folk . americana . blues . r&b . rock&roll


Genre pick of the week Cover of Lateness Of Dancers by Hiss Golden Messenger.
Hiss Golden Messenger is Durham, North Carolina-based songwriter M.C. Taylor. Lateness of Dancers is the fifth full-length from Hiss Golden Messenger. It’s an open, confident, immediate album, and it feels, at times, like a direct response to the darkness of Taylor’s last record, 2013’s Haw, or to the searching of 2010’s Bad Debt, the stunning acoustic LP he made at his kitchen table shortly after the birth of his son. Lateness of Dancers was recorded in a tin-roofed barn outside of Hillsborough, North Carolina, last fall and includes many of Taylor’s longtime collaborators, like Phil and Brad Cook of Megafaun, the guitarist William Tyler, and his erstwhile recording partner Scott Hirsch. Alexandra Sauser-Monnig of Mountain Man contributes backing vocals; her tender, wooly voice both complements and challenges Taylor’s.

The record takes its name from a Eudora Welty story, which is noteworthy not because of its origins—although there are hints of Welty in Taylor’s work, and not just Welty but Flannery O’Connor and Faulkner and Barry Hannah and Larry Brown and the whole pantheon of brutal and exquisite southern writers—but because Taylor is the type of person who recognizes the beauty in a phrase like that. It is a record about self-discovery and self-knowledge, and how impossible it is to outsmart yourself. I don’t know how you learn a lesson like that, except the hard way.

“The misery of love is a funny thing / The more it hurts / The more you think / You can stand a little pain,” he sings on “Mahogany Dread,” one of Lateness’ most telling tracks. These are the kinds of lies we tell ourselves to feel the things we want to feel, even when those pleasures are buried in a whole lot of hurt.

“Mystical country, like an eerie yellowing photograph.” --David Bowie

When Etta James passed away in early 2012, the tributes and plaudits flooded in the world over. Gone forever was the soul diva and legend, the peerless and seemingly indomitable, screaming, bawling R&B siren who had seen off several near death experiences with dangerous substances and even more dangerous men. As the music world mourned, the question still remained - did Etta really receive her dues during her life? That recent interest in her career probably peaked when portrayed onscreen by a certain Beyonce Knowles in the Chess biopic 'Cadillac Records' would suggest the answer is no. This short and sweet set of six songs spread across three 45rpm records captures various key snapshots and key moments in Etta's early career. Included are the sexy R&B anthem 'I Just Want To Make Love To You', the song that came to spark her adult career into a new direction and lifespan and became her signature: 'At Last', ballads like 'Seven Day Fool', R&B rocker 'Something's Got A Hold On Me', gems like 'Spoonful' and 'It's A Crying Shame'.

Child of Microtones proudly announces the release of its first LP! MV & EE’s Alpha Lyrae is a heartfelt paean to cosmic children and beasts everywhere. > “i was feeling rockets all the time when we were creating and listening to this record. sometimes they were bottle rockets, imaginary rockets, estes, space crafts and gimongous star machines that haven’t been built yet. more importantly i was feeling stages, secondary...tertiary…beyond growth. definitely alotta triangulation with the “eye” and geometric eye in the sky -> always liftoff/ground, fruit/roots. ∞ philosophies. those kinda sounds often bless our head to remind us heads, they peak and peek out of the spectra as explosions. hopefully that translates for you, it will if you are that kind. dig it in headphones.” - matt valentine maximum arousal farm (vermont 2014)

“Some people have a hard time picking sides, not me, not here: I’ll take the flip. It starts high on the crazy horse, all gallop and fuzz, and begins to fray in the most glorious way. When the tambourine starts to shake, the jam goes to shambles — they coulda let it in, coulda made some rock heroism out of it, but they let it soak, standing outside, staring through the window as the storm rages on. It’s one of those moments that makes it real clear why MV&EE end up on bills with boundary pushers as often as mellow jammers. Of course, matt and erika being who they are and doing what they do, bring it back home, nice and comfortable like a loaned drug rug on a cold night, with some song stylings that showcase finger picking and ghostly harmonies and that inimitable siren’s wail of EE’s slide. I’ve got plenty of shelf space given over to the road ramblings of the various incarnations of their band, but the studio outings are always something special, and this one gets better with every spin.” - peter meehan/lucky peach (NYC 2014)

“brother...u’ve outdone yrself on the ‘alpha’...this is one of the best sounding records i’ve heard in forever...y’ve taken it all to another spectra-4-life…” - matthew “doc” dunn (the wolfking of TO)

‘This Is My Hand’ is a bold chapter in the unfurling My Brightest Diamond story. The album’s exploration of music and its rhythmic urgency escort Shara Worden’s chamber music aesthetic out of the chamber and back into the dance hall and rock bar.

Produced by Shara and Zac Rae, ‘This Is My Hand’ is the moment where the music achieves the brilliance of her huge ambition.

Sounding not quite like anything else but hugely accessible, ‘This Is My Hand’ will be the moment that My Brightest Diamond sparkles worldwide.


LP Info: Initial LP pressing on red vinyl.

Leaving Records and Stones Throw Records jointly present the debut album of Trance Farmers. 'Dixie Crystals' is a sashay through the unique musical mind of time-travelling bluesman Dayve Samek - a soulful, exhilarating collection of tunes. Recorded over several years and across Los Angeles, 'Dixie Crystals' draws from Samek's experiences on the shores of Venice Beach to the majestic foothills of Altadena. An omnipresent haze hangs over the whole affair, choking twinkling tones like so much carbon monoxide.

Songs range from warped ballads of friendship and love to inhalant-fuelled rockabilly joyrides. Over the course of ten tracks, a drifting young hayseed finds himself temporarily settled in a sprawling but claustrophobic megalopolis that feels more like a decrepit roadside attraction on the information superhighway. Sweaty garage ballads brush shoulders with drifter anthems and gasoline-drenched doo-wop.

Before the album's release, Samek will have already sauntered on down the road, leaving the West Coast a distant, smudged memory. 'Dixie Crystals' can then be considered a memento, its songs fragments of getting lost, growing up and finally hitting the road.

To accompany the reissue of Woo's 'Into The Heart Of Love' LP, Emotional Rescue release this limited 7" featuring songs not included on the vinyl pressing of the album, plus a previously unreleased version of the beautiful title song, which only appeared in a later form on their CD-only, 'La Luna' album. With the original 'Into The Heart Of Love' album only appearing as a 60 minute cassette-only release, several of the albums songs could not make the first time vinyl issue from Emotional Rescue.

Therefore, this limited edition 7" includes two of those ommited songs. The wistful English folk duet between Mark Ives and Sue Amor on 'Make Me Tea' and its sibling on the album, 'A Little Long Way'. Possibly Woo's most straight forward folk song, 'Make Me Tea' is as the title imagines a very particular English poem. Recording as a duet between two late night lovers, awaking from post-love making slumber to find peace and with it, a nice, perfect cup of tea. However, it is the inclusion of the unreleased version of the title song, 'Magic In The Dark' that is worth the admission price alone. Taken from the CD only album, 'La Luna', the original's short and gentle story of late night love is presented here in it's alternate demo form. A different vantage point is shown in revelation and then exhaltation. The sadder start expands in to a beautiful and wonderus folk celebration. Mark's vocals and guitar are later joined by gentle rhythmic percussion from brother Clive, before clarinets duet to a yearning finale. Woo once again showing their unique mix of folk and new age electronics. A one off to cherish.


7" Info: Limited pressing in hand screen printed sleeve.

Following her highly successful explorations of the Motown and Chess catalogues, Lois Wilson (Mojo, Record Collector) turns her attention to the iconic Manhattan-based Atlantic Records with 'Right Now', an 86-track 3CD set or 32 track 2xLP. Atlantic Records was founded in 1947 by Ahmet Ertegun and Herb Abramson. Other key participants in the company’s rise to success included studio engineer Tom Dowd, eminent record man Jerry Wexler, Ahmet’s brother Nesuhi, who developed the company’s substantial and highly successful jazz catalogue, and the dynamic songwriting / production team of Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller. Crucial early signings included Joe Turner, Ruth Brown, Ray Charles, Chuck Willis, Clyde McPhatter and LaVern Baker.

All those names are represented here, alongside other performers who recorded for Atlantic and its subsidiary Atco (founded in 1955) in the forties, fifties and early sixties; years which saw the evolution of rhythm & blues into soul. The diversity of Atlantic’s roster is represented by the presence of early Atlantic hit-makers Stick McGhee and Joe Morris, consummate soul singers Solomon Burke, Ben E. King, Bettye LaVette and Barbara Lewis, a pre-Motown Isley Brothers, New Orleans piano man Professor Longhair, saxophonists Willis “Gator” Jackson and King Curtis, blues guitar pioneer T-Bone Walker, Louisiana rock ’n’ roller Dale Hawkins, jazz singer Mel Torme, and the vocal group sound of the Clovers, the Coasters and the Falcons (then including Wilson Pickett and Mack Rice in their ranks). Some of these recordings were acknowledged successes from their initial release; others have acquired popularity among collectors and on the club scene over the intervening decades.

Atlantic’s highly-regarded jazz catalogue deserves a survey of its own, and 'Right Now' also eschews many of the labels’ very biggest hits, on the grounds that they are easily found elsewhere. Instead, 'Right Now' offers club-friendly and often-overlooked, deep catalogue selections drawn from the wealth of rhythm & rock released on the hallowed label. The big names mentioned so far are joined by key cuts from Jean DuShon, Jimmy Ricks, King Coleman, Richie Barrett, the Top Notes, Eunice Davis, Dean Beard, Choker Campbell, Johnny Jenkins, Billy Storm, the Tarantulas and the Van Dykes. Time for a deep delve into the depths of Atlantic.


2xLP Info: 2LP vinyl collector’s edition featuring 32 of the most sought-after cuts from the 86-track 3CD set, drawing on 15 years of recordings for the iconic Atlantic label and its offshoot Atco.

3xCD Info: An 86 track 3CD set with 20pp illustrated booklet, compiled and annotated by Lois Wilson (Mojo, Record Collector)

Various Artists

Soul City New Orleans - Big Easy Gems From The Dawn Of Soul Music

'Soul City New Orleans' presents records which served to establish the musical direction of the city in the early 1960s, at the dawn of the soul era. Perhaps the most glowing testimony to the city came from songwriters Frank Guida and Joe Royster in their 1960 smash hit “New Orleans” for Gary ‘US’ Bonds: “Where the magnolia blossoms fill the air, you ain’t been to heaven if you ain’t been there.” New Orleans is also known as the Crescent City for its geographic shape, or the Big Easy for the city’s atmosphere and pace of life, largely driven by the high humidity and the general bonhomie endemic of South Louisiana.

The music of New Orleans has tended to match the lifestyle, easy tempo with gently insistent rolling beat and a rhythm driven either by a thumping on-beat (Mardi Gras marching bands and second-line parades) or a laid-back off-beat. While the formative talent from the city’s rhythm & blues years was all signed to remote labels, by the end of the Fifties things were beginning to look up in the local industry, and there was a relative wealth of labels active in the city.

Compiled and annotated by soul music authority and radio presenter Clive Richardson, 'Soul City New Orleans' features significant releases on local labels like Minit, Instant, Ric, Ron, Bandy and AFO, as well as NOLA-related recordings for other imprints both large and small. Here we have music from the formative period of the soul era in the Big Easy.


2xLP Info: 60-track 2CD set, with colour illustrated booklet.

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