Tag Archives: Woody Guthrie

Greetings From The Boss!

15 Jun


I rather like magazine cover discs.  I’d never buy a mag for the cover disc alone, but when done well, they’re a good way of getting acquainted with artists of whom you’ve never before heard or hadn’t been tempted to try.

From Uncut magazine and dating from 2007, comes the absolute best example in my collection – frankly, it’s better than many albums I’ve bought at full price!  What makes it stand out is that it is a collection ‘compiled from Bruce Springsteen‘s personally selected walk-in tapes of music played before his concerts‘.  I like it when artists I admire share ideas for new listening (think Bob Dylan’s Theme Time Radio Hour programmes). 

So because The Boss is playing Wembley Stadium tonight, I thought I’d feature this today. There are fifteen eclectic, often vintage, tracks here – and none are less than OK so I’ll just give you the listing together with my personal ratings:

01– The Ballad Of Thunder Road [Robert Mitchum] Yes, it is the film actor – from 1958 4*;
02– Candy Man Blues [Mississippi John Hurt] The oldest track, from 1928 3*;
03– The Train From Kansas City [Neko Case]  From 2004 and the first 5* track. I’d never encountered Neko Case before. Great cover of the Shangri-Las song written by the excellent Jeff Barry and Ellie Greenwich;
04– Lost Highway [Hank Williams]. Classic Hank WIlliams from 1949. 4*. I couldn’t believe I didn’t have this in my collection already!
05- Chicken Shack Boogie [Amos Milburn]. From 1947, 5* – best track in the collection  and turned me onto a whole genre of music I’d never appreciated before!
06– Hard Travellin’ [Woody Guthrie], 1946. 4*
07– Take Out Some Insurance [Jimmy Reed], 1959 4*
08– My Blue Eyed Jane [Jimmie Rodgers], 1930, 4*
09– Dry Bones [Bascom Lamar Lunsford], 1928, 3*
10– Across The Wire [Calexico]. 2003. This wasn’t first time I’d come across Calexico but the first I appreciated them properly. 4*
11– The World Is Going Wrong [Mississippi Sheiks] 1930. 3*
12– Baby Blue [Gene Vincent]. 1958,  (I really ought to seek out a decent Gene Vincent compilation!) 4*
13– God’s Gonna Separate The Wheat From The Tares [Mahalia Jackson] 1937, 4*
14– Too Much Monkey Business [Chuck Berry] 1956. One of my favourite Berry songs and the third 5* song on the album.
15– St. James Infirmary [Louis Armstrong]. Great version of this American classic – both the trumpet and the vocal. 4*

Not worth seeking out on the secondhand market  (for what you’d pay you could pick up a new CD of many of the older performances which are out copyright) but it makes a good case for trying something new!


Nicely Out Of Tune

6 Apr
Nicely Out Of Tune

Nicely Out Of Tune

This is the album which gives its name to this blog! It came out in the UK in 1970 on the Charisma label (also home to a lot of early Genesis recordings – and Monty Python’s Flying Circus too). This was the debut album of Lindisfarne – a band from north east England. Like many people I actually bought their next album (Fog on the Tyne) before this because it had the band’s first hit single on it. Having heard that though, I was keen to get my hands on their earlier effort because their second single hit (‘Lady Eleanor’) was from this recording which belatedly got into the charts and which also contains two of the band’s other classics (‘Clear White Light part 2′ and ‘We Can Swing Together’). All three of these tracks by Lindisfarne’s main songwriter, Alan Hull who died tragically young.

The overall feel of Nicely out of Tune is folky-bluesy, good-time music with a few more introspective slower numbers. I also think this was the first album I bought which contained a Woody Guthrie track (‘Jackhammer Blues’). I haven’t yet got round to getting this on CD (largely because the key tracks have been anthologised repeatedly).

The title was, reputedly, chosen by the band on the basis that they saw themselves as ‘nicely out of tune’ with the London-centric sound of the times – and I’ve pinched it because my own music collection is both eclectic and focused well away from the majority of current commercial recordings.