The Whiskey Charmers “The Valley” (Sweet Apple Pie, 2017)

They may not have invited the audience to lick peanut butter off their chests like Iggy Pop, but Detroit band The Whiskey Charmers hold their former neighbour in high esteem. “Clearly Iggy Pop is doing something right. It’s really inspiring to see that he is still out there performing at age 70 and still shirtless. This might be a great way to connect with our audience,” reckons singer Carrie Shepherd, suggesting that guitarist Lawrence Daversa be the first one in the band to try it out.  Continue reading “The Whiskey Charmers “The Valley” (Sweet Apple Pie, 2017)”

Jack Tempchin “Jack Tempchin” (Floating World, 2017)

As the man who wrote Peaceful Easy Feeling for The Eagles, Jack Tempchin won the composition lottery. As well as drinking champagne from ladies shoes and lighting cigars with $100 bills, he then found time to make his own long-playing record. Jack’s eponymously named solo album from 1978 was recorded at FAME studios in Muscle Shoals with a host of fabulous musicians supporting him in his endeavour. But subsequently the album got lost in one of those record company reshuffles, when executive legend Clive Davis, who’d signed him to Arista (originally as a member of the Funky Kings), left the company. Its subsequent release in 2017 prompts two burning questions. Who are the mega-stars who helped him record it? Is this album worth digging deep for and slapping your hard-earned dosh down on the counter of Our Price? (This and other record shops may not be available.) Continue reading “Jack Tempchin “Jack Tempchin” (Floating World, 2017)”

Donald Byron Wheatley “Moondogs and Mad Dogs” (Maiden Voyage Recording Co, 2017)

Rear-ended by a car which sent me and my bicycle flying through the air, the kerb-stone rose up and smashed me in the face. Paramedics diagnosed a broken nose, fractured arm, wrist and cracked ribs, and as I lay there bleeding, I pondered that the only other thing to have made such an impact on me recently is this amazing new album by Donald Byron Wheatley. Moondogs and Mad Dogs is essentially a tribute by Wheatley to his father ‘Big Don’, who came from a family of showmen who have worked on fairgrounds up and down our fair land for the past one hundred and fifty years. ‘Big Don’ turned little Donald on to the kind of music he loved and would play to him both on record and on his acoustic guitar: Bob Dylan, Muddy Waters, and singers like Bessie Smith, Big Mama Ford and Van Morrison. Continue reading “Donald Byron Wheatley “Moondogs and Mad Dogs” (Maiden Voyage Recording Co, 2017)”

Ben Millburn “Local Honey” EP (Independent, 2016)

It was Marcel Proust who wrote: ‘To a young pup in love, a bitch’s ass smells sweet.’ Austin, Texas resident, Ben Milburn has testified a true story, on his new ‘Local Honey’ EP, that to this young pooch, his beloved was the sweetest, most fragrant thing he had ever experienced in his life; before she finished him, crushed under heel like an empty packet of cigarettes; dismissed like a dog, pausing only to yell, ‘Smell ya later, Sucka!’ Milburn’s EP is like a mini-opera in four acts: boy meets girl, boy adores girl, girl fools boy into thinking she likes him too, then girl takes him for all he’s got and throws him away like an empty book of motel matches. Continue reading “Ben Millburn “Local Honey” EP (Independent, 2016)”

Steve Gardner “Bathed in Comfort” (TAG Records, 2017)

Chuck Prophet recently tweeted a comment from his buddy and console-maestro, Matt Winegar, who, at soundcheck while they were balancing the EQ before a gig, advised Chuck that, ‘By the time we get forty or fifty beards in here, it’s really going to change the sound.’ A few months before this wonderful post, Chuck received an unsolicited request from fan boy, Yorkshire man, singer and music dabbler, Steve Gardner – not to be confused with the American musician, Mississippi-based Rambling Steve Gardner.  Continue reading “Steve Gardner “Bathed in Comfort” (TAG Records, 2017)”

Corey Isenor “A Painted Portrait (Of The Classic Ruse)” (Independent, 2016)

‘Hi, you’re through to the Corey hotline: just $4.95 a minute. Here are some words that rhyme with Corey: glory, story, allegory, Montesori…’ If Lisa Simpson could hear this new album from Mr. Isenor, she’d fall in love with Corey all over again and be in deep trouble with Marge over a new phone bill she’d dialled up to the wilds of Nova Scotia. The delicate eco-environment, his beloved Nova Scotian countryside and his fine arts background permeate every glorious note of Corey Isenor’s music. Continue reading “Corey Isenor “A Painted Portrait (Of The Classic Ruse)” (Independent, 2016)”

Daniel Wylie’s Cosmic Rough Riders “Scenery For Dreamers” (You Are The Cosmos, 2017)

There’s a track on this fabulously rocking album that reminds me of the day I went round to Crusty Nick’s house to get my piercings done. Before you could say abracadabra, he’d installed an Apadravya and a Prince Albert, (as a tribute to the great man, after watching the TV series Victoria), plus the obligatory nipple rings, with a length of chain connecting the two. Nick said “you’ll be the jingle jangle man when I’m finished with ya’.” He wasn’t wrong. Sowhen Daniel Wylie asks ‘Where is the jingle jangle morning?’ on the Neil Young-meets-the-Flaming-Groovies-on-a-wild-night-out sounding ‘Jingle Jangle Morning’, I can tell him: right here, mate. Every bleeding morning there’s a jingle jangle now. Or at least there will be after I get the chain untangled from my chest hair. Continue reading “Daniel Wylie’s Cosmic Rough Riders “Scenery For Dreamers” (You Are The Cosmos, 2017)”

Rachel Baiman “Shame” (Free Dirt, 2017)

It’s been a while since Shirley and her illustrious Company castigated us (rather unjustly) for our collective inability, or flat refusal, to dance, declaring this to be a damn Shame, Shame, Shame. Anyone missing such admonishment should check out Rachel Baiman’s excellent new album. Shame may be on the agenda again, but this time the target of ire isn’t discotheque wallflowers, but the purveyors of organised religion: to be more precise, the tenets of the Church, which Baiman believes inculcate negative feelings of shame from birth onwards with concepts like Original Sin.  Continue reading “Rachel Baiman “Shame” (Free Dirt, 2017)”

GospelbeacH “Another Summer of Love” (Alive Records, 2017)

The last time I saw Sid Vicious alive was in a supermarket just around the corner from his squat at New Court in Hampstead. He’d been on Top of The Pops with the Sex Pistols the day before, playing ‘Pretty Vacant’ and flashed a massive roll of fivers at me as he paid for his shopping. He said: “You’re still a fucking hippy then? When are you going to get your hair cut?” If Sid was still with us, he’d probably have said the very same thing to GospelbeacH. “Oi! Rademaker! Get yer hair cut!” Sid famously said he was too busy playing with his Action Man to remember the Summer of Love. How he would have reacted to an album called Another Summer of Love is anybody’s guess, but given that Sidney was once caught dancing around his room to Jefferson Airplane’s ‘Surrealistic Pillow’ which included ‘Somebody to Love’ and ‘White Rabbit’, I think he would have absolutely loved it. What’s not to love? Continue reading “GospelbeacH “Another Summer of Love” (Alive Records, 2017)”

Tokyo Rosenthal “This Minstrel Life” (Rock and Sock Records, 2017)

How do baseball players stay in touch? They touch base every once in a while! I have to admit I know absolutely diddly about this fabled sport. But I know a man who does. Tokyo Rosenthal, or Toke, as he is known to his friends and fans, is da man. Musician, sports fan, former boxing promoter and poet: as well as releasing many albums – This Minstrel Life – is his seventh CD; this Renaissance man is also the author of two books. A massive New York Yankees fan, A Fauxtographer’s Yankee Stadium Memoir is an account of his time as a photographer at the original Yankee Stadium, when he managed to blag a photo-pass in the late seventies and went to watch the sacred game free each week for five seasons. Continue reading “Tokyo Rosenthal “This Minstrel Life” (Rock and Sock Records, 2017)”