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NEW RELEASES Toward the close of Disc 1, following


Bluebird, Crosby offers: ‘You know that we have different jobs in this band. Stephen is supposed to write spectacular rock ‘n’ roll like that. Graham is supposed to write anthems that the whole world wants to sing, and I am supposed to write the weird shit,’ and pausing, adds: ‘I think I do.’ A ten-minute version of Déjà Vu follows. That 1970 album additionally furnishes Carry On—teamed with Questions from the Springfield’s swansong LAST TIME AROUND—as well as Our House and Teach Your Children. On CSN 2012 there are no less than six songs from the trio’s ten-song debut CROSBY STILLS & NASH (1969), including Suite: Judy Blue Eyes and Wooden Ships. From the new millennium, James


Raymond’s Lay Me Down debuted on CROSBY & NASH (2004), while last year’s Nash/Raymond co-write Almost Gone (The Ballad Of Bradley Manning) was inspired by WikiLeaks whistle-blower, Bradley Manning and finally, there’s Radio—a new Crosby creation. The third disc of Graham Nash’s 2009 box set REFLECTIONS closed with the previously unreleased In Your Name and an in-concert rendition appears on Disc 2. Back in 2010, CSN worked on a cover song collection with producer Rick Rubin. Subsequently abandoned, one of the songs attempted, Bob Dylan’s Girl From The North Country is reprised on Disc 2. Arthur Wood


www.crosbystillsnash.com


Emma Black SWIMMING IN THE MOON Cornflower Records: CR003


HHHHI Emma’s not afraid to share her views on this beautiful and inspiring 13-track studio release Leaving home at the age of 17 with


nothing but a battered, second hand guitar in one hand, a one-way ticket to Amsterdam in the other, for sure, singer- songwriter Emma Black has come a long way since her busking debut on the city streets of Europe. She’s performed in clubs and bars and built up a sizeable and appreciative audience, plus returned home to the UK—after contracting near-fatal septicaemia from toxic waste dumped on a travellers site where she’d been staying— and formed the folk band, The Immigrants.


Now solo (Emma has supported the


likes of The Indigo Girls, Nancy Kerr, The Zombies and James Fagan) and with two highly acclaimed albums—WHERE DARK HORSES ROAM (2007) and THE CROSSROADS RADIO SESSIONS (2010)—pinned to her name, Emma’s success story continues with the arrival of her third album, the beautiful SWIMMING IN THE MOON; a thoughtfully crafted and stunningly arranged collection of folk-fused songs; her emotive vocals and honest lyrics of love (Summer’s Gone) and social and political struggles (Lies They’ve Sold) at the forefront. Emma is also joined on this record by some of the UK’s finest roots musicians, including Riognach Connolly (flute, whistle), Eimear Bradley (fiddle), Alan Cook (pedal steel, Dobro, mandolin), and Johnny Bramwell, Maria Corrigan and Kirsty McGee on harmonies—all providing an excellent contribution of sounds and textures. The Getaway—a beautiful, guitar,


piano (Alan Lowes) and fiddle-led arrangement—pulls back the curtains, introducing the listener to the movingly crystal clear sounds of Emma, whilst the thoughtful Florence takes a thought- provoking view of the economic crisis’ effects on society (how the old are treated, poverty, bailing out the banks and the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan); its pondering arrangement of gentle sounds being something close to gorgeous. Jack & Sally tells another darkened tale of an abusive relationship, and the joy and peace Sally finds eventually with new love, Jack. Irish-esque The Curlew—a heart- warming blend of flute and fiddle—and the bluesy Pauper’s Grave (poverty) and Castell provide three of the most movingly heart-warming songs on the album; the two latter numbers encapsulating a plodding, country-blues-fused musicality; the infectious harmonica (Franny Eubank) on both packing a bluesy punch. Title track, Swimming In The Moon—a majestic, cello-led (Elizabeth Roberts) number with its own melancholic edge—deservingly sees the album to a memorable close. Pure magic from beginning to end—and every song being a gem—Emma Black has no doubt the promise and talent to continue making beautiful recordings for many years to come. Until now, I’d not had the privilege of hearing her work. Now I have, I’ll continue to listen with pleasure. Emily Saxton


www.emmablack.com


Jamey Johnson LIVING FOR A SONG: A TRIBUTE TO HANK COCHRAN Mercury Nashville HHHHI Great songs on an album full of the outlaw spirit with distinctive guest voices Jamey Johnson is a maverick. He refuses


to fit in with the usual way of doing things in Nashville where performers are expected … no not expected, virtually commanded to bow down to the country music Gods—those radio programmers— who decide what the great American listening public will hear on their radios. Failure to please those self-appointed experts will almost certainly mean the end of an act’s career. Johnson is absolutely the right guy to pay tribute to the late Hank Cochran, one of country music’s finest songwriters. Like Hank Williams and Harlan Howard, Cochran was a poorly educated southern boy who wrote songs from the heart. He never used any highfalutin words—Cochran wrote simple affecting songs full of everyday language. Just the song titles give it away: I’d Fight The World, Would These Arms Be In Your Way, She’s Got You, Why Can’t He Be You. On this album Johnson is joined by


a whole host of guest singers, but it’s Johnson and his co-producer Buddy Cannon that shine here, plus of course the 16 Hank Cochran songs. Cannon is a country traditionalist at heart, but also a realist, which has enabled him to move effortlessly from such contemporary/ commercial acts as Kenny Chesney to the more traditional Ashton Shepherd and George Jones. Opening track Make The World Go Away sets the bar high with Johnson joined by Alison Krauss for a bittersweet duet. It transpires that Alison was one of Cochran’s favourite singers. The pair nail this well-known song perfectly. There are many other highlights here I particularly liked the way Johnson and Merle Haggard slow-down I Fall To Pieces, to give the song a different feel to the original. Ronnie Dunn joins him on the lesser-known A-11, possibly the finest honky-tonk song ever written. Other guests include inevitably Willie Nelson, Ray Price (who possibly had more hits with Cochran songs than anyone), Emmylou Harris, Vince Gill, Lee Ann Womack, Elvis Costello, Kris Kristofferson, Bobby Bare and


Maverick 95


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