Mid-Afternoon Compilation Saturday: Reason To Believe – The Songs Of Tim Hardin

something to believeTry as I might, I don’t think that this will ever be a regular occurrence – in my defence however, Saturday is currently the one day of the week I don’t work, so I tend to sleep right through them nowadays rather than seek out fresh compilations to badly wax lyrical about.  Nice bit of serendipity today though, as this arrived today (ahead of Monday’s release – one of the benefits of buying direct from a label), I’m already awake and it’s far too cold to go outside and do anything anyway.

I must admit I know very little about Tim Hardin, other than that his story is a troubled one and full of every cautionary pointer for any aspiring singer-songwriter to heed.  What I do  know is that he left a rich legacy of much-covered work, and that my own attraction to this collection was piqued by the wealth of artists lending their talents to this tribute.  A general rule of thumb (such a weird phrase to retain in modern language – look it up!) for me when buying non-charity compilations or tributes to unfamiliar subjects is naturally based upon the assembled artists and whether there are enough I like to warrant forking out the necessary; thankfully there is a veritable host of the familiar and the essential, plus a couple of others who I’d been meaning to give a listen to elsewhere and the remainder made up of interesting unknown quantities.  So this compilation should be tailor-made for this desk.

(more…)

Best of 2012, 40-31

I’d forgotten how much time these things took to write!  Obviously these are a bit wordier than the usual posts, but there’s the added fun of sitting down and listening to each of these again in turn whilst trying to come up with something  different to whatever I wrote the first time around.  Thankfully, the only problem I have with this is that it’s all rather time-consuming when I get re-lost in ten albums’ worth of stuff and forget to type anything, followed by doing it all over again.  Which is kind of the point in me doing any of this in the first place.

I’ve also got a couple of new things on the way over the course of the next few weeks to break up the “oh bloody hell, another ten already?” typey marathons, including another jaunt down to London to catch up with friends and take in a gig which should hopefully also bring forth a rather unexpected CD.  Ooh, and a couple of milestones for this silly little site which I’m surprised, happy and humbled to be passing.

(more…)

Oh, Go On Then – Alternative Mercury Prize Not Quite Shortlist

I have to say that the real Mercury Prize shortlist this year is a bit of a disappointment this year in the respect that it’s a bit on the vanilla side.  Thankfully this means that everyone can get all in a strop about *their* faves not getting a mention, and this is the real spirit of the competition.  Frankly, I wouldn’t have it any other way from an award named after a telecommunications company that went bust in 1999.

So, to join in with the doings, here’s an almost shortlist of my favourites that weren’t nominated keeping to a couple of mild criteria:

  • Released within the real prize’s qualification period (July 12 2011 – September 10 2012)
  • Artists involved are at least partly from the UK
  • Artists not actually shortlisted (although for the purposes of this list, only Richard Hawley – see below for comedy gold in 2006 – is omitted from this thingy)
  • Something from qualifying album is on Spotify, just to make it easy for me.  BTW, if you like something here or elsewhere on the various playlists, please buy it – no artist will ever make a living from the tiny streaming royalties they receive.

 

Hope there’s something you like, or violently disagree with.

 

 

Orkney: Symphony Of The Magnetic North

There’s a word I’d like to get out of the way before starting this thing properly.  Orcadian is a word that has appeared in probably every single press mention of delightful folk-popsters Erland and the Carnival, and definitely in at least one that I’ve done on here (albums reviewed hither and thither).  It’s a word included not just as a matter of geographical fact (it’s where vocalist Gawain Erland Cooper hails from, but more on that later), but because it’s also such a beautiful word to both see and say, made more so for the reason that most of us so rarely get the chance to use it.

This beauty now extends to this collection of songs, Orcadian in subject and spirit – and it’s this spirit of Orkney that pushed this project into existence in the first place.

(more…)