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By mid-1968 there was a growing consensus that something had gone horribly wrong with the American dream. The nation’s youth had loudly made their feelings clear, but now the older, pre-Beatles generations began to look at the country – with urban riots, Vietnam, and the assassinations of Martin Luther King and Bobby Kennedy – and wonder what the hell was happening. This album includes rare classics (The Beach Boys’ ‘Fourth Of July’), lost masterpieces (Roy Orbison’s seven-minute ‘Southbound Jericho Parkway’), and forgotten gems by some of the biggest names in the business (Elvis Presley’s ‘Clean Up Your Own Back Yard’).

Reactions to America’s existential crisis ranged in subject matter from divorce (Frank Sinatra’s ‘The Train’) and the break-up of the nuclear family (The Four Seasons’ ‘Saturday’s Father’), to eulogies for fallen heroes (Dion’s ‘Abraham Martin and John’), sympathy for Vietnam vets (Johnny Tillotson’s ‘Welfare Hero’), the church’s institutional racism (Eartha Kitt’s intense ‘Paint Me Black Angels’), and even questioning the ethics of the space programme (Bing Crosby’s terrific ‘What Do We Do With The World’).

Compiled by Bob Stanley and Pete Wiggs, State Of The Union follows on from their highly acclaimed English Weather and Paris In The Spring compilations. With clear parallels between today's fractured country and the USA fifty years ago, this is a fascinating condensation of what Americans were thinking when they turned on the TV, or the radio, or simply walked down Main Street in 1968.

FORMAT INFORMATION

Coloured LP Info: 180g blue vinyl double LP.

Various Artists

Bob Stanley & Pete Wiggs... Present English Weather

The latest project from two-thirds of Saint Etienne is a compact disc and deluxe double LP of English music that represented the transition from psychedelia to prog as the 60s moved into the 70s. Most of it is not an easy listen, but it’s always interesting, melodic, melancholy, with jazz and folk touches.

The second “Bluesin’” volume in the “By The Bayou” series concentrates on musicians from South Louisiana and South East Texas discovered and recorded by J.D. Miller and Eddie Shuler. These two giants of the post-war recording scene were supreme talent-spotters. They knew the sounds that appealed to the local record-buying public, their target audience. What they couldn’t have known, or even guessed at in their wildest fantasies, was that the appeal of their recordings would last so long and encompass the globe. They probably thought it was just a passing fad when Mike Leadbitter in the late 60s, and then Bruce Bastin in the early 70s, made pilgrimages from England in search of the music, its artists and the label owners. Now here we are, over 60 years later, still uncovering blues masterpieces from their catalogues.

So ready yourself for transportation to a steamy Louisiana night, on the back porch or in a pulsating juke joint. Get a grip of that air guitar and bend the strings along with masters such as Lightnin’ Slim, Classie Ballou and Guitar Jr. This is music that has fired the imagination of legions of fans from all walks of life around the world for more than 60 years. It’s a pure delight to bring you a whole compilation of little-known or unheard performances from bosses of the genre, captured at their peak.


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