Sunday, 25 December 2016

Black Angeles - Michelle T Clinton and Wanda Coleman

This is the most non-christmassy album I could find if you are fed up with happy santa tunes check out Michelle T Clinton and Wanda Coleman ' s 1988 album Black Angeles ........ think of what Charles Bukowski would be like if he was a black militant feminist doing live proto rap /poetry and you will get the picture.

Sunday, 18 December 2016

Ted Hawkins - Watch Your Step

TED HAWKINS Watch Your Step , pressed in France for the UK market, featuring raw, honest blues from the heart. This was Ted's debut album, actually recorded in 1971 but shelved while he was in prison until its eventual release in the eighties

 Ted Hawkins wikipedia

download album and cover art 



Sunday, 11 December 2016

OSCC16 closing party

Sorry , no album of the week this week as we are hosting the closing party for the opensim community conference

Join us for the closing party for OSCC16 at 2pm pst / 10 pm gmt at the Maritime Club in Virtual Belfast on OSgrid
Virtual World musicians Truelie Telling and Casias Falta have been regulars on the stage of the Maritime Club for almost a decade with Truelie doing her all original folk-noir country-punk ballads live from her Nashville studio and Casias  live from Detroit playing classic blues and witty originals.

For the closing live music event of OSCC they will be joined onstage by some of the other great musicians currently playing in Opensim for a " pass the mic" session in the oldest continuously-running live music venue in the metaverse. featuring Whirli placebo, Joaoa Frazao, Nazirah avro and more

hg travellers use Club Belfast
if you cant make it inworld you can listen online at

Sunday, 4 December 2016

Moondance by Van Morrison

After recording his commercially unsuccessful 1968 album Astral Weeks, Morrison moved with his wife to an artistic hamlet in upstate New York and began writing songs for Moondance.
wikipedia for moondance

download album and cover art

Sunday, 27 November 2016

Vernon Wray - Wasted

A rare 1972 album by Link Wrays less famous brother Vernon it has some great lyrics and subtle instrumentation and production

more info on Vernon

 download album and artwork

Sunday, 20 November 2016

Horslips The Book of Invasions ( A Celtic Symphony )

 I wanted to play this last week on the 40th anniversary of its release but laughing Lennie Cohen got in the way. This is Horslips magnum opus recorded after the pressure of releasing commercially viable albums abated they had 18 months to immerse themselves in the millenia old tradition of Irish music. While it is similar to the self indulgent 70s prog rock concept album milieau it has a depth and historical grounding that the likes of Rick Wakeman could only dream of.

horslips wiki

download album and artwork 

The Book of Invasions (Leabhar Gabhala Eireann)
The Book of Invasions is a twelfth century chronicle of the various pre-Christian colonisations of Ireland. The race who occupied the country before our Gaelic ancestors were the Tuatha De Danann -the Peoples of the Goddess Danann. While their origins are unclear we do know that the Tuatha were a mystical race, handsome and learned, elegantly dressed, expert in every art and science and supreme masters of wizardry.
In the Mythological Cycle their place is among the traditions of Immortals. In fact the Tuatha were so magnificent their existence embarrassed scholars who, when transcribing the legends centuries later did not know whether to regard them as men, demons or fallen angels.
Bravest of all peoples their leaders were wizards first and warriors second whose victories were gained more by superior knowledge and magic than by warfare. The Agatha De Danann occupied the country and lived in relative peace from 3303 Age of the World until the coming of the Milesian warriors in 3500 Age of the World.
After their defeat at the Battle of Tailteann the Tuatha simply vanished from these islands. Tradition and popular belief has it that the Tuatha, through their esoteric powers, became the Sluagh Sidhe (The Fairy Host) and, taking their secrets and mysterious arts with them, entered an occult realm where they remain till this day.

A Celtic Symphony
In the old Ireland there were three principal categories of song, called geantrai, goltrai and suantrai—the joyous strain, the lamenting strain and the sleep strain. When Lug was proving himself expert in every art before the Tuatha hierarchy his musical contribution was an immaculate performance of the three strains.Later, after the Second Battle of Moytura, Lug and The Dagda (The Good God) pursue the Formorians who have stolen The Mighty One's harp.When the instrument is located the Dagda bids it come to him. As it flies to his hands it kills those enemies standing in its path.
Then he plays the three strains and when the opposing host are sleeping, from the magic of the suantrai, he departs safely, taking his harp with him.

Sunday, 13 November 2016

Sunday, 6 November 2016

Mary Coughlan Tired and Emotional

This week featuring Galway singer Mary Coughlan's debut album from 1985 " Tired and Emotional " . After a turbulent childhood and her self confessed " crazy years " of drugs and alcohol in London  Mary returned to her native Galway , cleaned up and began performing in public. This album was recorded shortly after and shows the raw emotions of a woman who has seen it all including spells in mental institutions and the loss of her children . It is well worth reading up on her interesting life.

mary coughlan wikipedia

Sunday, 30 October 2016

Dr John the Night Tripper - Gris Gris

To mark Samhain / Halloween  a spooky offering from Dr John.
"Gris-Gris" is a delicious gumbo of ritualistic melodies, pidgen-Cajun vocals, incantations, Zydeco instrumentation and eerie percussion. What, in later years, Rebennack (aka Dr. John) would term his "Funknology". If you haven't heard Dr. John, then "Gris Gris" is a good place to start, before leaping into the more up-tempo and funky "In The Right Place".
dr john wiki
download album and cover art

Sunday, 23 October 2016

Arty McGlynn - McGlynns Fancy

Arty McGlynn's hugely influential solo album originally released in 1979. It's an object lesson in how to play Irish traditional music on the guitar and is still the standard by which other such recordings are judged.

arty mcglynn wikipedia

download album and artwork

Sunday, 16 October 2016

The Blacksmiths - Merrily Kissed The Quaker

This is the first recording of Paddy Keenan who went on to bring the Uillean Pipes to a worldwide audience for the first time with The Bothy Band Nothing seems to be known about the Blacksmiths apart from the sleeve notes on this album which i have included below. There is no record of any live performances or any film though the other 3 protagonists show up around the same time in this RTE clip about busking in Dublin 
There was another album " Blacksmiths 2 " a few years later but it is just the outtakes from this session.

download album and artwork

Paddy Keenan is a mercurial character and one of the greats of Irish music and well worth reading up on. There are many mysteries and several long periods where he disappeared - a few lost recordings have turned up over the years and I would suspect there are more to come.

Sleeve Notes

The Blacksmiths have a round, eclectic approach to the type of music known as folk, or traditional, and to experiment with new combinations of sounds or instruments. However, The Blacksmiths are RONNIE CARLYON, multi-instrumentalist from New York and spokesman for the group. He was until last a teacher of music at an American East Coast University. He has always had a keen interest in folk hence his decision to travel to Europe. While in London he met MAX RINDER, a much-travelled folk-guitarist Max originally studied Classical violin in his native Vienna, before converting to the guitar, an instrument he prefers. On a visit to Ireland they met fiddle player MICK WRIGHT playing in a pub, and interests being of a similar nature, they were soon performing together. Shortly afterwards, PADDY KEENAN. a member of a family steeped in the traditions of Irish music, added his particular talents for uileann pipes, tin-whistle, and concert flute playing, to the group. This left SEAMUS McARDLE to add the final touch with his fine singing, and bodhrán playing.

They begin this cheerful collection with "Arthur McBride", a 19th century recruiting song from the West of Ireland telling how McBride and his cousin dealt with the proposition of signing up. They continue with "Denis Murphy's and O'Keeffe's Slides, which is a type of dance music still popular in the province of Munster. "The Skillet Pot", a song which we are told originates from Co. Clare about various traditional foods, sung here by McArdle (commonly known as "Skinny"). "Tabhair dom do Lamh", a well-recognised folk tune was composed by the 17th century Derry man Ruairi Dall O'Cathain, allegedly as an apology to a Scots lady he had had an argument with, Lady Eglintoun. O'Cathain lived for a time in Scotland, and was highly thought of there.

"The Life of a Seafarer before the Mast" was a harder and more dangerous one than is presented to us in the Romantic novels, and this explains the almost uniform dolefulness of foc'sle shanties, like "Go to Sea Once More" where, as usual the Sailor bewails his inability to save enough money to give up the sea. Then follows a short version of "The Foxhunt", probably the only extant piece of programme music in the Irish traditional repertoire.

Then follows a lively version of "Cooley's Reel", and "Merrily Kissed the Quaker", another slide from the Munster area.

Side 2: It has been suggested that either James the Fifth of Scotland wrote "The Jolly Beggarman", or else it is he who is portrayed in the song. There isn't much evidence for either idea and in any case this late of the song differs from the earlier Scottish one in which the beggar turns out to be a nobleman, who says the lass would have been his wife, had it not been for her easy virtue. Whichever way you sing it, men don't change much, do they? The song is number 279 in Child's Collection.

In the next piece The Blacksmiths couple "The Rakes of Mallow" with the "Grafton Street Reel", which we are originates from Minnesota and has been adapted and played here by Mick Wright. I wonder would Nancy Whiskey have been a tongue-in-cheek version of an anti-drink campaign song, of which there were many at one stage? Certainly, the man doesn't seem to dislike Nancy too much except for the fact that she is too expensive, and that hasn't changed much.

"The Bucks of Oranmore" is regarded as a particularly good tune for assessing a piper's skill and inventiveness, and in the same class as tunes like "The Ace and Deuce of Piping". Turlough Carolah (1670-1738) wrote "Planxty Irwin" for one of his many patrons, Col. Irwin of Sligo. There have been various explanations of the term "Planxty", but the particularly plaintive mood of this piece leads me back to my old theory that it is related to the French 'Plainte' of the late Middle Ages. The Blacksmith is the "False Lover" theme all over again, this time in a South of England version telling of a Blacksmith who cruelly deceived one young lady by marrying another, having promised to marry the first. Sung here in dulcit tones by Ronnie Garlyon. "Duelling [ sic] Bodhráns", a traditionally arranged mountain piece, here adapted for dueling fiddlers and bodhrán s, and previously used as the main theme for the film "Deliverance".

"Whiskey in the Jar", a song made extremely popular by the Clancys and the Dubliners, seems to me to be a conflation of a number of themes, all in rather suspect versions, but it makes good singing and great entertainment.

The Blacksmiths came together by accident as many groups did. Their approach to music is carefree and vivacious, and their own enjoyment of their music is the key to the music itself.