Friday, 29 February 2008

Anthology of American Folk Music




Not strictly Country but definitely Yee Haa which, if you remember, was the exact theme of this month. These famous recordings were compiled by Harry Smith from his collection of 78's recorded between 1927 and 1932. The anthology was released by Folkways in 1952. It had a huge effect on the folk scene of the 50's and 60's and you can tell that Bob Dylan and Nick Cave have given these tunes a good few spins. Bobby Gillespie digs it too.
These are the 3 releases which Folkways put out. There was a fourth volume of work songs released in 2000 which isn't included here.

Vol 1 - Ballads

Vol 2 - Social music

Vol 3 - Songs

Tuesday, 26 February 2008

Brian Eno - Apollo


WTF! Eno in Cuntry Month! HELL YEAH!
It's Cuntry, Jim, but not as we know it.
It's just Cuntry viewed from really really high up.

I've only put in 3 tracks from the album 'cos the rest just ain't CUNTRY enough.

And the tracks are a bit more sophisticated than the tone of this post might suggest...

Eno listened to C&W on USAF radio as a kid. "Its sound is the sound of a mythical space, the mythical American frontier space that doesn’t really exist anymore."

Daniel Lanois accompanies with pedal steel and guitar on these tracks.


Monday, 25 February 2008

BJ Cole & Luke Vibert - Stop The Panic


This is another duet with a steel guitar player! 'cept it's not yer regler CUNTRY style duet 'cos it's a duet with Luke Vibert... BJ Cole is a UK pedal steel player who has played with so many names that it ain't even worth listing them. Luke Vibert, for the country purists, is one of the UK's more prominent electronic whizzkids who also happens to have an ear for all manner of eclectic zzounds from the vintage vaults. After being introduced to Vibert's music by David Toop, Cole decided that Vibert was worth checking out as a pardner. This is the result of two musicians from vastly different musical backgrounds getting together for a few sessions with a bag of weed.

Stop The Panic

Jimmy Bryant & Speedy West - Country Cabin Jazz


This is the first album released by Jimmy Bryant and Speedy West and consists of singles recorded for Capitol between 1951 and 1956. The fact that West isn't named on the cover suggests that he was regarded as a supporting musician on these sessions. This is odd since the album wasn't released till 1960 by which time West had very clearly established his position as a leading musician on the Capitol roster. And Jimmy Bryant was dropped in 1956, just after these recordings were made, for being a "Hellraiser". So I don't know who the cowboy on the cover is...

Country Cabin Jazz

Friday, 22 February 2008

Buffy Sainte-Marie - I'm Gonna Be A Country Girl Again


This is Buffy's 1968 shot at a C&W album. After establishing herself as a darling of the American folk/protest scene in the 60's she commanded enough respect to head down to Nashville and record with some of the people she admired. The Jordanaires, Lloyd Green, Grady Martin and Sonny Osborne, to name a few, are all on this session. On the surface it may sound like regular Nashville but there was no way she was ever going to trot out a generic C&W album. She always did everything a bit Buffy and you can detect elements of the hippy folky cree native protester threaded throughout.

Robert Cristgau slated it in '68 referring to it as "assimilated music at its emptiest"... Well, he's a prick. There are a number of tunes here that have plenty of depth and attitude - and, where the lyrics tend towards cloying escapism, the composition often lifts it back to great songwriting - the title track being a grand example. And, as ever, her soul is in it. Nevertheless, it didn't do well... possibly because it stood across genres. I suspect a lot of the grumbling came from blinkered C&W purists and diehard folkies bemoaning the decline of the protest movement.

And, to be honest, some of Buffy IS a little hard to take.

If it doesn't work for you, you could always just gawp at the photos of Ms Sainte-Marie on the back - or try her crazy 1969 psyche gem "Illuminations" which isn't suitable for country month.

I'm Gonna Be A Country Girl Again

Friday, 8 February 2008

You ain't frum 'round here are ya boy?


Hmmm... February... where to start? Ok. February is CUNTRY MUNTH!

This is already digitised so
20 Great Country Recordings of the 50's & 60's
can start this monthly theme of Amerkin Yee Haa. I picked this up in the '80's during the C&W revival which was pushing a pile of stuff into London at the time. It's a comp on a label called Cascade which must have died pretty quickly after releasing a bunch of R&B, Rockabilly and Country albums. This contains a few obscure tracks by well known artists as well as stuff by people I'd never heard of. There ain't a bad track on it. Even the bad ones are great. I've tried tracking grabs of it down without any luck so here it is:

20 Great Country Recordings of the 50's & 60's