N.E.W. R.E.M.

Okay, not technically new, but definitely previously unreleased.

With all proceeds going to directly to the Mercy Corps’ emergency response efforts in the Bahamas following the battering that the north-west islands endured at the hands of Hurricane Dorian, which caused widespread destruction and left 76,000 people homeless, Fascinating is available to stream for free on the band’s Bandcamp page, or you can purchase it for a minimum of $2.00 (at the time of writing that’s £1.60).

The song first appeared on the original master of 2001’s Reveal but was cut at the last minute (amazingly Chorus & The Ring kept its place), and was re-recorded for 2004’s Around The Sun album, but it was deemed not to fit there either. Many will know that Around The Sun is generally considered to be their worst record, so you can maybe find some hope in that.

And Fascinating is really lovely, and would have provided a much-needed boost to either of those albums.

You should give it a listen (and preferably buy it too):

R.E.M. – Fascinating

More soon.

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Sunday Morning Coming Down

A late switch of songs this morning.

All week, I had been planning to post some Merle Haggard, but listening to The Jayhawks tune I posted last night, I suddenly found myself in the mood for some Flying Burrito Brothers instead.

Which leads me to this song, instead.

Released in 1976, Gram Parsons posthumous album Sleepless Nights (formally credited to Gram Parsons/The Flyring Burrito Brothers) is a collection of songs recorded in 1970 (when he was part of The FBBs), and in 1973, as part of his sessions recordings for the Grievous Angel LP (when he wasn’t). Nine of the twelve tracks feature The FBB’s, and today’s pick is one of them.

Written by Merle Haggard, it first appeared on his 1968 album of the same name; Haggard penned it as a tribute to Jimmy “Rabbit” Kendrick, a fellow inmate at San Quentin prison, who devised an escape plan and invited Haggard to join him. However, they both agreed it would be best that Merle stayed in stir, “Rabbit” escaped but was re-captured two weeks later, and was ultimately executed for the murder of a state trooper. I love a story with a happy ending.

Happy because were it not for that unfortunate sequence of events, we might not have had Merle Haggard, and we may not have had his frankly staggering body of work, not least including this one:

The Flying Burrito Brothers – Sing Me Back Home

More soon.

Late Night Stargazing

The Jayhawks are one of those bands who I know of, but no very little by.

So when I recently stumbled across a copy of their 2018 album Back Roads and Abandoned Motels, I snaffled it up, and it’s blooming wonderful, enough to move them pretty high up on my list of bands I must invest more in.

Here’s a track from said album, and it’s absolutely gorgeous:

The Jayhawks – Carry You to Safety

More soon.

50 Ways To Prove I’m Rubbish #21

Time for another band that I absolutely adore now, but back in 1985, when they were causing a proper stink by playing 15 minute long sets with their backs to the audience, around the time that their debut album came out, I absolutely hated them.

Often in this series, I struggle to pinpoint exactly what it was about a band or artist that I didn’t like then but do love now; often I can blame my blinkered “it’s got no guitars on it” viewpoint, but more often than not I have to shrug my shoulders and accept it was because…well…I’m a bit rubbish.

Today’s tune poses no such problems, however, as I can easily point to the exact reason I refused to like this band back in the mid-80s: sibling rivalry, which given that the band features two brothers is a tad on the ironic side.

My brother adored The Jesus & Mary Chain, but as far as I could see they were just two dour Scotsmen with a propensity for playing their guitars a bit too close to their amps and thereby generating a wall of unwelcome squealing feedback.

Talk about missing the point.

However, it was around this time that my brother and I, after years of fighting, and smashing anything we could get our hands on across each others’ back – snooker cues, violins (no one could accuse us of not being middle class) – started to decide we quite liked each other after all.

We went to the local pub one night, for his birthday – I think it was his 19th, which would make me 17 (shhh! don’t tell the landlord), and we came away at the end of the night, properly lubricated (ok, that sounds wrong…) and announcing that we had decided the other “was alright really.”

Shortly afterwards, I was commandeered by my brother and his mates Rob and Phil to join their pool team. I’m not sure how they had become the representatives of a pub in this respect, but somehow they had, and on the occasions when their normal fourth player wasn’t available, I was brought in.

In case you think I was a ringer, you’re sadly mistaken. I haven’t played in years, but back then I was pretty good. However, I don’t think I won a single game, and can recall with a shudder at least one game where I tried an outlandish shot only to accidentally pot the black and thus lose the game.

Anyway, roaring along the back roads around the villages we lived in (Rob and Phil lived in a different one to the two of us), heading to a nearby pub to shoot some pool, a compilation tape of all things goth would inevitably be played.

I should stress that none of us considered The Jesus & Mary Chain to be goths; however, their look – black drainpipe jeans, black winkle-picker shoes, black leather jackets, the occasional black and white spotted shirt, black shades – perfectly embodied the look my pool partners were rocking at the time. You can imagine the looks they all got when they turned up at a sleepy backwater pub, asked to be pointed in the direction of the pool table before announcing they were there to pot their balls, drink their beer and (totally fail) to seduce their women.

Those inter-pub crazy car journeys have stayed in my head ever since, partly because of the amount of times we nearly crashed, but mostly because it was then that I realised just how special The Jesus & Mary Chain were.

I didn’t buy myself a copy of Psychocandy until a few years later, but I did go out and buy the follow up album, Darklands, pretty much on the day of release.

For that reason, Darklands remains my J&MC album, but I have to admit that, great as it is, it’s nowhere near as magnificent as Psychocandy is.

So here’s one from that wonderful debut album; it’s one of my favourites but it’s a real short one that often gets overlooked in favour of the more famous tracks:

The Jesus & Mary Chain – Taste of Cindy

More soon.

9/11

I try not to dwell on bad things that have happened, but the events of September 11th 2001 should ever be forgotten.

I’ve been guilty of it myself; on many of the years since that fateful day, I’ve not made the connection between the date and the event until very late at night.

But not this year.

I’ve posted this before, a long time ago, but it’s a beautiful collaboration between Mark Knopfler and Emmylou Harris, written from the perspective of someone trapped in one of the Towers, making their last ever phone call to a loved one.

Mark Knopfler and Emmylou Harris – If This Is Goodbye

More soon.

I’m Not Too Keen on Mondays

Sometimes you don’t need something upbeat or dancy or cheerful or happy to get you going on a Monday morning.

Sometimes you just need something fecking loud.

Here’s Motörhead:

Motörhead – Iron Fist

(Today’s picture is brought to you by World of Leather.)

More soon.

*Takes ear plugs out*

I said: More soon.

Sunday Morning Coming Down

This morning, a song from a film I’ve never seen.

Heartworn Highways is a documentary, shot at the end of 1975 and the start of 1976 which, according to wikipedia “…covers singer-songwriters whose songs are more traditional to early folk and country music instead of following in the tradition of the previous generation. Some of film’s featured performers are Guy Clark, Townes Van Zandt, Steve Earle, David Allan Coe, Rodney Crowell, Gamble Rogers, Steve Young, and The Charlie Daniels Band.”

Some of those folks have popped up on these pages before, but here’s a debut appearance for Gamble Rogers, with a song which features in the movie:

Gamble Rogers – The Black Label Blues

More soon.