Monthly Archives: November 2015

From Y to Z

We all know about getting from A to B, but how about Y to Z, the Y being York and the Z being Zydeco. Now there’s not an obvious connection between York and Zydeco, but stick with me, as I take you from York to Zydeco.

The tale ends with my most recent addition to my vinyl collection, Boogalusa Boogie by [easyazon_link identifier=”B0000001HJ” locale=”US” tag=”tonnewmus-20″]Clifton Chenier[/easyazon_link]. This is the only Zydeco album to earn a five star review from Rolling Stone, who described it as “Indispensable: a record that must be included in any comprehensive collection.”

Clifton Chenier - Boogalusa Boogie

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

So how did this Englishman, living in Cincinnati, come to discover Clifton Chenier? Well the clue is on the record sleeve itself. Take a look in the bottom-left hand corner and you’ll see the word Arhoolie. Now until about a year ago, I’d never heard of Arhoolie Records, when browsing through my Facebook feed, I saw a link from Dom Flemons to an article in the Oxford American, which appeared in the winter 2014 Southern Music Issue devoted to Texas.

The article was called, “It’s got ahold of me” and features an interview by Dom Flemons with Chris Strachwitz, the founder of Arhoolie Records. It’s a fascinating read with some great tales of Chris Stratchwitz’s experiences as a field recorder. This led me to buy the documentary DVD, [easyazon_link identifier=”B00RWKN8XM” locale=”US” tag=”tonnewmus-20″]This Ain’t No Mouse Music[/easyazon_link];The Story of Chris Strachwitz and Arhoolie Records. One of the artists appearing on the DVD was Clifton Chenier, hence the interest in Boogalusa Boogie.

So that explains, how I got from Dom Flemons to Zydeco, via Chris Strachwitz and Arhoolie Records, but how did I first come across Dom Flemons. Well I’ve seen Dom Flemons a couple of times since moving to Cincinnati. Firstly I saw him acting as Master of Ceremonies on Pokey LaFarge’s Central Time Tour, which I caught at Middletown, Ohio. During the show he played some tracks off his [easyazon_link identifier=”B00KJFZXIK” locale=”US” tag=”tonnewmus-20″]Prospect Hill[/easyazon_link] album, one of my favorite albums of the last couple of years.

Pokey Lafarge Central Time poster

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Most recently I saw Dom Flemons at the Cincinnati Music Hall as part of the [easyazon_link identifier=”B013SZFMCE” locale=”US” tag=”tonnewmus-20″]American Originals[/easyazon_link] concert, based primarily around of the music of Stephen Foster.

American Originals

 

 

 

 

That still doesn’t explain, how I came across Dom Flemons. Well,the first time I saw him was as part of the Carolina Chocolate Drops at a concert in the City Varieties Music Hall in Leeds, England, during their [easyazon_link identifier=”B002U33GQU” locale=”US” tag=”tonnewmus-20″]Genuine Negro Jig[/easyazon_link] tour. . I’d got the tickets having heard the Carolina Chocolate Drops on one of my favorite radio shows, the Bob Harris Show. The concert itself was excellent and  the support on the night, David Wax Museum, was also superb.

So, that’s taken the story back over the Atlantic to Leeds, England, where does York fit in? York is where this whole story starts, as that is where I met my lovely wife Tara, who goes to most of the gigs with me and who patiently  indulges my love of music. The Carolina Chocolate Drops concert was one of our first gigs as a couple. We loved the Carolina Chocolate Drops that much that we included one of their songs on the CD we gave our wedding guests as a favor.

So there you have it, how I got from York to Zydeco and ended up with the Boogalusa Boogie by Clifton Chenier

 

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Two Tracks of the Day Today!

Well that wasn’t a good start, three days into my Track of the Day feature and I didn’t post! But I’ve got a corker today, it’s Big Decisions by My Morning Jacket from their Waterfall album. I know next to nothing about this band I’m afraid, a quick look on Wikipedia reveals that they’re from Louisville, Kentucky. Their lead singer is Jim James, who appears on one of my favorite albums I’ve bought this year, The New Basement Tapes.

Also appearing on The New Basement Tapes is Taylor Goldsmith of Dawes, one of my favorite bands. Their latest album, All Your Favorite Bands, is a classic, the title track being one of the best songs I’ve heard in years.

So to make up for there being no Track of the Day yesterday, I’m having two today, so I have not one corker, but two corkers!

Big Decisions by My Morning Jacket

and

All Your Favorite Bands by Dawes

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Return to the Moon – El Vy

My Track of the Day today is Return to the Moon by El Vy, another track which I first heard on WKNU. As a fan of The National, I’m a big fan of Matt Berninger’s vocals. I must admit I’ve never heard of Brent Knopf, the other half of El Vy, but I have to say I just love this track!

EL-VY-RttM-Single-Art_91K

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I have to confess that one of the reasons for liking this song so much is that it contains a couple of references to Cincinnati, my new home town!

And have I ever told you….

Yes, I’ve seen The National a couple of times, once in Atlanta, when they headlined The Shaky Knees Festival and then more recently, here in Cincinnati as part of the MusicNow weekend. That was one great night, hearing The National play with the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra in the Cincinnati Music Hall.

Anyway, here’s Return to the Moon

 

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Track of the Day

Track of the Day, “what’s that all about?” I hear you say. Actually I didn’t hear anyone say anything, but it’s as good a way as any to introduce this new feature to my blog. Each day, when I remember (So not every day then!?) or until I get bored, I’m going to share a track on here. It might be a track I hear on the radio, on the TV, at the cinema or if all else fails, one from my music collection.

Talking of radio, since starting my new job a few months ago, I spend 90 minutes a day listening to WNKU and that’s one of my main sources of new music. They’ve recently started playing a track from a local band each hour, which is a great idea!

So, what’s today’s Track of the Day. Well this a track I’ve heard a couple of times on the radio this week, it’s called Times Square and it’s by a band called Destroyer. I’d never heard of them until hearing this. With a name like Destroyer, I’d expect their music to be heavy metal. I’m sure back in the day, over in the UK, in my long haired head-banging days, there was a NWOBHM band called Destroyer. “What’s NWOBHM?” I hear you say. (It’s that imaginary voice again!) NWOBHM stood for New Wave of British Heavy Metal, it was a term used by music journalists to bracket bands like Def Leppard, Iron Maiden, Saxon and their like.

Anyway, back to Times Square by Destroyer, the DNHM band. (DNHM = Definitely Not Heavy Metal). I’ve just been reading the blurb about Destroyer on the Merge Records label website and it turns out that Times Square was “deemed best new track” by Pitchfork, which is no mean recommendation. Also in that same blurb, there’s an extract from a review of Poison Season, the album from which Times Square is taken, in which reference is made to Al Stewart‘s Year of the Cat. Now there’s a song and Have I ever told you…

Yes, I’ve seen Al Stewart live! I saw him at Glastonbury Festival a few years ago, and he played Year of the Cat! Now that was a moment! I love that song, so here it is…

Meanwhile back on Times Square, take a look at this

Pretty neat or what?

So there you have it, Times Square by Destroyer, my first Track of the Day.

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