By the time the frost hits the pumpkin, as the saying goes (and no that’s not a euphemism) there typically is no shortage of new Christmas albums from the usual suspects singing, for the most part, the same old spiritual carols and secular classics. And then there’s “Won’t Be Home For Christmas”. The compilation CD, conceived and produced by Swedish music industry veteran Peter Holmstedt, brings together compositions from 18 different singer-songwriters, each of whom approach their assignment to ’write a song about Christmas’ in widely different musical stylings. Continue reading “Win copies of “Won’t Be Home For Christmas” with AUK”
We were intrigued this week when all of the talk was about paradise and papers. Obviously Americana-Uk Towers is its own little paradise and The Bunker is an oasis of calm in a world of madness. That said we do like to pay our taxes and Vaclav and Tomasz, who put the bunker in for us, are fully unionised and known to the tax authorities. So we are squeaky clean. The duty-free we consume is fully above board and needn’t concern anyone else. What we can’t help wondering though is that if everybody (including the super-rich) paid what they morally owe then how much better it would be for us all…350 million for the NHS anyone? Nothing is new under the sun we like to say and this little ditty from well over thirty years ago somewhat proves our point.
Insulated as we are deep in the bunker of Americana-UK Towers from the worst effects of modern life we can’t help but be deeply troubled about the reports reaching us of abuse. Abuse, it seems, that has become rife in all areas – politics, entertainment, you name it. Is it just men perpetrating this? Probably not. Is it mostly men? Probably. How utterly depressing. We have a simple message: just stop it, show some respect, grow up, stop giving the rest of us a bad name. This then is for you, whoever you are (with added Portugese subtitles for no reason whatsoever)
When we came round from the effects of one of our all too regular Bacchanalia some months ago we were surprised to find that we had decided to divorce our partner(s) in the European Union. The UK in our moniker Americana-UK is more of an advisory description of geographical location than a statement of nationalist intent so we could, potentially, have been Americana-EU. No matter – we are sure that people know what they are doing other wise they wouldn’t have put that stuff on the side of a bus in order to trigger our parting. As far as our limited view from The Bunker will allow this is what we assume is happening: Continue reading “Pick of the Political Pops: Paul Simon “50 Ways to Leave Your Lover””
Whenever I think of life on the road as a touring musician I inevitably think of Emerson, Lake and Palmer and those three goodie-laden coaches named after their occupants. Inside, no doubt, the fridges were full to capacity with beers and wine, the bunks were laden with goose feathered quilts, wafts of pheasant and cranberries escaping from the cooking galley with every conceivable need taken care of. Sadly, for every ELP there are a million road warriors out there on the highways and byways living an altogether different van life. Continue reading “Van Life: Wild Ponies”
The vast majority of the statuary here at Americana-Uk Towers is dedicated to our Glorious Leader/Editor in Chief and we can’t see that history being revised anytime soon. Even the small shrine in the furthest corner of The Bunker dedicated to him features a small maquette of his likeness so we are well used to seeing his fairsome and fearsome visage around the place. Our interest was piqued then when we heard that certain statues in certain places (the southern USA for example) were to be removed since they no longer fit a modern view of history. We are planning a referendum on the matter of our own public art and will let you know the outcome when our Glorious Leader says we can. Meantime we have been mulling on the musical history of “The South” and were reminded of this little ditty in which the protagonists seemingly support a segregationist governor and don’t give a hoot about the anti-democratic wrong doings of a right wing president (in a place called Watergate). Perhaps fortunately the meaning of the song has also been subject to some ‘revision’ of its own (according to research) and we can now hopefully, politically correctly, tap our toes to what is a nice little tune. And of course laugh along with well known prankster Mr. N. Young.
Oh well, this will wreck our Google search result listings – what possessed them to use the terms “americana” and “UK” in the same headline? Billboard has an article today entitled “U.K. Americana Hits America, and Vice Versa, In New Roots Exchange” which is an incredibly interestingyou read about our symbiotic relationship with the genre over in the States, selling snow to the Eskimos as it were. They report: “The idea of U.K. artists playing Americana, not just at home but in the U.S. itself, might once have seemed hopelessly ambitious. But as the genre, and the reception of it, has expanded into an ever-broader church, British acts are not only nudging doors ajar, but the two countries are enjoying something of a cultural Americana exchange — to the benefit of roots musicians on both sides of the Atlantic. Continue reading “Billboard: Americana in the UK is a thing”
Down in the bunker we are, of course, shielded form the worst effects of inclement weather, plagues of locust and snotty folk spreading their horrible germs. This is how we filter our world. That said we like to keep up with current affairs and given that the architect of our bunker was a Gaudi devotee we are feeling the situation in the as yet/possibly to be announced People’s Republic of Catalonia. “Let’s have something Spanish this week” one wag commented on his way to our fulsomely stocked bar. Ignoring the fact that in Barcelona they speak Catalan and not Spanish we, of one accord, suggest this. We are also ignoring the fact that it’s actually a Cuban tune rather than Spanish . That’s two fails. And, in a spectacular fail all of its own it was originally written as a love song not the nationalist/revolutionary anthem that it has become. Lucky for us the bunker impenetrable to all dissent and we just do as we please. The best thing is that this has been an ‘easy listening’ hit in, amongst other places, the USA and was once memorably covered by the great protest singer Pete Seeger. Here then is an earworm for you that you’re not going to get rid of anytime soon:
From down here in the AUK Bunker it often seems as if the Left (like the devil?) has all the best tunes. We have identified this as a decent little ditty from a small ‘c’ conservative direction, however. There are a number of ‘ironic’ covers of this tune but the original has the ability to make us smile and we particularly like the line “And white lightning’s still the biggest thrill of all” proving that even in deep redneck country they understand the power of two litres of cheap cider…
We’re delighted to be able to premiere the new album today from americana legend Mark Olson. “Spokeswoman of The Bright Sun” comes out on 1st September 2017 (that’s tomorrow, date fans) and is the follow up to the critically acclaimed “Good-bye Lizelle” which we said nice things about 3 years back. Recorded during the summer of last year (remember how simple life felt then? Actually we had just had Brexit so maybe not…), Mark explains “I think that the secret to making a unique album [is] keeping the momentum of the writing and part learning of the song as you move towards the final takes”. Continue reading “AUK album premiere: Mark Olson “Spokeswoman of the Bright Sun” – Listen”