Finding it a bit hard to pay much attention to music beyond the new White Denim album these past couple of days (I’ll write about that next week). Nevertheless, it seems like a good time to flag up a few things I’ve neglected to blog on over the past few weeks.

Finding it a bit hard to pay much attention to music beyond the new White Denim album these past couple of days (I’ll write about that next week). Nevertheless, it seems like a good time to flag up a few things I’ve neglected to blog on over the past few weeks.



There are a bunch of really nice reissues and comps in the pipeline that I’ve been enjoying a lot, tapping into certain strains of Americana that I maybe don’t cover so much here. Yesterday brought a couple of winners: Sir Douglas Quintet’s “The Mono Singles ’68-‘72” on Sundazed, which flip-flops appealingly between Texas and California to draw on inspiration; and “Delta Swamp Rock: Songs From The South: At The Crossroads Of Rock, Country And Soul”.

The latter doesn’t rock quite as much as the title promises, the presence of Lynrd Skynrd and Area Code 415’s hairy old Whistle Test theme notwithstanding. As ever with Soul Jazz comps, though, it’s a beautifully-constructed mix of familiar and unfamiliar, which will probably result in me digging out some old Bobbi Gentry things this weekend, and encourage a further tentative investigation of Leon Russell. Liking Billy Vera’s “I’m Leaving Here Tomorrow, Mama” very much, too.

Somewhat embarrassingly, I first became aware of Mickey Newbury when Robert Forster covered “Frisco Depot” on “I Had A New York Girlfriend”. Slackly, though, I never followed him up properly, which means the riches of the “American Trilogy” boxset – containing “Looks Like Rain”, “’Frisco Mabel Joy” and “Heaven Help The Child” – have been a revelation these past few weeks. I guess, if anything, these records (especially the first two) have a kind of spectral quality that removes them to some degree from the hardworn male angst I was generally expecting. Great songs, delivered with a lot of space and restraint rather than grandstanding poignancy.

The next issue of Uncut features a piece on Peter Bellamy, one of the less-remembered stalwarts of the ‘60s folk revival (I can thoroughly recommend the first two Young Tradition albums, at the very least). Not coincidentally, there’s an impressive tribute album called “Oak Ash Thorn” on Folk Police, on which a well-chosen cadre of newish folk artists tackle Bellamy’s Rudyard Kipling-derived songs from the early ‘70s.

The opening salvo from John Boden isn’t much to my taste, but what follows directly after – from a new name to me, Olivia Chaney, and an American interloper, Charlie Parr – is tremendous. There’s fine stuff from Cath & Phil Tyler (whose “Dumb Supper” is getting a deserved reissue, by the way), tracks from The Unthanks and Trembling Bells that are better than most of the stuff on their – to my mind slightly disappointing – new albums, and the whole thing hangs together in a much more satisfying way than these comps often do. Special mention to Sam Lee – another artist I’m entirely ignorant of – whose take on “Puck’s Song” builds out of vintage recordings to become an incantatory drone.