Sunday Morning Coming Down

Sweet Baboo is the name under which Stephen Black records; based in Cardiff his music has been much played on BBC 6Music, and is described in certain quarters as a mix of country and psychedelic, which given his influences are listed as being Gorky’s Zygotic Mynci, Super Furry Animals, Jonathan Richman, Dire Straits and Squeeze perhaps shouldn’t come as much of a surprise.

This morning’s track comes from Sweet Baboo’s 2009 album Hello Wave, and has one of those great titles we love around these parts:

a3579943788_10Sweet Baboo – Darlin’ If You Think My Songs Are Fun Then Darlin’ You Are Wrong

More soon.


Sunday Morning Coming Down

You know that glorious honeymoon period, when you first here an artist, go on a voyage of discovery, find you love everything you come across by them and wonder how you’ve never heard them before?

That’s where I am right now with Laura Cantrell.

Hers is a name I’d heard before, but not any of her records, and then I recently stumbled over today’s track and I’ve been besotted ever since.


Laura Cantrell – Not The Tremblin’ Kind

Any pointers or recommendations gratefully appreciated.

More soon.

Sunday Morning Coming Down

Mention The Everly Brothers to most people, they probably would associate them with some cracking early rock’n’roll singles and a lot of sibling rivalry; they wouldn’t readily associate them with country records.

But for me, many of those old classics have a country feel to them, and it seems I’m not alone in thinking that, for in 2013 Foreverly, an album of covers of Everly Brothers songs¬†was released by, surprisingly,¬†Billie Joe Armstrong (of political punksters Green Day), and, less surprisingly, the consistently wonderful Norah Jones.

The result is pretty great; Jones is an old-hand at this sort of thing, having¬†dipped into Country often before with (I swear I’m not making these up for cheap laughs)¬†her¬†Puss n Boots and The Little Willies¬†projects,¬†so¬†it’s Armstrong¬†who¬†causes the most eyebrows to be raised,¬†putting in a vocal performance which is just far enough away from being an impression as to impress.

Judge for yourself:


Billie Joe + Norah – Silver Haired Daddy of Mine

More soon.

Sunday Morning Coming Down

Regular readers may remember that last year, prompted by a visit to my local multiplex to see T2: Trainspotting I vowed to go to the cinema more often, and signed up for one of those membership cards, where you pay a set amount every month (£17.70, in my case), and you get unlimited visits along with discounts on the massively over-priced munchies they sell in the foyer.

In December, I got an email from the cinema in question. The subject of the email was well intended: to¬†show me how much money I’d saved by subscribing to the Unlimited scheme. Unfortunately, the email revealed that I had “saved” -¬£135.00. Yes, minus.

Probably because I only went five times all year. I think I may have just stumbled across the reason why I’m not a millionaire yet.

So, New Year’s Resolution time: to go to the cinema more frequently, and with Oscars season upon us, there’s arguably no better time to go.

At the time of writing, I’ve been twice, once to see that latest Star Wars movie (which I figured would be best seen on the big screen), and also to see Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri.

On arrival, I went to get myself some popcorn, but the tills were down, so there followed an awkward conversation with the girl serving behind the counter.

Her: What film are you going to see?

Me: The one with the odd name. Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri.

Her: (after staring at me for what seemed an eternity, like I’d¬†just spoken in an impenetrable foreign language). Oh.

Me: Yeh. The reviews have been really good, and I really like the three main actors in it.

Her: Oh a lot of people have been coming out and saying how good that is.

Luckily, the tills pinged back into life before I had chance to challenge this. I don’t know about you, but when I’ve come out of the cinema having just seen a truly great film, I’ve never felt the urge to rush over to the popcorn stand and tell a disinterested teenager how wonderful the movie was.

Anyway, the three main actors in Three Billboards… are Frances McDormand, Sam Rockwell and Woody Harrelson.

You’ll know McDormand from a lot of Coen Brothers movies, but primarily, I’d think, Fargo, but she’s been nominated for Best Supporting Actress three times before, for Mississippi Burning, Almost Famous, and North Country. She is reliably brilliant in every role I’ve seen her play. Rockwell you will¬†recognise from Frost/Nixon, Duncan “Son of Bowie” Jones’ Moon, and he was Zaphod Beeblebrox in the movie version of The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy. Harrelson surely needs no introduction by now, but many of you will have first encountered him in 80s sitcom Cheers, and if not there then in Natural Born Killers, or maybe the Hunger Games franchise, or Zombieland (which if you haven’t seen, is just terrific), or more recently in War for the Planet of the Apes.

All three have received Oscar nominations, as has the movie, and I can tell you that all are fully justified (although I haven’t seen the other nominated movies…yet).

Here’s the basic premise: frustrated with the local police’s failure to bring her daughter’s murder to justice, Mildred Hayes (McDormand) takes matters into her own hands, by renting the titular Three Billboards and using them to bring the murder investigation back into the limelight. No spoilers, obviously, but needless to say doing so sets in motion a train of events which are at times shocking and at others blackly comic.

I can’t recommend this film enough, if I’m honest, it’s just great.

But why am I blethering on about movies on a Sunday morning when all you want to hear is some Country music? Well, because part way through the film, a song came on the soundtrack which I wasn’t familiar with, but the voice was unmistakable.

And here it is, the wonderful Townes Van Zandt from his 1987 At My Window album:

MI0001907378Townes Van Zandt – Buckskin Stallion Blues

More soon.

Sunday Morning Coming Down

Many moons ago, I didn’t just post Country songs on a Sunday morning, as I do now (ok, so I don’t post just Country songs anymore,¬†I indulge myself every now and then with the occasional, deeply unpopular, non-Country song. S’my blog, I’ll do what I like with it, ta very much).

The song which changed it back then was by today’s artiste; I thought I’d already posted this one by him too, but apparently not, which makes it very easy for me today.

charley_pride-kiss_an_angel_good_mornin_sCharley Pride – Kiss An Angel Good Mornin’

More soon. We’re due a non-Country Sunday soon. You’ve been warned.

Sunday Morning Coming Down

Has I been inclined to provide you with a list of my favourite records of 2017 before we got to the new year, then Courtney Barnett and Kurt Vile’s Lotta Sea Lice would have undoubtedly featured pretty highly.

Here’s the opening track and lead single from it:


Courtney Barnett & Kurt Vile – Over Everything

More soon.


Sunday Morning Coming Down

When I was a kid, before I moved on to “Big School”, I would return home at lunchtimes, sit at the kitchen table and eat my lunch (always sandwiches, often cheese and Sandwich Spread (which I was extremely surprised to find recently is still a thing), occasionally cheese and tomato, or if I was very lucky, peanut butter and blackcurrant jam) and I would watch the lunchtime kids TV shows.

The BBC didn’t really show anything at the time I was home, so it would be over to ITV, for either Rainbow, or maybe Pipkins.

I¬†mention this for two reasons: firstly, it was probably the last time that I didn’t curse, tut or sigh when the adverts came on, and secondly, because, even though I had no idea about things like Big Brother (the Orwellian “1984” concept, rather than the TV show), I was convinced that we were being watched by people, only these people were¬†trying to sell us¬†stuff.

My logic was this: during my home lunch breaks, I never saw an advert for something we already owned. Everything that was advertised was something for something that we didn’t have, or, more to the point, something that I wanted.

I became obsessed with the idea that our kitchen cupboards had cameras hidden in them, monitoring what we had and what we did not have. Often, I would perform a quick inventory of the cupboards before I sat down, and as the adverts sped by, I’d think to myself: “Ha! I’m right! We don’t have those things, and I want some of them. They must be watching!”

Of course, the things that we didn’t have, which were¬†being advertised in the break in the middle of a children’s lunchtime show, were generally¬†sweets or¬†toys, which had no place in our kitchen cupboard in any event.

I’m reminded of an advert for Refreshers, which must have come out in the wake of Star Wars, so we’re talking around 1977 here.

This advert, in fact:

NB: “Put one in your mouth and hold this tube in your hand” is a phrase which got me into a lot of trouble when I was older.

I digress, for the sake of a smutty gag.

Having seen that, and already knowing the answer, I checked our kitchen cupboards to see if there happened to be¬†a tube of Refreshers lurking in there anywhere. Partly to prove my point (to myself), partly because I quite liked Refreshers, but mostly because I’d like them even more if they really did turn into a light¬†sabre.

There were no Refreshers in the cupboard, of course, but this only¬†confirmed my suspicions. ‘They’ were watching.

I was convinced: ‘They’ knew what we did not have, and tailored the adverts to show us things we could have if we just tried a bit harder.

Years later, I was working at Boots the Chemist when they introduced the Advantage Card. The purpose of this – and of any other store loyalty card, be it a Tesco Clubcard, a Sainsbury’s Nectar Card, or whatever – is not, as they would have us believe, to reward us for being a lovely, faithful, returning customer, and to present us with redeemable points which allow us to get more products for “free”, but so they can monitor what we buy¬†and then target us with suggestions of similar or related products we might also want to purchase, preferably from their store.

There’s an incentive, of course. Hey! It’s a two-way deal! You let us monitor exactly what you buy, how often, and when, and we’ll give you free things, say the companies.

I’d be very surprised if most of you don’t realise this already, of course. What’s interesting is the ease with which these cards have become common-place, and the trade-off terms¬†which we’re prepared to accept in the hope of freebies.

For example: I still have my company-issue Advantage Card, and, unless I attend a special event or spend an absolute shedload at once, I get 1 point for every 25 pence that I spend.¬†So that’s 4 points for every ¬£1.00.

1 point, when redeemed, is worth 1 penny.

And that, apparently, is where I value my privacy. At 4% of my spend at that particular store. Which seems a pretty cheap surrender, to me.

As I did when I sat  in the meeting about the introduction of the Card, way back in the late 1990s, where I remember thinking that I was right all along, just a few (well, okay, about twenty) years ahead. They are now, actually, watching us via the things that we buy, but now they do it not via hidden cameras, as I had thought as a child, but through our own complicit willingness to allow them.

(I also rued that I hadn’t actually thought of the fully formed idea myself and trademarked it, of course.)

I mention all of this now because it’s January, and the sales are on, so we’re being overwhelmed by adverts, predominantly for furniture that we do not want to own, or holidays that we do not want to go on, or quit smoking aids that we do not need, or weight loss programs that we could probably do with but can’t be arsed to engage with.

But this year, I’ve noticed loads of adverts for different companies selling mattresses, which already seems to be the must-have item of 2018.

As well as setting me off on paranoid, nostalgic ramblings, it does make me long for more simplistic times.

Billy Jo Spears knows what I mean, even if the utilisation of her choice of al fresco bedding is for somewhat saucier purposes than can legally be featured in adverts:


Billie Jo Spears – Blanket on the Ground

All of which is quite some heavy, paranoid stuff for a Sunday Morning (you can tell I’ve gone a little stir crazy with the flu and no internet), so to lighten the mood a little more, here’s an extra mattress-related tune for you:


John Denver – Grandma’s Feather Bed

And finally, since we established long ago on these pages that nothing, but nothing, is not improved by the introduction of the Muppets:

More soon.