Charlie Parr at Mule HQ

That’s it! One of the best version of Stagger Lee, aka Stackerlee (and a few other names it’s known under) I have come across. Would love me one of those Mule resonator guitar too. Bit of a slow start, but then…

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The Milk Carton Kids – Live From Lincoln Theatre

The Milk Carton Kids have been around a few years now, and of course I was aware of them and had heard a few songs here and there. But I never really paid them very much notice. Which was wrong.

Now this live concert is very brilliant indeed. It’s a professionally produced recording so the sound and video quality are both excellent which does make it all the more enjoyable. Especially of interest for a guitar player (yeah, right I can hear you say) like me are the numerous close-ups of both guitars. Kenneth P. even does play a Martin from the 15 series (his a vintage model) like myself. His solo work is outstanding , whereas Joey Ryan’s is more understated, so I guess it’s safe to say that Kenneth P. is the better guitar player of the two. But two is definitely the operative word here, as both the guitar playing and especially the vocal harmonies are simply fabulous. And they write excellent songs (Michigan, Memphis, New York and Honey Honey to name just a few of my fave songs on here).

I’m a fan now, at long last

Robert Earl Keen – Paste Magazin Session

I recently resolved to start blogging again more often and regularly (the last post on this blog being from July 2016). In time I hope to be able to start writing reviews again, but for the start this is just a video.

What better way to do that than post this session from REK who has quickly become one of my favourite artists recently. Sure, there’s quite a bit of of talk on here, but the 3 songs REK, Richard Brotherton and Bill Whitbeck perform are plain fabulous, all in performed in an effortless and  laid-back way.

Jesse Fuller : San Francisco Bay Blues

I knew this song from Jorma Kaukonen’s fine live album The Bottom Line, NYC but hadn’t heard about its history or the man behind it, until reading about him in Dave Van Ronk’s The Mayor Of MacDougal Street earlier today. It shows his self-built (and invented) fotdella (the boy standing in front of him,with which he’s playing the bass). Truly an original.

Jon Brooks : Moth Nor Rust

Jon Brooks Moth Nor Rust jpg

 

Moth Nor Rust, released in 2009 on Borealis Records, finally found its way into my home only yesterday. The first few listens already made me realise just how exceedingly fine an album it is. Yes, it’s Folk music, but somehow the musical style (as much as I am fond of it) is irrelevant, as the songs on here are quite simply that. Songs, and stories. Brooks could arguably be classified as a songwriter in the tradition of Woody Guthrie, Pete Seeger or early Bob Dylan. No romanticising for the times of the Dust Bowl, Hobos and such to be found on here, though, his songs are firmly rooted in the early 21st Century.

At first listen his songs aren’t overtly personal, actually quite the opposite, as they are dealing with all kinds of people you meet on the streets. Whether these people are soldiers, working in a pub, an office or at Walmart, does scarcely matter – it’s their lives with all their contradictions, thoughts and problems these 10 songs are concerned with. Yet, for all this, they are highly personal stories too, Brooks’ convictions and beliefs permeate every one of them. So, you hear a lot of words such as justice, mercy, love, freedom and healing. Not many artists (whichever medium they are using) I can think of, can express their beliefs quite as eloquently and touching as Jon Brooks can.

Musically Moth Nor Rust is even more reduced compared with some of his other records (2014’s The Smiling And Beautiful Countryside and 2012’s Delicate Cages, still haven’t got the first two records of his) although these could hardly be described as lavishly produced either. On here it’s only him, his guitar and harmonica (and a bit of percussion, possibly only the body of his guitar). Still, the sound is clear, robust and rustic (but completely absent of traces of traditionalism and/or being ‘Country’), not in the least due to his resonant and muscular voice and the fine, natural guitar playing. Despite the lyrical themes and the often beautiful melodies (as on Small, War Resister, God Pt. IV, there is nothing maudlin or whimsical about these songs.

Moth Nor Rust is good for the soul. It’s a life-affirming record, making me believe the world has got the potential of being a slightly better place. All it does need is some more people taking his stance towards life and the world to heart, and doing the right things.

‘… if it’s not love, we can’t take it when we go..’ (When We Go)