This page contains a Flash digital edition of a book.
69 f When I interviewed him recently, PJ

Wright had a huge grin on his face whilst we discussed the CD and it’s easy to see why, this is the hard stuff and no mistake. Latest recruits Hugh Bunker on bass and Mark Stevens on drums fit like a glove, all that’s needed now to lift them back up is a raft of decent festivals. With such a release behind them I can’t imagine a situation where that fails to emerge. An item of excellence that you ignore at your peril.

10 Years On… meantime, is a sensible summation of LJE achievement to date, tak- ing in their DIY early work and later material for other labels. It makes a decent entry point to Tournament Of Shadows, showing how the story continues in seamless fashion. Divid- ed into two blocks, basically ‘sitting down’ and ‘attention grabbing’, there are live ver- sions, alternate takes and archive sessions aplenty. Having been through what they would wittily call “a hell of a lot”, what emerges from the double CD is the spirit of a group determined to celebrate and make England a place worth noting. And for that alone, this is worth the price. Simon Jones

ROBB JOHNSON Man Walks Into A Pub Irregular IRR 077

Yeah, that’s what this man does – walks into pubs, takes out a wooden guitar and plays people songs. Which is exactly what you get on this 50-minute slim-pack of all-new John- soniana. The majority of its songs were writ- ten for the monthly Hove Folk Club nights that Robb’s been running since September 2008. He claims that the exercise of writing a new song for each club night has enabled him to rediscover the enjoyment of playing an acoustic guitar (his last few albums having featured the full Irregulars band).

Indeed, two tracks are gently evocative guitar instrumentals (perhaps owing a certain stylistic debt to Ralph McTell). As for the 12 new songs: these are firmly in the time-hon- oured RJ mould, with intelligently expressed reflections-cum-meditations that, while still dealing in typically right-on fashion with spe- cific issues, are also these days increasingly infused with, and informed by, autobiograph- ical elements. For instance, Les Deux Magots and A True History Of Couscous find Robb the chansonnier employing personal recollections of Paris and its bohemian ambience as a back- drop to his musings and life-observations. Dark Star, a tender ode to Robb’s wife, is couched in an expression of the long-term appeal of “guitars and bars and boulevards”, while The Wrong Train is a simple, chillingly understated account of a curious dream.

Robb’s stories tend to be grounded in

reality, for he homes in affectionately and with pinpoint observational precision on the “little people (with) big ideas” (like Charlie). And yet his songs are still a direct wake-up call for us to address our apathy. Inevitably, global concerns such as the war in Afghanistan continue to figure large, as does a real and justified concern with the condi- tion of the state of Albion (A Place In The Country); and then, grinning away amidst this sequence, we find a spirited cover of the ‘now-traditional’ Strummer-Jones classic Stay Free (no clash of loyalties there!).

Finally, the package also includes a 16- page booklet containing poems mostly dating from the period of songwriter’s block that preceded the writing of the album’s songs; interestingly, these poems also serve to illumi- nate the perspective of the songs themselves. / www.irregu- – distributed by Proper.

David Kidman


Often seemingly in total isolation, resisting the widespread indifference if not rank hos- tility surrounding any left-wing music that goes beyond sloganeering, Rosselson and Johnson have unwaveringly championed musical dissent these past decades – yet this is the first time they’ve collaborated on a recording project. They are united here by Tom Paine, the revolutionary 18th century writer of The Rights Of Man, whose story they tell in a double album of words and song, initially in a show which had its begin- nings in 1987 when the Labour Party commis- sioned Rosselson to write a piece commemo- rating the 250th anniversary of Paine’s birth.

It subsequently took on a life of its own, with Michael Foot and Tony Benn among those contributing to its evolution with stage appearances as the show changed and expanded through the years before reaching the current, exhaustive state in which Rossel- son and Johnson have shaped it here.

They tell Paine’s complete story with pas- sion, coherence and no little humour, follow- ing his adventures from Thetford to America and France, vilified by the ruling classes everywhere for saying the unthinkable and denouncing many of society’s sacred cows, the monarchy, religion and all. He was casti- gated as a traitor and convicted of treason in Britain, was described by American president Theodore Roosevelt as a “dirty little atheist” and was imprisoned in France.

In his sleeve notes, Johnson says: “What

Tom does is he thinks. He’s that man or woman you meet somehow or somewhere who says something that sets you thinking too.”

He and Leon convey this spirit affection-

ately, with a commendable absence of pon- tification, while managing to fit some of their own greatest hits into the structure. Thus we get some of Rosselson’s most cele- brated songs – the likes of Don’t Get Married Girls, On Her Silver Jubilee, Palaces Of Gold, Stand Up For Judas and The World Turned Upside Down – given a new context. In truth, technically superior versions of all of them will be found on other recordings, but as a complete piece blending the music with quo- tations, storytelling and even a little drama, it works beautifully. And, as Johnson says, it makes you think.

Colin Irwin

LOS LOBOS Tin Can Trust Proper PRPCD0065

Tin Can Trust got auditioned on a long car journey and, with a couple of honourable exceptions – their choppy cover of the Jerry Garcia/ Robert Hunter song West L.A. Fade- away and especially the tug-and-pull of On Main Street – little stood out as different to the mythical, stereotypical Los Lobos album. The guitars and groove of the title track, the chords and slow fuse burning pace of Jupiter Or The Moon and the homeboy cumbia romp Yo Canto sounded like textbook Lobos.

But it’s hardly cricket to write off a work for sounding too much like itself, if you get my drift. What emerged when returning to Tin Can Trust to write the review was a whole series of missed things that driving had oblit- erated. For a start, nowhere do they spring lyrical surprises. 27 Spanishes is a great instru- mental track held back by a lyric that is a slave to rhyme (“sea”/ “tree”, “blow”/ “low”, “hand”/ “land” and that ol’ favourite “grass”/ “ass”). Nevertheless, the production has sonic touches and nuances that do not

necessarily give up their secrets easily. Jupiter Or The Moon, with its powerful David Hidal- go lead vocal, emerges as a major addition to their canon. Overall then? Tin Can Trust is a grower. But there is no excuse for the inclu- sion of the John Mayall throwback, filler instrumental Do The Murray whatsoever. Ken Hunt

ANA MOURA Leva-me Aos FadosWorld Village 468099

She has shared stages with Prince and The Rolling Stones, but for her fourth album, Ana Moura stays as close as ever to her fado roots. This singer is also still working with her long- term collaborator Jorge Fernando – best known for producing Mariza’s debut two years before Moura’s own first record in 2003. The arrangements too, by Fernando and Custódio Castelo, stick almost entirely to the standard contemporary traditional fado combination of double bass, Spanish and Portuguese guitar. And Moura is in fine voice throughout.

Fernando writes all or part of 11 of the 17 tracks, and while his occasional turgid Euro- ballad leanings are quite apparent on Rumo Ao Sui and hinted at elsewhere, this is thank- fully kept in check, and balanced by the likes of the bittersweet closer, Na Palma Da Mão. The decision to print the lyrics of every song in French, English and Portuguese underlines what an intensely poetic genre fado is.

Like many of the current post-millennial

crop of fadistas, both Fernando and Moura are in awe of the late, great Alfredo Marceneiro, as evidenced by Fado Das Aguas and Esta Note, the latter including unspecified compositional tweaking by Fernando. His songs at times manage to pass for vintage material (as on the lovely, confident title track) and part of the appeal of listening closely to Leva-me Aos Fados is in trying to dis- tinguish his work from the likes of Fado Vesti- do De Fado, by the late Fernando Mauricio and Maria Rainho – an undoubted highlight.

Não E Um Fado Normal, by the deter- minedly odd Amélia Muge, certainly isn’t a normal fado, and features thumping percus- sion, quaint wind instruments and some rather rural-sounding male harmony vocals by the wonderful Gaiteiros De Lisboa (see fR241). It’s a welcome departure from convention, and makes you yearn for something a little more experimental next time around. Perhaps there are purple plans in the pipeline… – distribut- ed by Harmonia Mundi.

Jon Lusk Ana Moura

Page 1  |  Page 2  |  Page 3  |  Page 4  |  Page 5  |  Page 6  |  Page 7  |  Page 8  |  Page 9  |  Page 10  |  Page 11  |  Page 12  |  Page 13  |  Page 14  |  Page 15  |  Page 16  |  Page 17  |  Page 18  |  Page 19  |  Page 20  |  Page 21  |  Page 22  |  Page 23  |  Page 24  |  Page 25  |  Page 26  |  Page 27  |  Page 28  |  Page 29  |  Page 30  |  Page 31  |  Page 32  |  Page 33  |  Page 34  |  Page 35  |  Page 36  |  Page 37  |  Page 38  |  Page 39  |  Page 40  |  Page 41  |  Page 42  |  Page 43  |  Page 44  |  Page 45  |  Page 46  |  Page 47  |  Page 48  |  Page 49  |  Page 50  |  Page 51  |  Page 52  |  Page 53  |  Page 54  |  Page 55  |  Page 56  |  Page 57  |  Page 58  |  Page 59  |  Page 60  |  Page 61  |  Page 62  |  Page 63  |  Page 64  |  Page 65  |  Page 66  |  Page 67  |  Page 68  |  Page 69  |  Page 70  |  Page 71  |  Page 72  |  Page 73  |  Page 74  |  Page 75  |  Page 76  |  Page 77  |  Page 78  |  Page 79  |  Page 80  |  Page 81  |  Page 82  |  Page 83  |  Page 84  |  Page 85  |  Page 86  |  Page 87  |  Page 88  |  Page 89  |  Page 90  |  Page 91  |  Page 92  |  Page 93  |  Page 94  |  Page 95  |  Page 96  |  Page 97  |  Page 98  |  Page 99  |  Page 100
Produced with Yudu -