Monday, December 20, 2010

Bon Chica Christmas

Hope you're wrapped up warm wherever you find yourself reading this - here we've got a little bit of snow on the first day of my Christmas holiday, and I'm going through the lonesome music emails, here's the first recommendation for you:

Get yourself over to Bon Chica's bandcamp site and sample and download their 2 Christmassy free tracks.

Echo Chamber : Boca Chica / Snow Angels from Draw Us Lines on Vimeo.

Friday, December 17, 2010

Dottie West - Miss Country Sunshine

Walking home from TWP on Monday night, Howard and I were having a keep-warm conflab about the country ladies we've been listening to recently, like you (we) do. I tried to give it my best Dottie West impression, but can't really do her (or her 'do) justice, so I'm putting some up here.

I think I first heard these Dottie West songs on the mighty Big Rock Candy Mountain - do go and have a read if you don't already - they've got some right christmas crackers up there at the moment. Why she's not in the Country Music Wax Museum between Crystal and Tammy, I just don't know.

We could all do with a dose of country sunshine at the moment, couldn't we?

Listen: Dottie West - Country Sunshine

Listen: Dottie West - Night Life

Listen: Dottie West - Reno


Saturday, December 04, 2010

What Saturday afternoons are made for #1

Right, it's been far too indie-boy/girl credible around here lately - what we need is a dose of some proper good stuff.

I know I'll be talking to the right crowd here - but really, can you honestly think of a finer way to spend cold and grey afternoons/your adolescence/a spell of unemployment than with a film, definitely vintage, preferably musical, always with a large mug of tea?

It's a lift-up joy in itself, and then you get the added shibboleth delight of talking about it with a small but archly knowing crew of fellow afficionados for years to come.
Bit like blogging really.

Ah, take it away, Doris: (she can't remember a worse December, and neither can I)

Listen: Doris Day - I've Got My Love to Keep Me Warm (Buy)

This post is inspired by Davy's music to roast potatoes to series - consider it a Saturday afternoon counterpart. I feel an occasional series coming on. Next up, ooh, Rex?

P.S. I used to have this very picture in A3 cardboard prop-up format, as lemon as you like, fresh from Leicester market in the the mid 90s. There was a green Elizabeth Taylor one too. Both lost forever after an over-scrupulous charity shop clear out. Let that be a warning to you all.

Friday, November 26, 2010

Stornoway - We are the battery human

So this might get taken down quickly, but hopefully I can share a bit of love for a band that loves Fleet Foxes and the Decemberists in almost equal measure, with extra banjo. A late entry for the best album I've heard released this year (are we doing one this year Beth?), Stornaway's Beachcomber's Windowsill start with a touch of plainsong about zorbing and drifts off into sea shanties and the folkier end of rock and pop, but don't let that put you off.

Listen: Stornoway - We are the battery human

Buy it

Saturday, November 20, 2010

More rumination on marriage

Dolly and Porter were never married, but their studio recordings (and by all accounts their live shows) are full of ad-libs that show just how close they were - check this piece of high cheese from 'We Found It'

Listen: Dolly Parton & Porter Wagoner - I've been married just as long as you

But I like to think this is much closer to the truth of their relationship, with its harking back to the music of Dolly's youth. Excuse the vinyl scratches.
Listen: Dolly & Porter - I know you're married but I still love you

Many of their joint albums are out of print, so go for a best of.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

dry the river

Mentioned in the press a fair bit the last few weeks, Dry the River have a free 3 track EP you can download from their website including this one - embedded straight from their Soundcloud:
History Book by Dry the River

It's close harmony and acoustic instrumentation could do with filling out with a bit of mandolin and more fiddle if you ask me, but that might push it a bit too country.

You can buy it with a couple of extra tracks from here.
also an excellent excuse to post a bit of Moose:

Listen: Moose - This River Will Never Run Dry

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

I have a load more stuff on marriage and weddings

First a proper blast of banjo, still not allowed one in the house, that's why I'm getting a shed. Both Roscoe Holcomb's albums are highly recommended. Music with grit.

Listen: Roscoe Holcomb - Married Life Blues - Buy it

Jean Shepard could probably fill an album with wedding, marriage and divorce related songs. I think we've found our Lonesome groove again - check out these beauties:
Listen: Jean Shepard - My Wedding Ring
Listen: Jean Shepard - Don't Fall in Love with a Married Man
Buy it

Monday, November 08, 2010

When we admit our parents were right

I took a small sojourn from my current occupationless status this weekend to be take up officiant/reverend-duties at the wedding of one of my very best friends. The lakeland horizontal rain held off, hands were fasted, fires were lit, fiddles were played, hearts were warmed.
Happy, happy days. So let's have a bumper crop of (slightly sadder) wedding songs, shall we?

Listen: Tim Hart & Maddy Prior - Sorry the Day I Was Married (Buy)

Listen: Mark Lanegan - Wedding Dress (Buy) (this really gets me)

Listen: The Arlenes - Married Life (Buy)

Listen: The Reeltime Travelers - Too Young to Marry (Buy)

Listen(kind of a little anthem): Tom Waits - Better Off Without a Wife (Buy)

What have I missed? (Apart from good old TS and his private words addressed in public, obviously - still trying to wean myself off of all that).

Friday, November 05, 2010

Jonny - Gloria

Well, that was an interesting spell. Long story short, I've just been released from a project that required complete radio silence for the best part of a year and Beth is sorting out 'alternative employment options'.

So here's a quick post to tell you that Lonesome favorites ex-Gorky's Zygotic Mynci frontman the gloriously named Euros Childs and Teenage Fanclub's Norman Blake have a free EP of woozy folk pop you can download. It's not tearjerkingly saturated in pedal steel, but I'm sure we'll find our lonesome groove again as soon as we hit a smooth patch.

Listen: Jonny - Gloria

Friday, September 03, 2010

Did you miss us over the Summer?

Hi all, lots and lots has happened since I last wrote anything here, but nothing that you would want to know. So on with the music, just a few things I've been listening to for a while and would like to share.

Heron's anthology has a quiet beauty of soft rock vibes in a CSNY go camping way, indeed the sleeve notes say it was all recorded outside in a field. Check it:

Heron - Love 13 (lone)
Buy It

Something a little more recent, having returned from Maine this is how I've felt all week:

Chatham County Line - Country Boy/City Boy

Buy it

Friday, July 30, 2010

Fallen into a hole...

It's been quite a couple of weeks here. Changes, folks, changes.

I've been pulled out the proverbial rabbit hole by a night in the excellent company of The Handsome Family at the Hyde Park Picture House, an art deco gem in most unexpected surroudings.

Happily, it's had new seats from when I took Howard there about a million years ago when I was first in Leeds. It was a double bill, starting at midnight, designed to test stamina of both arse and mind. Sorry about that, mate.

Listen: The Handsome Family - The Bottomless Hole

Listen: Smog - The Well.

Buy the Smog record or The Handsome Family one.

Tuesday, June 08, 2010

Bobbie Gentry & Glen Campbell

Thanks to the BBC's recent programme on Queens of Country on Bobbie Gentry I'm now well into my fourth album on repeat listening - there's some great twofers on amazon. I went for Mornin' Glory just because I like to hear her yawn, really.

Listen: Bobbie Gentry - Mornin' Glory

Buy it - part of a twofer

iplayer Tammy

Friday, May 28, 2010

I want to be an Unthank

More Unthank loveliness this week in a hot and euphoric Brudenell. It was the first time I've heard them play Sea Song live - real goosebump-inducing stuff. I'm embarrassed to say that I didn't realise it was a Robert Wyatt song, but it completely makes sense. It's all in the yearning and a bit of gentle brass to ram the emotional punch home. It's the effortless, after-hours feel of it that get me every time. Sigh.

And without wanting to make this a compare-and-contrast 'A' level type question, (although it is the season for that sort of thing), have a listen to these as a pair.

Listen: Rachel Unthank and the Winterset - Sea Song

Listen: Robert Wyatt - Just as You Are

By The Bairns or Comicopera

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Passing strange and wonderful

Grew up near Dreamland.
Visited Moominland. Want to return to Lapland.

Can now tick off Wonderland. Or Wonderland Market, at least.

Hello everyone - it's been a while. What have you been up to?

Listen: Moose - Wonder Where I'll Go (love this)

Listen: Two Dollar Pistols - Don't Start Me Wonderin'

Listen: Love - Wonder People

Buy the Moose (criminally overlooked), the Pistols (hang around long enough and we'll have posted nearly all of this album), or the deluxe super-duper Love.

Monday, April 12, 2010

The Leisure Society

For Howard, a man who appreciates a good suit and a slice of clever pop.

I do love a band that make an effort, and this lot certainly do. Tres dapper. Last week at the Brudenell there were almost as many people on stage as there were in the audience, with a huge dose of bonhomie and a very high ukelele count. Strings, wind, brass, intellect - they're onto a winner.

I'm posting this up for my lovely brother and for you lovely people, on the off chance that you haven't heard it. The Leisure Society are playing with Neil Hannon as part of Richard Thompson's Meltdown this year - now, that will be a well turned out crowd. Fancy.

Listen: The Leisure Society - The Last of the Melting Snow

Listen: The Leisure Society - The Darkest Place I Know.

Go on, buy it, do.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Glen - If this is love

It's all gone a bit Glen around these parts recently and I want to join in.

I love a bit of Glen - you've had Southern Nights at least twice over the years, which would be my normal choice, so here's another top pick. It's a two minute-stomper, full of top alliteration and picky guitars. I don't think it was a hit, mind; my sources call it 'curiously unsuccessful'. Ha.

It's on the mighty mighty Galveston, which is worth buying just for the title track, never mind this one and the swoonsome Where's the Playground, Susie?

Listen: Glen Campbell - If This Is Love

P.S. Interesting stuff afoot... When I went back to link to the Southern Nights posts back in 2005 and 2007, they've curiously disappeared. No DMCA email about that one, just gone. Bit irritating that. Same happened to Howard's post last year on Akron Family. I think only I noticed. On the positive side, I did find that some of our ancient comments from 2004 seem to have made it over in the blogger upgrade debacle. Cor, we've been rattling on for ages.


Thursday, March 18, 2010

Homegame and The Unthanks

Ah, another euphoric weekend up in Anstruther for Homegame and more folky goodness to share with you. There really is something about waking up to sun on the sea, a diet of refined and deep-fried carbs and being down the pub with some of your favourite pop stars to lift a girl's spirits.

It's always a bit of a pick'n'mix of a bill - this year even more so - and The Unthanks were a very welcome edition and one of the few bands who reduced the rabble-rousing Town Hall into silence. Just gorgeous. And with added clog dancing as a bonus.

And it's not every festival that ends up with a ceilidh - you don't get to strip the willow with the bands at Glastonbury, do you?

Listen: The Unthanks - Annachie Gordon.

Buy it.

Tuesday, March 09, 2010

Extraordinary indeed

Sometimes it's the obvious ones that really get you, isn't it?

It's been an aural battery recently, folks. Wedding songs (up, down aisles and around the dancefloor), songs on taxi radios on too early/too late/too fragile commutes, the BBC4 Friday 9 o'clocker - all in all, it's been quite an assault.

Listen: John Denver - Annie's Song (floods, people)

Listen: James Taylor - Shower The People

Listen: Leonard Cohen - Dance Me to the End of Love (live)

Buy Denver, Taylor and Cohen.

Tuesday, March 02, 2010

Your heart is like the Rothko Chapel

Cold, dark, void yet simple and intriguing.

I found myself in the Liverpool Tate this hungover Sunday morning and, seekinga seat and dim lighting, went in to have a good look at these. I've been singing this song to myself ever since - have you lot heard it?

I first heard of David Dondero (and this beauty) a couple of years ago on the ever-impressive songs:illinois, one of the very finest and most consistent sources of new music out there and, in the way that these things work, went out and found myself some more. David Dondero weaves wandering tales that manage to pack an emotional punch and still have you dancing around the kitchen.

If you haven't heard this before, then do listen hard to the lyrics. He certainly has got a good way with words. And any man that quotes Charlie Parker in the chorus has got to be alright with me.

Listen: David Dondero - Rothko Chapel

Buy the album.

Friday, February 26, 2010

With silence and tears

Have you noticed that things have looked a bit weird round here recently?

Naughty blogger has had some kind of upgrade and made all the formatting go a bit skew whiff. Now, this isn't the kind of thing that keeps me up at night, but I am genuinely a bit upset that it's eaten all of our comments.

Yep, every single one of the notes that you've left for us, the hidden tracks we've left for you, the ruminations and general whimsy - all gone. Gah.

So here's a few songs to mull over whilst we're getting used to the new quiet.

And if you're out there and like these songs, please delurk, say hello, maybe let us know your favourite song about silence and make a girl feel better.

Listen: Lefty Frizzell - Silence

Listen: Jim Noir - A Quiet Man

Listen: Porter Wagoner - Be A Little Quieter

Listen: Two Dollar Pistols - All the Good's Gone

Listen: Fairport Convention - Quiet Joys of Brotherhood (10 minutes of life well spent).

Buy Lefty, Jim, Porter, Two Dollar Pistols, and Fairport.

Friday, February 05, 2010

Graham Coxon - The Spinning Top

What was the last song you had on repeat?

This one has kept me company on a series of very long and cold train journeys this week - I've heard it umpteen times and yet I keep finding myself pressing repeat. It's eight and a half minutes of acoustic, finger-plucky, Graham-y/Martin-y clever clogs pleasure, with added glasses. And birdsong.

I'm a bit of a late-comer to this album, which seemed to get a bit of a rough ride in the reviews - it's a step away from the archetypal indie boy towards a bigger and broader musical heritage. Come on in, I say.

I think this could well be Coxon's Weekender (which, I think we can agree, is a very good thing).

Listen: Graham Coxon - In the Morning.


PS Happy Birthday Howard XXXX

Monday, February 01, 2010

Richie Lawrence - Melancholy Waltz

I love records that are a bit nuts. Like the Ruth Minnikin last year, this album was a total off-kilter and off-radar surprise. I think that might be a concrete piano on the cover - I once went to a church in Denmark that was made totally out of concrete, hmm...

Anyway, the quirky cover art is just a taster of the random mix of what's inside. It's a pick'n'mix of folky ballads, woozy piano instrumentals, chansons and country. Give it a whirl.

Listen: Richie Lawrence - I Am Weary

Listen: Richie Lawrence - Danielle

Buy it.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Charlie Louvin - Love At Home

Did you all see these gob-smaking photos in the Observer at the weekend? There's a whole series of 'american legend' portraits - please do click through if you missed them - highly recommended.

I've been meaning to post this since it grabbed me by the throat on the train the other day, and this picture was just the kick I needed. You all know by now that I'm a sucker for anything 'home' related; add to that a cracked and weathered voice and a hint of gospel, and, frankly, I'll be a snivelling wreck. Enjoy.

Listen: Charlie Louvin - Love at Home.

Buy Steps to Heaven.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

RIP Carl Smith - the gentleman honky-tonker

Oh no. Remember last week's post about Goldie Hill and how love led her away from the blues? Well, this is the fella that made her happy enough to stop singing the blues, and he died today.

Carl Smith is the "gentleman honky-tonker", a bit more brushed up that your Hanks or your Ernests, but his is still a proper honky-tonk, steel-soaked, tears-in-your-beer world. There's a real charm to his stuff, perfect for a gentle sway around the kitchen.

Listen: Carl Smith - Guilty Conscience

Listen: Carl Smith - If Teardrops Were Pennies

Buy it

He's also known for being married to June Carter Cash in her pre-Cash incarnation, and they had a daughter called Carlene. Love that.

Monday, January 18, 2010

Frank Sinatra - Cycles

Okay, so it's the end of the first day of a week working from home and it's not boding well. I've already cracked through a lot of Walker Brothers and Scott, a fair whack of Francoise and now I've got the big guns out with a spot of Frank.

It doesn't look good, people. And I'm taking you all down with me.

Do you all know this album? It's not flawless but there are some crackers on here - and, well, it is Frank. And, oh, just listen to those strings...

Listen: Frank Sinatra - By The Time I Get to Phoenix

Listen: Frank Sinatra - Rain in my Heart


Friday, January 15, 2010

Rhett Miller

Hang on a minute, what's this? Something new on lonesome? Why, yes, newish and very fine indeed.

Rhett Miller (of Old 97s semi-fame) released an eponymous album last year that very nearly passed me by, so I'm pleased to have caught up with this. [Likewise, I nearly missed the Sara Hawkins one - more on that in another post]. It's a cracking album, with unexpected twists and turns and very good company indeed.

Listen: Rhett Miller - Nobody Says I Love You Anymore

Listen: Rhett Miller - Sometimes


Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Julie London - 'Round Midnight

In response to this post by Mr H.

We had quite a few emails about the divine Ms London last time she went up, so here's another, and it's a belter. Swoon.

Listen: Julie London - 'Round Midnight

Do yourself a very big favour and buy it.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Goldie Hill - Don't Send Me No More Roses

Right, hands up who knows about Goldie Hill? I must confess that I didn't until last year, when my friend Kate shared her copy of this little beauty, a re-release of some of Goldie's unrelentingly miserable hits.

It's full-on 1950's heartbreak, bleak as hell and bloody marvellous. Along with Kitty Wells, Goldie was one of the first women to score a country number one hit. Apparently love and Nashville radio made her go a bit more uptempo in the 1960's, but we're not here for that, are we?

Listen: Goldie Hill - Call Off The Wedding (this starts with the wedding march and a talky bit - joys!)

Listen: Goldie Hill - I'm the Lonliest Gal in Town

Buy it - they're all as good.