Thursday, 27 January 2011

Dead Men Walking

Dead Men Walking have been dragging their broken and battered selves throughout the UK on and off since the early 00's. With a rotating line up they somehow manage to re-invent a couple of classics from each of their various heydays without looking sad in any way. The songs stand the test of time, and even though they might be a bit puffy around the jaw and mid-riff the delivery is classy. These are people who have been there and done that and the experience shines through. A supergroup is Kirk Brandon, Mike Peters and Pete Wylie, not Blind Faith or ELP. Throw in Captain Sensible and Slim Jim Phantom from the Stray Cats and you have a Christ that is a Supergroup supergroup. I haven't even mentioned Billy Duffy ......

and one of the finest songs ever written about Thatcherism.....or possibly just ever written.

Wednesday, 19 January 2011

Sister Rosetta

All roads lead to Sister Rosetta Tharpe, or at least they seem to at the moment. Just before Christmas a friend sent me a link to a baizarre video of a woman playing a guitar on Chorlton railway station in Manchester, in 1963. Then, lo and begold, BBC4 decide to show a documentary entitled The Godmother of Rock n' Roll: Sister Rosetta Tharpe. According to the BBC "In 2008 the state governor of Pennsylvania declared that henceforth January 11th will be Sister Rosetta Tharpe Day in recognition of her remarkable musical legacy". Her career spanned several decades and saw her performing with Cab Calloway and Benny Goodman, rock and roll stars in the 50' and blues artists in the 60's. Living Blues say "she was the first major gospel singer to tour Europe" and although she suffered a stroke while on tour in 1970 her speech was impaired but her singing wasn't. Apparently she was Johnny Cash's favourite singer, and it's easy to see why.

Tuesday, 18 January 2011

CW Stoneking

C.W. Stoneking does not sound like a white Australian. Not when he sings, anyway. Brought up in the Aboriginal community of Pupanya this, according to a comment beneath one of his videos on YouTube, explains how he talks. It doesn't really explain how someone in his late 30's can sing like someone from the late 30's. Somehow he manages to stay out of the cheap retro feel and conjure up something of 'genuine conviction rather than cheap parody' (Uncut).

In an interview with Australian independent music website Soulshine he declared his influences to be "old work songs, old gospel music, jazz, early Caribbean Calypso music out of the 20s and 30s" but went on to say that the inspiration for Jungle Blues actually came from a 50 Cent tune.