Sunday, 3 January 2010

Clearly the man's an idiot...

Exile on Main St.Image via Wikipedia

Okay, okay, so - clearly - my "Top Ten" list from the other day should have included The Stones' brilliant Exile On Main Street but it seemed a trifle obvious (that'll be beacuse it's a brilliant album then, eh?). It must be included. So, too, must its direct descendant - The Black Crowes, "Shake Your Money Maker" - sure, it's pretty easy to spot the influences, Exile-era Stones, Sticky Fingers-era stones - I'm being unfair, there's plenty of Faces in the mix too! It really is a superb record.

I did make it clear the other day that, as with Tom Morton's list and those in High Fidelity, it (the list) will change depending on day, mood and company and it's certainly a topic which can make you - well, make me at any rate, wake up in the middle of the night and think, "How did I manage to leave out Billy Bragg's 'Victim Of Geography?" I'll tell you how, it's because it's a compilation of two of his albums and I didn't think that would count. Yes, I'm aware there's nobody arbitrating this and that if I really wanted I could just include a load of 'Now That's What I Call Music' albums but you have to draw the line otherwise anarchy ensues - the revolution is, after all, just a t-shirt away.

But Billy goes in there now. In in place of what you may ask? Nobody. I'm not bumping King Creosote or Son Volt out of my list - this is, to labour a point, today's top ten. Canada's Barenaked Ladies also need to climb aboard with their fabulous debut, "Gordon" - it should probably be on the list for the title alone so when you add their clever, innovative 'acoustic hip-hop(!)' to the mix the case becomes a strong one. "Enid", "Brian Wilson" and "New Kid On The Block" call to mind The Housemartins and The Smiths jamming with a flamenco band over a few too many beers. Which can only be a good thing.

The Lost Soul Band's magnificent "The Land Of Do As You Please" is one of those definite desert island "If I only had this I'd be quite happy" albums. Very few people have heard of the band, fewer still own the record but it's a tremendous example of lyrical craft, beautiful singing and a country-soul-blues-rock magimix holding it all together. Definitely a keeper as they say. They said that about Alan Rough too.

Keeping it nicely parochial, Phil Campbell's hard to track down debut "Fresh New Life" **I've just broken off from writing this nonsense to track down and read a blog by someone genuinely talented, Phil himself - if you don't know his work...actually I'll come back to that in a minute** - is one of the greatest records you'll ever (probably not) hear. My writing abilities don't stretch to doing it justice. The music speaks for itself as does Mr. Campbell. His life-story type blog at his Myspace is a genuinely affecting piece of writing, made all the more vivid because, for some of it, as they say, I was there man. Phil's never had the recognition his music and talent clearly deserve though I've yet to find anyone I've lent his stuff to who's not said "that guy's a genius." Go, find it, listen. Hey, turns out it's no longer hard to find.

Where are we at now? Six today. Hmm.

Okay. You want more obscure Scottish artists? Nae bother. The Radio Sweethearts - Lonesome Blue - proper honky tonk Hank Williams-esque country...from Lanarkshire. Like it says on the sticker on the album "It's hard to tell if you're listening to a country classic or a Sweethearts original" - praise indeed.

The Swiss Family Orbison - eponymous album from ex-Danny Wilson man Kit Clark with ex-Deacon Blue and current BBC Sportscene (!) man Dougie Vipond on drums. It's somehow very obviously Scottish pop-rock. I'm not even sure what I mean by that but no doubt you'll kind of understand.

Right, last two onto my Desert Island - Mojave 3's "Excuses For Travellers" A brilliant album which, if you were lazy you might describe as lo-fi acoustic chill out, but that would be a dreadful thing to do.

Last but not least and by jings this is tricky, I need to dance about a bit on my island so I'm taking a compilation album and there's nothing you can do about it. It's even a double CD so there! Put down the talcum powder and bring out the cheesecloth shirts. A bit of Northern Soul - The Best Northern Soul All-Nighter...Ever! Amazing sounds, Al Wilson's "The Snake", Frank Wilson's "Do I Love You?" and Sliced Tomatoes by The Just Brothers - songs to get a corpse dancing.

Right. I'm away to listen to Johnny Cash. He's not on the list? Ach, there's always tomorrow's list...
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