

Prompted by Zala’s call for extra special earworms, i figured it might be time to check out the new tunes on the Some Girls re-release. Had no expectations, as i was generally underwhelmed by the bonus tunes on the Exile re-release. Well blow me down, some of the tunes are fucking great. (And seem to lack the tinny sound of the Exile remasters too). Now i can maybe see why they didn’t include these on Some Girls – they didn’t fit with the disco / punk aesthetic the Stones seemed to be shooting for, and maybe they wanted to look forward musically instead of back. But guys, if it ain’t broke, no need to fix it. Lotta baby got tossed out with the bathwater there.

Keep Up Blues, Petrol Blues, and the (Ron Wood penned) When You’re Gone are wonderfully sleazy little blues numbers. Tallahassie Lassie is a Freddy “Boom Boom” Cannon cover which trumps the original, imho. And a pair of country covers to round off this little sampler – Hank Williams’ You Win Again, and Waylon Jennings’ We Had It All (sounds like Keith on vocals). Enjoy.


1. Keep Up Blues
2. Tallahassie Lassie
3. Petrol Blues
4. You Win Again
5. When You’re Gone
6. We Had It All

Transatlantic Sessions season 5

Jerry Douglas and Aly Bain - they're in charge

Looking through my iTunes to find songs about Sara reminded me that Sara Jarosz is my discovery-of-the-season from Transatlantic Sessions. Season 5 that is.

As usual I’m enjoying TS very much. This season has Danny Thompson in the house band, though he’s the odd one out being neither Scottish, Irish nor American. Maybe he’s an honorary member of all those nationalities. All the music is terrific – this week’s one which I’ve just watched on iPlayer ends with Eric Bibb and Don’t Let Nobody Drag Your Spirit Down, a sentiment with which I heartly concur, featuring a blues mandolin solo by Sam Bush. It’s wonderful.

I know not of all of you are able to watch TR. Currently it’s on BBC2 Scotland on Fridays at 7.30 and then on the iPlayer; I expect it’ll be shown on ordinary BBC2 later on. There are videos from earlier seasons on YouTube – again, these may not be available to everyone. Please, if you can, do give it a watch even if you think you don’t like folk/country music. You never know…

Here’s Sara Jarosz not on TS singing her song Come Around.

At the Mudcrutch Farm Festival, 1971

It was 40 years ago today (more or less)

I just discovered this picture of Mudcrutch in 1971 and thought I would post it for your delight – and for a serious medical purpose! I specially like the way most of the colour has drained away leaving the red leaves matching TP’s jacket…It’s a scan from a book that I didn’t want to flatten too much, so that’s why the drummer, Randall Marsh, on the left, isn’t showing up very well (sorry, Randall). Then there’s Mike Campbell and then a teeny Tom Leadon just showing in the gap, and then TP.

Notice TP’s posture – it’s very poor. It’s even worse than it looks in fact because the photo is crooked. This may be because of TP’s teeth: as you may know, his top teeth are at the wrong angle. And did you know that your teeth can affect your posture? Well, they can. I already knew this because my nephew’s orthodontist told my sister so, back when Ruairidh was a teenager and having his braces fitted. (If you don’t believe me, just google teeth and posture.) But I’d forgotten, till I was looking at this picture and thinking “cripes, I don’t know how TP can even stand up at that angle.”

So now, as well as worrying about his smoking, I also have to worry about TP’s long-term musculo-skeletal problems. It’s a hard life. For those of you with difficult teeth, or whose children have difficult teeth – think on.

You can’t tell from a photo what the music is, but it might have been this:


High School Confidential. This is the 2008 Mudcrutch, not the 1971 version. Same people though – plus Benmont Tench on keyboards.

poppy, light, lipstick, town, apple, wine, roses, blood


What a music-filled weekend it’s been so far! And what a shame someone can’t have a special anniversary every weekend. You know – songs about wood, songs about paper…what do you mean that’s not special?

I’d have had my 41st this year, as it goes, had I taken the precaution of remaining married. But I reckon it was worth it doing it my way. Here are some songs.


1 Poppy-Red by Richard Thompson
2 Roxanne by the Police
3 Mystery Man by Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers
4 Scarlet Town by Gillian Welch
5 Red Apple Juice by the GPs
6 Red Wine and Promises by Lal & Mike Waterson
7 Blood Red Roses by Sting
8 Blood of the Ram by the Gourds

Like a dog in the rain

I’ve been thinking for a while about doing a post on Jon Randall, composer of my well-worn afaserae Whiskey Lullaby; and it so happens that I just went out to mow the lawn and found it was raining…

Poor old Jon – he seemed to have such a bright future, having started his career in Emmylou Harris’ band the Nash Ramblers and gone solo with Emmylou’s blessing. But he’s never taken off. Of course he’s had his drink problems, his relationship problems and his record company problems, but so have lots of people.

His real name is Jon Randall Stewart, and he was born in Dallas in 1969. He’s made four albums with four different record companies, one of which didn’t get a full release. He has good musicians playing on them, but the latest one came out in 2005; since then he’s done some writing and producing, but there’s no sign of another album from him.

Bob Harris plays his stuff from time to time on his country music programme, and that’s how I came to hear him. I like him a lot – his songs are a bit samey, perhaps, but he’s a good guitar player and he has a lovely voice. Could do with an image consultant though…(to be fair, that video’s from his first album) See what you think.


1 Can’t Hurt Anymore
2 Blew Me Away
3 Baby Won’t You Come Home
4 Mountain Of Regret
5 Afraid Of The Dark

A couple of websites


You know those lyrics sites where the lyrics are just plain, well…wrong? I’ve just discovered songmeanings.net which is a lot better than others I’ve tried. There’s a comments section underneath each lyric where people post what they think the song means, which is often amusing and rarely used for slagging people off – the site promotes being nice to each other and respecting other people’s opinions. You can add lyrics (or artists/bands) if they’re not already there and so far I’m having lots of fun and even been complimented once on a description. Give it a try and let me know what you think!

Also, last night I discovered

The Oxford American Southern Samplers which are compilations of music from the southern US – all kinds. There are seven of them and the blog site provides info, pictures and a track listing for each one. I only had time to download one last night, but I’m pleased to say I now have Ode To Billy Joe in my collection.

If you’re not used to downloading zipped files from blogs let me know and I’ll help.

tfd’s 20

What? Am I the winner?

You most certainly are, Shirley – congratulations!

Hi ‘Spillers: this is an auspicious occasion (I’m having quite a week in fact), as I celebrate my 20th A-lister on RR. I first got drawn in for Illness, in November 2007, made all the usual mistakes that newbies make, and got my first A-lister the following January. Now, I’m sure you don’t want to listen to all 20 in one go (if at all) so I’m going to do two lists of 10. Here’s the first.

1 I’m The Face by the High Numbers, alias the Who. ‘I Am’ songs, Jan 25 2008
2 Nottamun Town by Shirley Collins and Davey Graham. Surreal songs, June 13 2008
3 Remember (Walking In The Sand) by the Shangri-Las. Songs about memory, Oct 10 2008
4 Ghost In This House by Alison Krauss and Union Station. Songs about ghosts, Jan 30 2009
5 Lord Gregory by Shirley Collins. Songs about social class, March 27 2009
6 Marilyn Monroe by the Ian Campbell Folk Group. Songs about actors, April 17, 2009
7 Complainte Pour Ste Catherine by Kate and Anna McGarrigle. Songs in French, June 19 2009
8 The Cruel Mother by Shirley Collins. Cruel songs, July 24 2009
9 However Much I Booze by the Who. Songs about failure, August 7 2009
10 Barroom Girls by Gillian Welch. Songs about hangovers, January 8 2010


Ready for Part 2? OK then:

11 Killing Jar by Richard Thompson. Unsettling songs, January 22 2010
12 The Victory by Steeleye Span. Songs about historical figures, January 29 2010
13 Long Live Rock by the Who. Songs about concerts, May 27 2010
14 The Eyes Of Fate by the Incredible String Band. Songs about fate, September 24 2010
15 The Unquiet Grave by Shirley Collins. Songs about the afterlife, May 26 2011
16 Cherry Red Wine by Luther Allison. Songs about wine, June 9 2011
17 Blue Days, Black Nights by Buddy Holly. Debut songs, June 23 2011
18 The Dark-Eyed Sailor by June Tabor and the Oysterband. Songs about eavesdropping, July 14 2011
19 Barefootin’ by Robert Parker. Songs about dance styles, July 28 2011
20 So Sad (To Watch Good Love Go Bad) by the Everly Brothers. Songs about a change of mind, August 4 2011


Well, that should keep everyone amused for a bit!