"Fight" by No Vacancy
from School of Rock Soundtrack
Best Iron Maiden song since The Trooper. Sweet guitar solo.
"ISB Soundalikes" by Various
I was gonna post something about Joanna Newsom's record (which is page one in my Book Of Right-On) but the mention of Dr. Strangely Strange (aka the Irish ISB) made me want to think up a couple other of the post-ISB wyrdfolk diaspora. FOR EXAMPLE. The Sun Also Rises, whose lone LP contains all the wizard & elf references you could want, plus the beautiful "Flowers", one of my all-time fave UK acid-folk gems. Likewise there is Bread, Love & Dreams, whose opus "Amaryllis" sports a few ISB-inspired hits, like "My Stair Cupboard at 3 AM". Also check Dando Shaft, who Zeppelin ripped off on their folky bits when they weren't ripping off Jansch. The beautiful "In The Country" is every but as stunning (and about the exact same thing) as "Mercy I Cry City", but like 3 years after. Still a total gem. People always compare the first Mormos record to ISB but I've only heard the jazzier 2nd record which sounds more like the 2nd Famous Jug Band LP mixed with the slightly-unfortunate hokum (i.e. vaudeville jazz) trend in UK 69-71 folk from bands like Tight Like That, Panama Limited Jug Band (who are AWESOME) and that Mormos record. Dulcimer has some ISB influence for sure, plus some retarded poetry-narration which almost mars a their very good record. I just picked up both Jan Dukes de Grey records, the first of which has total ISB moments. The 2nd is kind of a scary prog record. Speaking of which, Comus sounds like if the elves and tree gnomes that are Heron & Williamson turned into Orcs and decided to murder Joe Boyd. Oh and how can I forget Forest, or Tea & Symphony or Tir Na Nog, Oriental Sunshine from Norway, Stone Angel... and then of course the Clive Palmer bands, COB & Famous Jug Band....funny though, I can't really think of any American bands prior to like 1995...anyone?
"First Fall of Snow" by Rosalie Sorrels
from What Ever Happened To The Girl That Was
I picked up this LP from 1973 and then another one by Rosalie from 1967 on Folk-Legacy...both are amazing. The obvious comparison is the original HillBillie-Holiday herself, Karen Dalton...Like Karen D's "In My Own Time", Rosalie's "What Ever..." sounds like Billie Holiday in 1973 Nashville. Rosalie is a little less weird than Karen, a little more Loretta Lynn, but these records are undeniably incredible, and I haven't found anyone else who knows them. Anyone?
"Hokey-Pokey" by Richard & Linda Thompson
Besides some Seriously Sick Searing Leads, this track has all the post-Fairport folk-rock swagger, plus all the weird 70s-updated sexual innuendo you can possibly imagine. At first I find myself enraptured by the relentlessly mid-tempo syncopated fiddle/vocal lines, but pretty soon I'm swept up in the bizarre sexiness of the lyrics and Linda's voice, and the stanky blues leads (read that with a lisp), and suddenly it's 1974 and I'm sipping a daquari on Venice beach watching the most impossibly hot 17-year old blonde rollerskate by in a tight tank top and red-striped Daisy Dukes and I'm lovin' it.
"ALL" by Nic Jones
Nic Jones'ss story is a sad one. He was a masterful British folk guitarist through the 70s, releasing records on Trailer and Topic, blowing minds all over the place. His peak was Penguin Eggs from around 1980 on Topic (available on CD), as well as his work on June Tabor's "Airs & Graces", which are both fucking STELLAR. Anyway, in like 1982 he got in a bad car crash and lost much of his motor skills, enough that he couldn't perform anymore. Now, 20 years later, adding insult to rather serious injury, the rights to all his pre-1980 recordings are owned by some asshole who won't let them be reissued under nthe hopes that one day the rights will become "valuable". So anyway, after his accident, fans sent him recordings they'd made of his live shows, which someone has collected into two collections, "In Search of Nic Jones" and "Unearthed." The latter, a 2 disc set, to my ears is superior. It showcases his fucking unbelievable facility to make you realize you'll never be any good at the guitar. Anyway, everybody go by it so Nic gets some royalties. Go buy Penguin Eggs and Airs & Graces from Topic also.
"Glad and Sorry" by The Faces
from Ooh La La
Can you show me a Dream?/ Can you show me one that's better than mine?/ Can you stand it in the cold light of day?/ Well neither can I. Relentless hopeful and relentlessly sad. A true materpiece.
"Nothing Lasts" by Karen Beth
from The Joys of Life
This Karen Beth record came to me because a friend overheard some record store clerks musing that she sounded just like Karen Dalton. She does have a similarly nasal whine, but while KD sings the blues, KB (and her music) is a white as they come. "Nothing Lasts" is an incredible song, though, and incredibly rendered. It rolls along almost like Van Morrison's "Astral Weeks", informal, loose, but soaring in its emotional drive and beautifully accompanied with melodic upright bass and piano parts.
"entire album" by June Tabor
from Airs and Graces
Ok, so the cover of this record looks like a bad disco record from like 1979. But in fact it's one of the best traditional folk records of the 70s. Her voice recalls Nico and Sandy Denny at time, but June is twice the singer of both of them combined. The record is dark, making me think of Nico's "Desertshore", but it's all olde material and therefore has a completely different scope. I always feel like "Desertshore" should be wafting through the bars of the German sanitorium Kafka and Schiele laid in as tuberculosis swallowed them; "Airs and Graces", on the other hand, sounds like the ghostly echo of long dead rural folk, cutting through the mists of some lonely hillside outside Newcastle in northern England.
"Tipe Tizwe (Give Me a Taste)" by Various...
from Nonesuch Explorer: Zimbabwe -- The African Mbira
This was played for me a couple weeks ago in Glasgow at 4 AM. These kids had put on a show for me and themselves played with their band Scatter (which was great--sounded like Charlie Hayden's Liberation Music Orchestra) and were babysitting me while a waited to go to the airport at 5 AM. We listened to a wide variety of folky and "world" musics, but this was the one that knocked me on my ass, and has stuck with me for weeks...it was free, happy, alien, beautiful... It almost had the vibe of some of the 60s/70s collective folk improv records i've heard like the folky Trad Gras och Stenar tracks, or "Music is Love" off David Crosby's solo record...that free, celebratory, entirely welcoming kind of improvised folk song that just wraps you up in a blanket of kindness and makes you feel like Yes, Music is Love.
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