Tuesday, July 31, 2018

Listen to Alice Coltrane's chat with Marian McPartland

Here's the audio track of Marian McPartland's interview and performance with Alice Coltrane in 1981. 

Monday, July 30, 2018

VCR want nothing to do with Fake Freaks or Bugs

Here's the B-Side of the Greatest Hits 7" EP from Toronto punks VCR featuring Erica Young of Fur Coat infamy.

Sunday, July 29, 2018

B-Side Wins Again: Dave Brubeck Quartet

Dave Brubeck's delightfully dark Blue Shadows In The Street is actually on the flipside of It's A Raggy Waltz.

Saturday, July 28, 2018

The Mattson 2 preview tribute to John Coltrane

Southern California jazz duo The Mattson 2 – comprised of twin brothers Jonathan and Jared Mattson – have finished recording their latest epic, Mattson 2 Play A Love Supreme, a full album cover of John Coltrane's 1964 masterpiece, set for release by the Spiritual Pajamas label on August 17.

Today, the band shared a video for their version of "Resolution" which you can watch below. The Mattson 2 are heading out on tour in August and have a Toronto date at The Drake Hotel scheduled for September 10. You can pre-order a limited-edition vinyl copy of their tribute to John Coltrane right here. Check their tour schedule for a date near you following the clip.

The Mattson 2 on tour
8/10-12 San Francisco, CA - Outside Lands
8/14 Visalia, CA - Cellar Door
8/15 Santa Barbara, CA - SOHO
8/16 San Francisco, CA - The Chapel
8/17 Los Angeles, CA - Lodge Room
8/19 Phoenix, AZ - Valley Bar
8/22 Houston, TX - Rockafeller's
8/23 Dallas, TX - Three Links
8/24 Austin, TX - Mohawk
8/25 Norman, OK - Opolis
8/26 St. Louis, MO - Firebird
8/27 Nashville, TN - The Basement
8/31 Raleigh, NC - Cat's Back room
9/1 Richmond, VA - The Camel
9/2 Pittsburgh, PA - Rex Theater
9/5 Philadelphia, PA - Johnny Brenda's
9/6 Washington DC - Songbyrd
9/7 Brooklyn, NY - Rough Trade
9/8 Boston, MA - Cafe 939
9/10 Toronto, ON - The Drake Hotel
9/11 Detroit, MI - Loving Touch
9/12 Chicago, IL - Schubas
9/13 Indianapolis, IN - Square Cat Vinyl
9/14 Madison, WI - Ruby
9/15 Door County, WI - Door County Brewing Co.
9/17 Twin Cities, MN - Turf Club
9/19 Denver, CO - Lost Lake
9/20 Salt Lake City, UT - State Room
9/21 Portland, OR - Jack London
9/23 Vancouver, BC - Wise Hall
9/25 Seattle, WA - Barboza

Mark "Snowboy" Cotgrove reveals his early musical influences

Says Snowboy...

"I never listen to my own interviews, but I've been particularly looking forward to this podcast by Stuart Whiffen. It's more about my childhood and teenage years, so really just touches on Latin music at the beginning (particularly Eddie Palmieri), and what I'm up to as a musician at the end.

"The rest we discuss comic books, school days, musical awareness, '76 Punks, Art College, rockabilly and Teds, The Goldmine and Chris Hill, Holiday Camps, Talk Talk, the decadent days of Crocs and my local 80's Indie heroes, Taming The Outback. It's all stuff I've never really discussed, all prompted by seven key song choices.

"If you've got time have a listen. Thanks for this Stu!"

Listen to Stu Whiffen's Off The Beat & Track podcast right here.

Check out Eddie Palmieri's "Vamonos Pal Monte," The Archies animated clip of "Sugar Sugar," Cliff Richard's "Move It" and Hank Mizell performing "Jungle Rock" in 1976.


Friday, July 27, 2018

Gyedu-Blay Ambolley's 80s electro funk and disco recirculated

The 1989 joint "Burkina Faso" is the highlight of Analog Africa's limited 4-track EP of Ambolley's overlooked material.

One For The Weekend: The Majestics

No, not the Canuck funk group but the Milwaukee rap crew Majestics with their party jam "Class A" just reissued.

Thursday, July 26, 2018

Happy 75th Birthday Mick Jagger!

Raising a glass to Mick Jagger on his day with Alejandro Escovedo's version of Evening Gown.

Watch Gwenifer Raymond's video for "Sometimes There's Blood"

Impressive guitar picker Gwenifer Raymond's new album You Were Never Much Of A Dancer is out now. 

Whaddya mean you don't know The Jazz Stars

The Jazz Stars were UK greats Joe Harriott, Tubby Hayes, Ronnie Scott, Don Rendell, Ronnie Ross, Allan Ganley, Terry Shannon & Lennie Bush.

Wednesday, July 25, 2018

Howlin Rain, Mountain Movers, The Litch @ The Horseshoe, Wednesday

Check out three rippin' recent Howlin Rain performances below before you see them tear up The Horseshoe tonight.   

Re-energized L7 are back and bitchin' @ Danforth Music Hall, Wednesday

Check out L7's "Dispatch From Mar-a-Lago" and "I Came Back To Bitch" off their new crowd-funded album

That time Terry Riley played an entrancing show with Don Cherry in Germany

Here's the entire 40 minute Köln concert from February 23, 1975.

Happy Birthday Jef Gilson

Remembering the great Jef Gilson on his day with a couple of classic performances.

Tuesday, July 24, 2018

Watch the video for Mark Lanegan's new track "Scarlett"

"Scarlett" the lead track off Mark's new project with Duke Garwood called With Animals out August 24. 
Here's the press release from Heavenly Records...

Of the track Mark Lanegan says: “Duke gave me a piece of music he called ‘Scarlett' and I was inspired to put down the words really quickly, to the haunting beauty and feeling of the music.” Duke Garwood adds: “Scarlett is a fever dream soundscape born from a banquet of Scarlett Johansson movies.”

Recorded in Los Angeles, Pasadena and Joshua Tree, the record’s 12 songs are spectral and sinewy, often defined by the spaces in between the sounds. A ghost’s whistle weaves itself around a pulsing single note on "Lonesome Infidel"; "Feast To Famine's" hard luck story floats above a guitar part so strung out and washed with distortion it’s become barely recognizable. It’s soul music for anyone who’s long since left the crossroads.

For the last decade, Lanegan and Garwood have worked in tangent on 2013’s Black Pudding as well as on Lanegan’s solo records (Garwood contributed to 2012’s Blues Funeral and 2017’s Gargoyle after which he toured as part of Lanegan’s band). Writing and recording was split between studio collaboration and sharing music between Garwood’s home in London and Lanegan’s in Los Angeles. Elsewhere, technology helped make the duo’s transatlantic working relationships relatively easy.

“Over the years, we’ve recorded together and apart. This time, I started this record alone, with many animals as company,” says Garwood. “It flowed, I set to work and out it came. Our music is instinct, there is not much talking about it, just creating. I think that if you are at peace with your work, and feeling it right, it flows, and can feel ‘easy’. Music isn't meant to be hard. Though sometimes it can burn you to ashes. Making music for a singer, so they can inhabit it with a song means hitting the right soul buttons. There is no hit without a miss. It is a healing record, for us the makers, and for the listeners. It grows natural. We are gardeners of sonic feelings.”

While Black Pudding put Garwood’s mercurial guitar center stage, With Animals is constructed from a different set of tools. Analogue and dust flecked, it sounds like Lanegan and Garwood have been holed up in a ’60s recording studio while the apocalypse rages outside. Tracks sit on loops that sounds like they’re straight out of There’s A Riot Goin’ On while sparse melodies nod in the direction of British electronic producers like Burial or Boards of Canada. Which is not to say it sounds like any of those things – this is a weird world all of their own design.

As befits a record called With Animals, these dusty songs sound like they’re created in the company of the denizens of the night; cats eyes glimpsed in the dark with the fizz and flicker of insects around a dying light. “Although most of these songs were recorded in the day,” says Duke, “Before the sun gets too high… that midnight sound is always there in my heart I suppose. I figure its always midnight somewhere.”

The album’s most direct, most affecting track is the closing "Desert Song". Over two and a little more minutes of acoustics, Lanegan pleads the impossible: “Please let me continue this dream / even though it can’t be believed”. It’s the emotional flip side of "Save Me", the album opener – alone and uncertain against that track’s communal voodoo. As Duke points out, the impression the listener is left with is no coincidence. “After eight days spent recording the bulk of the record, we went up to Joshua Tree to rehearse for a benefit show. I awoke before the dawn; my small island mind was blown away by the sight of the sunrise. I wrote Desert Song right there, took it down the lane to Rancho and we recorded it that night. I truly believe it was meant to be.”

Watch Sabrina Westmoreland's video for "Scarlett" below. Pre-order With Animals right here.

Happy Birthday Charles McPherson!

Cheers to Joplin, Missouri-born sax great Charles McPherson who's 79 today – here's a 1966 set at the Five Spot.

Kate Boothman (w/ Ian Blurton & Glenn Milchem), Vivienne Wilder, Jeen O'Brien @ Monarch Tavern, Tuesday

Kate Boothman's on stage at 10 pm with Jeen O'Brien opening at 9 pm and Vivienne Wilder & The VPs closing the show at 11 pm.

Whaddya mean you don't know The Ka-Nives

Here's a couple of rockin' rippers off the Ka-Nives Get Duped! debut for Nanaimo's venerable Lance Rock Records. 

Monday, July 23, 2018

Soul In The City featuring Tyra Jutai @ Casa Loma, Monday

Don't miss Toronto rising star Tyra Jutai previewing songs tonight from her debut recording due in September.

Listen to David Bowie's first demo recording from 1963

The recording of David Bowie singing "I Never Dreamed" with The Konrads was found by drummer David Hadfield. 

Introducing: Civic

"Call The Doctor" is off New Vietnam, the debut 12" EP from Melbourne's snotty rock 'n' roll crew Civic. 

Sunday, July 22, 2018

Happy Birthday Steve Albini

Celebrating Steve's 56th birthday with his dazzling performance of Kraftwerk's The Model backed by Zeni Geva.

B-Side Wins Again: Don Fowler & The Country Timers

Although it's listed first on the sleeve, Don Fowler's rockabilly ripper "Oklahoma Baby" is actually on the B-side.

Saturday, July 21, 2018

One For The Weekend: Professor Longhair

Here's Professor Longhair's New Orleans cooker "Cuttin' Out" originally issued by Joe Ruffino's Ron label in 1959. 

Friday, July 20, 2018

Happy 100th Birthday Cindy Walker!

Legendary songwriter Cindy Walker who penned "You Don't Know Me" among many others would've been 100 today.

Mandy Barnett vs. Mable John

Country singer Mandy Barnett does a fine job of making Mable John's R&B gem More Lovin' her own on Strange Conversation out Sept 21.

Thursday, July 19, 2018

Alejandro Escovedo teams with Wayne Kramer, James Williamson and Peter Perrett for new concept album "The Crossing"

On his cinematic new concept album ‘The Crossing’ – due September 14th – Alejandro Escovedo tells the story of two young immigrants – Salvo from Italy, and Diego from Mexico – working in a Texas restaurant in pursuit of the American dream. Mirroring Escovedo’s own experience as the child of Mexican immigrants, and drawing inspiration from his relationship with Italian co-writer Antonio Gramentieri, their journey navigates cultural identity, ancestral weight, minority rights and racism as they realize they have arrived in a different America – one that’s not as open and free as they believed it would be.

Listen to the first track “Sonica USA” (below) featuring Wayne Kramer of MC5 on guitar. The scorcher serves as an ode to the 70s punk scene where Escovedo found solace as a Mexican-American growing up in Austin, and the solidarity he found in his brother’s own pioneering punk band the Zeros.

Escovedo crossed borders of his own for ‘The Crossing’ sessions, recording outside the US for the first time ever at a farmhouse in Villafranca, Northern Italy with the help of co-producer Brian Deck (Modest Mouse, Gomez, Iron & Wine). Italian all-instrumental group Don Antonio – helmed by co-writer Antonio Gramentiere – bring the record’s narrative to life with their sweeping arrangements, while cameos from Kramer and The StoogesJames Williamson serve as reminders that Escovedo’s punk ethos burns bright (both bands name are checked in the lyrics as well). Elsewhere on the record, alt-country pioneer Joe Ely features on both the title track and his self-penned “Silver City”, while Peter Perrett and John Perry from UK legends The Only Ones reunite for their first recording in almost 40 years on “Waiting For Me.”

Alejandro Escovedo will kick off an international tour later this summer, with Don Antonio joining him on the road as backing band. For some reason, his only scheduled Canadian date is at the Interstellar Rodeo Music Festival which takes place at Hawrelak Park Amphitheatre in Edmonton July 20-22. Go figure.

‘The Crossing’ is available for pre-order here: https://lnk.to/thecrossing. Here's the audio clip of Sonica USA....

July 22 – Interstellar Rodeo Music Festival – Edmonton, Alberta (w/ US band)
Aug 8 – The Grove KGSR BBQ – Austin, TX (w/ US band)
Aug 19 – City Winery – Boston, MA*
Aug 20 – City Winery – New York, NY*
Aug 21 – City Winery – Washington, DC*
Aug 23 – The Ark – Ann Arbor, MI*
Aug 24 – Old Town School of Folk Music – Chicago, IL*
Aug 25 – Dakota Jazz Club – Minneapolis, MN*
Sept 8 – Mushroom Festival – Kennett Square, PA
Sept 12-13 – Americana Fest – Nashville, TN
Oct 13 – Kafe del Teatro – Lleida, Spain
Oct 14 – Loco – Valencia, Spain
Oct 16 – Tempo – Madrid, Spain
Oct 19 – De Posthoorn – Hamont-Achel, Belgium
Oct 20 – Ramblin Roots Festival – Utrecht, Holland
Oct 22 – Boule Noir – Paris, France
Oct 23 – De Zwerver – Leffinge, Belgium
Oct 25 – Gosforth Civic – Newcastle, UK
Oct 26 – Oran Mor – Glasgow, UK
Oct 27 – The Hubs – Sheffield, UK
Oct 28 – The Lending Room – Leeds, UK
Oct 30 – Bush Hall – London, UK
Oct 31 – Hen & Chicken – Bristols, UK
Nov 1 – Bullingdon – Oxford, UK

*solo dates with Joe Ely

Happy Birthday Bobby Bradford!

Celebrating trumpet titan Bobby Bradford's 84th birthday with his "Song For The Unsung" from 1969. 

Wednesday, July 18, 2018

Jim Lauderdale @ Hugh's Room Live, Wednesday

Along with his new album Time Flies, Jim Lauderdale is also releasing his 1979 bluegrass recording with Roland White. 

This just in from Yep Roc Records...
Jim Lauderdale’s story is a complicated triumph, with a glorious soundtrack. Here are the first and last chapters of the newly revised edition: His initial recording, with bluegrass innovator Roland White of the Kentucky Colonels, and his newest effort, the expansive Time Flies which are being released simultaneously by Yep Roc Records on August 3rd.

Lauderdale is the son of a preacher, and of a mother who taught public school and played the organ at church. He was raised in the Carolinas, schooled in bluegrass and the Beatles and worshipful of brothers Everly and Stanley. In the hot summer of 1979, at age 22, Jim hit Nashville, possessed of prodigious talent, indistinct musical ambitions, and nothing in the way of gold or silver. While country radio stations played pop-leaning hits, Lauderdale sought something other than what was in then-contemporary fashion.

He found a mentor and collaborator in Roland White, whose mandolin work with Bill Monroe, Lester Flatt and the Kentucky Colonels helped revitalize and reimagine acoustic roots music. The elder and junior musicians paired to make an album of close harmony and vivacious beauty, recorded in the basement of banjo master Earl Scruggs.

“Earl would come down and serve us coffee from a silver tray, and he’d be wearing an apron,” Lauderdale says. “He wasn’t doing that to be funny, it’s just what he did. I made cassettes and sent them to bluegrass labels with a handwritten note, and got turned down by everybody.”

That album should have, in some hypothetical, just and righteous world, taken its place in bluegrass history with tradition-drenched, progressive-minded classics by J.D. Crowe and the New South, The Seldom Scene, and, come to think of it, the Kentucky Colonels. Instead, the thing went unreleased, and then the master tapes got lost for 39 years. It was the first bummer in an epic series for Lauderdale. Looking back, it all seems like sweet serendipity. At the time, it just felt like heartache.

More serendipitous heartache and heartening growth would follow. There was a stint in New York, and there were music-making friendships with unknowns who would become well-knowns, like Shawn Colvin and Buddy Miller. There was time in California, where he was a key figure in the burgeoning L.A. country music scene that gave rise to Dwight Yoakam, Lucinda Williams, and many more, and that was foundational in what we now call “Americana” music.

There was a late 1980s album produced by Pete Anderson for Columbia Records. Like the Roland White album, that one didn’t come out for decades: Lauderdale was dropped by the label in the weeks before his works’ intended release. Anderson, who had already produced Yoakam’s initial recordings, said he thought Lauderdale’s was the best project with which he’d been involved. No matter. Corporate politics. Bottom-lines. Lauderdale was good at finding something other than what was in then-contemporary fashion.

Jim returned to Nashville, at first on occasion and later for what looks like perpetuity, and wound up with a second major label recording contract, this one with Warner Bros. He made an album called Planet of Love, released in 1991 and produced by Rodney Crowell and John Leventhal. That one was deemed commercially unsatisfactory, though it held songs that would be famously recorded by George Strait, Lee Ann Womack, and other heroes of country music. Then it was on to Atlantic Records, to make a country-rock masterpiece called Pretty Close to the Truth (1994). Then another Atlantic album, and then on to RCA, with every album meriting fist-pump critical reactions that weren’t always met with accompanying sales.

“I don’t fit anywhere,” he said at the time. But he was wrong. He fits everywhere, he just fits differently than others.

George Strait began recording Lauderdale’s songs, and featuring them on top-selling albums and a hit movie. Strait has now recorded 14 Lauderdale compositions, all of them fitting in fine and contemporary fashion. The money was good, and soon Lauderdale’s parents — the preacher and the teacher — had a lovely mountain home in North Carolina. And Jim Lauderdale became the rarest of commodities: A beloved and respected roots music force whose songs were in country radio favor, recorded by Strait, the Dixie Chicks, Solomon Burke, Patty Loveless, Vince Gill, Blake Shelton and many others.

He won Grammy awards, on his own (Bluegrass Diaries, in 2009) and with Ralph Stanley for Lost in the Lonesome Pines, in 2004). He won a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Americana Music Association, and became known as “Mr. Americana.” He released an astoundingly varied catalog of albums exploring bluegrass, soul, rock and country while finding time to collaborate with Elvis Costello, Lucinda Williams, Grateful Dead lyricist Robert Hunter, The North Mississippi All-Stars, and George Jones (about whom he wrote the ballad “The King of Broken Hearts).

Recently, Lauderdale was at the Station Inn, the world’s most storied bluegrass tavern. Roland White came to see him, and casually mentioned, “I think my wife found the tapes to our album, in a box in the basement.” Indeed, she had. Quarter-inch, reel-to-reel. A journey’s beginning. “February Snow” and “Nashville Blues.”

Meanwhile, Lauderdale was working on new songs, with new-century music heroes like Chris Scruggs, Kenny Vaughan, Jay Weaver, and John McTigue. Those songs became an album called Time Flies. And time does fly, though it often seems to creep. And heartache can be serendipitous. And a life well-lived is a complicated triumph.

Jim Lauderdale is an American music-master, and the author of a soundtrack both glorious and expansive. We’d be sort of dumb not to listen. And, so, let’s listen. Time flies. Music sustains. Pre-order Yep Roc's limited-edition Time Flies bundle right here.

Watch Jim perform "Forgive and Forget" off the previously unreleased 1979 session Jim Lauderdale & Roland White following the clip for "Where The Cars Go By Fast". 

Tuesday, July 17, 2018

Prophet claws back from the depths of 80s funk obscurity

Prophet cut the Bay Area funk gem Right On Time in '84 then vanished but He's back with a new Stones Throw LP.

Monday, July 16, 2018

Happy Birthday William Bell!

Cheers to soul great William Bell on his day – here's a tiny desk concert performance from 2016.

Whaddya mean you don't know The Montereys

Drummer Ben Clark is the rhythmic force behind The Montereys heavy-funk classic Get Down for NGC.

Sunday, July 15, 2018

Exploring the hidden world of 70s Croatian jazz funk

The previously unknown recordings of Davor Rocco's Spektar Combo & Grupa Hej were uncovered by Black Pearl.

Nat Birchall salutes John Coltrane with new Jazzman single

Check out the Nat Birchall Quintet's update of Billy Gault's Mode For Trane off their new single with art by Emma Davis

Saturday, July 14, 2018

Pearl Charles, Blind Matty, Fascinator @ The Rec Room, Saturday

Check out the hilarious Pearl Charles interview with Noah Rubin following her performance of Behind Closed Doors. 

B-Side Wins Again: Mohjah

The synth-enhanced flipside of Mohjah's Jovert (Breakaway) single from 1984 is the soca/disco fiya. 

Friday, July 13, 2018

Mel Davis gem "Just Another Smile" gets 45 reissue

Colemine's archival subsidiary Remind recently recirculated the tough-to-find San Fran stormer on Golden State. 

One For The Weekend: Joe Chambers

The spiritual jazz gem "Medina" is off the Joe Chambers-led album "The Almoravid" on Muse from 1974. 

Thursday, July 12, 2018

Tony Joe White's raw new Bad Mouthin' album due September 28th

Check out the swampy-sweet title track off Tony Joe White's forthcoming Bad Mouthin' album below.

Tony Joe White’s music is as primal as a lizard’s backbone. It echoes from the magnolia groves and bayous of his Louisiana childhood, and looms into the present every time he unleashes the molasses and tanned-leather combination of his guitar and voice. The legendary songwriter’s new blues-based album, Bad Mouthin’, which arrives September 28, comes straight from the swamps with its blend of classics and five White originals, including two of the first songs he wrote—just before penning his breakthrough hits “Polk Salad Annie” and “A Rainy Night in Georgia” in 1967.

“When and where I grew up, blues was just about the only music I heard and truly loved,” says White, who’s 75 and, if anything, an even more visceral performer than in his youth. “I’ve always thought of myself as a blues musician, bottom line, because the blues is real, and I like to keep everything I do as real as it gets. So, I thought it was time to make a blues record that sounds the way I always loved the music.”

And that’s down-to-the-bone raw. Over the course of Bad Mouthin’ s 12 songs, White conjures a world of meaning that transcends the lyrics of classics like Jimmy Reed’s “Big Boss Man,” Lightnin’ Hopkins’ “Awful Dreams,” and Charley Patton’s “Down the Dirt Road Blues,” using his deep river of a voice and the dark, spartan tones of his guitar to evoke the mystical South—a place where ghosts roam among abandoned pecan groves covered in Spanish moss and, indeed, the Devil might be encountered at a moonlit crossroads.

That White—who has penned hits and cuts for a compendium of fellow legends from Elvis Presley (“Poke Salad Annie”) to Brook Benton (“A Rainy Night in Georgia”) to Dusty Springfield (“Willie and Laura Mae Jones”) to Eric Clapton (“Did Somebody Make a Fool Out of You”) to Tina Tuner (“Steamy Windows”) to Willie Nelson (“Problem Child”) to Kenny Chesney (also “Steamy Windows”) to Robert Cray (who recorded White’s “Don’t Steal My Love” and “Aspen, Colorado” just last year)—would now craft a blues album after more than 50 years establishing himself as a heroic figure spanning the rock, country, R&B, and Americana genres is an incredible testament to his versatility as well as to his roots.

Pre-order Bad Mouthin' on white vinyl right here.
Mostly, Bad Mouthin’ features White accompanied solely by his road-worn 1965 Fender Stratocaster, the guitar he’s favored for his entire career. That’s all he needs to conjure the same kind of simmering emotional magic that John Lee Hooker distilled into his historic solo recordings—just one man and one guitar essentially defining what it means to be human in a story as simple and yet as profound as a Zen koan.

Five of Bad Mouthin’s stories, “Stockholm Blues,” “Rich Woman Blues,” “Cool Town Woman,” “Sundown Blues” and the title track, are plucked from his own past. When he sings “Bad Mouthin’,” about an abusive lover, White’s voice rings with the weariness of a man pushed to his limits. And in “Sundown Blues,” his spare lyrics capture the essence of a lonely heart over a slow smoky shuffle reminiscent of Hooker’s famed lowdown boogie beat.

On both of those tunes—which are early, rediscovered compositions that White first recorded for a local label in Corpus Christi, Texas, in 1966—and two others, drummer Bryan Owings backs White. Owings is White’s frequent accompanist on tour, in the two-man band format that White enjoys. Owings has also performed and recorded with Emmylou Harris, Justin Townes Earle, Wanda Jackson, and many others. The duo are joined by bassist Steve Forrest on two numbers. And the album was produced by Jody White and engineered by Ryan McFadden.

Their recording strategy was unconventional. White moved a hodgepodge of gear from his home to his barn, where two former horse stalls became their studio. “The cement-floor saddle room with unfinished wood paneling had a window unit air conditioning box that had to be turned off for recording,” says McFadden. “The next stall over had a dirt floor covered with glued composite board. Tony cancelled the first session, saying he couldn’t sing in there because of the chemical smell of the glue. When I went back, Tony had filled the stalls with bowls of coffee grounds, cups of rice, dryer sheets, and decorative brooms made of bound twigs that were drenched in a cinnamon scent, sold at grocery stores around Halloween.” After that, each song was cut live in one or two takes. The approach perfectly captured the laidback open sound and sliding chords with thumb-plucked low-string lines that defines White’s blues-drenched guitar style. Since White plays good and loud, they put his 1951 Fender Deluxe amplifier in the back of his Land Rover, so its bawling tones wouldn’t interfere with the vocals and percussion tracks.

White, who was born in 1943 as the youngest of seven children on a cotton farm about 20 miles from the nearest town, Oak Grove, Louisiana, says the foundation of his music “comes from hearing blues singers play guitar with maybe just a harmonica or stomping their feet for accompaniment.” Adding a drummer, he cut his teeth playing school dances and then moved on to nightclubs along the Texas and Louisiana “crawfish circuit” of rough and tumble watering holes. And then the hits started happening, with “Polk Salad Annie” reaching number eight on the pop charts in 1968. Two years later, Brook Benton’s recording of “A Rainy Night in Georgia” topped the soul charts, and it’s been a wild ride since: decades of touring and recording marked by hit songs and collaborations with the likes of Eric Clapton, Jerry Lee Lewis and Mark Knopfler.

“If there’s anything like a line connecting everything that I’ve done, I would say it’s realness,” says White. “Even my songs that are sweet little love ballads—those are all real, inspired by real love and real life. Being real, being focused on what’s really going on around you, is something I learned early in my life.”

He pauses and laughs. “When you’re a little kid growing up down in the swamps, and you step on a cottonmouth … that’s real.”

Wednesday, July 11, 2018

UK-based jazz mag Straight No Chaser issue #99 due July 16

Here's the scoop from Straight No Chaser HQ...
It was in the summer of 1988, three decades ago, that Straight No Chaser – the magazine of World Jazz Jive was launched. Back then, the venture was a “designer fanzine” and in many respects that definition still holds true. The magazine evolved as a hub for a global community of music devotees committed to exploring diverse cultures of the African diaspora. From Sun Ra to Jeff Mills, Straight No Chaser explored ‘Intergalactic Sounds: Ancient To Future’ but in 2007, with the arrival of the internet, we were forced to call it a day.

However, 10 years down the line, a fresh, bold jazz influenced, nu-generation have emerged and it felt right to pick up where we left off with #SNC98. Over 130+ pages, this issue – #SNC99 (out July 16th) – connects with band-leaders Cassie Kinoshi (SEED Ensemble), Tenderlonious (22a), Femi Koleoso (Ezra Collective) and keys whiz Joe Armon-Jones.

Also in the mix are a host of spirited individuals like Nat Birchall (left), Midori Takada, Nabihah Iqbal, and Ben LeMar Gay. The London-Lagos-Accra connection is explored alongside Durban’s Qgom scene. On the indie label tip there’s Gondwana, Jazz re:freshed, Detroit Love and On the Corner.

For the crate diggers there’s Motown’s Black Forum + nuff reviews. #SNC98 sold out in under three weeks and though we’ve printed more mags there’s no room for complacency when it comes to getting your copy. You can pre-order Straight No Chaser #99 right now, right here.