Channeling the Grievous Angel

I know it’s Friday night, and I know I should be kicking off the weekend with an upbeat, shit-kicking type number, but it ain’t gonna happen. Why? Because a few weeks ago on Vin Scelsa’s weekly radio show on Sirius, this bounced from his New Jersey studio up into space, and down to my humble abode in the Arizona desert. It’s a purty little tune, and it prompted me to buy this new CD, and it just might do the same to you.

So it’s Caitlin Cary, who was once a member of Whiskeytown, who is joined by Thad Cockrell. Their album of duets, ‘Begonias’, was just released a month and a half ago by Yep Roc. It was recorded in Nashville with some seasoned session players backing them up.

This is their take on a Percy Sledge classic. This is a nice one. Reeeal nice.

Caitlin Cary & Thad Cockrell: Warm and Tender Love (mp3)

The Malcolm Burn Connection

Here’s a tune from Canadian band Junkhouse. The band hails from Hamilton, Ontario, home to Daniel Lanois and Malcolm Burn. Burn produced a bunch of Junkhouse tunes, but I’m not sure if he produced this one (anyone?). I found the Lanois/Burn connection interesting since my brother and I recently went to see Chris Whitley. Chris’ debut, ‘Living with the Law’, was produced by Malcolm Burn in Daniel Lanois’ New Orleans mansion. Malcolm also produced Chris’ latest, ‘Soft Dangerous Shores’ (released tomorrow).

I don’t want to go too deep into it, but last week’s Whitley show in Phoenix was one sad affair. Chris basically played about 5 songs before we all witnessed what amounted to a substance-induced breakdown / meltdown. He cursed, he slurred, he rambled, he cried, he fell off his stool. Before we new it, the house music was up and the crowd was out the door. Much to my complete surprise, he played the very next night in San Diego and apparently played a full, great show. Go figure. From what I witnessed, it didn’t look like he’d see the sun rise.

At any rate, I found the Malcolm Burn connection interesting when I recently heard this tune, which captures some of the same sort of ethereal, rootsy rocking that shows up in Whitley’s music. I wouldn’t be surprised if this was also a Malcolm Burn production.

Junkhouse: Shine (mp3) – from Rounders: Best of Junkhouse

Past Blast: Donnie Iris

You know that feeling you get that there’s a ton of great songs from years past lodged somewhere in your brain, and you’re resigned to the fact that you will never remember them or hear them again in your life? It’s downright depressing. But LO! Sirius Satellite Radio, which is the greatest thing to happen to me music-gadget-wise since I bought a CD player in 1987, revived one of these great tunes!

The DJ, Dave Mac I believe, on Sirius’ The Vault, intro’d this tune simply: “if you listened to rock radio in the late 70’s or early 80’s, you’ll remember this song.” Why yes I do! Out of the jumbled recesses of my memory bank and back into the sonic here and now… It’s Donnie Iris (that pic above is legit by the way). Check out an unofficial site.

Donnie Iris: Love is Like a Rock (mp3)

Sunday Grab Bag

A trio of tunes that sum up my mood this Sunday in the 115 degree Arizona desert.

Morning: A Tribe Called Quest – Mr. Muhammad A cup of coffee, the Sunday paper, and “Mr. Muhammad” piping through the household. Heads a bobbin’ courtesy of the Tribe, from their awesome debut album – deep breath – People’s Instinctive Travels and the Paths of Rhythm.

Afternoon:Kaiser Chiefs – I Predict a Riot – This is hands down one of the best take-no-prisoners rock n roll song I’ve heard all year. If you’re not jumping up and down when the choruses kick in on this one, you have no soul. You should check out the video of the K. Chiefs performing this tune to open up Philly’s Live 8 concerts a couple weeks ago. I never thought I’d say this, but thank you AOL for showing VH-1 and MTV how it’s done. From Employment.

Evening: Tom Waits – Kentucky Avenue – Well it’s evening time in Arizona… only 101 degrees, and it’s time to wind down with Tom Waits, smoothly croaking out this great ballad from 1978’s Blue Valentine.

They’re Not Down in London Town

This one goes out to all our brothers and sisters across the pond in London town. Other than some visits as a young child, I visited England twice in my twenties when my folks lived in Surrey. I was enamored of the place. The charm, the scenery, the history, the class, not to mention – ah yes – THE PUBS. How many pints of bitter were downed? No idea. I got from place to place like so many others: riding the tube. God Bless the poor souls affected by last week’s terror. To those on the other side, enjoy Hell, won’t you?

From Willesden to Cricklewood
I tell you the town looked good
Walking lonely avenues,
Where rhinestone cowboys find the blues
There’s people in, doing their thing
Gettin’ all the mozzarella in
And the passing time and passing moons
Words flying in cloudy rooms
Plastic bags, milk and eggs
The poor old crone’s got aching legs
How I would love to speak
To everybody on the street
Just for once to break the rules
I know it would be so cool

From Willesden to Cricklewood
From Willesden to Cricklewood
From Willesden to Cricklewood
Come with me and be no good

Be a mad man on the street
Sing something out like reet petite
Let’s hip-hop at traffic lights
Ten thumbs up and smilin’ bright
Crossing all the great divides
Colour,age,and heavy vibes

From Willesden to Cricklewood…

Oh let’s go down to Al Rashid’s
All the Aussie lagers are on me
Now you’ve got the absinthe out
Your old mother-she wants a stout..

From Willesden to Cricklewood
As I went it all looked good
Thought about my babies grown
Thought abour going home
Thought about what’s done is done
We’re alive and that’s the one
From Willesden to Cricklewood

Joe Strummer & the Mescaleros: Willesden to Cricklewood (mp3) from Rock Art & the X Ray Style

Et tu, Mr. Earle?

I don’t know quite what to think. In the midst of the MLB All Star Game last night, I hear the bad-ass sounds of Steve Earle permeating the airwaves… IN A CHEVY COMMERCIAL. Yes, “The Revolution Starts Now” has gone from the battlecry of those not entirely please with the current administration to the trumpeting of the new Chevy truck revolution or whatever. I – as I said, not quite sure how to feel here. Sure tons of artists have contributed music to commercials, and who’s to say I wouldn’t for that sweet almighty U.S. dollar? So who am I to really judge? But it just feels weird to think Steve Earle took a song so near and dear to his heart like that, and gave it to Chevy. BUT, by the same token, it is possible to discover cool music through commericals. Like Richard Buckner‘s “Ariel Ramirez”.

Richard Buckner: Ariel Ramirez (mp3) from Since

4th of July – Alvin Style

Along with Springsteen’s “4th of July Asbury Park (Sandy)”, this song by Dave Alvin has worked its way into my July 4th music rotation over the years. This great song was released on Dave’s 1994 album ‘King of California’. Dave, along with his brother Phil, fronted the Southern California rockabilly band the Blasters. Since then, Dave’s been churning out some great solo material, including last year’s Ashgrove.

Happy Birthday, U.S.A. – though it’s been a rough ride the last few years, and those at the helm are steering us in a direction that many of us are extremely uncomfortable with – we’re still with you… most of us are a tolerant, even-keeled bunch. Much more than our government’s neo-conservative wack jobs would have you believe. No political party can claim to be more patriotic than the other. Sorry, we’re all in this together, we all love our country… even those of us who are against our young men and women dying in droves overseas for reasons that are less than clear, with no stop in sight (not to mention the scores of innocent civilians). *end of short rant*

So happy Independence Day.

Dave Alvin: Fourth of July (mp3)

Crazy Mother%# Named Nina

Oddity of the Day: Nina Gordon was one of the members of Veruca Salt. N.W.A were the pioneers of west coast gangsta rap. Nina Gordon straps on her acoustic, seats herself on a stool, and softly sings her take on an N.W.A. classic.

Nina Gordon: Straight Outta Compton (mp3) – explicit lyrics